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Review: Plugged Nickel Playing Cards Prototype

Review by Joey Heininger of

I’m an Aussie, we have some of the best beef in the world and it is all sans Mad Cow. I love me some steak, and that’s the point I’m trying to make. When I got my hands on this deck I immediately felt like I was at one of those rustic steak houses, you know the ones, with the dimly lit booths and the licence plates on the wall and some race car driver no one has ever heard of has donated his race suit that now proudly hangs over the bar?

Plugged Nickel, is that deck, that deck that doesn’t take itself seriously, that deck you would use if you were having a steak and poker night with the boys.

This is just the prototype so not all is as it will be in the final print, but it gives us a good indication of what is in store. What is in store?

The art is simple while being detailed enough to get the ambience across to its audience. One may mistake himself to be on the edge of a Texan highway sifting through road kill with all the skulls of dead animals and barbed wire that adorn the deck. The number cards have custom pips, perhaps a bit too small for my bad eyesight, that all sit over a custom background.

The art is subjective, some are gonna love it, some are gonna hate it, check out the pictures for yourself, bearing in mind the colour is not quite right due to the prototype printing method. We aren’t looking at a masterpiece here, but it has a quaint charm and will in fact really appeal to the right audience.

[Update] After writing the review, the chosen printer has been changed from Liberty to the USPCC. This will greatly change this deck for the better.

What we were really asked to look at was the chosen printer, Liberty Playing Cards of Texas USA and their stock and handling. Is Liberty Playing Cards going to knock USPCC off its smug high horse? No; there is a reason Bicycles are the most recognised playing card in the world, but that isn’t to say we don’t have a fine deck of cards here.

The stock is thick and rugged and feels like it could last a thousand hands of poker, but alas it just isn’t great for card handling. Truly skilled hands will not have any trouble manipulating this deck to do his bidding but straight out of the box I was a fumbling mess, and as I have to pass this deck along I couldn’t truly break it in. They have a texture similar to the USPCC Air Cushion, but clump slightly. I see them clumping badly after a little use, especially, if like me you live in a humid climate.

But! I don’t really see this deck being overly appealing to the magic / XCM market. This deck would however really suit the good ol’ boys drinkin’ Bourbon and shootin’ the bull over a game or two of Poker and to a lesser extent, Go Fish, and for this I think Liberty really do offer something better than a great deal of those cheaper card producers do.

If the USPCC was a ten year old port barrel whiskey, the MPC would be cheap supermarket beer… that would make Liberty a Bourbon you have to mix with a coke to drink.

If you see this deck for sale and you know you have a poker game coming up, go ahead, grab it, your buddies will enjoy the difference from the run of the mill French courts, but if you are looking for the next deck to wow you audience in a dazzling display of XCM dexterity, grab a deck of Aristocrats instead.

Plugged Nickel printed by Liberty Playing Cards gets five and a half out of ten race car jump suits.

This review is written by Joey Heininger for kardify. No part of this review can be reproduced without written permission from the author. You can check out Joey's Australian based online playing card store at Use discount code KARDIFY to save 10% for orders above $50. 

Also big thanks to Eli Retschlag for providing the photos for this review. Check out Eli's review of the deck below and for more reviews and cardistry videos checkout Eli's youtube channel.

Review: Plugged Nickel Playing Cards Prototype Reviewed by Ivan on 5/31/2014 Rating: 5


  1. Back design kinda reminds me of the Muerto deck on Kickstarter.

  2. In love with the court cards! May look in to purchasing a deck!

  3. Project is now Live on Kickstarter... $10 for Early Bird! ;)


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