Casino & Poker

What Are The Types of Playing Cards?

4 types of playing cards

Some of the best casino games are played using cards. If you want to enjoy a game of poker, blackjack or baccarat, you need to know the types of playing cards. Are you new to card games? Don’t panic! We’re here to help. In this article, we explain to you the types of playing cards in more detail.

The first thing you should know is that there are 52 cards in a deck of French playing cards or 54 including the 2 jokers. This is the most common deck of cards used in casinos today. So, what type of playing cards are included? The standard deck includes thirteen ranks in each of the four suits:

  • Diamonds
  • Clubs
  • Hearts
  • Spades

The deck typically includes reversible “court” or face cards. Each suit includes a king, queen, jack, ace, and numbers two through ten. Each card is shown with a symbol of its suit; for instance, the king of hearts is shown with a small heart symbol to make it distinguishable.

The standard deck has anywhere between one and six jokers, though the most common number today is two. The jokers are often more colourful than the rest of the cards so players can quickly distinguish them. While the jokers are sometimes required, they are most often removed before the game starts. Modern playing cards have index labels in all four corners or on opposite corners so they can be identified when they overlap. Having the index labels on both corners ensures they are legible for players on opposite sides.

The most popular pattern of the standard deck is referred to as the “Anglo-American” or “English” pattern. Due to the large number of possibilities from shuffling a pack of cards, it’s unlikely that two fair card shuffles have ever resulted in the same order of cards.

Other types of playing cards: Italian & Spanish Cards

While French playing cards are the most popular type used internationally, some countries choose to use their own regional cards for gambling. While these are similar to the standard French deck, none of them has 52 cards. For instance, Italian-suited and Spanish-suited decks include either 40 or 48 cards. Certain games require specific card decks, such a French tarot which requires a deck of 78 tarot cards. This game is popular all over France. The Tarok family of games is popular in countries like Hungary and Austria and requires a deck of 42 or 54 cards. The best type of playing cards will depend on which game you want to play.

Who invented the playing cards?

Playing cards were first used in China before AD1000. By 1360, they had reached Europe via the Mameluke empire of Egypt. Interestingly, the suit marks haven’t always been the hearts, spades, clubs and diamonds that we know today. The Mameluke suits were gold coins, goblets, swords and polo-sticks. As Polo was unknown in Europe back then, the polo-sticks were transformed into staves or batons, which are still the traditional suit marks of Spanish and Italian cards, along with cups, coins and swords.

In the fifteenth century, German card-makers played around with suits based on the Italian ones, eventually settling for the leaves, acorns, hearts and bells that they use today. In 1480, the French started to create playing cards using stencils. To make things easier to replicate, they simplified the German shapes into clovers, hearts, pike-heads and paving tiles. English card-makers decided to keep these basic shapes but altered the names. The Pike-head became the spade, the paving tile became the diamond and the hearts and clovers stayed as they were.

What type of playing cards are there today?

4 types of playing cards

Today, a standard deck of cards has 4 types of playing cards: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. As we mentioned earlier, the deck of cards also includes jokers, but these are typically removed before starting a game. Now, we explore the type of playing cards seen today and their nicknames:

  • Face cards/Court Cards – kings, queens and jacks are known as face cards in America because they include images of their names. In England, they are called court cards.
  • One-eyed Royals – the jack of hearts, jack of spades and king of diamonds are drawn in profile while the rest of the face cards are shown in full. Because of this, they are often referred to as “one-eyed royals”.
  • Laughing Boy – The jack of diamonds is sometimes referred to as “laughing boy”.
  • Wild cards – the phrase “acey, deucy or one-eyed jack” is sometimes used when deciding which cards are to be made wild in a game. This notifies the players that the aces, twos and one-eyed jacks are wild.
  • Suicide kings – the king of hearts usually has a sword behind his head while the king of diamonds is shown with an axe facing towards him. Because of this, they are sometimes referred to as “suicide kings”.
  • The man with the axe – the king of diamonds is usually shown with an axe, while the other kings are shown with swords. Because of this, the king of diamonds is nicknamed “the man with the axe”.
  • The bedpost queen – the queen of spades is typically shown holding a sceptre. Because of this, she is sometimes referred to as “the bedpost queen”.
  • Black lady – the queen of spades also has the nickname “black lady”. She is the only queen facing to the left.
  • Flower queen – the queen of clubs is often shown holding a flower. Because of this, she is referred to as the “flower queen”. It’s worth noting that she doesn’t always hold a flower, it just depends on the design of the deck. The Bicycle poker deck shows all queens with a flower, with the style varying between suits.

So, there you have it – the type of playing cards used today. There are 52 cards in a deck of standard playing cards, divided into 4 different suits: spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs. Want to use playing cards for yourself? You can do so here at NetBet! Whether you’re a fan of online card games or you prefer live casino games or slots, you can find something you love at our online casino.