# What does "poker size cards" mean?

I: I am not sure how many cards can best suit our manufacturing until I know the size of your cards.

Customer: I expect the cards will be "poker" size.

I: Poker also have different sizes, the most common poker size is 63*88mm, is this size ok?

Customer: See, this is an example of how communication can break down. There is ONE size of cards which are called "poker size". Just because you can play poker with different card sizes (e.g. mini, bridge, jumbo), doesn't mean there are different "poker card" sizes. I don't have a "poker size" card or ruler in front of me, so I don't know if the size you mention is actually "poker size" or if it's a "Chinese" (e.g. mistaken) poker size.

Question: I mean if he just tells me "poker size", I still don't know the exact size because people in different countries play poker with different sized cards. Am I wrong? What does he mean?

• He means he doesn't know what he wants, but he expects you to give it to him anyway. Wikipedia says "poker size" cards are 63.5 × 88.9 mm here(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playing_card#Current). I'd be sure to get in writing from your customer what size he wants (in internationally recognized units like millimeters) before you go print 100,000 decks of cards for him.
– The Photon
Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 5:07
• I'd be careful though, if you made cards that were 63.0mmx88.0mm they would not be poker size. They need to be exactly 63.5mm x 88.9 mm
– Jim
Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 5:24
• Have you heard about "foolscap" size paper, or a picture postcard? Can you quote off the top of your head their dimensions? However, we still "recognize" those sizes by instinct, don't we? As a manufacturer/supplier, you would be expected to be familiar with these, better than the customer.
– Kris
Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 6:43
• You're insisting on understanding "poker size" to mean "the size of cards one plays poker with" (many answers), when it means "the size of cards commonly called 'poker size'" (one answer). Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 15:03

Playing cards come in two sizes - poker size and bridge size. Poker size is 63.5mm X 88.9mm. Bridge size is narrower at 56mm x 88.9mm. This makes more sense in old fashioned imperial measurements - both are 3.5 inches high, but poker cards are 2.5 inches wide while bridge cards are 2.25 inches wide.

What your customer is saying is that he knows he wants poker size, but when you give measurements he doesn't know if that is poker size, bridge size, or some other size.

• +1 the customer is always right. You might want to link to a Wikipedia page, or some other official source to provide evidence of the 3.5"x2.5" measurements Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 8:12
• @ulidtko then those are not poker size cards. They maybe sold and used as cards for playing poker, but they are not poker size.
– K.L.
Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 11:27
• My point is that playing cards come in more than two sizes. Whatever they be called. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 13:36
• @ulidtko Playing cards come in more than two sizes, yes - there's no ironfisted regulatory organization stopping people from making a new size. But there are two common, de facto standard sizes, the ones mentioned here. The vast majority of playing cards you can buy (at least in the US) will be those sizes. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 15:00
• Considering that tarot cards are unpopular in the U.S. as a gaming device, with virtually all of the U.S. market for tarot decks being Rider-Waite-derived divination decks, I would question whether the tarot size is a "standard" for gaming in the U.S. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 20:49

The customer is not necessarily right.

He is correct in that just because Poker can be played with a deck of another size, does not mean the cards of that size are "poker size" cards. However, he is incorrect in that there is exactly one set of dimensions for a playing card that are inviolably and universally standardized as "Poker size". Just in the question, Roaring Fish's answer and aramis's comment, we've gotten three unequal dimensions.

Wikipedia states that the standard for a "poker size" card is 2.5"x3.5", which when converted to metric is 63.5x88.9mm. That same paragraph states that this is a B8 card; however, the ISO B8 paper size is exactly 62x88mm. So, right there, you have two different sizes based on who's doing the measuring; a U.S.-based printing house, or a European or Asian one. Conversion of the U.S. measurements to an exact millimeter value produces more very close but not quite equal measurements: the width could be 63 or 64mm, while height could be 88 or 89mm. In any case, the U.S. poker size works out to a larger card than a true B8.

Now, you might say that these differences of a millimeter or two either way are insignificant, and thus the customer is right; they're the same size. It is indeed a small difference for the player or the game designer, but printers live and die on smaller measurements than that. In this case, the ISO standards for paper and card stock measurements are used to sell the raw materials in Europe, so a printer might be starting with a B0 sheet of card stock (1m x 1.414m) to print the cards for your game. Each larger number in the size series represents a halving of the longer dimension of the next larger size, to create a sheet half the size of the larger. Producing true B8 cards from a B0 sheet of card stock is thus a relatively simple matter of dividing this sheet by 16 (2^4) in each dimension (rounding down, as some material is invariably lost to the cutting process), giving the printer 256 B8 cards per B0 sheet.

However, if the publisher were to insist, as the customer here is inferring, that poker-size cards are exactly 2.5x3.5" and no other size will do, now the sheet can only fit 15 cards on a side or 225 total, because the extra 1.5mm per card makes the B0 sheet a full quarter card too narrow, and 10mm too short, to have the extra 31 cards on the same sheet. That increases waste per B0 sheet from a mere 48 square millimeters per B0 sheet (inherent in the printing/cutting process) to 3750 square millimeters of paper you're still paying for that's now going to the landfill. More importantly, it means that a print run of a game with more than 225 cards will require a second printing line to be tooled, adjusted, proofed and manned to print the sheets with the extra cards, and that dramatically increases print costs, as well as the handling costs of splitting, sorting and packaging the extra sheet's worth of cards into the game boxes (and the intangible costs of the game being thought of as a screwup by customers should the packers get it wrong). These changes will definitely lead to a printer charging the publisher a higher cost per copy, and that can influence the decision of which printer to use, increasing the pricepoint of the game. If the size of the game box has to change in order to accomodate the just-slightly-larger cards (uncommon with board games, but card game boxes are a pretty tight fit to the decks inside), that can throw off the pallet stacking, so fewer boxes can fit on a standard pallet, meaning you're now spending money to ship the air between the game boxes instead of the game itself. All for 1mm (or less) on each side in the dimension of a card.

So, Mr. Customer, there are at least 6 different permutations of exact measurement that are feasible for a "poker size" card, and the exact size of the playing cards you want can in fact make or break the financial success of your game. Whether it will or not, we can't know until you give us exact specifications, at which time we can design the printing plates of the game and give you a number, and possible ways to reduce inefficiency and save you money if you're willing to alter the game design.

• Very good answer, int terms of information, but as for the general advice - I'd disagree. The customer does not have to know about the printing process and it's cost. A knowledgable printing speciallist should tell the customer that poker size standard varies around +-1mm and that X x Y exact measurement cuts his costs by Z%.
– K.L.
Commented Jan 15, 2014 at 13:43
• We'll have to agree to disagree. You learn a lot about the practical and financial side of the publishing industry, whether for games, books or any other form of print media, the first time you bring something you've created to someone for mass production. It's inevitable, and the more you try to ignore the money side and stay purely "creative", the less you'll find publishers are willing to work with you. By the same token, publishers might condense the sausage-making, but they won't hide it from you if it's the reason they want you to agree to a change. Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 16:17
• I never said that the customer ignores the money. Just saying that if I were the customer, Id expect that the sales person tell me what you told us here and ask me to decide between B8 and exact poker size where the cost difference will be X. Asking me to just say if I want poker size or B8 or asking "is 63*88mm ok?" is kind of passive agressive. A good salesperson should also ask why do I exactly need poker sized cards and advise me. Maybe I want to make a collectible game compatibile with some protectors or albums? Or maybe just my artists want a +- poker sized card to fit their art on it?
– K.L.
Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 6:54
• Also, deviating from the standard size means that if these cards are mixed with cards that conform to the standard size, they will stand out. Height conformity is probably more important than width conformity, if the person riffle-shuffles, but deviating a millimetre in either direction can definitely make a big difference to the feel in the players' hands. Commented Oct 5, 2019 at 3:17