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Ancient Card Games

Card games have been popular for a long time, but where did they start, and which games are the oldest? Perhaps we can figure out how they ended up at no deposit online casinos.

The Origins of Cards

Tables games are easily the oldest distractions youíll find in any casino, but cards have been around for far longer than many people realize. While not as ancient as certain games (legend has it that Emperor Nero had a tabula board affixed to one of his chariots), their earliest origins are over a thousand years ago.

As with so many things, the invention came about most probably in China. Just as darts evolved from a combination of archery and javelin throwing, cards were probably an advance from a dominoes style game. However, itís a long way from China to Europe which means it was at the height of the medieval period (around the mid-14th century) when they first arrived.

Just like books, early cards were illustrated by hand which made them a luxurious, and very expensive, item. Fast forward a century, and early printing presses made them far easier (and cheaper) to produce. Cards for the masses had arrived.

Card games are among the best games for the first timers at no deposit casinos, because theyíre quick and easy to learn. And playing with no deposit means you either win real cash, or lose nothing at all.


Debate rages as to whether poker began with Frenchmen playing poque or Germans playing Pochspiel, but, either way, the game is centuries old and clarity over its creation has been lost to the mists of time.

In early American history, poker was played in the first half of the 19th century with a 20 card deck, but this was soon replaced by the English 52 card deck. This didnít just alter the number of cards but added suits (which also meant the flush hand suddenly existed).

Today, poker is perhaps the card game thatís caught the public imagination more than any other, with everyone dreaming of becoming a card shark and winning a fortune playing professionally.


Blackjack is easy to learn and hard to master, twin features that have helped it become the single most popular table game in casinos today. Its foundations, however, lie centuries past in continental Europe. Many believe the French invented the game, although there was a similar Spanish variant where players aimed to hit 31. Some people even believe the essence of the game was invented by the Romans (albeit not using cards).

What is certain is that itís been a consistently popular game for centuries, with soldiers playing Pontoon in the trenches of the First World War.


Another simple game is baccarat and, as you mayíve guessed with the common theme, this was probably invented in France (in the late 15th century). There are a few different rule sets that have evolved over the centuries, although not quite the immense diversity we see with poker.

Nowadays, baccarat is popular in the betting establishments of Macau and, increasingly, the glitzy city of Las Vegas. Players looking to learn a new game will find baccarat one of the most straightforward to get to grips with, as you only need to bet on whether you think the player or banker will win (or if thereíll be a tie), although side bets are possible if you feel so inclined.

That finishes our rundown of the oldest card games, and best of luck if you decide to play a few hands.


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