Who Is The Laughing Boy In The Playing Card Pack?

If you play at an online casino, such as Chumba Casino, then you will be aware that there are a good selection of card games to enjoy, including classics like Blackjack, Baccarat, Video Poker and Casino (Texas) Hold’em Poker, alongside more unusual games such as Red Dog and Let It Ride.

All these games tend to use one or more pack of cards, which traditionally features 52 cards arranged into 13 cards in four different suits: the two red coloured suits, hearts, and diamonds, and the two black, clubs and spades.

Each suit comprises of cards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King and lastly the Ace. Depending on the game, the ace may be valued at one, or eleven in most cases. The 10, Jack, Queen and King are usually valued at 10 (although in baccarat, they are all valued at 0).

Over years, players have devised a number of nicknames for the cards in the pack and many of these nicknames have become used commonly in online chat rooms, or in real world casinos.

For relative newcomers, it can be confusing to hear of terms like “suicide kings” “the man with the axe” or ‘one-eyed jacks” and to understand what cards they refer to.

So in this post, we are going to take a look at some of the nicknames used for particular cards, before we then take a look at some of the many different nicknames used in games like Texas Hold’em Poker (such as the famous ‘dead man’s hand’).

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Common Card Nicknames

There are a number of nicknames in use for cards that are not specific to one particular game. Some of the most common of these are as follows:

  • Any 2 card – “Deuce”

Thought to originate from the German word “daus” from a game that used a dice with two pips on it and which was played as early as the 12th century. Although the term in tennis refers to players tied at 40 points each, when used in reference to playing cards it means any of the ‘2’ value cards in the pack.

  • Any 3 card – “Trey”

Any three card in a pack is often called a ‘trey’, simply because in a number of languages, the word for ‘three’ is similar. In Spanish it is ‘tres’, in French “trois”, for example.

  • Any 4 card – “Sailboat”
  • Any 8 card – “Snowmen”

In both these cases, the nickname of the card are due to the shape of the number shown. The number 4 is purported to look like a sailboat, with the diagonal line of the number representing the edge of the sail.

The 8 card is simply called that because it resembles the shape of a typical snowman, with a large ball for the body and a smaller ball for the head.

  • Any 10 card – “Bo Derek”

Adopted in the 1980s, when Bo Derek was an international sex-symbol, the nickname refers to the film ‘Ten” which made her very famous.

Specific Card Nicknames

A number of cards in a pack can also be called by a specific nickname that applies solely to that card and many of these nicknames have an interesting story behind them.

  • Ace Of Spades – Death Card

The ace of spades has long been linked with warfare and death. It was used as a symbol for divisions of the British and Indian armies in the first and second world wars, and American soldiers used the card in the belief that it meant death and ill-fortune to the Vietnamese. In the 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom a pack of playing cards of 52 of the most-wanted Iraqi’s was distributed to American soldiers, with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein being the Ace of Spades.

  • 7 Of Diamonds – Beer Card

This nickname pertains to an informal agreement in some games such as bridge where if a player wins the last trick of a hand with the seven of diamonds, then their partner must buy them a beer.

  • 9 Of Diamonds – Curse of Scotland

Although the reason why the nine of diamonds is called the Curse of Scotland or Scourge of Scotland has many possible explanations, including one linked with the family coat of arms of John Dalrymple, the Earl of Stair, who was the villain of the massacre of Glencoe, which featured nine diamonds, the card has long been known as the Curse of Scotland and is rated by Scots as being the most unlucky card in the pack.

  • Jack of Diamonds – Laughing Boy

Simply named because the Jack of Diamonds face looks like he is smiling.

  • Queen Of Hearts – Helen of Troy

In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy was said to be the most beautiful woman in the world and as such, she was loved by millions, hence Queen of Hearts.

  • King Of Hearts/Diamonds – Suicide Kings

In standard playing card packs, the King of Hearts is shown holding a sword behind his head, but without the 3D effect, it looks like the king has inserted the sword into his head. Hence he is the called the Suicide King. Similarly, the King of Diamonds is often shown with an axe behind his head with the blade facing towards him. These weapons and the colour of the suits mean that these cards are often called the Suicide Kings.

Poker Hand Nicknames

There is no doubt that when it comes to card nicknames and in particular nicknames for hands of cards, then poker is the game that has the most colorful and unusual names in place. Some of the most commonly used for the two pocket cards include:

  • Dead Man’s Hand – A hand of five poker cards that comprises of the ace of clubs, ace of spades, eight of clubs and eight of spades with a kicker. The name refers to the legend that Wild Bill Hickok was killed by Jack McCall while holding the hand in 1876. In Texas Hold’em a hand of Ace-Eight is also referred to by this nickname.
  • Bullets, Pocket Rockets, Needles, Rocky Mountains – All nicknames for a hand of two aces in Texas Hold’em (pictured).
  • Kalashnikov – A nickname given to a hand of Ace-King (AK) named after the Kalashnikov rifle, the AK-47.
  • Ajax – Nickname for a hand of an ace and a jack (A-Jax)
  • Dogs – Nickname for a King and Nine (K-nine)
  • Cutie – Any hand of a Queen and Ten (QT)
  • One Eyed Jacks – A hand of the Jack of Spades and Jack of Hearts, both of which are shown in profile so only one eye is visible.
  • Truckers Hand – This nickname comes from the days of truckers using CB radio and using the phrase ‘ten-four’ for meaning understood. As a result any hand of a ten and four became known as the trucker’s hand.
  • Ducks – Any hand which comprises of two twos. Named because the numbers look like ducks.

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it does give you a good idea of some of the more common terms used in games by players, especially in real world casinos, but also in online chat rooms.

So if you want to sound less like a newbie and more like a seasoned card player, remember a few of these nicknames and throw them into your conversations to gain a bit more kudos!


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