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Old 12-24-2008
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KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

KEM / BICYCLE WSOP 2008 PLAYING CARDS REVIEW
by dennis63

Manufactuer: United States Playing Card Co.
Retailers: Gambler's General Store (www.gambersgeneralstore.com)
Average Price: $15.00
Materials: Cellulose acetate playing cards

Click the image to open in full size.

Pros:
  • 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
Cons:
  • 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.

General Description:
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.

Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.

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."


Size:


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.


Material:


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.

Click the image to open in full size.


Security Features:

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.


Reviewer's Comments:

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.
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

Gambler's General Store is still selling the WSOP 2008 KEM cards here www.gamblersgeneralstore.com . They're available both online and in their B&M retail store. Maybe just change the retailer info and pricing (much cheaper now @ $15 per setup) in the article and publish. I can state first hand that these are terrific cards, the best USPC KEMs yet in my opinion. They shuffle and slide beautifully and the graphics are excellent. Publishing now and enabling fellow CTers to take advantage of an excellent price would benefit the community.
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

Jamby --

I agree. The sets being sold by Gambler's General Store are sealed, and were made for the WSOP but not opened and used. GGS is an arm of the US Playing Card Company.

I got charged $19.77 per setup. When I contacted GGS, they promised to send me a free setup to make up for the $30 overcharge on the six sets I bought. I haven't received it yet.
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: Sealed KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

Site administrators:

Please hold Monday, 01-12. I wanted to verify that GGS is selling the cards at this price. I was unable to buy them at this price, and have since heard from another customer who could not add them to his cart at that price.

Thanks -- dennis
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: Sealed KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

FYI - I bought two setups this past week while in Las Vegas. They have many, many setups.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dennis63 View Post
Site administrators:

Please hold Monday, 01-12. I wanted to verify that GGS is selling the cards at this price.
They are not sealed setups, they are used with no jokers, etc. The web site has them listed for $15 each, but in the B&M store they are $19.77 each with 2 going for $30 or $15 each. Yes, GGS is owned by the USPC now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dennis63 View Post
Jamby --

I agree. The sets being sold by Gambler's General Store are sealed, and were made for the WSOP but not opened and used. GGS is an arm of the US Playing Card Company.

I got charged $19.77 per setup.
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: Sealed KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

I'm confused. I got my six setups, and they still have the red seals, intact, on each box. Were they opened, used, and re-sealed by GGS?
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: Sealed KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

Well, sealed or not, this is great price, assuming they are all first quality set-ups. I just bought two set-ups and can confirm they are $15 each whether you buy 1 or 2. Shiping was $8, or $8-something, whether it was one set-up or two. Maybe a little steep there but no big deal.

Thanks for the review and the heads-up. Can't wait to get the cards!
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: Sealed KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

The seals are broken on the two setups that I purchased and they both contain the certificate of authenticity saying they were used in the 2008 WSOP, just as stated on the GGS listing page. All decks have the standard 52 cards with no jokers, etc.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dennis63 View Post
I'm confused. I got my six setups, and they still have the red seals, intact, on each box. Were they opened, used, and re-sealed by GGS?
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Old 01-11-2009
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Re: Sealed KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

Hey Paul, those that I purchased last week are definitely 1st quality and unsealed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by omar View Post
Well, sealed or not, this is great price, assuming they are all first quality set-ups.
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Old 01-12-2009
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Re: Sealed KEM / Bicycle WSOP 2008 Playing Cards Review by dennis63

OK. I just opened one of my boxes, and the decks are sealed in cellophane, like all new KEMS. I have no certificate of authenticity, but also no jokers.

I'll check with USPCC before proceeding.
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