A playing card is a typically hand-sized piece of heavy paper or thin plastic used for playing card games. A complete set of cards is a pack or deck. Playing cards are often used as props in magic tricks, as well as occult practices such as cartomancy, and a number of card games involve (or can be used to support) gambling. As a result, their use sometimes meets with disapproval from some religious groups (such as a minority of conservative Christians). They are also a popular collectible (as distinct from the cards made specifically for collectible trading card games). Specialty and novelty decks are commonly produced for collectors, often with political, cultural, or educational themes. One side of each card (the “front” or “face”) carries markings that distinguish it from the others and determine its use under the rules of the particular game being played, while the other side (the “back”) is identical for all cards, usually a plain color or abstract design. In most games, the cards are assembled into a “deck” (or “pack”), and their order is randomized by a procedure called “shuffling” to provide an element of chance in the game.
Some typical Anglo-American playing cards.
Playing card symbols in Unicode
The Unicode standard defines 8 characters for card suits in the Miscellaneous Symbols block, from U+2660 to U+2667:
|U+2660 dec: 9824||U+2661 dec: 9825||U+2662 dec: 9826||U+2663 dec: 9827|
|BLACK SPADE SUIT||WHITE HEART SUIT||WHITE DIAMOND SUIT||BLACK CLUB SUIT|
|U+2664 dec: 9828||U+2665 dec: 9829||U+2666 dec: 9830||U+2667 dec: 9831|
|WHITE SPADE SUIT||BLACK HEART SUIT||BLACK DIAMOND SUIT||WHITE CLUB SUIT|
There is also a proposal by Michael Everson, dated 2004-05-18 to encode the 52 cards of the Anglo-American-French deck together with a character for “Playing Card Back” and another for a joker. 
- Parlett, David. The Oxford Guide to Card Games. 1990. ISBN 0-19-214165-1.
Set of 52 playing cards
- Manchester University playing card FAQ
- Online Tarot and Playing Card Museum
- History of the design of the court cards
- Courts on playing cards
- Deck of playing cards in SVG
- Deck of playing cards in .fla and .png