How did queens, kings and jacks end up in the card deck?
Card games have a long history. Did you know the first playing cards even date back all the way to the thirteenth century? There are a lot of interesting and remarkable facts about playing cards, and we bet there are many you never heard of!
With the World Poker Tour coming up, let’s take a moment to have a closer look at playing cards, and specifically at how kings, queens and jacks managed to sneak into the card deck.
The origin of playing cards
The first traces of playing cards were found in Spain and Italy and date back to the thirteenth and fourteenth century. In those days, each card was made by hand and card games were popular among a select group of notables. When the printing press came along, the popularity of card games really took off, rapidly spreading like wildfire throughout Europe.
Medieval symbolism from France
In fifteenth century France, the card symbols we know today – hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs – made their first appearance. It was around the same time characters were introduced to the deck:
- R for ‘roi’ (K for ‘king’)
- D for ‘dame’ (Q for ‘queen’)
- V for ‘valet’ (J for ‘jack’)
Images of the characters in the deck
In the sixteenth century, the original characters in the deck were replaced withhistorical figures:
- jacks: Hector (jack of diamonds) and Lancelot (jack of clubs)
- queens: Judith (queen of hearts) and Rachel (queen of diamonds)
- kings: Charlemagne (king of hearts), Caesar (king of diamonds) and Alexander the Great (king of clubs)
To increase the ease of use, the characters were given two heads: one facing the bottom of the card and one facing the top. This happened during the nineteenth century.
Cards are synonymous with top entertainment
Belote, bridge, king, solitaire … There is no way of counting the multitude of games that can be played with 52 cards. However, poker and blackjack are without a doubt two of the most popular card games to date! Feeling lucky and in the mood for a game of cards? Then drop by Viage and take a seat at one of our gaming tables. Fun times guaranteed!