A surgical stapling instrument for clamping and stapling tissue is disclosed having a staple cartridge having a first tissue contact surface thereon, a plurality of staple slots in the first tissue contact surface, and staples contained within the plurality of staple slots. An anvil having a longitudinal axis and first and second staple forming surfaces thereon is coupled to the staple cartridge. The first and second staple forming surfaces are spaced from each other and have a plurality of staple pockets embedded therein. The first and second staple forming surfaces of the anvil face the first tissue contact surface of said staple cartridge, and the staple pockets embedded in the first and second staple forming surfaces are aligned with the staple slots within the first tissue contact surface.; The staple cartridge and the anvil are moveable relative to each other from an open position for positioning tissue therebetween to a closed position generally parallel to each other for clamping the tissue. When the staple cartridge and anvil are moved to the closed position, the first staple forming surface of the anvil is spaced a first distance away from the first tissue contact surface of the staple cartridge and the second staple forming surface of the anvil is spaced a second distance away from the first tissue forming surface of the staple cartridge. The first distance is different from the second distance, and the first and second distances are taken perpendicularly to the anvil longitudinal axis.