How Do Playing Cards Make Money?

Playing cards were invented in China
sometime around the 9th century. And it would be a long journey to
get to the 52 card deck we have today. In the 14th century the predecessor to
modern playing cards spread from Egypt to Italy and Spain and later to Germany before
eventually ending up in France. And throughout that journey the suits
changed from swords, cups, coins, and clubs, to clovers, spears, hearts, and
paving tiles that we have today. Today, playing cards are so ubiquitous that
we take them for granted and it’s that ubiquity that helped the playing card
industry make $493 million in the US and $679 million in Europe in the last year. So who’s buying all these cards
and who’s making money from them? if you’re in North America there’s a
high chance that all the cards you’ve ever played with were made by one company. The biggest manufacturer of playing cards is over 150 years old and
makes $130 million a year selling a single product but they’re not the
only ones selling them. If you’re wondering how anybody makes money
selling playing cards it’s only because you’re not in the target market but then who is? It’s very cool niche like I think most people don’t even know it exists
but the people in the industry just sell mainly to magicians and someone
who really needs superior handling quality. Yes, even though 20 million decks of cards are sold to casinos every year the main
market for playing cards is actually magicians. Why? Because magicians practice, a lot. So much so that they count for a large part
of the other 80 million decks printed each year. But in most cases they’re not buying the
same decks as you and I. While most of us are spending
four dollars on our deck of cards hardcore magicians and collectors are
spending an average of more than $10 on decks with custom designs from boutique
playing card companies. And they go through so many of them that they’re usually sold in sets of twelve called a brick. Designer cards are an amazing way
for artists to make money and one graphic designer made just under $150
thousand from designing a single deck of cards. And while anybody can pay
to print their own deck of cards not everyone can afford to do it and the
demand for these cards is so high and the cost of making them so expensive
that an entire economy of crowdfunding playing cards emerged around them. There are over 5,000 decks on Kickstarter right now and the most popular ones have
each raised over half a million dollars. But when it comes to playing cards,
aesthetics aren’t the only thing that matters. Cardistry is the other big market for playing cards, and it’s the art of using cards to do impressive visual tricks known as flourishes. Although not as popular as magic, cardistry still turns out over a million
results on Google and even has its own convention. And because cardistry is all
about the way cards look and feel when you’re doing a trick, they go through
decks even faster than magicians do. And that’s why the most popular cardistry
cards come once a season just like a fashion line and getting your hands on a
deck from the spring summer season of 2015 will cost you at least $50 today. $50 for a deck of cards might seem crazy to most of us
but there’s a whole world of rare card collectors who routinely buy and sell
decks worth upwards of $700 on auction sites. Which makes it seem
strange that most of us treat cards as such a disposable resource and it’s
because of that that the rarest cards are so rare because few people
ever thought of keeping them around. But that kind of scarcity is
exactly what drives a market today. This industry has insane potential because everyone who I show these decks to, they’re like So whether you’re a designer, a magician, a creator, or a collector, making money in the
playing card industry isn’t about the cards you’re dealt in life because if
you play your cards right anyone can do it.

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23 thoughts on “How Do Playing Cards Make Money?

  1. Love to see playing cards getting some love! I make deck reviews and it's a huge community!

    With regards to this video Asad Chaudhry, known as 52kards on Youtube, launched a kickstarter campaign last year that raised $500,000+.

  2. Dang as someone who spenthis teenage years learning magic and cardistry I thought most money is made through selling cards to casinos.

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  5. Casinos have to rip up and dispose of their cards every night.. So I'm pretty sure most of the money comes from that industry

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