Ace

An ace is a playing card. In the standard French deck, an ace has a single suit symbol (a heart, diamond, spade, or club) located in the middle of the card, sometimes large and decorated, especially in the case of the Ace of Spades. This embellishment on the Ace of Spades started when King James VI of Scotland and I of England required an insignia of the printing house to be printed on the Ace of Spades. This insignia was necessary for identifying the printing house and stamping it as having paid the new tax. Although this requirement was abolished in 1960, the tradition has been kept by many card makers.

The word "ace" comes from the Old French word 'as' (from Latin 'as') meaning 'a unit', from the name of a small Roman coin. It originally meant the side of dice with only one mark, before it was a term for a playing card. Since this was the lowest roll of the die, it traditionally meant 'bad luck' in Middle English, but as the ace is often the highest playing card, its meaning has since changed to mean 'high-quality, excellence'. This connotation has seen the word applied to an unreachable tennis serve, a successful fighter pilot and more generally as a person proficient in their field, especially a sporting field.

Historically, the ace had the lowest value and this still holds in many popular European games (in fact most European decks, including the French Tarot Nouveau, do not use the "A" index, instead keeping the numeral "1"). However, in most games popular in the English-speaking world, aces have the highest value of all cards in a suit. Many games, such as poker and blackjack, allow the player to choose whether the ace is used as a high or low card. This duality allows players in some other games to use it as both at once; some variants of Rummy allow players to form groups, or "melds", of rank K-A-2 or similar. This is known colloquially as "going around the corner".

Read more about Ace:  Ace-high Origin

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... allowed on the expedition so Mel stays with a young, rebellious waitress they have met called Ace ... It is only a matter of time before Ace behaves appallingly to customers and is fired ... Mel is stunned to hear that Ace is a human from late twentieth century Earth who only arrived on Iceworld after a bizarre chemistry experiment caused a time-storm in her bedroom ...
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Ace-high Origin
... The folk tradition of "ace high" existed in some games as of the late 15th century, for example Three-card brag, a precursor to modern forms of Poker ... The use of the ace as the highest card in the French deck gained more widespread acceptance as a result of the French Revolution ... Examples of the ace being a high card include the game Hearts ...

Famous quotes containing the word ace:

    I do not object to Gladstone’s always having the ace of trumps up his sleeve, but only to his pretence that God had put it there.
    Henry Labouchere (1831–1912)