How Many Cards Are There in a Deck?

There seems to be a bit of confusion as to how many cards are in a deck. While some may say there are 52 cards in a deck, others say that there are 54 cards in a deck. So, how many cards are there?

There are officially 52 cards in a standard deck of French-suited playing cards. However, some French-suited playing card decks also include two extra cards, the Jokers. Jokers are not a part of the standard deck, but some card games require the use of Jokers.

Let’s clear up some of the confusion and take a look at the difference between a 52 and 54-card deck. Each of them has its own uses, and there’s a bit of history as to why there are Jokers included in a standard French-suited playing card pack. Below, we’ll take a closer look at these reasons and the history of the two-deck numbers.

The Standard 52-card Set Deck

The French-suited playing card deck is the most commonly used playing card deck. It’s considered the traditional deck to use in all English-speaking countries. However, in non-English speaking countries, it is usually used alongside other playing card decks that have different suit symbols and sizes.

A standard 52-card set deck includes four suits with values from one to thirteen. There are four sets of 13 cards, which total 52 cards. This is historically the French and Anglo-American deck. However, regions like Germany, Italy, and Spain have their own decks with different suits and face values.

The Untraditional 54-card Set Deck

The 54-card set deck is used to describe a deck with the same 52 cards plus two added Joker cards. Unlike other cards, Jokers aren’t a part of the suits. Instead, they are their own cards and hold a value of a low-ranking joker and a high-ranking joker. These are represented by a full-colored joker, the big Joker, and a one-colored joker, which is the little Joker.

Jokers are almost never used in modern-day card games. However, there used to be more benefits for them back in the 1800s. In modern-day, the only card games that include Joker cards include:

  • Canasta
  • Gin Rummy
  • Chase the Joker
  • Euchre

So, Why Are Joker Cards Included?

If you think about it, Joker cards seem very out of place in a standard deck of playing cards. Few games even use Jokers, which makes it puzzling why they are included. However, there’s actually some historical value as to why they are sometimes included in decks.

The Joker card appeared around the 1860s when the game euchre was popular. However, a card was included called the Imperial Bower, which was then morphed into the Joker card. The problem is that many games that need the Joker card became less popular, hence why companies ended up not adding them to a deck.

How Many Cards Are in a Deck?

How Many Cards Are in a Deck
Unsplash / Erik Mclean

There are a total of 52 cards in the traditional French card deck. Each deck includes four suits which are represented by a symbol. The four main symbols of each suit include Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Clubs.

Aside from that, there are also three face cards. The face cards are the Jacks, Queens, and Kings. However, some people tend to also misinterpret Joker cards as face cards. Jokers are not considered face cards.

Then, two colors are representative of two suits, black and red. The black cards in the deck will be Spades and Clubs. On the other hand, the red cards will be the Diamonds and Hearts.

Types of Cards in a Deck

Here is a breakdown of a standard deck of cards and what types are included:

Suits

Suits include the following card types:

  • Spades
  • Clubs
  • Hearts
  • Diamonds

Values

Here is a breakdown of the included card values that are in a standard deck:

  • Ace (one)
  • Two
  • Three
  • Four
  • Five
  • Six
  • Seven
  • Eight
  • Nine
  • Ten

Face Cards

Here are the face cards that are included in the standard deck and the values that they represent:

  • Jack (11)
  • Queen (12)
  • King (13)

A Deck’s Possible Design Origin

Nobody knows why exactly a standard deck includes 52 cards. However, there is a bit of a coincidence with its original design regarding the year’s seasons and weeks.

If we take a closer look, there are 52 weeks in a year and four different seasons. With some speculation, the 52 cards are representative of the weeks, while the four seasons are representative of the four suits. The two black suits may represent fall and winter, while the two red suits represent summer and spring.

Aside from that, there are 13 lunar cycles in a year, and there used to be a 13-month calendar. This can be representative of the value of 13 in the cards. Then, if you add up all the card values, you get 364, the number of days in a year.

Do I Need Joker Cards?

Joker Cards
Unsplash / Klim Musalimov

Unless you’re playing card games that require a Joker, you won’t need them. Joker cards are most often unnecessary, but some people like to keep them in the decks for fun. However, most modern-day card games will never require the use of a Joker.

Frequently Asked Questions: Cards in a Deck

Are there 52 or 54 cards in a deck?

A standard deck of cards includes 52 cards in total. However, some people tend to play with Jokers, which brings the total number of cards in a deck up to 54 cards. Not all card sets include a Joker, and many times the Joker is not allowed to be used in games.

Are Jokers included in a 52-card deck?

No, the Joker cards are not included in a 52-card deck. Jokers are included in a 54-set deck, which will consist of two Joker cards and the rest of the standard cards. Jokers don’t represent a suit, so there are only 2 extra cards. One Joker will be a full-colored higher-value card, while the other is a partial-colored and lower-valued card.

How many cards are in a full deck of cards?

A “real” full deck of cards is 52 cards. Four of each card type, including four aces, kings, queens, etc. The cards go from ace to king, with an ace representing one value and a king representing a 13 in value.

How many cards are in a 52-card deck?

There are 36 numbered cards in a 52-card deck. The number of cards ranges from 1 to 10, and there are four sets. Three face cards represent 11, 12, and 13 numbered values.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is quite a bit of confusion regarding how many cards are in a deck. While some decks come with 52 cards, that is because they remove the Jokers from the deck. On the other hand, 54-set card decks include two jokers.

Not every playing card deck will include Jokers, you’ll have to read the package before you purchase it. Even if you happen to pick up a 54-card deck, you can permanently remove the Jokers without any issues. Hopefully, this has helped you understand how many cards are in a deck.