Is there a magician or mentalist who doesn’t have some facility
with playing cards?
That woman or man would be rare indeed.
I offer below a miscellaneous list of curious facts and factoids that I have gathered about playing cards.
Hopefully you will find them interesting and perhaps you will find use for some to add color to one or more of your routines.
-There are 52 cards in a deck and 52 weeks in a year.
-The 4 suits are said by some to represent the 4 seasons.
-The 13 cards in each suit represent the weeks in each season or the lunar months in a year.
-The 2 colors (Red and Black) represent day and night.
-The 12 court cards reflect the number of months in a year.
If you give a value to the cards (Ace = 1, Jack = 11, Queen = 12, King = 13) and add them up the sum is 364. Add a Joker and you have 365 or the number of days in year. Add the second Joker and you have the number of days in a leap year.
-Playing cards are said to have originated in China around the 12th Century.
-Many observers make Biblical connections to the cards in a deck.
-According to Bayer and Diaconis, it takes 7 shuffles of a deck to increase the randomness of 52 cards.
-During WWII the U.S. Playing Card Company worked with our government to embedded maps within the layers of cards in decks that were then sent to prisoners of war. When peeled apart, POWs could use these hidden maps to aid in an escape.
-During the first Gulf War, the U.S. military created decks of cards that carried the pictures of enemy combatants. These cards helped identify the most wanted members of the Iraqi regime including the Ace of Spades, Saddam Hussein.
-The first card trick done in space was performed by Astronaut Ed Lu and James Randi in 2003.