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Card games and their influence over people are an inexplicable psychological phenomenon.
Indeed, what power could a few dozen pieces of painted paper have? Yet in some unfathomable way cards do affect peoples’ lives. Cards can be friends or foes, they can lead you to the highest peaks of fame and fortune in one instant just to leave you broke the next. For some, card games are merely pleasant entertainment, for others – they are the true purpose of life. Cards can bring happiness, but they can cause misery too. Many lives have been ruined by cards, but the number of lives changed for the better by playing cards is just as big. In other words, cards are not only all-powerful, but they should not underestimated.
Before we try to find out what influence cards have on people, let’s look at the history of this fascinating pastime. Do you know where cards were invented? Don’t worry if you can’t answer that question, because even historians can’t be certain. However, there are two likely contenders to the title of birthplace of card play.
The first possible birthplace of card play is China. According to chronicles, the ancient Chinese were avid card players. Cards are first mentioned in the 8th century AD. However, cards used then had little in common with modern European playing cards. Even their shape was different: Chinese cards were long and narrow strips of paper, not the rectangular design we are familiar with. Card names and ranks were different too, presenting some doubt that they are the ancestors of modern playing cards.
The second possible birthplace of card play is India. This claim, however, should be accepted with some reservations. First of all, it is not clear when Indians begun to play cards. Secondly, ancient Indian cards, much like their Chinese counterparts, were quite different from the cards we are used to. They were little discs made of a firm material, such as wood, ivory or pasteboard. The deck contained 96 cards of 12 different suits. It’s worth noting that ancient Indians were first to introduce cards with faces on.
Cards were brought to Europe in the mid-13th century and almost immediately became subject of passionate arguments. They were prohibited, allowed and then prohibited again. New games were invented, the old ones were either developed or forgotten. Cards were played in gambling houses and taverns, palaces and shacks. They were made of wood, copper, paper, fabric and many other materials with differing levels of skill – from rough handmade pieces to true works of art, until the standard design that is universally accepted today was created.
Currently card games gradually moved from traditional casinos and gambling houses to the online world. Whether it’s for better or for worse is up to every player to decide for himself. On one hand, playing cards in the comfort of your own home is much more convenient and doesn’t require the effort needed to go out to a brick and mortar casino. On the other hand, it’s more difficult to focus on the game, give the attention it requires and you might not feel the same rush of excitement that can be experienced in an offline casino. What influence the game will have on you depends on how far you will allow yourself to venture into the world of card play.