Glossary of card game terms

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The following is a glossary of terms used in card games. Besides the terms listed here, there are thousands of common and uncommon slang terms. This is not intended to be a formal dictionary; precise usage details and multiple closely related senses are omitted here in favor of concise treatment of the basics.

A few games have enough of their own specific terminology to warrant their own glossaries:

Terms in this glossary (unlike those above) should apply to a wide range of card games.

A[edit]

ace

See rank, below

age

No relation to the player's chronological ages. However, some family games will refer to the players' actual ages. See eldest and youngest for details.

C[edit]

court

See face card

D[edit]

deal

  1. Verb: To distribute cards to players in accordance with the rules of the game being played. In many games, this involves taking all cards, shuffling them, and redistributing them, but in other games (such as Patience games) it simply involves turning over the Waste to act as a new Stock.
  2. Noun: The play from the time the cards are dealt until they are redealt. Also referred to as a hand

dealer

The person whose turn and responsibility it is to deal the cards (even though this player may delegate the actual dealing to another).

deck

May refer either to the pack or the stock

deuce

Another name for the rank 2 cards (see rank, below)

discard

To remove cards from one's hand, often with the intention that such cards will no longer belong to oneself. Usually done with less desirable cards in an attempt to make room for more desirable cards, or when changing strategies for what cards one is attempting to collect.

downcard

A card that is dealt face down.

E[edit]

eldest

The first player to play in the round. In English-speaking countries, this is usually the player to the left of the dealer. Some family games will use eldest and youngest to refer to the players' actual ages.

F[edit]

face card

A face card depicts a person as opposed to pips (excluding jokers).

H[edit]

hand

  1. The cards held by one player
  2. The player holding the cards, as in "Third hand bid 1."
  3. Synonymous with the noun usage of deal

I[edit]

in turn

A player, or an action, is said to be in turn if that player is expected to act next under the rules. Jerry said "check" while he was in turn, so he's not allowed to raise.

J[edit]

joker

One or more cards usually depicting a jester that are used as the highest trump or as wild card

K[edit]

kind

See rank, below
kitty
Additional cards dealt face down in some card games.

M[edit]

meld

A set of matching cards, typically three or more, that earn a player points and/or allow him to deplete his hand.

N[edit]

numeral

A card for which the rank is a number (Ace usually counts as 1 in this case)

P[edit]

pack

A complete set of cards. A double deck may be used (i.e. 104/108 instead of 52/54)

penalty

A score awarded for common violations of the rules of the game. It can be awarded either negatively to the violating player/partnership, or positively to their opponent(s)

pile

A set of cards placed on a surface so that they partially or completely overlap

pip

  1. See numeral, above
  2. A suit symbol (, , , ) on a card.

plain suit

Any suit that is not a trump suit

play

  1. Verb: Move a card to a place on the table (either from the players hand, or from elsewhere on the table).
  2. Noun: The stage of the game in which player(s) play cards

R[edit]

rank

The position of a card relative to others in the same suit. The order of the ranks depends on the game being played.

redeal

To deal again

R.F.G. pile

"Remove From Game" pile; a discard pile for cards which will not be used in subsequent rounds.

round

The events between the eldest player's action, and the youngest player's action of the same type (i.e. bid, play), inclusive.

run

A combination of playing cards where cards have consecutive rank values.

S[edit]

seat

Position relative to the dealer: for example, in bridge, the dealer's left-hand opponent is said to be in second seat.

sequence

Two or more cards adjacent in rank. The adjectives ascending and descending may be applied (i.e. "building in ascending sequence" means "laying cards out so that each has the next highest rank to the previous one"). A sequence need not all be of the same suit.

shuffle

rearrange (a deck of cards) by sliding the cards over each other quickly.(verb)
an act of shuffling a deck of cards. (noun)

spot card

See numeral

stack

Cards are placed directly on top of each other, disallowing the player to see any card other than the top. In most cases, these cards are and should be kept hidden. Viewing these cards during a deal is often considered illegal, so they should be dealt face down.

stock

A pile of cards, face down, which are left over after setting up the rest of the game (i.e. dealing hands, setting up other layout areas).

suit

All cards that share the same pips

T[edit]

trick

See Trick-taking game. A set of cards played by each player in turn, during the play of a hand.

trump

  1. (Noun) A card in the suit whose trick-taking power is greater than any plain suit card.
  2. (Noun) A card in the special suit of trumps found in tarot decks such as the Tarot Nouveau
  3. (Verb) To play a trump after a plain suit has been ledsee Ruff.

U[edit]

upcard

A card laid on the table face-up

V[edit]

value

See rank

W[edit]

wild card

A card that can able to substitute for any other card (or even nonexistent ones)

Y[edit]

youngest

The last player to play before the eldest player's second turn. Some family games will use eldest and youngest to refer to the players' actual ages.