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Puppy Feet/Pups

What are ‘Puppy Feet/Pups’?

In card game terminology, ‘puppy feet’ or its shortened form ‘pups’ is a common nickname for the clubs suit. The name comes from the shape and colour of the clubs, which resemble the traditional ‘paw print’ symbol commonly seen on dog merchandise. The player might refer to a single card as a ‘pup’, or to having a ‘hand of pups’ – meaning a club flush.

‘Puppy Feet/Pups’ Explained

If a player refers to having ‘puppy feet’ or ‘pups’ in their hand, they mean they have one or more club cards. A standard pack of playing cards is made up of four suits – hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs. There are 13 cards in each suit: the numbers 2-10, plus one each of ace, jack, queen and king. Each pack also contains two jokers, although these are not assigned a suit and are not counted in the 52 standard cards. In games such as poker, the suits are not usually used to rank cards, except where the suits are matched in a five-card set – known as a flush. However, occasionally the suits will be used to break a tie during a game, in which case bridge rankings are used: the order for this is clubs, diamonds, hearts then spades.

Clubs are one of the two black suits, along with spades. The shape of the club resembles a puppy’s paw, which is where the nickname for this suit comes from. Another common phrase for clubs is the ‘golf bag’ – i.e. a set of clubs. Players might use the pups or puppy feet term to mean a set of cards that are clubs – for example a pair or triple, or to the five card flush of all clubs. ‘Royal pups’ is sometimes heard for a royal flush of clubs.