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One Eyed Jack

What is ‘One Eyed Jack’?

Part of the ‘one-eyed royals’, One Eyed Jack refers to the ‘Jack of Spades’ and ‘Jack of Hearts’. Along with some of the other royal cards (Kings and Queens), the above-mentioned Jacks are illustrated as posing for a portrait, where only one side of their face can be seen. Both the Jack of Diamonds and Jack of Clubs are traditionally shown as facing slightly forward, showing both eyes and most of their face.

‘One Eyed Jack’ Explained

It’s a simple term that revolves around the classic images displayed in the average ‘pack’ of playing cards. To a less-than-observant player, all the royal cards will look the same, bar their ‘suit’ images (club, spade, heart and diamond). However, cards like the One Eye Jacks (who face side-on) and the King of Hearts (wields a sword) showcase distinct differences that set them apart from the more plain designs.

Despite these little differences, the One Eyed Jacks are not worth any more or less than the front facing Jacks unless they are deemed to be ‘wild‘ in specific games of ‘poker‘. The term is just part of gambling slang that has been around for years.

The name was made all the more synonymous with gambling after it was used as the name for an illicit casino in the 1990’s cult television series, Twin Peaks. The winking neon sign made the term all the more appealing and alluring, and it was burnt into the minds of the viewing public.

Part of slang used by semi-experienced players and part of Western pop culture, the name One Eyed Jack resonates in the minds of both lovers of poker and those who do not indulge in any form of card games. A card of high value and a symbol of danger, it’s a slick term that rolls off the tongue.