Skip to main content

Suit Mnemonics

Any time you spend re-checking your cards is time that you could have spent observing other players. Also, when you have to re-check your cards for suit you give up information to observant opponents.

These are some of the mnemonics that help me remember what suits I have when playing holdem.

Suited hands are easy to remember. Both cards are the same suit, so you only have one suit to remember.

Hands of one color are not much more difficult. Were both cards black? Then you have a club and a spade. Red? A diamond and a heart. If black and red aren’t vivid enough, think dirty or bloody.

Mixed colors are more troublesome. But if you look carefully two suits have rounded edges while the other two have pointed edges. Heart and clubs are round, but diamonds spades are pointed.

The last two mnemonics depend on some knowledge of bridge. In bridge spades and hearts are major suits, worth more than the minor suits diamonds and clubs.

If you have a pocket pair these mnemonics are all you need. But if your black AT has a flush draw as back up, it’s very important to know if it’s the nut flush or not. Again I draw from bridge for help here.

In bridge the suits are ranked spade, heart, diamond, then club. If you bid two suits you usually want to bid the lowest one first. Bidding the high suit first is called a reverse. A reverse forces the bidding higher and so is reserved for signaling very strong hands.

So if the high card corresponds the high suit, call that normal. If the high card is of the lower suit, that’s a reverse.

If these mnemonics don’t help you think of your own. And if they aren’t working, go ahead and re-check your cards. It’s better to give away that you aren’t sure what your cards are, then to have to guess at them.

Here’s a summary table that hopefully helps.

♠♣ black / dirty
♦♥ red / bloody
♦♠ sharp / pointy
♥♣ round