The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

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Issue 41; Luck of the Hand

The sound of shuffling cards, it is a noise that I love so much, the fresh pack flicking between a dealer's hand.  Shuffling cards is an art form, one I have spent hours trying to master like a professional.  Alas I am still trying.

I love playing cards, spending hours listening to music with Patience dealt out before me in its different forms.  Sitting down at private poker games with friends or a blackjack table at a casino.  It is not the gambling that draws me in, it is the playing of a game that is very much the luck of the cards you are dealt.  Like life the outcome is nearly all chance, with a little bit of skill and a whole lot of luck.  We all have seen various James Bond actors in the casino playing cards, it is always seen as the life of high society, held in high esteem that you have the money and attire to sit at one of these tables and a feeling of cool bravado to know how to play cards.  Even with the high street style casino chains and the in your face loudness of Vegas, somehow once you are at the card table the neon disappears and the cards take centre stage.

Playing cards is the end game, the purpose, but sometimes it is also about the cards you hold, not your hand but your pack.  If you use the internet you will be told the first playing cards were made in the USA, which could be true though possibly the idea came from China, but so many companies have made the playing card over the years and casinos make their own, they will never tell you where.  From the weight of the card to plastic coatings or not.  Linen cards to silver and gold leaf, there are hundreds of styles.

I like a good solid well made card at all times, it is that difference between a plastic chip and a clay one, or light to heavy, so I have two packs on hand from Theory 11, they do a James Bond deck which is always a good one for poker nights.  The feeling as they slide from your hand to the players, the poker flop, it brings me back to the noise of playing cards like the engine of an Aston Martin but in the palm of your hand.  Enough of this, time to shuffle and deal.