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Joker in Cards: The History, Role, and Tips to Use Joker in Card Games

Are you fascinated with jokers in card games? You may have noticed how you can do without the court jester or the joker playing card in some card games, while in other card games, the joker plays a vital role. Irrespective of whether or not a joker is helpful in the card game you choose to play, it is very much a part of the 52-card deck. It doesn’t belong to any suit like Diamonds, Spades, Clubs, and Hearts, and it can either be extremely powerful or destructive.

Jokers are used in card games like Indian Rummy, Poker, Canasta, Euchre, Crazy Eights, War, and more. Understanding the role of the joker in each game, especially rummy and poker, is an essential part of learning how to play that game. So here’s an interesting read on the history and role of joker in the card games and tips to use joker cards strategically.

History of the Joker Card

The history of the joker is not as old as that of the playing cards themselves. The first time that the joker card is believed to have appeared in a deck was in the 1860s in the game of Euchre. This was when the American Euchre players required an extra trump card for the game’s new rules and referred to the card as the Best Bower or the Imperial Bower, which was the highest trump card. Soon, the Best Bower transformed into a joker, and the card was designed uniquely with the brand image of the company.

Today, the Joker card plays a unique role while playing card games. In some Rummy games, a joker is used as a wild card for substituting missing cards in a sequence, making the sequence an impure one. In some poker variations, the joker is used as a wild card or a bug, which is used to complete flushes and straights.

Role of the Joker in Cards

joker card

Playing cards game without the joker is not possible for the games mentioned below. Jokers play an essential role in these games and aid the players in reaching the game’s objective. Take a look at some of the popular games that can’t do with the joker card.

Indian Rummy

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In Indian rummy variants, jokers help you in completing your sequences and sets much faster. While there is one printed joker card in every 52 cards decks, your rummy table may have two printed joker cards if two decks are used to deal the cards to all the players.

Additionally, after each player is dealt with the 13 cards, one card is randomly selected from the remaining cards and placed face-up and beneath the remaining pile. This card is the wildcard joker in online rummy games. Say you have 8 of hearts as the wildcard joker. In that case, all the other 8s will become jokers for that game. When two decks of cards are used, you will have a total of seven wildcard jokers (as the eighth one is placed beneath the pile).

All in all, you can have two printed jokers and seven wildcard jokers in a 13-card rummy game. You need to be aware of this count so that you can assess the probability of any of your opponents holding a joker that you might be waiting for. If the random card (that is selected as the wildcard joker) turns out to be a printed joker itself, all your aces are considered the selected (wildcard) jokers for that game. Also, joker cards carry zero points.

Also Read: Become a Rummy Expert with these simple but smart moves

Poker

In poker, jokers are referred to as wild cards or a pair of jacks. The deck of cards used to play poker contains two extra jokers that feature the character of a clown or court jester; these are the wild cards. When a player draws a joker, they can use it to substitute any card of their choice. While wild cards are commonly used in online poker games and home games, they aren’t generally used in poker tournaments and poker games in casinos.

Euchre

Jokers in Euchre

Euchre is a trick-taking card game where the joker was invented while playing cards. In the Euchre game, the joker holds the reputation of the highest trump (the right bower). The left bower is the Jack trump suit.

Canasta

In Canasta, the joker plays the role of a wild card along with the deuce. However, there’s a slight difference between the joker and the deuce within the game. While the joker carries 50 points when used in a meld, the deuce carries only 20 points when used in a meld. Clearly, the joker has more significance here than the deuce.

Pitch

Pitch is a card game with many variations. The role of the joker in pitch depends on the variation. For instance, in some variations, the joker is used as a point card, while in others, the value of the joker depends on whether it is a high point card or a low point card.

Mighty

Joker plays a considerable role in the mighty card game too. It is the second most powerful card in the game. However, players cannot use the card in the first or last trick while playing mighty.

War

The war card game has several variations where the joker is more valuable than any other card.

Crazy Eights

The role of joker in the crazy eights card game is quite unique. The card holds great significance in the game as a player can use it to force the next player to skip their turn.

Chase the Joker

A modification of the old maid card game, chase the joker, is an interesting game, and so is the role of the joker card in it. While Ace is one of the most important cards in most games like rummy and poker, this game uses joker as a replacement for Ace.

Go Fish

Go fish is a two-player card game that uses a joker to avoid the situation of a tie of 13-13 pairs.

Tips for using Joker in Rummy

Here are some essential tips for using a joker in rummy to your advantage:

Club Joker with High-Value Cards

Of course, a good strategy in rummy is to get rid of your high-value cards to avoid increasing your points if someone else wins the game. This is obvious as higher points are assigned to the high-value cards. Hence, when you are not clear about the usage of your joker card, you can combine it with the high-value cards to reduce the combined points allocated to them if your opponent declares before you (with the joker card carrying zero points).

Do Not Lose Focus from the Pure Sequence

Do not get too excited once you get the joker card in the initial 13 cards or after an initial couple of moves. Keep your attention and focus on forming the pure sequence first, and this does not require any joker. Once you are done with the pure sequence, you can shift your attention to better usage of the joker card, maybe for the impure sequence or the sets. Using this approach can provide you with more opportunities to win the online rummy card game.

Also Read: How to Form a Pure Sequence in Rummy

Discard Cards Closer to the Wildcard

One of the key strategies used by many expert rummy players is to discard cards closer to the wildcard joker. For instance, if 8 of hearts is the wildcard, you can consider discarding 7 of hearts, or 6 of hearts, and so on. When you discard such cards, it gives the impression to your opponents that you do not have the wildcard. This could confuse them, and you can catch them off guard at times.

Aim to Form Multiple Melds

If you happen to get more than one joker card in a game, you can use them to form multiple melds instead of using all of them for the same meld. The reason is simple – using them for numerous melds can help you complete your hand quicker, leading you to declare earlier than your opponents and ensuring a win. However, there may be certain scenarios where you manage to form most sequences and sets without a joker, and then the additional jokers can be added to any sequence (except for pure sequence) and set.

Are you fascinated with jokers in card games? You may have noticed how you can do without the joker playing card in some card games, while in other card games, the joker plays a vital role. Irrespective of whether or not a joker is helpful in the card game you choose to play, it is very much a part of the 52-card deck. It doesn’t belong to any suit like Diamonds, Spades, Clubs, and Hearts, and it can either be extremely powerful or destructive.

Jokers are used in card games like Indian Rummy, Poker, Canasta, Euchre, Crazy Eights, War, and more. Understanding the role of the joker in each game, especially rummy and poker, is an essential part of learning how to play that game. So here’s an interesting read on the history and role of joker in the card games and tips to use joker cards strategically.

History of the Joker Card

The history of the joker is not as old as that of the playing cards themselves. The first time that the joker card is believed to have appeared in a deck was in the 1860s in the game of Euchre. This was when the American Euchre players required an extra trump card for the game’s new rules and referred to the card as the Best Bower, which was the highest trump card. Soon, the Best Bower transformed into a joker, and the card was designed uniquely with the brand image of the company.

Today, the Joker card plays a unique role while playing card games. In some Rummy games, a joker is used as a wild card for substituting missing cards in a sequence, making the sequence an impure one. In some poker variations, the joker is used as a wild card or a bug, which is used to complete flushes and straights.

Role of the Joker in Cards

Playing cards game without the joker is not possible for the games mentioned below. Jokers play an essential role in these games and aid the players in reaching the game’s objective. Take a look at some of the popular games that can’t do with the joker card.

Indian Rummy

In Indian rummy variants, jokers help you in completing your sequences and sets much faster. While there is one printed joker card in every 52 cards decks, your rummy table may have two printed joker cards if two decks are used to deal the cards to all the players.

Additionally, after each player is dealt with the 13 cards, one card is randomly selected from the remaining cards and placed face-up and beneath the remaining pile. This card is the wildcard joker in online rummy games. Say you have 8 of hearts as the wildcard joker. In that case, all the other 8s will become jokers for that game. When two decks of cards are used, you will have a total of seven wildcard jokers (as the eighth one is placed beneath the pile).

All in all, you can have two printed jokers and seven wildcard jokers in a 13-card rummy game. You need to be aware of this count so that you can assess the probability of any of your opponents holding a joker that you might be waiting for. If the random card (that is selected as the wildcard joker) turns out to be a printed joker itself, all your aces are considered the selected (wildcard) jokers for that game. Also, joker cards carry zero points.

Also Read: Become a Rummy Expert with these simple but smart moves

Poker

In poker, jokers are referred to as wild cards or a pair of jacks. The deck of cards used to play poker contains two extra jokers that feature the character of a clown or court jester; these are the wild cards. When a player draws a joker, they can use it to substitute any card of their choice. While wild cards are commonly used in online poker games and home games, they aren’t generally used in poker tournaments and poker games in casinos.

Euchre

Euchre is a trick-taking card game where the joker was invented while playing cards. In the Euchre game, the joker holds a reputation of the highest trump (the right bower). The left bower is the Jack trump suit.

Canasta

In Canasta, the joker plays the role of a wild card along with the deuce. However, there’s a slight difference between the joker and the deuce within the game. While the joker carries 50 points when used in a meld, the deuce carries only 20 points when used in a meld. Clearly, the joker has more significance here than the deuce.

Pitch

Pitch is a card game with many variations. The role of the joker in pitch depends on the variation. For instance, in some variations, the joker is used as a point card, while in others, the value of the joker depends on whether it is a high point card or a low point card.

Mighty

Joker plays a considerable role in the mighty card game too. It is the second most powerful card in the game. However, players cannot use the card in the first or last trick while playing mighty.

War

The war card game has several variations where the joker is more valuable than any other card.

Crazy Eights

The role of joker in the crazy eights card game is quite unique. The card holds great significance in the game as a player can use it to force the next player to skip their turn.

Chase the Joker

A modification of the old maid card game, chase the joker, is an interesting game, and so is the role of the joker in it. While Ace is one of the most important cards in most games like rummy and poker, this game uses joker as a replacement for Ace.

Go Fish

Go fish is a two-player card game that uses a joker to avoid the situation of a tie of 13-13 pairs.

Tips for using Joker in Rummy

Here are some essential tips for using a joker in rummy to your advantage:

Club Joker with High-Value Cards

Of course, a good strategy in rummy is to get rid of your high-value cards to avoid increasing your points if someone else wins the game. This is obvious as higher points are assigned to the high-value cards. Hence, when you are not clear about the usage of your joker card, you can combine it with the high-value cards to reduce the combined points allocated to them if your opponent declares before you (with the joker card carrying zero points).

Do Not Lose Focus from the Pure Sequence

Do not get too excited once you get the joker card in the initial 13 cards or after an initial couple of moves. Keep your attention and focus on forming the pure sequence first, and this does not require any joker. Once you are done with the pure sequence, you can shift your attention to better usage of the joker card, maybe for the impure sequence or the sets. Using this approach can provide you with more opportunities to win the online rummy card game.

Also Read: How to Form a Pure Sequence in Rummy

Discard Cards Closer to the Wildcard

One of the key strategies used by many expert rummy players is to discard cards closer to the wildcard joker. For instance, if 8 of hearts is the wildcard, you can consider discarding 7 of hearts, or 6 of hearts, and so on. When you discard such cards, it gives the impression to your opponents that you do not have the wildcard. This could confuse them, and you can catch them off guard at times.

Aim to Form Multiple Melds

If you happen to get more than one joker card in a game, you can use them to form multiple melds instead of using all of them for the same meld. The reason is simple – using them for numerous melds can help you complete your hand quicker, leading you to declare earlier than your opponents and ensuring a win. However, there may be certain scenarios where you manage to form most sequences and sets without a joker, and then the additional jokers can be added to any sequence (except for pure sequence) and set.

Joker Card FAQs

What does a joker card symbolize?

The joker card is often used as a wild card in games that can either be quite beneficial or extremely harmful. The card is represented as a clown or court jester and symbolizes a wild card.

What is the use of joker in cards?

Many card games don’t use jokers in the game; therefore, the use of jokers in such games is to replace lost or damaged cards in the deck. However, Jokers play an important role in popular card games like rummy, poker, spades, euchre, canasta, etc.

How many jokers are in a deck of 52 cards?

A standard deck of 52 cards also includes two jokers. The deck has 54 cards with 13 cards of four suits each and two jokers.

How much is a joker worth in cards?

The joker’s worth varies depending on the card game being played. For instance, in Indian Rummy, the joker card carries zero points; in Poker, jokers are referred to as wild cards or a pair of jacks; in Canasta, the joker carries 50 points; in Euchre, the joker is the highest trump. Similarly, different card games have different values of the joker card.

Is Joker higher than Ace?

The joker card is higher than the ace card in games such as Spades with Jokers, where the Big Joker outranks the Little Joker, which outranks the Ace of Spades.

Is the joker card a face card?

While a joker card depicts a picture of a jester court or clown, jokers aren’t considered face cards in a standard deck of playing cards.

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