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Commons:Suggested category scheme for playing cards

Playing card cat scheme.png



A major weakness of any hierarchial organization of categories is that it tends to imply a tree. But the network of relationships among card categories is more complex, and the same, identical image is found at several different terminuses of the network.

On the other hand, the image is difficult to edit, while a linear text version is easy to edit. Keep both in mind when categorizing card-related images.

Many quite different kinds of items belong to Category:Cards, which are not Playing cards at all. Within this discussion, the word "cards" must be taken to refer to playing cards only.

The distinguishing features of Playing cards, as opposed to all other types of Category:Cards, are:

  • They always are designed in definite, finite sets, each set being called a deck.
  • Within each deck, while one side of each card (front) is usually unique, the other side (back) is usually identical, thus obscuring this uniqueness when viewed from the back.

Specifically excluded from Playing cards are Baseball cards (and related) and Pokemon cards (and related). While these may bear a strong similarity to the subject of this category, they fail one or more tests. For instance, the set of all Pokemon cards is indefinite. Such cards belong, indirectly perhaps, to Collectables.

Tarot cards are included within Playing cards; so are French-suited cards, of which Poker cards are a subtype. The primary purpose of the former is divination, while that of the latter is gambling; however, both have been used for both purposes and are closely related.

A characteristic feature of cards is that each deck forms an ordered set, and indeed, this ordering is generally multidimensional. Thus, a standard poker deck may be ordered by rank, by suit, and by order within the deck -- two distinct dimensions at right angles to one another, and a third generated by a prescribed ordering of the first two.

Complicating the issue is the fact that, in general, ranks and suits form categories as well. Thus, nearly every deck of Tarot and playing cards contain Kings -- and there is a direct, rather than a casual or accidental link among these Kings. Nearly every deck of cards considered here is divided into four suits, and each suit in any given deck corresponds to one of the four elements of the ancients: Air, Fire, Water, and Earth.

Note that it is unwise to attempt to categorize cards according to deck order, since not all decks contain the same number of cards. However, each filename should include a deck order sort key, if an entire deck of individual cards is uploaded.
In theory, the deck order sort key can be generated by rule from rank and suit, but in practice, there is no mechanisms to permit this; and in any case, the filename must be generated by the uploader at upload time.

For the convenience of modern readers, suits are placed into categories bearing the names of the modern, french-suited, standard, poker / bridge deck.

See AlsoEdit

Template talk:Ct

External linksEdit

Category:Playing cards


As defined above

Fortune tellingEdit

The activity of fortune telling or divination; includes objects or people other than only cards

Card playingEdit

The activity of card playing or gaming; includes objects or people other than only cards


Images of single cards

Groups of cardsEdit

Images of groups of cards, perhaps entire decks

Sets of cardsEdit

Groups of cards in which all belong to the same deck

Mixed cardsEdit

Groups of cards including those from multiple decks

Tarot cardsEdit

Primarily used for divination; always consisting of the Major Arcana and Minor Arcana

Rider TarotEdit

AKA Rider-Waite, Rider-Waite-Smith; this deck is in the public domain but note that many derivative decks may still be under copyright

Marseille TarotEdit

Thoth TarotEdit

Playing cardsEdit

These decks are descended, directly or indirectly, from the Tarot Minor Arcana

French-suited cardsEdit

The most common modern design, worldwide

Standard playing cardsEdit

A very strict standard design based on the work of Thomas de la Rue in the mid-to-late 1800s

Poker playing cardsEdit

The most common format for standard playing cards; also used in many other games (Note that although pinochle decks contain an unusual selection of cards, each one individually is identical to a poker card)

Bridge playing cardsEdit

Nearly identical to poker, but slightly narrower, to make it easier to hold a large number of cards in one hand

Novelty playing cardsEdit

Ranked and suited as standard cards, but bearing unusual designs -- often every card bears a photo (e.g., the "Iraq deck")

Nudie playing cardsEdit

Novelty cards in which the theme is scantily-clad or unclad persons -- ranging from pinups to frankly pornographic

German-suited cardsEdit

Designs traditional in Germany

Spanish-suited cardsEdit

Designs traditional in Spain -- these are very closely related to Minor Arcana

Special playing cardsEdit

Cards in which the general structure of the deck has deviated significantly from the Minor Arcana and the standard deck (e.g., "Uno", "Mille Bornes") -- note that these are often copyrighted

Cards by suitEdit

It is meaningful to categorize cards from widely differing decks by corresponding suit -- this category should be empty, except for its four subcats

Spades (cards suit)Edit

All cards, of whatever deck, regardless of actual symbol, whose suit is identified with Tarot Swords and the Element Air

Hearts (cards suit)Edit

As above; Tarot Cups, Element Water

Diamonds (cards suit)Edit

As above; Tarot Coins (Pentacles), Element Earth

Clubs (cards suit)Edit

As above; Tarot Wands (Staves, Batons), Element Fire

Cards by rankEdit

It is meaningful to categorize cards from widely differing decks by corresponding rank -- this category should be empty, except for its fourteen subcats.

Court cardsEdit

The ranks King, Queen, Knight, and Jack belong to this auxilliary subcat.

Ace (cards rank)Edit

All cards, of whatever deck, whose rank is 1 (traditionally ranked both above King and below Deuce)

King (cards rank)Edit

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to French-suited King. This includes the Knight from the Thoth Tarot deck (!)

Queen (cards rank)Edit

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to French-suited Queen.

Knight (cards rank)Edit

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to Rider Tarot Knight. This rank is not present in a French-suited deck. Note that the corresponding rank in Thoth Tarot is Prince, not Knight. Other Tarot decks may include a corresponding Cavalier.

  • There is speculation that the standard Jack represents both Knight and Page, but that is disorderly. Majority opinion tends toward the Tarot Page as the sole ancestor of the French-suited Jack.

Jack (cards rank)Edit

All cards, of whatever deck, corresponding to French-suited Jack. Tarot decks may refer to the corresponding rank as Page, Jack, Knave, Valet, or Princess.

Ten (cards rank)Edit


Nine (cards rank)Edit


Eight (cards rank)Edit


Seven (cards rank)Edit


Six (cards rank)Edit


Five (cards rank)Edit


Four (cards rank)Edit


Trey (cards rank)Edit


Deuce (cards rank)Edit


Major ArcanaEdit

Tarot cards that do not, with one exception, have corresponding cards in common playing decks -- note that numbering varies occasionally, but this is not especially important; the only absolutely essential numbers of MA are The Fool, which has none; and The World, which always completes the cycle (21)

The Major Arcana may be thought of as a fifth suit, but this view is not generally accepted. However, due to technical limitations, this is a subcat of Cards by suit.

The Fool (MA 0)Edit

Technically, The Fool has no rank whatever; in computing terms, its rank is not zero, but null -- this subcat includes the Jokers found in a standard poker deck

The Magician (MA 1)Edit

The High Priestess (MA 2)Edit

The Empress (MA 3)Edit

The Emperor (MA 4)Edit

The Hierophant (MA 5)Edit

The Lovers (MA 6)Edit

The Chariot (MA 7)Edit

Strength (MA 8)Edit

In this subcat, Strength in every deck, though in some decks it is MA 11 -- group by symbol, not by number

The Hermit (MA 9)Edit

Wheel of Fortune (MA 10)Edit

Justice (MA 11)Edit

In this subcat, Justice in every deck, though in some decks it is MA 8 -- group by symbol, not by number

The Hanged Man (MA 12)Edit

Death (MA 13)Edit

Temperance (MA 14)Edit

The Devil (MA 15)Edit

The Tower (MA 16)Edit

The Star (MA 17)Edit

The Moon (MA 18)Edit

The Sun (MA 19)Edit

Judgement (MA 20)Edit

The World (MA 21)Edit

Card backsEdit

Almost anything can, and has, been used as a card back design -- note that many card back designs are copyrighted

Geometric card backsEdit

Formal card play (i.e., for big money) generally demands a highly formal, geometric design that is very difficult to clearly mark during play

Photographic card backsEdit

Photos of almost anything, from dogs to waterfalls and leather-clad men, have been used as backs of decks intended for casual play

Advertising card backsEdit

Decks have often been produced with advertising matter on the back

Reading card backsEdit

While the purpose of most backs is to conceal the identity of the card, readers reveal them to those who know the secret -- generally used for cheating

Special card backsEdit

Some designs are strongly linked to the design of a special deck -- note that these are generally copyrighted

Cards by formatEdit

This category should be empty, but for its subcats. In theory, all images should be uploaded in one of two formats: PNG, for rasters; or (when available) SVG, for vectors. Note that lossless, free PNG is preferred to both lossy JPEG and proprietary GIF. The old distinction between photo-like images and indexed-color images no longer holds, since PNG does it all.

Note also that PNG may be used (with a transparancy alpha channel) to define card images with rounded corners.

However, in practice, uploaders will use JPEG and GIF, so these are given their own subcat. A cleanup task is to search these subcats and convert all members to PNG.

Ideally, all card images should be vectorized -- and all men should be brothers.

Cards in PNG formatEdit

In theory, only the largest possible size of each image should be uploaded as PNG. In practice, there are scaling issues with the MediaWiki engine, and cards are usable over an extremely wide range of display sizes.

Cards in PNG format (large)Edit

Images large enough to print well at high resolution. The arbitrary benchmark is 1500 x 2100 px, which is sufficient to provide 600 ppi resolution at actual size (2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch) for a standard poker playing card.

Cards in PNG format (small)Edit

Images small enough to display well at screen resolution. The arbitrary benchmark is 180 x 252 px, which is correct for display at 72 ppi resolution at actual size (2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inch) for a standard poker playing card.

Cards in SVG formatEdit

("soon") -- Vector images encode shapes, not pixels, so they may be displayed at any size.

Cards not in preferred formatEdit

Images here are acceptable, but should be cleaned up into another format.