What Are the Oldest Card Games?

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By Ralph Torres

Card games have been around for centuries and have been enjoyed by people of all ages and cultures. From ancient China to medieval Europe, card games have evolved and adapted over time. In this article, we’ll explore some of the oldest card games in history.

The Origin of Card Games

The exact origin of card games is still a topic of debate among historians. Some believe that they originated in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD), while others attribute their creation to the Mamluks of Egypt in the 14th century. Regardless of their origin, it is clear that card games quickly spread throughout the world and became a popular pastime.


One of the oldest and most popular card games in history is Mahjong. This game originated in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) and is still played today.

Mahjong uses tiles instead of cards, but it shares many similarities with traditional card games. The game is played with four players who must collect sets of tiles to win.


Tarot cards are often associated with fortune-telling, but they were originally created for playing games. Tarot cards first appeared in Italy in the 15th century and were used to play a game called Tarocchi. The game involved trick-taking and was similar to modern-day bridge or spades.


Poker is one of the most popular card games in the world today, but its origins can be traced back to 16th century Persia. The game was called As Nas and was played with a deck of 25 cards. As Nas eventually made its way to Europe where it evolved into different variations such as Primero, which was played in Spain during the 16th century.

Gin Rummy

Gin Rummy is a variation of the classic card game Rummy and has been played since the early 1900s. The game was invented by Elwood Baker and his son in Brooklyn, New York. Gin Rummy quickly gained popularity and became a favorite among Hollywood stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

Go Fish

Go Fish is a simple card game that is often played by children. The game involves players collecting sets of four cards by asking their opponents if they have a certain card. Go Fish has been played for centuries in various forms and is still enjoyed today.


Card games have been a popular pastime for centuries, and their origins can be traced back to different parts of the world. From Mahjong in China to Poker in Persia, these games have evolved and adapted over time. Whether you’re playing with friends or family, card games are a fun way to pass the time and connect with others.