5 crazy interesting facts about playing cards

Find out interesting trivia about cards: how cards were invented, why there are 52 cards in a deck, what Las Vegas does with old cards and more!


Regular playing cards that you’ve probably held at least dozens of times in your life are a truly fascinating object that has many interesting stories associated with it. Here are our top picks for 5 most interesting facts about casino playing cards.

How many playing cards are in a deck and why?

If you’ve ever held a deck of cards in your hands you probably know that there are 52 cards in one deck. This hasn’t always been this way: at different times in history a deck of cards consisted of 24, 40, 36 and 48 cards, in fact, smaller decks are still used in some parts of the world today in casual settings. But the majority of the world uses the French deck that has 52 cards – it was spread around the world during colonization and remains the most used deck to this day.
Interestingly, there are also 52 weeks in one year and if you sum up all the symbols on cards in a deck their sum will be 365 – the number of days in one year.

What is the most expensive deck of playing cards in the world?

There are many card collectors who are ready to pay a significant sum of money for a rare deck of cards. It can be quite difficult to track down the most expensive deck of cards or determine how much your deck of cards is worth since there are no clear market prices, unlike the situations with coins, wine etc. But it is known that the most expensive playing deck ever sold is a tarot deck of 52 cards that was made in the 1400’s in Netherlands. The deck is now on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, but it was last sold in the 1970’s for 2800 dollars not adjusted for inflation. As for other rare decks sold today, you can expect to pay between four and eleven hundred dollars.

What do Las Vegas casinos do with used playing cards?

A deck of cards has a very short life in a Las Vegas casino: normally one deck is used for anywhere from an hour to twelve hours. This depends on how busy the table is and whether the cards are shuffled by a person or a machine. The used deck of cards is then punched with a special tool immediately so no one can get a hold of those cards. The deck is then sold as a souvenir at the casino or simply thrown away. Why are decks switched so often at casinos? It is simply to avoid giving advantage to very attentive people, as when the deck is used every card develops bends or scuffs that can be used to distinguish one cards from the other without seeing the card’s face.

When were playing cards invented?

It is generally agreed upon that the first deck of playing cards was invented in the 800’s in China. The first Chinese playing cards were printed on wood, bone and paper and featured 21 combinations that a pair of dice can present on 32 cards. Some scholars also claim that these cards were also used as a form of payment in games.

What are the requirement for casino playing cards?

Any pack of casino playing cards needs to be made entirely from plastic to make the cards more durable and prolong their life. These plastic cards are also much more difficult for players to mark. Before a deck of cards is brought out to a casino table it is carefully checked by the pit master and the dealer to ensure that there are no identifying flaws on the cards. Then, once it is shuffled, the deck goes into play.

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