Joker (playing card)

From Academic Kids

The Joker is a special card found in most modern decks of playing cards.

There are usually two Jokers per deck, and the artwork on the card varies depending on the deck's publisher. Often, one Joker card will be in black and white, while the other will be in full color. In games where the jokers may need to be compared, the colored joker usually outranks the black-and-white one. The joker often shows a court jester.

The Joker's use is greatly varied. Many card games omit the card from use entirely; others, such as a 25-card variant of Euchre, make it one of the most important in the game. Often, the card is a wild card, allowed to represent a range of existing cards. The term "The Joker's wild" originates from this practice.

It is believed that the term Joker comes from Jucker, the Alsatian name for Euchre, since the card was originally introduced for games of that family. Alternatively, it may represent a combination of Jucker and Poker, as these are the games in which, originally, it was most commonly featured.

The Joker can be an extremely beneficial, or an extremely harmful, card. In Euchre it is often used to represent Benny, the highest trump. In poker, it is wild. However, in the children's game Old Maid, a solitary joker represents the Maid, a card that is to be avoided.

The Joker sometimes bears the original symbol for the U.S. Dollar, an S superimposed over a U.

The Joker is often compared to 'The Fool' in the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck. They share many similarities both in appearance and play function; the Fool is often the highest trump.

The Batman enemy, The Joker's look was originally based on this playing card.

Uses of the Joker in card games

  • Euchre, 500, Spades: As the highest trump, "Benny" or top bower.
  • Canasta: The joker, like the deuce, is a wild card. However, the joker is worth 50 points in melding, as opposed to 20 for the deuce.
  • Hearts: The joker does not appear in standard hearts, but in some variants is a penalty card with special properties.
  • Poker (1): A wild card. Some poker variants restrict the capabilities of the joker, only allowing it to be used as an ace, or to complete a flush, straight, or straight flush. Unrestricted jokers can be very powerful; they guarantee a pair, promote an existing pair to three of a kind, and promote two-pair to a full house.
  • Poker (2): Alternatively, the joker is sometimes used as a buck or button (poker) to indicate which player is dealer.
  • Chase the Joker: An alternative version of Chase the Ace where the Joker card is used instead of the Ace.de:Joker
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