A Deck of Playing Cards Explained – How it Works

A deck of playing cards explained & how it works
A deck of playing cards explained & how it works

If you are unfamiliar with a deck of playing cards, this post will explain a deck of cards to you and how a deck of cards works.

You will learn how a deck of cards works, what all the cards are in a deck of cards, how playing cards work in a deck, as well the history of playing cards and other common questions.

How Does a Deck of Cards Work?

A deck of playing cards consists of 52 cards (without the Jokers).  (With the Jokers it is 54 cards.  But for this we will just be referring to a deck without Jokers.)

All the playing cards in a deck of 52
All the playing cards in a deck of 52

The deck of 52 cards is divided into four suits.  These suits are the Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, and Spades.

Probability: 03 Intro to Standard Deck of Cards

These 52 cards are divided into red and black cards.  There are two red suits and two black suits.

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The two red suits are the Diamonds and Hearts.  The two black suits are the Clubs and Spades.

This means there are 26 red cards in a deck, and 26 black cards in a deck.

In each suit there is the same number of cards.  Each suit gets the same 13 cards.

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These 13 cards are the Ace through the King.  First you have the number cards which go from Ace through 10, with the Ace representing the number one.  Then you have the three face cards, or court cards, which are the Jack, Queen and King.

The cards in each suit are as follows:

  • Ace
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • Jack
  • Queen
  • King

Full Deck of Cards

This image shows all of the cards in order for a full deck of cards.

All the red cards in a deck
All the cards in a deck of 52 cards

52 Playing Cards Details

Understanding Playing Cards

Here are two videos that teach how playing cards work.

Understanding Playing Cards
Understanding Playing Cards
An Introduction to Playing Cards
An Introduction to Playing Cards for Children | Ready Steady Magic

The History of Playing Cards

Learn about the history of a deck of cards in the following videos.

History of Playing Cards explained in 5 Minutes.
History of Playing Cards explained in 5 Minutes
History of Playing Cards
History of Playing Cards
David, Caesar, Alexander and Charlemagne: The Playing Card Kings
Playing Cards and Forgotten History

Common Questions

How are 52 Cards Divided?

The 52 cards in a deck are divided into four suits. The four suits are Hearts, Diamonds, Spades and Clubs. Each suit contains 13 cards.

These are the same 13 cards for each suit, and are the Ace, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Jack, Queen and King.

What are the 4 Types of Playing Cards?

When referring to the four types of cards in a deck, these are the four suits. A deck is divided into four suits. These suits are the Diamonds, Hearts, Clubs and Spades.

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Learn more about the type of cards in a deck at Types of Cards in a Deck.

What Do the 4 Suits in a Deck of Cards Represent?

Here’s what the four suits in a deck of cards represent.

Playing cards 4 suits symbolism meaning
The meaning of the 4 suits in a deck of cards

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