A playing card is a piece of specially prepared heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic, marked with distinguishing motifs and used as one of a set for playing card games. Playing cards are typically palm-sized for convenient handling.
A complete set of cards is called a pack (UK English) or deck (US English), and the subset of cards held at one time by a player during a game is commonly called a hand. A deck of cards may be used for playing a great variety of card games, with varying elements of skill and chance, some of which are played for money. Because playing cards are standardized and commonly available, they are used for other purposes, such as illusions, cartomancy, cardistry, and building card structures.
The front (or "face") of each card carries markings that distinguish it from the other cards in the deck and determine its use under the rules of the game being played. The back of each card is identical for all cards in any particular deck, and usually of a single color or formalized design. Usually every card will be smooth; however, some decks have braille to allow blind people to read the card number and suit. The backs of playing cards are sometimes used for advertising. For most games, the cards are assembled into a deck, and their order is randomized by shuffling.
Famous quotes containing the words playing and/or card:
“What does headquarters think these guys came over here for, a sewing circle? They go up playing for keeps. Cops and robbers with rocks in the snowballs. Brass knuckles and lead pipes and a roughneck conviction they can lick any man in the world.”
—Dalton Trumbo (19051976)
“Mothers are not the nameless, faceless stereotypes who appear once a year on a greeting card with their virtues set to prose, but women who have been dealt a hand for life and play each card one at a time the best way they know how. No mother is all good or all bad, all laughing or all serious, all loving or all angry. Ambivalence rushes through their veins.”
—Erma Bombeck (20th century)