Did you know that there’s more than one type of cardstock used to create luxury playing cards? If you’ve played with card decks before, you may have noticed how some decks feel and perform distinctly different from others. There are a variety of finishes and coatings that can make cards feel different, but the card stock quality itself is also integral to the experience, especially when it comes to shuffling or card tricks. Some people break cardstocks into just casino and standard like in this video – but here at Expert Cards there are really 3 main cardstocks for playing cards.

Want to learn more? Understanding card stock and related finishes make it easier to pick exactly the custom playing cards that you want. Here are our 3 most popular options, and what differentiates them:

1. Stud Cardstock

Stud cardstock is designed with paper and finishes that are extra-soft. They feel great, but are also a little fragile, and sometimes come without any protective coatings to enhance the feel of the deck.

Not only do stud cards look great, but they’re also one of the best types of playing cards for “cardistry,” the technical name for showing off with extravagant shuffles, flourishes, tosses, cuts, and other little tricks that are fun to learn and easy to impress with. If you want to hone your cardistry skills or just make sure that you have the best deck for your tricks, then a stud deck is probably the way to go. Some stud cards also have a cardistry finish specifically made so the cards will handle better.

2. Master Cardstock

Master cardstock, also known as casino cardstock decks are made with very high-quality stock that’s both firm (so the cards will last longer even under frequent use) and thin (which helps improve performance).
They also tend to have “black” cores, which simply means the core is made of darker or more compressed materials that make the cards impossible to see through under any circumstances.

Given these qualities, it’s no surprise that these cards are the top choice for casinos, professionals, magicians, and others that have better handling and low-friction surface. In fact, this card type is often called “magic” or “casino” quality to help differentiate it from other options and point out that finishes and coatings are also designed for this type of play. But even more casual players may prefer the slick and soft feel of these cards.

3. Classic Cardstock

Classic cardstock, also known as standard or modern cardstock, is very traditional, with a matte appearance. These cards are designed to invoke the classic Bicycle card feeling. It’s a great choice for artistic cards with visuals to show off, or trying to create as authentic of a card game as possible. However, it’s not quite as great for handling as some stud.


Picking the Right Card Type

We know all this info can feel like a little much if you just want to buy an awesome deck of cards. The reason it’s important is that the stock and finishes really can make the cards feel different in your hands, and if you want a certain feel to your deck you can customize your choice by paying attention to the details. Still have a more specific question? Shoot us a message, and we’ll help you out!