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Going Above and Beyond: Playing Card World Records

By Mike - 03/04/2023

When was the last time you went out of your way to do something great? The last time you really buckled down, dug in, and focused so intensely on one thing that you ended up doing it better than anyone ever has? Probably not very recently. Who has the time?

Well, just about everyone who has been inducted into the Guinness World Records hall of fame. This entity has been around since 1955, cataloging the greatest human achievements and most extraordinary natural occurrences in the Guinness Book of World Records. They’re a little more modern now with their own website, but they function essentially the same as they did nearly 70 years ago.

Just last year, GWR inducted David Attenborough for having the longest career as a TV presenter, Peggy Whitson for having the most spacewalks by a female, and Marawa Ibrahim for spinning the most hula hoops simultaneously (200!!!). With that, you can see the diversity of the feats GWR covers, and you can probably guess what today’s article is about.

Get ready to be wowed by some of the most impressive feats ever conducted and recorded that involve just a humble deck of cards in Going Above and Beyond: Playing Card World Records!

Fastest Completion of Solitaire

We wrote about Microsoft Solitaire last year. This wildly successful, endlessly enduring digital version of one of the most popular card games in the world has been around since 1990, and has been enjoyed by innumerable people all around the world for millions of hours. That kind of popularity and exposure can lead to people getting really, really good at a game, and the nature of Solitaire also means people can also get really, really lucky.

You might have felt like you’ve been on a (Soli)tear at some point, breezing through games and breaking records. But, unless you’re DDOS-DAN, you don’t have the fastest recorded time on the planet. The Australian citizen completed a fateful “Draw One” game of Solitaire on October 23rd, 2015 in a truly astounding amount of time: just 8 seconds. A truly mad lad.

Tallest House of Cards

Do you like houses made of cards? No, not the Kevin Spacey Netflix show, actual houses built from rectangles of cardboard. They’re a fun diversion for sure, but it can be difficult to build them more than a few cards high. It takes mastery of balance and plenty of knowledge of structure to build something really impressive, and one man has all but dedicated his life to the pursuit of building the most insane card houses in history.

His name is Bryan Berg, and he’s had his name immortalized in the Guinness Book of World Records since 1992. At the young age of 19, Bryan built a 75-story high house of cards that measured over 14 ft tall, and he didn’t stop there. He has exceeded that record and others many times since then and continues to build insane card creations on his website: One of Bryan’s records, Tallest House of Cards Built in 12 Hours, was broken by Tian Rui of China in November 2022, and it’s safe to say that a rivalry has been born from that feat.

Fastest Time to Deal a Deck of Cards

If you’re the person who volunteers to deal the cards at poker night, you should probably take some notes from this next Guinness World Record holder. Travis Stich is a professional poker dealer from Forest Lake, Minnesota. And, if there’s one thing you should know about Travis, it’s that he is really, really good at his job.

The Minnesotan holds the record for the Fastest Time to Deal a Deck of Cards, with an entire 52-card deck being whipped out in 15.35 seconds. Talk about getting a game started! He also was previously recognized for creating the Largest Stack of Casino Chips, and his future endeavors also seem to be related to poker. Good old Travis, he just can’t hide his p-p-p-poker face.

Farthest Throw of a Playing Card

We’re going to begin this next entry with a disclaimer: throwing cards can be dangerous. Thrown at the right angle and velocity, cards have been known to slice through fruits and vegetables with ease, which means they could probably cut human skin just fine. So, if you do this at home it should be done with caution.

That being said, thwipping a card so hard it flies over 200ft away in a straight line is really, really cool, and that’s exactly what Cleveland magician Rick Smith Jr.’s Guinness World Record is. The master of magic threw a single card at a staggering 92 miles per hour, sending it 216 ft 4in away. Good thing there weren’t a bunch of people in front of him, because he probably would have also broken the record for most humans sliced through by a playing card.

Most Playing Cards Held in Fan Formation

The fan formation is kind of the de facto way to hold cards you are dealt. It gives your hand privacy from other players while still allowing you to be able to see the colors and values of each card you’re holding. Usually, you don’t have to hold more than a few of these cards at a time (unless you’re particularly bad at Go Fish), so there isn’t really a need to learn how to hold mass amounts of cards in this way.

That didn’t stop Ralf Laue of Germany though. In March 1994, Ralf earned his place in the Guinness World Record hall of fame by handling a whopping total of 326 playing cards in the fan formation IN ONE HAND. The guy doesn’t appear to have abnormally large hands or anything, he must just be very, very dextrous. He could probably crush a grapefruit with that hand, think of the power he holds!

Smallest Pack of Playing Cards

Two fingers holding the smallest playing cards in the world

Image credit: Ramkumar Sarangapani

2020 was a difficult year. Some people went stir-crazy being locked inside their houses, and others used that time effectively to better themselves or indulge their creativity. But arguably, no one spent their time inside more wisely than Ramkumar Sarangapani in Dubai.

On November 18th, 2022, Ramkumar was entered into Guinness World Record fame for creating the smallest pack of playing cards, and seriously, these things are tiny. They measure just 7mm x 5mm x 4.86mm which is smaller than a fingernail. What is this, a deck of cards for ants?!?

Largest Pack of Playing Cards

We’ve seen playing cards for ants, now how about playing cards for giants? Unless you aren’t afraid of being crushed by a giant, nightmarish joker card, you should probably avoid Claes Blixit’s impossible pack of cards.

The Swedish man was acknowledged by Guinness in May 2016 for creating playing cards that are 62.3 in tall, and 41.1 in wide. For the math deficient, that’s roughly 5ft tall and 3ft wide, or the size of a small, portly person. The combined weight of these cards is also over 440 lbs, so they won’t be slipping into your back pocket anytime soon!

Largest Human Playing Card

This next record is… a little unconventional. We’ve seen large cards, tiny cards, and fast cards, but we haven’t seen human cards yet. Now, before your imaginations run wild and you picture some kind of David Cronenberg monstrosity, let me assure you that’s not what this is about.

In July 2013 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, 600 people gathered with a single goal in mind: to create the largest human playing card in history. Each person was handed either a white or red poncho, and directed to stand in a particular sequence to form an ace of diamonds. The successful event was planned as a publicity stunt to celebrate the resort’s 20th anniversary, but now it is forever immortalized by Guinness World Records.

Largest Collection of Playing Cards

If you thought your junk drawer was full of discarded decks of playing cards, hold on to your hat. Liu Fuchang of Fugou, China holds the Guinness World Record for the Largest Collection of Playing Cards since November 2007, with 11,087 different sets in their possession. That’s a hell of a junk drawer, Liu.

Most Expensive Playing Cards Sold at Auction

The complete deck of the Cloisters playing cards, spread out and organized by suit and value

If you’ve read some of our previous articles, you might already be familiar with this last record! In December 1983, history was made when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City purchased the Cloisters playing cards, the oldest known full deck of cards, at a Sotheby’s auction.

They were put up for auction by an antique dealer in Amsterdam, who had purchased the deck for an eye-watering $2,800. After a few years of research, the dealer had determined the age and origin of the cards, determining them to be very valuable indeed. In fact, it might go down in history as one of the most impressive returns on investment of all time. The Met bought the deck for $143,000, or 51 times what was initially paid for it. The deck now exists permanently at The Met, where it can be observed by playing card and investment fans alike.