History of Card Games
The concept of playing cards and the various card games that are played with them have a long global history. Historically, the first record of people playing games with a set deck of cards comes from ninth century china. While these decks did have four suits, they had very little else in common with today's playing cards. These Chinese cards were often hand printed on thin paper, and came in various sizes and types. In fact it is possible that the original playing cards were in fact a form of paper currency, so that the playing cards were both the tools of the game and the stakes.
It was not until some time around the thirteenth or fourteenth century, in lower Egypt, that playing cards were found in a format that we would recognize today. Historically known as the Mameluke Deck, it was found to have four suits (swords, staves, cups, and coins) and ten numbered cards for each suit. The suits also contained 3 face cards each, known as the King, Viceroy, and Deputy. This format has survived almost entirely unchanged to the present day.
Today, playing cards and card games are more than just a past time, they are a part of popular culture. It is hard to believe that just a few years ago, Poker was considered an old man's game. Today it is a prime time sporting event. Recently, James Bond has been more likely to grace the silver screen in a casino than a nuclear bunker. Of the top ten games in Las Vegas, fully half of them are card games. Never through history have card games been as popular culturally or as interesting and engaging as they are in our lifetime. Truly if one had to name the greatest age to be a player, it would be today.
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