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Topic: Notes on KEMs
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 25, 2007 09:51AM)
I have noted a strange thing with KEM cards lately:

When I leave a deck out, for a few hours, the top card curls up.

Itís not hard to get it to lay flat again but it isnít that easy neither.

Now the thing is I was in the casino and noticed one of the KEM cards that they were using, had a curl in it. and it was not flat the on the table. Moreover I guessed what that card was. It was the top card before the game began. It happened be the Ace of Hearts. Thatís how they had sorted them, that is, Ace to King in order. I did not get a chance to use it to advantage as the curl went out of it after a few shuffles/hands.

I donít know why the top card tends to curl up when you leave a deck standing. I was wondering if it something to do with KEMS being made by USPCC now, as I have never noticed it before. Anyway you might want to look out for it, as it is as good as having a marked card in play ,for a while at least.

Also I noted that some of the decks of KEMS now coming out of USPCC, or some cards in the decks, have a rough edge. I am quite sure they are not using good sharp guillotine blades there. However I think you can use that to advantage. I just opened a new deck for example and can feel where the 9 of spades in it, as I shuffle, as it has a little burr on the edge. If I found it during a game I would have thought someone has nail marked it.

Do have any other notes on KEMís?
Message: Posted by: Pavloter (Apr 25, 2007 05:26PM)
No, but I look up for that. It might be possible really really usefull. I remember reading something about Robert-Houdin talk about cards with more ink get ruffen, but I'm not too sure.
Message: Posted by: Genghis (Apr 25, 2007 06:23PM)
In Poker evenings, we use a Joker upside-down for the cut-card/bottom card cover and it always bends like a banana over about an hour. None of the other cards do. These are the new KEM cards (made by USPCC)

Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Apr 26, 2007 10:08AM)
I have never much liked Kems, but they have improved enormously since the first ones I ever saw, back in the '60s. They used to cling together and warp horribly.
A couple of years ago I was going to a weekly poker game where plastic cards were always used, both Kems and Gemaco. I was impressed by how much better the Kems were than what I remembered, but I still found I didn't like them as well as paper cards.
I don't know if they were using pre-USPCC Kems or not, but generally speaking they seemed to be very well made with good quality control.
It would be interesting to experiment with some Kems to see what the affect temperature and humidity have on them. It could be very useful to know, as mentioned previously by Pavloter.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 26, 2007 12:12PM)

If I had a choice I would use paper cards. We have used KEMS for years and IMHO the qulity is worse now and I think they used to very good back in the sixties. However they have never have been much good for magic. They don't spread of fan. They faro nicely. They will start getting sticky after some use but you can wash them and they are fine again for a while. They are not the best cards to manipulate for sure. The thing is KEMS are standard is high stakes poker so we have no choice but to live them there.
Message: Posted by: Pavloter (Apr 26, 2007 12:48PM)
I have a few new packs, and the cut on cards are HORRIBLE, it looks like stripper deck.
Message: Posted by: Mysterioii (Apr 26, 2007 12:54PM)
For people who just want to play poker, not considering card tricks or any other sort of manipulation, the USPCC KEMs seem fine to me. I have 4 setups (two jumbo index for when I'm playing with people that can't see the board too well and two standard index) and I haven't had any curling problems... I read somewhere that suggested that you store them with a cut card and a dealer button or chip over each deck to press them down a little in storage, and that's that I do. No warping or curling at all. I use real cut cards during games so no cards get flipped over for a prolonged period of time.

Plus USPCC has a great warranty program... one card did get a split in it early on, and I sent it back to them along with the ace of spades and they sent me a full new deck no questions asked. And now I've got almost a full deck of spares to mess around with.
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 26, 2007 01:18PM)
Yes you can stop it but do you want to? The idea is use any flaws to your advantage. If your a sharp that is.
Message: Posted by: Expertmagician (Apr 26, 2007 08:52PM)
I personally do not like KEMs. I feel that Copag makes better cards. Especially the Copag Export, they are just like Bees.

But given the choice, I will opt for paper cards any day.

I hate plastic cards...they feel funny and are either too slippery or too sticky.

Of course, other people's opinion may vary :)
Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 26, 2007 08:59PM)
Well try telling that to guys playing high stakes poker if your out for a laugh. :)
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (Apr 27, 2007 02:21AM)
I have actually heard two schools of thought on that as well. Some guys don't like paper cards because they don't trust them, feeling it's too easy to apply punch and edge work in the course of a game.
There are other guys that don't like plastic cards because they tend to be used too long without replacement, which is an open invitation to dirty work.
Both points are well taken.
Message: Posted by: Unknown419 (Apr 27, 2007 03:04AM)
Any marking system that I use on paper cards I can use on plastic as well. The myth that you can't mark plastic cards is just what it says, a myth.

Story Time

A drug dealer who I was playing cards with in ----- was losing to me when out of no where a sucker hustler got up and whispered in his ear telling him he ought to play with plastic (Kem) cards because you can't be cheated with them. The sucker after a couple of hands had the decks switched to plastic cards to prevent himself from being cheated and still got robbed.

The moral of this story is just don't play against Doc with any deck. (I guess I'm tuting my own horn today)

Message: Posted by: tommy (Apr 27, 2007 08:03AM)
We know itís a myth. Poker players believe the myth however and do trust KEMS. If you go into almost any casino to play poker here in England you will see KEMS and itís the same in high stakes private games .

ďKem cards are good for one thing- abuse! these virtualy indestructable cards are very durable and hardy, making them 'poker-proof' and therefore not susceptible to crimps and marking etc. they are finest cards in the worldÖyadda yadda yadda Ē So they think and indeed there is some truth in it as they are not ďasď susceptible.

Itís a good a thing for sharps that the poker players trust KEMS because it is like any other con game, itís about them having confidence in something or someone. Once you have their confidence you have got them. You shuffle the cards, it looks fair and they trust the cards are mixed. You use KEMS and they trust them...Good! Bicycles are good cards but poker players do not trust them which is bad. It does not matter if they are wrong to trust KEMS but it is nice that they do. They don't trust KEMS entirely but they trust them more than any other make. Trust me! :)
Message: Posted by: Expertmagician (Apr 27, 2007 08:17AM)
Again...perception is not reallity. Doc is right. Marking KEM, Copag or Gemaco is just as easy as marking paper cards.

If I was a gambler I would not want to use a deck that stayed in play for long periods of time.

I think the only think the only marking system that is harder on 100% plastic cards is "waving" and maybe nail nicking. marking solutions and daub products are available and specially designed for plastic cards.

I personally would love to play poker against someone who rung in a markered deck. Imagine that they read that you had a pair. But, when you showed your hand you displayed 3 of a kind :) What are they going to say "you are a better cheat than me " :)

Or better yet, most gamblers don't mark cards for suite because the more marks the greater the risk of exposure. But, I could use that knowledge to do an elmsley count so my competitor would think I had 3 of a kind, so he would fold. Since he can't see the faces, he would not know that the elmsley count showed 2 of the same card :)

What fun ! .... but, I am also kidding....marked cards are always a threat and difficult to dectect.
Message: Posted by: kcg5 (May 20, 2007 03:52AM)
Has anyone tried to iron( place a cloth over the card and place an iron on it for a sec) out the face cards in the deck? I read about this in a book (phantom at athe card table?). when you deal, deal down off the edge of the deck and you can feel a difference. I know this wouldnt pass in "fast company", just wanted to konw if it works...
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 20, 2007 06:34PM)
I have tried the idea with a great many KEM jokers. I did not find it to work as explained by Forte. It goes soft when warmed with the iron but simply goes back to how it was before when cool. If there is any difference after the treatment then I have been unable to detect it, that is apart from the cards that the process destroyed. I would like prove this theory to my satisfaction as I wonít believe now until see it. I thought it was a cool idea when I read it though.

I have been scrutinizing used KEM under a magnifying glass and noted that they acquire small flaws, scratches after little use. One would need good eyesight to pick up the flaws in a gam but they are there nonetheless. Sorts spring to mind as no one could prove they were not natural ware and tear. Make no mistake that casinoís use the same KEM deck over and over again.

From deck to deck they not all exactly the same shade of colour. I have a little experience in printing, it almost impossible to print an item on mass with absolute consistency of colour. Today they use computer quality control on the press yet one will still can find very small difference from one batch to another over time. You would not notice any differences unless were very observant. Again sorts spring mind.

You might think that players look for marks on cards but the truth is very few actually ever do. In all games for money players are observant and alert and will nail anything a little obvious but the vast majority of the company are no so fast as you might thinkm even high stakes games. The faith that they have in KEM can certainly be exploited.
Message: Posted by: DStachowiak (May 21, 2007 12:47AM)
What exactly is the ironing supposed to accomplish? I can imagine they might "spread" and become minutely larger, acting like long or wide cards, but as thin as they are, it can't be much of a difference. It seems like it would take a da**ed sensitive touch to feel it.
Message: Posted by: tommy (May 21, 2007 07:24AM)
It is supposed to make a 100% plastic card/s softer than the ones that have not been treated. So when you deal hard, so to speak, you can tell the differnce. I dare say might spread if you over did them but I have not seen that they do really. The one I over did basically warped/bent/waved whatever. I am sure there is a way to make it soft but that ironing is not it I think.
Message: Posted by: kcg5 (May 21, 2007 03:36PM)
The idea of ironing them might have been invented before uspcc took over the company. might there be a difference in the manufacturing process?

(i had heard that the origanl factory burned down, that's why they were hard to come by around 1-2 years ago)
Message: Posted by: iamslow (May 28, 2007 02:21AM)
I now use gemaco's and I find the cut is much better and shuffling feels like a regular deck... kem's quality has definately gone down the drain... I think its because of the sudden huge demand for poker cards...
Message: Posted by: markcards (Jun 1, 2007 11:21AM)
I know these are not plastic cards, but I have some bicycle paper cards and I had shuffled them a few times and played a little with them for maybe 2 hours. Later, I was looking at the back of the cards and something caught my eye, there was a very light mark on the back of one of the cards and I could see the mark from about 3 feet away. I think the mark was from me dealing the cards, and not from when they made the cards, but it could be something to look for when playing cards if you have good vision. I was also wondering how they print the back designs on plastic and paper cards. Does the ace of spades for example go through the same press, or printer as the eight of hearths when they print the back designs? could there be a very small difference in the back designs that could be used to read the back of the cards?
Message: Posted by: chteo (Jun 27, 2007 01:37AM)
On 2007-04-25 10:51, tommy wrote:
I have noted a strange thing with KEM cards lately:

When I leave a deck out, for a few hours, the top card curls up.

Itís not hard to get it to lay flat again but it isnít that easy neither.

Hi. The top card of my KEM deck curls after being left in its plastic case overnight. It's probably got something to do with physics.

BUT...I noticed, about 2 weeks after after receiving my KEM cards (which I rarely handled), the faces of the cards started to show little wrinkles, which look pretty sick to me. Is it a sign of aging or what?

Originally, the texture of the faces were smooth, similar to Aviators.

Does anybody else face this problem?
Message: Posted by: Expertmagician (Jun 27, 2007 08:05AM)
I want to re-emphasise that I hate plastic cards...But, if I had to use a plastic deck it would be Copag Export (no borders) or Master (white borders). Gemaco Classic style (no white border) is not bad either.

Personally I'll stick to Bees and Bicycles or Tally-Hos...I prefer the feel of paper MUCH better.
Message: Posted by: Mysterioii (Jun 28, 2007 12:58PM)
On 2007-06-27 02:37, chteo wrote:
Hi. The top card of my KEM deck curls after being left in its plastic case overnight. It's probably got something to do with physics.[/quote]

Most physical things do... ;)

I keep all my KEMs in their box with a cut card on top of each deck and either a dealer button or a spare chip over the cut card... keeps 'em perfectly flat. Dunno about the "little wrinkles"... my KEMs have what looks like a faint texture to the surface which may be what you're talking about, and I honestly can't recall if they were always like that or not. Haven't really bothered me though.

I did have another KEM card split on me the other night... along the long edge... will have to send it off to USPCC for a new deck... at least they honor their guarantee but I'm disappointed that I've had two cards fail with what I consider to be reasonable wear. Maybe the cards I got off of the internet were "factory seconds."
Message: Posted by: chteo (Jun 29, 2007 05:18AM)
Hey Mysterio.

From your description about the faint texture, I don't think (I might be wrong though!) that's the state of my card because:

1) My cards' "wrinkles" are so obvious and sick-looking that it would likely bother any reasonable owner, considering the price he/she paid for the deck.

2) Before the wrinkles appeared, my cards appear to have a faint surface texture (no idea if its the same kind you're referring to) as well, so I believe your cards have not wrinkled.

Looks like the only accurate way to compare is for us to exchange decks to inspect...lol.

I've heard several others complaining about their KEMS splitting and cracking too, so maybe its just the flaw in these cards.

*Heres a little story:
Just ONE day after I received my KEM deck (~$28 here), I found this ROYAL 100% plastic/washable deck at a bookstore and bought it at $4, and they handled much better IMO, than KEM. Plus, the court card pictures are similar to that of Bicycles.

Well, that's it for plastic cards. I'll still stick to my Riderbacks!
Message: Posted by: chteo (Jun 29, 2007 05:35AM)

'Freckles' is a better word to describe my cards than 'wrinkles'.
Message: Posted by: Mysterioii (Jul 2, 2007 02:35PM)
I took a closer look through my deck and noticed that the jokers and advert cards, which have gotten no use, have the same faint surface texture as all the other cards, so it's not the wrinking you were talking about.

I still like the feel of them, so as long as they keep sending replacements when they split I'll keep using them...