What is a ‘J-Boy’?
‘J-Boy’ is poker slang for any of the four jacks in a standard 52-card deck. The phrase is one of many slang terms used to describe this card. The ‘J-Boy’ is one of the three types of royal card (also ‘court card’ or ‘picture card’) within the deck. It is a vital component of top poker hand the royal flush, and it has a value of ten in the game of blackjack.
In the traditional 52-card deck used for most casino card games, there are twelve royal cards and four of these are jacks. The ‘J-Boy’ is a common nickname given to these jacks. The jack is more rarely known as the knave and is not to be confused with the ‘joker‘ – usually one of two unused cards in the pack, though sometimes brought into the game as a wildcard. The J-Boy or jack is one of the ‘court cards’ or royal house cards, and it ranks below the queen as the lowest of the set of three.
The J-Boy or jack sits just above the ten: a royal flush hand contains a suited set of 10-J-Q-K-A. In games where a value is assigned to the jack, such as in the casino game blackjack or pontoon, it is usually worth ten points. A blackjack hand containing 10-J is therefore worth 20 to the player, and only an ace can better it without busting it. 20 is a strong hand to aim to beat the dealer, and a player will usually bet if they have a ten in their hand.
There are four jacks in total – the hearts, clubs, spades and diamonds. Each J-Boy card is represented by an image of the court’s knave (typically a ‘page’ or soldier’s servant), although modern cards may replace the knave with a familiar character as part of a themed deck. Some casinos use their own stylised versions of the royal cards which are popular with collectors.