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What Are Face Cards in Poker?

In a standard deck of playing cards, face cards refer to any jack, queen, or king in the deck. The term derives from the fact that these cards usually depict faces of the jack, queen, and king (aka members of the royal court).

Let’s take a look at what face cards are, and discuss a couple of common misconceptions about them.

What Are Face Cards in Poker?

Poker games are played with a standard 52-card deck. The 52 cards are divided into four suits, with 13 cards in each suit.

The lowest card in each suit is the two (aka the deuce), while the highest card is the ace. Depending on the game, the ace can also count as the lowest-ranking card in the suit.

Let’s take a look at how all of the cards in a particular suit look:

What are Face Cards in Poker?

Starting with the ace, the cards go through a numerical sequence from two through ten. After the ten, the next-highest ranking cards are the jack (J), the queen (Q), and the king (K).

The jack, queen, and king depict people, members of the royal court. These are the only cards that depict human characters instead of just a number or letter and a corresponding number of suit symbols.

Because most playing card styles depict the faces of the jack, queen, and king, those cards are known as face cards.

Are Aces Face Cards?

Aces are sometimes mistakenly grouped in with face cards, but an ace is not a face card. The ace doesn’t depict a human character (and a human face to go along with it).

The ace essentially acts as the “one” in the cards ace through ten. It mimics the style of the other non-face cards, but with an “A” instead of a “1”.

The cards A-K-Q-J-T are known as broadway cards, and are often grouped together. A ten-through-ace straight is known as a broadway straight, and a broadway straight with all five cards of the same suit is known as a royal flush.

Keep in mind, however, that neither the ace or the ten qualify as face cards.

Is a Joker a Face Card?

While jokers certainly do depcit a face, they’re not considered face cards. Jokers don’t officially count as part of a 52-card deck. When you add jokers to the mix, the total number of cards in the deck goes up to 53 or 54, depending on whether one or two jokers come with the deck.’

Jokers are generally used as wild cards if they’re in use in a card game. When you play poker or blackjack in a casino, you generally won’t see jokers added to the mix.

The 52 cards that are in play in most casino games are the total cards (aka the non-face cards) and the face cards.

For an expanded look at face cards, aces, and playing card styles, check out the article linked below:

Are Aces Face Cards?

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