For hundreds of years, card games have been one of the favorite pastime activities in the world. Whether you’re young, old, or middle-aged, you have probably enjoyed playing some card games at some point in your life. From Solitaire to Poker, card games have become a big part of our lives.
Last year, as the world was shocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, and people had to stay home to comply with social distancing measures, most of us found ourselves looking for other entertainment alternatives. After going through most streaming services catalogs, playing the same video games over and over again, and listening to countless hours of podcasts and playlists, we turned our attention to other pastime activities.
Therefore, card games became once again a popular choice, given the possibility of playing a huge number of different games with the same old set of playing cards. However, online versions of some card games, such as poker and blackjack, also became an attractive option. Today, the online game selection is almost endless, and iGaming operators offer a plethora of card games, with different variations, bet limits, and themes.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of card games in the world, spanning several families of games and regional variations. Even though each region, country, or even continent has its own versions and variants, in this article we’ll focus on some of the most popular card games worldwide, which are played by millions of people all around the globe.
Poker is undoubtedly the most popular card game in the world, and since the mid-2000s, the game has become a cultural phenomenon and a big part of modern society. Poker is also a competitive game, with several major tournaments and events like the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, and even being featured in the Mind Sports Olympiad.
The origins of the game are somewhat disputed. There are some scholars that believe the creation of poker was influenced by a variety of ancient games, sharing ancestry with the Persian game As-Nas, the Renaissance game primero, and the French game brelan.
However, there’s also a modern school of thought that rejects these ancestries, pointing that the unique features of poker have to do with the betting, which does not appear in any known older game. They believe that poker was created and spread throughout the Mississippi River region by the early 1800s, and its development is linked to the invention of commercial gambling.
Certainly the most popular casino game in the world, and the second most played card game, Blackjack is a staple in both online and land-based casinos. One of the easiest card games, with straightforward rules, Blackjack is the favorite choice by many punters also due to its lower house edge and better chances of winning.
Blackjack originated from an ancient Spanish card game called ventiuna (Spanish for twenty-one), and the first accounts of this game date back to the 17th century, when it was described by Spain’s famous writer Miguel de Cervantes. By the end of the 18th century, it arrived in England, and in the early 1900s, the first set of rules was created with the game being played under the name Vingt-Un.
It became popular in the United States during the Klondike Gold Rush, when it was renamed to Blackjack, another term for zincblende, which is a mineral found by prospectors in gold and silver deposits.
Baccarat has always been a favorite card game in Europe and Asia, but in the past decades, it also became a popular choice in the United States and the rest of the world. The game has very simple rules, with only three possible outcomes, which makes it a great alternative for novice players. Baccarat has many variations, including the most popular punto banco, chemin de fer, and baccarat banque.
The game’s origins trace back to Italy, where it was created sometime in the late 14th century, with the first accounts written in the early 1400s. By the end of the 15th century, Baccarat was introduced in France by soldiers returning from the Franco-Italian War, where it became very popular, especially among French nobility.
Baccarat punto banco, the most common variation in the United States, was created in Havana, Cuba in the 1940s, and made its way to Las Vegas in the 1950s, when most of the iconic casinos we know today were being built.