Introduction: Blind Man's Cards

Picture of Blind Man's Cards

This is a pack of cards I made so our friend Miguel, who is blind, could play poker with us.

They are thicker than normal cards, but it isn't difficult to shuffle them. 

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

To make this card pack you will need the following: 

-2 playing card packs.

- A paper punch

-Paper glue

Step 2: Making the Holes

Picture of Making the Holes

In order to allow blind people tu know the number of the card they're holding, just make holes through the card, from one (ace) to thirteen (king). 

I made the holes by the sides of the cards: from one to six by the left side (1-6) and, if needed, from one to six by the right one (7-12). For the king I made another hole near the top side, between the two lines of holes I already made.

Don't make any holes through the jokers.

Step 3: Marking the Suit

Picture of Marking the Suit

To mark the suit of the card, make holes near the corners of it. I use the following code, but you can use wichever you want:

1 corner pierced: Hearts

2 corners pierced: Diamonds

3 corners pierced: Spades

4 corners pierced: Clubs

Be sure to make the holes clearly by the corners, so no one gets confused between this ones and the ones that show the number of the card. 

Step 4: Making the Holes Invisible

Picture of Making the Holes Invisible

Now is time to use the other pack of cards you have.

I you want to use this card pack to play both blind an non-blind people you need to make the holes invisible to anyone but the holder.

To achieve this, just paste another card (of the same value of the first one) behind each of your pierced cards.

Now you have your blind man's card pack ready!


PaulaP2 (author)2014-07-05

Your creativity and obvious love and care for a dear friend brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart! My 90 year old Dad is is WWII Veteran and has recently been declared legally blind. He is a HUGE fan of both Poker and Euker (sp?). He and my Precious Mom (age 88) are celebrating their 68th Wedding Anniversary July 6th, and are the proud parents of 8 kids. We recently had to uproot them from independent living in their own home and move them into assisted living in order to ensure they are better cared for. It's been highly traumatic for all involved. Needless to say, they have both been active until now and find this new life so very traumatic. I cannot WAIT to try this method which will not only allow him a new challenge to conquer, but also provide a gentle springboard to show him there are still things he can enjoy-not to mention...give him back the right to say "if you trump my Ace, I can STILL (always said jokingly) BOUNCE YOU DOWN THE BASEMENT STEPS!" God Bless You. I will be sure to let you know how he responds. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR EFFORTS AND FOR SHARING!

unclecp (author)2014-02-03

I gave my opinion and suggested a CONSTRUCTIVE alternative.. and even complimented the author on his invention. You sought to just to criticize me. Guess you missed that focus on the be nice policy and be constructive.

unclecp (author)2011-01-30

I don't think this comment has been added so here goes. The punched holes is a good idea, but it does allow the other players who can see, tell what some of the cards of your blind friend are. Instead, why not take the punch and punch out some small paper dots and glue the dots to the suit face of the cards. Different numbers and sizes of the dots would be a good system for identifying each suit of cards. A blind person who knows braille, or even one that does not, could easily count the number and location of the raised dots on the card, but the other players could not tell what cards he had. More fair this way and still uses your "dot" method but just in a different way. Excellent idea.

AJMansfield (author)unclecp2014-02-03

How would this be any better than what he did? Did you even read the whole thing? The last step involved taking the punched card and gluing it to another identical card, so the holes only go halfway through. (Gluing dots on would make the deck impossible to shuffle, anyway.)

gonal (author)2010-12-13

Thanks averybody for your comments!

If you liked this instructable, please vote for it in the Humana challenge!

MyMenagerie (author)2010-12-10

Fantastic idea!

the norm (author)2010-12-06

This is a good idea.
I had a blind friend who had braille imprinted into his cards.
He also folded his money in different shapes so he knew what value it had.

combatboots7 (author)2010-12-06

Instead of marking the suit in all 4 corners, you could mark it in both corners opposite the number marked side. This way the suit is clearly marked and won't cause confusion being so close to the number markings.

hammer9876 (author)2010-12-05

Interesting task. Kudos for figuring out how to include your friend in a poker game.

That said, I would be curious to watch someone hold five cards and try to read them. The player would have to feel the whole face of the card to check for holes on both the left and the right. Does it slow down the game quite a bit? I like the idea of lining the holes up and down on only one side. Anything to make it easier to find the information fast.

Actually, the Braille Alphabet might work out very well, even if the person doesn't know Braille. It might be to their advantage to learn the needed characters. Instead of trying to locate and count all the holes on a card, everything is represented in two characters.

Just thinking out loud. Sorry for trying to improve on your working solution. Now, how does your friend tell the difference between the different colored poker chips?

gonal (author)hammer98762010-12-06

We are thinking of piercing the poker chips with a needle to mark them, but for now we just don't cheat on him.

Actually he reads the cards pretty fast. At the beginning he was slower, but now he just read the with the hole palm of the hand, one by one, but quite fast.

hammer9876 (author)gonal2010-12-06

Good to hear that you don't cheat on him! Also, good to know that he can read the cards well enough to play with you and your friends. Bravo!

vcaldeira (author)2010-12-05

Hello gonal...

First, I applaud all your efforts to include your blind friend into your poker events.  Well done !

Unlike your friend, I can read but need Larger Text and Symbols to function on my own.

I'm sending the following LINK so you can see a commercial card product that provides both the LARGE TEXT and Braille,
if he reads Braile.

Check with your friend and his other vision impaired friends.

Good Luck in all Future Endeavors.

gonal (author)vcaldeira2010-12-06

Thank you very much!

He doesn't read braille yet, but he is learning now, so he'll probably be able to read it in little time.

sgtinf (author)2010-12-05

lol I had a deck similar to this I was not blind you could figure out what you where dealing. sorry for your "blind friend" I could not play with a with marked or cut cards. you can buy some real nice decks out there. you just have to know where to look.

Nienna247 (author)2010-12-05

That is an excellent idea!
I volunteer at Vision Australia- a collaborative organisation that aids people with vision impairment and total blindness- and this would be awesome for the men to be able to play poker on our social days!
Thanks a lot for sharing this out there :)

cphillips (author)2010-12-05

Is it difficult to shuffle/deal the doubled up cards?

doughnutguy1 (author)cphillips2010-12-05

look at the intro and read it again.

caityjay (author)2010-12-05

Very clever idea! And it's really nice of you to work out a solution so your blind friend can play card with you. Totally cool.

frog pop (author)2010-12-05

must be hard being blind

K9JT (author)2010-12-05

How about laminating the cards after gluing them to preserve them when the glue eventually gives up. The cards will also be easy to clean and no hassle to shuffle.

SuzyMac (author)2010-12-02

Just curious....why not use Braille? You can buy a slate & stylus, cheep
Then braille on sticky back clear paper and stick it on the face of the cards
H - heart; C - Club; D - Diamond; S - Spade
then have a A (or 1 - same braille), K, Q, J, and the numbers!!

Al1x (author)SuzyMac2010-12-03

I'm guessing that not all blind people can read braille.. especially if they have lost their sight when they are older.

SuzyMac (author)Al1x2010-12-03

It's true that not all Blind folks read Braille, but it is a great skill and would actually be simpler and easier to read that the method described. All the letters and numbers are formed by combinations of dots in a 6 dot array. Only 6 dots to read instead of up to 10.....Of course, as a Braillist I always choose Braille rather than another tactile format!
It is Very Cool that you are including your Blind friends in your card games!!!

JChumo (author)2010-11-24

Ok ... you've got the numbers but
How to let him know hearts, diamonds, spades or clubs ?

gonal (author)JChumo2010-11-24

It's explained in step 3.

To mark the suit you just have to make some holes near the corners of the card:
1 corner : Hearts
2 corners: DIamons
3 corners: Spades
4 corners: clubs

Haagenize (author)gonal2010-11-29

This seems counter intuitive doesn't it?

If you start from smallest to biggest, it would be Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades, or vice versa, why would you choose Heart Diamond, Spades, Clubs?

Just wondering, I've never heard of "CHaSeD" mentioned by bruno14069

Al1x (author)Haagenize2010-12-03

Oh I've heard of "CHaSeD" .. its an easy way to remember the order of the cards

gonal (author)Haagenize2010-11-29

No real reason, I just marked them that way, but you can make the holes the way you prefer.

Dr.Paj (author)2010-12-01

Here is an idea to make the card easier to read, put the corner punches that tell the holder what suit the card is all up on the top. For example, the 3 of clubs would have 4 holes in a row near the top of the card, and 3 holes along the side. This would keep the holder from having to feel all 4 corners in order to tell that he has a 3 of clubs. Just an idea, I wouldn't want to have to feel all 4 corners of my entire hand just to know what I had on me.

Basic summary of what I said, since most people don't like to read everything.
-Top of card: 1-4 holes determines suit
-Sides of card: 1-12 holes determines card value

gonal (author)Dr.Paj2010-12-01

In didn't think of it, but you're right, it's a great idea and it would really make the card easier to read. Thank you very much! Next time I'll do it that way and ask Miguel which does he like the most.

Dr.Paj (author)gonal2010-12-01

No problem, it wasn't until after I posted that I saw all71s had the same general idea, except he said to place them in the middle of the card. The only problem with that idea is that it would still be difficult to read the card with a full hand.

You may also want to put all of the holes for 1-12 on the left side so that it can be read easily when you have a full hand. It would be a pain to check both sides if you have more than just a few cards in your hand at one time. Maybe have the one row of 6 and when you go above six, just add another row right beside the first. That way the numbers can be scanned in groups of 2 like the picture I've attached

The yellow numbers wouldn't actually be punched into the card...
They just show how it could be counted with a thumb or pointer finger.

Dr.Paj (author)Dr.Paj2010-12-01

Oops, that should be 10 holes on the left.... o well, you get the point.

gonal (author)Dr.Paj2010-12-01

Actually it should be 11 holes, 10 holes is for the ten :p

But yeah, I get the point. I'll try it next time and se which one does miguel prefer.

Dr.Paj (author)gonal2010-12-02

You called my bluff, I don't play cards much.

Shades of Grey (author)2010-11-30

Great idea. One alternative may be to punch the value of the card in the center away from the corners where the suit is located. I don't know if it would be easier to "read" or not. But in my mind, it would help avoid confusion.

randomxx (author)2010-11-30


Hiyadudez (author)2010-11-28

Excellent idea, great work.

Just one problem, you'd be able to see what hand he has XD

gonal (author)Hiyadudez2010-11-28


In the last step is explained how to make the holes invisible to the rest of the players.

inforussle (author)2010-11-28

Awesome idea, love it. Now i when i play with friends, one of us wears a blind fold.
Great job.

Ciege666 (author)2010-11-28

kudos for the creativity and simplicity, very well done

Lithium Rain (author)2010-11-27

Ingenious! I'm only sad this is featured because that means I can't feature it myself! Awesome!

elizbr (author)2010-11-27

Very clever and way cool! Thanks!

xrobevansx (author)2010-11-26

Silly question, but when you shuffle the glued cards, don't they tend to come apart, or does the glue actually hold pretty well?

gonal (author)xrobevansx2010-11-26

For now it holds quite well.

We use both riffle and pushing shuffle and, for now, it works just fine.

violetkitty (author)2010-11-26

there is also another way that wont make the cards have holes which is burnishing the letters and suit with a burnisher

gonal (author)violetkitty2010-11-26

Actually I tried that, but the cards became difficult tu shuffle since they weren't slippery anymore, but it's also a good option and you don't have to use two packs of cards.

AaronAdamic (author)2010-11-26

The intention for creating these cards is very nice! Respect!

JamesRPatrick (author)2010-11-25

Love it!

CoolHat17 (author)2010-11-25

It's a great job, too! :D

CoolHat17 (author)2010-11-25

This should be in assistive tech...

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