I'm a professional tarot reader, but when I don't have a tarot deck with me, I can use a deck of playing cards to provide a useful reading.
How to Use Playing Cards to Answer Yes or No Questions
Your friend knows about your interest in tarot, so she suggests you do some readings "for fun." Yet you haven’t got a deck. “That’s all right,” your friend says, “you can do it with playing cards.” And you can. It’s perfectly possible to read tarot with playing cards.
Reading with any kind of playing card, tarot, or oracle deck, is called cartomancy. If you want to learn the techniques of cartomancy from scratch and really get to understand the cards and their fuller messages, I suggest you start with How to Read the Tarot With Playing Cards. However, if you are looking for fast answers to yes/no questions, then this is the right place. This is a fast, down-and-dirty guide to what playing cards answer ‘yes’ to your questions and which ones say "no." Oh, and be aware, there could also be some "maybes" in there, too!
I’ve modified the answers with a phrase that reflects the energy of the card and fits in with its traditional meaning. It might be helpful, or you can ignore it if it doesn’t fit. By the same token, you can expand on your interpretation and also look more deeply into each card by researching its tarot equivalent.
1. Formulate a Question
Here we go: Formulate your question. Remember it must require a more or less straight yes/no/maybe answer. There’s no point asking about where your spiritual development will take you next or how you might go about attracting love this year. Only simple questions get a simple answer.
Example Playing Card Tarot Questions:
- Will I get promotion this year?
- Am I going to fall in love?
- Should I go on that trip?
- Will my son get into college?
- Should I set up a new business?
- Am I going to pass my exam?
- Do I need to study harder?
- Is it a good idea to keep reading this article?
And so on…
2. Draw One Card Only
To get an answer to a yes/no question, you only need to draw one card. If the card you draw suggests another question to you, put the first card back in the deck (after making a note of it and its answer), then shuffle and draw another for your new question.
If you try drawing more than one card, you won't get a clear response.
A Quick Note on the Joker:
I recommend you remove the Joker from the deck before beginning your reading. The Joker is an ambivalent card, represented by the Fool in Tarot. While most times it means to take a risk, to trust in the universe, and to go along with game, it can also mean that the choice you are making is foolish. You can decide yourself what it means and keep it in, of course, but as it's confusing, I'd take it out.
3. Use the Cheat Sheets Below to See If the Card Means Yes, No, or Maybe
What Each Club Card Means
Like the suit of Wands, Clubs is the suit of inspiration and action.
- Ace of Clubs: Yes, take advantage of this burst of energy.
- Two of Clubs: No, there is more to do. Consolidate your plans.
- Three of Clubs: Yes, but be patient.
- Four of Clubs: Yes, you’ve done well so far.
- Five of Clubs: No, you need to get through this situation first.
- Six of Clubs: Yes, absolutely!
- Seven of Clubs: Maybe, but you might have to convince others.
- Eight of Clubs: Yes, go now. Do that thing!
- Nine of Clubs: Yes, but slow down, take it easy.
- Ten of Clubs: No. Hunker down, things will improve.
- Jack/Knave of Clubs: Yes, if it’s safe. No, if there’s risk involved.
- Queen of Clubs: Yes, and take all the encouragement you can get.
- King of Clubs: Yes, but make sure to stand back to see the big picture.
What Each Heart Card Means
Like Cups, Hearts is the suit of love and emotions.
- Ace of Hearts: Yes, enjoy this delicious moment.
- Two of Hearts: Yes, embrace it.
- Three of Hearts: Yes, it's time to have some fun.
- Four of Hearts: No, you are not in the right emotional state.
- Five of Hearts: No, your heart is too heavy.
- Six of Hearts: Yes, and it might have something to do with the past.
- Seven of Hearts: Maybe, it depends on your choice of path.
- Eight of Hearts: Yes, but slowly and reluctantly.
- Nine of Hearts: Yes, all is well.
- Ten of Hearts: Yes, now is a great time to reach for fulfillment.
- Jack/Knave of Hearts: Yes, but it won’t last.
- Queen of Hearts: Yes, but be sensitive to the needs of others.
- King of Hearts: Very likely, yet hold back a little.
What Each Spade Card Means
Like the suit of Swords, Spades is the suit of thinking and communication.
- Ace of Spades: Yes, you know the truth.
- Two of Spades: No, you can’t see the truth yet.
- Three of Spades: No, the lines of communication are down.
- Four of Spades: Possibly, but you need time to recover first.
- Five of Spades: Yes, no, maybe. You must be up front about your intentions.
- Six of Spades: Yes, but take it slowly. Choose the path of least resistance.
- Seven of Spades: Yes, if you truly think you should. No, if you are attempting to deceive.
- Eight of Spades: No, you just can’t. But wait. . . you can if you try hard enough.
- Nine of Spades: No, get yourself sorted first.
- Ten of Spades: No, it’s just not happening, is it?
- Jack/Knave of Spades: Yes, but you must be single-minded about your goal.
- Queen of Spades: Yes, but make sure you have the truthful version first.
- King of Spades: Very likely, but be sure to weigh up all the options analytically.
What Each Diamond Card Means
Diamonds is the suit, like Pentacles or Disks, that corresponds with the Material World.
- Ace of Diamonds: Yes, everything is in your favor.
- Two of Diamonds: Yes, but be organized and in control.
- Three of Diamonds: Yes, especially if it’s connected to work.
- Four of Diamonds: Yes, but you have to free up some resources.
- Five of Diamonds: No, you literally cannot afford to take any risks.
- Six of Diamonds: Yes or no, depending on whether you are giving (yes) or receiving (not so much).
- Seven of Diamonds: Maybe. Are you ready to make a change?
- Eight of Diamonds: Yes, as long as you pay attention to the small print.
- Nine of Diamonds: Yes, and know that you will have to do it alone.
- Ten of Diamonds: Yes, if you have family backing, agreement, or support.
- Jack/Knave of Diamonds: Yes, but it will entail hard work.
- Queen of Diamonds: Yes, and remember to take care of the practicalities.
- King of Diamonds: Yes, you can do anything if you are determined, capable, and hard-working enough.
Get in Touch
Let me know if this was helpful, or if you have any questions about playing card tarot.
Note: I am unable to give free readings or interpret cards you have drawn, so please don't ask.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: Can tarot cards tell me if I'm pregnant?
Answer: Try a pregnancy test. It's much more accurate than a tarot card.
Question: Do the colors have any significance to the meanings?
Answer: In tarot there are huge amounts of symbolism and color does play a part - red, fiery colors for Wands (Clubs) for example. The basic Hearts and Diamonds being red, simply means that they are the feminine suits and Clubs and Spades are black; masculine. The feminine suits are passive and the masculine is active, but it's important to remember that there is a whole spectrum within each suit so avoid stereotyping. 'Passive' here doesn't mean 'pushover'; rather it is self-awareness and inward-looking. 'Active' means having a global perception and outward-looking. It's all very subtle and nuanced. The more you read cards, the more you learn and then you have to accept there is still so much to learn. Never-ending.
Question: Are there questions to not ask tarot?
Answer: There's a difference between reading as a professional reader or for personal reasons only, so yes, there are certain types of questions I wouldn't address. These include '3rd party readings' when a client asks me to read another person's intimate thoughts/feelings. I try, also, to avoid detailed health readings.
In personal readings, you can ask what you like--who's going to know?
As far as avoiding certain topics, well, that has to be your choice. I'm careful about reading for family issues. Most of the time, I really don't want to know. Thanks for asking this question.
Question: Will my house sell within the next 2 weeks?
Answer: Are you asking me to provide you with a free reading? I'm sorry but I get paid for my time as I expect you do also. If you look carefully at the text above, it says quite clearly that I cannot give free readings, so why are you asking?
Question: What tarot spread do I use on a yes or no query using playing cards?
Answer: You don't use a spread, you use a single card. Shuffle and draw a card at random.
Question: I asked twice today if my crush will text me tomorrow first, and a card fell off: Jack of Diamonds, TWICE. Does this mean he will text me?
Answer: The Jack of Diamonds is the equivalent to the Knight of Pentacles. He tells you that you need to have patience. Time will answer your question.
Question: Is there any specific way I should draw a card when I use playing cards for Tarot? Should I just take cards from the top of the deck or should I spread it out and pick one that way?
Answer: You should always shuffle the deck thoroughly before choosing your card. How you then draw it is up to you. There is no prescribed way.
I have my way of doing it, and this article explains how: https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/Playing-C...
Question: Can playing cards tell the future? For example, will I get the job I recently applied for?
Answer: Yes, possibly, however, your question will be answered by the passing of time, so it doesn't really matter what the card says. And the problem with asking the cards and getting a positive answer is that people tend to stop taking action toward their goal. So, if you drew a 'yes' card, you'd stop looking or applying for other positions. In this way, the cards aren't very helpful to you.
It would be better to learn how to do a proper reading asking what can you do to further your goals: https://hubpages.com/fortune-divination/How-to-Rea...
Question: Since each tarot suit has its purpose, do I separate them into sections and use them based on the intent of my question?
Answer: No, because that would limit your answer. All of the cards can be applied to any situation; it's simply that the different suits filter the answer through their lens.
For instance, if you got a diamond in answer to a question about love, then the answer is given to you in a practical sense rather than a romantic one.
For further information take a look at this page: https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/How-to-Re...
Question: What does it mean, "yes, but look at the small print"?
Answer: It means pay attention to the details. Things that you might overlook.
Question: If a card is upside down, does it make the outcome reversed when reading tarot with playing cards?
Answer: There are no upside down cards when using playing cards as they are usually the same either way. More information can be found here: https://hubpages.com/fortune-divination/How-to-Rea...
Question: What is your go to Tarot deck and what decks do you recommend?
Answer: I have several that I use regularly. My most recent favorites include Deviant Moon and Everyday Witch. The deck I carry in my head is a mix of Robin Wood and Universal Rider-Waite. I also like the Revelations Tarot and Tarot of the New Vision.
There's an article with my 'top 5': https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/Favorite-...
Question: Can your intentions affect the reading? If so, then how can you avoid this?
Answer: That's one of those unanswerable questions... it's a 'who knows'. It's very possible, so the best thing is to make a conscious decision to clear your mind and ask for a clear reading. The problem is that the reader always has a bias - it's unavoidable because we tend to connect the cards with our own previous memories and experiences. If you feel very invested in the results, then perhaps it would be better to get someone else to do the reading, or maybe turn the cards for you.
Question: What does the Queen of Hearts in an upside-down position mean?
Answer: Usually, there are no reversals (upside down) in playing card tarot because most decks are the same either way up. If yours is different then a reversed Queen of Hearts would be similar to a reversed Queen of Cups. That would indicate someone hiding their true feelings, playing emotional games, or even disloyalty on an emotional level.
Question: Do I have to take out the joker card when I do a yes/no Tarot reading?
Answer: It's up to you. You can assign your own yes/no result, or take it out. It's an ambiguous card, meaning 'Yes, take a risk,' or 'No, you are heading for a fall.'
Question: Will you give me a free reading?
Answer: No. This article is to help you read the cards for yourself. This is not a free reading site. Get your cards, shuffle them and pull out a card. Look up the answer above. It's not difficult.
Question: Can Tarot cards tell me if I will get a job I just interviewed for?
Answer: Yes, they can, but the best indicator is time. When I get questions like this on my website, it seems a bit of a waste of a free reading. After all, it will be answered in due course. Why not use a free reading to find out how to make changes to secure a job? Or how to improve how you approach your interviews? Approach the cards wisely, and you will get a lot more out of them.
© 2018 Bev G
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on August 09, 2020:
Whether it's tarot or playing cards, this question only ever needs one card (unless your daughter/daughter-in-law is expecting twins).
The key is to decide which cards represent which sex. I find tarot is easier in this respect because it's usually clear whether the card is masculine of feminine.
You might do it by suit, but in that case you may as well toss a coin.
When I was pregnant, I drew the Two of Cups - I knew she was a girl.
If you have tarot experience, you don't need to buy a book. I have another article here, which shows you how to apply tarot to playing cards: https://exemplore.com/fortune-divination/How-to-Re...
Good luck with everything.
Kate-Red52 on August 09, 2020:
Hi this will be my first time using playing cards for a yes or no question.
I have read tarot cards, though seen reading the playing cards in a fortune telling book I have and thought I might try.
My question, has to with the birth of my grandchild wether or not a boy or girl.
I know with the tarot cards a question like that usually is a two or more card draw.
Will it be the same with playing cards?
Or can the question be answered by a one card draw?
Please let me know and any books you can recommend for learning to read the playing cards.
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on June 04, 2019:
Great question, Tudor.
I think it's us. The reader. We access what we already know in our deepest consciousness. When we allow intuition free rein, we (all humans) can tap into that space where there is no time.
When you couple intuition with the basic tarot structure, you can decipher the answers.
Tudor on June 04, 2019:
What power do you connect to when using the cards like this? In other words, who answers your question?
Bev G (author) from Wales, UK on January 13, 2018:
You must... and let me know how it goes xx
Kari Poulsen from Ohio on January 13, 2018:
I haven't found my playing cards yet. But, this looks like fun! I think I will buy a pack.