Poker is a game which, thanks to its great popularity and its global aura, is capable of magnifying everything that is directly or indirectly related to its universe. Players, associations, tokens, online platforms and even the cards. The deck of French cards is entirely associated with this mental sport, and this one has served as the inspiration for many styles of decks you can play poker with. But the player is under no obligation to use these cards only for poker, because there are many other games that can use these famous 52 cards.
We must first remember that many historians believe that the origin of the French game going back to China in the 9th century. At the time, the cards were made by hand and had become real objects of worship, and it took two more centuries to see them land in Egypt. Since Cairo, it would be Italian traders who would have brought them back to southern Europe in the 14th century, even if another theory estimates that it was from Spain that the interest of the Old Continent for the playing cards.
A subject on which everyone agrees, however, is that these maps were initially only used by the nobles and the bourgeois, and it was not until the arrival of certain techniques such as xylography to refuse the price and make them accessible to the entire population. Just as poker has appropriated them as the basis of its game, other disciplines that we will now discover have followed the same path and have also greatly contributed to the development and democratization of French cards.
Some of these are now also available on the Internet, with the possibility of playing online poker tournaments where you can compete with other players. So, if one loves cards, one should think of these games as alternatives to poker.
If you’re a gambler familiar with the general gambling world, you’re pretty sure you know blackjack or 21. It’s a fairly simple game where the player must face the bank, and not the other players, with the objective of obtaining 21 points with his cards or at least to get as close to it as possible without going over it. You understand with two cards and can ask for several more, until you decide to stop or your total exceeds 21, synonymous with defeat.
It is an interesting discipline which is also very popular on the Internet, and which has several special moves allowing you to save half of your bet, to double it or even to separate your cards. It will be necessary to have a very clear strategy in mind to play it, and to remember that the numbers from 2 to 10 keep their value, that the numbers are worth 10 and that the Ace can be worth 1 or 11, according to the choice of the player. Therefore, keeping blackjack hand rankings in mind will be fundamental.
Bridge is another one of those games that uses poker cards. It is a discipline requiring skill as well as good anticipation of the behavior of one’s opponents and a certain coolness when betting at key moments.
Two pairs of players compete against each other, and the goal is to predict at the start of the round how many cards each team will win and do everything possible to achieve this quantified objective during the course of the game. Only one of the two teams can fulfill its contract. The game proceeds as follows: each player plays one card per turn, one after the other, and the one with the highest card wins the trick. It will of course be necessary to help each other between partners as much as possible, although it is impossible to show each other the cards.
Another iconic game using the same cards as poker is rummy, a discipline from the United States which is the source of many other games that have been created from its basic principle. And although the original version is normally played with tokens, it is also possible to play it with cards and also to play it alone.
The objective is to get rid of all the cards in his possession by planning suits of the same color or by grouping three or more cards of the same value. Depending on the number of players in the game, it is possible to need several sets of cards, and it will always be necessary to count the points as you go, because it will be the final count that will designate the winner.
And it is precisely the rummy from which the canasta is inspired. It’s a game with extremely similar objectives to the original rummy, but it’s much more played within the Spanish-speaking community. It appeared in Uruguay at the end of the 1930s, but only experienced its boom and became an ultra-popular game after its arrival in Spain.
In the Iberian Peninsula, the canasta evolved and today there are countless variations and modalities that make this game a great success on the other side of the Pyrenees, while it is the more classic rummy that is especially appreciated in France. Among these interesting variants, the one allowing to play as a team or the one increasing the number of points to be reached according to the number of participants are worth noting.