KEM / BICYCLE WSOP 2008 PLAYING CARDS REVIEW
United States Playing Card Co.
Gambler's General Store (www.gambersgeneralstore.com
Average Price: $15.00
Materials: Cellulose acetate playing cards
A very nice collector's setup, gift set or conversation piece for the WSOP fan;
Classic Bicycle standard-index cards with a handsome WSOP back design in excellent, like-new condition;
The cellulose acetate material is ideal to handle, deal and shuffle.
The $15 price for a boxed, two-deck setup
- No jokers, cut cards or bonus cards here. Just the 52 cards we all know;
These two-deck "tournament sets" of KEM / Bicycle playing cards were used at the 2008 World Series of Poker at the Rio in Las Vegas.
The cards are narrow (bridge size) standard index, cellulose acetate material, with a special version of the Bicycle "Rider Back" design featuring the logo of the World Series of Poker, including the "2008" and the commissioner's signature. Back colors are: one red; one blue.
The decks come in a sturdy black coated cardboard box (above) imprinted with a silver World Series of Poker logo. The box has two red manufacturer's seals from the U.S. Playing Card Company. After they were used in the tournament, the cards were re-stacked (in new deck order) in a cardboard divider inside each box. Some of the decks were sent for repackaging, where they were rewrapped in plastic and new outside seals were applied. Other decks were not repackaged. In a January 12 e-mail and phone call, the company assured us, "All the decks were used in the WSOP."
The cards are "bridge" (or narrow) size, 2 1/4 x 3 1/2 inches. The cards are KEM standard index, with no "poker peek" pips.
Cellulose acetate, a type of film, has the feel of sturdy plastic card. Each card is flexible and retains its shape well. The deck stacks slightly thicker than a deck of paper coated Bicycles, and is the same thickness as other KEMS. The cards can be a bit shiny in bright light, but are not hard to read.
General Appearance and Condition:
The setups I bought were rewrapped, and arrived in great condition. I found no missing or damaged cards, no misprints, errors or marks. All the cards were perfectly flat, with no bowed or misshapen cards. Other Chiptalk members have reported receiving the unwrapped cards in perfect condition.
The single security feature of the deck is its unique back design. I found no other security features, no microprinting or UV ink, and did not expect to.
Widely held as the "Holy Grail" of poker tournaments, the World Series of Poker has become synonymous with the game itself. Its logo can be found on a variety of goods, from hats to shot glasses. Dated, authentic WSOP playing cards, actually used in the annual Las Vegas tournament, have become collector's items in their own right.
Following the tournament, Gambler's General Store, the retail arm of the U.S. Playing Card Company, collected the cards and placed them in "new deck" order. Many of the boxes were sent for repackaging, where those decks got new plastic wrap and external seals. Some were sold without the new wrappers and seals.
The decks are sold at the company's retail store in Las Vegas, or online.
The 2007 decks had been sold out for weeks, despite some well-publicized problems with the decks themselves. Some of the 2007 decks bore a misspelling of the commissioner's name, and were pulled, while it is said the players disliked the angled positioning of the "poker peek" pips.
These 2008 playing cards have none of those problems. The cards are flawless and classic, with an "old school" layout that does not include the "poker peek" feature. The back design is a version of Bicycle's "Rider Back," customized with the WSOP logo -- perhaps the ultimate security feature for your home game.
The deck is a dream to handle, shuffle and deal. The cards can be a bit shiny under direct, bright light, but the artwork and colors are beautifully done. The cellulose acetate material is washable, flexible and sturdy. It has a textured feel that is not too slippery. The handsome WSOP box makes the setup a perfect gift for any card player.
These cards are firmly in the "collector" category. I personally may not break these out for everyday use, though you probably could. Meanwhile, these decks will no doubt be selling at auction for much more by the start of next year's WSOP, if there are any left.
If you're shopping for a deck for that Friday night nachos-and-beer game, you may want to stick with the old coated paper cards from the supermarket. But if you're in the market for authentic WSOP memorabilia, a treasured gift for that serious player (or yourself), or a conversation piece for your home game, you should move (quickly) on these, while they're still around.