The history of the joker card

The joker card is one of the playing cards that is featured within a deck of playing cards that may ultimately only ever be used on rare occasions, however why have they been included in sets and what is the history behind them?

The jokers typically come as a pair, although some card sets are known to have just one, are thought to date back all the way to the 1860s, with their emergence being credited to Americans. It is said that they started to appear in packs in 1863, before they started to become widely available in European countries, although this was not for some time.

Why was the Joker card introduced?

It has been believed that they had introduced it as a trump card which could then be used to try and alter the rules of a number of different casino games that were already being played by gamblers.

Poker is one such game in which many had looked to implement the card in a different way and incorporate it within the rules. Indeed, many who head to an online casino such as Casino777 may have noticed that there are a number of variants of the classic game and some of these will see the card be used as a ‘Wild Card’. This meant that players would be able to use the card as any one that they desired, especially if it allowed them to be able to form the best possible hand that would produce a winning hand.

Interestingly, Texas Hold’em does not feature the playing cards as part of its setup, however the name “joker” is used as a term that describes a hand that consists of a pair of jacks.

The first game to feature a Joker was Euchre

Euchre is the first-ever game to have ever used a joker playing card. For those unaware, Euchre is a trick-taking card game that is played across the world in various countries. The highest trump card in this game is the Jack of the trump suit and known as “the right bower”, whereas the Jack of the suit of the same colour is known as the “left bower”, or the second-highest trump card.

Americans, though, are credited with introducing a blank card within their version of the game in the 1860s, which is where the current joker playing card is thought to originate from.

1863 saw the first illustrations of a “best bower” playing card, with Samuel Hart being provided the credit of printing it with his “Imperial Bower” design. The introduction of this card caused a knock-on effect as the cards continued to be created throughout the 20th century.

The late 1860s, though, saw these cards be labelled with the “joker” name, though, whilst the designs commonly featured the same kind of designs and drawings commonly associated with the playing card today: clowns and jesters. The cards that had these designs had been manufactured by Charles Goodall in 1871 in America, whilst they were found in Britain for the very first time in 1874 after being sold.

How have Joker cards become what they are today?

A number of changes have been experienced in regards to the number of Joker cards that can be found in a set of playing cards, with it seemingly appearing to depend on the country in which a deck is bought. For instance, some countries will have multiple Jokers included as they will have games played within the region that require a certain number of them to be played.

One such case was when packs of cards in the late 1940s decided to implement pairs due to the popularity of Canasta, which is a variant of Rummy, therefore providing a need for two of them. However, in the 1950s, packs went on sale in places such as Germany and Austria as their version of Rummy had required a third Joker to be used. In Poland, this third joker is known as a “Blue Joker” due to the fact that it had been introduced in blue during the Polish People’s Republic era.

Jokers are not just different in regards to countries, though, with regions within certain nations having different rules for the same games. One example would be the region of Schleswig-Holstein, which requires a playing card set that comes with six jokers in order to play the popular game of Zwicker.

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