It goes without saying that cards are integral to the game of blackjack and any other card game, and although everyone has a deck of cheap paper cards lying around, few players, newcomers in particular, understand the importance of a good quality deck of cards. Paper cards (or card cards if you will) are cheap and readily available, but they damage easily and they won’t last for long. Cards made from high quality plastic are used in professional environments as these last longer, are easier to hold and are much easier to deal. Only when you have played with both kinds can you understand the massive difference between the two, and why the small difference in price is more than worth it.
But it’s not just about paper and plastics and there are other materials available. Whereas paper is for amateurs and those who prefer to keep things cheap and simple, and plastic is for magicians, card sharks and professionals, the other materials are for collectors and enthusiast. These cards can be made from wood, metals and more, and the prices can differ greatly.
Bibelot games, for instance, sell a deck of hardwood cards that have been sculpted and laser cut by specialized machines before being painted with the standard images and values of the cards themselves. These are yet to make it into the retail market, but after a successful campaign on Kickstarter it seems like just a matter of time before they do. The specialized card market is one that is growing year on year, as more enthusiasts look for stranger and more surreal ways to express their love of their favorite game or to impress their friends during home games.
One of the most popular choices when it comes to looking good and impressing others, is gold. You can buy anything from gold plated cards with a minimal amount of gold, to ones that have been coated in 18 and even 24 carat gold, depending on your budget. For as little as $15 you can get some gold plated playing cards but if you’re looking for something a little classier, then you’ll also be looking at a heftier price tag.
One of the most expensive decks out there retails for around $120 and is produced by Artisan. These beautiful decks come in fours, resting in an antique box that has been laser etched with a diamond design. As far as the big bucks is concerned diamonds are usually the way to go, but you will rarely find cards that have been covered in diamonds as this would be impractical. There may be those willing to make them, but whether there would be anyone willing to buy them is a different matter. There is a deck from Gillman and Co, however, that is aimed towards the more refined individual who enjoys designer products and wants to inject some luxury into their play, these have a silver edge and retail for around $50.
Although not the most lavish or the most expensive, one of the most aesthetically stunning deck of cards available is one known as the Ultimate Deck. These decks can be purchased from a number of retailers and generally cost around $30 each, which is money well spent. Each card is unique and beautifully designed in a gothic or classical style, making sure that both the front and the back of the card have been painstakingly detailed to give you something completed original. Each deck is different and no two cards are the same in those decks. There are 54 cards in total with the standard 52 alongside two jokers. They may not be the most practical as the emphasis on style sometimes makes it hard to see the value or the suit of the card, but as a collector’s item these decks are a must.
For something even more different, but just as beautiful, I Want One of Those have a deck of cards made from stainless steel. These stunning cards are each made from sheets of steel that are etched with fine patterns to show the standard faces of the cards. They may be a little heavy and are probably not ideal for those who like to shuffle fast or use sleight of hand, but they are durable. This deck costs in excess of $100 and although it’s not the prettiest deck you will come across, it is one of the most unique.
For something a little cheaper, you can pick up a deck of all black cards (where the numbers are etched in a shimmering silver color) or all silver cards. These tend to cost as little as $15 and can make a home game of blackjack or poker much more interesting. Again, the faces of the cards are not always easy to read, particularly in the case of the black cards, but they add something a little extra to a standard game of blackjack. You’re also sure to impress your friends when you pull out a shimmering deck of all-silver cards. Standard Bicycle decks are also cheap and are by far the best card that you can buy, these cost as little as $6 a pack and are the same cards used by poker rooms and casinos up and down the country. They are made from a high quality plastic material and come in a variety of styles and designs. The Bicycle Vintage collection is well worth a look and you can pick up a pack for around $5, and the Shadow Master deck, which retails for around $7, is also a well made and beautifully designed deck.