The last time we’ve talked playing cards, we’ve discussed The Interesting Reason Why Ace Of Spades Is Always The Most Decorated Card In The Deck. Well, today we look at yet another iconic playing card: the almighty, Joker.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Playing cards were first invented in 9th century AD in China. However, the modern standard 52-card deck was developed around the 1450s in France. You see, at the time, there were several different decks of cards throughout Europe; Spanish, Italian, German, and Swiss. But it was the French one that introduced us to the four suits we all know and love: hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds.
We are not exactly sure why the French deck prevailed and became the standard deck, but most probably did so because of the cultural influence of France and the United Kingdom in the past centuries. However, it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the Joker appeared in playing cards. (the article continues after the ad)
THE STORY OF JOKER
According to Bicycle Playing Cards, Jokers first appeared in printed decks somewhere around the 1860s. The concept of this new card was based on the popular trick-taking card game called Euchre.
In the mid-19th century, American Euchre players changed the game by adding some new rules. In order for the game to be played with these new rules, an extra card was required – a trump card. This new card was called “Best Bower” and it was actually the highest trump card of the game.
Because of the Euchre’s popularity, card printers in America were quick to jump into the trend and start producing decks that had this extra trump card.
It wasn’t long before the card was called the “Jolly Joker” – since one could surprise and trick a player with this card, the named it after a joker (one who jokes).
Just like the Ace Of Spades, the Joker cards would be given a unique design that matched the brand’s identity. The jester design became popular when the “Joker” name was universally adapted. Here’s some early Joker designs by the British manufacturer Chas Goodall and Son:
Now this is an interesting story to share with your friends the next time you’ll be playing your favorite card game!