French have a popular game called Belote which is played using a French deck. Skat is a German game which uses German decks. Many countries have some popular games and each group has its own set of rules to play the game. Card games are played by a set of rules which may not be totally accepted by all, but in the particular group, café or club, it may be accepted. But if the game becomes very popular then those set of rules are widely accepted. Some card games have official governing bodies like Germany’s Skat; French tarot and Poker games. The U.S. Playing Card company has come out with rule books for many card games which have a standard set of rules. The International Skat Players association has set the rule for Skat. World bridge federation is the governing body and tournaments of bridge are administered by them. But games like Pinochle and canasta have no regulating bodies and even though they are very popular, there are no set rules which is accepted around the world. In tournaments and competitions, as in Poker, rules must be strictly followed but in an informal setting these rules can be changed and modified according to the will. Players are free to change the rules, even the standard set of rules. They can even add or invent some rules.
There are hundreds of card games but most of the games fall into some category. The Matching games like Rummy requires the player to acquire cards in certain combinations and sequences before the other player can do so. Here, a player can draw cards from the stock and discard his unwanted cards. There are Shedding games which require the player to shed all his hands the fastest and the winner is the one who is left with no card. Some examples of shedding games are Switch, crazy eight. The Trick- taking cards are those where a player plays a single card from their hand and depending on the value of the card played, a player wins or takes the trick. Bridge, spades, hearts are examples of tick taking games. Comparing games like blackjack, poker, baccarat are those where, to determine the winner, hand values are compared. They are also called Showdown games. There are games which even a single player can play. These are called Solitaires or Patience. The games start after making a specific layout and then the objective is to form a more complex layout as in Grandfathers clock. Some games require the player to clear the layout and arrange all the cards in stacks or piles. The Accumulating games are opposite of shedding games. Here, one intends to acquire all the cards in the deck. Egyptian war is an example of accumulating game. Fishing games have the players “fish’ for the required cards, either by asking other players or by drawing from the discarded cards. ‘Go fish’ is a fishing game. Many games are a mix of different games. Casino card games are poker, blackjack have betting as their integral part.
Deal is the act of distribution of cards. It could be in clockwise or anti clockwise direction. One player is chosen to deal the cards. The dealer takes the deck and shuffles them all the while careful that no player can see the face of the cards. There are several techniques of shuffling. Shuffling is necessary to get the cards in a random order after each game. After shuffling, another person cuts the deck. Depending on the clockwise or anti clockwise dealing decided, the person sitting right or left of the dealer cuts the deck. While cutting the player lifts the pack of few cards and places next to the remaining deck on the table. Now the ‘cut’ upper portion becomes the lower portion and the earlier lower portion comes on the top of it. The cards are then dealt. All the cards are dealt face down. Depending on the game, the rules and number of cards dealt will be different. All the while dealer has to make sure that cards are not seen by any players. In case a card is seen by all then cards could be dealt again. After dealing, the remaining cards are kept face-down in the centre of the table which is called a stock or talon. Forehand is the person who received the first card. After the dealing, players can pick their ‘hand’ or cards and rearrange them according to the game. They can fan their cards out which is convenient to hold all the cards. Also this way the indices can help the player to identify each and every card he is holding. When held this way the other players can not see the faces of cards.
The four suits in a deck; diamond, spade, clubs and hearts were introduced by French. Piquet is a 32 card suit with all numbers from 2 to 6 missing. A popular game in France Belote uses this deck. Germans also play a game called Skat from this deck. The German decks are different from French deck. They use hearts, bells, leaves and Acorns. Tarot is a 78 card deck which is used for many trick taking games. It has an additional trump suit of 21 cards and also one court card is added in every suit which is the Knight. Countries like Hungary, Slovakia, Austria uses the same suits are German deck but their deck has 32 or 36 cards. Italians use a deck of 40 cards. The 552 card deck used most commonly today is also called the French deck. This deck has four suits and the court cards; king, queen and jack are double headed or reversible. The court cards are also called face cards and some modern designs are not reversible. The ace of each suit depicts a single picture of the suit. The cards ranked from 2 through 10, has as many suits depicted as the number. There are two or four jokers in a commercial deck. Most games require the joker to be removed before playing. Index labels are present on two corners (opposite ones) to identify cards while they overlap. In the court cards also, there are few distinct profiles. Like the king of hearts is the only who has no moustache. The Ace of Spades is sometimes used as the trump card.
Any game of playing cards is classified as a card game. Hundreds of card games exist in every corner of the world. Poker also comes under card games. Each region, culture has different set of rules but some have standard set of rules. In the 10th century, people in China played with paper cards by shuffling and dealing them. The four deck card that we know today was used in central Asia and later brought to Europe in 14th century. Cards were not for common people them as they were expensive. Cards were hand painted earlier. France’s contribution to the popularity of cards is immense as they gave us the four suits design that is used these days. From France, they became popular in England and from there it reached America. First cards were printed in Germany. By 18th century, Cards were manufactured in US with some modifications. Cards were given varnished surfaces which added to the strength and also provided smoothness while shuffling. Double headed court cards, round surfaces of card, were all refinements done by Americans. Joker was invented in 19th century in America. The backs of the cards also underwent a lot of change. Important landmarks, events, products and ideas were depicted on the card backs. These days, a card is normally made of thick paper, plastic. For convenient handling, the cards are typically palm sized. The backs of the card have the similar design which is identical in all the cards in a deck. The front of the cards has different marking which distinguishes them from each other.