There's an Art to It!


The  Art  of  Playing  Cards

Next to the game of Bridge, all other forms of human endeavour shrink to insignificance.

- General George S Patton

Playing cards have the top half upside down to help cheaters.

- David Byrne, Talking Heads

In the modern pack of playing cards, there are four suits of 13 cards each; clubs and spades are printed black; hearts and diamonds, red.  It is supposed that the figures in the various suits were originally intended as symbols of the different classes of men.  Hearts represented the gens de ch├Žur, that is, the ecclesiastics, or choir men; espada, a Spanish word for sword and indicating nobility, has become spade.  Clubs represented the trefoil and symbolised the peasantry, while diamonds represented square tiles, symbolical of the merchants.  This symbolism is lost today as it's no longer relevant.

You are prohibited by law from taking more than one set of playing cards into Turkey when visiting.

- Originally at, though
they have now removed this page from the site

I'm sorry I have not learnt to play cards.  It is very useful in life; it generates kindness and consolidates society.

- James Boswell, 1773

How to Win at Poker - You are the dealer.  You know that the top five cards are the ace, king, queen, jack and ten of spades.  If you are playing poker with three other people, how can you deal these cards to yourself?  The most elegant way is to do two perfect shuffles...
How to Lose at Poker - On any given Friday night men and women alike pile into basements, garages, and back rooms to play their weekly poker game.  At every table will be someone who talks too much, can't seem to deal the cards properly, always spills food on the felt - and a dependable loser: that poor slob who, for the life of him, can't seem to capitalise on his strong hands and fools no one with his weak hands...
When Scrabble Becomes Your Life - Okay, I know this doesn't have anything to do with playing cards, but it IS about a game... (Flash plugin required) 11 meg
Lady Luck's Deep Dark Secret - which of two dice games has the better odds: rolling a single die four times and winning if a one comes up on any of the rolls, or rolling a pair of dice 24 times and winning if two ones come up simultaneously?  If you think the probabilities of a win in either game ought to be equal, you're wrong...
I bought a curious deck of playing cards in the US more than 15 years ago.  We've tried playing various card games with it but find using the cards to actually play games to be virtually impossible.  That's because a few of the cards are ambiguous - it isn't clear from a casual glance exactly which card you have as some of the cards require puzzling out.  (This adds a layer of complexity to even the simplest games.)

Click on an image below...

...for a larger picture and for information about the artists, who are all British.  (You can click on the first card and navigate through the rest by clicking "Next" at the bottom of each page if you'd like to see them all.)  These cards were developed without collaboration, yet notice the similarity between the ace and three of hearts, the six and eight of hearts, the ace and nine of diamonds, the eight and ten of diamonds, and (more-or-less) the two and ten of spades.

All face cards except the King of Clubs and Jack of Spades plus the 7 of Hearts, the 3 and 10 of Clubs, the 4 and 8 of Diamonds, the Ace, 2 and 3 of Spades and the Jokers display unusual cards from other decks as well.

Source: Andrew Jones Art, 2A Weiss Road, London SW15 1DH (at least that was the address in 1979...)

Miscellaneous Additions from Various Other Decks...

These cards are found at the bottoms of pages above to which they correspond.  Click to view a larger image.

Sources: Various places which are stated on each card's corresponding page

For sections on other topics including ageing, animals, animation, drugs, education, environment, flying, humour, immigration, investment in forestry, intellectual amusements, men, money, New Jersey, oddities, photographs, playing cards, prisons, relationships, science, terrorism, Wellington, working, and more click the "Up" button below to take you to the Topics Index.  Clicking "Next" below will take you to the section on Drugs

Back Home Up Next