How to Use Regular Playing Cards as Tarot Cards


Way back in the day, I taught myself to read Tarot cards. Do I believe I’m psychic? Not really. Do I believe that things can be coincidental and relevant sometimes? Sure. Do I believe that some folks that seek the testimony of the tarot want guidance in the same way a life coach, parent, psychiatrist, friend or newspaper advisor would give? Yup.

One way of predicting the future is through cards. There are many different types of Tarot decks to choose from, yet the meanings of the individual cards are roughly the same. Each card distinctly paints a very clear picture to the reader. A standard playing card deck is actually related to Tarot deck with only a few differences and it is very easy to translate it into the Tarot meanings.

Learning to read cards isn’t that hard, just a lot of memorization. However, many psychics say they “feel” the meaning, they aren’t going on memory. So, while reading, if you feel that the card is saying something else to you, go with it!

Start with a standard deck, jokers removed. First you must find the card to represent the person you are reading for. There are four elements to work with; age, gender, hair/eye color and personality. Kings represent mature men, Queens represent mature women, and Jacks represent children of both genders.

♥ Heart personas have light to medium brown hair and hazel eyes. They tend to be family orientated, happy, romantic, artistic and reliable.

♦ Diamonds have fair hair and blue eyes. Their personalities are more business orientated, attractive, impetuous, and strong.

♠ Spades have brown to black hair and dark eyes. They are usually in some form of authority, gives good advice, witty, helpful, yet, not too family orientated.

♣ Clubs have white or dark hair, any color for eyes. Their personalities tend to be patient, strongly intellectual, creative, serious, secure, and moody.

Out of the four personalities offered, people usually fall into one of the categories. Once you’ve got the card that represents the person you’re reading for, pull it from the deck, and place it aside.

Shuffle the deck, and place in front of the person being read for. Have them divide the deck into three piles, then return them in any order back to one pile. Now the cards are ready to be read.

There are many ways to “lay-out” the cards to form a reading. For this example, I’ve chosen the easiest one**, which only chooses a snapshot of a persons life. This layout only requires four cards including the card picked out to represent the person. Place the person’s card down, then place one card to the left of it, and lastly two cards to the right.

  • The card directly to the right of the person’s card represents what the subject for the reading is, or generally what is going to happen to the person.
  • The card directly to the left of the person’s card foretells when or what events will lead to the future event.
  • The card farthest to the right answers the outcome of the event.

 I’ve just added another layout called the ‘Horseshoe’ Layout. This layout has 7 cards and gets a bit more detailed for folks that need more info!

So, for some examples: Q♠ will represent the person – Which is myself, a mature red haired, hazel-eyed woman, who’s eccentric & has no children. Why am I am not a Q♥ ? Because I am not family oriented and don’t fit the norm… Ha!

I will also show you the Tarot cards that relate to the playing cards. The Tarot card’s images are related to their meanings and tend to lend aid in the translation.

4 ♠ Q♠ 7♥ 2♦ = Difficulty in making choices – It’s now time to think of the future – You’ll have work success!


A♦ Q♠ 9♣ K♥ = Feeling incomplete – You’ll meet new people – Maybe a brown-eyed man!


6♦ Q♠ 9♥ 3♥ = Wishing or wanting – Success is near – Marriage or Pregnancy!

Each card has a specific meaning and has to be interpreted with the reader’s mind just as much as the written meaning. Each suit represents four areas in life. Aces are low, and low cards symbolize a beginning, as opposed to a ten representing more of a conclusion. Face cards have the same meaning as before, representing people as opposed to events. The following lists the meanings to the rest of the cards.

Hearts meaning love and happiness:

A = New happiness and joy. Spiritual insight into new or present home.

2 = Love between a man and woman, new relationship.

3 = Marriage, good tidings, possible pregnancy.

4 = Boredom, lack of motivation.

5 = Divorce, loss of a loved one.

6 = New job or meeting an old friend.

7 = Difficulty in making a choice.

8 = Searching for a deeper meaning to things.

9 = Wishes will come true.

10 = Peace.

Diamonds symbolizing enterprise and distinction.

A = New business or social affairs.

2 = Work success.

3 = Someone offers help.

4 = Job well done.

5 = Stress, possible competition.

6 = Good news coming, success is near.

7 = Job pressure, inner strength.

8 = Business trip or messages coming soon.

9 = Maintaining control but shaky.

10 = Under pressure and experiencing life changes.

Spades represents struggle and animosity:

A = Successes are starting to begin.

2 = Stalemated in your decisions.

3 = Separation from a loved one, or possible fighting.

4 = Time to plan for the future.

5 = Lack of sensitivity, possibly a theft.

6 = Journey, moving on with future plans.

7 = Plans not working out as expected.

8 = Inability to think clearly.

9 = Sorrow, misery, sad circumstances.

10 = Loss, depression, broken goals.

Clubs denote money interests:

A = Beginning of prosperity.

2 = Copping with two problems, need to make decision.

3 = Well informed.

4 = Strong pursuit of materialistic endeavors.

5 = Review what’s happening in life.

6 = Promotions, fruits of labor enjoyed.

7 = Growth through hard work.

8 = Stability or possible schooling.

9 = Seeking goals, feeling of being incomplete.

10 = Secure; yet feeling detached.

Telling the future does have its rewards, yet it always should be respected as the gift it is. The future that’s foretold isn’t always the way things turn out. The cards will offer one story to the query’s life, but its up to the person to make it come to pass….. or not.

122 thoughts on “How to Use Regular Playing Cards as Tarot Cards

  1. Pingback: mypsychicadvice

  2. How fun! This is definitely going to be included in a couple of late-night girl get-togethers. And normally when I visit my folks we end up playing cribbage or gin rummy. Won’t they be surprised when I tell them their futures. 🙂


  3. I’m so glad I happened across your post. Growing up I only knew people who read regular decks of cards, and struggled with the validity of Tarot cards when I first saw them. In time I realized I had no clue how to read regular cards, but I’m rather good at Tarot. Though I love my Tarot deck, I believe I’ll give regular cards a try once more. Thanks!


    • Thanks for stopping by! I think the only reason I started with playing cards is that’s all I could get my hands on when I started reading (b/4 internet / ability to find tarot cards readily). Now it seems there are a boat-load of folks wanting to learn regular cards, as it’s my hardest hit post. Figures, right? This is a gardening blog!! Ha!


  4. My Nain used to do this, and read tea leaves, she would have visitors come over and go into the Parlour. I’ve got the talent and have used tarot but found some people get addicted to it, so dont do it anymore, I got blamed for things!


  5. What a wonderful post! I have always loved Tarot. I knew that “conventional” playing cards are Tarot “underground” because of the prohibition imposed during the Inquisition when a person could get burned for using them, so like many
    other esoteric disciplines they became “games.” But I never knew how to read them. Do you think the Jokers might be equivalent to the Fool? I would love to have a reading with you!


    • Tarot has an additional 22 cards called the ‘higher arcana’ and that is where the fool falls. These cards were basically their own suit. Fool=joker fer shore!
      I’m so out of practice for reading, however I’d maybe try an unconventional method… I’d have you shuffle cards and tell me their layout. I can translate then. Let me know what you think!


    • 3 = Marriage, good tidings, possible pregnancy.
      A = New happiness and joy. Spiritual insight into new or present home.
      9 = Wishes will come true.

      It seems you have a problem with getting married or pregnancy. This issue will present itself when you think of moving or a happy time like a holiday. Whatever your wishes are, they will come to fruition.

      That is what I get! =-)


    • Good day Martha, thanks for stopping by!
      Without knowing anything about you, nor proclaiming myself as a reader… Here’s what I think your cards say:
      A light haired woman is in the way of you either marrying (or an adoption perhaps) that involves a younger dark-haired man (for marriage) or boy (possibly a new son?).


  6. Pingback: My 500th Post! Thanks to All of You! | Midwestern Plants

  7. Thanks for the insight I happen to stumble on this post online took interest. King of diamonds, King of Clubs(me), 3 Spades and 2 Diamonds…interested to see what this spread means


    • So sorry! Your comment got lost in my spam =-(
      My interpretation is that you are having to leave a loved one for monitory gain or knowledge, either because of a fair haired, older man or he is the one you are having to leave.
      That is exactly how the cards read, I don’t claim to be gifted =-)


  8. hi can i just check, when dividing the deck of cards into 3 piles. do you deal them equally from left to right or do you randomly divide the cards into 3 piles regardless of the amount in one pile. =)


  9. I’m a bit lost on how to figure out the face cards, I understand all of it up until that point because we pulled a King of Spades in my reading but the analysis wasn’t posted, so how is that interpreted exactly as a face value card.


  10. I was looking for a post like this.. This was perfect and with great details. Are there any other layouts though the layout you kindly share with us was good. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When you use a Jack it is for a child but a King and Queen are for mature men and women. What is your definition of mature? Does it mean anyone over 18 or is there another certain age of maturity you had in mind?


    • That’s where is a bit difficult with a regular deck. In tarot, there are 4 ‘picture’ cards:
      Page, Knight, Queen, King.
      Pages are generally under 18 and could be male or female. (Sometimes folks are immature 😉 use personality over physical age) knights are young men, kings are older. Since women mature early, I think that’s why they are always queens.
      Back in my early 20’s, I represented myself as the page of swords, but in a regular deck, I’d go with Queen.
      So to sum up: Jacks for younger women & men, Queens = women and Kings = men.
      I hope that helps!


  12. So neat..thanks!! I asked about my dreams coming true about money ..I got from left to right 2 queen clubs..10 diamond and 4 hearts…any insight us greatly appreciated…


  13. Pingback: How to Read Regular Playing Cards as Tarot in a Horseshoe Layout | Midwestern Plants

  14. Love your method! Works great!
    Except I’ve just done it for myself and I got jack of spades, queen of hearts (me), jack of clubs and King of diamonds.
    From my understanding the first two is my daughter and myself but the other two I’m not sure I’ve got the right idea

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry for the answer delay. . Spamers like to hit this post and ask questions just like you did, but they never subscribe!
      Thank you! 👍
      This one is a toughy, too many actors and not enough story line 😉
      1st – Were you thinking about something? Or just kinda seeing what the cards felt like saying?
      If it was the ladder, sometimes cards don’t not want to be read. End.
      If you were asking, go with any thoughts you may have had.
      The prob is there is no story, meat, filler. There is just a bunch of folks standing around. I think you get my point 😃
      However, here’s what I might gather…
      Topic card would be the J Clubs. J can also mean messages. Does she have a male teacher and it’s report card or parent/teacher time?
      Sometimes the cards state the blatantly obvious also 😀
      Did that help?


  15. The ten of spades is a favorite to pop up in my readings. XD

    Out of curiosity, where did you get your definitions? I’ve got a few research files on my computer where I’m comparing definitions over the years from various places. (The oldest is from the 1600s.)


      • Ah, okay. Cool beans. 🙂

        Most of your Tarot definitions stay roughly the same. But the definitions meant for playing cards can vary a good bit.The ace of diamonds can be anything from a birth, to a letter, to a ring, to an outdoorsy guy! Kind of like reading with Oracle decks, I reckon. I tend to favor using the Tarot definitions with playing cards since they’re a bit more consistent. And playing cards are so much easier to shuffle with their smaller size.
        I’d feel a bit like a leech just linking my site outright, but you can find my card site under my Gravatar profile.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Yes.
    I used to have the greatest opportunity as a child to know a very gifted lady read poker cards for my family members. She is no longer on earth with us.
    She tried to persuade my mom to leave me with her for 1 summer to teach me her gift. Now, that I am older, I realize that she knew that I was from a bloodline of some gifted women.
    I remember her having the query shuffle once then divide the cards three times toward them and sliding to middle of table. I believe she laid out by rows of 5. Her card table would be full at the end of the reading it seems. She also offered a QUESTION OR WISH card. Would you happen to know about this layout. I was 8 yrs old to 12yrs I am 41 now! Fuzzy memory of this part. She was always ON SPOT.
    Thank you for taking time to read this post. I feel Chrissy is wants me to read.
    Thank you so much


    • Good day Kandi!
      I’m so glad this was helpful to you. I didn’t realize I had a gift until a bit later on in life, (25). I was visiting a reader who felt my gift. She told me I should work on honing my skills. I then started learning tarot and palm reading. I never did it for money, just fun with my friends.
      I did have someone, many years ago, do a reading for me using the same layout, which basically used almost all the cards in the deck. I tried searching the layout on the web to no avail. =( I have a few books at home that I can look through. If I figure it out, I will reply again!


    • That’s a toughy. Sometimes cards do ‘babble’ a bit and try to tell you something where a lot of folks are involved. Unfortunately, a 4 card layout is very basic and you may need to reshuffle and relay another 3 cards. There is a link to a horseshoe layout in this post that uses 7 cards. Maybe try that. Best wishes!


  17. i have jack of diamond on my left (queens of hearts me) my right jack of hearts farthest right queen of diamond what does this actually mean ? i dont really understand can you please explain?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I chose Q of spades my hair is blonde now but is naturally dark and I have hazel eyes but I can be moody so I picked spades but I got Q of clubs Q of spades 7 of spades 7 of hearts? Not sure how to read that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good day!
      I think these cards are trying to tell you that an older woman is trying to help you work through something that is not easy, but well worth the trouble. Sadly, you need to make a difficult choice to pull off the prize.
      This is what I feel the cards tell me. Let me know if I’m even close 😉


  19. Hi, I just wanted to say thanks for following my blog.

    Like you, Metaphysics is also one of my interests.

    If you are interested, I created a free and public domain translation of an Ancient Eastern Buddhist metaphysical text which uses the mindfulness based coin toss/lots method of divination, similar to the I Ching. I published it on Scribd:觀世音菩薩感應靈課英文版


  20. Good Day!
    Would you help me to know what does it mean these 4 cards I got?
    8 Diamonds, Queen Clubs (me), 7 Spades & Heart of Ace

    Appreciate your sincere response. Thanks!


  21. I looked on other sites about this subject and I like to try it. But every sites says something different. Especially about the meanings of the cards. For example: you said that the heart 10 means peace but the other site says that it means a party or a entertainment and that multiple tens are cards of travel. But again other site says something different. So I wonder what the true meanings of the cards are. How can all those people say something else. I’m so confused.


    • In a nutshell, we’re all right! 😋
      Truly, gifted readers will ‘feel’ what the card means in each situation and for each individual they read for. Meanings of cards can mean many things. Take the death card (in a real tarot deck) it could mean true death, the end of something, the beginning of something, a change…. it all depends on where the card lands in the layout and how it’s interpreted by the reader.
      Tarot cards also have 2 meanings if they are upside down or up. Playing cards don’t have 2 alignments. Those means had to be blended to work with playing cards.
      If you truly want to learn tarot, you need to get a tarot deck, bond with it, learn from what it tells you and then you’ll be able to read predictions a bit more accurately.
      I wrote this post for entertainment and simplicity.
      Again, if you really want to learn, you need to study tarot for a long time and also learn how to open your 3rd eye to see the true story the cards are telling you. Reading a few posts here and there will not make you a tarot reader. It took me about 5 years of learning to be able to read them confidently.
      Visit a spiritual shop and look at some decks. One will speak to you, buy that one and study each card’s drawing. It will tell you what it wants to say. You’ll then start to understand them.
      Sorry I have no fast answer for you.


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