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The Deck


Introduction

A deck of cards usually contains at least 52 cards in a pack. It consists of at least 13 values in 4 suits. These cards are usually stored inside a cardboard box.

The Card

A card usually contains the following: index and suits. These cards are usually made of paper, called cardstock, and are usually coated in plastic. One problem with plastic coated paper cards is that they don't usually last very long, since they could easily be torn or marked.

The most popular material used for cards is 100% plastic. Plastic playing cards are used mostly in casino card rooms for poker games. Unlike paper cards, these cards couldn't get marked, bent, or torn, and may last for a very long time. One drawback is that they usually cost more that paper cards. One deck could cost around $8 - $15 dollars, while paper cards usually cost around $1 - $5 dollars.

The Index


Regular Index card

Jumbo Index card

The index is the number value of the card. This determines what rank this card is. Some are numbered, usually from 2 - 10. While others are ranked J (Jack), Q (Queen), K (King), and A (Ace). Usually, these rank higher than the numbers.

In some decks, the indexes are large. These indexes are used for people that are near sighted. These types of indexes are called Jumbo Index. One problem with this is not many people, mainly card magicians, like the look of Jumbo Indexes.

There are some casinos in Europe that don't use indexes on their cards. You usually see these cards played in Baccarat rooms, like in the James Bond movies. It seems that the reason is because they want to make the game look more high class.


The Suits

The suit is the symbol of the card. This symbol represents one of the groups in a deck. The most common suits use in playing cards are the hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades. There are other parts of the world that use different suits. The table below shows these other suits that other countries use.

French/Anglo-American Hearts

Heart

Clubs

Club

Diamonds

Diamond

Spades

Spade

Italian Cups

Cup

Batons

Baton

Coins

Coin

Swords

Sword

German German Hearts

Heart

Acorns

Acorn

Bells

Bell

German Leaves

Leaf

Swiss Rose

Rose

Swiss Acorn

Acorn

Swiss Bell

Bell

Shield

Shield

Usually, the hearts and the diamonds are red, and the clubs and spades are black. But there are decks that give each suit a different color. These decks are usually called four-color decks, or no revoke decks. These decks help poker players read flushes easily and prevent bridge players from playing the wrong suit. The hearts are still red. The clubs are green. The diamonds are blue, but sometimes yellow in bridge decks. The spades are still black. You can usually get these decks online.

Court Card Court Card Name
Jack of Hearts La Hire
Queen of Hearts Judith
King of Hearts Charles
Jack of Clubs Lancelot
Queen of Clubs Argine
King of Clubs Alexandre
Jack of Diamonds Hector
Queen of Diamonds Rachel
King of Diamonds Casar
Jack of Spades Hogier
Queen of Spades Pallas
King of Spades David

The Court Cards

Court cards, or face cards, are usually 3 or 4 picture cards of each of the four suits. In standard decks, its usually a jack, queen, or king. In Tarot, a fourth court card, called the cavilier or knight, is added.

Back in the 15th Century, French decks usually assign names to the face cards. These cards are usually called the Paris Patterns. These court cards are usually named after historic or mythological figures. The table on the right are the names of these court cards.

Below is a table of what other countries call their court cards.

Anglo-American

Jack

Queen

King

French

Valet

Dame

Roi

Italian

Fante

Cavaliere

Re

German

Bube

Dame

König

Swiss

Under

Ober (Over)

König

Trumps

The trump cards is basically a special suit in tarot games. They consist of 21 cards numbered from 1 to 21 and one card called the Fool. These cards can out trick any of the normal suited cards, but are usually played if you can't make a trick with a normal suited card. They are also known as the major arcanea in the fortune telling world, while the normal suited cards are called the minor arcanea. The following is a list of the Trump cards normally seen in an Italian Tarot pack:

The Tarot pack in France don't use these pictures in the trump cards. The picture in the trumps depict 19th century life, and are no way related to the occult or fortune telling. This type of deck is called the Tarot Nouveau, and can be purchased at this site. A comedian once said:

Last night I played poker with tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. -Steven Wright

Won't happen with a Tarot Nouveau deck. :p

Other Cards

Most deck will include extra cards. The most popular one is usually 2 jokers. These cards usually represent wild cards in most games or a card that's higher than a jack in trick taking games like Five Hundred. Most of these jokers are depicted as a jester.

Other extra cards are usually blank face cards used for cutting cards, ad cards that advertises a site or card game related products, or rules for a game like poker or bridge. If you are lucky, some of these non joker extra cards usually have the same back as a regular card and can also be used for many games.

Types of Decks

Some card games usually have 48 or 63 cards in a deck. Others may need more than one deck of cards, like Canasta or Blackjack. Below are the type of decks used for certain games.

Note: Decks will be displayed in 4 color suits.

Standard Deck (52+ Cards)

The standard 52 + 2 Jokers deck. Some may include other cards, like poker hands or a blank card, but may have the same back as the other cards.


Pinochle Deck (48 Cards)

Contains 2 copies of 9s, 10, Js, Qs, Ks, and As of each suit. Mostly used in pinochle or Euchre.


Piquet Deck (32 Cards)

A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, and 7 of each suit. This deck is available mostly in France.


Jass Deck (36 Cards)

A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6 of each suit. Mostly available in Switzerland for the game Jass. In some Jass decks, the 10 is depicted as a Banner.


Six Handed Five Hundred Deck (63+ Cards)

At least contains an A, K, Q, J, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2 of each suit, plus 13s for heart and diamond suit, plus at least one joker. One deck, called the Two2Six deck, includes 13s for the club and spade suit, plus 5 more jokers, and can be bought at Newt's Games. Normal Five Hundred decks can be obtained on eBay.


Tarot Deck (78+ Cards)

Has 78 cards (14 value cards of each suit + 21 trumps + fool) total. Some deck may contain cover card and point value card, which may have the same back as the other cards.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia (2004, January 24). Playing card. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playing_card
  2. Parlett, David. Dictionary of Card Games. 2nd. London, England: Magpie Books, 2005. Print.
  3. Parlett, D. (2006). Parlett on Skat. Retrieved from http://www.davidparlett.co.uk/skat/skatcrds.html

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