Protecting Playing Cards

Dec 6, 2018
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As I typically have used regular rider backs, I haven’t typically worried about preserving the cards from humidity and bending. In general, I don’t tend to be too rough on my cards. Now that I’ve started to acquire more theory11 decks and other more expensive marked decks, I want to make sure I’m protecting them well. My home can be pretty humid in the summer so I’m particularly concerned about that.

I’ve heard conflicting statements about card clips. What are your opinions on these devices? I know they vary substantially in price and I cannot afford a high quality one, so would it even be worth it to purchase a cheaper card clip? Also, how do you avoid tuck case damage?

Also, I know Carat Cases are important for protecting tuck cases from damage, but do you think they help at all with humidity?

Also to clarify, I’m not particularly worried about displaying lots of decks, so the storage/protection options don’t need to be “pretty.” If you have any other suggestions/tips for protecting decks, I would greatly appreciate it!
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,578
3,849
New Jersey
It is an unfortunate fact that cards have a limited lifespan.

Changes in humidity can cause the dreaded "click bend" where the cards warp because the level of the humidity in the cards along the edges is different than the level of humidity in the middle of the card. The solutions are to alternate the cards face up and face down and put them in a Porper card clip or under several heavy books or to spread the deck out on a table overnight (exposing the middle of the card to same level of humidity as the edges). The Porper card clip is the only one that keeps the cards in good condition. All the other clips or boxes just protect the tuck case and do nothing for the cards. The Porper clip will not protect the tuck case much (as one side of the case is exposed) and might cause some wear on the case.

What I find kills cards is the dirt that accumulates on a deck. Handling cards causes sweat and oils to transfer from your hands to your cards. This is most apparent on the edges of a deck because the cutting exposes the paper. The face and back of the card are protected by the finish but the exposed paper edges are more susceptible to absorbing the moisture and oil and, as a result, become more susceptible to attracting dirt. Humidity and the accompanying heat can cause sweaty hands which makes that worse. Washing hands before handling a deck helps for obvious reasons. Using multiple decks at the same time helps because it gives time for moisture and oil to evaporate between use. Card cases really can't change this.

I have nicer decks that I use for performances and I buy cheap 12 packs of Bicycle decks at Costco that I use for practice. That makes the nicer decks last longer.

When a deck gets to a certain point where I wouldn't use it, it becomes my dog's deck. She loves to have my wife call out card names and then pick them from the spread (which isn't as impressive a feat when you recognize that she is standing on the floor looking up at the spread and, as a result, she can see the faces of the cards before she selects the right one). You don't mind getting teeth marks in a used up deck.

From there, the cards become fodder for Mercury's Card Fold practice, card splitting and other experiments that destroy cards. At that point, I'm satisfied to lay them to rest as they have lived full lives.
 
Dec 6, 2018
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Thank you so much for the advice! A couple of follow-up questions. I know card clips are very sensitive to the exact stock of the cards you are putting in, do you think 54 would fit? I typically perform with jokers (and/or one duplicate card) so it would be a little annoying if I had to keep them separate from the actual deck. Also I see that Porper clips come in flat back or regular, do you think they both work the same?
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,578
3,849
New Jersey
For the Porper clip that I have (maybe 10+ years old), I can fit almost all of types of decks with 56 cards - 52 +2 jokers+ 2 add cards. Occasionally, with thicker deck, I'll have to remove an add card or two. Remember, the deck goes in the card case and then into the clip.

The color doesn't make a difference, so pick flat black or regular whichever you like better.
 
Dec 6, 2018
85
95
The color doesn't make a difference, so pick flat black or regular whichever you like better.

Thanks for the quick follow up. Your assistance is also so thorough and much appreciated. I think I wasn’t entirely clear with this part of my question. It looks like Porper clips now have two versions, one with a flat “spine” and the other that has the original indented spine. I was just curious whether you think one works better than the other. I’m guessing my best bet is the original.
 
Dec 6, 2018
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It looks like the indented spine models aren’t currently being sold new. I found a lightly used version on eBay but I didn’t see an maker’s marks on the interior of the spine. I know some of the newer clips typically have the marks inside. Would you happen to know if any real Porper card clips do not have markings inside?

Edit: The seller just informed me the clip is ~15 years old if that helps.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,578
3,849
New Jersey
So, I've looked at the new flat spine clips. If Joe Porper says they work the same as the old clips, I'd go for that.

Would you happen to know if any real Porper card clips do not have markings inside?

I've never seen them without the signature, but my memory on the clips only goes back around 12 years.
 
Dec 30, 2020
12
7
I'm not a fan of card clips as they will cause wear and tear on the tuck (especially the non-Porper ones), however I would buy some blank tucks( or just re-use some old used tucks) and use those tucks in a Porper card clip to flatten the cards out. If it's a collectible/rare-ish deck, I absolutely would not use any type of card clip with the original tuck. If it's just for hauling around a deck that you use to practice or perform with then by all means, use a card clip. I still prefer the 'Mint Deck Wallet' from mint52 for transporting non collectible/rare decks in a pocket as all sides are protected but it is still far from perfect.

As for storing them, I like the cardboard boxes that sport card collectors use. Since you have to contend with high humidity, it is probably better to keep them under some type of pressure to prevent warping so I would just lay your decks flat on top of each other in those cardboard boxes rather than on their narrow sides.
 
Dec 6, 2018
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Thank you all again for your advice. My Porper card clip just arrived today after a month of waiting. There are currently some misprinted clips up at reduced price on the main website if anyone is need of a slightly cheaper but still authentic clip.

On a more somber note, unfortunately, Joe Porper recently passed away.
 
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