One of the earliest forms of entertainment that has lasted the test of time is also one of today’s most common hobbies. Card games have been around for centuries, at least since playing cards where invented, which was somewhere around the seventh century, and they don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. The reasons behind this are many, but perhaps the main reason is that from a simple deck of cards, there are literally thousands of different games that one could play, and due to the versatility of card players, new games can be created by anyone at anytime. The plus side to taking up card games as a hobby is that a standard deck of cards can cost less than a dollar for an inexpensive deck, and you actually don’t even need a partner to begin playing games. With just yourself and a deck of cards, you can easily play over a hundred different card games by yourself like Solitaire or Free Cell, but for those out there that like card games to be a more social affair, there are an endless supply of games that can be played with two or more partners.
The questions you have to ask yourself when getting into card games is what types of games do you like, and in what social context are you going to be playing. For those playing by themselves, the only real choice is simple Solitaire games, which more often than not are designed to trap a player while trying to change the order of the cards from mixed to numerical sorted. Most games played in a social context with friends or family are designed to collect pairs of cards, like in the game Go Fish, or is a test to get rid of all you cards first, like in the game Crazy 8’s. These games are the most common card games that most people will play, and different games like these exist throughout the world and vary through different cultures. Other games that have grown in popularity recently are casino style games, like Poker, Blackjack, Red Dog, ect., where there are a certain set of rules that all players must play by in order to have a chance of winning a certain amount of money. Obviously, when there is real money at stake, like that of casino card games, the social aspect of the game is almost irrelevant to the game and is replaced with the need to win money, and with the need to win money, there comes a lot of serious problems and addictions that everyone must be concerned about prior to playing these types of games. Regardless of the type of card games you are looking to learn and play, the key to the hobby is to simply have fun.
The first main group of card games is called Solitaire games, which means that they are designed to be played by one player. For a lot of people out there, this is the type of game that one plays when they are board or simply wasting time. For others, these are challenging games that are an addiction that are used to challenge the mind by using logic to try to solve the puzzles created by the cards. These games are often designed to challenge the player to sort the cards by number or suit, but the challenge is that your moves and decisions may cause the game to come to a halt by blocking a card with other cards. Most of these games begin with a specific layout of cards, called a tableau, and the object is then either to construct a more elaborate final layout, or to clear the tableau, the draw pile, the card stock, or any combination of the three by moving all cards to one or more "discard" or "foundation" piles. It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. One of the tougher games to win is a game called Free Cell where you have all the cards dealt out in 8 vertical piles. The goal of the game is to get all of the card into 4 slots individual piles sorted by suit and increasing numerically. So by moving the cards between the 8 piles, and cards can only be placed numerically (IE: 5-4-3-2), you must move the card into their sorted piles by suit and number. Sounds easy, but if you can’t get to a two of diamonds because other cards are covering it, you have to more the other cards or forfeit the game. Although solitaire games are fun, they can be quite challenging, and just because you aren’t playing with a partner, doesn’t mean you can’t lose.
Companion card games, or card games that require 2 or more people to play, make up a majority of the card games that are known throughout the world. These games vary from country to country and culture to culture, but most of them are essentially the same game with different names and usually tweaked rules. Of the thousands of card games that you can learn, most card games can be broken down into just a handful of categories. For our purposes, I have simplified the thousands of games into a handful of categories called matching, trick taking, shedding, and casino type of card games. This is just a simplified way to describe the most card games available without making an endless list of games. With new games being created on a daily basis, it is actually impossible to track all card games being invented on a day to day basis, but there are some very popular games that you will probably recognize as you read.
One of the first types of card games that are learned by beginners or children are matching games. The goal is to accumulate the required groups of matching cards before an opponent can do so. A more advanced type of this game is called Rummy where this is done through drawing and discarding, and the groups are called melds. Mahjong is a very similar game played with tiles instead of cards. Non-Rummy examples of match-type games generally fall into the "fishing" genre and include the children's games Go Fish and Old Maid. Another similar type of game is called a shedding game where players start with a hand of cards, and the object of the game is to be the first player to discard all cards from one's hand. Some matching-type games are also shedding-type games; some variants of Rummy such as Phase 10 and Rummikub, as well as the children's game Old Maid, Crazy 8’s, and Uno fall into these categories.
One of the most popular types of card games is the trick-taking game, which is based on the play of multiple rounds, or tricks, in each of which each player plays a single card from their hand, and based on the values of played cards, one player wins or "takes" the trick. The specific objective varies with each game and can include taking as many tricks as possible, taking as many scoring cards (or as few penalty cards) within the tricks won as possible, taking as few tricks as possible, or taking an exact number of tricks. Bridge, Whist, Euchre, Spades, Hearts, Twenty-eight, or Twenty Nine are popular examples that are played by many throughout the world.
One of the most popular types of card games are Casino type games that revolve around wagers of money. Though virtually any game in which there are winning and losing outcomes can be wagered on, these games are specifically designed to make the betting process a strategic part of the game. Some of these games involve players betting against each other, such as poker, while in others, like blackjack, players wager against the house through the dealer. Poker is a family of gambling games in which players bet into a pool, called the pot, that the value of their hand will beat all others according to the ranking system. Variants largely differ on how cards are dealt and the methods by which players can improve a hand. For many reasons, including its age and its popularity among Western militaries, it is one of the most universally known card games in existence, and in recent years, the popularity of poker has been skyrocketing.
Playing cards is the probably one of the only hobbies in the world today that is accessible and fun for people of all ages. Unlike other activities that require athleticism or a ton of money to get into, playing cards only requires a deck of cards and a bit of patience to learn the rules of the specific game you are trying to learn. In most cases, card games are often pass down through families by the older generations. I still remember when I was young lad and going to visit my grandparents meant playing cards and drinking tea. For our family, playing cards is a social activity that has brought the family together over the past 27 years of my life. Sure younger card players are only going to be able to learn simple games at first, like Go Fish, which is little more than pairing numerical cards together, but as children age, they are taught more complex games like Cribbage or Rummy.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of playing cards is that most games that people play together socially are the same games throughout the many cultures of the world. So for a lot of card games, it is quite possible to play a card game with someone from a completely different culture and not even realize the differences the two of you may have. It’s even right bizarre when you find yourself playing cards with someone that doesn’t even speak the same language as yourself, but you find that there is no hesitation in either of your game play. The main reason that so many people play cards throughout the world is because the cost of purchasing your own deck is so little that everyone is capable of playing. In these ways, you could say that playing cards is the most inclusive hobby available throughout the world right now.
Perhaps a hobby in itself, but one of the most popular aspects of playing cards has nothing to do with actually playing games. Since playing cards were first created, there have been numerous different types of deck printed throughout out the world. Although the cards are essentially the same, cards made from different companies are always unique to those companies. So in this way, whether this was intentional or not, there have been many individuals fascinated with collecting different style of playing cards. It is actually quite common for travelers to collect decks of playing cards from different casinos they visit throughout their journeys because casinos can only use a certain deck a hand full of times before they have to replace it with a new deck in order to prevent cheating. So when these cards are replaced, they are then sold as souvenirs to tourists on the way out of the casino. Another popular form of collecting playing cards is by saving specific cards from an entire deck, most commonly save card is one or both Jokers in a deck because they often have unique designs and are usually not used in most card games.
You also have to remember that cards have been in existence for at least 1400 years, and as the cards change over those years, they become quite collectable. These vintage cards are quite rare to find, but if you do happen to find some early cards, it is quite possible for them to be worth a fair bit of money. But with all things collectable, it is not only the old that is collectable, but it is often the case of supply and demand that make things collectable. Some people will collect playing cards that feature playing cards while someone else might collect Star Wars playing cards. These types of cards are all basically the same, even to the point where it is strange not to see diamonds, hearts, clubs, and spades, but they all have different designs on the backs and it is not uncommon for the faces to be different as well. When it comes to collecting cards, it only matters what you want, and the value is dependent on what you are willing to pay. The best thing to do when if you decide to collect playing cards is to simply look up collectable playing cards on the internet to get a sense of collectability and value. It is also important to know that there are many playing card collectors in many different clubs. Two of the more popular clubs in the United States are "The American Antiquarian Playing Card Society", commonly known as "52 + Joker", and the "English Playing Card Society." There are clubs in Belgium, Australia, France and many more throughout the world. There are major collections that have been donated to places like the British Museum and to Yale University.
Playing cards is simply one of the best hobbies to get into because it is a very social activity, it safe for people of all ages, and it is probably one of the cheapest hobbies you could ever become part of. The funny part about playing cards is that so many people play different card games that they do not often think of play cards as a hobby. For most people, the first influence with playing cards began at an early age from your grandparents or parents, and as the youngest players grow up, they pass the games down onto their own children. Obviously these types of games are family friendly games, but there are also casino games that have been progressively growing in popularity, and one of the newer additions to the wide array of card games that are popular amongst University and College students is the Drinking game. These games, like the name implies, features simple card games that feature extra rules that force players to consume certain amounts of alcohol. So really, there are thousands of games that you could play, but it is very important to make sure the games being played are age appropriate. Once you get into the hobby, there really isn’t any limit to the fun you can have by playing different games, and for those creative types out there, there is no reason why you couldn’t make up your own card game.