Plastic vs Paper Playing Cards

Four AcesAs the poker craze sweeps the nation, weekly home games are popping up everywhere.

What’s more, these home poker game have become quite sophisticated: custom poker tables have replaced the kitchen table, composite clay chips improve on nickels and dimes, and plastic playing cards mimic that casino feel.

If you are looking to elevate your weekly home game, using plastic playing cards is a good and relatively inexpensive way to start. Not only do plastic playing cards enhance the playing experience, they are actually more cost effective than using regular paper playing cards!

While paper cards do an adequate job, they are easily soiled by dirty fingers, can be creased or bent, and last for only a night or two.

Plastic cards, on the other hand, are much more durable, are easily cleaned, retain their shape better, and are harder to mark or crease.

Ranging from $4 to $12 per pack, plastic cards are not cheap. However, because they last much longer than paper cards, plastic cards actually cost less per game.

Why are plastic cards better?

Paper playing cards are available everywhere from toy stores to the corner grocer. Bicycle, Bee, Tally-ho and Aviator are some of the popular brands. They are coated with a thin plastic layer, and cost around $2.

Paper cards are usable for only one or two nights. You can play with them for weeks if you like that gritty backroom poker game feel, but for that casino touch, plastic cards are the way to go. Plastics are much more durable, remain flat longer and are washable.

Plastic cards hold their shape

Plastic cards are composed of plastics-like cellulose acetate or polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Because they’re 100% plastic, rather than plastic coated, these cards are much more durable than their paper cousins. They are harder to crease, bend or mark. In contrast, a player can easily mark a corner of paper cards to gain an edge over everyone else at the table.

Paper cards are infamous for not holding their shape — whether from a thousand shuffles (they start to “bow” upwards) or from players lifting up a corner to read their hole cards. Plastic cards, in comparison, are easier to bend (not as stiff as paper cards) and maintain their flatness better.

Plastic cards stay cleaner, longer

If your home game is like mine, then there is often a drink spillage incident during the course of the night. Unfortunately, paper cards must be discarded after they get wet.

On the other hand, a quick wipe of a towel and the plastic cards are good as new.

Even without any spilled drinks, plastic cards can be returned to their sealed box glory with some cold water and a damp sponge. Imagine playing every game with clean and shiny cards.

For convenience sake, paper playing cards can’t be beat. Need a deck? Just run to the nearest supermarket or ask your flight attendant for a deck. But if you want a cards that will last 2-3 years of weekly use, then you’re looking for a quality deck of plastic cards.