We all know that three card brag is a traditional European card game that dates back to the 16th century and it is often referred to as the predecessor to poker but it certainly isn’t the earliest example of a card game. Card games and playing cards themselves date back centuries and centuries before the creation of three card brag, as we will explain in our brief history of playing cards.
Playing cards as we know them now, with Aces, numbers 2 to 9 and jacks, queens and kings with the four suits spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs came from France and have only been around for a relatively short time, since the late 16th century when games such as Primero and later, brag, used decks that included picture cards such as kings, queens and knaves (jacks).
These Parisian-style playing cards were named and designed featuring historical heroes and heroines including the likes of Julius Caesar, Lancelot and Alexander the Great and, even though these names aren’t used in Britain, the heroes and heroines names and designs for these cards are still used in France today.
However, the history of playing cards dates back much further than the 16th century. To find the earliest versions of playing cards we need to delve much further back. Evidence of early playing cards from Ancient India were discovered in China as far back as the 9th century, when various dynasties used to play the ‘leaf game’, which featured cards numbered 2-9 and had four suits; coins, strings of coins, myriads and tens of myriads.
The history of playing cards spans over 1,000 years and is still going strong, with many people now interacting with playing cards virtually playing games such as online poker, casino poker and our very own online three card brag. So next time that you’re playing a game of cards just think of the rich history these simple marvels have.