The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Plastic is fantastic (a short view on plastic cards)! (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
AMcD
View Profile
Inner circle
stacking for food!
3107 Posts

Profile of AMcD
OK guys, as it seems this place is back to respecting each other, maybe it's time to populate it with some decent posts. I hope this one will be of value for some of you.

First thing first. As you know, I'm not a casino player. I've been there a few times, sure. But it's certainly not my favourite environment. My thing was pub games, clubs, private places, leagues, etc. So what follows is related to such contexts. Besides, I'm relating facts from France, England and a couple of other countries like Italy or Spain. I'd appreciate that people coming from other countries add their own experiences.

I'd say that since probably 2003 I never ran across a paper deck. My idea is that Chris Moneymaker, who won the WSOP 2003 main event, was the milestone. An amateur winning the main official Poker event was something that made people dream quite a lot and Hold'em (HE) literally exploded on Medias. In a couple of years we had (all around the planet) tons of TV shows or broadcasted tournaments. Hundreds of books or videos popped out as well. And what about all those stars who, all of a sudden, became big fans of the game. We can say that HE took the world by storm and entered, in some way, "standard" people's (I mean people not usually inclined to play cards) life. It has become difficult to meet someone who has never played HE in the last decade. Whether for real or online.

Because the media coverage, those standard people got used to see casino environments or, at least, professional gambling contexts. So, naturally, everyone tried to mimic what they saw on TV. Therefore, after a couple of years, every $5 family game was using a dealer button, chips, fairly good quality cards, a cut card and so on. I'm sure that most of you who have just played a family game have seen those basic Poker set you can find from like $50 or even less: aluminium case , 250+ chips, two decks and usually a couple of dice.

Well, even those basic sets have plastic cards! Usually PVC cards and the quality vary a lot. More often it's some improbable Chinese brand but it's not uncommon at all to get some decent Copag or even Kem decks. It's kind of funny though because plastic cards are much more difficult to handle than paper cards and it's always quite a show to see people handling plastics for their first time Smile.

Plastic cards have a plenty of good advantages. First, provided you use cards from a serious brand, they last longer. For amateur games it's a very interesting point. During play, cards are handled by many different types of people. Some handle them with care (Steve Forte style), some bend them heavily (Lennart Green style), some spill drinks on them and what about those toying with them or even putting them into their mouth while having a deep thinking about their next $1 bet... When you pitch them around the table, the cards can also hit glasses, chips or even card guards (you know, the kind of 1 pound stupid item made of some sort of metal that many players use to protect their hand).

If you use paper cards, you're gonna need a lot. I'd say a deck won't last more than one tourney with some incautious or careless people. And more than often, you need to bring in a new deck at the same table during the same evening! Therefore, even if more expensive than papers, a plastic deck is certainly a profitable investment for amateurs places which can't afford to use a brick of cards per table every Tuesday tourney (and no way to charge players for it, it's already tough to get them paying their $10 or $20 buy-in...).

Point #2, they are much more difficult to bend. Good brands cards have almost no "memory", which means that if you fold or bend them, they're back into normal shape in no time. Copag or Kems cards are very good under that perspective. Of course, if you fold a plastic card in its middle and apply a crazy pressure for like one minute, if you crease the card, it won't work. But who would do that? The point is that cards straighten back fast after a bend and if you wanna bend a plastic card for cheating purposes you need to use such a heavy work that everyone will notice it. (Okay, I'm lying a bit here, as there are cunning ways to do it, but chances are low you run across standard players knowing those things). Now, apply a decent bend to a Bee paper card and see for yourself the difference... Obviously, one will try to bend a corner and you'd be surprised! Some cards just wouldn't care (Copag or Modiano) where other brands would crack (Kem for instance).

Point #3. You can wipe off any stain easily. Normally, it's not a problem if someone spills his carrot juice on your Modiano cards (have you ever played with vegans?). It's a complete different story with paper cards, where liquids soak into the cards!

Well, plastics have many other advantages against paper cards. For instance, as they are more difficult to handle, it can prevent amateur cheats to show off with their audacious running cut coming straight from Erdnase's. Basic marking, with nails for example, is also more a difficult task with plastics. And applying some inks or daub is more complicated as well.

Don't get me wrong though. Professionals or serious guys in the know can mark or bend plastic cards like any paper card, but it's certainly more work (or, at least, more expensive -I'm talking about inks here).

Anyway, you'll run across plastic cards if you play cards for real, be sure of that.

About manipulating them now. Well, I'm not gonna tell you fairy stories, it's much more difficult than paper cards! Personally, I don't find a "big" difference for stacking. Okay, it depends on how thick the cards are, but after a few hours of practice, I'm usually back to my standard speed and percentage of accuracy. It's another story for false shuffling. Plastic are far heavier than papers and are also much more slippery. I'm obviously talking for myself here, but I find that the "physics" are not the same when applied to false shuffling plastics. I need to use more strength and cards are, in general, more difficult to control. I must add that this feeling varies with brands, in fact there are huge differences among brands in terms of feel. But, in general, I'd say it's definitely not as easy as it is with Bees or Bicycle papers.

Second dealing or third dealing depends heavily on the brand. With some, like Copag or Dal Negro, I don't see any difference. The cards weight more, so obviously you need to adjust a few things, but nothing really constraining. With other brands... well, I'm gonna be as straightforward as I can, I just can't deal seconds!

Bottom dealing, even if not really useful nowadays because the use of cut cards, is another beast to tame! Plastics decks are much thicker than paper decks. Look at the picture below. A huge discrepancy between a Carta Mundi plastic and a standard Bicycle! (it would take... 15 more Bicycle to match the height of the Carta Mundi deck).

Image


Therefore, bottom dealing (or greek dealing, for the bravest) is undoubtedly more difficult, mainly during the first stages of the deal, when the deck is still thick.

Okay. Now a few words about the best plastics in my very humble opinion. By the way, note that plastics with no white border (all over back design) exist. I would even say that you have more choice than with paper cards!

I'd go with Copag. They have various models, but there are not very expensive, last long and I like their feel.

Image


I like Dal Negro a lot. Thicker and quite heavy, but so good for stacking Smile.

Image


There is a deck called Bicyle Prestige which, according to me, offers probably the smoothest feel ever. But they don't last long.

Image


Kem. Nah! Very popular because movies (who hasn't watched Rounders?). But very expensive and not that good.

Image


By the way, I took the pictures above from Internet.
AMcD
View Profile
Inner circle
stacking for food!
3107 Posts

Profile of AMcD
I forgot a few things.

Plastics are made of different material. Kem use cellulose acetate. Copag are made with PVC. Modiano go with some proprietary platinum acetate. And so on. That makes a huge difference in terms of feel. Incidentally, there's a difference about how they smell as well. For instance, low level Chinese plastics smell like petrol!
tommy
View Profile
Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
15469 Posts

Profile of tommy
We use KEMs but they are hard to keep flat.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Cagliostro
View Profile
Inner circle
2291 Posts

Profile of Cagliostro
Quote:
On Oct 29, 2016, AMcD wrote:

OK guys, as it seems this place is back to respecting each other, maybe it's time to populate it with some decent posts. I hope this one will be of value for some of you.


Excellent and informative post AMcD. However, perhaps you should have entitled it: "Everything you always wanted to know about plastic cards but were afraid to ask." Smile

I can't believe I am writing this but I actually agreed with everything you said. Wait a minute, that can't be right...better go back and read your post again, I must have missed something. Smile

As far as manipulating these cards, marking them, different quality, weight and so on, I really don't have anything to add because that has been my experience also. I particularly liked this the most:

Quote:
It's kind of funny though because plastic cards are much more difficult to handle than paper cards and it's always quite a show to see people handling plastics for their first time Smile.


You bet. As I mentioned previously on posts, when I first started handling plastics I spent as much time picking them up from the floor as I did shuffling them. If you can visualize a monkey trying to get a grip on a greased basketball, then you know what I looked like.

Quote:
Okay. Now a few words about the best plastics in my very humble opinion. By the way, note that plastics with no white border (all over back design) exist. I would even say that you have more choice than with paper cards!


Oh c'mon, Arnold. Humble??? Did you say "humble?" Be serious!! That might be the understatement of the century. Smile

I am holding a deck of Copag, poker size cards with an all over design as I write this so certainly all over designs exist with both plastics and paper. However, I have found that white borders are universal on bridge size plastic cards for poker in the US. All over designs that go to the edge of the card are more vulnerable that white border cards, are harder to distinguish between cards when face down on the layout and more confusing to look at from the backs. I personally don't like them.

Except for some big private games, video surveillance is universal in all professional casino games, including poker. Trying to deal seconds with the video camera looking down on a deck with white borders is not just a challenge; it is more like a death wish.

Even paper poker size cards for the casino table games are mostly white border cards nowadays.


Quote:
There is a deck called Bicycle Prestige which, according to me, offers probably the smoothest feel ever. But they don't last long.


Also cheaper to buy in my experience. I actually bought a two deck box of Prestige in my local drug store.

Bottom line: I think JoeyFX is going to have to buy some plastic decks now. Smile
AMcD
View Profile
Inner circle
stacking for food!
3107 Posts

Profile of AMcD
I forgot a short demo.

Here's one. Carta Mundi plastic. Veeeery hard cards, real coasters:

http://www.arnoldmcdonald.org/code/publi......=6200075
Tom Gagnon
View Profile
V.I.P.
255 Posts

Profile of Tom Gagnon
Rod the Hop preferred to work with plastic cards as it's easier to execute a Table Faro Shuffle with them.
tommy
View Profile
Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
15469 Posts

Profile of tommy
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
jfquackenbush
View Profile
Special user
Out here on the desert
621 Posts

Profile of jfquackenbush
Interesting to hear I'm not the only one who prefers plastics for a table faro. Any thoughts on what it is that makes it easier? My assumption is there's less friction along the edges than with a paper deck, but what do I know...
Mr. Quackenbush believes that there is no such thing as a good magic trick.
tommy
View Profile
Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
15469 Posts

Profile of tommy
Smoother edges help; if you buff the edges of either it is easier.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
AMcD
View Profile
Inner circle
stacking for food!
3107 Posts

Profile of AMcD
Yes less friction along the edges and, on average, I'd say the cut of the cards is smoother. I think that the weight of the cards matters as well. I mean, plastic cards are less inclined to bend, twist, etc. And, last point, I think it doesn't matter the way they have been cut (from top to bottom, blablabla), which is a different story with papers.

But Rod was doing old style Faros, like the one described in Maskelyne (1894). And with soft plastics like Kems, it's simply child's play. If you wanna do real table Faros, you're gonna be surprised with plastics. With some, it's easier, yep. With other brands... good luck!
tommy
View Profile
Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
15469 Posts

Profile of tommy
The WSOP are now using Copag, which most players are not happy about as they feel the old school old Kems ought to kept for the sake of history.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
MarcoLostSomething
View Profile
Regular user
144 Posts

Profile of MarcoLostSomething
Thank you AMcD for your post, it was very informative!
I got a question: you mentioned cards that are 100% plastics, but what about those that are "plastified" (like Aviator/Hoyle) ?
I was thinking about it also because some Modiano we have here in Italy feels more like Aviators, differently from some 100% PVC cards I've tried once.
For the manipulative part, I guess all I've left to do is try them out!

For the tabled faro, I was surprised when I managed to pull decent tabled faros without being able to get a normal in the hand faro with the same deck...
Maybe the stiffness of the cards makes the tabled interlace easier
jfquackenbush
View Profile
Special user
Out here on the desert
621 Posts

Profile of jfquackenbush
Marco, did you try the old flip the deck over trick with your in the hands faro? Mr. McDonald's comments notwithstanding, I've noticed that sometimes thicker plastic cards vary in the same way that paper cards do. Also, I've always thought that "plastic coated" was just marketing uptalk for paper cards, but again, could be wrong about that.
Mr. Quackenbush believes that there is no such thing as a good magic trick.
AMcD
View Profile
Inner circle
stacking for food!
3107 Posts

Profile of AMcD
Jason,

Yes, with some brands, plastic cards are not always perfect. But it's less important in my opinion (I'm talking about table Faros here) than with paper cards because, with plastics, because their weight, the fact they straighten back fast, the fact they keep the same shape and thickness whatever the way or who manipulate them, does facilitate that sleight a lot.

It's certainly not the case with Kems, but frankly, most of the time I run across Bicycle Prestige, Copags, etc., which come out of the box in absolutely perfect shape. Wonderful cut and very smooth.

About "plastic coated" cards, in the past they were simply called "plastic-coated paper". I'm afraid it's just paper or cardboard surrounded by "some" veeeeery thin plastic coat. It might add some elasticity to the cards or, more surely, allow them to last a bit longer, but it has little to do with real plastic (PVC, cellulose acetate, etc.) cards.

That was a Mr. McDonald's comment.
JFX
View Profile
Regular user
130 Posts

Profile of JFX
Thanks for the detailed post AMcD! Just ordered a pack of Copags.

I used Aviators a lot in the past and I think they are great for card flourishes as well as riffle stacking.
MarcoLostSomething
View Profile
Regular user
144 Posts

Profile of MarcoLostSomething
@AMcD:
Thanks, yes I saw very often Plastic Coated cards, they have paper on the inside and they are cheaper. That's why they are common too, but they surely don't last as long.

I'll have a look around and ask some friends, thanks everyone!
Cagliostro
View Profile
Inner circle
2291 Posts

Profile of Cagliostro
Here is an interesting observation.

For many years, especially when I was learning "moves," I always used good quality poker sized paper cards (Bees, Bicycles, Tally Ho, etc.). I also note that almost all demonstrators used poker sized paper cards when performing their demonstrations. I think the reason is it is easier to execute the moves they show with paper cards, something which I have found to be true.

When I finally started using plastics out of necessity, I initially found these cards to be awkward and annoyingly different than paper cards and not as easy to handle or manipulate.

Now that I have handled plastics for so long, usually bridge sized plastics, I find handling poker sized paper cards to be a little strange and not as desirable as they once were. Not that paper cards are not still great for learning and doing "moves," but I use them mostly for Gin Rummy (where we break open new decks at the start of the game) and in casino play. However, what is interesting is the plastics have now become in many instances more desirable than the paper cards to handle.

Go figure...
AMcD
View Profile
Inner circle
stacking for food!
3107 Posts

Profile of AMcD
Personally, I have almost never faced Bridge sized cards. Maybe when I was but veeeery young?

I don't use Poker sized cards because they are easier, but just because it's the standard here. Same for plastic decks. It's now 15 years easy that I haven't seen a deck of papers in a game. It would make no sense to practice with paper cards when you have to manipulate a plastic deck. So...
Expertmagician
View Profile
Inner circle
2392 Posts

Profile of Expertmagician
KEM cards are the worst... other than being expensive...they tend to curl over time, get sticky faster and feel terrible.
I do not know why anyone buys them except they may think that expensive means good.... It is not !

Copag are far better cards.

I like Copag Export and Copag Master best.....But, still prefer paper cards when push comes to shove !
Long Island,

New York
Cagliostro
View Profile
Inner circle
2291 Posts

Profile of Cagliostro
Quote:
On Dec 7, 2016, Expertmagician wrote:

KEM cards are the worst... other than being expensive...they tend to curl over time, get sticky faster and feel terrible.

I do not know why anyone buys them except they may think that expensive means good.... It is not !

Copag are far better cards...


I agree with Expertmagician's comments on this. Kem bridged sized cards were the standard in cards rooms in the US for many years, California, Nevada and so on. They are still very commonly used today.

I also prefer Copags over Kems and Copags are in fairly common use in the US. However, bridged sized plastics are still the standard in card rooms in the US and for The World Series of Poker. I don't know why that is but I have never seen poker sized plastics in professional card rooms and certainly not in Nevada or California and some of these games are HUGE. However, that may change once they find out that AMcD uses ONLY poker sized plastics. Smile

AMcD mentioned he used bridged sized cards when he was very young. That is interesting because it reminded me that when I was very young and learning to do card and magic tricks, bridged sized Aviator paper cards were in common use by magicians in the New York area. In fact, in Max Holden's and Louis Tannen's magic shops, those were the only cards sold and all the trick cards and trick decks at that time were Aviator bridged sized cards. I did not "graduate" to poker sized paper cards until I got involved with gambling and gambling moves and my hands got larger. Of course I worked with poker sized paper cards exclusively for casino games, but for poker it is only bridged sized plastics in the US. To use an old cliche, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" and no one messed with the Romans except perhaps some foolish Anglo Saxons and what did they know. Smile

I still have a bridged sized plastic deck made by Kem used in the World Series of Poker in Vegas (with their logo) and a very old Kem deck from my Gardena days with white flash. The white flash and the cards themselves have held up remarkably well but both decks have that ridiculous warp.

I do believe that Kem cards are tougher and hold up better than Copags though and the new Kems I have look pretty good.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Plastic is fantastic (a short view on plastic cards)! (3 Likes)
 Go to page 1~2 [Next]
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2018 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.3 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL