WSOP Decks Are Causing Card Controversy Once Again

June 15, 2017
WSOP Decks Are Causing Card Controversy Once Again


The World Series of Poker rakes in more than $10 million annually, but is still having a tough time providing its players with the most basic thing required to run a poker game: The cards themselves.

Once again, the cards being used at WSOP tournaments have become a major issue this year. Numerous players have expressed problems with the decks, taking to social media to complain about how easily they can be marked.

It has affected the integrity of the games. In fact, the easier it is to mark a card, the easier it is to cheat. So much so that some players have decided to sit out some major events until the WSOP makes a change.

Card issues are nothing new for the WSOP

This is nothing new at poker’s largest tournament series. In fact, players have been complaining about the cards at the WSOP in Nevada for the better part of a decade. No matter how much things change, the more they stay the same.

A card controversy erupted at the 2007 WSOP when new decks were put in play. These KEM cards were designed by the United States Playing Card Company to prevent chipping, fading, cracking and marking. The faces were also designed to make them easier to see.

The problem was they were even harder to read. Players had difficulty distinguishing between the sixes and the nines, and the spades and clubs. They complained rather loudly and then-WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack pulled the cards rather quickly.

Pollack left the WSOP after the 2009 series, and there were very little problems with the cards until 2015.

Modiano fails to impress

That year is when the new regime running the show struck a deal with Italian card manufacturer Modiano to supply the decks.

Apparently the cards were rather thin and too easily marked. They clearly ate away at the integrity of the game and players complained rather loudly again.

It took the WSOP a little while to respond. They acted like the community was picking on them, but ultimately gave in to player demands for new decks. They ordered some higher quality decks from Modiano after buying up temporary replacements for some of the bigger buy-in events.

Copag comes back

Just weeks before the start of the 2016 WSOP, the organization announced it had inked a multi-year deal with Copag. They had apparently used Copag cards previously, and the idea was this card manufacturer’s product would end the problems Modiano started.

WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart even mentioned that quality playing cards were one of the most important elements of the entire WSOP at the time. His commitment to that appears to have lasted about a year.

In 2016, not much was heard about the decks. This year, Copag has once again supplied the cards, but the quality isn’t the same.

In response to the onslaught of poker community complaints, the WSOP made a statement about taking the situation seriously. With the first box on the basic public relations responses list ticked, the excuses then started.

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A thorough inspection is required

Apparently the WSOP thought it was putting the same decks on the felt they used last year. Apparently not. Now they’ve got a new batch of cards from Copag and plan to put them into play earlier than originally thought.

This to come after a thorough inspection. However, that’s something they might want to think about doing at the start of the series next year, instead of a couple weeks in.

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