History of Card Games

History of Card Games
Card games are believed to be originated in China slowly spread its roots to India and Persia. In the 10th century, Chinese people used paper-like dominoes to shuffle and play games.

Initial Card Games

Playing Cards originated in China even before 1000 AD. Cards around that time were narrow strips of paper, mostly dominoes in which dots imitated various possible combinations of a throw of two dice. These Chinese cards Dominoes were also known as Money cards because the name of its suits.

Chinese cards started to be paper money copies and there were two different types of playing cards:

i. Kwan Pai

History of Card Games
This style of card game was found in Northern China. It had only 3 suits - coins, myriads of strings of coins, and strings of coins. Each pack has 30 cards, 9 cards, and one honor card viz per suit.

ii. Lut Chi

History of Card Games
It had 4 suits - coins, myriads of strings of coins, strings of coins, and tens of myriads of strings appeared in the South of China. Most probably, European card suits are based on Lut Chi, however, there's no main evidence pointing to this fact.

The Mamluks

History of Card Games
According to historians, the European card system has its roots and origin in Egypt. It has been found that the Mamluk deck was invented around the 12th century. The deck is almost similar to the European card deck of 52 cards which is divided into four suits of 13 cards each. Four suits were named as Swords, Cups, and Coins. Although three court cards in the deck known as King, Viceroy, and Under Viceroy. Unlike today’s card system, it did not consist of a Queen.

Introduction to Europe

There are many theories regarding how card games entered in Europe. Some theories refer they were brought by returning crusaders from the Middle East, other theories point to gypsies who brought them from Eastern Europe, and still, others believe that there's a link between European cards and Indian playing cards.

Around the 14th century, Islamic cards found their place in Southern Europe. The four kinds of suits were broadly adapted i.e. Swords, Cups, Coins, and Sticks.

Moreover, the European people didn't stick with just one style to play cards. They chose many different styles and suits according to their own preferences and, sometimes, there could even be 5 or 6 suits, instead of 4.

Three main suits were evolved around the 16th century and they were:
  • Latin ( Spain, Italy, and Portuguese)
    Four suits- Chalices, Batons, Swords, Coins
  • History of Card Games
  • Germanic ( Germany and Switzerland)
    Four Suits- Acorns, Leaves, Hearts, Bells
  • History of Card Games
  • French (France and England)
    Four Suits- Spades, Diamonds, Clubs, Hearts
  • History of Card Games
The card games with 4 suits - clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds, just as we know them today appeared in France, in the late 1400s. The king of Hearts represented Charlemagne, the king of Diamonds was Julius Caesar, the king of Clubs was Alexander the Great, and the king of Spades was King David from Bible.

The common color scheme of red and black cards was also invented in France.

Advent of Joker

The Joker was introduced into card games around 1870. It was used as a special card in the game Euchre. It was then known as the “Best Bower”. After this, the Americans invented an extra card (as a wild card) in other card games. This wild card later came to be known as the Joker.

It is evidently clear that Joker was not an invention of Europeans. Joker is one of the most impressive contribution by America to the history of card games.

The common representation of Joker was taken to be a ‘Fool’.
History of Card Games

Other Evolutions

Mexican Rummy card game is believed to be derived from Khanhoo, a Chinese game from the 18th century. This same Chinese game is also considered to be the base of the Mahjong.

Within the Rummy card games, there are a lot of different versions. For example, there's the Indian Rummy card game, which is very popular in India and the Gin version of this game as well. Another popular card game that is based on the Rummy is the Canasta, which remains highly popular in these days.

There isn’t a specific number referring to the amount of card games that have been invented over the years. We can only speculate that there are tens of thousands of card games that were invented and are played throughout the entire world.

With the technological advancements and the Internet, people enjoy a good card game over online social casino websites . Yet many people feel it is a lot of fun just sitting around your family and friends, playing a good card game and talking to each other. Well no matter through which mode you indulge in a card game, as long as you enjoy it nothing else matters.

AUTHOR_NAMEAbout the Author:
Swati Panwar is a Content Writer and Blogger at Gamentio. She is a specializes in writing about card games like Indian Rummy and Poker. Besides this, she is inclined towards keeping herself updated with all the latest technological trends. Get in touch with her via LinkedIn.
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