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A playing card is a typically hand-sized rectangular (in India, round) 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 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.
Card magic is the art of creating illusions with a packet (or deck) of playing cards.