Everyone has played poker at some time or other. It’s a fantastic game to play with a bottle of scotch, some snacks and a few good friends. There’s also the other side of poker, the pro poker world of massive prize pools, stylish las vegas casinos and plenty of money flying around.
Both sides of poker have an element to them that most tend to not pay any attention to, that is the design element of poker… The tables, the chips and of course the cards have slowly evolved into incredibly designed items.
Playing cards are of course not something that are not unique to poker, variations of them have been estimated to have been in use since as early as 1400AD. Since then, playing cards have featured some extremely intricate yet functional designs throughout the ages that varied a massive amount depending on the art style of the period and the country they were made in. The concept of the 4 suits we know today (spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs) originated in france in the early 1400s.
Since then, their designs have been unofficially standardized to perfection. However, even though most card designs share the same standard face design, there is still a massive variation and culture around playing card designs.
Even with the massive selection of designs to choose from, nearly all pro poker games stick with one of the biggest and best playing card brands out there: Bicycle Playing Cards. Bicycle offer an amazing range of beautifully crafted cards including the Prestige Standard Index deck which have been used in a large majority of the last poker tournaments.
The amount of thought and work that is put into the design behind a poker table is incredible to say that poker is a game that can be played on almost any surface. Poker tables have slowly become luxurious items that are covered in felt, LEDs and exotic woods.
This article over on allthingspoker.org shows just a few examples of exactly how much these things can vary and how amazing they can look when made by someone who knows what they’re doing.
Poker chips or tokens have been used in casinos since the 1880s. They are one of the most important elements of a game of poker, since it is after all the currency replacement that the game uses. For this very reason, a lot of thought is put into the design process, especially in the bigger tournaments.
Pro poker games usually use clay composite chips that have an incredible amount of detail put into the design process. From the imagery on the chips themselves, right down to getting the weight of the chip exactly right so that they make a “clink” sound when being used on the table, they are and incredible feat of design.