Playing cards have been around for a very long time. The earliest recorded playing cards were in 9th century China. They have been an integral part of civilization since their inception, coming in various shapes and forms and used for a variety of purposes.
These purposes varied from casino-style card games, such as Poker, Blackjack, Solitaire or Gin; to fortune telling, in the form of tarot cards; to collectible trading cards with popular media characters imprinted on one side.
But whatever their purpose, they were almost always of a rectangular shape, one side identical to the others in the deck, or series, and the faces (or front) of the cards depicting a picture of some sort. In the modern, common deck of cards, we draw the faces from France. The kings, queens and knaves drawing from real historical figures; and they are as follows:
The King of Hearts: King Charles (or Charlemagne)
The King of Spades: King David
The King of Diamonds: Julius Caesar
The King of Clubs: Alexander the Great
The Queen of Hearts: Judith
The Queen of Diamonds: Rachel
The Queen of Clubs: Argine
The Queen of Spades: Pallas
The Knave of Diamonds: Hector
The Knave of Hearts: La Hire
The Knave of Clubs: Lancelot or Judas Maccabeus
The Knave of Spades: Holger Danske.
Of course, there are many interpretations of who is really supposed to be on the faces of the cards, this is just one of many possible lists of possibilities.
In modern days, the playing card is almost always associated with Poker and the Old West. There are many versions of poker, as well. Texas Hold-'em and Five-Card Draw are the most popular.
Poker tournaments are famous for having high stakes, but a huge payout to one winner. Arguably, the most famous of these tournaments are the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, both of which are held in Las Vegas.
Most people play card games exclusively online nowadays, but it is still alive and well and they will most likely be a large part of our culture for centuries to come....