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Cardistry is an art-form with playing cards that have become increasingly popular over the past few years. Originating from magic, where magicians would use fancy moves with the cards to impress the audience, cardistry has now exploded and become a hobby and art form of its own, quite distinct from card magic. For newcomers, cardistry can basically be described as involving fancy ways of shuffling and manipulating a deck of cards to create visually amazing cuts and moves. But there is nothing basic to doing it. This art of card flourishing requires a unique skill and dexterity developed through hours of practice – and a lot of dropped cards!

The uniqueness and creative qualities of cardistry, along with the ability to create a thriving community through shared resources, ideas, and videos via the internet, have resulted in it becoming amazingly popular over recent years. It has truly developed into a performance art, and attracted a fast-growing community around the world.

But there are some big names at the front lines of this development, and anyone who has become a part of the cardistry community will most likely have heard of at least some of the four giants that are featured below. Let’s meet a few of the real stars of this relatively new performing art.

Dan and Dave Buck

Dan and Dave Buck are household names in the world of cardistry, with an insane ability to manipulate playing cards in a creative, visual, and original way. These twin brothers live in San Diego, California, where they run Dan and Dave Industries, a lifestyle brand and design firm that produces luxury playing cards, apparel, and accessories for magicians and cardists.

Now in their 30s, Dan and Dave first made their name as magicians. But not only are they accomplished magicians, but they are also at the front lines of the fast-growing and rapidly-developing art of cardistry. They branched out from magic into the world of card flourishing, where they are considered pioneers and innovators. They believe cardistry is still in a stage of infancy, much like skateboarding was in the 1980s. Its vocabulary is still starting to form, but they are convinced that cardistry will eventually become more mainstream. If that happens, they will deserve a lot of the credit for getting things started.

You can see Dan and Dave featured in a number stunning cardistry videos online, and that is because they are true giants of this rapidly growing and evolving art form. They put together a series of instructional videos called “The Dan and Dave System” (2004) and later “The Trilogy” (2007), which have had a huge impact in growing the art of cardistry. Arguably no single teaching tool has had more impact on cardistry than these series of videos. Dan and Dave also appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster film “Now You See It” (2013), where their most notable card flourishes were performed by them, and then edited digitally to switch in the film’s actual actors.

As a further example of their impact on this growing art-form, they were also the co-organizers of the inaugural Cardistry Con in 2014. This has since become an annual event, drawing an international crowd of cardistry leaders from around the world. The Dan & Dave brand continues to manage the Cardistry Convention’s official website, and is involved in each yearly convention. There’s no doubt that this twosome has been, and continues to be, a massive influence in the world of cardistry.

In September 2017, the Buck twins were featured by Great Big Story as part of their “Human Condition” series, and the result was a three-minute Kings of Cardistry micro-documentary entitled “Inside the Hypnotic Art of Card Juggling”. This superb short video gives a good idea of what cardistry is about, and displays the kinds of crazy moves that Dan and Dave Buck are capable of with a deck of playing cards. The video’s own overview gives an accurate assessment of Dan and Dave’s outstanding skills, and offers some indication of the respect they have earned in the world of cardistry, with these well-deserved accolades: “Cards twirling, knuckles blazing, hands-a-blur—welcome to cardistry, the sleight of hand acrobatic sensation all done with a simple deck of 52. The kings of the cards are Dan and Dave Buck, twin brothers dealing out some of the best moves in the game. Their mesmerizing, seemingly gravity-defying flips and tricks stem from card flourishes originally used by magicians to introduce their tricks. Now, thanks to artists like Dan and Dave, cardistry has spun off as an art form all its own—keeping the magic without the abracadabra.

As well as being highly regarded in the world of cardistry, and having had a major impact on its development and growth over the last few years, Dan and Dave Buck also run Art of Play. This is an online retail outlet which they founded in 2013 with the purpose of embracing the wonders of the world and connecting people through a state of playfulness, and it is also the name of their own playing card label. Seeing an opportunity, they began producing custom decks of their own. The remarkable reception that these published decks received only served to breed further success, and they have continued to successfully produce designer playing cards of the highest quality. In 2016 they produced no less than 16 original decks of custom playing cards, and they have showed no sign of stopping in 2017 and 2018, with a similar number of new and wonderful designs emerging each year, all produced under their Art of Play label, many geared especially to cardistry.

Below are links to some more video clips that feature Dan & Dave Buck, showcasing some fantastic examples of their cardistry. One of these, “Avant Card”, will best be appreciated with headphones/earbuds on, because this video was mixed and delivered in fully-immersive DTS Headphone:X technology. Another video is entitled “The Art of Cardistry”, and is a superbly produced feature from Cool Hunting Video.

The evidence is overwhelming: Dan and Dave are cardistry innovators that are still at the top of their game, and watching them perform gives a strong appreciation for the many contributions they have made and continue to make towards this relatively young and maturing art form.

More video clips featuring Dan & Dave Buck

The Virts

One of the biggest and most well-known names in the world of card flourishing is Virtuoso, or more commonly referred to as The Virts. Virtuoso, or “The Virts”, is a team from Singapore that began with co-founders Huron Low and Kevin Ho. As they expanded they subsequently grew with the addition of other team members like Daren Yeow, Joshua Tan, and Jeremy Tan, as well as Joyce Lee and Roland Lim. When they first started together in 2005, Huron and Kevin were just doing cardistry as a hobby, and it was only in 2009 that they formed “The Virts” as a group. But from these humble beginnings, The Virts would soon become one of the top performing cardistry groups in the world.

These guys are good. Really good. So good that one of their cardistry videos from 2012 went viral, attracting the attention of the Discovery Channel. Being featured on Discovery Channel was a big step forward, and the original video clip, “Test Room”, now has over half a million views. Today The Virts have a YouTube channel with over 110,000 subscribers. Discovery Channel did another feature around the time of the 2015 Cardistry Con, this time following them around and making a 25 minute documentary on the art of cardistry and on The Virts in particular.

The Virts’ popular videos have single-handedly inspired many to take up cardistry. But Virtuoso’s success also inspired the team to embark on a new venture themselves, by creating a deck of cards designed exclusively for cardistry. And so in 2012 they turned pro, and embarked on a quest to produce a special deck of cards dedicated exclusively to serve card flourishers around the world. It was quite a risk, since the playing card market was already well established, and at that time was geared mainly towards magicians and card collectors. Would it really be feasible to create the first and only deck designed for the art of card flourishing? And was there really a market for this kind of niche-like deck? The typical trend in recent years had been to create decks that add exotic features like gold foil and ink, whereas the Virtuoso deck was stripped down of all such bling, and was deliberately designed to be much more minimalist, so the outcome was quite uncertain.

Yet the response to the first Virtuoso deck was overwhelming, and even beyond what Virtuoso had ever imagined. They have continued to produce a new edition of their self-referential deck almost every year, usually featuring a different colour scheme and slight changes to their signature geometric design. The Virtuoso deck has unquestionably played a huge role in advancing the art of cardistry much further than it was 2012. At that time card flourishing was still somewhat in its infancy as an independent art form, and the label “cardistry” was yet to be coined. The Virts’ Virtuoso Deck has been a real factor in this growth. Its eye-catching design has inspired many newcomers to the art, while experienced card flourishers quickly fell in love with it and spoke very highly of it. The result is that the cardistry community has continued to grow steadily as the word gets out. Furthermore, the Virtuoso deck also inspired many other designers to produce decks that were visually optimized for card flourishing, and that has helped spawn a very healthy custom playing card industry as we know it today.

The Virts are not only unique because of their mad skills at cardistry, but because they were the first in the world to create a company that focused exclusively on cardistry, and to successfully produce a deck of playing cards designed purely for card flourishing. Their success has grown from their own love for the art, and remarkably there has been enough demand for them to turn it into a profitable business. As one of the team says, with a sense of ongoing gratitude and amazement, “I shuffle cards for a living.

More video clips featuring The Virts

Jaspas Deck

Jaspas Deck (real name Justin Ye) is the Creative Director of the New Deck Order, and has been involved with card flourishing since 2003, when he was just 15 years old. The New Deck Order was formed in 2013 by Jaspas and Loretta Sze, with a dedicated web-site that aimed to be a hub to help bring cardistry fans from around the world together.

The achievements, qualifications, and skills that Jaspas brings to the table at The New Deck Order are many. He has an unconventional and creative style that immediately sets him apart from most other cardists. His impressive credentials include being crowned as the World Kardistry Champion for 2013-14, and the winner of many other cardistry competitions. He has also given lectures on cardistry internationally, and has a strong following of enthusiastic fans and students.

But his wide range of skills includes academic qualifications in Fine Arts in Digital Film Making, which has been a real boon for the art. An important element of modern cardistry is the ability to showcase it with skills in technology and media, and the fact that Jaspas has these credentials serves him well to create high quality and inspiring cardistry videos. Jaspas put his skills to good use in 2013 when he created the New Deck Order’s popular YouTube channel, School of Cardistry, which provides free instructional videos on cardistry. This really established the New Deck Order’s credibility in the world of cardistry, and put them on the map.

But Jaspas Deck is not only a skilled cardist, a well-known speaker, and a gifted videographer, but has also created several decks of playing cards. In 2014, the New Deck Order team took things to the next level, by producing their own deck designed completely for card flourishing, and since then they have created several versions of their School of Cardistry deck. This deck is described as “fifty-two non-standard playing cards“, and is what the New Deck Order considers to be cardistry’s new standard: non-standard! The revolutionary aspect of the School of Cardistry decks is that the card faces are all identical. The abstract design on the card faces means that displays have a very unified and different look, and that not only the back of the cards, but also the faces can be used for neat presentation. Even fans, spreads, and twirls can capitalize on the face designs. With a deck like this, there is no chance that cardists with a deck in hand will be confused for magicians or poker players! The identical cards immediately become a point of interest, and set the card flourisher apart as someone dedicated to this new art form. This is definitely a deck made entirely and only for card flourishing, and its unique design helps cardistry enter a new phase of development and evolution.

Jaspas has also produced several self-named decks, typically in limited editions. The first of these was described as follows: “Designed by Jaspas Deck, the Jaspas Deck features rotationally-symmetrical pips that have been repositioned to enhance spinning moves.” Unlike the NDO playing cards, and despite the radical design, these do have traditional suits and numbers – although the pips are positioned and shaped to optimize how they look when rotationally twirled. Many of his are featured on his own YouTube channel, and his popular cardistry vlog makes him an important voice in the world of card flourishing.

With his flamboyant personality, original style, stunning videography, and unique decks, Jaspas Deck is an inventive and respected legend in today’s cardistry community.–X5af3k

More video clips featuring Jaspas Deck

Zach Mueller

Zach Mueller is the perfect poster boy for the kind of results that cardistry can produce, having first piggy-backed on the success of his cardistry videos to create a popular deck of playing cards, and ultimately a successful brand, Fontaine Cards.

YouTube proved to be the ticket to fame for Zach. His own YouTube channel has been around for a while, but he really went viral when Kuma Films featured him on a video with the click-bait title “Hypnotic Cardistry Kid”. It now has over 2.5 million views, and single-handedly was responsible for introducing a whole new audience to cardistry, and putting Zach himself on the map.

Zach’s own interest in cardistry began the same way as it did for many: childhood dabbling with card magic. He was good enough to make instructional videos for Theory11, and to make his own tutorials on YouTube. Inspired by legends like Dan and Dave Buck, he began transitioning towards cardistry, inventing his own flourishes along the way. He is especially noted for his isolations, which are very unusual moves that require a lot of practice – it is hard to believe how these are humanly possible when you first see them performed!

More video clips featuring Zach Mueller

Final Thoughts

Certainly there are many other names that could be added to this list. The number of skilled cardists is growing constantly and rapidly, and you will find stunning videos on Instagram, YouTube, and many other places online where enthusiastic disciples of this exciting art form hang out. It is not uncommon to see relatively unknown young cardists bursting onto the scene with new moves and jaw-dropping creativity, so the future of this maturing art-form of cardistry is bright.

So what are you waiting for? If you are at all into card flourishing, or even just enjoy doing a basic spread or fan, then a good cardistry deck will instantly turn even elementary moves like these into visual art. Grab yourself a nice deck, and give it a shot! You may not reach the heights of the Buck twins, The Virts, Jaspas Deck, or Zach Mueller, but everyone has to start somewhere. And you may just surprise yourself with how flashy and fun this new art form can be!

Want to try some of the cardistry decks produced by the big names featured in this article? The range at PlayingCardDecks includes playing cards created by all four:

Comment below and let us know what your favorite flourish is!

If you’re interested in learning the art of cardistry also make sure to check out our page of Cardistry Tutorial videos.

Other articles you might find interesting:

About the writer: EndersGame is a well-known reviewer of board games and playing cards. He loves card games, card magic, and collecting playing cards. This article first appeared on here.



Pair this holiday season with a festive-themed card game for every family member to enjoy. There will surely be no shortage of laughter and joy when you lay these cards on the table, especially because you can tailor the game to suit your family’s style.

Custom Game Ideas:

1. Holiday Trivia

Trivia games have reigned in popularity for decades. During TV shows like Jeopardy (1964 – present), we act as a contestant, mustering as much vivacious, competitive energy as we can. We feel the stakes of losing and the triumphs of winning, even while sitting on our living room couch, miles and miles away from the actual set.

These games allow us to test our knowledge on any and all facts, both outlandish and common. This is why these games are so appealing. We like to show off our intelligence when confident of an answer, but we also find the thrill in demonstrating our process-of-elimination abilities if uncertain.

With Shuffled Ink, every ounce of your game is customizable, from the questions and answers to the card design and size. Whether you have every single detail sorted out from start-to-finish or aren’t quite sure what you want to create, the SI team is with you every step of the way. Our project managers and graphic designers are readily available to assist you on the phone or through email.


  • [Insert Your Holiday] Trivia Questions: Create questions that pertain to your holiday of choice (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, New Year’s). It’s important to know your audience, so if you’re printing decks for your family, then list questions that are personal to them. (Example: Where did we go on vacation during Dec. 2017?) Now, if you’re trying to sell the game to the public, then come up with a theme such as questions about the history of Hanukkah.

2. Objective Games

Your game should always have a clear objective whether it’s trivia- or reindeer- themed. This example is actually from a client of ours who based their card game off of the novel, Hershel the Jewish Reindeer.

During this game, Hindu Elves, Jewish Reindeer and Muslim Gnomes all work together to help deliver all the Christmas presents. This is family-friendly game is available for purchase on Amazon.

The Setup:

In the same way reindeer pull a sleigh, you will arrange your cards: place six cards face-down and put them side-by-side. To begin, all players must look at their bottom two cards and memorize them.

The Purpose:

The numerical values on the cards symbolize the amount of gifts each character carries. The score is determined by adding up the value of all cards in front of you.

Point Values:

Cards are worth their face value with the following exceptions:

  • King / Santa Clause = 0 points
  • Joker / Tooth Fairy = -1 point
  • Ace / Hershel the Jewish Reindeer = 1 point

(take photos of the deck)

3. All Hands On Deck

For those who aren’t the biggest fans of single-player games, then here’s a better choice for you!

Like all things, there are upsides and downsides to this gaming experience. Your teammates are working toward a common goal (and in this case, eternal glory, of course). So, it’ll either bring you all closer together or tear you apart. Really, it depends on the different types of players you’re dealing with and whether you’re winning or losing.


Picture this for Christmas: similar to the popular game Pictionary but with added festivities. All you need are holiday-related words written or printed onto flash cards. You can even include an hourglass timer, a personalized notepad to keep score and any other accessories you think will work well (dice, spinners, game tokens, etc.). This team game is extremely fun but can be quite frustrating if your teammates aren’t the best at drawing or guessing. The main tip I can provide is to choose your mates wisely.


5. Holiday Mystery Game

Surrounding the central question, “Who done it?” there are lots of options for holiday mystery card games. But remember your audience. If there are kids playing, then you may want to create a light-hearted game. Here are a few examples to spark some ideas:

  • The Case of the Missing Reindeer
  • Murder Mystery Party-Type Game (Insert the slayed holiday character of choice)

6. DIY

Of course, there’s always the option to start from scratch and design your own card game with a customized objective and set of rules. In one of our previous holiday articles, we suggested that instead of using utensils in the rapid-paced card game Spoons, go with candy canes for a festive and delicious feel.

Our DIY style products allow clients to put forth original ideas to create games that have never been seen before. If there’s a card game that you really want to play and think others will enjoy, but it doesn’t exist yet, then you must create it. That’s how anything and everything in this world comes to fruition. Games found in nearly every household are UNO and Monopoly, were once simple ideas that turned into classics.



Playing solitaire with a traditional deck of playing cards is a pastime that goes back a couple of hundred years. But the birth of the personal computer injected new life into these classic games, and the digital revolution has helped bring solitaire card games to a whole new audience. Chiefly responsible for this development is software giant Microsoft, who began including versions of solitaire along with their Windows operating system in the early 1990s, much to the relief of bored office-workers around the world.

But not all solitaire card games are created equal. To begin with, this is a very large family of games, and its family members aren’t all kissing cousins that are merely small variations of the same thing. While many solitaire games do share much in common, there’s also a surprising amount of differences between some of them. They can offer very different challenges, some of which require real skill, strategic placement, and careful card counting, while others can be played almost on auto-pilot in a very chilled and relaxed frame of mind. Whether or not you can complete them in some cases just comes down to stupid and pure luck, but there are many excellent solitaire games that take real skill to play well, and will prove to be a rewarding and satisfying experience to come back to often.

So what are some of the top solitaire games you really should know about? I’ve done some scouring around to try to figure out what solitaire games have proven most popular, to help you get started with the very best, rather than waste time with mediocre or less-than-satisfying games. As I covered in a previous article, the three most played solitaire card games in the world are KlondikeSpider, and FreeCell, courtesy of their inclusion in Microsoft’s solitaire software. But following closely on their heels are two other favourites: Pyramid and Golf. Even today versions of these two solitaire games are included in Microsoft’s digital collection of five solitaire games along with the holy trinity of Klondike, Spider, and FreeCell, and it’s one reason why they are so well-known.

But another reason for the popularity of Pyramid and Golf is their simplicity. They are widely considered to fall into the category of matching games, or adding and pairing games. Typically, solitaire card games in this family have the objective of matching two cards, either by pairing ones of the same rank (e.g. two Aces) or adjacent ranks (e.g. an Ace and a Two), or by adding two cards together to reach a certain value. It’s a common genre, and some of the most popular solitaire card games of all time are among them, including the two included in Microsoft’s standard base suite of five solitaire games: Pyramid, and a variation of Golf called Tri-Peaks. Games of this sort have typically less complicated rules than builder-type solitaire games, making them an ideal starting point for children and first-timers.

NB: You can play these games on many websites, but I’ve chosen to use Solitaired, simply because it’s free and easy, so the accompanying screenshots below are of games I’ve played on their site.


Overview: The name of Pyramid gets its name for the triangular shape in which the cards are dealt at the start of the game. Pyramid hit the big time when Microsoft started including it (and another solitaire game called Tri-Peaks) in their Microsoft Solitaire Collection in 2012, which is when they added it to the existing trilogy of Klondike, Spider, and FreeCell already included in previous versions of Windows. An earlier variation of Pyramid under the name Tut’s Tomb had already been included in Microsoft Entertainment Pack 2 that was released in 1991, so Pyramid has been on many personal computers almost as long as Klondike.

Game-play: This game is a classic example of the “adding-and-pairing” genre of solitaire card games. You deal 28 face-up cards in an overlapping fashion to create a pyramid, starting with a row of one, then a row of two, and so on until a row of seven cards. With Jacks counting as 11, Queens as 12, and Kings as 13, any two available and unblocked cards can be removed if their combined value adds up to 13. Cards are turned up from the stock one at a time, and may be used as part of these pairs. You win if you clear the entire pyramid.

Variations: There are many common variations on Pyramid, many to make the game easier, such as by allowing multiple passes through the stock, or by dealing the final row of 7 cards as a separate reserve that’s available throughout the game. Less common variations that simplify game-play include adding a free storage cell, allowing a card to make a pair with the one immediately underneath it, or by keeping the top-card of the stock pile face-up at all times. In Apophis, three waste piles are used instead of just one. To make the game harder, some variations also require all the cards in the stock to be removed before counting the game as a win, and removing this requirement is described as “Relaxed Pyramid”. In King Tut (which corresponds to Microsoft’s “Tut’s Tomb”) you deal the stock in sets of three, which also makes for a harder game, even though it allows unlimited deals.

My thoughts: Pyramid is an excellent game that can help children learn basic addition, and playing this game is one way to make them quickly become comfortable with all the pairs that add up to 13. It’s also a relaxing game for adults, who are looking for something that involves easy decisions and yet remains satisfying. The odds of clearing the pyramid in a single deal of the stock are only around 1 in 50, so you are often dependent on the luck of the draw. This is why some variations give you access to more cards, by adding a reserve, extra waste piles, or enabling you to redeal more times; these typically are more rewarding and less frustrating to play.

Related games: In Giza, a creation of Michael Keller, the entire stock is dealt face-up into a tableau of three rows of seven cards that are available as a reserve from the outset. This reduces the luck and increases your chances of a win by making it an open game. Thomas Warfield created Double Pyramid, which is essentially the same game as Pyramid, but uses two decks, and starts by adding two extra rows to the initial tableau, so that the final row consists of 9 cards. Alternatively, in Pharaohs you deal three pyramids. There are also games like Triangle, which invert the Pyramid for a much harder game.


Overview: If you’re skeptical about your ability with solitaire card games, you should at the very least try Golf, which commends itself because of its simplicity and speed. The game owes its name to the sport, and each deal can be treated like a golf hole. The aim is to remove all the cards of the tableau, and every card remaining counts as a stroke, with a par of four cards per hole. You can play nine consecutive holes, if you wish, keeping a running score and with the goal of trying to get a par score of 36.

Game-play: Begin with a tableau of seven columns, each consisting of four overlapping cards, all face-up and visible, while the remaining cards form a stock. The first card is dealt face-up, and any available card that is one rank higher or lower than it can be removed, with suits being ignored. You continue to remove cards in this way, proceeding either up or downwards, ignoring suits, until you can’t remove any more cards, at which point you deal the next card from the stock and repeat the process. You win the game if you successfully remove the complete tableau in a single deal of the stock.

Variations: Officially a game of Golf doesn’t allow you to “wrap”, by turning around the corner from Ace to King. In fact, under the strictest rules removing a King ends a running sequence, although you can continue a sequence from an Ace by playing a 2. Common variations (e.g. Putt Putt) adjust these rules to allow Aces and Kings to be removed in sequence, which increases your options and enhances your chances of a successful game significantly. Even allowing Queens to be played on Kings helps prevent you from becoming stuck too easily.

My thoughts: Due to the simple rules and game-play, you can often speed through an entire game of Golf in as little as a minute or two, and that makes it an ideal low-stress filler. The ease of game-play also makes it very accessible for first-time players. There’s definitely some luck of the draw that plays a role, but the fact that the entire tableau is face up means that you can look ahead at your options and plan the optimal series of moves, so it’s not entirely without strategic choices. Whenever there is a fork in the road of decision, a good sense of probability can help you make the right move.

Related games: The basic game-play of Golf lends itself well to many variations, simply by changing the initial set-up, while preserving the concept of play. Golf Rush uses the same rules but starts with a Klondike style arrangement of cards. Two others which apply the same concept to different starting set-ups include Black Hole and Eliminator. For a real-time two-player game in the style of Golf, take a look at Spit.

Tri-Peaks: By far the most popular game inspired by Golf is called Tri-Peaks, which owes its success largely due to the fact that it was included in the solitaire set of games that comes with Microsoft Windows. This has a starting arrangement of three adjacent pyramids (hence the name) of six cards each, and a lower row of ten cards. It was created by Robert Hogue in 1989, and his own statistical analysis of his game suggests that the vast majority of games are solvable. While it’s much easier to solve than usual Golf, some will also find it less interesting due there being less decisions.

Multiplayer Golf: Many books suggest playing Golf competitively, by each playing a “hole” simultaneously, and cumulatively keeping track of your scores, just like a round of the actual sport. There are even ways of playing head-to-head match-play, or a four player game in partnerships, where each player has their own deck and the team score uses the lowest achieved by each pair.


Many other fine matching games that require pairing or adding cards exist, some of which I’ve already mentioned above under variations and related games. If you enjoy games of this sort, some others you should take a look at include NestorThe WishMonte Carlo, and Beehive.

While the Microsoft Solitaire Collection deserves a lot of credit for popularizing Pyramid and the Golf-inspired Tri-Peaks, the reality is that these entry-level solitaire games were already popular, and have been favourites for a long time. They don’t burn much brain-power, making them ideal companions for a relaxing hour on the couch, or to while away time when there’s some spare moments to kill. Even children can enjoy playing them, so they are an ideal place to start if you’ve not had much experience playing solitaire before.

But be warned: even these simpler solitaire games can prove quite addictive!

About the writer: EndersGame is a well-known reviewer of board games and playing cards. He loves card games, card magic, and collecting playing cards. This article first appeared on here.


Playing cards really started blossoming more than six centuries ago, after arriving in Western Europe in the late 1300s. So what was the huge catalyst that was key to spread throughout Europe and eventually around the world? Card games. Solitaire card games, however, only began making a lasting mark after experiencing a boom in development some two hundred years ago in France.

Two centuries is still plenty of time for solitaire card games to become entrenched into playing card culture. But despite this long history, the solitaire card game really only came into its own with the birth of the personal computer, and when these began to enter workplaces and homes in the 1980s and early 1990s. The arrival of Windows 3.0 in the year 1990 brought with it Klondike Solitaire, and in a short space of time, this digital diversion became a staple activity for bored office-workers and for billions of others around the globe.

So it really is the digital revolution that has fuelled the success of the solitaire card game and helped bring it to the modern audience, giving it the enormous popularity it enjoys today. So what are some of the reasons for this enormous success? And why should you explore playing Solitaire card games with the help of software? Before we take a look at some of the best digital resources available for playing solitaire (in another article), here’s an overview of some of the advantages of playing solitaire on your personal computer or portable device.

12 Great Reasons to Use a PC, Tablet, or Phone for Playing Solitaire

1. It eliminates the hassles of handling cards.

Solitaire card games are great fun, but there can be a lot of practical challenges associated with playing them if you’re using a physical deck, simply in view of the extensive handling of the cards necessary to play them. You need to shuffle the deck, or sometimes two decks, often multiple times. Then you need to deal out lots of cards. During the game you typically need to move large stacks of cards from one place to another, all the while keeping the cards carefully in order. It is all perfectly doable, but a digital version removes all the headaches of this administrative book-keeping, and allows you to focus on enjoying the game itself. While solitaire games that involve a large amount of manipulation of the cards are a pain to play in real life, they are a breeze to play in a computer version.

2. It enforces the rules.

Software manages all aspects of the game for you, and as a result you don’t have to worry about making an illegal move. An accidental rules error might completely invalidate your whole game, or perhaps turns a potentially winning hand into one that proves impossible. For example, it is easy to forget how many times you’ve cycled through a deck, and so you could easily make the mistake of doing this once too often, or perhaps erring on the other side by accidentally stopping short of the final deal. A digital version will take care of this for you, ensuring that you won’t make game-killing mistakes like these.

3. It makes games easier to learn.

This follows from the previous point, because if the software takes care of enforcing the rules for you, it also makes it a whole lot easier to learn the rules of a new game; you can simply count on the computer taking care of most things for you. If you’re not sure what to do, just start clicking and trying to move cards around, and you’ll quickly discover what moves are permitted and what ones are not. In my youth I tried learning solitaire games numerous times, and had to rely exclusively on printed descriptions in books. It was very challenging, and I often gave up. In contrast, learning a new solitaire game on a computer is a piece of cake.

4. It makes games quicker to play.

With less handling to worry about, along with automatic rule enforcement and scoring, combined with the absence of set-up and space requirements, you can jump into a game without any preparation, and zip through an entire game in as little as a minute, or perhaps five minutes, depending on what you are playing. Playing the same game firsthand would require a significantly larger investment of effort and time. And if you’re the kind of person that likes to use the optional features of some programs which highlight the cards that are legal moves, you can play even more speedily.

5. It makes games easy to customize.

The best solitaire games software will give you options for each different solitaire game, so that you can play with the variations or house rules that you prefer or that you are used to. Some programs even take this a step further, allowing you to customize individual games entirely, and effectively build your own solitaire game, tinkering with the rules in ways that are immediately applied to your next game.

6. It eliminates set-up and space requirements.

Unlike a physical game, you don’t need to set up a large tableau, or require a large working area like a kitchen table. You simply fire up your app or computer program, and within 5 seconds you can be playing your favourite solitaire game. This makes the thresh-hold for entry much lower, and makes solitaire games a whole lot more accessible.

7. It gives you easy access to many different games.

Most decent solitaire programs offer a good choice of solitaire games as part of their package. Often these are well organized by types, making it easy to find solitaire games that suit your own preferences, or to try games that are similar to ones that you already like. The range of solitaire games is enormous, and it is easy to build in a large number of these within a digital version. Most apps and programs will typically also allow you to create and maintain a running list of your favourites, to make these easy to find.

8. It makes it easy to find similar games.

Found a particular solitaire game that you really like? Many software programs have features that let you group games by categories or families. This lets you easily find a similar game that is related to the one you already enjoy, or plays somewhat like it. And as mentioned already, being able to “favourite” your preferred games enables you to quickly return to them in the future.

9. It adds visual beauty.

It is hard to argue with the visual aesthetics of a physical printed deck, and the tactile feel of actual cards. A digital version can never substitute that on a screen. But it can add elements that are just not possible with a physical deck. With the click of a mouse, you can change the whole look of your game in remarkable ways. Most good programs will have extensive options for customizing your graphics, so that you can play with different decks of cards, and enjoy varying graphic designs and artwork, including different card backs and background artwork. Personally I love tinkering with these, and I occasionally play with different looking decks, just to mix things up and change the experience of a favourite game that I’m playing for the umpteenth time.

10. It lets you undo moves.

An “undo” button comes standard with most solitaire software, and what it lets you do is track back large sets of moves, and explore different paths and options. This means that if you arrive at a dead end or make a mistake, you have a fool-proof way of retracing your steps, and trying another pathway. Making games fully trackable helps turn some games that would otherwise be frustrating and impossible into fun, because now you can safely back-track and explore another path. Is an “undo” considered cheating? Not necessarily. In many cases you can turn this option off or on, so if you really feel strongly about this, you can always disable this feature.

11. It tracks your statistics.

It can be fascinating to see what your win percentage is for a particular game, and be able to access a precise record of how many games you’ve won and lost. Software implements these kinds of things automatically and easily. Being able to compare your stats with other players gives you even more ways to challenge yourself. I especially like the option to track your time, and programs which record your personal bests. Some programs come with built-in “high score” charts for every individual game or variation, and this gives you additional incentives to return to a game.

12. It gives other special features.

With technology, all kinds of possibilities can be explored, and some software developers have come up with some very creative and useful ideas that can help make your solitaire playing experience even better. Besides the above-mentioned features like “undo” and statistics, other examples of special features you can find in some programs include the ability to save games, mark available moves, achievements, challenges, and more.

Final Thoughts

While playing a digital version of Solitaire can never substitute for the tactile feel of holding actual cards in your hands, it does offer many real advantages above playing with a physical deck. So it is no real surprise that digital implementations of Solitaire are a big reason why so many people are familiar with Solitaire today.

Microsoft in particular deserves a lot of credit for popularizing solitaire card games via the digital versions that entered our homes via their Windows operating systems. Granted, Microsoft wasn’t the first to digitize solitaire card games and they wouldn’t be the last. Ever since the PC arrived, programmers with an interest in card games saw the potential for using these new devices in exciting new ways for playing solitaire, and were already creating versions of their favourites. But it was Microsoft that really brought these to the everyday user, and made them familiar on a global level, turning them into bread-and-butter time-killers.

This wide reach meant that digital games of Solitaire would appeal to a very wide cross-section of people, and this enabled other creators to expend effort and resources into developing impressive software platforms for playing even more versions of Solitaire. The arrival of the handheld digital device has only opened up more possibilities, along with the ability to play via web browsers.

So what are you waiting for? Check out some websites, apps, or other software, and discover what millions of people around the world have been enjoying for over 30 years – but now with the benefit of terrific implementations that have features and possibilities like never before! And just maybe playing solitaire on your PC, phone, or mobile device, might encourage you to pull out an actual deck of cards for a game or two as well!

About the writer: EndersGame is a well-known reviewer of board games and playing cards. He loves card games, card magic, and collecting playing cards. This article first appeared on here.  



Poker is played virtually anywhere: in casinos, at home and on the internet. While the game of deceit has been around for as long as we can remember, it’s tough to pinpoint who exactly invented poker.

Poker is descended from various card games. Each one helped evolve the iconic game that we love to play today. Let’s take a look at how the game has evolved.

The Roots: Theories

  • During the 10th century, Chinese emperor Mu-Tsung often played a domino card game with his wife. Sources say it is similar to the tile-based game Mahjong Poker.
  • Poque was a French bluffing and betting card game that was brought to New Orleans in the 15th century.
  • The Persian game As Nas may have inspired some of today’s poker hand rankings. It rose to popularity in the 16th century and was played with 25 playing cards and 5 suits.

To this day, theorists disagree on who created poker. Perhaps, all three games contributed in different ways to its invention. But one thing that’s certain is how much poker has evolved.

Poker Relatives

There are several games that are referred to as cousins of modern poker. More or less, you’ll find common ground in how these card games implemented rankings, betting and bluffing.

  • 18th-Century Brelan Card Game: Played with a 20-card deck, it is considered a descendant of Texas Hold’em. While not played anymore, this was once a quick-paced game that required betting.
  • Mid-19th Century: The use of 52 playing cards emerged during the American Civil War.

Current Poker Variants

  • Texas Hold’em: If you’re not too familiar with poker, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve at least heard of this popular variant. This betting game is played with a standard deck of 52 playing cards (excluding jokers). For a basic run-through, check out our beginner’s guide to Texas Hold’em.



For 15 years, our client Flickback Media has printed its informative and widely entertaining Trivia Playing Cards in China. Now, we are excited to announce that we are domestically manufacturing their custom card products at our Orlando, FL USA headquarters.

Whether it’s for a birth date, wedding anniversary, or significant milestone, their media and game products provide a fix of nostalgia for all, recalling defining moments in pop culture, sports, news, and world events personal to your year.

If you’re interested, feel free to explore our custom card products and fulfillment options.



Earn a chance to win 10 playing card decks when you enter your original artwork to the Winter Card Art Contest. In your submission post, tag us at @ShuffledInk on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The winner will have their design featured on a 54-card deck of poker-sized cards with custom card backs and standard faces.

The contest ends on Dec. 31 at 11:59 p.m.

Previous Contest Winners: October Card Art


Cards and magic, going hand-in-hand ever since the 1400s. From witchcraft debunking and poker trickery to magician performances, card tricks reign popular in the playing card community.

Accessibility and resonance. These are a couple of reasons why an eternal flame is lit underneath playing card magic. The old, the young and those in-between find entertainment in illusions, whether the cards are in their hands or not.

Even blockbuster films formulate storylines where magicians and their tricks take center stage.

Now You See Me (2013)

Four talented illusionists use their captivating and mindboggling performances to steal money from those who are corrupt. The audience members are then rewarded with the contraband cash. But this doesn’t fly with the federal agents whose mission is to put these magicians’ bank heists to a halt.


Also See: Poker Represented in Films & Tarot Readings In Films 


Cards and magic, have gone hand-in-hand ever since the 1400s. From witchcraft debunking and poker trickery to street and stage performances, manipulation card tricks captivate the playing card community.

But why does there seem to be an eternal flame lit underneath card magic? Well, our fascination with card illusions can be attributed to the very first magicians who inspired today’s crop of recruits.

An illusionist and magician are interchangeable. Both perform in a public capacity and perform magic tricks like sleight-of-hand and other manipulation tricks with various props like playing cards, rope, handcuffs, etc.

Card Magic

The First Magicians

  • Robert Houdin‘s (1805 – 1871) background in clockmaking enticed him to implement electricity into his performances. He was one of the first magicians to do so. But it was a much simpler party trick that secured his claim to fame as the Father of Modern Magic. During the popular act, his son, while blindfolded, tried to guess objects that Robert held in the air.
  • Harry Houdini (1874 – 1926) added an “I” to the end of his stage name as a nod to the late Robert Houdin. Houdini was known for escape artist, successfully using strength, intelligence and agility to break free from chain and rope restrictions.


The card collecting process may be non-linear, but your deck display shouldn’t be.

What deems a deck worthy of collecting, let alone displaying? Well, there really isn’t a definitive answer to this question. Choosing which playing cards to display is determined on a collector-to-collector basis. But there are a ton of factors that go into the collecting process. Some collectors look for vibrant designs that stand out. For others, it is the brand that secures a spot on the self. There are even collectors who seek misprint decks because of their one-of-a-kind flaws. But really, the art of collecting is based on preference, and even that isn’t always consistent.

Here’s another commonly asked question: Are you are a card collector or a box collector?

Unlike box collectors, who see breaking deck seals as a collecting sin, card collectors don’t necessarily share that mindset, especially if they aren’t interested in selling or trading their cards. Card collectors enjoy tearing away the cello wrap and seals in order to admire the card’s design. Now, one collector isn’t superior to the other, but this distinction does impact how collections are displayed.

The card-collecting process may be non-linear, but your deck display should not be. If your decks are shoved in a junk drawer or hidden in boxes under your bed, and you’re looking for a way to better display them, then you’re in the right place. In this article, you will discover how even the most mundane household items can be repurposed to display your unique collection.

For Box Collectors:

1. Shelf Display

Let’s start off with one of the most common display options. This presentation can kill two birds with one stone by using one space for multiple collections. Now, of course, this doesn’t have to be a shelf filled with books or even any type of item besides your card collection. We just like to remind you that it isn’t necessary to clear an entire shelf for only cards unless you’d prefer it that way. Here are some ‘bookshelf display’ examples from a few of our clients.

(Please note that Shuffled Ink did not produce every deck in the photos).

2. Bottles

Think back to the first deck you ever owned. Why did you get it? Was it a gift? An impulse purchase? Did you design it yourself? Has that one become a party of five…and five turned into twenty and beyond? Do you know where they are now?

If your answer to the last question is along the lines of ‘hidden away and out of sight,’ then we have a solution for you. This method repurposes wine bottles and

For Card & Box Collectors:

1. Shadow Box

The Shadow Box method is one of the coolest ways to showcase both the playing card and box design. Place each card box on the far left of the case and in every space thereafter display your favorite cards from that deck.

The community of playing card collecting is a place for 1,000-deck veterans; for newbies navigating their way through the hobby; for manufacturers like us who want to better understand your fascination with specific decks.

Collectors, designers, backers — these are several types of members in the playing card community. A wonderful thing about being a part of this world is the support from the members. There are tons of social media groups that guide such a hobby.

(multiple display cases on the wall); (displayed on bookshelf with her favorite books)