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Old 10-06-2011, 12:40 AM   #1
palindrome
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Playing card round up

Playing cards are the most important part of your home game. In a pinch, all of the other equipment can be improvised if need be. The cards tell the story and determine the winners. They're kind of a big deal. After all, nobody ever says they are going over to a buddy’s house to play some chips!



Getting a good deck of cards is the simplest and most economical upgrade you can make to have your game stand apart from the others. Despite this, there seems to be little good information in this forum about the cards that are available. Most of the threads devolve into players defending their personal preferences about they cards they like. I would like to do something a little different. I'm going to try to give you basic information about the various cards that I own. Maybe this will give you the information you need to get the deck that will best suit your needs.

The following posts will pertain to all plastic playing cards and will be sorted by manufacturer.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:51 AM   #2
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Re: Playing card round up

KEM

Arguably the best known make of all the cards to be reviewed here. They have been around forever and were widely regarded as the best playing cards for a long time. The brand was purchased in 2004 by US Playing Card Company and they resumed production of the cards two years later. Many people claim the quality of the cards suffered. Most of the cards from my collection are from after the takeover. I bought one set of cards that were pre-USPC just out of curiosity. I can't tell much of a difference. You be the judge.

KEM cards are smooth and soft. They are highly flexible and have very little snap to them. They are also some of the thinnest feeling cards that I own. The main complaint that you will hear about these cards is that they warp. This is true but the issue can be managed with some preventive care. Placing a spare card like the joker on the top of the deck will keep the rest of the cards flat. Keeping them out of heat and humidity is also supposed to help. Some deck suffer from more severe warping than others. The issue is much more dominant in the bridge sized cards than the poker sized cards, with some decks suffering from a noticeable arc felt when shuffled. The print quality of the cards is top notch. The colors are bold and the face cards nicely detailed. Prices range from $25-$30 per setup.


Circle backs, Star Gazers, Paisley, Casino Pro, WSOP 2008 bridge size, left side top to bottom. Jacquard and Arrows poker size, right side top to bottom.


A variety of sizes and index options. From top to bottom: poker size regular index, bridge size regular index, and bridge size jumbo index.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:03 AM   #3
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Re: Playing card round up

COPAG

Probably the other best known brand among plastic playing cards. COPAGS have been known as a value brand compared to KEMs as COPAGS retail for almost half the cost. COPAGS also offer a bit more variety compared to the KEMs. They come in bridge and poker sized cards with standard and jumbo indexes but they also have a few more options. Offerings include poker peek indexes, four indexes, and four color decks.

COPAGS are thin and textured. The cards are pretty snappy given how thin they are. Warping is rare among these decks but it does happen. I do not know of a remedy for fixing warped COPAGS. The most common complaint about these decks is the quality of the ink. Colors are noticeably faded compared to other brands. Color transfer from front to backs are reported. Ink chipping on the face cards are reported as well. I have had no problems with my decks after years of use but I also rotate out decks very often. Print quality is the lowest of all the decks I own but it in no way affects play. These are good cards. Setups will sell for $15-$25.


COPAGS are on the right side of the photo. I think I will replace this photo later. Poker size on the left side, top to bottom: Centennial, 1546, Four Color Jumbo, 1546. Bridge size on right, top to bottom: Script and EPOC.


A variety of options. Top to bottom: poker sized regular index, poker sized four color jumbo four index, poker sized jumbo index, and bridge sized jumbo index.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:05 AM   #4
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Re: Playing card round up

I will post more tomorrow.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:10 AM   #5
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Re: Playing card round up

OP where did you get the 4 color deck with the number of card on all 4 corners from?
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:47 AM   #6
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Re: Playing card round up

Excellent work so far, waiting to read more. So far I agree 100% with what you've said based on my own experience with these brands. Interested to read about other brands I haven't had experience with.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:42 PM   #7
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Re: Playing card round up

Great so far, waiting for more.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:14 PM   #8
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Re: Playing card round up

Quote:
Originally Posted by palindrome View Post
I also rotate out decks very often.


Thank you for that, and the resulting thread.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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Re: Playing card round up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donkedout757 View Post
OP where did you get the 4 color deck with the number of card on all 4 corners from?
CaraGails is a good source for cards---I took a quick look and didn't see a large index 4-color 4-pip Copag deck there. The did have a regular index 4-color 4-pip deck for sale.
www.caragails.com

Nice work Pali!
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:14 PM   #10
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Re: Playing card round up



Can't wait to hear about some of the lesser-known brands.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:34 PM   #11
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Re: Playing card round up

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Originally Posted by ChickenNuts View Post
CaraGails is a good source for cards---I took a quick look and didn't see a large index 4-color 4-pip Copag deck there. The did have a regular index 4-color 4-pip deck for sale.
www.caragails.com

Nice work Pali!
They are hiding in the back of the class. You were in the right spot.

I'm going to cover NTP and Modiano next. My notes are at home, otherwise I would work on them now.
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Old 10-06-2011, 09:38 PM   #12
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Re: Playing card round up

Just thought I mention that while I own many different sets (Copag, Modiano, KEM) that the Bicycle Prestige cards are currently on sale at Walgreens buy one, get one free. Walgreens only runs this sale about once per year and they are great cards when you can get them during this sale. The Prestige (100% Plastic) may not be marked as being on sale, but they will ring up that way. Sale ends this week and people have been grabbing them like crazy. Good luck.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:36 PM   #13
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Re: Playing card round up

NTP

NTP cards are probably the most uncommon cards I own. They can be found if you look around a little but they are carried by a relatively few sellers. The poker sized cards also have the distinction of being the largest cards on the market by a couple of millimeters. NTP playing cards are made in Italy.

NTPs are thick and textured. The cards are the snappiest of the bunch and despite the thickness have good flex. They do not feel stiff like the similarly thick Modianos. The texture seems to help with cards sliding on the top of the stub. The printing is of very high quality and the colors are rich. Euro style four index cards are available as well as a very large black jack style index. A setup will run you around $30.


On the left side, from top to bottom: Black Jack, Texas Hold'em, Long Life Standard, and Floreale.


The options include four index, the HUGE black jack index, and poker peeks.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:46 PM   #14
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Re: Playing card round up

Modiano

Modiano cards are also of Italian origin. These cards are made in a wide variety of styles, including four color decks and multiple index options. Modianos are favored by people who like the feel of paper cards.

Modiano cards have the thickest feel of any of the cards I own. Others come close in terms of thickness but no others feel as stiff. The cards exhibit a lot of snap and have grainy texture. They come in a staggering variety of styles meaning there is a suitable deck for every taste. I should also note that the popular Cristallos have a slightly different feel to them. They feel a little thinner and have more flex. The printing is somewhat middle of the roads with colors darker than the COPAGS but not as rich as others. Setups should range between $15-$25.


From top to bottom: Four Color Four Index, Platinum Acetate, Black Jack, and Four Color.


Shown are jumbo index, black jack index, and four color standard. The bottom deck is shown because I believe they are made by Modiano and re-branded. Notice how similar the printing style and indexes are.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:11 AM   #15
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Re: Playing card round up

All my KEMs were damaged after a few month. The face was cracked terribly. I think it was caused of high humidity air around here.

COPAGs' worst problem is color fading out quickly.

Modiano is most durable so far for me.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:16 AM   #16
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Re: Playing card round up

I noticed you indicated one of your modiano set ups is the platinum acetate cards. Did you notice any difference in quality between these cards and the rest of the modiano decks?
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:22 AM   #17
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Re: Playing card round up

^^^ Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the platinum acetates supposed to be the cream of the Modiano crop? I'm curious about this, also...
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:27 AM   #18
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Re: Playing card round up

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Originally Posted by dugthefish View Post
^^^ Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the platinum acetates supposed to be the cream of the Modiano crop? I'm curious about this, also...
That's why I was asking. I read lots of reviews praising the platinums as the best cards on the market today
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Old 10-07-2011, 03:53 AM   #19
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Re: Playing card round up

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanyi View Post
That's why I was asking. I read lots of reviews praising the platinums as the best cards on the market today
I have a set of Modiano Platinum Acetate playing cards. They have a perfect feel to them, are thick, durable, flexible and perfectly manufactured. You can even order single replacement cards from Modiano.

The red ink Modiano uses is a little darker than seen in other card types. Still, they are by far the best cards I have ever owned.

I also have several Copag and Fournier decks. The Copags are okay but I have observed drastic warping of some decks. The Fourniers are of a finer quality, though both types slide around on the deck a lot more than the Modianos.

Copags have lighter colors, they seem a little washed out.

Lastly, I have 888 make decks which are pretty okay, equal to the Copags bit inferior to Fournier 2800 and Modiano Acetatw cards.
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:28 AM   #20
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Re: Playing card round up

Quote:
Originally Posted by lanyi View Post
I noticed you indicated one of your modiano set ups is the platinum acetate cards. Did you notice any difference in quality between these cards and the rest of the modiano decks?
The Platinum Acetates have just a bit more flex to them. They also feature some of the nicer features like the shaded number cards and the darker red security ink. The idea behind the darker red is that if a card is accidentally exposed it is harder to tell if it was black or red. I have not used these very much so I can't comment much on how they wear.
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Old 10-07-2011, 12:05 PM   #21
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Re: Playing card round up

As a player, I like the Modiano acetate feel best. They are just very nice. But as a dealer, I find them a bit too stiff for a night's worth of shuffling.

When you have finished with your overview, maybe you can create a post with your rankings of these cards in different categories: stiffness, snap, warp, contract, color, etc. You allude to some of this in your write-ups, but some simple lists would be good.
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Old 10-07-2011, 02:46 PM   #22
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Re: Playing card round up

OP - Good Stuff --

Thanks,

Sarge
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:47 PM   #23
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Re: Playing card round up

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Originally Posted by eneely View Post
When you have finished with your overview, maybe you can create a post with your rankings of these cards in different categories: stiffness, snap, warp, contract, color, etc. You allude to some of this in your write-ups, but some simple lists would be good.
I think that sounds like a good idea. I'm also willing to answer questions about specific decks if people are curious. I like how this thread has come together.

I'm going to mop up the rest tonight: Fournier, Desjgn, and Dal Negro.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:03 PM   #24
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Re: Playing card round up

Quote:
Originally Posted by eneely View Post
As a player, I like the Modiano acetate feel best. They are just very nice. But as a dealer, I find them a bit too stiff for a night's worth of shuffling.

When you have finished with your overview, maybe you can create a post with your rankings of these cards in different categories: stiffness, snap, warp, contract, color, etc. You allude to some of this in your write-ups, but some simple lists would be good.
I demand a matrix.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:05 PM   #25
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Re: Playing card round up

For me, the chips are FAR MORE IMPORTANT than the cards. You barely handle the cards, but you are constantly handling the chips. Constantly. Even after you have folded. I'd much rather play with clay chips and paper cards instead of dice chips and plastic cards.
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