How to Choose the Perfect Deck of Playing Cards

Playing cards has been a traditional pastime for hundreds of years. However, many people don’t realize that over the past century or so, the design of playing cards has diversified. Players now have a wide variety of options when selecting the deck they use. It’s worth it to look into what’s out there instead of just settling on the first cheap pack of cards you see at the grocery store.

Since card games first became popular, playing cards have been printed on paper. Originally, this was nothing more than heavy paper stock, sometimes with the corners rounded to prevent damage. Around the turn of the twentieth century, manufacturers began applying plastic coatings to their cards to lengthen their life. The plastic also provides a slick surface, making them easier to shuffle and deal. To further enhance the feel of the cards, some manufacturers send them through a process to impress a linen finish into their surface.

Even with plastic coatings, paper cards still have several shortcomings due to their porous nature. A drink spill, of course, will totally ruin a deck of cards. Natural skin oils from players’ hands gradually leach into the cards over time, making them sticky and difficult to deal. Paper cards are easy to bend and tear, as well. Unscrupulous players can mark paper cards simply by pressing a fingernail into the surface in a particular location.

To solve the problems inherent to paper cards, manufacturers began offering cards printed on plastic stock. These cards are plastic through and through, with no cardstock core. Because of that, they are non-porous and washable. If someone spills a beverage on plastic cards, you can simply dry them off with a paper towel. You can easily wash sticky cards with soap and water.

The major downside to plastic cards is that they can cost significantly more than paper cards. However, the extra expense is justified by the long lifespan of plastic cards. Paper cards are usually the better option only if the cards are to be used once and discarded afterward.

Playing cards come in two standard sizes: poker size and bridge size. Poker-size cards are about 63 millimeters wide, while bridge-size cards are only 56 millimeters wide. Both sizes have the same length, 88 millimeters.

Which width is better for you depends largely on the game you’re playing. The narrower width of bridge-size cards makes them a better choice in games where players have to hold a lot of cards, like Bridge and Hearts. When it comes down to it, though, the choice of size is mostly personal preference. Some people find bridge-size cards easier to shuffle and deal. You can even find bridge-size cards in use in games of Texas hold’em, where players only have two cards in their hand!

Originally, playing cards didn’t have any text on them to identify the rank and suit of each card. Around the end of the nineteenth century, manufacturers began adding a label in the corner of each card to make it easier for players to identify cards when they’re held in a fan. This label is called the index.

Not all indices are made alike. Indices come in two major sizes. The smaller size is called standard index, which can be read comfortably from a player’s hand. The larger index size is called jumbo index, which, in most cases, is large enough to be read from across the table. Jumbo index cards are best for games where players have to look at cards from a distance, such as Texas hold’em. In games where players have to hold a lot of cards in their hands, standard-index cards work better, as players do not have to fan them as widely to see the contents of their hand.

There is one other index size, called magnum index. Magnum-index cards have indices that take up the vast majority of the card’s face, leaving little room for the other artwork you’d expect to find on a card. Magnum indices are really only useful for those with vision problems requiring large print. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to stick with standard or jumbo-index cards.

Now that you know about the different options available to you, all that’s left to do is to choose a deck! Experiment with the different material, size, and index options to find a combination that works well with what you’re playing and who you’re playing with. A well-chosen deck of cards can help make a good game night great.

How to Protect Playing Cards

Card games are very popular. In my case I enjoy playing bridge with friends. Many playing cards can be purchased relatively cheaply, but if you play cards a lot you might find yourself repeatedly purchasing new packs of cards.

Cheap cards might not break the bank to replace, but suppose someone has give you a nice, decorative, boxed set of cards. There are lots around, and these can cost anything from around $15 (£12). Still not a huge amount, but you wouldn’t want to keep paying to replace them and the gift might hold sentimental value as well.

You want to look after your cards properly so you can enjoy using them but give them the maximum life possible before having to replace them.

There are very simple ways of doing this.

First, make sure your hands are clean before handling the cards. Sticky children’s fingers (and sticky adult fingers) will quickly stop the cards from fanning out and make dealing and shuffling difficult. If you are a bridge player and are playing with friends, maybe hand round a packet of wet wipes after that all important break for tea and cakes.

Secondly, make sure you are careful when you place the cards back in their box at the end of a game. It only takes a few seconds to tap the cards gently back into place so they form a uniform stack with no stray cards poking out edges or corners. If you don’t do this and stuff an uneven deck of cards back in their box you will quickly damage the edges and corners, which again will make dealing and fanning the cards difficult.

Thirdly, try to keep your cards away from a damp atmosphere. Storing them in a damp cupboard, on a windowsill prone to condensation or in a damp cellar will cause them to warp and discolour, making them unplayable.

Fourthly, if cards do become sticky because sticky fingers handled them, try cleaning them gently with a damp cloth that has been wrung out. This will remove any stick residue from sweets or cakes.

Fifthly, something I’d not come across until I started researching this article, but I think I will be buying some. Fanning powder. Available for just a few pounds or dollars on a well known site named after a South American river. You apply a small amount of the power to the surface of the cards and this helps them to fan out and deal much more easily.

This will reduce rough handling if players are having difficulty with fanning out sticky cards. It will also help players with reduced dexterity by making it easier to sort and handle their cards.

I did see it suggested that a small amount of talcum powder might have a similar effect. I think I’m going to try that one, too.

Sixthly. Handle your cards with care when they are in their boxes. Throwing them in a cupboard, dropping them on the floor, or wedging them at an angle between other heavy objects will damage the box and put pressure on the cards, causing them to distort.

How To Play Crazy Eights

In truth, it is a popular card game where players try to shed or discard all their cards to win a round. The easiness of the game has spawned many variations with different names. In Germany, the game is called is Mau-Mau. In the Netherlands, it is Pesten. In Switzerland, it is Tschausepp. Regardless of the name, the standard way to play Crazy Eights is to use a 52-card deck for a game between two to five players. If there are more than five players, then another 52-card deck is added. Eight cards get dealt to each player and some cards remain in a center pile, so make sure enough cards are around for the full complement of cards in a starting hand. As stated, a dealer deals cards to each player in a circle until every player has eight cards. The remaining cards are placed face down in the center. When the top card gets turned face up to form a discard pile, that signals the start of the game. Starting with the player left of the dealer and continuing clockwise, players can discard by matching rank (numbers) or suit with the top card in the center pile. If a Jack of Hearts gets played, then any Heart card or any Jack can be placed on top it. The exception are the eights which are “wild” and can be played at any time. When someone plays an eight, he or she can decide which suit gets played next (regardless of what suit the eight which got discarded is).

If a player can’t discard a card, then he or she must draw from the center pile of face down cards until a card that can be played comes up. If the pile of face down cards get exhausted, then the game continues with the players simply passing if a card can’t be discarded. The game ends when a player has successfully gotten rid of all of his or her cards. The other time the game ends is when all the players can’t discard and there is no more draw pile, thus blocking the game. At that point, the scoring system of penalty points comes into play. Traditionally, an eight in the hand is worth 50 points, face cards are worth 10 points, and a spot card is worth its face value (example: a five-card is worth five points). Ironically, the ace card is treated as a one and is worth only one point.

Because of the straightforward rules, other variations have been formed and stipulations have been added to make things even more entertaining. One stipulation has a card, usually the ace, which gets played on the discard pile, causing the next player in the rotation to have his turn skipped. Another stipulation is when a card, sometimes the queen, forces the rotation to suddenly go in reverse. The player who laid down the reverse card goes again and play continues in the opposite rotation.