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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Paper Cards vs. Plastic Cards (2 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Cagliostro
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Most member on this BB are well acquainted with paper cards and perhaps have never tried using plastic cards. However, for those members who have only used paper cards because they think plastics cards are too difficult (or unusual) to handle, here is my suggestion:

Obtain a bridged sized deck of Copag plastic playing cards with white borders. These cards can easily be ordered on line.

When you receive the deck, it will feel quite different initially and the handling may be a little strange to you. The cards will be very slippery, and the deck may slip away from your hands from time to time, at least until you learn to control the cards better. However, this is the quality and type card you will find in virtually all professional poker rooms of today.

Cogag's are pretty much the same thickness as a good quality paper deck, certainly more resilient and they slide more easily. They lie perfectly flat and can't be easily bent or dog eared like paper cards. It you are someone who is proficient at performing card table moves, try some basic ones like pull-throughs and strip-out shuffles. You will probably find these moves can be done more smoothly and very deceptively with the Copag's, even more so with the bridged-sized cards.

Secondly, do some bottom dealing if you have mastered this move. For bottom dealing, preferably the bottom card should be slightly dislodged to prevent hang ups, especially after the deck has become a little used, and also to prevent more than one card coming out. Next try some table hops, peeks, and then do some basic riffle stacking including Faro or butt shuffles and a table perfect shuffle. In fact, for those that understand more advanced riffle shuffle work for gambling purposes, an occasional quick partial mesh can be very valuable. I think those who try to do these things and are proficient may be pleasantly surprised after they work with these cards for a little while - but it does take a while.

So, for the very few who may try this, why not post your opinion on the BB. I think that many will agree these cards are better than working with paper cards for many applications, especially when compared to paper cards that have been used for a while.

But don't take my opinion or anyone else's opinion on this. Opinions vary; sometimes greatly so, therefore I would think each individual should form his own.

I personally prefer these cards over paper cards for many card playing and manipulative purposes, but then again I am not a magician/demonstrator - I am talking about card table application which I think is a more realistic way to look at things. Many demonstrators need brand new paper decks to make their moves look unrealistically good, like pulling ultra-light strippers or dealing strike seconds with a one-billionth of an inch brief. However, that is not the norm in the real world and after the paper cards become a little worn and sticky, these type demo moves become more difficult or impossible to do the same way and don't look as good as with a new deck.

I think a good deck of plastics stands up much better and longer than paper cards for many manipulative purposes.

But once again, opinion vary so those members who try this out, let us know what you think.

Keep in mind, out of necessity I have been working with plastic cards for years so they have become second nature to me and much more natural to use.

Also, I am not condemning paper cards, they have their uses, especially for casino table games and whether paper or plastic, one type card is not better than the other. It depends...and whether casino table games, poker or other games, good money can be made with both type cards.

However, I thought a few members might find this post to be interesting or useful.
landmark
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Interesting post, thanks. C, just to be clear, you are saying that many pro poker games use bridge sized cards? I'm ignorant about all this so I find that fascinating.
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Cagliostro
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Bridge sized cards are the norm, not the exception in the major poker card rooms in the US. In fact, I have never seen a poker sized deck in any poker game in Vegas or California, and certainly not in the World Series of Poker.

I personally use bridged sized plastics extensively and to me, and for my purposes it is the best card to use, even for manipulations. Of course, for casino games poker sized paper cards are the norm.

Interesting when I was a youngster growing up in New York City, studying magic at that time, virtually all the magicians used Aviator bridged sized cards. The trick decks and trick cards were almost all bridged sized cards.

There is nothing unique or preferable about poker sized cards per se. However, I do believe that poker sized cards are preferable for casino game usage and bridged sized cards are preferable for poker games. In the US, professional game operators seems to agree almost 100% with that statement.

Without beating a dead horse, generally speaking many card table manipulations are really sweet to do with a quality deck of plastics, and in my opinion even more so with bridge sized plastics. But it has got to be a good quality plastic deck ad one has to spend some time to get used to the feel of plastic cards.

Interestingly, many short card games played for higher stakes (like Pitch) and certainly Gin Rummy, now use plastic bridged sized cards. In fact, I remember many years ago when Stuey Ungar was beating all the Vegas pros in Gin Rummy, he would only play with bridged sized plastic cards, nothing else.
Mr. Bones
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Great post Cag.

It was magicians (IMO) over the last 30 or 40 years that created the current market for poker sized cards, and magic marketers and creators who continue to create the demand for the hundreds (if not thousands) of "new" back designs, packet tricks, and gaffed decks on poker sized cards that seem to come out each year.
It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in that currently ... it's really only poker sized cards that are commonly available at magic shops, drug stores and big box stores.

Nothing much *new* ever happens on the back of bridge size cards these days (except a "new" flower or bird design Smile ) - otherwise it's pretty much the standard KEM and Copag backs we've seen for decades.

Your comment about demonstrators and magicians needing new paper cards in order to complete a large percentage of their demo moves is spot-on.
Mixed with the muscle memory developed by exclusively using poker sized paper cards, moving to bridge sized plastic cards and expecting to be able to execute the same sleights with the same degree of skill is difficult ... if not impossible.

Having shuffled poker sized Bee or Texan Palmetto cards in an OCD fashion for the last 45 years, I find I have to continue to work with poker sized paper cards - and although I own a few nice KEM bridge sized decks, my OCD shuffling and muscle memory while watching TV or "working" on the computer continues to demand poker sized paper cards.

The bridge sized KEM's usually wind up on the floor - as bridge sized cards never really feel like they're solidly in my grip.
Mr. Bones
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Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Jun 21, 2018, Mr. Bones wrote:

The bridge sized KEM's usually wind up on the floor - as bridge sized cards never really feel like they're solidly in my grip.


LOL. Yes, I spent a lot of time picking up the bridged-sized plastic cards from the floor when I first started using them. The little devils would scoot out of my hands at unexpected moments. However, the exercise of picking up the cards from the floor kept me limber - so I can't say the experience was without benefit.
Thomas Gilroy
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Here in Ireland, bridge-sized paper cards are cheap and easily found in supermarkets, pharmacies, etc. Most card rooms and serious private games use poker-sized plastic cards, though I've seen bridge-sized plastic cards in that context too. I've used Copag, KEM, Modiano, Dal Negro, etc.

My personal favorite cards for my private games are plastic-poker sized cards by a company called Juego. The cards are very thick and heavy and they are basically indestructible. They're not unpleasant to handle, but I'm convinced they're completely sleight-of-hand proof, it's quite strange. They also come with a cut card in each box too, which is nice.
ssibal
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I think it all depends on your environment. Almost every private game I have played in has used paper poker sized cards, and usually somewhat worn out decks. If your games mostly consist of plastic cards then it makes sense to practice with those for manipulations but it all depends on your location and even circles within that location.
Last Laugh
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I got some poker sized Copags with the all over back design to play with.

They are definitely nice for certain things. Push through shuffles are nice and smooth, culling multiple cards is really fluid, bottoms seem about as easy as with papers with the caveat that the complete deck is thicker than paper cards (I'm not able to do good bottoms with the full deck of papers, so definitely not with these, but with half or 2/3s it's nice).

I notice that strike seconds require a lighter touch as the cards have a little bit of grip to them. But for the same reason push off seconds might a little easier.

The extra flexibility makes palming a little easier I'd say, and since the cards are more resilient you don't have to worry about mangling them.


I'd say I could probably use these if I had too and adapting to them wouldn't be too difficult.
Thomas Gilroy
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Quote:
On Sep 10, 2018, Last Laugh wrote:
I got some poker sized Copags with the all over back design to play with.


That would be the COPAG Export Series. I have several COPAG double deck poker sets, mostly the 1546 Series. I also have a few individual COPAG decks.

The Export Series decks I have are the thinnest and most flexible COPAG cards I have. The other COPAG decks I have are all perfectly flat and have not warped at all, but the Export Series decks both had a slight concave bend from the factory which seems to be permanent. The colours on faces also seem a little muted to me compared to the other decks.

I bought them solely to have some plastic decks for practicing gambling sleights, I use a bordered set when running a game. I'm not too upset about the slight bend, it hasn't gotten any worse. Those particular decks also allow for easy tabled faro shuffles, which is a plus.

I find COPAGs very comfortable to use. I like how they handle when shuffling and dealing. There is a little bit of a learning curve to using them, the cards can tend to slide around until you develop the right touch. I think they're pretty accommodating for sleights also. I don't notice a very significant different in weight or thickness versus a nice deck of paper cards. They won't hold a crimp though, so I can't use the same controls I use when practicing with paper cards.

I don't really like my KEM sets. There's something about squaring them after a shuffle that feels unpleasant to me. They were also much more expensive than my other sets, and I don't feel the increased price is reflected in the quality.

Honestly, I'm still a little puzzled that bridge sized cards are the standard in the USA. I have no reason to doubt Cagliostro, but when I watch live poker on TV (High Stakes Poker, WSOP/WPT events), it looks to me that the cards are poker sized. When shopping on Amazon, it also seems that the official WSOP and WPT plastic decks are also poker sized. The official EPT decks are definitely poker sized, I have one near me.
Last Laugh
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Glad to say my decks aren't warped at all. Hope they stay that way.

While crimps don't seem like an option, a short card works very well for a control card. I prefer a full short card over just corner shorts, but either works. FWIW, the corner radius appears to be about 4mm instead of the 3mm that is standard for paper cards.
Thomas Gilroy
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Good to hear your cards are not bent, that has made me more comfortable withing buying another set when mine gets worn.

I haven't gaffed any of my plastic decks. No short cards, no N-strippers, nothing yet. So far, I've wanted to keep them in good condition in case I feel like using them in a game sometime. I've also been a little hesitant because of the extra cost, in case I'm unhappy with the work.

How did you make shorten the plastic cards? Were you happy with the work?
Last Laugh
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I use a paper cutter (guillotine over the pond) and a corner punch. Works like a charm.

Because my corner punch is 3,5, or 8 mm, I ended up with a slight corner short too, but it's subtle.

I've used this one for a while, works very well for both paper and plastic:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0076FJ7SS/ref......829&sr=1
Thomas Gilroy
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Thanks. I might pick one of those up and try it out. I thought a guillotine or those corner punches might cause a plastic card to chip. I have some glass files I know would work well, but that's much more time consuming.
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