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Symmetrical playing cards – by Michele Leone

Posted on 22 July 2010

leggi in italiano » 

These are the new playing cards with symmetrical symbols for spades, hearts and clubs. They were introduced a few years ago on both a national and an international level.

The Italian Bridge Federation has used them in its various tournaments for about three years; we hope that private clubs, at least for tournaments of a certain level, will use them also, and we’ll see why.

Ask a simple question: why was this modification made?

Really there is no need for an explanation, analyzing step by step actually we should ask how we got to the year 2000 without a drastic intervention: this obviously involves the manufacturers.

The suits most affected are spades, hearts and clubs. The diamond symbol remains unchanged. The cards most affected are the odd numbered cards: 1 (ace), 3, 5, 7, 9 while the only even numbered card is the 6. The position of the suit signs on the card has also been changed. All the 7’s,including diamonds, are affected.

The total number of traditional cards which can be used to give illegal information is 19, too many! For the ace of spades the situation is really so tragic it’s funny. Let’s see a few examples.

In the traditional cards the anomaly is the center symbol. The ace can be played with the point down or up, each of these situations with a specific illicit meaning. It’s also possible to give further information playing the card in a horizontal position. With the new symmetrical symbol on the cards this maneuver is no longer possible.



Note the orientation of the central symbol: the same as above. What can we say: there are players who play this card with so much love!




In the traditional cards the main anomaly is the position of the central symbol. The card can be played with the symbol down or up, or alternatively right or left. This is valid for all the 7’s, including diamonds.




The club suit is also involved, even though less visible then the other suits. Note the central symbol of the new cards. You should beware of careful observers of partner’s cards, and .. slow play.



Take a deck of cards and check it all out!

Watch the full graphical analysis of the playing cards »



Michele Leone was born in Gallarate in 1947. He is an accredited bridge instructor with the Federation and has been teaching bridge for more than twenty years. In 1995 he founded the Multimedial Bridge School. He organizes and directs the “Città di Milano” international tournaments.

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