I see this question from a number of years ago, but apart from all the questions raised in the answer, poker style "full card" shows degrade badly for games with large hands such as spades, hearts, and especially bridge. Seeing 13 cards with all that fuss would make it harder to read than either of the standard methods (AKTxx Q xxxx KTx or in a 4-line stack).

But it would be nice frequently just to have a suit symbol. the [he]8, for instance, or "with [sp]AKJxx, he would have led the K". Would it be possible to have some standard markup that translates into the suit symbol?

Just this addition would solve a lot of the issues in the original question, at least for bridge:

  • by standard convention, [cl]2 is a card, 2[cl] is a bid. You don't have that weird card frame somewhere for bids.
  • [he]AKQT solves the "repeated heart symbol" which is never used in other documentation. (Note that for Poker, HA HK CJ H7 is necessary to understanding timing; bridge or spades hands would never be reported that way). Also, the "correct" way to show the example hand above in one-line is [sp]AKTxx [he]Q [di]xxxx [cl]KTx.
  • The concept of "a spot card unnecessary to specify" [di]x, while discouraged in style guides, becomes possible and obvious.
  • Without this easily available, people revert to the pre-graphic SHDC, which has confused questioners in the past.
  • Further support for bridge - one of the most discussed games on this site that uses regular playing cards - such as full-hand, full-deal, and auction markup would all use the suit symbol markup in their creation. Given that currently the easiest way to present a full hand is a screenshot, this would be beneficial, and this is a very good first step.

The freeform nature of simply having support for suit symbols so the writer can just write seems like a minimum of fuss for a huge benefit.


The standard objection I can see with this is that we already have access to suit symbols, either in Unicode or certain fonts. However:

  • unlike stored graphics, user's fonts may not have those unicode points.
  • using a symbol font or coding style has the issues that caused unicode in the first place.
  • having markup allows us to degrade or customize:
    • black diamonds and hearts are really easy to misread. players are so used to black suits and red suits (or the 4-colour suit set that most bidding boxes now use).
    • a graphic with an alt tag allows screen readers to convert to "HAKQx" which, while still awful, at least has the same problems as everywhere else.
    • There is flexibility in presentation. Even if this site decides to convert the markup into the unicode symbol, people would get cleaner questions and answers "for free". And if a different support method was preferred in the future, current question and answers get updated, also "for free".
  • the suit symbols aren't on the keyboard, forcing people to find it or cut/paste it from somewhere. A markup that translates will both be standard and accessible (if logged).

Note that I'm using as an example (and suggested code) the default Bridge Base Forums code for suits: eg. [cl]. Another, used on many sites, is !C . But it doesn't matter, as long as it's available and documented.


1 Answer 1


Currently the suit symbols are available as HTML entities without you having to copy-paste them from somewhere. That is, to get this:

♦ ♥ ♣ ♠

You write this:

♦ ♥ ♣ ♠

This looks weird, but it's basically referencing a unicode character by a short name, beginning with & and ending in ;. Think of those two symbols as like opening and closing quotes.

This means in a normal post I can write 2♠ as 2♠. This is accessible and screenreader-friendly: my screenreader, NVDA, reads this out as “two spades”. As an author I just have to stick the name of the suit between & and ;, and remember that “diamonds” was truncated to “diams”.

Regarding the points you're looking for:

  • The diamonds and hearts aren't red. This seems to be the one thing a Markdown feature could do that we wouldn't already be able to do with this markup.
  • These are screen reader accessible as noted.
  • HTML entities, Unicode, and the use of UTF-8 as the lingua franca for web programming, are all standardised to the point that “doesn't have this unicode character” is not a very likely scenario for someone using a device made this century.

This is not to suggest your feature request shouldn't be a thing, but that we already 90% have it using standardised tools. If I understood correctly, it sounds like you just want easy access to the suit symbols and specifically not Poker.SE's specialised rendering—and here it is. The only thing really missing that we'd additionally need from a Markdown feature would be for two of these symbols to be red.

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