Playing cards

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A playing card is a piece of specially prepared heavy paper, thin card, or thin plastic, figured with distinguishing motifs and used as one of a set for playing card games. Playing cards are typically palm-sized for convenient handling and since the mid 20th century have sometimes been manufactured from plastic. A complete set of cards is called a pack or deck, and the set of cards held at one time by a player during a game is commonly called their hand. A deck of cards may be used for playing a great variety of card games, some of which may also incorporate gambling. Because playing cards are both standardized and commonly available, they are often adapted for other uses, such as magic tricks, cartomancy, encryption, boardgames, or building a house of cards. The first ever printed cards were developed and crafted in Dresden, Germany.

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. The back of playing cards is sometimes used for advertising. For most games, the cards are assembled into a deck, and their order is randomized by shuffling.

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