Poker is a very popular, all-American card game that combines gambling with strategy and other needed skills. Although you could get away with playing poker using a cheap deck of cards, it’s not something I recommend.
If you’re playing a game involving money, and the tools being used that can help you either win or lose money are the playing cards themselves, it would make sense to use a deck of cards of the highest quality. I know that not everyone agrees with me on this, but the truth is that the quality of cards you use matter.
If you’re using low-quality cards, people will notice. It can distract people from the game and take them out of the fun atmosphere you’re trying to create. Even if you’re just playing with your friends at your house, don’t you want them to feel like they’re really in a casino, even if it’s through something subtle like the feel of the cards in their hands?
A good way to think about this is to think about going out to eat. When you go eat at a nice restaurant, there’s a certain expectation for some of the smaller things that you need to do to make the experience enjoyable.
Most people would probably say that you should wear nice clothes at the very least. Have you ever gone to a really nice restaurant and seen someone wearing jeans and a tee shirt? Just seeing something that low quality can pull you out of the moment and make you feel like you’re not getting the experience you paid for.
The same concept applies when playing a “nice” card game. You don’t want to be handling a deck of cards that were purchased from the dollar store. This is why every casino under the sun uses some of the highest caliber of playing cards available at every poker table, black jack table, and or Texas Hold ’Em table.
If you decide to host a poker game, the brand of playing cards that you choose to invest in will say a lot about you and about how much you care about what you’re doing. It will show the level of respect that you have for the game and for the other players.
There are so many brands of cards out there, most of them worthy enough to be on this short list. For the sake of informing you, as well as giving you the best and most simple options, I am going to go over two of the best decks of cards that should be used for poker and everything that you should know about the brands.
1- Bee Playing Cards
Bee Playing Cards are a popular American playing card brand. Although you can find this particular brand of playing cards at WalMart, Walgreens, and a few other retail locations, it’s one of the most popular brands of playing cards that are used by casinos.
The very first company that manufactured Bee Playing Cards was a card manufacturer called Consolidated-Dougherty, with the first printing of Bees dating all the way back to 1892.
On the Ace of Spades, you will find the number 92, giving name to the deck typ: “92’s.” This is referencing the year that the cards were very first printed. Soon after they were first printed here in the United States, the United States Playing Card Company would take over as the sole manufacturer for this card brand.
The United States Playing Card Company has been around since the 1890s, and they are responsible for the printing of just about every single major playing card brand in the United States. If you have ever purchased a deck of cards from the store, it’s very likely that they were made by the United States Playing Card Company.
The first indicator is a blue or red seal that has to be opened before the cards can be taken out of the box. Be very careful when trying to open the seal. If you do it carelessly and too quickly, it won’t be hard to rip the card box.
Ripping the card box is incredibly frustrating and can cause dust to get inside the card box, making the cards dirty and more difficult to handle. There’s nothing worse than having a deck of cards that hasn’t been taken care of and is covered in dust. The cards stick together, the edges get black, and it doesn’t look too good for the other players at the poker table.
For casinos, another reason why the cards look and handle so nicely is that it subconsciously gives players a reason to stay at the table and keep playing. Compared to other popular decks of playing cards, Bees are typically a lot thicker as far as the card stock of the actual card, so the deck feels larger than other decks.
This makes each card in the deck able to achieve a high level of durability, making the deck popular amongst casinos nationwide. With a durable deck at the poker table, casinos don’t have to constantly be spending money replacing playing cards.
This is another great reason for you to invest in a deck of Bees for poker with friends.
Most Bee playing cards come with either a blue or red back. Casinos are able to customize the backs of the cards by adding a custom logo of the casino brand. Unlike the popular brand of playing cards known as Bicycle, a brand that is also made by the United States Playing Card Company and often compared to Bee, Bee playing cards don’t have white borders.
Most casino playing cards are going to be this way considering that so many casinos are using the Bee brand as the sole playing card at the poker tables. Bee playing cards handle exceptionally well. They are slippery out of the box, as are most nice decks of playing cards, but that quickly goes away after you’ve played with the cards for a while and have handled them a bit. It’s always a good idea to shuffle a new deck of cards a bunch of times to wear off some of that slipperiness.
A fun fact about Bee playing cards—if you ever watch a Hong Kong movie and it features a scene with a person using cards, it’s almost always a deck of Bees!
Tally Ho Playing Cards
I personally have tons of experience with playing cards, and I can boldly say with the utmost confidence that Tally Ho playing cards are in a league of their own. I have never had a deck of cards that I can use every day, and 10 years later they handle the same way they did out of the box.
They are also the most beautiful deck of cards that I have ever handled, and I am not alone in this opinion.
Many card handlers and professional poker players will say that there just is not a deck of cards out there that is anything like Tally Ho’s. The deck design is remarkable. From first glance, they seem comparable to a deck of Bicycle playing cards. With the blue or red backs, white borders around the cards, and a similar face card design (Jack, Queen, King, or Ace), they can come off as similar at first glance, but these cards are definitely a major upgrade from Bicycle.
Tally Ho cards have a finish on the cards that is unique to this brand only. Most cards that the United States Play Card Company manufactures have what’s known as an air cushion finish. It makes for a deck of cards that spreads nicely, especially when the cards are taken care of.
Tally Ho cards have what’s called Linoid finish, making them a popular deck of cards for many magicians and poker players around the world. Tally Ho has two different designs on the back of the cards that are hard to not fall in love with. There is the “fan” back design as well as the “circle” back design.
Tally Ho was originally a product of Andrew Dougherty, one of the earliest American card manufacturers. They were introduced to the United States in 1885, the same exact year that the popular brand Bicycle was introduced.
The United States Playing Card Company bought A. Dougherty in 1907, bringing the elite brand, Tally Ho, into its wide array of brands that the company prints and manufacturers.
Do you have other brands of playing cards that you think stand out above the rest for poker? Let me know your suggestions in the comment section below!