The history of the card game
The first surviving evidence of card games, dating back to the 12th century, comes from China. Also in Korea and other East Asian countries the first playing cards appeared during this period – they were originally folded and not fanned out as they are today!
It is not completely clear how the playing card came to Europe. What is certain, however, is that France and Italy were the first countries to indulge in playing cards since the early 14th century. From there the game, also known as "The Devil’s Prayer Book", spread fast all over Europe.
Card games know no differences in social rank
Whether at court, at fairs or in the pub: all medieval social classes were equally enthusiastic about gambling with cards. Even the clergy, who often ranted about it in their sermons, were often not averse to the thrill of card games.
Elaborate printing on front and back side
Playing cards developed further over time: while the reverse sides were initially white, they were printed on both sides from around the 16th century. This was intended to prevent inconspicuous identification by cheats.
The front is elaborately printed and shows various colours and symbols based on a social hierarchy such as jack, queen, king, ace and a simple sequence of numbers. The symbols and numbers vary according to country of origin and epoch.
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Now you know where card games come from. But do you know who constructed the first gambling machine? Click here!