Explained: A Deck of 52 cards

Playing card games are many, there are hundreds, maybe even a thousand variations, if we assume regional rules and versions of card games throughout the world. But one amazing thing about all card games is that to play them, you need only one thing – a deck of 52 cards. It’s like, by having these, you acquire the power to play any card game you wish e.g. Indian rummy. So, how much do you know about this ‘super’ deck? Let’s know about them in detail.

The standard deck is also called ‘French-suited playing cards’ and has many patterns used in different parts of the world. The most common one in use (even in India) is the ‘English pattern’. Then comes the ‘Belgian-Genoese pattern’ made in France.

The History

The earliest known origins of these playing cards date back to the 15th century. Britain was importing these French playing cards around 1480 from the cities of Antwerp & Rouen. But it was only in the 16th century that card production started in London and the English pattern came to prominence. Over the centuries, thousands of different styles, sizes, markings, designs, and patterns have been made and changed, throughout the world.

The Basic Details

Why are there only 52 cards? Why not 51 or 53? There are many beliefs, theories, and stories. None of which can be definitely proven yet or can be called as a universal reason. Nevertheless, let’s know the cards that are used in offline or online rummy, in detail:

The 52 cards are divided into 4 suits: Hearts, Spades, Diamonds, and Clubs. Each suit has 13 cards, which are: An Ace card, 9 numbered cards from 2 to 10, and 3 face cards, namely Joker, Queen, and the King. The ranking of cards differs from game to game. In some, the ‘2’ card is lowest ranked, followed by 3 till 10, then face cards: joker, queen, king, and finally the Ace card – the highest. While in some games, the Ace card is the lowest ranked, followed by the numbered cards and face cards. Here, King becomes the highest ranked. There are also games in which the Ace card is the lowest as well as the highest valued. E.g. Rummy.

53 Cards in Rummy

It is important to know the deck of 52 (53) cards in rummy, besides knowing other rummy terminologies. In rummy online, the Ace card can be used as the lowest valued (before 2) or after King card, while making sequences. The face cards, Ace card, and 10 card carry 10 points in the rummy game. While the other numbered cards from 2 to 9 carry points equivalent to their value. You also get a printed joker card in rummy, so the total cards become 53 in rummy games online.

Some Facts of 52 Cards

  • The ordering in which the Ace card is the highest valued, is called as “Ace high”.
  • The clubs and spades are printed in black, while the hearts and diamonds are printed in red. Thus, we have 26 black and 26 red cards.
  • There are 4 cards of each rank, one from each of 4 suits. E.g. there are 4 Eights, Fives, Queens, Twos, etc.
  • The face cards are printed in other multi-colours too, besides the dominant red or black colour. Each suit has 3 face cards, so in all, there are 12 face cards in the deck.
  • In some card games, the deck of 52 cards have one extra printed joker card, while in some cards games, there are 2 printed jokers, while in some, there are no extra cards.

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