In poker, a face card is any jack, queen, or king. They are called face cards simply because they picture a member of the royal court (very often with a depiction of their face). They are also often referred to as picture cards or paint since the king, queen and jack are typically the most ornate cards in the deck. 

In this guide we’ll learn the following - 

Why are the Jack Queen and King referred to as Face Cards?

The jack queen and king depict a member of the royal court, the jack queen and king respectively. The artwork therefore usually contains some sort of face hence the name face card.

Is the Ace a Face Card in Poker?

The Ace is not typically considered a face card in poker. The reason is simply that there is no face depicted on the card. It’s possible however that some players use the term interchangeably with the term ‘broadway’ and consider the Ace as a face card even though it is technically not.

What’s the Difference Between a Broadway and a Face Card?

The term broadway can refer to any card between (and including) a Ten and an Ace. The term face card only applies to cards with faces, i.e. the jack, queen and king. The Ten and Ace are not face cards although it’s not impossible that certain players may occasionally refer to the Ace as a face card.

Is the Joker a Face Card?

It’s true that jokers often have artwork that contains a face, but jokers are not considered face cards. This is because jokers are not a standard part of a 52 card deck, most poker variants do not make use of jokers.

How Should We Play When There is a Face Card on the Flop?

Generally speaking, face cards on the flop are typically good for whoever took the last aggressive action preflop. This is because the preflop aggressor typically has more big cards in their range when compared to the preflop caller. The preflop caller generally has more mid-range holdings and prefers textures without face cards.

How Should We Play When There is a Face Card on the Turn or River in Hold’em?

Face cards on the turn and river are often overcards to the rest of the board. Historically, overcards to the board are considered good for bluffing and are often referred to as ‘scare cards’. In truth, the effectiveness of bluffing these cards depends on the exact situation so good judgement is still required.

Final Thoughts

For the most part, understanding that the term face card refers to any jack queen or king helps us to communicate effectively with other players when discussing poker. In itself, the term face card does not have any special strategic relevance to the game of poker. We simply might feel left out of a poker conversation if we aren’t familiar with the terminology. As discussed face cards may sometimes be scare cards. Why not check out this glossary explanation of the term scare card?

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