King (playing card)
The king is a playing card
Playing card
A playing card is a piece of specially prepared heavy paper, thin cardboard, plastic-coated paper, cotton-paper blend, or thin plastic, marked with distinguishing motifs and used as one of a set for playing card games...

 with a picture of a king on it. The usual rank of a king is as if it were a 13; that is, above the queen
Queen (playing card)
The Queen is a playing card with a picture of a queen on it. The usual rank of a queen is as if it were 12 ....

. In some games, the king is the highest-ranked card; in others, the ace
An ace is a playing card. In the standard French deck, an ace has a single suit symbol located in the middle of the card, sometimes large and decorated, especially in the case of the Ace of Spades...

 is higher. In pinochle
Pinochle or Binocle is a trick-taking game typically for two to four players and played with a 48 card deck. Derived from the card game bezique, players score points by trick-taking and also by forming combinations of cards into melds. It is thus considered part of a "trick-and-meld" category...

, schnapsen, and many other European games, both the ace and the 10 rank higher than the king.

In the standard English playing card deck, the king and the other face cards represent no one in particular. The king of hearts is sometimes called the "suicide king" because he appears to be sticking his sword into his head. However, it is debated whether or not the sword and hand holding it actually belong to the king, due to a different design pattern that could indicate someone else stabbed him. The king of hearts is the only one of the kings without a mustache, whereas the king of diamonds is the only king not depicted carrying a sword, wielding an axe instead.

In a French deck, the court cards do have names. Because the manufacture of playing cards was illegal in the UK
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 during the Interregnum
An interregnum is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order...

, when the English Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 came and the court began playing card games, the suits
Suit (cards)
In playing cards, a suit is one of several categories into which the cards of a deck are divided. Most often, each card bears one of several symbols showing to which suit it belongs; the suit may alternatively or in addition be indicated by the color printed on the card...

 in an English deck came from the French deck, but without all of the lore. For a period, starting in the 15th century, French playing-card manufacturers assigned to each of the court cards names taken from history or mythology. This practice had largely disappeared by the 19th century. The most common names for the kings were:
  • King of Spades: David
    David was the second king of the united Kingdom of Israel according to the Hebrew Bible and, according to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, an ancestor of Jesus Christ through both Saint Joseph and Mary...

     (a biblical king)
  • King of Hearts: Charles (presumably after Charlemagne
    Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

  • King of Diamonds: Caesar
    Caesar (title)
    Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

     (presumably after Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

    , dictator of the Roman Republic
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

  • King of Clubs: Alexander (king of Macedon
    Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....


See also

  • List of poker hand nicknames
  • The King of Hearts
    King of Hearts (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)
    The King of Hearts is a character from the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.-Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:He seems to, when compared to the Queen of Hearts, be the moderate part of the Wonderland government...

    , a character from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
  • King of Clubs, Paul Gilbert's 1998 album
  • King of Clubs
    King of Clubs (video game)
    King of Clubs is a videogame for the Nintendo Wii, DS, King of Clubs is a videogame for the Nintendo [[Wii]], [[Nintendo DS|DS]], King of Clubs is a videogame for the Nintendo [[Wii]], [[Nintendo DS|DS]], [[PlayStation 2|PS2], [[PlayStation Portable|PSP]], and [[Personal computer|PC]] developed by...

    , a golf-based video game
  • King of Hearts
    King of Hearts (1936 film)
    King of Hearts is a 1936 British, black-and-white, romance film directed by Oswald Mitchell and Walter Tennyson. The film features Ronald Shiner as Tomkins and Googie Withers. It was produced by Butcher's Film Service....

    , a 1936 film directed by Oswald Mitchell and Walter Tennyson
  • King of Hearts
    King of Hearts (1966 film)
    King of Hearts is a 1966 French comedy-drama film directed by Philippe de Broca and starring Alan Bates....

    , also known as Le Roi de coeur, a 1966 French film directed by Philippe de Broca
  • King of Hearts, the title used by Domon Kasshu and Master Asia in the 1994 anime Mobile Fighter G Gundam
    Mobile Fighter G Gundam
    Mobile Fighter G Gundam, known in Japan as , is a Japanese animated television series directed by Yasuhiro Imagawa . Created to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the franchise in 1994, it is the first of the Gundam series to be set in an alternate continuity from the original "Universal Century"...

  • King of Hearts, a 1992 album by Roy Orbison
  • Eddie Kingston
    Eddie Kingston
    Edward "Eddie" Moore is an American professional wrestler, better known by his ring name Eddie Kingston. He is best known for competing in Chikara, Combat Zone Wrestling, Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South and Ring of Honor...

    , a professional wrestler who goes by the nickname "The King of Diamonds."
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