How Many Jacks Are There in a Deck of Cards?

In every standard deck of playing cards, there are four jacks. The jacks are part of the deck that is called court cards and are one of three kinds of court cards.

The other court cards are kings and queens, and each deck contains for of each of these as well.

There are four jacks in a standard deck of playing cards, though jacks have not always been called “jacks.”

The jack is the lowest ranking court card in a deck of playing cards, and in any royal kingdom.

Are jacks royalty in a deck of playing cards?

playing cards

Jacks are royalty in a deck of playing cards, but they aren’t always royalty in the kingdom. In the deck of cards, however, you will see them wearing crowns and dressed in noble attire.

Here, they have a rank, but not the highest rank, depending on the game that you are playing.

In the card game of Euchre, for example, the jacks are the highest-ranking cards and are called bowers. In most games, however, jacks are the lowest ranking court cards and kings are ranked the highest.

Jacks and kings, however, have the same value in card games, which is typically a value of 10.

Still, depending on the rules of the game at hand, the higher-ranking card in the game will have the most value. This is true even if the point value is the same between both ranking cards.

Sometimes a king will outrank a jack to win a game, but in games like Euchre, the right jack will easily send the kitty home to the playing who plays it.

What rank is the jack in a deck of cards?

In a deck of playing cards, the jack is the third highest rank of the deck, depending on where you value the aces. The aces in a standard deck of playing cards are the only card that has two values, it is ranked as both the highest and the lowest.

Some games will value the ace with both ranks, such as with blackjack.

Other games will define where the ace stands in rank and value. When the ace is ranked highest, the jack is the fourth highest rank in a deck of playing cards.

The jack is ranked between the 10 and the queen in every deck, regardless of where the ace is ranked in any given game.


The rank of the jack on a deck of playing cards is similar to the rank of a jack in an empire or monarchy system where the kings have the highest power of the land. When there is no king, the queens are ranked the highest power, or ranked the second-highest power when a king is on the throne.

The jacks in a deck of playing cards were once called knights, which in reality were just trained servants and soldiers with a royal ranking in defense.

Are jacks and knights the same thing?

Jacks and knights are the same things when it comes to playing cards. In some of the first decks of playing cards, jacks were called knaves or knights.

This is still seen in some card decks today, such as in tarot decks.

In tarot decks, there are, in descending order, kings, queens, knights, and pages. The knights are the placement that the jacks would be if a standard deck of playing cards was used for a card reading.

When playing cards were first made for card games that were not tarot-related, the court cards now known as jacks were called knaves or knights.

When they were made, the letters K, Q, and KN, would be used in the corner of the playing card to denote the difference between the court cards. However, it became confusing to some avid card players, and the name knave for court cards was changed to jack, which at the time, meant the “common man.”

Why is it called a jack?

jack in a set of playing cards

The jack in a set of playing cards is considered royalty, but in the royal empire, the jack was a commoner and working man, and knights or knaves were not. In the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations, knaves were called jacks by the character Pip.

In the book, the character Estelle is astonished by this.

The reason for her astonishment is that in 1861, knaves shouldn’t be referred to as something so common. It was a stream of consciousness that rang in popular culture of the time.

Still, when playing cards weren’t selling well with the KN depiction on the court cards, knaves did become jacks.

The court card is called a jack to denote the lower rank of the card, as jacks were considered among the lowest ranking in the system.

The numbered cards in a standard deck of playing cards have no ranks, they are just numbers, but in this system, it is implied both metaphorically and in life that jacks are the lowest ranking in the system.

Why did jacks replace knights playing cards?

The answer to this refers to the ranking system of nobility at the time, although jacks do not have the same rank as knights in any kingdom. Knights would be a natural ranking to have after queens in a deck of playing cards.

The point of a rank in the jack placement was to denote a rank that came after queens and kings.

Knights in the royal kingdom

Knights in the royal kingdom were not the next natural rank in succession, but they were a formal rank to put on playing cards until they did not sell well. In some early decks of playing cards, knights had a rank above the rank of a private or general soldier in defense.

This appears in decks of tarot cards as well through pages, which represent young messengers who served as front-line soldiers in an era where the phrase “don’t kill the messenger” was coined.

Today, if that ranking system stayed on playing cards, there would be (in ascending order) jacks, knights/knaves, queens, kings. In some decks, in countries such as France, the knights were called valets.

The role a valet plays in the system is that of direct service to the king or queen. They are a royal confidante that faithfully never leaves their employer’s side day or night.

Do you want to learn more about jacks in playing cards?

In every deck of cards, playing cards, tarot cards, and others, there are four cards in every court card suit. The jacks replaced knights in some decks but are considered a lower-ranking card in many others.

women ruler

The jacks were and still are often considered the lowest rank in this system, and as such, are the lowest ranking human on playing cards, despite their crowns and noble attire.

Today, however, card games do not always follow the realities of an empire or monarchy. In many games, the jacks are the highest-ranking cards or among the highest-ranking cards.