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Difference between regular cards and Poker cards

Jan 29, 2024 Brien Chua

We all know that Poker boomed after the 1998 movie Rounders. Later, several Online Poker events, the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker, all played their part in getting people hooked. According to the World Poker Tour (WPT), 100 million people play Poker worldwide. With the game's soaring popularity, the need for Poker trivia has also arisen. So, we bring you the answer to a very commonly asked question, "What is the difference between regular cards and poker cards?"

The biggest difference between regular cards and Poker cards

Without further ado, let's break it to you that the biggest difference between the regular cards and Poker cards is the size. Yes, you might not have noticed, Poker cards are wider than regular playing cards, it's a very subtle difference, but it changes the game tremendously.

Poker cards are 2.5 inches or 6.4 cm wide, while regular cards are only 2.25 inches or 5.72cm wide! Next time you look at a pack of Poker cards and feel that it is a little wider, don't think you need to lie down. You are not imagining things, the difference is minute, but it is there for a reason.

But before we tell you why this is so, let us complete the dimensions story. Both types of cards, whether Poker or regular, are equally tall, i.e., 3.5 inches or 8.9cm.

How does the size difference affect the gameplay?

Now that you know the most critical difference between regular cards and Poker cards let us tell you how it affects your gameplay.

1.  Ease of holding

Generally, you might need to hold more than 5 cards in your hand in many other card games. Some games even take this number up to 21! Yes, that's right, a version of Rummy involves holding 21 cards; even Bridge requires you to hold 13 cards.

So, imagine if your cards are slightly wider, wouldn't it be challenging to hold them in a fan? Even the 0.25-inch difference, when added up for each card, can make your fan a lot wider and much more difficult to hold.

So, it is advised to have narrower cards for such games.

2.  A complete view for strategizing

We all know card games require strategizing; some even require partnering with another player and playing as a team. So, it is not just you who could lose; you might even take down your partner with you.

Therefore, having narrower cards while playing games that need you to hold more cards together is a really nifty solution. You don’t have to arrange your cards in multiple layers.

You get to view all your cards together, strategize your moves, what cards your partner and opponents could have, and how you can win the game.

3.  Prints optimized for narrower fans

Now that you know the size difference between regular cards and Poker cards can affect your gameplay, let us also give you a fun piece of trivia.

For centuries, the cards have been manufactured, keeping in mind the games that require holding as many as 13 cards!

So, even the prints are optimized accordingly to ensure you can create the narrowest possible fan and still view the number correctly. This proves how much thought has been put into conceptualizing the cards.

You might be wondering when regular cards were so perfect, why were the wider Poker cards invented? Well, there was still some need left to fill, just like in the case of any new product.

1.   Ease of holding

Are you surprised to see this even here? Well, don't be. Regular cards offer ease of holding when you hold too many cards. But what if you had to hold a lesser number of cards?

Yes, there are a lot of popular games, including Poker, that require you to hold a lesser number of cards. And many players love holding them with both hands, so wider cards are 'handier' that way.

2.  They generally don’t bend permanently

As the name suggests, Poker is a game for Poker-faced people. People who bluff or don't reveal what is going on in their heads.

If you look at the decks closely, you will notice another critical difference between the regular cards and Poker cards – the material difference.

Most Poker cards are made from plastic so that when you bend the cards to glance into them, the bend doesn’t become permanent! Yes, no one wants a deceiving Poker card.

3.  The manufacturing differences

Even though Poker cards are wider, many professional Casinos don't use them because they prefer interchangeable decks. They would not want to keep switching decks when the players want to play a different game.

So, they go for the cards manufactured with two pieces of paper stuck together to prevent light from entering and revealing the cards. With plastic cards becoming more popular, this method is considered inferior, but even so, to retain the vintage appeal, casinos still use them.

However, they ensure that only opaque cards are used if Poker is played, which is another crucial difference between regular cards and Poker cards.

Which cards to choose?

Now that you are aware of the differences and how they affect the gameplay, you must be wondering which cards to choose. Well, currently, with Poker surging as the most played card game, most shops sell Poker cards. So there is a fair chance that Poker cards are much more readily available.

But let’s also tell you a hidden secret of card manufacturers. There is a third variety of cards called B8 cards. These are 2.44 inches wide and 3.46 inches tall. And these have the highest production because they are cheaper to produce. So, if you pick up a deck made from more inexpensive paper, it would definitely be B8.

Therefore, if you are a card purist, go for higher-quality cards to get the right pack for the game you intend to play.

Wrapping up the differences between regular cards and Poker cards

So, that was the insight into the difference between regular cards and Poker cards. We hope you found how even an unnoticeable size difference can be highly significant in high-stakes gameplay really intriguing.

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