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The History and Logic Behind Playing Cards being Red and Black

By Ajinkya Rane August 12, 2021

If there is one thing that has entertained us for the past many years, then it has to be a deck of cards with black and red cards. Card games have always fascinated us and brought us together for an amazing game time.

One of the most popular card games, not only in India but across the world, is rummy. The game has a rich history and the origins of this game date back a couple of centuries ago. Rummy has evolved over the years and has numerous variants present in various counties; at the core, this game is all about melding the cards. The players need to meld the cards in the form of sets and sequences by drawing or discarding them.

After years of entertaining people across the globe, the rummy game has reached online is a massive hit. This is mainly because of the convenience and availability that the online rummy game offers.

A standard rummy deck consists of 52 cards plus 2 printed. The 52 cards are divided into four suites, spades, diamond, hearts, and clubs. Each suit has 13 cards, A-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-J-Q-K. The two suits, diamonds and hearts are red in colour, while the spades and clubs are black in colour. So, there are a total of 26 red cards and 26 black cards in a standard deck. While why only these two colours are a mystery to many, keep reading this piece of article to get all answers to your questions.

Why are playing cards Red and Black?

Red and black are the typical colors of playing cards. This is done so players can easily see the difference between the two primary card suits, diamonds and hearts for the red suits and clubs and spades for the black suits. During games, players will have an easier time recognizing cards and placing them in categories thanks to this color scheme. The combination of red and black colors helps to create contrast and visibility, making it easier to see the numbers and symbols printed on the cards. This makes reading the cards more convenient. The choice of red and black as the primary colors for playing cards have evolved through time to become a norm that is widely followed in many different card games and cultures all over the globe.

Rich History of Card Decks

No doubt that card games have a rich history. We can go back to as early as 868 AD, where it is believed that the first card game was played by Princess Tong Chang during the Tang Dynasty. This research is backed by many books and manuscripts. It is also widely believed that the playing cards were printed during the reign of Tang Dynasty. Card games became immensely popular in the Asian continent during the 11th century.

In European countries, playing cards became a massive source of entertainment in the 14th century. Back then, the deck that resembled Mamluk deck (which was popular in Egypt) had four different suites. The different suits were cups, polo sticks, swords, and coins.

The traditional Latin suites in Germany and Italy were replaced by bells, leaves, acorns, and hearts in the 13th century. The French suits (hearts, tiles, clovers, and pikes) were formed in 1480 which were a combination of Latin and German suit pictures.

The modern-day French suits have four suites, hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs. These suits were derived from the German suits. The French card deck does not have three male cards like the ones Latin and German card decks had. It replaced a knight with a female card, Queen, as opposed to Latin and German card decks that had three male cards.

The Four-Colored Deck

There was a period when four-colored decks of playing cards were the most popular option. These were first used to reduce the likelihood of misunderstanding among players by preventing them from accidentally discarding or picking up diamonds instead of hearts or spades instead of clubs (both black) (both red in color). Because of this, they were more often referred to as the no-revoke decks in popular parlance. During the 1900s, they were mass-produced for trick-taking card games, including bridge, ass, and whist. The majority of their use was in these games.

In 1819, a man named JY Humphreys in the United States invented the first four-colored deck of playing cards. It had yellow diamonds, blue spades, green clubs, and red hearts. Throughout history, many distinct color combinations of these suits have been used on playing cards. For example, on certain cards, the traditional colors for the club and heart suits are black and red, respectively, while blue and green are used for the other two suits.

Four-Coloured Card Decks for limiting Confusion

With only two colours for four suits, identifying the cards can be an issue. For example, you might discard an 8 of spades instead of 8 of clubs. Sorting the cards is one of the most important steps in rummy, avoiding any confusion being the goal here. So, to avoid any confusion, you can group the cards in suits in alternate colours. For example, you can group spade cards followed by diamonds followed by clubs followed by hearts. This way the chances of any confusion will reduce significantly.

To avoid such confusions, several systems were in place. One such system was were the four suits were allotted four different colours, so that they can be identified easily. For example, one system uses green for clubs, black for spades, blue for diamonds, and red for hearts. These four-coloured decks, also known as no-revoke decks, were meticulously designed for trick-tracking games like whist, jass, and bridge. These four-coloured suit cards were developed in the early 1900s for games such as poker and bridge.


Modern-Day Playing Cards inked in Red and Black

One of the main reasons why the modern-day cards are inked in black and red is that the black and red inks are easily accessible and available at the cheapest rate, as opposed to blue and green inks.

The other prominent reason for using black and red inks is that these two colours do not fade away when exposed to sunlight. While the black ink was made by mixing soot with linseed oil, red ink was made using cinnabar with linseed oil.

Some theories were also based on the fact that the red colour looks prominent on the white paper. The blue and green inks were expensive mainly because of the high cost of copper compounds required to prepare them. Plus, they were not oil soluble. Few theories also suggest that the black and red colours are a symbol of night and day.

Why Are Red and Black Colored Cards So Prevalent in Today's Society?

Although four-colored decks were quite popular for a long time, only the red and black colors remained in modern decks. The most crucial factor in this decision was that both colors could be produced at a low cost and were easily discernible on the playing cards, even at a distance. Linseed oil and soot were used to produce black ink, while linseed oil was combined with cinnabar to generate red. Both colors were obtained by combining the two ingredients. Both of these inks are long-lasting, with very little loss of color, even after being exposed to sunlight. According to some schools of thought, red and black represent the two distinct day and night phases.

Regardless of why, red and black are the colors that have stood out the most to this point, and modern card producers exclusively employ these two colors for each deck they create. The production expenses may be reduced because the colors are constant throughout. Using just two colors to differentiate between the four distinct suits, on the other hand, presents a challenge for players in a game that moves quickly, contributing to the excitement and the level of competitiveness.

Irrespective of the colour of playing cards, playing card games will always give us a gaming high like no other. Among all the card games that are available, rummy tops the list when it comes to the most popular card game around the globe.

The First Games app is a place where you can play an array of online rummy games. Here you can join the rummy fun with millions of players across the country. The game is available to play 24*7, so you can elevate your online rummy skills anytime you want. You can try your hands at deals rummy, points rummy, and pool rummy. Plus, depending on your expertise, you can go for practice games, cash games, and tournaments.

If you are new to the game and want to know how to play rummy, you can play practice games first. The app is 100% secure and has instant withdrawals too. Also, you have a 24*7 customer support team that will help you if you get stuck at any point.

The First Games app has it all that an online rummy enthusiast would wish for. So what are you waiting for? Download the First Games app now and start your exciting online rummy journey.

What is the Strongest Color in Cards?

Traditional decks of playing cards have no preexisting order of superiority in terms of power or strength allotted to any particular color. It is more common for a card's rank or value, rather than its color, to be the factor that determines its strength. For instance, in a deck of standard playing cards consisting of 52 cards, the Ace is often regarded as the card with the highest ranking, followed by the King, then the Queen, and so on. There is no correlation between the color of a card and its power or relevance in the game, regardless of whether the card is red or black. Instead, the color acts as a visual signal that helps players identify between the various suits and recognize cards more easily while playing.


  • What are the different colors in Rummy? Arrow
    The values of the number tiles vary from one to thirteen, and there are four different colors (blue, red, yellow, and black). Each possible combination of hue and number is given two separate representations.
  • What exactly does it signify when the cards are red and black? Arrow
    The suits of hearts and diamonds in a contemporary deck of playing cards are colored red, while the suits of clubs and spades are colored black.
  • How many different colors are there for the cards? Arrow
    There are many other formats, but one of the most prevalent is the English Poker format, which uses symbols for black spades, red hearts, blue diamonds, and green clubs. Another prevalent system is based on German suits and employs green spades and yellow diamonds in conjunction with red hearts and black clubs. The suits in this system are reversed from the traditional American deck.
  • What exactly does it mean when you get a black card? Arrow
    A black credit card is a form of credit card that is exceedingly exclusive and is nearly entirely reserved for those who have an exceptionally high net worth. The requirements to join this exclusive club of card owners are very stringent, as are the yearly dues required to maintain membership. In most cases, you need the invitation to get one of the cards.
  • What is the most potent symbol on a card? Arrow
    The Ace of Spades, also known as the Death Card and the Spadille, is sometimes regarded as the highest and most valuable card in a deck of playing cards in countries where English is the primary language spoken. Other names for this card include the Spadille and the Spadille.
  • How many red cards are in a deck? Arrow
    In a deck of 52 cards, there are 26 red cards in a deck (diamonds + hearts). The Cards of hearts and diamonds are red.
  • Why are playing cards red and blue? Arrow
    They were each given a unique hue to set the four suits apart from one another. There were numerous various systems. One scheme, for instance, utilizes black for spades, blue for diamonds, red for hearts, and green for clubs.


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