The amazing history of playing cards

There are lots of modern casino games, which owe their origin to the cards’ foundation. Playing cards is one of the oldest varieties of gambling, which is more than twenty centuries old. The standard deck counts 52 cards and reflects 52 weeks per year, each of the decks is divided into ranks, and there are a total of 13. The choice of number 13 is also not random and means the number of months in accordance with the lunar calendar held by some religions. There were invented hundreds of varieties of games for this one deck. Online poker and online baccarat are part of the natural evolution of this ancient tradition. They trace their history from various countries and divers time periods.

Ancient Egypt

Some researchers claim that cards were founded in ancient Egypt, although there are no serious evidences of this version. For millennium, Egyptian God’s servants kept a record of all the meaningful events that took place in the country. Most essential facts, revealing various aspects of life, were encrypted as 78 symbolic pictures on the vaults of the temple. Moreover, there existed minor copies in the form of square plates of gold, which were used in predicting the future. Some discoverers began to count the history of cards with the discovery of those precious plates.

Far East

Another belief of history of the cards’ origin takes us to the Far East. They say that about 1500 years ago the first resembling images were used in Korea during the sacred rituals resembling predicting the future. Those images made on silk or oil-soaked paper are believed to serve as a prototype of today’s playing cards. In 7th-8th centuries these cards, as well as the ritual, migrated to China, where people gradually changed their look. The deck consisted of fifty-two cards – as well as the amount of weeks in a year; there were four suits – this used to symbolize the seasons. They were used to perform mystical rituals – fortune telling and prediction of the future.


About the 16th century cards appeared in India. The game deck counted 96 rounded cards and there existed eight suits – 12 cards of each suit. Ten cards had encrypted numbers from 1 to 10 as well as two pictures, most often it was the image of Shiva, having in four hands the symbol depicting four Indian castes: a sword, a wand, a coin, and a cup. Apparently they became the basis for future card suits. Those times’ rules of the game didn’t resemble modern ones, and were more like those in chess. Cards like these were handmade and, being a genuine work of art, were extremely expensive and reasonably rare.


Today it’s hard to tell how cards appeared in Europe, but most probably they were brought by some Arabian merchants. Together with cards themselves, there came first games. Nowadays there are several card games, adored by gamblers, which are the basis of online casinos – poker, solitaire and baccarat.

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