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Is duke higher than queen?

In the game of cards, the relative ranks of the duke and queen cards depends on the specific game being played. In some games, the duke outranks the queen, while in others the queen outranks the duke. To determine which card is higher, we need to look at some of the most common card games and how they treat the duke and queen cards.

Rankings in Popular Card Games


In contract bridge, one of the most widely played card games in the world, the queen outranks the duke. The full rankings from highest to lowest are: ace, king, queen, jack, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. So the queen, as the third highest card, is superior to the duke, which does not exist in standard 52-card bridge decks. This ranking system is standard across all varieties of bridge.


Pinochle is a popular trick-taking card game that uses a 48-card deck. In Pinochle, the queen and jack outrank the duke. The full rankings are: A, 10, K, Q, J, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The duke is ranked below the queen at #6. So in Pinochle, the queen is higher than the duke.


Piquet is an old but still widely played two-player card game. It uses a 32-card deck. The ranking of cards in Piquet is: K, Q, knave, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, A. Here the knave functions similar to a jack. The duke is not present in Piquet. The queen ranks higher than the knave, so by extension would also outrank the duke if it were included.


Euchre is a trick-taking game popular in America that uses a shortened 24-card deck. In Euchre, the jack is named the right bower and outranks the other cards. The left bower is the second highest card. The rankings are: J♥, J♦, A, K, Q, 10, 9. As we can see, the queen ranks below the right and left bowers but above the other cards. Since the duke is not present in Euchre, by extension the queen would outrank it.

500 Rum

500 Rum is a point-trick game for 2-4 players that uses a 45-card deck. The rankings are: 2♦, 7♣, 10♦, K♦, K♠, K♥, K♣, Q♠, Q♥, Q♦, Q♣, J♥, J♠. Here the queen ranks above the jack and is the fourth highest card. The duke is not included in the deck, so the queen would be superior.

Rankings in Other Games

While the queen clearly outranks the duke in most standard card games, there are some specialty decks and games where the duke ranks higher than the queen:


Tarot card decks contain an additional suit of 21 numbered trumps plus the Fool. In French Tarot, a popular variety, the ranking of the trumps from high to low is: Fool, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Cavalier, Queen, King. The Cavalier functions similar to a jack or knight. Here we see the duke outranking the queen in the trump suit.

William Tell

William Tell is a Swiss card game played with 36 cards. The ranking goes: Daus, King, Ober, Unter, 10, 9, 8, 7. The Daus is similar to a duke or marshal. Here it ranks above the king. The Ober and Unter function like a queen and jack respectively. So in William Tell, the Daus outranks the queen.


Klaverjas uses a 32 card French-suited deck. The cards rank: A, 10, K, O, U, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2. The O and U are the Boer and Vrouw which function similar to the Ober and Unter. Here the Boer outranks the Vrouw, so the duke-like character ranks above the queen.

The Queen in Chess

While cards provide examples of both the queen outranking the duke and vice versa, in the game of chess, the queen is unambiguously more powerful than the duke or knight piece. The chess queen is able to move any number of squares vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. This makes her the most mobile and powerful piece on the board behind only the king.

In contrast, the knight or duke piece in chess can only make L-shaped jumps of two squares horizontally and one square vertically or two squares vertically and one square horizontally. This gives the knight less mobility than the queen. While the knight can jump over other pieces, it cannot attack or occupy as many squares as the queen can.

So in chess, the queen’s superior movement clearly gives her more power and importance than the duke/knight piece on the board. The queen’s dominance is such that a player has a large advantage if they are able to trade their knight for their opponent’s queen.


To summarize the relative ranks of the queen and duke in various games:

Game Highest Card
Bridge Queen
Pinochle Queen
Piquet Queen
Euchre Queen
500 Rum Queen
Tarot Duke
William Tell Duke
Klaverjas Duke
Chess Queen

In most standard card games, the queen outranks the duke since the duke is often not even present. But in historic European games that utilize specialty regional decks and characters, the duke can sometimes surpass the queen. In chess, the movement abilities of the queen piece unambiguously make it more powerful than the knight/duke.


While the duke can occasionally rank above the queen such as in certain tarot decks or Swiss card games, in most games the queen card outranks the duke. Games like bridge, pinochle, euchre, and 500 Rum have a clear ranking order that places the queen superior to the duke. Even in chess, the queen’s far greater mobility gives her more power and importance than the knight/duke piece. So in the majority of cases, despite some rare exceptions, the queen ranks higher than the duke. The queen’s position in the top three cards in most standard card game rankings demonstrates her higher value and power compared to the lowly duke.