Card Games/Cards

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A set of cards is called a pack. There are several types of pack, most of them variants on the normal pack about to be described.

Normal Pack[edit]

The normal pack has 52 cards in it. These are split into four types, known as suits, called hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. There are numbers on the cards, and there is one card of each number in each suit. Some of the cards have a letter rather than a number on them: ones have the letter A on them, and are known as aces, elevens, twelves and thirteens are known as Jacks, Queens and Kings, and have the letters J, Q, and K on them. Some games use special cards called jokers. If jokers are used, there are usually one or two, producing 53 or 54 cards in the pack. Some games such as Canasta use more than one normal pack combined together as a single unit, a few games (some Canasta variants, as well as many table banking games) using as many as four or six combined packs.

The following cards are in the normal pack (excluding jokers):

A♥ 2♥ 3♥ 4♥ 5♥ 6♥ 7♥ 8♥ 9♥ 10♥ J♥ Q♥ K♥

A♣ 2♣ 3♣ 4♣ 5♣ 6♣ 7♣ 8♣ 9♣ 10♣ J♣ Q♣ K♣

A♦ 2♦ 3♦ 4♦ 5♦ 6♦ 7♦ 8♦ 9♦ 10♦ J♦ Q♦ K♦

A♠ 2♠ 3♠ 4♠ 5♠ 6♠ 7♠ 8♠ 9♠ 10♠ J♠ Q♠ K♠


Truncated Packs[edit]

Several games make use of truncated packs. These are the normal pack from which one or more cards have been deleted. As with the normal pack, some games such as Pinochle exist that use two or more truncated packs combined together. Following is a list of the more common truncated packs.

Piquet pack: The normal pack without any twos through sixes (32 cards), probably first used in the game of the same name. Also used in many German origin card games such as Skat and sometimes, though no longer often, in Euchre.

Euchre pack: The normal pack without any twos through eights (24 cards), most commonly now used in the game of that name.

Pinochle pack: Two Euchre packs combined together (48 cards). There is also the Bezique pack which consists of two Piquet packs combined together (64 cards). Both are used in very similar games, in particular the two-handed variation of Pinochle is playable with either with almost no changes.

Spanish/Italian pack: The normal pack without any eights, nines, or tens (40 cards), used in a variety of games most commonly of Spanish and sometimes Italian origin, such as Ombre, Tressette, or Conquian. Can use either the standard suits or the Mediterranean suits of Swords, Batons, Coins, and Cups (the latter often combined with face cards numbered 12, 11, and 10 for King, Queen, and Jack respectively, and in the Italian deck the cards of equivalent ranks are known as the Re, Cavallo, and Fante respectively). Combined 40 card packs are rare, the only really well known game to use them being the gambling Conquian variant Panguingue.

48, 49, 50, or 51 card packs are sometimes used in trick-taking games that otherwise would use the normal pack, where it is necessary for the entire deck to distribute evenly to every player and some other number than two or four are playing, such as Hearts. Typically one or more low cards of no significant importance are removed to make the number of cards suitable (one card for three players, two for five players, three for seven players, or four for six or eight players).


Expanded Packs[edit]

With the exception of the 63-card pack once manufactured for the six-hand version of 500 (which added 11s and 12s of each suit and 13s of two suits, these cards ranking in numeric order above the 10 but below the Jack), expanded packs almost always involve the addition of one or more additional suits. The most common expanded packs are based on the Tarot configuration.

Tarot Packs[edit]

The standard Tarot pack configuration consists of 78 cards, the standard 52 (although the Ace is normally simply indexed as 1 rather than the more normal A) plus an additional face card per suit (the Knight or Cavalier, which ranks between the Queen and Jack), a unique suit (often a fixed trump suit) of 21 cards numbered 1 through 21, and finally a special card called the Fool. As with the Spanish and Italian style pack, the Tarot deck can use either standard playing card suits (often known as a "French suited" deck) or the Mediterranean suits. Tarots published with divination use in mind virtually exclusively use the Mediterranean suits (often with a further change of suit names, namely Wands rather than Batons and/or Pentacles rather than Coins), ones published exclusively for game play tend to be French suited.

As with the standard pack, truncated Tarot packs are possible, the most common probably being the German Tarok (used in games such as Tapp Tarok) of 54 cards (omitting the 1 through 6 in clubs and spades and the 5 through 10 in hearts and diamonds, keeping all 22 trumps, of which the Fool normally is an ordinary card ranking as the 22).

Other, less common, expanded packs with additional suits exist, such as the 65 card deck created for five-suited Bridge.