A playing card is a piece of specially prepared card stock , heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper , cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic that is marked with distinguishing motifs. Often the front face and back of each card has a finish to make handling easier. They are most commonly used for playing card games , and are also used in magic tricks , cardistry ,   card throwing ,  and card houses ; cards may also be collected. The most common type of playing card is that found in the French-suited , standard card pack , of which the most common design is the English pattern , [a] followed by the Belgian-Genoese pattern. Tarot cards also known locally as Tarocks or tarocchi are an old genre of playing card that is still very popular in France, central and Eastern Europe and Italy. Asia, too, has regional cards such as the Japanese hanafuda.