Oldest Playing Cards in the World

10 Oldest Playing Card Games in the World

Card games are a popular pastime in many countries. Card games range from simple to complex, with most allowing gamers to take a hand or two at a time, but some may require more of an investment. This can be an excellent way for gamblers and card enthusiasts to practice their skills without risking their money.

Playing cards are usually a series of 52 cards that are used in games. Each card has a name and suit, as well as numbers from 1 to 10. The cards are ranked in order from lowest to highest, with the ace being the highest valued card.

If you’re someone who wants to know some interesting history about the kinds of playing cards in the world, you’ve come to the right place, as this article will show you interesting facts about the ten oldest playing cards in the world!

10. Baraja Español

Year Made: 1900
Country of Origin: Spain
Number of Cards: 40 or 48 cards
Still Played: Yes

Baraja Españolphoto source: domestika.org

During the fourteenth century, the Moors introduced a vintage deck to Spain, which is now known as the baraja. Standard patterns are card layouts that have been published by several companies in the past or present and are in the public domain.

Today’s residents continue to employ these geographical trends. It typically includes 40 or 48 cards and has four suits. It falls under the category of a Latin deck and resembles the Italian deck more than the French deck.

In Spain, parts of southern Italy, France, Hispanic America, North Africa, and the Philippines, Spanish-suited cards are frequently used.


9. Gin Rummy

Year Made: 1900
Country of Origin: America
Number of Cards: 52 cards
Still Played: Yes

Gin Rummyphoto source: thesprucecrafts.com

According to magician and author John Scarne, Gin Rummy is said to have developed from whiskey poker in the 19th century and was intended to be faster than knock Rummy but less impromptu.

To play the game, the non-dealing player has the first choice of either taking the upcard on the discard pile or passing on the first turn of the round.

Players take turns switching off until one player knocks, goes gin, or until there are just two cards left in the stock pile, at which time the round is deemed a draw and no points are given. When a player scores 100 points or more, the game is over.

Did You Know?

You can win these games only if you develop your multitasking skills. It entails logically placing your cards in your hand, keeping an eye on your competitors, foreseeing potential actions from them, and planning ahead.


8. Conquian

Year Made: 1850
Country of Origin: Mexico
Number of Cards: 40 cards
Still Played: Yes

Conquianphoto source: wikimedia.org

Conquian is mentioned in court papers released in 1861 as being well-established there in the 1850s, and it is recorded as being performed there in the 1880s with Tuti, Malilla de Campo, Mus, and Rentoy.

The publisher and card game specialist, Robert F. Foster said that Conquian dates back to the early 1860s and that it was first played by two players using a Spanish deck of 40 cards that was missing the 8s, 9s, and 10s.

Did You Know?

By deleting the courts or the 8s, 9s, and 10s, two or more players can play Conquian with a 40-card pack of French playing cards or a set of Spanish playing cards. The two-player game is also known as “Colonel.”


7. Poker

Year Made: 1829
Country of Origin: New Orleans
Number of Cards: 52 cards
Still Played: Yes

Pokerphoto source: legendsofamerica.com

According to Joseph Cowell, four players bet on the best hand when the game was played in 1829. When poker was played in the US in 1837, Hoyle, R.F. Foster noted that each player received five cards from a deck of twenty.

The 52-card deck we are all familiar with today was introduced not long after the game spread like wildfire. The first poker “boom” began in the late 1980s as a result of two key occurrences. In addition to stud poker, California authorized the holding of Omaha in 1987.

Before, only draw games were permitted. Despite the fact that California had the most poker games of any state prior to this, both the number of games and the amount of action they attracted significantly increased.

Did You Know?

The longest poker game ever allegedly took place in the Arizona theater, The BirdCage. An astounding 8 years, 5 months, and 3 days have passed since the poker game first began in 1881.


6. Paris Pattern

Year Made: 1813
Country of Origin: France
Number of Cards: 32 cards
Still Played: Yes

Paris Patternphoto source: pinimg.com

Around the mid-17th century, the “Paris pattern” became established. Prior to the introduction of the double-ended variant in around 1830, single-figure courts were the norm.

The names of the court cards are often given, and it appears that the inspiration for these names came from legendary figures from antiquity. The queen is one of the French cards’ most distinctive elements. All Mamluk cards feature three male face cards, as do their offspring, the Latin-suited and German-suited cards.

Italian tarot cards started using queens in the middle of the fifteenth century, while some German decks substituted two queens for two kings. The French preserved the queen in their non-tarot decks while dropping the knight as the middle face card.

Did You Know?

Every member of the royal family has a huge body, which is the most striking aspect of the Paris Pattern card design.


5. Euchre

Year Made: 1800
Country of Origin: Unknown
Number of Cards: 32, 28 or 24 cards
Still Played: Yes

photo source: wikimedia.org

According to memories printed in 1844, euchre was played and given the name “Euchre” in early 19th-century America. “Uker” is the topic of an event recorded by Joe Cowell as occurring on a steamboat cruise from Louisville to New Orleans in 1829.

The joker was first included in the deck of cards used in contemporary euchre. The Joker Deck, which uses the joker as a top trump or best bower, was first used for euchre in the 1860s.

Did You Know?

Although it can be played with different numbers, four people seated crosswise in set partnerships play it the most frequently.


4. Boston and Solo Whist

Year Made: 1760
Country of Origin: France
Number of Cards: 52 cards
Still Played: Yes

Boston and Solo Whistphoto source: wikimedia.org

The English classical partnership game of Whist and French quadrille were combined to create the legendary card game of the 18th century known as Boston and Solo Whist (or Boston Whist for short).

As everyone plays for their own interests and any possible partnerships only endure for one deal, it combines the fundamental simplicity of English whist with the “alliance” aspect of Quadrille.

It is played with a 52-card deck given by Whist, and it has a natural ranking from Ace high to Two Low throughout, simplified by the presence of top-trump matadors with specific abilities and perhaps the trump turn-up.

Did You Know?

The simpler Whist concepts were grafted onto the basic structure of Quadrille to create what is best described as a solo or alliance game.


3. Blackjack

Year Made: 1700
Country of Origin: France
Number of Cards: 52 cards
Still Played: Yes

Blackjackphoto source: wikimedia.org

Due to its appearance in Cervantes’s early 17th-century novel Don Quixote, which dates to the late 16th and early 17th centuries, the most widely held theory is that blackjack first appeared in French casinos about 1700. The game was then referred to as “Vingt-et-un,” which is French for “21.”

The eighteenth century saw the emergence of casinos and other gaming establishments. In order to increase game attendance, it provides “special bets.” The 10:1 chance that a player will have a Black Jack with an Ace is a noteworthy special bet.

Did You Know?

Due to the time of European colonization, the game was popularized and is currently played in more than 140 countries, making it one of the most well-known casino games in existence.


2. Cloisters Deck

Year Made: 1475
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Number of Cards: 52 cards
Still Played: No

photo source: metmuseum.org

The Cloisters Playing Cards, which have been dated to between 1475 and 1480 and are mostly based on style, have been assigned to the Netherlands while it was ruled by the dukes of Burgundy. The suit symbols here, collars, tethers, horns, and nooses, are all inanimate, unlike the German cards, where they are all related to the hunt.

The wealthy mercantile class member who commissioned The Cloisters Playing Cards may have felt confident enough in his rising social rank to take a chance on satirizing one that was on the decline.

Did You Know?

Italian tarot cards from the Visconti-Sforza and Visconti decks are manifest with some early intaglio prints and the Cloisters Playing Cards.


1. Karnoffel

Year Made: 1426
Country of Origin: Germany
Number of Cards: 48 cards
Still Played: Yes

Karnoffelphoto source: wikimedia.org

Karnoffel is still played today and is the oldest recognizable card game from Europe. It was played at an annual festival and is said to have originated in Nördlingen, Bavaria, in the 15th century, precisely in 1426. Southern Germany was where the game gained the most traction. The term “Kaiserpiel” or “Ludus Imperatoris” there refers to the game as the “Kaiser or Emperor’s game.”

It is also known as a trick-taking card game that most likely originated in Europe around the first quarter of the 15th century in the upper-German linguistic region.

Did You Know?

In the past, the word “karnöffel” meant “to cudgel, thrash, or flog,” but in the middle ages, it also referred to an inguinal hernia.

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