How Many Cards are in a Deck?

<p>AP Photos</p>

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Andrew CunninghamAugust 26, 2022 at 10:59 PM

There are plenty of things you should know before you enter a Casino to gamble. What is the house edge, the best and worst games to play, written and unwritten rules, etc. However, one vital piece of information you will need is: how many cards are in a standard casino deck of cards?

The History of Playing Cards

We have to go all the way back to the ninth century to find the origin of playing cards. As far as we know, they were invented in China during this time. This could be incorrect, however, to date the earliest recorded existence of playing cards goes back to this time.

The first ever card game was referred to as the leaf game and was played by the Chinese elite during the Tang Dynasty. Eventually, the concept of playing cards would spread to Italy and then quickly to the entirety of Europe. While today playing cards are thought of as cheap and disposable, back then they were incredibly expensive and only the richest social classes could afford the cards.

With the invention of the printing press, the cost to manufacture playing cards would be significantly reduced. Now, discussions about standard uniform decks of cards would emerge. It would take centuries for a blueprint that everyone could agree on to appear. Today, we have the standard deck, but there are still variations on card decks that people all around the world use for various games.

The Standard Card Deck

Now, let’s talk about the standard card deck that we most commonly see used today. This deck contains 52 cards; 13 of each suit. 13 clubs, 13 diamonds, 13 hearts, and 13 spades. Each suit will contain the same 13 cards, just different suit sets. Numbered face cards going from 2-10, one Jack, one Queen, one King, and one Ace. Typically, the numbered cards are as valuable as their printed number (a No. 10 card is greater than a No. 5 card, etc).

The Jack, Queen, and King (also known as face cards because they have faces) are usually going to be more valuable than number cards. From smallest to largest, the hierarchy is Jack, Queen, then King. The Ace card can either be the highest value card in a game, the lowest value card in a game, or switch between the two. In Aces High, for example, an Ace is considered a high card. In Cribbage it is considered a low card. In games like blackjack, the Ace can either be worth 1 or 11.

The Royal Family

As we said above, face cards are the ones that have faces on them (and the Ace). The Royal Family consists of the Jack, Queen, and King each of their own respective suits. One little-known fact about these cards is that each Royal Family card has its own human name! Check it out:

SuitJackQueenKing
ClubsLancelotArgineAlexander
DiamondsHectorRachelCaesar
HeartsLahireJudithCharles
SpadesOgierPallasDavid

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Common Questions

How Many Cards are in a Deck?

There are 52 cards in a standard deck. 40 pip (number) cards and 12 royalty cards. The royalty cards are Jack, Queen, King, and Ace. Typically, the Ace is the highest value card, but it can be interchangeable.

How Many Aces are in a Deck?

Each deck will contain just four Aces, one for each suit in the deck. When playing a table game with a single deck of cards, the odds of drawing an Ace at any time are 1/26.

There is a wide variety of card games available to be played with a standard deck! The list is quite long and new games are invented all the time!

  • Ambition
  • Bridge
  • Casino
  • Cheat
  • Cribbage
  • Gin Rummy
  • Go Fish
  • Hearts
  • Lamarckian Poker
  • Mao
  • Napoleon
  • Oh Hell!
  • Pitch
  • Poker
  • Rummy
  • Slap Jack
  • Spades
  • Whist
  • Big Two
  • Dou Dizhu
  • Werewolf


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