KEM is the king of cards for a good reason. They are well-made, insanely durable, and last forever. They are also incredibly expensive. The two-pack sets come in a plastic tray with a lid, and retails for about $30 per set. If you shop around, you can find them for less, but it’s still the most expensive card you can buy.
What makes them cost so much? I put the question to a representative of the company, and here’s what he said: “KEM is made from cellulose acetate, which is a specific blend of paper and plastic giving it the feel of paper cards but the durability of plastic The material which gives KEM its premium performance and durability is more expensive than paper or plastic alone. The material is also much harder to print and run through the manufacturing process. It takes over 2 weeks to complete a deck of KEM cards from start to finish.”
The result is a card that lasts forever. I’ve heard of people playing on a single deck of KEM for 25 years. No paper card would hold up that long, and no plastic card would feel as good.
How do they measure up to the Bicycle Premiums? I’d say the Bicycle is very, very good for a synthetic card, but KEM just feel a bit more natural. They’re light, have a good texture, and shuffle better than anything I’ve ever used.
Yes, they’re very expensive, but as I said about Bicycle Premiums, if you use them for heavy play, in public areas where there might be wet spots, or with kids, they might be cheaper in the long run. Put it this way: a single deck of KEM costs as much as five decks Bicycles, but they’ll last far longer.
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