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An Ultimate Guide to Cards: Deck Types and Characteristics

Author: Catherine Lysenko
25 March 2020, 13:24
Votes: 4

Card games, especially poker, gain popularity at a great rate. Lots of poker rooms and online casino websites offer a wide range of game variations to its users. Moreover, the success stories of top players inspire other people to test their skills as well. For example, Phil Ivey’s poker hacks motivate his fans to learn more about the game.

An Ultimate Guide to Cards: Deck Types and Characteristics

First of all, people who want to enter the card games world should analyze a deck in detail. It is basics allowing them to understand gaming processes better. This knowledge is essential for any player and he or she won’t be able to participate in games without being aware of them. Don’t think of cards as just pieces of a cardboard paper, consider them as meaningful entities which carry significant information.

You will surely find many interesting facts about a deck if you search the web. For example, cards in Las Vegas casinos have a very short usage period and are thrown away every twelve hours. In addition to this, all casino playing cards have big symbols because they should be visible for cameras set in gambling establishments. It helps casinos to prevent fraudulent actions. Just imagine: one casino can use hundreds of decks every day and it isn’t good for the earth and environment!

A deck of cards – general information

It goes without saying that all of us have ever seen a common deck of cards. Most of us tried to play various types of card games at least once in life. Crazy eights, pig, go fish and other variants are often played even among kids and their parents. Of course, the first encounter with cards can occur at any age but these paper items usually draw players’ attention because their colorful representation and funny images attract all eyes.

A standard set of cards includes 52 pieces plus two jacks. Such a deck is called French, despite the fact that its history comes from somewhere in the East. It is a topic for debates among many scientists who have different points of view. Many of them are sure that gypsy camps have brought these pieces of paper covered with drawings from Asia.

In such a way, a deck of cards entered the gaming world and began its long history. Some investigators have facts proving that cards’ origin is connected with China. Whichever was true, cards continued to spread across many countries and, after some time, appeared in such of them, as Spain, Germany, Italy, and France (where the icons of modern cards were drawn by an unknown artist). As for the USA, it was in the list of countries that were the last to get familiar with cards. It received them from England and started to produce decks only in the 1800s. However, the USA became the country that introduced a joker as a card. Some experts say that the name of a popular game – euchre – became the basis for the word “joker”. Later, many companies specializing in card manufacturing were opened in the United States, so, it became one of the biggest suppliers in the world.

cards deck

Notwithstanding the fact that a 52-item deck is used by the majority of countries, some states still prefer to play games with individual deck variations. Thus, the central part of Europe uses 32 cards while Germany prefers a 36-card deck. German type can be also found in the following regions:

  1. Hungary;
  2. Czech Republic;
  3. Slovenia;
  4. Slovakia;
  5. Poland;
  6. And others.

According to some interesting poker news that also highlight topics connected with cards, Italy and Spain use another number of cards as well – forty and forty-eight.

Cards have special names, in addition to their standard ones. For instance, queens, kings, jacks are called “face cards” because their images describe their names. Cards, which mean “two”, stand for deuces while those with the “three” figure on them – treys.

Let’s look at card notations closer.

Facts about cards in a deck: suits, ranks, color, and size

Playing cards suits are one of the most interesting things to discuss. Suits are represented by special symbols: clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds. We have got accustomed to usual visuals on a standard card but some countries have other interpretations of these symbols. For instance, you will be surprised to see leaves instead of spades on a card from the German deck. Another example is a picture of a cup in the place of hearts in the Spanish deck. As you can see, suits don’t follow a set of standards in all countries around the globe.

Symbols have two colors: black and red. In some cases, they are divided into four colors: red, black, green, blue. It helps to distinguish cards better.

As for trump cards, usually, only one suit is assigned as the main one within the game. However, sometimes trump cards mostly depend on the game you want to play. Some of them have another set of rules concerning trumps and their usage.

Card ranks mean numbers – from one to ten. Queens, kings, and jacks don’t have number assignments as they are separate cards. However, in some games players consider these cards in the following way:

deck cards

  • jacks stand for eleven;
  • queens mean twelve;
  • and a king is considered as thirteen.

It is also very important to remember that jacks shouldn’t be confused with jokers because these two types are different. A jack is just a card that is included in every suit. This type is something between a card number ten and a queen. As for jokers, they are quite rarely used in games including but not limited to canasta, pitch, go fish, etc. This card is used in poker, for example. Read Mike Postle’s success story and find out more about poker as a career.

Of course, we have considered only popular kinds of decks that can be found while playing table card games. However, there are a lot of unusual and creative decks that are designed on the basis of fiction, for example. Such variations can’t be used in real games and play the role of souvenirs very often.

You will be surprised but the cards’ size is defined by a set of parameters for two types, the so-called “bridge” and “poker”. Poker cards are wider and bridge ones are narrow because they should be convenient for a player to hide them in his or her hand. However, manufacturers and designers usually don’t stick to special guidelines and create decks that can a little bit vary in their size. As for casinos, they frequently use narrow-sized cards to fit their shuffling devices. Thickness doesn’t have requirements as well. This characteristic mostly depends on a manufacturer and material type. Creative cards from designers can have various textures and be decorated with embossing or other touchable prints.

Variations in decks: cards with standard and custom images

If to look at several common decks of cards, you will notice that all of them have almost the same pictures representing their meaning. Visuals of a modern deck covered a long historical way. These images show one concept but artists depict it differently. Thus, a woman is illustrated on a standard queen card. However, the lady is influenced by cultural differences in countries and can vary. Other cards are based on the same principle.

the cards in a deck

On the other hand, customized decks of cards are very popular. There are many companies on the web providing services for customization. Their designers can help clients to choose images and print them on cards. You can also select cards size and other additional features. Personalized decks are a good idea for those people who search for an interesting and funny gift for their friends and relatives. Besides, you can order them for yourself if you are fond of poker, for example. If you search for a reliable online poker website, read our article about Cafe Casino and its range of available poker options.

Questions you should ask about a deck of cards

How many aces are in a deck of cards?

As has been already mentioned, a usual deck includes four aces. They are pictured as special symbols on cards. Symbols depend on a country where these cards have been produced. Many nationalities have own design for aces.

How many spades are in a deck of cards?

A deck of cards contains thirteen spades.

How many clubs are in a deck of cards?

There are thirteen clubs in a deck.

How many diamonds are in a deck of cards?

The total number of diamonds in a 52-piece deck is 13.

How many queens are in a deck of cards?

There are 4 queens in a deck – one for every card suit.

How many red cards are in a deck?

It includes twenty-six red-colored items.

How many kings are in a deck of cards?

Every deck includes four cards with a king.

How many jacks are in a deck of cards?

It has four jacks.

How many black cards are in a deck?

The number of black cards is twenty-six.

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