If you have played cards for any length of time you will have encountered the “one-eyed” cards. There are two one-eyed jacks in a standard deck of cards, and (less known) there is a one-eyed King as well: Diamonds. There is something unmistakably significant about these cards, and that’s why they are most often regarded as the intuitive choice when selecting “wild” cards for a variety of different poker games.
The obvious reason why the cards are referred to as “one-eyed” is because they are shown in profile, so there is literally only one eye visible on the card face. The esoteric reasons are much more interesting.
Odin: The One-Eyed King
If you ask any gambling aficionado, they will probably tell you that the King of Diamonds is supposed to represent Julius Caesar. However, the real gamblers out there who collect stories from the Old World know the real truth behind this particular tale: the one-eyed king symbolism is in reference to Odin, one of the major gods in Norse mythology. That’s right: the King of the Diamond Kingdom is also the King of Asgard.
Why Odin? According to legend, Odin sacrificed one of his eyes in exchange for secret wisdom of the “runes,” a system of magic that employs special symbols and shapes for the purposes of divination and otherworldly effect. This is precisely why the King of Diamonds is shown, on nearly every deck of cards (see above), with his hand offering the diamond symbol to the viewer with one eye facing away: the eye is actually missing because it was sacrificed to attain the type of power that is only found buried in the mythological past—or, you know, World of Warcraft.
This is all to say that the King of Diamonds is no normal ruler. He is a practitioner of the dark arts. There is one reason, and one reason alone why aces will beat out a king: the King of Diamonds allows it. It’s all part of his plan written in the (red) stars.
The Crazy Magic Floating Spear
In our previous article looking at the King of Hearts, we talk about the choice of weapons employed by the different lords of the playing card kingdoms. In a true homage to Odin, who traditionally carries a spear, the King of Diamonds opts out of the sword carried by the King of Spades, Clubs, and most likely Hearts, in favor of what looks to be either a spear or an ax with a long handle.
But the main thing to take note of here is the following: he’s not holding the spear. If you look at all the other kings in a deck of cards, they all have their swords firmly grasped in their hands, and but the King of Diamonds has evolved his runic power to the point where he can control objects with his mind. Why use your hands to hold things when you can use the untapped power of the diamond shape? Take note of his other hand, solemnly offering up this jewel of the occult to any gambler who might take notice of what lies beyond. If you prove yourself worthy, some have said that the Diamond King will occasionally bestowing special powers on his disciples, like the ability to summon a full house, post-flop, on command.
The diamond might be the least powerful suit in the deck, but when you see the One-eyed King in your hand, just remember that he is a god who chooses to inhabit a physical body and live among mortal men. The next time you consider folding, think again. You just might witness some magic.
Check the rest of our series, the Secret Histories of the Four Kings.