National Card Playing Day

It doesn’t matter if you enjoy playing poker, blackjack, spades, hearts, or some other card game; December 28th is the day you’re going to want to mark on your calendar. That’s because that day is National Card Playing Day, and it’s a holiday that encourages everyone to break out a deck of cards and play their favorite game.

People have been using playing cards since at least the 9th century, and they will probably continue to play games with cards into the foreseeable future. So, why not continue the tradition and spend some quality game time with friends and family?

The History of Playing Cards

Some historians believe that playing cards were invented in the 9th century during the Tang Dynasty in China. The cards made during this time were made out of wood, and woodblock printing technology was used to put the “face” on the card.

There are several written records of these early cards being used to play a “leaf game.” Over the next two hundred years, playing cards spread throughout the Asian continent and eventually landed in Egypt. During the 14th century, cards made it to Europe, and over the next hundred years became common.

By 1450, there were professional card manufacturers in Augsburg, Ulm, and Nuremberg. Throughout the Middle Ages, the motifs of the cards changed as the cards spread from Italy through Germanic countries and eventually to the rest of Europe.

Fun Facts About Playing Cards

For those of you who haven’t received your fill of playing card history, we’ve included some fun playing card facts below. We think the following factoids will make for great conversation fuel while you’re playing Go Fish, Old Maid, or other types of card games.

Why Does a Deck Have 52 Cards?

Some of the early decks only had 24 or 36 cards in them, so why are 52-card decks so common nowadays? No one knows for sure, but it’s most likely because the French playing card deck had 52 cards, and this is the deck size they introduced to other countries during French colonialism.

Las Vegas Casinos Change Their Card Decks Frequently

You might think that cards hang around a Vegas casino for a while before they’re discarded, but that wouldn’t be correct. In Las Vegas, card decks are only used for a maximum of 12 hours at a time. They are then either discarded or sold. And if the cards have been used heavily, they might not even last that long. Some decks are swapped out after only an hour.

The Oldest Surviving Card Deck Is in New York

Ever wonder who has the oldest surviving deck in the world? If you did, you’ll be pleased to know that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a deck that comes from the 15th-century Netherlands. It’s still in good condition, and the museum bought it for about $143,000.

Observing National Card Playing Day

If you want to observe this holiday, grab a deck of cards and some people together and play a card game. Maybe serve some snacks and beverages while you deal cards. After you’re done playing, don’t forget to let the rest of the world know how it turned out by using the hashtag #NationalCardPlayingDay on your social media posts for the day.

When is it?
This year (2024)
December 28 Saturday
Next year (2025)
December 28 Sunday
Last year (2023)
December 28 Thursday
Fun & Joy