The entirety of the Piquet deck, laid out left to right in the order of it’s point-value in the game of Piquet. Aces have a point value of 11; all court cards have a point-value of 10 points for each card, whether they’re King, Queen or Jack; the pip cards carry only their own face-value as their point-value.

Ever since I learned that Madame LeNormand, like many diviners of her day, most-likely used what is called a ‘Piquet’ deck in readings for her clients, I’ve wanted to learn the specifics of this method of card-reading. Fortunately, I found those specifics in Agnes M. Miall’s The Book of Fortune Telling. Given that 21 of the normal 53 cards found in a playing card deck are not used, the remaining 32 cards’ meanings will change slightly, as you will see in the PDF further down in this lesson. The Piquet deck as a divination tool won’t give you a very deep reading, nor address lofty thoughts. It appears more designed to address every-day, here-and-now concerns; the sorts of matters an eighteenth or nineteenth century diviner’s often-well-heeled clients would be concerned about. First, let’s start with a little…


Legend attributes the creation of this deck to Stephen de Vignolles, also known as ‘La Hire.’ De Vignolles was a knight to King Charles VII of France during the Hundred Years War, (which lasted from 1337 to 1453), and it’s said he developed this game to keep his sovereign entertained. Piquet may actually have come to France from Spain, because two terms used in the game of Piquet, ‘pique’ and ‘repique’, two main features of the game, have their roots in the Spanish language.

Indeed, Piquet first became popular in England in 1554, only after Queen Mary 1 married King Phillip II of Spain. The English court called the game, ‘Cent’ after the Spanish word for it, ‘Cientos.’ That name was derived from the fact that in Piquet, the first player to reach 100 points wins the game. The first mention of Piquet in a print source appeared in French writer Rableais’ work, The Life of Gargantua and Pantagruel in the year 1535, where it was also referred-to by the name ‘Le Cent.’  It was known by the name ‘Cent’ in England until 1625, when King Charles 1 of England married the Princess Henrietta Maria of France, and the English thereafter adopted the French word for the game, ‘Piquet.’ It was around that same time, the first half of the Seventeenth Century, when the game was introduced to Germany, during the Thirty Years War (1618 to 1648).

A trick-taking card game for two players, Piquet was the most popular card game in France until the early Twentieth Century, and is still played all over the world. For the interested card player new to the game, there are sources on the Internet about Piquet, including videos on YouTube and even a downloadable computer-game version I came across at It’s a very-structured card game and looks like it would take a good deal of practice to play well.