Background history of casino playing cards

Casino playing cards were invented in the 9th century in Tang dynasty, China. Many scholars recognize that the foremost real deck of printed playing cards was the Chinese domino deck containing 32 cards, which featured all 21 probable combinations of a pair of dice.

The first deck was printed on bone, paper, and wood. Throughout the centuries, they spread to Persia, Egypt, and then Europe.

How many cards are in a deck and why?

There are 52 cards in a standard deck of casino cards. Over the past centuries, decks have come in varying numbers of 24, 36, 40, 48, and any amount in between.

None can say for sure why 52 has come to be the most common deck size. However, due to French and English colonialism, the 52-card French deck was easily spread around the world.

Learn more about how to shuffle cards in this guide.

Popular brands of casino playing cards

The United States Playing Card Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of casino playing cards, with their products making up many of the popular brands like Aviator, Bee, Tally-Ho, Bicycle, and many others.

USPCC’s brands are among the top choices preferred by many casinos around the world. Other brands popular with casinos include KEM cards, Copag cards, and Modiano playing cards.

Understanding the four suits in a deck of playing cards

The four suits in a deck signify certain meanings attached to the Middle Ages.

  • The King of Spades is believed to represent King David
  • The King of Hearts represents King Charles VII
  • The Kings of Diamonds and Clubs represent Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great respectively
  • The Queen of Spades symbolizes Palla
  • The Queen of Hearts and Diamonds represent Judith and Rachel, the mistress to Charles respectively

What defines a quality deck of cards?

Most casinos worldwide use cards that are 100% plastic. This is because, unlike paper cards that are used out there, plastic versions can be used with hands for a very long time before they are swapped out, chiefly in games like poker where there is more frequent card-handling by players.

Plastic cards also offer additional security as they are harder for players to mark than their paper counterparts.

Games played using casino playing cards

Today, there are hundreds of games both online and offline that can be played with casino playing cards. Different card games have dozens of variations and rules of their own.

An example is the game of poker with its many variations, which is one of the most popular games played with casino playing cards. Other popular games include baccarat, teen patti, and blackjack.

Security and the disposal of used casino playing cards

Casino playing cards typically have large characters and symbols such that security cameras can easily pinpoint any specific versions that may be involved in an unreasonable amount of gameplay.

Whenever a new deck is introduced, it is first inspected and signed off by the pit boss and dealer and examined for any imperfections. If approved, it is shuffled either by hand or by machine.

Mostly, the decision on whether to dispose of used casino playing cards depends on the type of the game, how busy the table is, and whether they are being shuffled by machine or by hand. Occasionally, they are replaced every three to four hours. They are normally not reused but are marked, punched, or clipped, and are then donated to gift shops.

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