Normal playing cards usually come in four flavours, or suits
. They have been in use
since around 1470
, when French
card manufacturers redesigned the
system using leaves, acorns, hearts and bells.
In some games the order of the suits does matter, but the order
differs from game to game. For example, in Preference the order is
(ascending) spades, clubs, diamonds, hearts while in Contract
Bridge it is clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades.
Most decks also contain two or three jokers. It's not entirely
clear when jokers were introduced, but it seems to stem from when
german immigrants introduced the game Euchre to America. Euchre
used a special card which eventually became the joker.