Odd facts about cards

November 14, 2017

Many people are familiar with a packet of cards, but there are some truly odd (yet interesting) facts about cards you might not know;

  1. The Ace of Spades always has a bigger pip than all the other cards, this is because decks of cards used to be taxed and an official stamp placed by on the Ace of Spades to show tax had been paid. Card manufacturers therefore made the pip bigger to incorporate the stamp.
  2. The Nine of Diamonds is sometimes referred to as “the Curse of Scotland” and is considered unlucky by Scots. There are many reasons offered why, but the one I favour is that the Massacre of Glencoe, arguably the inspiration for a similar massacre in Game of Thrones, was ordered by Sir John Dalrymple (1st Earl of Stair) whose coat of arms bore a resemblance to the 9 of Diamonds.
  3. In a casino the shelf-life of a Deck of Cards can be anywhere between 1 and 4 hours. They are then discarded to prevent gamblers spotting any distinguishing marks on them. Some casinos famously “clip” their discarded cards by cutting off a corner and then selling them to collectors – and yes, I own a few pairs of Clipped decks for some gambling routines I like to perform.
  4. The Kings in a deck of cards are supposedly representing real noble leaders from History; King of Spades is King David of the OT, King of Clubs is Alexander the Great, King of Hearts is Charles Charlemagne first King of the Holy Roman Empire and the King of Diamonds is Julius Ceasar.
  5. The King of Hearts is also known as the “suicide king” as he is often depicted, on contemporary cards, as stabbing his own head with his sword. Interestingly he is also the only king without a moustache.
  6. To many a deck of playing cards is a tool of evil, this notion born out of the idea that cards are only used for gambling, divination and cheating (my speciality) and all of these are prohibited to the pure of heart. To some a packet of playing cards in the house is an invite for evil to enter, earning the humble deck of cards the nickname “the Devil’s picturebook”
  7. Playing cards have evolved over many centuries, originally from China and becoming popular in medieval France and Britain. But they continue to evolve. The Joker was only added in 1860 by card players in the United States,
  8. Playing cards as we know them share a history with Tarot Cards, and as such some have greater/lesser importance placed upon individual cards. The Four of Clubs is considered to be a bad omen and signifies misfortune. As a result it is sometimes called the “Devil’s Bedposts” in recognition of it’s design and significance.
  9. The King of Diamonds is the only king facing sideways, a profile known by card players as “one-eyed”, other court cards with a side profile are the Jack of Spades and the Jack of Hearts.
  10. The original name for the Jacks was Knaves. But the shortened “Kn” caused confusion with the Kings “K” so was changed to Jacks in 1864.


Remember if you`d like to see what I can do with a deck of cards do get in touch with me using my details listed here.

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