****The development of poker is linked to the historical movement that also saw the invention of commercial gambling. English actor Joseph Crowell reported that the first leagalized game was played in New Orleans in 1829, with a deck of 20 cards, and four players betting on which player's hand was the most valuable.  - Taken from history of poker - Wikipedia

Thats quite a long time ago, 186 years to exact although I'm guessing some cultures/countries were already playing it before that.  If the above game came about then as the first recorded game, where did the cards come from that they used?

The history of the cards themselves are interesting enough.  It is thought to have been China back in the 9th century that created the first playing cards.  China was the first society to create paper which led to the development of paper money, which led to creating playing cards. 

Once the cards made it to the mediteranean countries some 400-500 years later, they were modified to show ranks of noblemen.  It was not until the cards made it to France that one of the noblemen was removed and replaced with the Queen. 

The Ace of spades design in the deck seems to have come from King James I back in the early 16th century.  It was common to have the Kings as the high cards and the aces as 1's (low card)  The Ace of Spades insignia was introduced to prove taxes were paid and to display the manufactures logo. The tax was abolished in the 1960's but the aces and the designs still remain.

Today the most common used deck is the "French Deck" with the stylistic pattern referred to as "The Anglo-American Style deck"  and it consists of 52 cards.  The jokers are never used but when they are, they tend to be the strongest cards in the deck in that they may be widely used as WILD cards and can represent any of the other cards in the deck. 

Although we use the "French Deck", all the face cards are of English/Scottish descent.

King of Spades: King Edward I "Longshanks"
Queen of Spades: Mary Queen of Scots
Jack of Spades: Cnut the Great
Ace of Spades: Royal Crown
King of Clubs: King James I
Queen of Clubs: Queen Anne
Jack of Clubs: King Richard I, The Lionheart
Ace of Clubs: Globus Cruciger
King of Diamonds: King Henry VIII
Queen of Diamonds: Queen Elizabeth I
Jack of Diamonds: King Alfred the Great
Ace of Diamonds: Knight's Helmet
King of Hearts: William the Conqueror
Queen of Hearts: Queen Victoria
Jack of Hearts: King Henry V
Ace of Hearts: Royal Throne
Jokers: Anne Boleyn and Oliver Cromwell

Good luck and see you at the tables  


ps, All this info was taken from multiple sites and rewritten in my own opinion/words minus the quote from wikipedia at the top.