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Cards

What are ‘Cards’?

Cards is an ambiguous term for something with a variety of specific, yet distinctive purposes.

Playing Cards are flat, rectangular-shaped pieces of layered pasteboard that are primarily used for playing a variety of skill and chance games, known as card games.

Playing Cards are manufactured by printing processes involving lithography, photolithography, or gravure. Thanks to advancements in modern technology, it is likely in the near future that computerized methods will be adopted, which promises to be cost-efficient and less time consuming, which will likely generate a substantial increase in the Playing Card manufacturing industry.

‘Cards’ Explained

Cards is an ambiguous term for something with a variety of specific, yet distinctive purposes. For the sake of clarity, the term Cards in this article will address Playing Cards, because these are more specifically associated with the majority of this website’s content.

Playing Cards are flat, rectangular-shaped pieces of layered pasteboard that are primarily used for playing a variety of skill and chance games.

Playing Cards are manufactured by printing processes involving lithography, photolithography, or gravure. Thanks to advancements in modern technology, it is likely in the near future that computerized methods will be adopted, which promises to be cost-efficient and less time consuming, which will likely generate a substantial increase in the Playing Card manufacturing industry.

With the exhaustive number of online casinos, cardrooms, and poker sites becoming so exponentially popular with players from all over the world, the need for actual Playing Cards is decreasing.

Playing casino games online and on mobile devices removes the need for them entirely. Even players who enjoy a game of Solitaire can now do so on their desktop computers and mobile devices using a virtual deck of cards.

The exact origin of Playing Cards remains uncertain, while there are some historians who believe that they originated in India, as an element in the game of Chess, others argue that they were first developed as implements for magic, divination, and fortune-telling in Egypt.

The first documented record of using Playing Cards dates back to the 12th century from the Orient. Playing Cards were introduced to Europe during the 13th century, brought from the Middle East. There is evidence suggesting that they first arrived in Italy and Spain, and then were quickly spread throughout the continent shortly thereafter.

The early Playing Cards were quite similar to those still used today, consisting of 52 cards with 4 suits, which were Swords, Cups, Coins, and Polo-Sticks. They were numbered from A (1) to 10, and also had face cards which were a King, a Deputy King, and a Second Deputy King.

When the Europeans began producing their own Playing Cards, they were not consistently designed, and any random number of suits and face cards were made. Late in the 15th century, standardized versions of Playing Cards started becoming more commonplace. The suits of Spades, Clubs, Diamonds, and Hearts that we are familiar with today, first appeared in France around 1480.

As the production processes improved, the availability of Playing Cards became more widespread. The earliest decks of Playing Cards were painstakingly hand-colored with the use of stencils. Consequently, they were very expensive to produce, and exclusive to the very wealthy.

There were cheaper Playing Cards also produced, but there were deterioration issues. New printing processes allowed the production volumes of Playing Cards to increase.

In Germany, during the 15th century, a method of producing cards using wooden blocks as printing templates was introduced. The decks of Playing Cards produced this way were quickly exported throughout Europe.

During the 16th century, the wooden blocks and hand-coloring were replaced with copper plate engraving. The production of Playing Cards was revolutionized in the early 1800s, when color lithography was developed.

A standard deck of 52 Playing Cards are rectangular in shape with rounded corners, and dimensions of approximately 2.5 x 3.5, or 6.35 x 9 cm. The Playing Cards are made using layers of paper called pasteboards, and the faces of these cards are generally decorated using 2 colors: Red and Black.

There are 4 suits, which are Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds. Each of the 4 suits consists of 13 cards, 3 of which are face cards; the King, Queen, and Jack. The face cards are double-ended, meaning both halves of the cards have the same design. This eliminated the need to orient the cards in your hand, thanks to the automatically correct position of the double-ended design.

The upper left corner of the cards have index numbers and the symbols of the suit of which it belongs, which made the cards easy to distinguish when holding them in a fan-shaped design, which is the most common way of holding the cards while Playing Cards. There are also 2 Joker cards included in a brand new pack of Playing Cards.

The backs of the Playing Cards are decorated with unique patterns exclusive to the manufacturer of the cards.

Playing Cards are used for many different purposes, with the most common use for playing parlor games, such as Bridge, Rummy, and Gin. Gambling card games such as Poker and Blackjack also employ the use of the standard 52-card decks. Additionally, specialty cards are custom printed for use as game components for board games. These custom cards may have trivia questions, words, or symbols printed on them, which are important elements in the game play.