How Many Face Cards are in a Deck? (Explained)

Playing cards are used by people all over the world to pass the time, have fun with their friends, and sharpen their minds. You know undoubtedly that excluding jokers, a deck of playing cards comprises a total of 52 cards.

playing cards

Cards with a face instead of a number are called face cards. Jacks, Queens, and Kings are the “face cards” in a deck of 52 cards because they contain images of their names on them.

In many games, a winning hand consists of face cards, therefore knowing how many there are in a deck may help you plan your next move.

But how many face cards are there, exactly? Knowing the number of face cards in a deck may help you plan your next move since they often serve as the foundation of winning hands in games.

How Many Face Cards are there in a Deck?

playing cards

There are 12 face cards in a regular 52-card deck, including four jacks, four queens, and four kings (in order of rank). These 12 playing cards are sometimes referred to as “The Court.”

36 numbered cards—four of each number from 2 to 10—and 4 aces are also included. The name “face card” exclusively refers to the jacks, queens, and kings, but some individuals consider aces to be face cards.

Each of the four suits—clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds—has a face card, and there are 13 total cards in the deck—13 face cards, 13 number cards, and an ace. 26 red cards and 26 black cards are present.

You might also have two jokers, which are occasionally utilized as wild cards to spice up the gameplay in some games but are not part of the total 52 cards. A new pack of cards should have the jokers removed if your game doesn’t require them.

Rankings of Cards

You might need a face card to finish off a strong hand, but are you confident that, even with that card, your hand will outperform everyone else’s?

We shall discuss the card rankings for some of the most well-known games, such as Five Card Draw Poker (from low to high), even though they are not applicable to all games:

  • Flush: all five cards have the same suit but not in order (K-4-10-6-Q)
  • Pair: two cards of the same number or rank (10-J-Q-Q-3)
  • Full House: a pair and three of a kind (8-8-J-J-J)
  • Straight Flush: five sequential cards, all the same suit (4-5-6-7-8)
  • High card: the highest single card in your hand (2-4-10-6-K)
  • 4 of a Kind: four cards of the same number or rank (3-3-3-3-K)
  • Straight: all five cards in consecutive order but not the same suit (2-3-4-5-6)
  • Three of a Kind: three cards of the same number or rank (K-K-K-J-5)
  • Two Pair: two sets of pairs (K-K-Q-Q-4)
  • Royal Flush: five highest cards in the deck, all the same suit (10-J-Q-K-A)

History of Playing Cards

playing cards

It’s difficult to imagine a period when people didn’t like playing cards with each other for enjoyment and gambling purposes, as it has been a part of everyday culture and presumably since the dawn of time.

Though the precise history and genesis of playing cards are unknown to us, evidence suggests they were played hundreds, probably even more than 1,000 years ago.

The concept of playing cards first appeared in China during the Tang era (618-907). Cards were utilized in drinking games or as a gambling medium throughout the Tang dynasty.

playing cards

The 52-card deck that is currently in use was not used in these games, though. The writings of a German monk by the name of Johannes contain the first conclusive proof of a 52-card deck.

Before Germans created inexpensive cards that represented daily life and were intended to be affordable, hand-crafted artisanal cards were popular among Italy’s wealthy populace.

Symbolism of Cards

playing cards

The cards we use for drinking games were designed with a lot of consideration. Understanding the reasoning behind what at first glance appears to be arbitrary numbers will help you understand the system’s intricacy and durability.

Face Card Depictions

Have you ever questioned the identities of the people shown on your playing cards? Well, a lot of people think that certain people are represented by the cards.

This may have occasionally been the case, particularly in 16th-century France. However, the figures don’t actually accurately depict any one specific person.

That doesn’t mean that attempts to assign names to each face haven’t been made. Each face card has a connection to a notable person from literature or history, including the monarchy.

Although some individuals argue over who is portrayed in one or two of the cards, the results are generally consistent. Check out the following theories as to who each face card symbolizes:

  • Jack of Hearts: Hector of Troy
  • King of Spades: King David
  • Jack of Clubs: Judas (possibly Lancelot)
  • Queen of Spades: Athena
  • Jack of Diamonds: La Hire
  • Queen of Clubs: Argine
  • Queen of Diamonds: Rachel
  • King of Diamonds: Julius Caesar
  • King of Hearts: Charlemagne (possibly Charles VII)
  • King of Clubs: Alexander the Great
  • Jack of Spades: Ogier the Dane
  • Queen of Hearts: Judith

You shouldn’t use your playing cards as a historically accurate guide for the appearance of these persons, despite the fact that it’s amusing.

Additionally, not every character’s legacy is necessarily represented by the cards. Charlamagne is represented by the King of Hearts (or possibly Charles VII).

Due to the image of the king’s head being pierced by a sword, the card earned the moniker “Suicide King.” But despite leading lengthy lives, both Charlemagne and Charles VII succumbed to the disease.

Additionally, Charles VII doesn’t appear to have a mustache, despite the fact that most images of Charlemagne feature big mustaches.

Additional Symbolism

The face cards are not the only ones to have symbolic significance. The four suits stand for the four elements, representing an early love of the natural world’s constituent parts:

  • Diamonds: earth
  • Hearts: water
  • Spades: air
  • Clubs: fire

The four suits also stand for Middle Age society’s four pillars:

  • Clubs: agriculture
  • Spades: military
  • Hearts: church
  • Diamonds: merchant class

The four solstices are also represented by the two red suits and the two black suits. Other entertaining symbolism that can be seen in playing card graphics is:

  • 13 cards per suit = 13 weeks per season
  • 12 face cards = 12 months
  • The 52 cards = 52 weeks of the year

Playing Card Deck Types

playing cards

The most common deck of playing cards used for card games is one that has a conventional look and feel, like the automobiles we described. Although certain stylistic variations may appear slightly different.

1. Casino Deck

Casinos take extra efforts to guarantee they reduce the possibility of fraud because they experience it frequently. To combat fraud, casinos utilize specific casino decks. A hole is typically drilled into casino decks. It is clear that the deck has been used because of the holes in the cards. According to their rules, casinos also frequently switch out their decks. Some casinos among them switch the decks after each game. Additionally, casinos may combine several cards to offer as much variety as possible.

2. Marked/Gaffed Deck

People attempt to rig the outcomes whenever chance games are in play. With card tricks, magicians saw entertaining possibilities.

However, when some simple feats failed to wow the crowds, magicians needed the assistance of specialized card decks. Card Tricks Aren’t Real: Spoiler Alert!

Magicians performed tricks with marked and gaffed decks. Blank cards or cards with two backs are included in gaffed decks.

Marked decks include unique indicators to make it easier for magicians to find the precise card needed to perform a trick.

3. Novelty Deck

The entertainment value of card games is increased by novelty decks, which substitute original images for the standard pictures on the cards. The face cards are the exception to the rule that this applies to all cards most of the time.

The Simpsons-themed playing cards or specially created cards that depict the entire family are just a couple of the novelty decks you can purchase for just about every category you can think of.

A novelty deck can be used as a tool for corporate advertising or as a wonderful keepsake from a famous place or vacation spot.

4. Transformation Deck

By enabling the deck designer to change the pips on the cards, a transformation deck adds some flair to the familiar iconography we are all familiar with.

Pips are the symbols that represent the rank and suit of a card (e.g., the seven spade shapes on the seven of spades card).

A metamorphosis deck might enlarge the pips or perhaps change them all at once into candies or paw prints. The pips remain in their original positions when a transformation deck is used properly. Semi-transformation decks allow the player to alter the pips’ positions more freely.

5. Foreign Deck

Unlike in the United States of America, not every deck has an identical appearance. Some nations employ entirely different suits from those they are accustomed to seeing. In Europe, the contrast is particularly noticeable.

The clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades that we use are used in France. However, the suits used by German/Swiss cards and Italian/Spanish cards are entirely different.

Italian playing card suits

  • Clubs
  • Cups
  • Coins
  • Swords

playing card suits used in Germany:

  • Acorns
  • Hearts
  • Leaves
  • Bells

As long as you specify which suit corresponds to the suits you are familiar with, you should be able to continue playing any game you would typically play.

Probability of Playing Cards

playing cards

Knowing how many face cards are in a deck is not sufficient; you also need to be aware of the likelihood that you will draw the card or cards you require.

The likelihood of drawing a face card when using a new 52-card deck is 6/26 (or around 23%). A face card of a certain color may be necessary for several circumstances.

A fresh deck has a 3/26 (or around 11.5%) chance of producing a black face card. There is a chance of 3/52 (5.8%) if you have to have a face card of a particular suit.

There is a 50% probability that you will choose a red or a black card while dealing from a complete deck. There is a 25% probability that you will select a particular suit. Remember that these figures are based on the premise that you will begin with a full deck of cards.

Combination Possibilities

There are 80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 potential order outcomes when all the cards in a deck are laid out face up.

80 Unvigintillion is the name given to the inaccessible number, which may be represented as 8.06e+67. Since most games do not demand a certain order of specific values and suits for all 52 cards, this number is not always useful.

Take a look at the possibilities with just two cards to make the numbers more relatable to regular card play. How likely is it that you’ll choose two aces in a row?

Picking two cards at random from a standard deck of 52 results in 2,652 different possibilities. In this case, the order is important.

You have a 2/26 (7.7%) chance of selecting an ace on your first try, which is how you may determine the likelihood of selecting two aces in a row.

If against all odds you managed to get an ace, you would then have a 3/51 (5.1%) chance of getting another ace on your next try.

If you didn’t get an ace on your first try, your second try has a 4/51 chance (7.8%) of getting you an ace. You combine your odds together to get the possibility that both of those events will occur in this particular order.

We will utilize the same scenario to help explain the fact that the chances are extremely tiny. In a deck of 52 cards, the probability of selecting two aces is equal to 4/52 times 3/51, or 1/221 (0.45%).

The events that could occur and the likelihood of those outcomes occurring decrease as you add more cards. When selecting cards for a 5-card draw, for instance, there are 2,598,960 possible outcomes.

A royal flush in a certain suit has a chance of occurring 1 in 2,598.960 times. If you receive any royal flush, your odds are 1 in 649,740.

Some people base their predictions on the cards that have previously been played to determine the likelihood of receiving specific cards. You must be vigilant and employ your short-term memory in these circumstances.


Knowing your deck of cards will help you win your game and teach you about strategy, problem-solving, and statistics whether you want to play poker at the high rollers’ table or unwind by yourself while playing solitaire.

The only thing left to do is learn how to win since you now know how many face cards are in a deck. Do well to like, comment, and share this educative and informative content.

CSN Team.

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