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Poker News | World Series of Poker | WSOP2007

As Satellites Begin, New Cards Get Bad Reviews

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As lines stretched down the corridor, satellite tables were up and running at the Rio. The first players to use the new Bicycle cards gave a precursor of what is sure to be some major problems during the World Series of Poker.

One-table SNG's were the order of the morning, with a $500+25 buy-in for the ten players taking their seat. Over 150 players waited in line for their chance to satellite into today's $5k Mixed LH/NLH Event #1 with an estimated 550 in line to buy directly into the tournament.

Charlie Ng and Eric Nickelson were heads-up an hour into their satellite when they decided to chop up the prize. Charlie was a dealer at the Palms until two months ago. He plans to play in today's Event #2, the $500 Employees Event.

Eric is from San Jose, and he was unsure if he would use the $2.5k in chips to cut his buy-in in half or save the chips for a later tourney. "Since we chopped, I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do," said Eric. "I don't know if I can wait in that huge line out there."

The two then gave their unsolicited feedback about the new cards being used from US Playing Cards. "You can quote me on this," said Eric. "These are the worst cards I've every played with.

There are two initial problems the players spoke about: reading suits and the similarity of the 6 and 9 cards.

"I misread the board when you flopped that set of nines," said Eric. "I think these cards are going to cost people a lot of money in this tournament coming up from people misreading the board cards." The problem strikes you in the face, with both numbers staring up from the felt.

"The suits look very similar as well," said Charlie. "Here, let me show you the clubs vs. the spades."

With the small suits combined with players focusing on giving off zero non-verbal tells, suits will be a big problem for players as they quickly read flops and turn cards.

You can bet that these cards will be a big story this weekend at the World Series. Unfortunately, this looks like a bad beat story.

On Thursday, Harrah's had put the following article on their World Series of Poker website regarding the
development of the Poker Peek cards.
For over 100 years, the United States Playing Card Company (USPC) has held a PokerPeekTM design under patent. Jumbo card faces, introduced in the 1960s, became a huge hit across the nation during the revival of poker in the early 2000s. Development of the PokerPeek face style, the most significant poker face style innovation in 40 years, originated just two years ago.


The project was in response to two separate consumer needs:

o Professional/serious players expressed security concerns with standard faces noting a standard face marking is large enough to be prone to visibility to other players at the table. At the same time, a smaller marking would be too difficult to see and identify out in the middle of the table.

o Average consumers preferred jumbo face style cards for poker, especially Texas Hold ‘em, but these cards were too large to be used in more serious games.


Design a smaller, diagonally positioned corner marking to discreetly view and identify the card as well as a jumbo-like face positioned lower at the center of the card, making the cards easier to identify when revealed.


Professional and serious players were consulted during development, and the United States Playing Card Company's casino division tested actual decks with PokerPeek in selected casino poker rooms. Average consumers were also shown PokerPeek cards during consumer testing in 2006.

In late 2006, USPC began collaborating with World Series of Poker (WSOP) officials to develop cards for the 2007 tournament. One of the primary concerns was table security, and the PokerPeek face style was instantly adopted as an idea to be evaluated.

The then-current PokerPeek decks were sent to members of the WSOP Players Council in January for evaluation. Feedback noted that the corner markings were just a bit small, and the larger markings in the middle of the card were too close to the corner markings.

USPC revised the faces based on this feedback and came back with three prototype decks for evaluation. These concepts all included larger corner markings, but designed in a way to take up less overall space in the corner. The three designs included an angled corner mark, a horizontal corner mark, and a mark that integrated the number with the suit designation. In all three examples, the corner markings were included in all four corners and the large middle markings on the card were moved down to the middle of the card.

Based on player feedback USPC eliminated all but the angled corner design, removed the extra corner markings, and moved the larger side marking further down on the card to protect the top one-third of the card edge from "flashing" to other players at the table.


Tournament cards used at the WSOP will be the exclusive KEM® brand with the PokerPeek face and a Bicycle branded card back design.

Bicycle Pro, USPC's retail version of PokerPeek, is slightly different than the version that will debut on the table at the 2007 WSOP. The design of the Bicycle Pro playing cards includes the 4-corners design to offer amateur player additional options for peeking their cards. It is also a benefit to left handed players.


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