The Redneck Poker Card Database

Dix

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When I get bored some in these parts can get nervous. Not so much for their own safety... but mine.

They know I'm likely to dream up something to do. They also know it's likely to involve some form of "redneck engineering" that usually results in some amount of blood loss. Again... usually, my own.

I'm also something of a stickler for details. Technical details. I have an aversion to the word "subjective".

"Screw subjective, let's test it."

And that folks, is the usual born-on date of another, usually somewhat sketchy, adventure. You know the old redneck joke punchline of, "hold my beer & watch this"? Yea, it's usually something like that.

At any rate, I've grown tired of all the usual and customary card reviews/recommendations where there really isn't any objective comparison other than "these are stiffer/thicker/heavier/etc/etc/etc than those".

The root of this little project was in answer to a question comparing 3 specific decks. I happened to be in the shop within spitting distance of dial calipers & a gram scale at the time, & also happen to own all 3 decks. So I got specific with regard to thickness, weight, base material & relative flexibility.

If you're curious: https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/ordering-links.16572/page-10#post-958536

Then I got thinking, (yea, here it comes) why does "flex" have to be so subjective? That should be something that can easily be measured. Why shouldn't anyone who thinks they may want to try a specific brand/version of cards not be able to look up a list & see how they stack up against something he already has? Sure, you may know how Copags feel, & you see some else talk about how soft Gemacos feel. But are they softer or stiffer than Copags? & by how much really?

Over on YouTube, @Hobbyphilic has a few videos showing the relative amount of "flex" certain cards yield by suspending the card from each end and placing poker chips in the middle. OK in concept, but how about something that can be put in numbers? Or, from the thought process of Robert Heinlein's, "Notebooks of Lazarus Long"...
What are the facts? Again and again and again - what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” -- what are the facts, and to how many decimal places?

Before this post turns into its own novel, Here's what ended up falling out of the multiple synaptic misfires that rattled around inside my cranium.
  • The card should be anchored on one end by as little real estate as practically possible.
  • A given weight should be attached to the other end. Again, not too far inward toward the anchored end so as to allow as much of the card to flex as possible.
  • This would allow the relative "flex" of the card to be measured in degrees by a simple protractor.
  • The process should be repeatable with as close to zero margin for error as practical.

Ok, so there's the theory. All I needed was a way to pull that off. In scavenging the shop for stuff to concoct such a contraption, a scrap piece of 4x4, a couple short lengths of 1/2" & 1" aluminum angle stock, & a little scrap 25ga. aluminum sheet became the raw materials for the weapons making process. A quick trip to the printer, a couple Band-Aids as a preemptive strike, & pit stop at the refrigerator for fuel enough for a one beer job, and I was ready for action.

The Shop Supervisor (AKA: The Cat) throws me this "Oh God, here we go again" look & leaps from the benchtop to the top of a nearby tool cabinet. Seems even the animals know when to head for the safety of higher ground in this joint.

After surprisingly minimal blood loss, the gadget was mostly done. I just needed something to anchor the card in it. A little more rummaging around & I found a piece of 3/8" keystock would be perfect. Problem was, the only piece I had was a length I didn't want to cut, as it was presently the perfect length to use as a snowmobile clutch alignment tool. Well crap, this means we're about to blow right past the current budget of zero & one beer time limit. A trip to the local hardware store is in order.

With the anchor material procured, the final step actually became the most time consuming. The weight for the free end of the card. The problem became finding something of the correct weight and would only grip the last 1/2" or less of the card without any permanent damage. All the various clips I had were too heavy. Once you get past about 25 degrees or so the weight starts pulling on the length of the card as much as it's flexing it. But, it has to be heavy enough to yield some meaningful result. As in, even the stiffest card should flex at least 10 degrees or thereabouts.

After about an hour of complete & utter trial & error failure, it was one of those moments when you realize exactly how much of a dumb*ss you can be. The solution had been staring me in the face since the beginning of this project, if I'd been paying enough attention to notice it. Right there at the end of the bench was one of those little 6" pocket-clip machinist's rulers. Presto, problem solved. Well... almost. I had to take a trip out to the race car trailer & steal the clip off the one in the tool cabinet out there so it would clip to both sides & balance the weight across the card.

plan.jpg


test_jig.jpg

Oddly enough, the weight is 9-1/2 grams... About the weight of a poker chip.

Enough useless drivel already, what are the results? A trip to the card stash & bunch of testing later generated this "Playing Card Database". The flex testing was all done with unused cards so as not to skew the results. That was actually easy, as I never use the jokers for anything, but never throw them away.

Listed from softest to stiffest...


Code:
                                                       Finish    
                      Weight    Thick   Flex   Mat    Face/Back    
----------------------------------------------------------------
Modiano Texas Poker   2.32g    .0115"    20    Cel    Linen/Linen    
Cartamundi Classic    2.10g    .0105"    20    PVC    Smooth/Gloss
Desjgn (Old-Modiano)  2.43g    .0120"    19    Cel    Linen/Linen
Kem                   2.40g    .0130"    19    Cel    Linen/Linen
Gemaco                2.35g    .0125"    19    Prop   Matte/Matte
Copag                 2.50g    .0115"    19    PVC    Smooth/Smooth
Ace Authentic         2.32g    .0115"    17.5  PVC    Smooth/Gloss
Modiano Platinum      2.55g    .0130"    17    Cel    Linen/Linen
Marion Pro            2.42g    .0125"    17    PVC    Matte/Smooth
Ritz/Royal            2.27g    .0115"    17    PVC    Gloss/Gloss
Da Vinci              2.58g    .0125"    16    Cel    Linen/Linen
Piatnik               2.56g    .0125"    16    Cel    Linen/Linen
NTP                   2.61g    .0125"    16    PVC    Matte/Matte
Bird 888              2.40g    .0110"    16    PVC    Smooth/Smooth
Dal Negro Texas Poker 2.68g    .0130"    15    PVC    Matte/Matte
Bicycle Prestige      2.54g    .0125"    15    Prop   Linen/Linen
Fournier 2818         2.56g    .0125"    15    PVC    Linen/Linen
Slowplay              2.47g    .0120"    14.5  PVC    Smooth/Smooth
Guild                 2.64g    .0130"    14    Cel    Linen/Linen
Desjgn (New-DalNegro) 2.66g    .0130"    14    PVC    Coarse/Coarse
Bullets               2.56g    .0130"    13.5  PVC    Linen/Linen
Rungood               2.74g    .0125"    12.5  PVC    Smooth/Matte
Faded Spade 2.0       2.61g    .0140"    12    PVC    Grainy/Grainy
CLM Texas Hold'Em     2.55g    .0135"    11    PVC    Gloss/Coarse

AVG. CARD WEIGHT:
Poker Size Cards. Full deck of 52 cards weighed on a gram scale & result divided by 52.
THICKNESS: Self-explanatory
FLEX: As measured in degrees on the Flex-O-Meter of Doom
  • 20 = Soft
  • 17 = Medium Soft
  • 14 = Medium
  • 11 = Stiff

MATERIAL:
  • PVC = Polyvinyl Chloride - The stuff your toilet plumbing is made of.
  • CEL = Cellulose Acetate - The stuff cigarette filters are made of.
  • PROP = "Proprietary" - Bicycle calls theirs "Duraflex". I call it Bovine Excrement. (BULLSH*T FLAG ALERT - See Below)

FINISH: OK, so this part can be slightly subjective. But, what the hell...
  • GLOSS: Shiny, & usually very slippery. But they are usually cheap.
  • SMOOTH: Flat finish with no real apparent texture
  • MATTE: Another flat finish, but with a slight amount of perceptible texture.
  • LINEN: A texture you can actually start to feel. Most common finish amongst more expensive decks.
  • GRAINY: Pronounced texture. Feels kind of like the surface of a fine whetstone.
  • COARSE: A surface so textured it's the 1st thing you notice. Stevie Wonder could immediately pick one out of a pile amongst any other finish on the list. Unique to DalNegro's pricier decks it seems. If I had to describe it, imagine if you clear-coated a piece of 800 grit sandpaper & you'll get the idea.

It was no surprise that my favorite decks came out on the soft end of the scale. The old Desjgns & Kems. I deal the final table a lot. I'm old, & my hands don't work as well as they did 20 or more years ago. The softer the better in my book. If Modiano weren't a bunch of snakes & weasels, & their spades didn't look like they needed Jenny Craig, I'd be all over their Texas Poker decks.

If you run multi-table tourneys & want something decent that won't have you contemplating bank robbery or at least knocking off the local liquor store or 7-11, take a look at Marion Pro. They can be found for only about a buck or two more than the usual cheap Cartamundi/Ace/Ritz/Royal lot & have a finish that's actually tolerable. Slowplay aren't too bad either & are currently on Amazon for 13 bucks a set. If you buy 2 sets for the free shipping that's $6.50 a deck.

UPDATE: Cheapskate Card Shootout Review on Page 2 - https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/the-redneck-poker-card-database.52229/post-1010738

What did come as something of a surprise was the new Desjgns. I knew they felt a little stiffer than the old Modiano stock cards. But never would have guessed they were closer to Bullets than Bikes. Also, I thought DalNegro produced acetate cards... seems not. No way that's the case being that stiff.

And, speaking of Bicycle....

bs_flag.jpg

Scroll up & take a gander at Bicycle Prestige & Fournier 2818. Notice something?

Yup, they're identical. 0.02 grams is the difference in the amount of ink used on the backs.

Truth in advertising my *ss. Seems the much trumpeted "Duraflex" is nothing more than a crappy translation for Spanish toilet plumbing.

PVC, regardless of it's native language, is still PVC. It isn't worth more just because it took a relaxing cruise across the Atlantic.


NOTICE: No Chinese restaurant jokes were told during the testing of these cards.
 
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BirdCage

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Outstanding work! The only suggested tweak that I have is that adding links (or pics) of the exact cards tested would be helpful as all the manufacturers offer many versions of cards (and they may even change over time).

I completely agree that "soft" cards, say 18+ degrees of flex, ultimately feel better for play where shuffling is frequent and/or over long periods of time, i.e., poker!

I'd also suggest there is another category that could be used, but perhaps not easily measured -- perceived quality. While I'd rather shuffle Copags or Cartamundi's all night, Modiano Platinum's and Dal Negro's always seem like higher quality cards to me. Their stiffness/thickness, finish, heft, designs, etc. make me perceive them as superior.

All very interesting. Thank you.

P.S. Perhaps you'd be open to having PCF members mail you Jokers from decks that you haven't tested yet to incorporate into the database? I have a few for you myself.
 
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surfik

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That is great, makes lots of threads about plastic cards useless
 
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danopoker

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Man, this is great. I was just starting to wish there was a summary of the various plastic decks available. This is more than I bargained for!

I assume the KEMs tested were modern ones, not pre-USPCC?
 
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FordPickup92

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@Ben8257 this is interesting.
I quite enjoyed the commentary as well as the test results that followed. Nice work sir!
 
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Dix

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Thanks all.... let's see how much of that I can address/confess to....

Outstanding work! The only suggested tweak that I have is that adding links (or pics) of the exact cards tested would be helpful as all the manufacturers offer many versions of cards (and they may even change over time).
Tried to note that where I believe it matters. Let me know if I've screwed up on any brands. (not out of the question)

For example: As I know it, a Copag, is a Copag, is a Copag... the only difference between say a 1546, a Unique, etc, are the back designs. Ditto Kem I believe.

While outfits like Dal Negro & Modiano have a definite difference between their more expensive decks vs the cheaper "Texas Poker" lines.

I'd also suggest there is another category that could be used, but perhaps not easily measured -- perceived quality. While I'd rather shuffle Copags or Cartamundi's all night, Modiano Platinum's and Dal Negro's always seem like higher quality cards to me. Their stiffness/thickness, finish, heft, designs, etc. make me perceive them as superior.
IMO for 99.999% of people that's where the "FINISH" category would likely play. Obviously "Glossy" & "Smooth" feel cheap (& usually are), while "Linen" & "Textured" are going to be on the other end of that scale for most people.

P.S. Perhaps you'd be open to having PCF members mail you Jokers from decks that you haven't tested yet to incorporate into the database? I have a few for you myself.
Appreciate the offer, but having just a joker wouldn't help with the "Average Weight" category. Weighing a single card can be deceiving, as the amount of ink between a face card and a deuce (as well as normal tolerances) can amount to a tenth of a gram or better . Weighing a full deck & dividing by 52 keeps things more consistent.

If there's a popular Brand/Version missing I'm not opposed to buying a deck. My wife just rolls her eyes on her way back from the mailbox at this point. By now she probably thinks Jason is evil, but hasn't made a Desjgn dartboard..... yet. :D

Need the Faded Spade cards but otherwise pretty interesting.
Noted.... Stay Tuned.

Took some digging, but found Piatniks too... just need to get 'em across the Atlantic.

I assume the KEMs tested were modern ones, not pre-USPCC?
You would be correct with that assumption. In fact, that was a pretty recently purchased deck. Less than a year old.

I quite enjoyed the commentary as well as the test results that followed. Nice work sir!
Thanks. A little glimpse into my somewhat more than slightly warped world. :D

Does it work for bridge cards?
Don't see why not. Bridge size cards would naturally be a little lighter & may be slightly more flexible as a group, but the comparisons would still be relevant.
 
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JMC9389

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Awesome work. These are the two things that surprised me:

-The Kem stock being thicker than half of the other cards on this list

-The Old Desjgn cards having that much of a difference in flex compared to the new textured Victorians.

I honestly didn't think there was much of a difference in terms of the flex of the old and new Victorians. I do feel vindicated now seeing that the Dal Negro card stocks are heavier than their other counterparts!

Can you do the same tests and measurements for Faded Spade one day? Those cards may break your flex-o-meter of doom!

Well done!
 

Josh Kifer

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Quality Content right here....
 
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Dix

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-The Kem stock being thicker than half of the other cards on this list
Yet, they are more flexible than most as well. Most logical conclusion I can generate is that the base stock may be a tad thinner than others with the finish coating laid on thicker, thus accounting for the overall thickness yet soft flex.

The texture of any card is the result of a finish coating applied to the base stock. That coating will have a certain thickness to it.

I honestly didn't think there was much of a difference in terms of the flex of the old and new Victorians. I do feel vindicated now seeing that the Dal Negro card stocks are heavier than their other counterparts!
The new Desjgns surprised me as well. I knew they were stiffer, but kind of felt they were pretty close to Bike Prestige. When they came out closer to Bullets I actually broke out all 3 & started riffling. Just to be sure I wasn't seeing things and/or going insane. (both are genuine possibilities)

The meter was right.... my memory was wrong... go figure. :D

Can you do the same tests and measurements for Faded Spade one day? Those cards may break your flex-o-meter of doom!
As noted above, I have a v2.0 deck on the way... stay tuned.

If anyone has (or knows of) a deck of unwanted v1.0 Faded Spades that might be a semi-interesting comparison. Would want a full deck with unused jokers. The rest of the deck can be used, but as long as it has at least one unused joker it'll work. I'll even pay shipping.

By the way you have Beautiful Mind....
Opinions vary... there have been other words used to describe how my mind works... but thanks. :D

Quality Content right here....
& didn't require stitches.... that was the real bonus.
 

Mongoose

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Gotta day, I’ve never seen this type of break down in rating cards. It’s really interesting to see the comparisons. Awesome work!
 
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Phyffe

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My memory more or less bears out the results based on my evenings spent shuffling a lot of those cards.

When you get to the Ices I think they will be around the Bullets or even worse.

Still, there is one aspect of card design than isn't covered in this great chart because it's kind of subjective, but it's of eminent importance if you spend the evening shuffling -

Card Edge Texture - some cards tend to give you paper cuts when you shuffle them, and its not necessarily due to their thinness, as Kems for example did not do that at all, I think it has to do with PVC decks and how some companies cut their cards. I certainly don't feel those on acetates.
 
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Dix

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Card Edge Texture - some cards tend to give you paper cuts when you shuffle them, and its not necessarily due to their thinness, as Kems for example did not do that at all, I think it has to do with PVC decks and how some companies cut their cards. I certainly don't feel those on acetates.

Very likely.

PVC is a harder material than CA. So, depending on how they're cut and/or unless there's something done during the finishing process to address it, a PVC card is going to have something of a sharper edge to it until they get a bit of wear to them.

Being harder also makes them somewhat more brittle. Which explains your experience with the cracked Copag.
 

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My memory more or less bears out the results based on my evenings spent shuffling a lot of those cards.

When you get to the Ices I think they will be around the Bullets or even worse.

Still, there is one aspect of card design than isn't covered in this great chart because it's kind of subjective, but it's of eminent importance if you spend the evening shuffling -

Card Edge Texture - some cards tend to give you paper cuts when you shuffle them, and its not necessarily due to their thinness, as Kems for example did not do that at all, I think it has to do with PVC decks and how some companies cut their cards. I certainly don't feel those on acetates.
Paper cuts? Never experienced this.
 

Dix

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OK.... the Faded Spade 2.0s came in.

For the sake of you that are fans of 'em, I'll try to be uncharacteristically diplomatic & say.... I'm not going to be a fan, & other than the looks, don't get the hype.

Granted, the faces are unique & cool. Even better though IMO is the font used for the pips. Very unique, very bold, & in my book, flat out awesome. I really wish I could love these cards. Seriously, if I had to rate decks on just looks, they'd win.... no contest.

But......

For the love of all that's holy, how do you guys deal with these things?

I thought Bullets were stiff. Well, OK, Bullets ARE stiff. & I know, I'm pushing 60, there is that. But... d*mn!

I think I'd rather spend a day opening pickle jars, it'd be easier than trying to do the corner riffle on these things all night.

& if that wasn't bad enough, trying to deal 'em out one at a time is a more frustrating process than trying to get through to a human on a customer service call.

These things seem attracted to each other like they have their own gravity fields.

Which is something I really don't get. The new Dal Negro stock Desjgns have a more coarse texture, yet I only have to catch myself from pitching 2 cards once in a while. These come off the deck 2, and sometimes 3, at a time with regularity.

The finish forced me to come up with a new category.... I'm calling it "grainy".

In other news, they are also the thickest cards on the list. Coming in at a beefy .0140". Weight is also up there at an average of 2.61 grams. Trailing only Dal Negro in that department.
 
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Dix

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NTP - These are basically a Dal Negro Texas Poker without the Italian fat spade syndrome.

Another in the line of a little stiff for my taste, but they wouldn't put me on tilt either.

So they managed to keep the spades away from the all you can eat pasta bar. Cool. But then the clubs look like they were locked in the basement & fed nothing but bread & water for a month.

Seriously, the clubs look like the Ukrainians after Stalin got through with 'em.

NTP.JPG

So, if you ever wanted to give something else by Dal Negro a shot, but you're not a fan of round top spades, and you don't mind braving the waters of having some no-life meddling social justice warrior ignoramus accuse you of club abuse, These have your name written all over 'em.
 

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NTP - These are basically a Dal Negro Texas Poker without the Italian fat spade syndrome.

Another in the line of a little stiff for my taste, but they wouldn't put me on tilt either.

So they managed to keep the spades away from the all you can eat pasta bar. Cool. But then the clubs look like they were locked in the basement & fed nothing but bread & water for a month.

Seriously, the clubs look like the Ukrainians after Stalin got through with 'em.


So, if you ever wanted to give something else by Dal Negro a shot, but you're not a fan of round top spades, and you don't mind braving the waters of having some no-life meddling social justice warrior ignoramus accuse you of club abuse, These have your name written all over 'em.
Are we talking about the NTP Blackjacks?
 

Dix

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Yep... because I like poker size jumbo index, & because poker size is a must to keep things consistent. But, it doesn't matter.

Like Copag, the only difference in any other "version" of NTP is size/back/pip design. The card stock is the same for 'em all.

At least as far as I can find.
 
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Phyffe

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I'm expecting my Desjgns any day now. I am SO much hoping that I like them given that my current favorites are the Modiano PAs and I want fit in ;)

But with the flex rating so darn near the bottom I'm a little apprehensive.
 

Dix

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Everyone has different preferences & "tolerance" (if you will) for stiffness.

For me personally, I actually dislike the texture of the Dal Negro stock decks more than the stiffness. But, that's a personal thing.

Also, based on what I'm feeling flex-wise, the current "flex scale" isn't what I would consider linear. Maybe I should explain that to alleviate your anxiety a bit....

We currently have a "scale" that ranges from 12 to 20. And. let's call 12 "stiff", & 20 "soft". Based on simple linear math, that would put "medium" at 16, right?

Well.... not quite.

If I had to call a number "medium" based on the list as it currently sits, I'd put that number at 14 or maybe 14.5.

In other words, the difference between Faded Spade(12) & Fournier(15) is actually greater than the difference between Fournier & Kem(19). even though the numerical difference of the former is only 3 as opposed to a difference of 4.

Also, how you shuffle, & how much of it, matters as well.

If you shuffle & deal every hand, you're more likely to notice a difference between Kem & Modiano Platinum than someone who only shuffles once every 10 hands.

Also, doing the "corner riffle" will magnify the difference in flex more than the common "bridge" riffle, as you're flexing much less real estate.
 

Dix

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It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma;

MV5BMTU3NjkxOTE0MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwOTkyMzI2._V1_UY317_CR10,0,214,317_AL_.jpg

GUILD - After these being mentioned by @JMC9389 over in the "Best Deck Of Plastics" topic... https://www.pokerchipforum.com/threads/best-deck-of-plastics.50819/post-996445 ... I ordered a set out of curiosity.

So... here's the setup...

They're made by Liberty Card Playing Co. in Texas in the USA. Incidentally, they're the same company that made Dennis' Key West Playing Cards. The major difference between Dennis' and these Guild cards, however, is that the Guilds are apparently made from cellulose acetate. When I felt and shuffled them, it could have fooled me though! They're probably actually my favorite cellulose acetate decks that I own because they don't flex as much as other cellulose acetate cards, like Kem's do, for example.

Do you have pictures of the Guild cards? I thought I read they were made by Modiano? Or they had the same Modiano artwork.

I can post pics a little later on, but I think the confusion with these comes from them using Modiano plastic card boxes to package and store their cards. I read somewhere a while back (don't know where) that buying the Modiano branded plastic boxes was cheaper when bought in bulk than manufacturing their own or buying them elsewhere. I'm rather certain these cards are a USA product and not made by Modiano, but I'll let others chime in here if they know anything.

Modiano branded plastic box. Same box you get your Modiano Platinum set in.... Check.
Italian "Fat Spade".... Check
Cellulose Acetate.... Check
Same Numbering/Lettering Font... Check
Same Face Card Artwork.... Check

Also the finish is very, very, Modiano-ish.

Put a numbered black card face up in front of you, and you literally can't tell the difference, save for one minor detail that you'd have to be looking for to notice. (I'll get to that in a minute)

So yea, I can see where one would think they are actually made by Modiano. Sure as h*ll looks like it on the surface. That's a lot of incriminating evidence. And, it's entirely possible they may still be at least partly guilty of the creation of this deck. However, here's the differences....

Most obvious is the red ink. Modiano (and the old Modiano-stock Desjgn) uses the dark "security red", these don't. This is also apparent in the black suited face cards. The face card design is identical, but the red in the images is lighter & brighter.

Ok, so they used regular red, they were still made by Modiano, right?

Maybe.... couple more niggles....

If they were, it's the heaviest, thickest, & stiffest card stock I've ever seen in a Modiano deck.

Da Vinci are 2.56gr, .0125", & rate a 16 on our flex scale. These are 2.64gr, .0130", & a mere 14 for flex. I resorted to actually sniffing 'em to make sure they weren't PVC & the packaging wasn't lying. In fact, that now makes 'em the stiffest Acetate cards on the list.

And finally, no way these were cut by Modiano, even if they did print 'em. These have the sharpest corner radius of any deck I believe I've ever seen in a "premium" plastic card. Even the lowly Marion Pro has a slightly larger corner radius.

So, at minimum the boxes came from Modiano. At most, they were printed in Italy, cut & packaged in Texas. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Pending further evidence coming to light, that's my story & I'm stickin' to it.
 
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