Everyone knows that bridge cards are smaller than poker cards. In general, bridge cards are about ¼ inch (or about 5 millimeters) slimmer than poker cards. The question is: why? A person could very easily play a game of poker with bridge cards and vice versa. And other card games like euchre, pitch, hearts, and spades can be played with either size deck (an additional question might be: why is there not a different size deck for each of these card games, as well?)
Clearly, size does not matter!
There are many different theories as to why these playing cards are sized differently.
· One of my favorite theories is a feminist theory – bridge is a game for women and poker is a game for men. Women have delicate, small hands while men have big, burly hands, and this is why bridge cards are smaller than poker cards – how can a wee woman handle such manly cards as poker cards? To break free of this playing-card-oppression, women ought to (1) encourage men to admit their femininity by playing bridge (2) encourage men to renounce their manhood by playing poker with bridge cards (3) start playing more poker, or (4) start playing with jumbo-sized cards to show that women are not just as good as men, but better!
Perhaps the question should not be, “Why are bridge cards so small,” but, rather, “Why are poker cards so darn big?”
· The Texas theory – Texas is a big state, right? And Texas Hold ‘Em, perhaps the premier poker game, is named for this big state, right? Well, it only makes sense that poker cards are as big as Texas!
· The American theory – Americans are generally wider than the rest of the world, it only make sense that their poker cards are, as well! (In many countries, the standard size deck is a bridge size).
· Poker is a gambling game, and there are some people that try to win by cheating. Therefore, to discourage cheating, poker cards are larger, making sleights of hand more difficult (of course, at the same time, it is slightly harder to conceal larger cards).
The most likely reason that bridge cards are narrower than poker cards:
· In bridge, you generally have to hold more cards in your hand – around 13 compared to just 5 for poker. It is easier to hold the smaller cards and to keep them concealed. In poker, on the other hand, it is easier to hold the larger cards, since you have so few to hold onto.
Further information on playing cards:
· Magicians generally prefer bridge cards – because they are smaller, they are easier to manage for many different magic tricks and sleights of hand.
· Most licensed cards, like a deck of Coca Cola playing cards, are poker-sized.
· Jumbo index cards are not cards that are even bigger than poker cards – rather, they have large print in the corners so that the numbers are easier to read.
· In many casino poker games, bridge-sized cards are used!