Suicide King Card: Unravel the Mystery Behind One of the Most Powerful Cards

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king card
Feb 23, 2024 Reading time : 6 min

The suicide king card is one of the most significant of the 52 cards from the deck. However, the nickname of this card seems gloomy and forces people like you to know the actual meaning behind it.

suicide king card

In this card, you can see a king stabbing himself with a dagger in his head. The evolution of this image that you see dates back to several centuries. Therefore, keeping everything aside in this write-up, we are going to let you know about the whole history and the story of how it got its name. 

Suicide King Card Meaning

The suicide king card is a nickname for the King of Hearts card. This card got its nickname due to its image, where the king is trying to stab himself in the head. Majorly used in poker games, this is one of the key cards a player can have. 

The card has a big “K” written on the opposite edges and a symbol of hearts beneath them. Not only the king of hearts, but every other king of different suits, has a sharp weapon in his hand. However, it is said that the key intention behind drawing an image of a king with a weapon was to portray him as if he was ready to go to battle. 

Interestingly, the pattern of cards that the whole world is following today is derived from the 18th century in France. That is why the pattern today is known as the “Paris Pattern”.

Appearance and Design of the Suicide King Card

The first appearance of the King of Hearts card dates back to the year 1565. Initially, these cards were drawn at full length, where you could see the entire body of the king along with his legs. Moreover, other modern cards like suicide jack cards and card groups such as diamonds, spades, and clubs were all designed by Pierre Marechal in 1565

Including the king, there were 3 figures in total, which also included the queen and the jack. Due to their brave depictions in cards’ faces, these figures were also considered legendary heroes or historical figures.

If you have ever played cards, you know how to hold them in a fan-like shape. Holding cards in this style became popular in the 19th century when the value of cards was indicated at the corners and edges. The next big innovation in their designs was to draw these figures in symmetry. Thanks to this new design, there were no ups or downsides to the card, and the card can be held both ways.

How the Suicide King Card is Played in Different Games?

There are a lot of games that are played with the same deck of cards. However, each game has its own rules for every card. Therefore, here is a list of how the King of Hearts card is played in these games:


As mentioned earlier, Poker is the game from which the card got its nickname. Along with its appearance, the card is also considered unlucky for the player, which is why it is called the Suicidal King. The reason behind getting unhappy with this card may be superstitious, but that is the harsh reality. It is believed that since the king is attempting suicide, the player will also lose himself in the game due to the curse. 


If you are playing Bridge, the card does not hold any significant power or trust in the game. There is a standard set of rules where each suit is ranked differently, and the objective is to win the bids by playing the cards. The real value of the card is determined by the bidding process and the rules of the game.


The game Hearts consists of certain cards that are usually avoided by the players. One of those cards is the Suicide Kings card. This is because the card is associated with the penalty in the game like other heart cards, and the player with the King of Hearts card gets a single penalty point. Another such card that is avoided by players in the game is Queen of Spades, which carries 13 penalty points.

These were the roles of the suicidal king in different games. Cards can be used to play a variety of additional games, each with its own set of rules and guidelines. 

Evolution of Paris Pattern and Rouen Pattern Cards

The Rouen pattern is the pattern that was in the exact competition of the French playing card pattern. The pattern was imported from England, where it became the most common pattern to be followed to play the game in the 15th century. 

With gradual innovations in these cards, the pattern faced so many versions during the 15th and 17th centuries. Since there was no printing press to make exact copies, the style and faces of the legendary figures went through numerous changes that ultimately made them quite different from the original versions. 

The initial image of the king was depicted as a furious and brave ruler of the kingdom who was ready to go to war with his axe. But later on, with time, the king eventually ended up stabbing himself in the head with a dagger

The image below is a replica of the evolution:

king of hearts

According to Simon White, an author of The World of Playing Cards, “By around 1800, the battleaxe seems to have been replaced by a sword which disappears behind the King’s head.” He also writes, “Curiously, in the double-ended version, the King of Hearts becomes the only four-handed court card.”

Final Words

To sum up, the Suicide King Card is a major component of the deck with centuries of old history. Known by its nickname, the King of Hearts, it is a significant figure in poker. In this card, you can see a king stabbing himself with a dagger in his head. 

The looks of this card have been changed several times from the 15th century until the 19th century. In games with different rules, such as Bridge, Hearts, and Poker, this card plays a different role in each game. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions
What is the real name of the Suicide King card?

King of Hearts is known as the Suicide King card due to the figure where the king is trying to stab himself with a dagger.

How do you use a Suicide King card?

The use of this card is different in each game due to different rules. However, in games like poker or Hearts, the card is generally avoided by players.

What card is known as the Death card?

The card Ace of Spades is known as the Death Card.


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