Welcome to the ChipTalk Community

Want to join the rest of the ChipTalk members? It is free to sign up today and unlock new features, discussions, and reduce the advertising.

Sign Up

Dal Negro Vs. Copag Review

Discussion in 'Poker Gear Reviews' started by Wylecoyo, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Wylecoyo

    Wylecoyo Super Moderator
    Staff Member Lifetime Supporter

    Jun 3, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Starboard Bridge-Wing
    Manufacturer:Dal Negro and Copag
    Retailer(s): HoldemPokerChips, Cara Gails, and Full House Gaming and Hobby
    Average Price: Dal Negro Royal: $16.99 (two individual decks ordered simultaneously); Copag's: $14.99 (one two-deck set)
    Material:100% PVC Plastic

    Member Review by: wylecoyo
    Having become fully addicted to poker and poker chips over the last few years, it must only have been natural to also become infatuated with playing cards, specifically plastic playing cards which offer a much more durable and cost effective alternative to their traditional plastic coated paper brethren. Copag cards seem to have become the new industry standard, replacing Kem cards due to their more reasonable cost, wider availability during the Kem/USPC changeover, and their involvement in many major tournaments, especially the most recent World Series of Poker. Dal Negro cards are another popular alternative to Kem cards, although they are not as widely recognized or available in comparison to Copag.

    I personally love all of my plastic cards, but each manufacturer exhibits their own strengths and weaknesses in comparison with each other which may render them less than optimal for some users. In an attempt to provide an informed basis for card selection, this review will offer a detailed comparison between these two brands.

    All three of my Copag sets cost $14.99; both 1546 designs were purchased from Holdem Poker Chips.com while my Master design was purchased from Discount Casino Gear. My Dal Negro Royal set was $16.99 and was also purchased from Holdem Poker Chips.​
    Dal Negro's: These cards have a firmer, more textured, and generally more substantial feel as compared to my Copag's. Although I have not actually weighed any of the individual decks, they seem to have extremely similar, if not identical, weights. Overall, I really like the textured feel Dal Negro cards. Dal Negro's are the stiffer of the two cards and I find them easier to shuffle; however, I have encountered some owners/users who found this to be detrimental in terms of shuffling because they were harder to bend than a set of Copag's.

    Copag's: These cards feel very nice, but are smooth and somewhat slippery to the touch. I wouldn't actually call them "flimsy" but they are definitely more flexible than Dal Negro's. This flexibility and slipperiness of a set of Copag's may cause some minor problems with handling and many users in my games have specifically commented how these characteristics hamper their ability to maintain control of the deck during shuffling. I noticed this more when I first purchased them and, although I wouldn't necessarily say the slipperiness goes away with use (some owners claim that it does), I simply have grown accustomed to these characteristics and have no problems at all shuffling these cards. ​
    One of the most common criticisms of plastic cards in general is that they are slippery and exhibit a tendency for the uppermost cards in the deck to slide or travel when left unattended on the table. While neither my Dal Negro's nor any of my Copag's have proved to be an exception, the texturing on the Dal Negro's seems to minimize and greatly reduce this tendency. This problem can also generally be overcome by simply pressing down on the deck when placing it on a flat surface in order to press out the air in between the cards and create enough surface adhesion to prevent unintentional slippage between the uppermost cards.​
    The stiffer Dal Negro card body provides a deeper tone when shuffled while the more flexible Copag's tend to have a slightly higher tone. I happen to like the sound of a deck of cards being shuffled and I find both to be equally nice to listen to.​
    Looks are by far the most subjective characteristic of cards and, as with women, I have no problem identifying the finer qualities regardless of the brand or style in question.

    Dal Negro's: the overall appearance of these cards is very nice and their colors seem to be more saturated and darker than my Copag's. I really like the font and styling used in these decks and think they are the nicest and most distinct of any deck I have ever owned. Dal Negro offers their cards with a red "security" ink, which utilizes a much deeper, almost black tone of red on the card faces in order to impede players from reading an opponent's cards while they are being dealt (see pictures below). While this feature may have some utility as far as disguising the suit of a particular card, one major weakness in this system is that it really doesn't do anything to hide the rank of a card. I like the concept behind Dal Negro's darker red ink; however, it can make it quite difficult to distinguish the actual suit of a card from a distance - especially if overhead lighting leaves a glare on the cards. As to how much "security" this type of ink actually provides, I am mostly uncertain as I have never tried to mark or read cards as they are being dealt. I can tell you Dal Negro's combination of darker red inks and more rounded suit graphics will require you to look at the cards more closely in order to discern their actual suit - it is up to individual players to determine if they see this characteristic as a plus or a minus.

    Copag's: These cards are also very nice overall, but tend to have a much, much lighter, almost subdued printing with less saturation and overall density. All of the colors seem to be lighter and more complimentary in tone, making them somewhat easier to distinguish; however, they also seem to be much less dense and almost "lightly" printed. The white base tone of the card blank used by Copag is muddier than most other cards and gives an slightly dingy look to the overall card body.​
    These cards are all mass-produced and easily obtainable to anyone, so security and originality are somewhat questionable. I do not normally worry about security; however, I have several sets of plastic cards and simply randomly alternate which decks I use from game to game.

    As previously discussed, Dal Negro's feature a dark red security ink which may also give them an edge over Copag in this area, but individual users will have to determine how much value they place in this particular feature.​
    I have never had any problems whatsoever with any of my Dal Negro's or Copag's and, in terms of home game usage, I honestly don’t think this will ever be a concern for either brand as far as the cards themselves go. One major disappointment concerning my Dal Negro's is their lack of decent storage. Unlike Copag cards which come housed in a very substantial plastic storage box, Dal Negro's are only available in single cardboard boxes. While these boxes are made of plastic-coated cardboard which is heavier than that which a deck of paper Bee's or Bicycle's, I do not expect it will hold up very long under any type of regular usage. Copag's storage box is extremely nice and very durable. It even includes a removable tab on the center divider to prevent the two decks from commingling while in storage.​
    Reviewers Comments
    In terms of direct comparison, I find it almost impossible to determine a clear winner between these two brands of cards. I love them both and they each have a few characteristics I prefer over the other. For me, the perfect deck of cards would be a hybrid of these two brands. Copag clearly wins out in terms of price, storage, and availability while Dal Negro has a slight edge in terms of feel, appearance, and possibly security due to their more limited availability. It is not so much that Dal Negro's are "hard" to get, but they are not as widely known and are simply offered by fewer retailers.

    I must also give a special nod to Copag because they offer a card replacement program wherein if you ever lose or damage one of your cards you can buy a replacement for that particular card for a small fee rather than having to buy a completely new deck.

    In general, if you have never used plastic cards before you may find your first experience with them to be somewhat disconcerting. Some users find them difficult or challenging to shuffle or deal due to their apparent "flimsiness" or increased flexibility as compared to paper cards; however, these problems are normally short-lived and easily overcome through continued exposure and usage. I would estimate approximately 90% of players in my game have quickly converted and become devotees of plastic cards after only one or two games.​

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2006
    3 people like this.

Share This Page