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Why Are There Jokers In A Deck Of Playing Cards?

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The joker is an obscure and (according to some) useless addition to a deck of modern playing cards -- but it was originally a powerful card. Discover the history of the joker card and the modern card deck in this episode of BrainStuff. Whether the topic is popcorn or particle physics, you can count on the HowStuffWorks team to explore - and explain - the everyday science in the world around us on BrainStuff. Watch More BrainStuff on TestTube http://testtube.com/brainstuff Subscribe Now! http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=brainstuffshow Watch More http://www.youtube.com/BrainStuffShow Twitter http://twitter.com/BrainStuffHSW Facebook http://facebook.com/BrainStuff Google+ http://gplus.to/BrainStuff
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Text Comments (174)
Llama Loca (1 day ago)
Guga Kuprashvili (5 days ago)
joker is a card game popular in sng countrys
Brandon Pea (11 days ago)
xSOUNDWAVEx (1 month ago)
BLOOPsuperjuice (2 months ago)
there even is a game called joker in my country and it's really often played
jestrada (3 months ago)
The background about the Joker is correct. But it is not correct that playing cards originated from the Tarot deck. The Tarot cards we actually an addition to the 52 card deck, and intended as extra trump cards - they were never originally used for occultic purposes.
papaya mango (4 months ago)
Dont you use the joker in old maid?
John Cats (5 months ago)
IZRAEL (7 months ago)
If the front pawn = 1 card The officer = 2 cards In the game of chess = 48 cards Joker said that..
SlashZ890 (8 months ago)
The joker is the strongest card in this game.
Isayah Gonzales (9 months ago)
in the thumb nail there is a joker card and there is a song with that to plz can someone find the song i am looking for
Noah Vosen (11 months ago)
You instantly reminded me of Christian Bale. Cool.
Phuc Hoang (1 year ago)
Joker to me is overpowered.
John Edelson (1 year ago)
Playing cards pre date tarot cards. The joker was probably created for euchre.  He's interesting but wrong. I think jokers are for collecting! http://www.amusedbyjokersami.com
Smokey 420 (1 year ago)
The Joker is wild.
Buzz McFly (1 year ago)
Music's too loud dag nabbit
What a crappy video
SOGGYZ (1 year ago)
I Thought It Was To Be For When You Lose A Card, The Joker Would Act As That Lost Card.
OscarR0_ (1 year ago)
So we have jokers in all decks in the world today because it was needed for one game in britain? Not sure if I buy that
Hunter Mirr (1 year ago)
1:12 Well, we know who's responsible for Trump now *cough* Josh Clark *cough cough*
manifestasisanubari (1 year ago)
And you look a little like Batman XD
Dan Simpson (1 year ago)
interesting that bicycle's joker mimics the original.
j2times2006 (2 years ago)
Some people call me the space cowboy. Some call me the gangster of love. Some people call me Maurice........
marios gianopoulos (2 months ago)
Some people call me the reaper Some call me the violet gangster And some people call me...weaboo...loli slayer......
Stewart Armstrong (2 years ago)
Yeah... But.... Why is it still a card?
Admiral Percy (2 years ago)
Bowyer makes bows.
Nido Hime (2 years ago)
Because it always laughing at you.
Let us not forget about Bid Whist!
Peter Gallivan (2 years ago)
you missed the game its still used in today gin rummy where its the meld card it can play any other card.
Mahlercougar (2 years ago)
When I was little I honestly thought that the Joker card was simply a "Placeholder" card , Meaning that If you have a deck of cards and , lets say you lost your 7 of Diamonds. I used to believe that you can substitute the joker for the 7 of Diamonds so your deck will be complete again..imho ;)
steel bear slayer (2 years ago)
Look at the rules of an Armenian game called 11 that is the translation in Armenian it is tasnumeck
Finn The Human (2 years ago)
i was left unsatisfied with the answer
Fear Kratos (2 years ago)
good 4 you Glenn cocoa
Leonard Asarnoj (2 years ago)
I agree
Invisible Lead Soup (2 years ago)
Why so serious?
CottonCandy Bear (2 years ago)
Fear Kratos (2 years ago)
Bermuda'z Smith (3 years ago)
he looks like Christian Bale (In my Batman voice)
Chuckaluck Too (3 years ago)
A couple of card games namely Spades and Bid Whist actually require the Jokers as without them, these two games can't be played. Jokers are essential to these games.
Rafael Lopez (3 years ago)
This history isn't accurate at all. Other commenters agree: Tarot cards came after playing cards, and I'm not sure about this part, but I think the guy is also wrong about the origin of the joker itself, or at least omitting important stuff.
Simon opdebeeck (3 years ago)
modern playing cards did NOT evolve from the tarot deck, rather, its the other way around.
Ako Oloui (3 years ago)
Though I don't know a lot about cards yet, one thing strikes me: How is it possible to produce so much rubbish in only 1 minute 42 seconds.
BariumCobaltNitrog3n (3 years ago)
Poker in the front, liquor in the rear.
Jonny Easton (3 years ago)
Josh Clark is so loveable! more from him please
Jennifer Turner (3 years ago)
It's GO fish, dummy
Pedroyellow (1 year ago)
ooh, bet he's quaking in fear after hearing that one.
Matthew Baldwin (4 years ago)
Uh, yeah, no. Playing cards have been around longer than tarot cards.
Nathan Williams (3 years ago)
I've always heard that divining by tarot is fairly recent, too. Maybe their researchers got confused because the old school playing deck looks more like modern Tarot cards than modern playing cards. But in any case, the Tarot deck was redesigned in the last hundred or so years, so it still isn't really true.
OPlegends (4 years ago)
Music a bit too loud.
Sausage Mahoney (4 years ago)
The way he speaks reminds me of Steve Brule. For Your Health.
Borat Sagdiyev (4 years ago)
There are Jokers in a deck of playing cards because some games require them. Simple as that.
Andrew Roberts (4 years ago)
I thought they where called jacks?
Yuck Fooh (4 years ago)
It's pronounced "bower", not "bower"!
Divinusmortalis (4 years ago)
This video doesn't explain why they picked the joker as a replacement to the Bower. Otherwise, neat video.
Danial Gosse (4 years ago)
i hate this guy what a boring voice he has
Mood Music (4 years ago)
dude ur tone is like sooooo fucking boring...though what ur saying is good stuff, the way u do ur videos just bore the crap outa me.....plz get a more enthused individual...
lars tynning (4 years ago)
i always make the joker into a lost card
Guy Manley (4 years ago)
I keep on thinking I'm going to hear the Scam School Intro after Test Tube.
Wayne Shaw (4 years ago)
Wow, You people really have no idea how to play Euchre. There are only the Right and Left Bauers; there is no third Bauer. From what I have seen, BrainStuff, you had better find a really really good fact checker. There are way too many errors in your videos.
Nathaniël Pranger (4 years ago)
Thank you old British people who invented that card. Without you we wouldn't have the joker card. Without the joker card the DC guys would have never made up the Joker. And then the Dark Knight wouldn't have been nearly as awesome!
StygianTraveler141 (3 years ago)
Actually, the Joker was inspired by The Man Who Laughs :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Who_Laughs_(1928_film)
dlwatib (4 years ago)
From wikipedia: The United States introduced the joker into the deck. The stylings of the joker and its function are almost identical to the Fool from the original French Tarot deck, which had been removed in the transformation to the standard 52-card French Pack. It was devised for the game of Euchre, which spread from Europe to America beginning shortly after the American Revolutionary War. In Euchre, the highest trump card is the Jack of the trump suit, called the right bower (or bauer); the second-highest trump, the left bower, is the Jack of the suit of the same color as trumps. The joker was invented c. 1870 as a third trump, the best bower, which ranked higher than the other two bowers. The name of the card is believed to derive from juker, a variant name for Euchre.
David Senatsky (4 years ago)
Man I think I fell asleep during that 10 minute video of yours.
Alex McMillan (4 years ago)
Wow... is this guy like, alive?  I've heard refrigerators that have a wider vocal range.  I think I've finally found a replacement for my sleeping medication...
onezerooneone1 (3 years ago)
haha, my refrigerator just made a noise as I was reading your comment :)
alex Moon (4 years ago)
u can replace up 2 cards u lost with the jocker
pinochska (4 years ago)
why are you always so unexcited in your videos? eat some sugar or do some cocaine man.. you are making me fall a asleep..  good info through
Billy Bob (4 years ago)
one version of one game is the reason why they still print jokers??  hmm... idk if i like that explanation
Ryan Chavarria (4 years ago)
I can dig this channel.. Thumbs up bruh!
Mondy M. (4 years ago)
Your background music is louder than the talking head, hence the information being said is drowned by the music. What a lousy video production.
Blake Grice (4 years ago)
did you say "gold fish"?
StygianTraveler141 (3 years ago)
Maaaaaaybe he meant the Laughing Fish. Hee-hee!
Eric Lu (4 years ago)
Coffee Sloth (4 years ago)
I thought Jokers were included for Canasta.... But I have no idea if I'm even in the ballpark.
Juan Dela Cruz (4 years ago)
I've always thought the Joker functions as a 'blank' card. Meaning if you're playing poker and you pull one of the jokers, you can use it as  best you can by saying what card it represents. What we usually do is we remove the deuce of clubs and diamonds and use the two jokers. That will literally add a 'wildcard' in your poker game. Sometimes, when you happen to lose a card or two from the deck, you can also use the Jokers as replacement. Just write on it what card it should be 'emulating'.
John Edelson (4 years ago)
Jokers are there to be collected! http://jokercollection.blogspot.com/
forest20 (4 years ago)
This answered jack shit u joker
Michael Lewis (4 years ago)
Always wondered about the Joker card and why some people joke about winning when they toss it out. The connection to Taro cards was interesting. The end was the kicker though: "Or just watch brain stuff videos all day. No one's stopping you." Lol! How did you know? Your target demographic read my future!
ravencourt (4 years ago)
I love playing Euchre
Jean-Adrien Oikonomou (4 years ago)
I've been playing Biriba and Jokers REALLY matter in that ! Biriba is known as Canasta in the rest of Europe
jose herrera (4 years ago)
i thought they are wild cards in certain games.
Michael Dady (4 years ago)
As a marine in Iraq we played a game called spades an we used both jokers in that game.
Adore Ashton (4 years ago)
He kind of sounds like Ray Romano :)
Jackson Bittner (4 years ago)
I thought in old maid you used a joker... is that not right? its the only one without a pair
Roly Masias (5 years ago)
That was so helpful, said no one ever
kronosx7 (5 years ago)
Yeah, he sounds like he's poorly reading cue cards for the first time. Not well read at all.
hidawny90 (5 years ago)
He's actually one of my favorites on here. He gets to the point and is clear about it. I think he's funny sometimes even if he means to be or not! :)
Tatara (5 years ago)
rummy is not equally popular everywhere on the world. here where i live its pretty much the only game besides poker we play with cards tho
anikoustos2 (5 years ago)
SharpEye (5 years ago)
Actually enjoyed his narrating more then others.
KSSXerxes Channel (5 years ago)
'Gold fish?' Go fish.
hellterminator (5 years ago)
Not involved in card games?! Come on! Don't tell me you've never played rummy!
feelingthefunk (5 years ago)
did you say gold fish???? go fish...
Irvin S (5 years ago)
The repeated practice of tradition doesn't always translate rationally into the present, instead they carry over through time just because that's how society became used to it. Look at cultures anywhere around the world. In this case, I guess this implies that card manufacturers carried on the practice of producing a deck with Jokers - the video just explains where the Joker came from.
Shawn Knox (5 years ago)
They did, if you were listening, it plays an important rule in the british card game called "Euchre". Listening skills people. Come on. lol They put it in there so people who wish to play "Euchre" can.
bigboam (5 years ago)
He seems like a nice guy, but let's be honest: he's terrible at presenting these videos.
Samuel Charpentier (5 years ago)
they are involved in some games as well, playing the role of a replacement card, and so helping to win the game, inspired from the bower.
Dbobo (5 years ago)
For the 5 guys in England who still play that 300 year old game of course. . . . .and creative fodder for Comic Book writers.
Brian Cupp (5 years ago)
Euchre is a great game, it's hard to find people that know how to play it. Never played it with the Joker in there though.
anonymous n/a (2 years ago)
Brian Cupp man euchre is my favorite card game. lots of my friends played it when I was growing up.
Agent Office (5 years ago)
He never irons
Jan Lewis (5 years ago)
The game Spades uses both jokers, at least the way I learned it.
Geeta Thakur (5 years ago)
too much music....can hardly hear the content!!
MagicBeyondRealism (5 years ago)
Really interesting videos! Just subscribed! :)
Port0kal (5 years ago)
If you lose some card you type it on the joker card and it acts like the lost card its like extra card ..
Mirza U. (5 years ago)
You use Jokers to replace it with a card that you lost. For example : You're missing the 8 of hearts, then you take a Joker and write on it 8 of hearts. It's called LOGIC.
Sonic Quake 00AD (5 years ago)
Questions: do casino's have any card game involving the Joker card? Do casino's buy their card decks minus the Joker cards? Do casino's get a discount if they buy in bulk? ie: every 50 packs they buy, they might not use the Joker cards and instead get a free pack to make up for the Joker cards. Do they then recycle the Joker cards?
ZenitramNaes (5 years ago)
This channel is a joke.
louise evans (5 years ago)
Play "crazy 8st's with the *joker*, make it so the person putting it down can make it what they want ex: miss a turn, pick up 4 cards, change suit, U can think up ur own. WE do & it is more fun...
LaQuetta Boren (5 years ago)
Le Snake (5 years ago)
Well it is. Some games can't be played without the joker. I know a few. In some others it can be played as a trump card (poker for instance).
A Black Chair (5 years ago)
yeah , that is the question why is it a tradition to have them in the deck this vid shows their origin but not "Why Are There Jokers In A Deck Of Playing Cards?"

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