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Poker Crosswords

three poker cards printed with crossword puzzles
No. of Players: 2+
Type of Game: written
What you need: pen and paper


To make words in a grid using letters chosen by other players.

How to play

Players each draw a blank grid of squares seven by seven in size. One player then calls out a letter of the alphabet and all players write that letter into any square on their grid. The next player calls out a letter and players write that letter in their grid and so on, until the entire grid is filled. As letters are called out, players attempt to place the letters in their grids in such a way that they will be able to make as many words as possible (reading left to right and top to bottom) once the grid is filled. A point is scored for each letter of a successfully completed word. The player with the highest score wins. Individual letters can be used multiple times for different words. Grid size can be adjusted upwards or downwards as desired.

A variation of this game, which allows words to be read in any direction vertically, horizontally and diagonally, is called Poker Word Search.


Ann and Bristol each draw a 7×7 empty grid of squares. They then alternate calling out individual letters. After 49 letters, their grids are filled. Ann's grid looks like this:

7 by 7 poker crosswords grid #1

Ann scores points for the following ACROSS words: no, not, by, as, ash, mall, all, she, run, aim, yon, kid, din, in, few, and go. And for the following DOWN words: sac, sack, it, the, them, em, mud, to, lie, ear, early, nun, and go. Her point total is 83.

Bristol arranged the same 49 letters differently. His grid looks like this:

7 by 7 poker crosswords grid #2

He scores points for the following ACROSS words: jot, cup, gum, kin, fly, eve, lam, rib, she, shell, hell, ell, log, at, shun, shunt, and hunt. And for the following DOWN words: joke, fail, my, yaw, won, win, and in. But the 78 points Bristol earns with these words are not enough to beat Ann.

Did you know?

Certified by Guinness World Records, the largest crossword puzzle (in physical size) in the US measures 7 feet by 7 feet and can be hung on a wall or conveniently folded for solving on your lap or kitchen table. It comes with a 100 page book packed with 28,000 clues for over 91,000 squares. If you get stuck, you can always check the 4 foot by 4 foot answer grid.

wall-size crossword puzzle with man standing next to it thinking

However, a still larger puzzle was published by Nikoli Co., Ltd on June 30, 2016. It measures nearly 130 square feet, has 244,971 blank squares, and 66,666 clues. It was created by 20 different crossword puzzle makers to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Japanese company.

man standing with back against stack of crossword puzzles

If these two puzzles are still too small for you, there is yet a bigger one according to Guinness. Verified on June 3, 2014, it took Hristo A. Yonitsov of Sofia, Bulgaria 14 years to write the 93,769 clues and craft the 984 foot long puzzle. The grid is spread over a hefty 1,000 sheets of paper and remains unpublished at this time.

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