Modiano WSOP Cards

Replacement Cards Introduced at 2015 WSOP, Complaints Continue

Those piece of crap Modiano playing cards continue to create waves of discontent at the 2015 World Series of Poker. This time, players are going at it with WSOP officials.

Modiano, an Italian playing card manufacturer with offices and a warehouse in Indianapolis, was selected as the new card provider for the WSOP this year. The company’s cards, like one would expect for a supplier to the world’s largest poker festival, are plastic, a material that should go without saying is more durable than paper. Modiano says its cards are better than anyone else’s and can stand up well to repeated use.

Not so, say the players at the 2015 WSOP. The main complaint as to their quality is that they are very flimsy and are way too easy to either accidentally damage or intentionally mark. Daniel Negreanu told PokerNews.com, “There are several issues with the cards. The quality is too thin and they are easily marked. In the deuce-to-seven the other night, every three to four hands people were noticing marked cards, and they eventually just gave up, so they were essentially playing with marked cards.”

Modiano WSOP Cards facesAdditionally, the cards have been difficult to read by players at the far ends of the poker tables. The shapes of the clubs and spades are reportedly too similar, as is the artwork depicting Kings, Queens, and Jacks.

The flimsiness of the cards, though, is what is really getting players riled up. Even the slightest bit of force can permanently crease one of these Modiano cards, players say, resulting in frequent deck changes at best and easily marked cards at worst.

Last week, WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel said that new, supposedly stronger cards had been ordered from Modiano and would hopefully be out in time for the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, which started over the weekend. Apparently, though, these cards are poor, as well. And poker pro David “Bakes” Baker is not taking it lying down.

Baker has been very outspoken about his disgust with the cards and has taken the WSOP to task for their handling of the situation. In a public article, Bakes wrote:

The current cards are fouled almost immediately after one hard bend.  The edges can be manipulated at every point.  I have been at tables where it was blatantly easy to see which cards had been touched by which players.  Some players look at their cards at the corner, some at the side, and this translates into a change in the card structure that does not snap back immediately.

In any given card game, the best cards (whether high or low) will be touched more than the worst, as a natural part of the game.  It doesn’t take a keen eye at all to tell, after a couple hours of use, which cards are good and which are bad.

He proceeded to give examples of hands he witnessed or had himself in which he knew what cards (or range of cards) were being dealt based on the fact that they were bent. In one lowball hand, he received a bent card and knew it was low before he turned it over. In a Hold’em hand, he saw an amateur with two bent cards raising pre-flop and thus knew he had a good hand (his read was that this player was not sophisticated enough to be bluffing pre-flop); a couple hands later, Baker himself received two bent cards and, lo-and-behold, they were Ace-King.

“Basically I’m just totally petrified to play against anyone who knows a thing about card marking,” he added. “These cards could be very easily marked up and down the side, bent slightly by rank, and no one would be the wiser given how they react to normal wear.”

Baker has expressed his outrage on Twitter (@DMBakes), only to feel that World Series of Poker Executive Director Ty Stewart (@wsopSUITd) is unresponsive. Stewart admitted that the cards did appear sub-par, but laid appeared to lay some of the blame on the players, tweeting, “seems to still be some issues with recoil. Now we’d like you guys to stop folding them like paper airplanes, but hink there’s definitely something to the kind of cellulose acetate used by former supplier that is unique”

Baker replied, “Cards were fine last year and people didn’t just start squeezing a different way in a year,” adding, “For clarification @wsopSUITd ‘snap blame’ in this spot means your 1st official comm about the cards blames the players. Instablame.”

He also said that while Stewart was blaming the players for the handling of the cards in a public forum, he was apologizing to Baker for the card quality in private messages. Stewart did not appreciate Baker discussing “private biz matters” – the relationship issues with card supplies – publicly and Baker responded by wondering how the WSOP could actually have problems finding good card suppliers. Stewart explained that it is not easy to find a company that can supply the quantities needed. Additionally, RFID chips are used in decks during live streams and not all supplies make those.

And so the Great Card Controversy of the 2015 WSOP continues.

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