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An example of this is in auction games such as bridge , where if one player wishes to bid to make some number of heart tricks and another to make the same number of diamond tricks, there must be a mechanism to determine which takes precedence in the bidding order. As there is no truly standard way to order the four suits, each game that needs to do so has its own convention; however, the ubiquity of bridge has gone some way to make its ordering a de facto standard.

The pairing of suits is a vestigial remnant of Ganjifa , a game where half the suits were in reverse order, the lower cards beating the higher. In Ganjifa, progressive suits were called "strong" while inverted suits were called "weak". In Latin decks, the traditional division is between the long suits of swords and clubs and the round suits of cups and coins. This pairing can be seen in Ombre and Tarot card games. German and Swiss suits lack pairing but French suits maintained them and this can be seen in the game of Spoil Five.

In some games, such as blackjack , suits are ignored.


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In other games, such as Canasta , only the color red or black is relevant. In yet others, such as bridge, each of the suit pairings are distinguished. Fundamentally, there are three ways to divide four suits into pairs: by color , by rank and by shape resulting in six possible suit combinations. Some decks, while using the French suits, give each suit a different color to make the suits more distinct from each other. In bridge , such decks are known as no- revoke decks, and the most common colors are black spades, red hearts, blue diamonds and green clubs, although in the past the diamond suit usually appeared in a golden yellow-orange.

A pack occasionally used in Germany uses green spades comparable to leaves , red hearts, yellow diamonds comparable to bells and black clubs comparable to acorns. This is a compromise deck devised to allow players from East Germany who used German suits and West Germany who adopted the French suits to be comfortable with the same deck when playing tournament Skat after the German reunification. Numerous variations of the card French deck have existed over the years.

Most notably, Tarot Nouveau has a separate trump suit in addition to the four suits; however it is a series of cards of a different number and style than the suited cards. There have been many attempts at expanding the French deck to five, six or even more suits where the additional suits have the same number and style of cards as the French suits, but none have attained lasting popularity.

In addition to the four standard French suits, it had two additional suits, red crosses and black bullets. The bullets of that period were spherical, hence the pip was a circle. Five-suit bridge was an international fad lasting from the summer of to the summer of which led to a number of decks produced for it in Austria, Britain, and the United States. Previously, Five Star Playing Cards poker sized were manufactured by Five Star Games, which had a gold colored fifth suit of five pointed stars.

The court cards are almost identical to the diamond suit in a Gemaco Five-Star deck. Five-suit decks using the Star suit are still in print in differing designs through vendors such as Stardeck and Newton's Novelties. Cadaco manufactured a game Tripoley Wild with a fifth suit and other Wild Cards which contain pips of all four standard suits hearts, diamonds, spades, and clubs on one card.

That poker sized deck is not sold separately, but as part of boxed game.

Symbolism in Playing Cards (ft. Card Bandit)

The Cinco-Loco fifth suit uses a complicated pattern, with color designs in a repeating circular series of pentagrams with four traditional suits in a four color pattern, inner circles get increasingly smaller, the fifth symbol in the circle of pentagrams is a yellow pentagram. There are then a total of ten symbols in each of the outer and repeated in inner circles. The other suits use a four-color design. A commercially available five-suit poker card deck is Stardeck which introduces stars as a fifth suit.

playing cards

In the Stardeck cards, the fifth suit is colored a mixture of black and red. This fifth suit can be counted as either a Red or a Black suit dependent upon the game being played. There are also 2 special cards or Jokers , 1 each of red and black and shown with that colour star in the corner, but no numeral or letter. Estate Playing Cards designed in , is a contemporary five-suit card deck which adds a fifth suit estate called Waves. Estate cards signifies the five estates identified as Waves green , Hearts red , Diamonds orange , Clubs blue and Spades black.

The three Royals are replaced with two Family - Man and Woman. Jokers are replaced with Imperials Pope and President. Most games can be played, however they become more involved. Estate Poker has 5,, possible hands with Family Flush as the lowest probability and new hands such as Five of a Kind. The deck contains 3 Jokers but does not contain aces or twos, making the card count per deck Two blue suits are added to the standard four: Rackets being a pair of crossed tennis rackets, and Wheels from a ship's steering wheel design.

Another out of print six-suited card deck of poker sized playing cards is the Empire Deck, introduced in It has three red suits and three black suits, introducing crowns in red and anchors in black as in the dice game Crown and Anchor. Deck6 is a six-suited deck with three red suits hearts, diamonds, shields , three black suits clubs, spades, cups and three jokers total 81 cards.

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Playing cards: Origins of Names, Symbols and Suits - Numericana

The K6T deck is a six-suited card deck of poker sized playing cards. The traditional suits are colored green clubs and orange diamonds and are completed with blue moons and purple stars. The courts are representing chess symbols. More ranks, , are sometimes added. This deck was originally created to allow more players in a game of euchre. A large number of games are based around a deck in which each card has a rank and a suit usually represented by a color , and for each suit there is exactly one card having each rank, though in many cases the deck has various special cards as well.


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Decks for some games are divided into suits, but otherwise bear little relation to traditional games. An example would be the board game Taj Mahal , in which each card has one of four background colors, the rule being that all the cards played by a single player in a single round must be the same color. The selection of cards in the deck of each color is approximately the same and the player's choice of which color to use is guided by the contents of their particular hand.

Enigmatic origins-from East to West

In the trick-taking card game Flaschenteufel " The Bottle Imp " , all cards are part of a single sequence ranked from 1 to 37 but split into three suits depending on its rank. For this reason every card in the deck has a different number to prevent ties. A further strategic element is introduced since one suit contains mostly low-ranking cards and another, mostly high-ranking cards. Any one of these four classifications could be considered a suit , but this is not really enlightening in terms of the structure of the game. Several people have invented decks which are not meant to be seriously played.

The Cripple Mr. Onion deck uses eight fictional suits, but may be simulated by combining the standard French suits with the traditional Latin suited ones or by using a modern 8-suited deck. The Discordian deck is a parody of the Tarot deck, its five suits corresponding to the five Discordian elements. The card game of sabacc from the Star Wars universe has the suits of staves, flasks, sabers, and coins similar to Latin suits , with cards ranked one through fifteen, plus two each of eight other cards which have no suit. In World of Warcraft , there are cards that randomly drop from humanoid enemies.

Initially, this was limited to the ace through eight of the suits of Elementals, Beasts, Warlords, and Portals. A later content patch added the suits of Lunacy, Storms, Furies, and Blessings. German single-figure packs habitually carried delightful vignettes of genre scenes at the base of the numeral cards-usually lost when packs became double-ended. How all these variations on the basic idea came about is not fully understood.

One plausible theory is that some of them arose from midunderstandings due to language differences, which resulted in something like visual puns. Alongside the evolution of these traditional designs, in most countries there have also been persistent efforts to publish more fanciful cards, either as artistic essays, or with some purpose other than simple card-playing: for example, instruction, propaganda, or even amusement.

Following a French initiative, England in the late 17th and early 18th century produced a range of very idiosyncratic packs of cards of this type. But other countries, such as Germany and Austria, became the chief 19th-century producers of packs of fanciful cards meant for use in card games in polite society. Tarot - a diversion The study of the development of playing-cards has further been bedevilled by overmuch attention to tarot packs. To the best of our knowledge, the first packs of cards in Europe comprised 52 cards in four Italian-type suits each with three court cards king, knight, and foot-servant , and were used for games of skill involving trick-taking, as well as for gambling games, which were often prohibited.

Very soon, the idea of adding extra cards to act as permanent trumps came into being, and the tarot pack was born. At the same time a queen was interpolated between the king and the knight, so that, with the extra 22 non-suited cards, a pack of 78 cards was created. Such packs have continued to be used for their original purpose right through to the present day. In the course of their long life, many variations have been tried: the pack has been extended to 97 cards for Minchiate by adding more trumps; shortened to 63 cards by dropping low-value numeral cards; converted to using French suit-signs; shortened to 54 and 42 cards by dropping numerals; but always with the object of playing trick-taking games.

Many of these variants are still in use for just that purpose. Cartomancy and the occult It is the choice of subjects for the trump cards which has been the focus for so much attention by both scholars and occultists. Though playing-card historians still do not have a satisfactory explanation of the sequence of subjects, many of the occultist theories have been discredited.

For instance, the tarot pack was known in Europe in the early 15th century, before the arrival of the gypsies. This rules out the proposed connection with Egypt first put forward in , which forms the foundation for much of the later occult speculation. The earliest known use of Tarot packs for fortune telling was in Bologna, around , using an entirely different system of meanings, and the use of ordinary packs of playing-cards for cartomancy does not date from much earlier than this.

Unfortunately, some occultists and cartomanciers continue to ignore these facts. Tarot gets a new look With the conversion of the tarot pack to the French suit-system, the trump cards, with their no longer understood imagery, were replaced by other sequences of pictures: animals, mythological subjects, genre scenes. The value of each trump card was now indicated by a large numeral the forerunner of corner-indices , so that the pictures had no function other than decoration. However, a few sets of pictures found favour with card players, and gradually the range of such tarot packs narrowed down.

The playing-card picture-gallery The use of pictures on tarot trumps was eventually copied in a modern development of the older idea of 'pictured' cards. Indeed, a couple of tarot packs actually started life as normal packs of cards with pictures instead of pips on the numeral cards. The success of this idea was dependent on the introduction of corner-indices-an American innovation which was surprisingly late in being introduced in view of much earlier experiments in that field.

In America, around the turn of the century it was exploited in order to turn photographs of scenery into souvenir packs intended to promote the joys of rail travel. And such packs were further distinguished by colourful pictorial designs on the backs of the cards-which have lately become collected for their own sake. Main article: German playing cards. See also: Four-color deck. This section contains information of unclear or questionable importance or relevance to the article's subject matter. Please help improve this section by clarifying or removing indiscriminate details. If importance cannot be established, the section is likely to be moved to another article, pseudo-redirected , or removed.

This article appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated references to popular culture. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture, providing citations to reliable, secondary sources , rather than simply listing appearances. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. April This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Hearts card game Spades card game Stripped deck.

The suit system may have originated in Catalonia and spread out through the western Mediterranean before being replaced by the "Spanish" system. The association with Portugal comes from the fact that they continued to use it until completely going over to French suits at the beginning of the 20th century. However, when comparing only the pips, it is Germanic.

Cards combining the two suit systems are manufactured in different versions with different combinations of suits. Clubs are also known as clovers, flowers and crosses. The English term spade originally did not refer to the tool but was derived from the Spanish word espada meaning sword from the Spanish suit. Those symbols were later changed to resemble the digging tool instead to avoid confusion. In German and Dutch the suit is alternatively named Schippen and schoppen respectively, meaning shovels.

The Oxford Guide to Card Games.

Playing card suit

Oxford: Oxford University Press. Games classified by type of cards or tiles used at pagat. Retrieved 24 March The Playing-Card. Retrieved 2 July Games played with Latin suited cards at pagat. Retrieved 10 November Retrieved 26 March Italian renaissance woodcut playing cards at old. Liechtenstein'sches Spiel at trionfi. The Game of Tarot. London: Duckworth. Card Games: Tarot Games at pagat.

Marco Tempest tells the secret story of a deck of cards

Mechanics of Card Games at pagat. Ganjifa, The Playing Cards of India. London: Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 12 December Packs with extra suits at pagat. Retrieved 1 February Osprey Publishing. Playing cards. Categories : Card suits Playing cards Contract bridge. Hidden categories: CS1 German-language sources de Articles containing Chinese-language text All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from June Wikipedia articles needing clarification from January Articles with trivia sections from April Articles needing additional references from April All articles needing additional references.

Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. This article contains suit card Unicode characters. Without proper rendering support , you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols. Italian [a]. Cups Coppe. Coins Denari. Clubs Bastoni. Swords Spade. Spanish [b]. Cups Copas. Coins Oros.

Clubs Bastos. Swords Espadas. Swiss-German [f]. Roses [g]. Bells [h]. Acorns [i]. Shields [j].