10 Nicknames for King Cards

For a period, starting in the 15th century, French playing-card manufacturers assigned names to each of the court cards taken from history or mythology.  These were adopted in England during the 17th century. These names became less common in the 19th century. These first four are the French names for the King cards, that are still used (in Europe in particular).

1. Alexander

Alexander the Great, King of Macedon.

2.   (King) David

David, the Biblical King of Israel. This print has him as a bot, showing off the severed head of the giant enemy warrior, Goliath, after having got him with a slingshot.


3. (Julius) Ceasar

The Roman Consul, then Emperor, and first conqueror of Britain. Immortalised for his “Et tu Brute?” in Shakespear’s play Julius Ceasar, when he was stabbed in the back in the Senate during a game of Texas Hold ‘em (might have that wrong!)

4. Charles (Charlemagne)

Also known as Charles the Great, he ruled the Franks and what was left of the Roman Empire, 800-814, the only bright spot in what was known as the Dark Ages.


5. The Suicide King

So called because it appears as though this King is stabbing himself in the back of the head! He’s also known as the King without a Moustache, for being the only face-follicle-free King!


6. The One-Eyed King/ The Man with the Axe

Whereas two of the four Jacks are in profile and only have one eye showing, there is only one one-eyed King, the king of Diamonds. He is also known as the Man, or the King, with the Axe, because all other Kings have swords.


Apart from the famous quote in King Solomon’s mines “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King”, the only other one-eyed European King was Cináed mac Írgalaig or Cináed Cáech, “the one-eyed”, the High King of Ireland who dies in 728.


Non-suit specific names for Kings

7. Cowboys

A popular name for the King cards, both land-based and online. Kickers with Kings are sometimes known as Riders- as in Ride those Cowboys.


8. Monarch

Simply another name for King, popular in Europe.




Peculiar to England, this term relates to a time when the rank of Sergeant was much higher than current day (only one above Corporal).


10. K-Boy

Slang for the King-Boy. “Read these K-Boys and weep, suckers!”


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