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Playing Card Puzzle

It’s a lazy Saturday morning that is turning out to be lazier than I had initially planned since I’m currently stuck on the couch with a sleeping baby on top of me. That means it’s the perfect time to share another puzzle that my students tackled recently on our magnetic puzzle wall (AKA dry erase board).

playing card puzzle

This Playing Card Puzzle is from The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Puzzles by The Diagram Group. This is the same puzzle book that the Eight Lettered Squares puzzle was also found.

Playing Card Puzzle

Students are given six playing cards and three clues which are to be used to arrange the playing cards in the correct order. 

You could definitely use actual playing cards for this puzzle, and that would probably be perfect if you are like me and have decks of cards in your classroom that are unfortunately no longer complete.

I just ended up using playing card clip art and laminating the cards.

Playing Card Puzzle

Several of my students tackled this playing card puzzle over the course of a week in my classroom. Several were confused by some of the language of the puzzle, but I think that is just a result of their being unfamiliar with how logic puzzles are traditionally written.

Digital Version of Playing Card Puzzle

Crystal Finch recreated this puzzle in Google Slides.

Playing Card puzzle in Google Slides.

Puzzle Solutions

I intentionally do not make answers to the printable math puzzles I share on my blog available online because I strive to provide learning experiences for my students that are non-google-able. I would like other teachers to be able to use these puzzles in their classrooms as well without the solutions being easily found on the Internet.

However, I do recognize that us teachers are busy people and sometimes need to quickly reference an answer key to see if a student has solved a puzzle correctly or to see if they have interpreted the instructions properly.

If you are a teacher who is using these puzzles in your classroom, please send me an email at with information about what you teach and where you teach. I will be happy to forward an answer key to you.

Savanna Bunch

Friday 30th of April 2021

I love all of your puzzles and we work as a class on a new one each Friday. My students are really working well together and enjoy the challenge. We cannot figure this puzzle out. We have put them linear and cannot make it work. We have tried placing them in different arrangements on the table but feel that we have cheated the parameters. Do you have the answer key? When it says the cards are "2 away" from another, does this mean there are 2 cards in between or 1 card in between? Does a diagonal count as "2 away" as you would have to make two moves (say move to the right one card then up one card)? Thank you

Sarah Carter

Wednesday 26th of May 2021

Your students are definitely on the right track thinking non-linearly! This is a tricky one!

"2 away from" means there are two cards in between.

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