Jack of Diamonds
ISO 800, f/14, 0.5 Second
A Jack, also Knave, is a playing card with a picture of a young man on it. The usual rank of a jack, within its suit, is as if it were an 11 (that is, between the queen and the 10).
As the lowest face (or "court") card, the jack often represents a minimum standard — for example, many poker games require a minimum hand of a pair of jacks ("jacks or better") in order to start the bidding. As early as the mid-16th century the card was known in English decks as the Knave (meaning a male servant of royalty). It became Jack in 1864, when Samuel Hart, an English cardmaker, published a deck using J instead of Kn for the lowest court card. The Knave had been called a Jack as part of the terminology of All-Fours since the 17th century, but this was not common usage because the word was considered vulgar. However, because the card abbreviation for knave was so close to that of the king, it was very easy to confuse them, especially after suits and rankings were moved to the corners of the card in order to enable people to fan them in one hand and still see all the values. The earliest known deck to place suits and rankings in the corner of the card is from 1693, but these cards did not become common until after 1864 when Hart reintroduced them along with the knave-to-jack change. However, books of card games published in the third quarter of the 19th century evidently still referred to the "knave", and the term with this definition is still recognized in the United Kingdom.
In the standard English playing card deck, the jack and the other face cards represent no one in particular — this is in contrast to the historical French practice, in which each court card is said to represent a particular historical or mythological personage. The jacks in a French deck have traditionally assigned names as follows
Jack of Spades: Ogier the Dane (legendary hero of the chansons de geste) or Holger Danske (a knight of Charlemagne)
Jack of Hearts: La Hire (French warrior)
Jack of Diamonds: Hector (mythological hero of the Iliad)
Jack of Clubs: Lancelot or Judas Maccabeus
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