Poker Playing Cards and Their Suits

Poker Playing Cards and Their Suits

Playing cards have accompanied people for many centuries and help family and friends to sit together and pursue leisure activities. Of course, playing cards are also standard equipment in non GamStop casinos, where they are used day in and day out in poker, blackjack, baccarat and other games of chance, while many countries today use the same or similar cards depending on the game, there are also many country-specific traditional hands that are used for numerous unique games at GamblingPro.

Playing Card Suits

Even the “classic hand” with the card suits diamond hearts spades clubs is used in different ways in different countries. The designations of the four symbols are also interesting, which, when translated back into English, sometimes have surprising names that sound unusual to native speakers.

Diamonds – Hearts – Spades – Clubs: Why Do We Call the Four Suits That?

The history of the four suits of the standard 52-card deck, also known as the French deck, dates back to the middle ages. The four colors represent the four statuses:

  • The color cross is based on a three-leaf clover and represents the peasantry.
  • The spade is said to resemble the tip of a lance and thus represent the nobility.
  • The heart is a symbol of gentleness and goodness and is dedicated to the clergy.
  • The color diamond, on the other hand, is meant to be reminiscent of a red cobblestone and thus represent the “ordinary people”, the bourgeoisie.

Regardless of the four card suits, the 12 images each have a historical meaning. The four kings, queens and jacks are based on historical or legendary personalities. Here is an overview:

  • King of Clubs: Alexander the Great
  • King of Spades: David, according to the Old Testament, king of Judah and later Israel
  • King of Hearts: Charlemagne
  • King of Diamonds: Gaius Julius Caesar
  • Queen of Clubs: Bears the name “Argine”, an anagram of the Latin word for queen (Regina). She largely represents Holy Mary, mother of Jesus.
  • Queen of Spades: Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom
  • Queen of Hearts: the biblical “pious widow” Judit, who embodies the ideal of piety
  • Queen of Diamonds: Biblical character Rachel, wife of Jacob and symbol of beauty.
  • Clubs: Lancelot, Arthurian knight
  • Pikbube: Danish legendary hero Holger Danske
  • Knave of Hearts: Étienne de Vignolles, also known as La Hire, French knight and soldier at the side of Joan of Arc.
  • Jack of Diamonds: Hector, son of Priam, king of Troy

What Do Other Languages Call the Symbols of Poker Cards?


Let’s start with the inventors of the standard hand that is used all over the world today: the French. Apart from the meaning of the four estates, the four names also fit the shape of the symbols today:

♣️ Tréfle = shamrock

♠️ Pique = lance

♥️ Cœur = heart

♦️ Carreau = tile


The Italians also name the card suits according to their visual interpretation. Also, they have taken the spade from French without translating it. In Italian, all symbols are given in the plural.

♣️ Fiori = flowers

♠️ Picche = spades

♥️ Cuori = hearts

♦️ Quadri = squares/paintings


In Spanish, too, all four colors are called in the plural. The designations are also based on the visual, but differ again in the interpretation.

♣️ Tréboles = shamrock

♠️ Espadas = spade (similar to the Swiss “shovel”)

♥️ Corazones = hearts

♦️ Diamantes = diamonds


The Danish is very similar to its two Scandinavian neighbors, but also they interpret the French trefoil as a cross.

♣️ Klør = cross

♠️ Spar/Spader = spade

♥️ Hjerter = hearts

♦️ Rudder = Diamonds

Turkish and Greek: A slightly Different Take on the Symbols

While in most European languages ​​the same words appear again and again in their respective translations, there are some languages ​​that are completely out of the ordinary.

They say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Apparently so are the card symbols, which are by no means viewed and interpreted in a universal way.

For example, the Turkish word for the club suit card is “Sinek”, which literally means “fly”. With the Greeks, on the other hand, the color cross is called Μπαστούνια (Bastounia), translated into English as “sticker”.

The spade, on the other hand, is called Maça in Turkish and literally means the core of fruit. The Greeks recognize spades as a sword and refer to the suit as Σπαθιά (Spathia).

On the other hand, Turkey and Greece agree on the heart, but oppose the rest of Europe. For both the Turks and the Greeks, the heart is not a heart, but a cup. The Turkish word is “Kupa”, the Greek Κούπες (Koupes).

With diamonds, on the other hand, Turkish and Greek move with German and also write Karo or Καρό (karo).

Chinese and Cantonese

The French paper also has its place in Asian cultures. Accordingly, the traditional cards from Europe are also used in the large casinos in Macau. The designation of the four colors in the two main variants of Chinese, Mandarin and Cantonese, is only partly reminiscent of the “European view”.


♣️ 梅花 – Méihuā – “blossom of the plum”

♠️ 葵扇 – Kuíshàn – “fan of a sunflower”

♥️ 紅心 – Hóngxīn – “Red Heart”

♦️ 方块 – fāngkuài – “rectangle”


Cantonese spoken in Hong Kong uses the same kanji (Chinese characters) for clubs, spades and hearts. Although these are pronounced completely differently (clubs = Mui Fa, spades = Kwai Sin, hearts = Hung Sam), they have the same literal meaning.

Only the diamond is literally a “paving stone” in accordance with its medieval meaning from Europe, written: 階磚 and pronounced: Gaai Jyun.



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