Deal The Cards

What are Face Cards?

In the world of playing cards, there’s a special group of cards that hold a unique allure and significance—face cards. Also known as “court cards” or “royals,” these cards often feature regal figures and hold a prominent place in many card games and cultural references. Let’s delve deeper into what exactly face cards are, their history, symbolism, and their role in various card games.

What Are Face Cards?

Face cards refer to specific cards in a standard deck that depict human figures rather than numerical values. In a typical deck of 52 playing cards, there are typically three face cards per suit: the King, Queen, and Jack. These cards are often adorned with elaborate designs and illustrations, representing characters from various historical or mythological backgrounds.

The History of Face Cards

Face cards have a rich history that dates back centuries. They were introduced in Europe during the late Middle Ages, around the 15th century. Initially, these cards featured generic designs, but as playing cards gained popularity and became more ornate, the face cards began to depict notable figures from European royalty, literature, and mythology.

The Symbolism of Face Cards

Each face card carries its own symbolic meaning, reflecting different aspects of power, authority, and social hierarchy. The King, often depicted with a crown, symbolizes leadership, strength, and dominance. The Queen, adorned with regal attire, represents beauty, grace, and wisdom. The Jack, sometimes referred to as the Knave, signifies youthfulness, wit, and resourcefulness.

Face Cards in Card Games

Face cards play a crucial role in numerous card games, adding strategic depth and complexity to gameplay. In games like Poker, Bridge, and Blackjack, face cards hold varying values and can influence the outcome of a hand. Their unique characteristics often dictate their roles within the game mechanics, whether as high-ranking cards, wildcards, or trump cards.


In Poker, face cards are among the highest-ranking cards, with the Ace typically holding the highest value. Players aim to form winning combinations, such as pairs, three of a kind, or a full house, often relying on the presence of face cards to achieve victory.


Face cards are essential in Bridge, a trick-taking game where players form partnerships and compete to win tricks. Each face card carries a specific point value, contributing to the team’s overall score. Effective coordination and strategic use of face cards are crucial for success in Bridge.


In Blackjack, face cards hold a value of 10 points, along with the numerical cards. Players aim to achieve a hand value as close to 21 as possible without exceeding it. Face cards, particularly the King, Queen, and Jack, can significantly enhance a player’s hand and increase their chances of winning.

Cultural References and Influence

Beyond their role in card games, face cards have permeated popular culture and artistic expression. From literature and film to visual arts and advertising, these iconic cards have inspired countless interpretations and representations. Whether as symbols of power and prestige or objects of fascination and intrigue, face cards continue to captivate audiences worldwide.

Face cards are more than just pieces of cardboard with colorful designs—they embody centuries of history, symbolism, and cultural significance. Whether you’re playing a friendly game of Poker with friends or admiring the artwork on a vintage deck of cards, take a moment to appreciate the enduring legacy of these royal figures. Next time you hold a deck of cards in your hands, remember the stories and traditions woven into each face card, and let them inspire your imagination and gameplay.