Regardless of whether you need playing cards for playing a hand of poker or blackjack, for performing magic tricks or for playing a game of bridge, you are going to need to find the best deck available. In the past, this meant running out to the local store and grabbing the deck you needed. Unfortunately, in many cases that just isn’t possible anymore because many of the popular varieties of playing decks have become harder to find.
Becoming harder to find doesn’t mean that they don’t exist, however. In fact, we’ve discovered some of the harder to find card decks and have come up with a list of what we feel are the best playing cards. The following card decks have been rated according to their durability, playability, uniqueness and printing quality. No matter what use you have for the following cards, they’re sure to provide you with the playing experience that you desire.
My Top 10 Best Playing Cards Recommendations & Reviews
#10 Brybelly Regulation Size Cards-12 Decks
This value pack of 12 playing card decks is ideal for anyone who needs a large number of cards for game nights, poker competitions or for just making sure you have a deck of cards on hand when you need it. In this set, there are 6 decks with a red design on their backs and 6 decks which have a blue design on their backs. These cards are plastic-coated and each of the cards in each deck has a regulation poker size, which is 3.5-inches tall by 2.5-inches wide. They also have a normal index, which means that the printing is normal size and not jumbo size. And each of the cards has a classic design that’s very familiar. All of which makes these cards suitable for just about any game of cards.
- They are a regulation poker size
- Cards are plastic coated
- Each card has a classic design
- Some people may not need a dozen decks
#9 Motor Brand Standard Index Cards-12 Decks
It doesn’t matter if these cards are to be used for professional games of poker, bridge or blackjack, or are used for kid games such as Go Fish, Old Maid, or Rolling Stone, these cards are ready for the task. They are regulation poker size and are plastic coated for durability. They have a classic design on them and are printed in a standard size index. This 12-pack of cards is useful for using for tournaments or for keeping a toy room fully stocked. Each of the decks in these packs has 52 suited cards and also come with 2 Jokers. And half of the decks in this set have a blue back design and half have a red back design.
- Each card has a classic design
- This is an inexpensive collection of cards
- The cards are plastic coated for durability
- Each card has a standard size index
- Some people may not want to buy cards in bulk
#8 Bicycle Pinochle Playing Cards-2 Pack
Anyone who plays Pinochle knows that it can be a bit difficult to find decks for this game, which makes this 2-pack of cards a welcome set for just about any Pinochle player. Each set has a blue and a red pack of Pinochle cards, and each deck consists of 48 cards in four suits. This set also comes with the rules of the game, so novice Pinochle players can take up the game and play like a pro in no time flat. These cards have beveled edges and an air-cushioned finish that makes them nice and smooth to play with. They are also printed in the USA and feature a sandwich construction that allows them to hold up to regular use.
- Has a smooth air-cushioned finish
- The set comes with the rules to play Pinochle
- These cards are printed in the US using high-quality materials
- The cards have a nice design that makes it easy to match sets
- Some people may not like the fact that the 2 card decks are different colors
#7 Monarch High-Quality Cards
These high-quality luxury playing cards are probably best known as being the cards used in the blockbuster magic thriller “Now You See Me,” a movie which starred Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, and Jesse Eisenberg. However, these cards shouldn’t be bought because of a movie appearance but should be bought because they are high-quality cards. Although they aren’t plastic coated, they are made with high-quality paper and rich inks that really stand out and make a big impression, which is why they were probably used in a movie in the first place. They are beautiful cards and come in one of three different colors: green, blue or red.
- Made with high-quality paper and ink
- These cards have a rich, luxurious design
- Cards have a nice feel to them
- They have a regulation size
- These cards are a bit expensive
#6 Bicycle Stargazer Poker-Size Cards
Although these cards are somewhat difficult to see because of their galaxy design and ombre coloring scheme, these cards are extremely beautiful and should make a great deck of cards for anyone’s playing card collection. These cards are made from an American playing card manufacturer that’s been making playing cards since 1885, and their expertise at making cards really shows up in this collection. Not only are they standard poker size with a standard index, but they also have an air-cushion finish that makes them easy to shuffle and deal. They’re a great deck for card collectors or anyone looking for a cool deck of cards to play with.
- They have a nice air-cushion finish that makes them easy to shuffle
- They have a unique and beautiful design
- These cards are poker size
- They have a standard-size index
- Cards can be somewhat difficult to see during a game
#5 Bicycle Canasta Games
When you want to play a game of Canasta, nothing beats having an actual Canasta playing card deck to use, and that’s exactly what this deck is used for. It contains 108 Canasta cards and each of the cards is made from premium quality cardstock and has an air-cushion finish that makes them easy to shuffle and deal. Each of the cards has a standard index and not only have the usual face values of the card printed on them but also have the Canasta values printed on the cards for player’s convenience. Each of these cards also has the original Bicycle Fan Back design that was first introduced by the company in 1894.
- Designed exclusively for Canasta
- Each card has the original Bicycle Fan Design
- The cards have an air-cushion finish for better shuffling
- Contains a full 108-cards
- Cards are specifically designed for Canasta, so they’re not very versatile
#4 Bicycle Poker Size Jumbo-Index Cards
This product is designed for anyone who needs a deck of cards for playing poker that’s a little bit easier to read. Although this deck has a jumbo index that makes reading its face values a lot easier to do during games, the actual size of the playing cards is regulation size. Each of the cards in this deck is made from premium cardstock in the U.S and have the Classic Bicycle Rider on their back. The cards in this set aren’t just suitable for using during poker games, however. They are also suitable for playing a variety of games including Bridge, Gin Rummy, Go Fish, Old Maid or just about any other game where a deck of 52 cards is needed.
- These cards are poker size
- They have a jumbo face index
- This deck is fairly inexpensive
- The deck is good for a variety of card games
- The deck’s cardstock may not hold up to extended use
#3 Bicycle Poker Size Standard Index Cards-2 Pack
This double pack of playing cards features a brand of cards that over 75% of surveyed card players rate as one of the easiest decks of cards to shuffle. These cards have been the signature brand of the Bicycle Playing Card Company since 1885 and feature the classic cherub riding a bike design on their backs. These cards have a standard index, are poker regulation and are easy to handle. They have an improved design that helps to resist folding and bending and have an air-cushion coating that makes them feel nice and smooth. Overall, this is one of the best playing cards currently available.
- Cards have a classic cherub bicycle design
- They are easy to shuffle and handle
- Designed to resist folding and bending
- These cards are fairly inexpensive
- Not as slick as other brands of playing cards
#2 Aquarius Harry Potter Cards
Although these cards aren’t as stiff as normal playing cards and don’t have a thick protective coating that a lot of cards do, it is still a suitable deck of cards for any Harry Potter Fan. Each of the cards in this deck measure 2.5-inches by 3.5-inches, which makes them a standard size, and each of the cards has unique imagery related to the series. This is an officially licensed product, so it is ideal for any fan of either the books or the movie and is a must-have for just about any collection. All of which makes it a deck of cards that fits its purpose quite well.
- Is an officially licensed Harry Potter product
- Has beautifully themed artwork
- Great addition to any card collection
- They’re a standard poker size
- More expensive than other playing cards
#1 Da Vinci Ruote Plastic Poker Cards-2 Pack
These 100% plastic cards are not only extremely durable but they also look very good as well. They are 3.5-inches by 2.5-inches and each set comes with one blue deck and one red deck cut in a durable plastic playing card tray. These cards have a jumbo index so they’re easy to read and are designed to last for years, if not longer. Since they’re made from plastic, whenever they become dirty, then all that has to be done is to wipe them down with a wet washcloth. They are estimated to outlast paper cards by up to 500-games, so users can rest assured that they will have many games to play with these cards.
- Made from 100% plastic
- These cards can be easily washed when dirty
- They are made in a standard poker size
- Cards are designed to last for years
- Have an attractive jumbo index
- Comes with a hard case
- Cards are more expensive than lesser quality brands
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Playing Card Buying Guide
Quite a few people are under the misconception that all playing cards are the same. Although a lot of card games can be played with standard issue poker regulation cards, there are some games which have their own games—including Canasta, Euchre, and Pinocle. So, how is a person to know which deck they need? Well, all they have to do is read the following tips on buying a deck of playing cards.
Choose a Deck Type
Card decks come in a wide variety of variations, and that’s not even counting the specialty playing cards that are used for card-based gaming systems. However, in the interest of brevity, we’ve decided to break it down into five different types of playing cards: poker size, bridge size, canasta decks, pinochle decks, and euchre decks. Let’s dig into each type.
Poker Decks: Poke size cards are usually 2.5-inches wide and 3.5-inches tall. There are 52 cards in the deck, and there are four different suits: Spades, Diamonds, Hearts, and Clubs. There are 13 cards for each suit: Ace, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen, King. Decks also have Jokers which don’t have a suit of their own.
Bridge Decks: Bridge decks are a little bit narrower than poker decks, which make it easier for players to hold more cards at a time. A traditional deck of bridge cards is 2.25-inches wide and 3.5-inches tall. As is the case with poker decks, bridge decks usually also have a pair of Jokers.
Pinochle Decks: Pinochle decks are the same size as standard poker decks, but they have fewer cards in their deck because they’re optimized for the game of Pinochle and aren’t intended for other card games. Each deck contains 48 different cards. These cards will consist of two each of the Nine, Ten, Jack, King, Queen and Ace cards in all four suits.
Canasta Decks: Canasta decks come in the regulation poker size that uses the same 52 playing cards plus four Jokers. Canasta decks come in pairs because the game requires two sets of cards to play. Since Canasta has a unique scoring system, these cards also usually have the Canasta point value printed on the deck along with the standard value. For example, a 3 of Hearts is worth 100-points, but a 7 of Clubs is worth 7-points.
Euchre Decks: Euchre decks come in three different styles: 32 card decks, 28 card decks or 24 card decks. 32 card decks have each of the following cards in each suit: 7, 8, 9, 10, J, K, Q, A. 28 card euchre decks omit the 7s, and 24 card decks omit both the 7s and 8s. In some instances, the decks have jokers, and in other cases, they don’t. Since they’re regulation size, players usually strip down their poker decks to play euchre instead of buying special a special deck.
Standard or Jumbo Playing Cards
When card manufacturers refer to whether a deck is a standard or jumbo size, they’re often talking about the size of the type on the card and not the card themselves. Although there are larger sizes playing cards, those are usually placed in the novelty card category. With jumbo-face cards, the size of the suits and numbers is almost doubled. This makes it easier for players to see the cards, especially if they have problems with their eyesight. The size of the face is listed as the card’s index.
Paper Vs. Plastic Cards
The age-old question since the invention of plastic cards is whether they are better than paper cards, and that’s not an easy question to answer. Although there are card players on both sides of the debate, we think that the pros and cons are pretty obvious, so we listed some of them below. Of course, just because a particular card type is better on paper doesn’t mean that a particular player is going to prefer it. After all, everyone has their own personal preferences when it comes to playing cards.
- Is the nostalgic choice for many people
- They tend to wear out quicker
- Aren’t as slick as plastic cards
- They have a luxurious feel to them
- These cards last longer than paper ones
- They are washable, if necessary
- They are more expensive than paper cards
A Really Fun Kid’s Card Game
Once you’ve selected which cards you want to buy, you now need some card games to play to put those new cards to good use. Although most people know a number of fun adult card games to play, few people realize that there are card games for children beyond Go Fish, Old Maid or War. We’ve included one of our favorite child’s card games which is sure to be fun for the whole family.
Pig Card Game
Any deck can be used with this game, but it works out best with a standard 52-card poker or bridge deck.
The Object of the Game
The goal is to be the first player to get four of a kind in their card hand, or at least not be the last player to notice when someone else has accomplished this goal.
How It’s Dealt
One of the players shuffles the deck and then deals one card to each player until every player has four cards. After every round has finished, it’s usually customary for another person to become dealer until everyone has had a chance to deal the cards.
How It’s Played
Players take a good look at their hand and then chooses one card to pass to their left. They then collect the card that has been passed to them from their right. The passing continues quickly, so it’s hard for the players to keep the pace up. When a player has four of the same denomination, such as four Kings or Four Aces, then he or she immediately stops passing and put their finger to their nose. Each player then has to put their fingers to their nose. The last person to put their finger to their nose is the Pig!