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How To Create Six Suits With Standard Playing Cards

Updated on November 10, 2014

How many people have thought about splitting the current four suits in a standard deck of playing cards into six suits? I can hear some people saying "Why in the world would anyone want to do that?" And I reply, why not?

Here's What I Did

If you split a deck of playing cards evenly into six suits, each suit would have exactly eight and two-thirds cards. This would be rather impractical. But if one card was removed from each of the current suits, say the Twos, then each new suit would have exactly eight cards which is much more manageable. So I started by removing the Twos.

I laid the remaining cards face-up on a table in four vertical rows so that each row contained the 12 cards in one suit in ascending sequence. Then I tried to figure out which four cards to remove from each suit to create the two new suits.

I used a logical approach that divided the cards in each suit into four equal sections, each with three cards. Then I could remove one card from each section.

I could remove the first, the second, or the third card from a section. For two adjacent sections, the lower pair and the upper pair, I could use six patterns that removed different cards from each section:

first and second
second and first
first and third
third and first
second and third
third and second

I chose to use the first four patterns on adjacent sections in the four suits.

For the Spades, I used the first pattern on the lower pair of sections moving up. I removed the first card from the bottom section, the Three, and the second card from the next section, the Seven.

Then I used the same pattern on the upper pair of sections, but moving in the opposite direction. This way, the removals would be evenly distributed. I removed the first card from the top section, the Ace, and the second card from the next section, the Ten.

I used the second pattern on the Hearts, the third pattern on the Diamonds, and the fourth pattern on the Clubs.

I ended up with four suits each with eight cards, and the sixteen cards I have removed.

Spades
Hearts
Diamonds
Clubs
 
Ace
 
Ace
King
 
King
King
Queen
Queen
Queen
 
Jack
 
Jack
 
 
Ten
Ten
Ten
Nine
Nine
 
Nine
Eight
Eight
 
Eight
 
Seven
Seven
Seven
Six
 
Six
 
Five
Five
Five
 
Four
 
Four
Four
 
Three
 
Three

Of those sixteen cards, there were eight black cards, and eight red cards. So it seemed natural for the new suits to be Spades-Clubs and Hearts-Diamonds. These new suits already used the remaining two patterns.

Spades-Clubs
Hearts-Diamonds
Ace
Ace
 
King
Queen
 
Jack
Jack
Ten
 
 
Nine
 
Eight
Seven
 
Six
Six
Five
 
 
Four
Three
Three

There are other ways to divide the cards into six suits. The easiest is to use the Three through Ten of each suit as four new suits, and to use the black Jacks through Aces as the fifth suit and the red Jacks through Aces as the sixth suit. These suits are not as balanced rank-wise, but might work for certain games.

Using The New Suits

In order to use the new suits, the cards in the two new suits have to be marked somehow to distinguish them from the cards in the old suits. One way to do this is to buy some small, removable stickers that you can place on the new-suit cards. Place one sticker beneath the suit symbols on the opposite corners of each new-suit card.

Or you can buy a cheap deck of playing cards and use a permanent marker to make a mark beneath the suit symbols on the opposite corners of each new-suit card. This is what I did.

Then you can play a game of Hearts using six suits. The player with the Three of Clubs leads to the first trick. When you play cards to a trick, you have to follow suit if you can, which could be more interesting with six suits. And you can count each of the twelve Heart cards from the Hearts and Hearts-Diamonds suits to be penalty cards, or just the eight cards in the Hearts suit.

Or you can play a game of Crazy Eights. When you follow suit, there are less cards to choose from. And when you play a card of the same rank, you can go to three of the other suits but not the other two.

What other games would be interesting to play with six suits?

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