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Suit (cards)

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Suit (cards)

The four French playing cards suits used primarily in the English-speaking world: spades (♠), hearts (), diamonds () and clubs (♣)

In playing cards, a suit is one of several categories into which the cards of a deck are divided. Most often, each card bears one of several symbols showing to which suit it belongs; the suit may alternatively or in addition be indicated by the color printed on the card. Most card decks also have a rank for each card and may include special cards in the deck that belong to no suit, often called jokers.


  • Traditional Western playing cards 1
    • Regional variations 1.1
    • Correspondence table 1.2
  • Suits in games with traditional decks 2
    • Trumps 2.1
    • Special suits 2.2
    • Ranking of suits 2.3
    • Pairing or ignoring suits 2.4
    • Four-color suits 2.5
  • Adding extra suits to the French deck 3
    • Five-suit decks 3.1
      • Historical decks 3.1.1
      • Commercial decks 3.1.2
    • Six-suit decks 3.2
      • Historical decks 3.2.1
    • Eight-suit decks 3.3
      • Commercial decks 3.3.1
  • Other suited decks 4
    • Traditional Eastern suits and decks 4.1
    • Suit-and-value decks 4.2
    • Other modern decks 4.3
    • Fictional decks 4.4
  • Uses of playing card suit symbols 5
  • Character encodings 6
  • Metaphorical uses 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Traditional Western playing cards

A set of 52 playing cards (French deck)
The traditional northern Italian playing cards suit symbols pictured here preceded the Tarot of Marseilles suit symbols and the simplified French deck suit symbols, which are an international standard today

Regional variations

Many different types of decks have been used since the introduction of playing cards to Europe from Mamluk Egypt around 1370. The Italians and Spanish use the original Mamluk suits of cups, coins, swords, and polo-sticks but converted the latter to batons or cudgels.[1] The Swiss-Germans developed their own suits of shields, roses, acorns, and bells around 1450. The Germans changed the roses and shields into hearts and leaves around 1460. The French derived their suits of trèfles (clovers or clubs), carreaux (tiles or diamonds), cœurs (hearts), and piques (pikes or spades) from the German suits around 1480.

All these decks have in common is that there are exactly four suits, and numbers or pips indicate which cards within a suit are better, higher or more valuable than others, whereas there is no order between the suits unless defined in the rules of a specific game. There is exactly one card of any given rank in any given suit.[2]

The differences between European decks are mostly in the number of cards in each suit; for example:

  • 13 in the commonly known French deck,[3]
  • 14 in the French Tarot game,[4]
  • 12 in Spain,[5]
  • 10 in Italy and in some games in Spain,[6]
  • 9 in Switzerland for the Jass,[7]
  • 8 in some games in Germany and Austria, e.g. Skat,[8]
  • 8 for Belote in France,[4]
  • 5 in Hungarian Illustrated Tarock,[9]

Beginning around the mid-15th century in Italy, some decks include of an extra suit of (usually) 21 numbered cards known as trionfi or trumps, to play tarot card games.[2] Always included in tarot decks is one suitless card, the Fool or Excuse, whose function varies according to the game or region. These cards do not have pips like the other suits.

Correspondence table

Traditional Western Playing Cards
Culture Suit
French suits [10][11] [note 1] [note 2] [note 3] [note 4] Hearts
French: Cœurs (hearts)

French: Carreaux (tiles)

French: Trèfles (clovers)

French: Piques (pikes)

German suits[note 5] Hearts
German: Herz (heart), Rot (red), Hungarian: Piros (red), Czech: Srdce (heart), Červené (red)

German: Schellen (bells), Hungarian: Tök (pumpkin), Czech: Kule (balls)

German: Eichel (acorn), Ecker (beechnut), Hungarian: Makk (acorn), Czech: Žaludy (acorns)

German: Laub (leaves), Grün (green), Gras (grass), Blatt (leaf) Hungarian: Zöld (green), Czech: Listy (leaves), Zelené (green)

Swiss-German suits[note 6][12][13][14] Roses
Swiss-German: Rosen

Swiss-German: Schellen

Swiss-German: Eichel

Swiss-German: Schilten

Italian and Spanish or Latin suits [15][16][17]:207 [18]:15,155,224 [note 7] [note 8]
(Symbols shown: Piacentine, Napoletane, Spagnole, and Bergamasche sets.)[note 9]
Italian: Coppe
Spanish: Copas


Italian: Denari
Spanish: Oros


Italian: Bastoni
Spanish: Bastos


Italian: Spade
Spanish: Espadas


Esoteric Tarot
(Playing tarot decks use Italian suits or French suits. The cards shown here are the Minor Arcana aces from the Italian-suited Rider-Waite Tarot, an esoteric tarot deck.)
Pentacles, Coins, Rings or Discs
Wands, Clubs, Batons or Staves
Feudal Class
(French suits)[note 10][10][18]:18
Clergy Burghers Peasants Nobility
Feudal Class
(German suits)[note 11][10]
Clergy Nobility Peasants Burghers (middle class)
Feudal Class
(Italian suits)[note 12][10][17]:50[19]
Clergy Burghers (Merchants and artisans) Peasants Nobility
Symbolism in cartomancy
(French suits)[20]
love, joy, happiness money, risk, excitement work, effort, achievements problems, disappointments, sickness
Symbolism in cartomancy
(German suits)[21][22][23]
love, friendship, happiness money, lottery winnings, carefree life trouble, loss, sickness hope, pleasant events and activities
Element (Tarot)[note 13][18]:62[24][25][26][27][28][29] Water Earth Fire Air
Number (French suits)[note 14][30] 2 (two lobes) 4 (four points) 3 (three lobes) 1 (one point)
Number (French suits used in game of ninety-nine) 2 (two lobes) 0 (looks like a squared-off zero) 3 (three lobes) 1 (one point)
Unicode black French suit symbols
(with HTML names)
U+2665 (♥) U+2666 (♦) U+2663 (♣) U+2660 (♠)
Unicode white French suit symbols U+2661 U+2662 U+2667 U+2664

Suits in games with traditional decks


In a large and popular category of trick-taking games, traditionally called whist-style games although the best-known example may now be bridge, one suit may be designated in each deal to be trump and all cards of the trump suit rank above all non-trump cards, and automatically prevail over them, losing only to a higher trump if one is played to the same trick. Non-trump suits are called plain suits.

Special suits

Some games treat one or more suits as being special or different from the others. A simple example is Spades, which uses spades as a permanent trump suit. A less simple example is Hearts, which is a kind of point trick game in which the object is to avoid taking tricks containing hearts. With typical rules for Hearts (rules vary slightly) the queen of spades and the two of clubs (sometimes also the jack of diamonds) have special effects, with the result that all four suits have different strategic value. Tarot decks have a dedicated trump suit.

Ranking of suits

Whist-style rules generally preclude the necessity of determining which of two cards of different suits has higher rank, because a card played on a card of a different suit either automatically wins or automatically loses depending on whether the new card is a trump. However, some card games also need to define relative suit rank. 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. Typical orderings of suits include (from highest to lowest):

  • Bridge (for bidding and scoring) and occasionally poker: spades, hearts, diamonds, clubs; 'notrump' ranks above all the suits
  • Preferans: hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades. Only used for bidding, and No Trump is considered higher than hearts.
  • Five Hundred: hearts, diamonds, clubs, spades (for bidding and scoring)
  • Ninety-nine: clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds (supposedly mnemonic as they have respectively 3, 2, 1, 0 lobes; see article for how this scoring is used)
  • Skat: clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds (for bidding and to determine which Jack beats which in play)
  • Big Two: spades, hearts, clubs, diamonds (Presidents and Arseholes reverses suit strength: hearts, diamonds, spades, clubs)
  • Teen patti: In the case where two players have flushes with cards of the same value, the winning hand is based on suit color as ranked by clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds.

Pairing or ignoring suits

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

  • Color is used to denote the red suits (hearts and diamonds) and the black suits (spades and clubs).
  • Rank is used to indicate the major (spades and hearts) versus minor (diamonds and clubs) suits.
  • Shape is used to denote the pointed (diamonds and spades, which visually have a sharp point uppermost) versus rounded (hearts and clubs) suits.

In the event of widespread introduction of four-color decks, it has been suggested that the red/black distinction could be replaced by pointed bottoms (hearts and diamonds visually have a sharp point downwards, whereas spades and clubs have a blunt stem).

In Latin decks, the traditional division is between the long suits of swords and clubs and the round suits of cups and coins.

Four-color suits

The aces of a four-color deck

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 related set occasionally used in Germany uses green spades (compare to leaves), red hearts, yellow diamonds (compare to bells) and black clubs (compare 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.[31]

Adding extra suits to the French deck

Numerous variations of the 52-card French deck have existed over the years. Most notably, the tarot deck has a separate trump series in addition to the four suits; however this fifth suit is a series of cards of a different number and style than the suited cards. Various people have independently suggested 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, and have proposed rules for expanded versions of popular games such as rummy, hearts, bridge, and poker that could be played with such a deck.

If commercially-made decks are not readily available, a deck with up to eight suits can be made from two identical decks by altering the suit symbols throughout one of them with a non-fading marker. R. Wayne Schmittberger in New Rules for Classic Games originated the idea of drawing an arrow through each heart to create valentines and a cross through each diamond to create kites. Clubs would have their stem rounded to create cloverleaves and spades would have horns and tail added to become devils.

Five-suit decks

Historical decks

In the mid to late 1930s there was an increase in the popularity of Bridge. Thought up one summer night by Austrian gamester Walther Marseille, Ph.D., rules were first devised for a fifth suit based on a green or invulnerable suit. In 1937, a book for rules using the fifth suit was written in Vienna, Austria, and patented for this set of rules. This fifth suit was produced by a number of companies. In 1935, De La Rue of Great Britain created a Bridge deck called De La Rue's Five Suit Contract Bridge Playing Cards. This deck contained cards using grey-blue colored crowns called Royals as a fifth suit. According to the rules published by Parker Brothers, credit is given to Ammiel F. Decker for the rules in 1933. The fifth suit of Greens was called Blätter, or leaves. In 1937 and 1938, Waddington's of London created a fifth suit of more detailed crowns also called Royals, which respectively featured light blue and dark green crowns. In the same year there were three American decks that included a green Eagle as a fifth suit in similar Bridge decks of playing cards. The deck published by United States Playing Card Company used the Eagle in a medium green and the pips in the corners were inside green circles. The second deck was by Russell Playing Cards (owned by the United States Playing Card Company) used the same Eagle but in a darker shade and the pips in the corners were devoid of the circle. The third deck was by Arrco in 1938 and used an Eagle as well. At least five other bridge books were subsequently published to support playing Bridge with rules for this fifth suit, including one by Arrco in 1938. It is more than likely the book that Arrco published was for their own deck. Parker Brothers created a fifth-suit Bridge deck in 1938 called Castle Bridge, in which the fifth suit of Castles looked like a Rook chess piece and was colored green. After 1938, the popularity of this fifth suit fell off and the decks were no longer produced for Bridge. The title of a science-fiction novel by James Blish, Jack of Eagles, refers to the main character being different.

A number of the following out-of-print decks may be found, especially through on-line auctions. Previously, Five Star Playing Cards poker sized, was 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[32] and Newton's Novelties.[33] 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. Five suited decks include Cinco-Loco Poker Playing Cards, produced by the USA Playing Card Company (not the United States Playing Card Company,) which introduces a new suit design. 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.

Commercial decks

A commercially available five-suit poker (65-card) deck is Stardeck,[34][35] introduced in 1938, which introduces stars as a fifth suit. 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 2006, is a contemporary five-suit (62-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. 5 Card Poker traditionally has over 2 million possible hands with Royal Flush as the lowest probability. Estate Poker has 5,461,512 possible hands with Family Flush as the lowest probability and new hands such as Five of a Kind.

5° Dimension,[36][37] is an 80-card deck introduced in 2007. The five suits are Hearts (red), Spades (black), Clubs (green), Diamonds (yellow) and Stars (blue). Each suit has 16 cards: 1 to 10, King, Queen, Jack, Princess, Ace (distinct from 1) and a Joker.

Five Crowns[38][39] is yet another five-suited deck similar to that of 5° Dimension, The suits are Hearts (red), Spades (black), Clubs (green), Diamonds (blue) and Stars (yellow) with no-revoke suits. The deck contains 3 Jokers but does not contain aces or twos, making the card count per deck 58.

Another five suited deck is Don't Quote Me, with single quotations as the fifth suit. The cards are pentagonal.

Five-suited decks find some use in cartomancy. In these contexts, the fifth suit is used for its association with the classical element Aether, also called Void or Sky.

Six-suit decks

Historical decks

In America in 1895, Hiram Jones created a deck called International Playing Cards and it had two additional suits, a red suit with crosses and a black suit of bullets. (The bullets of that period were round, hence the pip was a circle.) Other attempts over the years experimented with either suit substitutions or additional suits added to decks of playing cards. Most of these did not last long, but some such as Civil War era card decks enjoyed limited success and are reprinted today.

Out of print is the Nu-Dek Sextet Bridge deck (copyright Ralph E. Peterson 1964, 1966), [40] [41] manufactured for Sextet Contract Bridge Associates ("SECOBRA") by the United States Playing Card Company. 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 (78-card) deck of poker sized playing cards is the Empire Deck,[42] introduced in 1990. 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.

Eight-suit decks

Commercial decks

8 Suits Playing Cards,[43] conceived in the late 1970s and manufactured through BrienmarK Products Inc., adds red Moons, black Stars, red four-leaved Clovers and black Tears. This deck was originally created to allow more players in a game of euchre.

The Fat Pack[44] adds red Roses, black Axes, black Tridents and red Doves to the standard deck.

Toss™ Double Deluxe Decks[45] consists of the traditional French suits plus gold Crosses and Oracles, blue Castles and Shields, five Jokers (one for each color plus a Boss Joker) and two Null cards.

Other suited decks

Traditional Eastern suits and decks

Playing cards were invented in China and the earliest cards may be based on Chinese domino tiles. These decks are divided into two suits, civil and military. Chinese chess cards date from the 19th-century and are usually divided into two or four suits based on their color.

Money-suited cards are of interest because they are believed to be the oldest ancestor to Western playing cards. The earliest decks may have had nine cards in each of the four suits with some added special cards. The money card suit system is based on denominations of currency: Coins, Strings of Coins, Myriads of Strings, and Tens of Myriads. The latter two suits depict characters from the Water Margin. A simplified deck is still in use by Hakka players, where every suit has just nine cards in progressive ranking, replacing pips and pictures with labels. Another type of modern deck keeps the traditional images but drops the highest suit (tens of myriads) and quadruplicate the rest. The designs on modern Mahjong tiles likely evolved from this pack during the mid-19th century. The Mahjong tileset is also available in the form of playing cards, making it more portable, but this is a relatively recent development.

Playing cards were most likely introduced to Iran by the Mongols where they later spread east to India and west to Mamluk Egypt. Ganjifa decks still are produced in India where the typical number of suits are eight, ten, or twelve depending on the region. Each suit contains ten pip cards and two court cards of vizier and king. The earliest decks were rectangular but most modern ones are circular. Of historical interest is that Ganjifa games as well as Chinese money-suited games have one or more of the suits in reverse order which appears in some of the earliest European games like Ombre, Tarot, and Maw.

Despite a long history of trade with China, Japan never adopted Chinese cards. They were introduced to playing cards with the arrival of Portuguese explorer Francisco Xavier in 1549 AD. With him and his sailors came a 48-card deck (12 ranks, four suits) that was popular for gambling games at the time. This 48-card deck was adopted by the Japanese for the same purpose. Early locally made cards, Karuta, were very similar to Portuguese decks. Increasing restrictions by the Tokugawa shogunate on gambling, card playing, and general foreign influence, resulted in the Hanafuda card deck that today is used most often for a matching-type game of the same name. The role of rank and suit in organizing cards became switched, so the hanafuda deck has 12 suits, each representing a month of the year, and each suit has 4 cards, most often two normal, one Ribbon and one Special (though August, November and December each differ uniquely from this convention).

Suit-and-value decks

A large number of games are based around a deck in which each card has a value and a suit (usually represented by a color), and for each suit there is exactly one card having each value, though in many cases the deck has various special cards as well. Examples include Mü und Mehr, Lost Cities, DUO, Sticheln, Rage, Schotten Totten, UNO, Phase 10, Oh-No!, Skip-Bo, and Rook.

Other modern decks

Decks for some games are divided into suits, but otherwise bear little relation to traditional games. An example would be the 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.

Roodles, a game published in 1912 by A.J. Patterson of Kalamazoo and later by Flinch Card Co., uses a deck with 14 cards in each of four suits (all black) – Wishbones, Horseshoes, 4-Leaf Clovers, and Swastikas – plus a joker labeled "Roodles". Roodles was described on its box cover as simple, instructive, scientific and entertaining.

In the trick-taking card game Flaschenteufel ("The Bottle Imp") players must follow the suit led, but if they are void in that suit they may play a card of another suit and this can still win the trick if its value is high enough. 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 cards and another, mostly high cards.

A special mention should be made of the card game Set. Whereas cards in a traditional deck have two classifications—suit and rank—and each combination is represented by one card, giving for example 4 suits × 13 ranks = 52 cards, each card in a Set deck has four classifications each into one of three categories, giving a total of 3 × 3 × 3 × 3 = 81 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.

Another special mention should be made of the 9-suit decks sold by TSR for use with the Dragonlance: Fifth Age roleplaying game. These decks, sold both separately and included in the game, also can be used for several card game uses. The deck has Shields, Arrows, Helms, Swords, Crescent Moons, Orbs, Hearts, and Crowns, each suit numbered 1-9, plus a suit of dragons numbered 1-10, providing an 82 card deck. The system was released in 1996.

Bicycle Playing Cards produce a set of 55 cards that technically has 11 suits. They are actually a set of Double Nine Dominoes,[46] where each card belongs to 2 suits. As in dominoes, each half of the domino represents one suit, in this case the suits range from 0 (blank) up to 9, and the eleventh suit is reserved for the doubles.

Fictional decks

Several people have invented decks which are not meant to be seriously played. The Double Fanucci deck from Zork takes the most imaginative licence with the suits: it has no fewer than fifteen, with the names Mazes, Books, Rain, Bugs, Fromps, Inkblots, Scythes, Plungers, Faces, Time, Lamps, Hives, Ears, Zurfs, and Tops.

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.

The deck used in Firefly has suits of Plum, Peach, Orange, Apple, Apricot, and Banana.

In World of Warcraft, there are cards that randomly drop from humanoid enemies. If a player collected the entire suit, he/she could trade it for a trinket that would grant special abilities. 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. The Inscription skill allowed the crafting of cards of the suits of Mages, Swords, Rogues, and Demons.

Uses of playing card suit symbols

Card suit symbols occur in places outside card playing:

Character encodings

In computer and another digital media, suit symbols are represented with character encoding, notably in the ISO and Unicode standards, and as Web standard (SGML's named entity "&name;" syntax):

UTF code: U+2660 (9824dec) U+2665 (9829dec) U+2666 (9830dec) U+2663 (9827dec)
Name: Black Spade Suit Black Heart Suit Black Diamond Suit Black Club Suit
UTF code: U+2664 (9828dec) U+2661 (9825dec) U+2662 (9826dec) U+2667 (9831dec)
Name: White Spade Suit White Heart Suit White Diamond Suit White Club Suit
UTF codes are expressed by the Unicode code point "U+hexadecimal number" syntax, and as subscript the respective decimal number.
Symbols are expressed here as they are in the web browser's HTML renderization.
Name is the formal name adopted in the standard specifications.

Unicode is the most frequently used encoding standard, and suits are in the Miscellaneous Symbols Block (2600–26FF) of the Unicode.

Metaphorical uses

Sign at roadworks in center of Manchester in England, 26 September 2009

In some card games the card suits have a dominance order: club (lowest) - diamond - heart - spade (highest). That led to in spades being used to mean more than expected, in abundance, very much.[48]

Other expressions drawn from bridge and similar games include strong suit (used to refer to any area of personal strength) and following suit (in the sense of going along with the crowd).

See also


  1. ^ The French suits are also an international standard, even in countries with differing traditional suits. In Germany, Turnierbild (tournament-style) decks use four-color French symbols, with yellow Diamonds, green Spades and sometimes brown Clubs, as a compromise between French and German suits.
  2. ^ Clubs are also known as clovers, flowers and crosses. The French name for the suit is trèfles meaning clovers, the Italian name for the suit is fiori meaning flowers and the German name for the suit is Kreuz meaning cross.
  3. ^ The shape of the clubs symbol is believed to be an adaptation of the German suit of acorns.
  4. ^ In the Germanic countries the spade was the symbol associated with the blade of a spade. The English term spade originally did not refer to the tool but was derived from the Italian word spada meaning sword from the Italo-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.
  5. ^ Popularity of these German suits depends on the region and the game involved; they are generally found only in 32-card decks for Skat or 48-card decks for Doppelkopf; German Bridge decks (with 52 cards) normally use the international/French suits. Skat and Doppelkopf decks are available in four-color French suits as well; see Note 1.
  6. ^ There does not appear to be a single universal system of correspondences between Swiss-German and French suits. Cards combining the two suit systems are manufactured in different versions with different combinations of suits.
  7. ^ In Spanish-speaking countries, the use of words varies, and the French suits are often used in Latin American countries.
  8. ^ Hearts are generally associated with the Italian cups suit and spades are generally associated with the Italian swords suit. The English names given to the standard French suit signs are not the same in meaning as the French names except for hearts, which could explain the popular belief that clubs (which were originally fleurs meaning flowers, later trèfles meaning clovers) were derived from Italian bastoni (batons). However, occult author Paul Huson and 18th century French cartomancers such as Antoine Court de Gébelin and Etteilla associate clubs with Italian coins (Tarot Pentacles) and diamonds with Italian batons (Tarot Wands). This association becomes more obvious when observing the Minor Arcana suit patterns of the Tarot of Marseilles, in particular the floral pattern inside the coins and the diamond shapes in the lattice made by the batons.
  9. ^ The symbols of the set from Piacenza are the most commonly used in Italy but the symbols vary greatly depending on the part of the country the cards are from. For an exhaustive overview, please see this entry on the Italian WorldHeritage.
  10. ^ In 1704 Claude-François Ménestrier, a Jesuit antiquarian from Lyon, associated the French suits with the four major feudal classes: clergy (hearts/cœurs), nobility (spades/piques), merchants (diamonds/carreaux) and peasants (clubs/trèfles).
  11. ^ The German suits are said to have represented the four major feudal classes: clergy (hearts/Herz), middle class (leaves/Laub), nobility (bells/Schellen) and peasants (acorns/Eichel).
  12. ^ The Italian suits are said to have represented the four major feudal classes: clergy (cups/coppe), nobility (swords/spade), merchants (coins/denari) and peasants (clubs/bastoni).
  13. ^ The Tarot suits were first associated with elements by Eliphas Levi in The Doctrine of Transcendental Magic (1855). Levi associated Tarot Wands with fire, Tarot Cups with water, Tarot Swords with air and Tarot Pentacles with earth and this is the most common system of elemental correspondences used in divinatory Tarot today. Suit-element correspondences for playing card cartomancy systems vary, where applicable. In The Playing Card Oracles by Ana Cortez, diamonds are associated with fire, hearts are associated with water, spades are associated with earth and clubs are associated with air. In Cards of Your Destiny by Robert Camp, diamonds are associated with earth, hearts are associated with water, spades are associated with fire and clubs are associated with air.
  14. ^ This is one possible system of number associations for the French suits suggested by the points or lobes in the shapes of their symbols. Ranking of suits for gaming purposes depends on the rules of the game being played.


  1. ^ History of playing cards
  2. ^ a b "National and regional card games". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "Card games in the USA". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Card games in France". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  5. ^ "Card games in Spain". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  6. ^ "Card games in Italy". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "Card games in Switzerland". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Card games in Germany". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  9. ^ "Illustrated Hungarian Tarokk". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Barbara and David P Mikkelson (29 September 2007). "The Four King Truth". Retrieved 4 December 2012. 
  11. ^ Webster's II New College Dictionary: Third Edition. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. 2005. p. 1082.  
  12. ^ "App für Android: SwissJass Free" (in German). netzwelt. Retrieved 18 May 2013. Das französische Blatt ist unter anderem vom Poker sehr bekannt und beinhaltet die 'Farben' Karo, Herz, Pik und Kreuz. Dem entsprechen die deutschschweizer Farben Schellen, Rosen, Schilten und Eichel. 
  13. ^ "Schweiz" [Switzerland] (in German). Kartenhaus. Retrieved 18 May 2013. 
  14. ^ "Jass" (in German). Retrieved 18 May 2013. Die Übertragung dieser Farben auf die französische Karte ist von eigener Auslegung 
  15. ^ "Regole della Briscola" [Rules of Briscola] (PDF) (in Italian). Sisal. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Cards for the game of Scopone by Figs". F.I.G.S. Retrieved 16 May 2013. 
  17. ^ a b  
  18. ^ a b c  
  19. ^  
  20. ^ Buckland, Raymond (2004). The Fortune-Telling Book. Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press. pp. 88–90.  
  21. ^ Arzt-Wegman, Dita (2003). Nostradamus' Dream Interpretation Guide. Oakville, ON: Vasitha Publications. pp. 229–234.  
  22. ^ Johann Georg Theodor Gräße (1856). Die Wissenschaften im neunzehnten Jahrhundert: Zur Geschichte der Spielkarten (in German). Leipzig: Romberg's Verlag. p. 565. 
  23. ^ Streicher, Hubert (1926). Das Wahrsagen (in German). Wien: Verlag Julius Springer. 
  24. ^ Chevalier, Jean; Gheerbrant, Alain; Buchanan-Brown, John (1996). The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols. London: Penguin Books. p. 970.  
  25. ^ Thomson, Sandra A (2003). Pictures from the Heart: A Tarot Dictionary. New York: St Martin's Griffin.  
  26. ^ Williams, Paul (12 December 2007). "Meaning of the Tarot Suits". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  27. ^ Duquette, Lon Milo (2003). Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. Boston, MA: Weiser Books. p. 47.  
  28. ^ Cortez, Ana (2002). The Playing Card Oracles. Denver, CO: Two Sisters Press. pp. 12–24.  
  29. ^ Camp, Robert (2004). Cards of Your Destiny. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks. p. 2.  
  30. ^ Doug Dyment. "On the Ordering of Playing Card Suits". Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  31. ^ "Kartenbilder" (in German). 17 January 2012. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ Newton's Novelties
  34. ^
  35. ^ Stardeck on
  36. ^
  37. ^ 5° Dimension on
  38. ^ Five Crowns on
  39. ^ Five Crowns on
  40. ^ Nu-Dek Sextet Bridge instructions
  41. ^ Sextet 6 Handed Bridge on
  42. ^ Empire Deck on
  43. ^ 8; deck includes extended rules for euchre
  44. ^, Fat Pack Playing Card Company
  45. ^ Toss™ Double Deck Deluxe Playing Cards
  46. ^
  47. ^ Zaloga, Steven J (2007). US Airborne Divisions in the ETO 1944-45. Osprey Publishing. p. 58. 
  48. ^

External links

  • Names of ranks of court cards and suits in various languages
  • article on card decksThe Games Journal
  • Stardeck (with rules for 5-suited Poker and Spades)
  • Empire Deck (with rules for 5- and 6-suited Rummy and Hearts)
  • Super-Bridge A reprinted article by Time Magazine from 1938, describing origins of five-suited bridge decks
  • the Discordian Tarot
  • Five Crowns, a 5-suits deck
  • 5°Dimension, a deck with 5 suits of 16 cards each (archive copy, see also video presentation)
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