6 Most Impressive Playing Card Decks for All Games and Tricks

  • Last updatedLast updated: May 21, 2020
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There are a ton of great games available to play, including poker, Canasta, Blackjack, bridge, and various types of solitaire. Though the rules of these games may differ, all of them have one thing in common. Each one needs the best playing cards you can find to actually play them. These cards need to be sturdy, with the right dimensions, and should be smooth enough to shuffle easily and slide nicely over a table as you deal. If they look cool at the same time, that’s a bonus.

After considering around 30 different options on the market, we reviewed the top six playing card decks, with the Copag Playing Card Set coming out on top. This 2-deck set of plastic cards is stylish, durable, with jumbo-sized numbers for easy viewing and a protective plastic case. There are also a variety of other plastic or paper options, with different designs and colors to choose from, including a classic playing card deck. This gives every card player or magician the right set to suit their needs and personal taste.

Top 6 Playing Card Decks Review 2020

If you’re in the market for a new deck of playing cards, there are a few things to consider before you start ordering them. How man decks come in the set is something to look at since this can range from one deck to a dozen or more. You should also check out the material used to make the cards since some materials are more durable than others, plus they are easier to clean. The card size can also vary, with some cards fitting your hand better than others. To help you choose the best playing cards, we’ve created a comparison table with in-depth reviews and a buying guide to cover all of the features.

Editor’s Choice

A deluxe 2-deck card set which comes in a sturdy plastic case and boasts of an incredible durability

Read Our Review
9.9
Best Poker Playing Cards

Plastic cards that are easy to keep in good condition for long; comes with a poker playing guide for beginners

Read Our Review
9.7
Premium Choice

These cards feature hand-drawn artwork that will definitely catch everyone’s attention whether you’re playing poker or doing a magic trick

Read Our Review
9.6
Best Classic Playing Cards

A set of a whopping 12 decks from the manufacturer you can trust; includes 6 blue and 6 red decks

Read Our Review
9.5
Best Black Playing Cards

A super-stylish option with which you’ll also be able to make a difference: a portion of sales goes to the IUCN organization

Read Our Review
9.4
Best Value

A deck of cards with 100% custom design that will draw attention of everyone at the playing table

Read Our Review
9.3
1.

Copag Playing Card SetEditor’s Choice

Features
  • Number of decks: 2 (standard 54 cards in each)
  • Material: plastic
  • Card dimensions: 2-1/2 x 3-7/16 inches

More features: hard plastic protective carrying case

Though technically, you can grab any set of playing cards on hand for poker, having a deck that is designed for this game can make it even more enjoyable. Though the cards themselves are the traditional size, the pictures of the suits and royalty are smaller, making more room for the oversized numbers and letters. This design makes it easier to see the cards across the table when playing Texas Hold’em or other poker games.

The backs of the cards have intricate designs of vines and leaves. There are two decks included in the set, one with black backs and the other colored gold. This allows you to easily separate the decks if you’ve mixed them for a larger card game. The colors are also stylish, catching the eye of those at the table.

The cards in this 2-deck set are 100% plastic, so they are durable and long-lasting. They have a strong initial odor but the plastic makes it easy to wipe them down with a damp cloth or dump the whole deck into a sink of soapy water to clean them all at once. This is also handy if someone spills some beer or soda on them during your poker games.

Another benefit of purchasing these cards is the handy plastic case that’s included. This keeps your cards together and organized, so you won’t lose them in a junk drawer, plus this case keeps them clean and safe in between your games.

Pros
  • Durable plastic
  • Washable
  • Easy to shuffle
  • Jumbo lettering
Cons
  • Strong initial odor
2.

Bullets Playing Cards Poker CardsBest Poker Playing Cards

Features
  • Number of decks: 2 (standard 54 cards in each)
  • Material: plastic
  • Card dimensions: 2-1/2 x 3-7/16 inches

More features: contains a poker playing guide for beginners

Even if you’re playing in the comfort of your own home, you might still want your poker games to feel like you’re playing in a Las Vegas casino. The Bullets Playing Cards Poker Cards have a casino-quality look and feel, giving your games new life.

The Bullet cards are smooth on the underside, which allows them to slide easily over your table as you’re dealing them out to the other players. On the backside, the cards have some texturing, making them easy to pick up and sort in your hand.

The jumbo-sized lettering on these poker cards makes them easy to see across the table, even if you’re the farthest one from the dealer. There are also numbers and letters on all four corners, so you’ll always know what cards are in your hand or on the table.

These cards are made of plastic, so they are extremely durable. This means they won’t bend unless you force them to do so. They are waterproof, so they won’t soak up any moisture from a spill or a damp table. You can wipe them or wash them as needed to get rid of any dirt or stains, keeping your cards looking their best at all times.

The Bullets Playing Cards Poker Cards are pretty expensive for a 2-deck pack, though they shouldn’t require replacement for a long time. A red and blue deck are included, both with the cool bullet design on the backs.

Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Poker guide included
  • Jumbo lettering
  • Nice feel
Cons
  • Expensive
Features
  • Number of decks: 4 (green, gold, red, purple – standard 54 cards in each)
  • Material: 310 gsm paper cardstock
  • Card dimensions: 2-1/2 x 3-7/16 inches

More features: hand-drawn artwork; matt-finish tuck box

These Cyberpunk Playing Cards were designed to give new life to your card games and magic tricks, making them stylish as well as functional. They are high-quality cards with interesting colors and unique patterns that will draw the eye of everyone around you, whether they’re playing with them or not.

The card box has a matte finish, with embossing and intricate foil that catches the light, showing off the colored patterns and the Cyberpunk name. The steampunk design of gears and other machine parts cover the back, with a large machined spade on the front.

The playing cards are printed on 310 gsm linen German Black core card stock, so they are thick enough to prevent bends or tears as you shuffle and deal. There are unique themed suits, with the spade on the box showing up on the Ace of Spades as well. The court cards are all hand-illustrated, so each one is unique.

There are four colors for the decks, including gold, green, red, and purple. The colors show up on the box, the card backs, and on the court cards. The diamond and heart cards, which are normally colored red, show the chosen color as well instead.

The purple cards are black on the front, with the designs in white and purple, while the rest of the colors have normal white fronts. All four decks are included in this set, so you can play with your favorite or mix it up with each game.

Pros
  • Unique designs
  • Vibrant colors
  • Casino-grade card stock
  • Easy to handle
Cons
  • More expensive than others
4.

Bicycle Playing CardsBest Classic Playing Cards

Features
  • Number of decks: 12 (6 red, 6 blue – standard 54 cards + 2 ad cards in each)
  • Material: paper cardstock
  • Card dimensions: 2-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches

More features: air-cushion finish; made in the USA

If you’re looking for the best playing card brand, you can’t go wrong with Bicycle. This company has been making quality playing cards since 1885, giving them the experience to create a decent deck every time. Their classic design with the bicycle traditional rider on the back is known to card players around the world. They’ve also added some newer designs to the mix, including various card sizes and colors, like silver, black, and a few pastels as well.

This package of Bicycle playing cards comes with 12 vintage-style decks. There are 6 red and 6 blue decks in the box, so you can use your favorite or mix them up for a larger game, like Canasta. Each deck includes the 52 normal playing cards, 2 jokers, and 2 ad cards. The first card in every deck is the Ace of Spades, which is another classic design that Bicycle has continued to follow.

The cards have an air-cushion finish, which makes it easy to shuffle and deal them out. They are also decent quality for magic tricks and card games, like poker, Crazy Eights, or even a game of Go Fish with the little ones.

Bicycle cards are quite durable, so they won’t tear or bend easily unless you’re rough with them. There could be some quality control issues, like inconsistent sizes of the white edges, though this likely won’t be a problem unless you’re using these for professional purposes.

Pros
  • Decent price
  • Classic design
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Some quality control issues
5.

Ellusionist Killer Bees Playing Card DeckBest Black Playing Cards

Features
  • Number of decks: 1 (standard 54 cards)
  • Material: Cardamundi B9 stock with a true linen finish
  • Card dimensions: 2-1/2 x 3-7/16 inches

More features: a portion of each Killer Bee Deck sold is given to the IUCN organization

If you want the best-looking playing cards that are also functional for magic tricks, poker, or even building a cool card house, the Ellusionist Killer Bees Playing Card Deck is a great one to grab.

This black deck of playing cards doesn’t just look great, though, buying these cards will also help the bee population. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of these cards goes to the IUCN organization to help protect and re-populate the honey bees of the world. This means that just by purchasing these cards, you’re doing your part to save the bees.

The tuck box is black with the Killer Bee name and logo on the front and a cool toxic-waste honeycomb design on the back. This box is a bit flimsy, though, so you need to be careful when pulling the cards out and putting them back in when you’re done playing your games.

The cards are also black, with a yellow honeycomb pattern covering the back. The fronts continue this pattern, with honeycombs incorporated into the suits and the court card pictures.

These cards are printed on Cardamundi B9 stock paper with a linen finish, so they are smooth and durable. The black will wear off over time and the edges may start to wear after a few shuffles but these are still great cards to have on hand. They shuffle smoothly, with no stickiness, so you can use them for whatever you like.

Pros
  • Supports bee population
  • Honeycomb design
  • Linen finish
  • Sturdy
Cons
  • Early wear on the edges
  • Flimsy tuck box
Features
  • Number of decks: 1 (standard 54 cards)
  • Material: premium imported cream dyed paper
  • Card dimensions: 2-1/2 x 3-7/16 inches

More features: 100% custom design

The Seafarers Nautical deck is part of the Joker and the Thief series, adding some custom changes to an already favored series of playing cards. This set includes some unique designs that make it one of the best looking playing card decks around.

The tuck box features a nautical design, including skeletons, swords, and other seafaring images. It even includes a vintage tax stamp seal that is colored blood red to add to the stylish seafaring design.

The cards are made using premium imported cream dyed paper. The designs are stamped on in a sea-green color that matches the nautical look of the pictures. The backs continue this theme, with octopuses, parrots, and ropes pictured.

Some of the card fronts also have similar designs. The court cards are hand-drawn, so each royal card and suit is distinctly different. Even the Ace of Spades features a nautical design, with the Joker and the Thief name added to mark it as part of the series. There are two joker cards, one picturing the joker, while the other displays the thief, though both have pirate features to match the seafaring theme.

The cards are all somewhat thinner than the traditional decks, with an air-cushioned finish that adds a slickness to them that allows you to slide the across the table when dealing. They do bend a bit easier than other cards, though they shouldn’t be damaged if you’re careful with them. This makes them great playing cards for magic as well as regular games.

Pros
  • Custom designs
  • Nice artistry
  • Linen finish
  • Well made
Cons
  • Thin cards
  • Expensive

Buying Guide

Card players may have differing opinions on the best playing cards in the world but they all will agree on one thing. You need a decent set to really get the most of your games or cardistry. Playing cards need to be sturdy, durable, and last for as long as possible, even if you’re using them for regular poker games at your house. If the cards look cool at the same time, this can enhance your games as well.

Features to consider when choosing playing cards

When choosing your playing cards, there are a few features that you may want to consider. This will ensure that you`re getting high-quality cards.

Design

The design of the playing cards won’t affect how you play your games or do your tricks but they do offer a bit of style to whatever you’re using your cards for. Bicycle Playing Cards have a classic look that every card player knows. Of course, you may want a deck that suits your other tastes a bit more. The Joker and the Thief Playing Cards have a Seafarer design for those who love pirates, sailing, and everything else water-related. The Elephant Playing Cards Cyberpunk Playing Cards incorporate a steampunk design that fans of this genre will love. The design of the cards can reflect your personality and style, so choose one that suits you best.

Number of decks included

The number of decks included in the set will matter more to those who play lots of games than those who play very rarely. Some games, like Canasta, take multiple decks, with more needed as players are added. For those who prefer games like this, a lot of decks will be necessary. Though you only need one deck of the best poker playing cards your favorite poker variation, the more often you play, the faster the deck will wear out, so you may want a few extras on hand.

Those who only play cards once in a while or want a collector’s deck will be fine with only one deck instead of several.

Materials used

The materials used to make the cards are one of the most important features. This will determine the durability of the deck. Plastic playing cards are the sturdiest since they won’t bend or tear unless you really make the effort to wreck them. They are also easy to clean using a damp cloth or even in a sink of soapy water in some cases. These can be a bit stiff, though, so they may need a bit of time to break in for proper shuffling and card tricks.

6 Most Impressive Playing Card Decks for All Games and Tricks

Cardstock is another popular material, like what’s used to make the Ellusionist Killer Bees Playing Card Deck. This is a classic material that is comfortable to handle. These don`t resist moisture, though, so if they get spilled on, you’ll have puffy, sticky cards to deal with.

Finish

The finish on playing cards should be smooth enough to shuffle well or slide across the table when you’re dealing but it shouldn’t be slippery. Slippery cards will slip out of your hands when you’re working with them, making them difficult to play even a simple game of cards. They also shouldn’t be sticky or it will be hard to separate them when you’re dealing or drawing cards in a game.

Card dimensions

The dimensions of the card are important for comfort when playing cards. They shouldn’t be too big for your hand or you won’t be able to hold or shuffle them properly. The standard size for the playing cards in our reviews is 2-1/2 x 3-7/16 inches, though some cards go a tiny bit smaller or bigger, depending on the brand. The thickness also matters as cards that are too thin will bend easily while thick ones won’t bend at all when trying to do bridges or other shuffling tricks.

Manufacturer

There are a lot of card manufacturers out there making their own playing cards but they aren’t all interested in quality. A good manufacturer will pay close attention to detail, getting the designs of the cards even and uniform. They will also ensure that every deck is high-quality to keep their customers happy.

Bicycle Playing Cards have been around for decades, so even though they aren’t necessarily everyone’s first choice, they have the experience and know-how to stay in business. Other businesses focus on giving back to the community, like the manufacturers of the Ellusionist Killer Bees Playing Card Deck who donate a portion of their profits to helping the bee population.

FAQ

Paper and card stock decks are rather durable, as long as you treat them well. These types of cards can absorb moisture, so if they are spilled on, they will suck up the liquid, which could affect the feel and thickness of the cards. They can also bend or tear if mishandled, so you do need to treat them a bit more delicately than you would a deck of plastic cards.

The best poker cards have dimensions that are about 2 ½ x 3 ½ inches. In our reviews, only the Bicycle Playing Cards have these exact dimensions. Of course, the rest of the decks have dimensions of 2 ½ x 3 7/16 inches, which is only slightly smaller, so they all could be used for poker without causing any issue. This size is easy to shuffle and deal quickly and easily for any of your favorite poker games.

The best option for magic tricks would be the Joker and the Thief Playing Cards. These have an air-cushioned finish and are a bit thinner, making it easier for those doing card tricks to maneuver them as needed for sleight of hand. They also have a cool design that will distract those watching the tricks, making it even easier to perform without giving anything away.

Wrapping It Up

The best playing cards are the ones that will last through several card games or perform numerous magic tricks without showing any wear. Though there are multiple playing card options on the market, we have a few favorites.

Our top choice is the Copag Playing Card Set. This is a 2-deck set of plastic cards, which makes them extremely durable and waterproof, plus they are easy to clean. This set is stylish, with black and gold designs, are easy to shuffle, and have jumbo-sized numbers to make them easier to see across the table. They also come in a protective plastic case.

The Bullets Playing Cards Poker Cards is also a 2-deck set. They are casino-quality plastic, waterproof, and jumbo-sized. The numbers are on all 4 corners, plus each deck includes a poker playing guide.

The Elephant Playing Cards Cyberpunk Playing Cards is a set of 4 decks, with 1 each of vibrant purple, green, red, or gold. They are made of 310 gsm paper cardstock with hand-drawn artwork and color-themed suits. These decks also come in a matte-finish tuck-box with embossing and foil.

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