10 Little-Known Secrets In A Deck Of Playing Cards

Posted by Muk Khatri in Geeks and Gaming On 31st January 2018

Packs of playing cards are sold just about everywhere, and nearly everyone has played a card game or two in their life. There’s go fish, poker, blackjack, and literally hundreds of others. Each deck is a marvel of engineering, design and history, loaded with secrets that have been whispered and distorted with each retelling. Here are 10 secrets about a standard deck of playing cards that have been hiding in plain sight all this time.

#1 Snap

If you’ve ever shuffled a deck of playing cards before, you’ve heard that satisfying "snap" sound while the cards flip through your hands. It is glue, not plastic, that makes playing cards snap. The tension and elasticity is important for the durability and feel of each card. But while cards feature a plastic coating (usually dimpled, to give a little bit of a slide), it’s layers of glue that give each card its backbone.


#2 Back Design

You might not think the designs on the backs of the cards have any real significance, but they sure do. There are two major kinds of backs, and that’s a big deal to card workers, magicians and casinos. There’s a key feature that magicians look for that is its borders. For example, magicians look for cards with no outside borders because it helps them better hide their tricks. Casino card handlers will also tell you certain designs work better with certain games to prevent scams.

#3 Beveled Edge

Magicians and sleight-of-hand experts pay close attention to the razor-thin edges of the cards. Stacks of cards are cut by very powerful cutting machines with impressively strong blades. The machine makes the same up-and-down cutting motion. That blade movement creates a beveled edge, where either the back or face is slightly larger. The direction of that bevel depends entirely on which direction the cards are facing when they are cut. The knife edge helps cards weave together more easily.


#4 Kentucky Origins

Even though there are many brands of playing cards, nearly all of them are, in fact, printed in the same facility in Kentucky. Over the years, the United States Playing Card Company acquired most of the brands. The company also prints custom decks for casinos and other clients around the world.

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