Do you sometimes play cards? You’re definitely not the only one. All over the world people have fun with card games. But where do they originate from? We found out for you and stumbled upon some other fun facts along the way.
1. Card games originated in China
The earliest paper playing cards were found in 7th-century China. According to tradition Emperor Mu-tsung enjoyed playing ‘domino cards’ with his wife. Chinese cards were decorated with symbols of horses, crows, pheasants, fish and rabbits. Cards gradually spread across the world, arriving in Europe in the 14th century. The first cards were made by hand, but that was very expensive and time-consuming. The invention of the printing press changed all that and brought new life to playing cards.
2. Giacomo Casanova was an ardent fan
Casanova loved the ladies, that we all know. But from his memoirs we also learned that he also very much liked playing cards. What’s more, he didn’t always play by the book. His fascination with playing cards is mentioned numerous times in his memoirs!
In those days many people from nobles to average Joe Blacksmith were preoccupied with playing cards. They placed big bets and tried to outwit their opponents. Sometimes entire treasuries were put at stake.
3. Contemporary playing cards were invented in France
The set of playing cards as we know it today was invented by the French in 1480. The images of peasants, women and men date all the way back to the 15th century. The joker, however, was an American invention. The hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds that we still use today date from the same era.
4. The American army used playing cards in Iraq
Cards serve many purposes. American soldiers, for example, used them during the Iraq war to distribute photographs of sought-after Iraqis of high rank. The famous Tariq Aziz was ‘8 of spades’. The practice is used often in military circles.
5. Mind game, amusement or entertainment
Card games come in many varieties. Bridge is regarded as a mental exercise, while patience is pure relaxation. For poker you need to possess a healthy dose of courage and a good strategic insight. Whichever variant you play, cards always deliver entertainment!