card games


Have you ever looked at a pack of playing card games and wondered how the face cards got their design?

Well, wonder no more because here is a little history lesson on playing cards. The four suits that we have today—clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades—originated in France around 1480. During this time, the Europeans designed the face cards to represent the European Royalty. There are, however, many theories about which historical figures the cards represent. Here is a list of who it is believed is the face on each card

Playing CardHistorical Personage
King of HeartsCharlemagne
Queen of HeartsJudith (of the Book of Judith)
Jack of HeartsLa Hire, a famous French warrior
King of SpadesKing David
Queen of SpadesAthena
Jack of SpadesOgier the Dane
King of DiamondsJulius Caesar
Queen of DiamondsRachel (of the bible)
Jack of DiamondsHector of Troy
King of ClubsAlexander the Great
Queen of ClubsArgine
Jack of ClubsLancelot

Have you ever looked closely at the differences between the Jacks, Queens, and Kings?

If you look at the Jack of Spades, Jack of Hearts, and King of Diamonds, they are all a side profile, while the rest of the face cards are a full face. The side profile card games are referred to as “one-eyed.”

The axe held by the King of Diamonds is behind his head with the blade facing towards him. He is armed with an axe while the other three kings are armed with swords. Therefore, the King of Diamonds is sometimes referred to as “the man with the axe.” This is the basis of the trump “one-eyed jacks and the man with the axe.”

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