The standard deck of playing cards contains 52 cards, which are divided into four suits: hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades. Each suit contains 13 cards, which are numbered 2 through 10, plus an Ace, King, Queen, and Jack. Have you ever wondered why there are exactly 52 cards in a deck? In this blog, we’ll explore the history of playing cards and explain why the number 52 became standard.
History of Playing Cards
Playing cards have been around for centuries, and their origins can be traced back to China during the Tang dynasty (618-907). The first playing cards were made from paper and decorated with woodblock prints. These cards were used for a variety of games and were often hand-painted with intricate designs.
The use of playing cards spread throughout Asia and eventually made its way to Europe. The earliest European cards were hand-painted and featured suits such as swords, cups, coins, and batons. These cards were typically used for gambling and were not well-suited for games that required a large number of cards.
In the 14th century, the French began to produce playing cards that featured the suits we are familiar with today: hearts, diamonds, clubs, and spades. The French also standardized the number of cards in a deck at 52. This number was chosen because it allowed for a variety of games to be played, while still keeping the deck small enough to be easily handled.
The number 52 also has some interesting mathematical properties. For example, 52 is a multiple of 13, which is the number of cards in each suit. This means that each suit can be evenly divided into four parts, which is useful for games such as bridge and poker. Additionally, 52 is also a multiple of 4, which is the number of suits in the deck.
The Standardization of Playing Cards
Over time, the French-style deck of cards became the standard in most of Europe and the United States. This was due in part to the popularity of games such as poker and bridge, which require a deck of 52 cards. The standardization of playing cards also made it easier for manufacturers to produce decks of cards that were consistent in size and design.
In the United States, the standard deck of playing cards also includes two Jokers. These cards were added to the deck in the late 19th century and were used for a variety of purposes, such as acting as wild cards in games like poker.
A standard deck of playing cards has 52 cards without a Joker card. This is because of the different suits present in a deck. For example, there are 4 French suits in a standard deck named clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades.
Why 52 cards in a deck?
An interesting theory on why there are 52 cards in a deck is that the number of cards corresponds to the number of weeks within a year.
Some say that the two colours red and black reflect day and night and that the four suits represent the four seasons.
It gets even freakier when you notice that there are 13 cards in a suit to match the number of lunar cycles, and 12 court cards that represent the 12 months of the year.
And, if you add up all the symbols in a deck of cards, there are 365.