Poker Card Protectors – What Are They & Should You Use Them


Poker Card Protectors

In a world as superstitious as gambling, players constantly try to find lucky charms to enhance their luck. Literally anything can be a lucky charm, ranging from the simplest items such as rabbits’ feet, keychains, lighters, and figurines, to clothing items such as sunglasses, sneakers, and even lucky t-shirts. The reason why we say this is because there is a “new” type of lucky charm used by gambling enthusiasts, predominately poker players, but with a much more practical purposethe poker card protectors.

Poker card protectors, also known as poker card guards, have gained much traction in the poker realm simply because of how efficient they are in protecting the cards from the other players on the table. However, what started out as a necessity and generally a very good idea, soon turned into a personal statement and not surprisingly at all, a superstition.  Well, in this very interesting article we will dive deep into the quirky world of poker card guards, how are they used, what items can be used as poker card guards, and whether it is a good idea to rely on these items or not.

What Are Poker Card Protectors?

Just as the name suggests, poker card protectors are card covers that are used during a live poker game to protect the cards. The main use of poker card guards is to prevent the cards from being folded by accident, which is something that can easily happen during a live poker game. Simply put, you can unintentionally reveal your cards to other players on the table, and as a result, be forced to fold a good hand, which can be even more tragic if you previously called or raised.

To avoid keeping your hands on top of your cards and constantly hiding them from other players, which can also lead to unintentional folding of the cards, you might want to consider using a poker card protector. Not only will you have peace of mind and not worry about flipping the cards over, but you can also have fun choosing your card protector, personalizing it, and even using it as a lucky charm during your live poker sessions

Now, using poker card protectors is not a guarantee that you will win every game, or that you will have more luck. Some players even believe it to be a lucky charm not using poker card protectors, viewing them as bad luck or just another distraction. It is completely up to you to decide whether you need poker card protectors. Remember, poker is mostly a game of skill, so at the end of the day, the outcome depends solely on you.

What Can You Use As Card Protectors?

The best thing about poker card guards, aside from them protecting your cards, is the personalization, i.e. the freedom to use whatever you want. As we already said earlier, every player uses their own unique poker chip protector that reflects his personality. This can be anything from personal items you find dear, to superstition items you believe bring you good luck

With that being said, let’s have a look at some of the most commonly used poker card protectors by poker players around the globe.


Poker Chips

Undeniably the most commonly used poker card protectors are poker chips. This is because they are the most convenient and easiest to find, being that you don’t need to bother finding and bringing a special card guard. Most players decide to use the chips that they are playing with to protect their cards, which is quite practical and clever when you actually think about it.

Seasoned players guard their cards with the same denomination chips and use the same chip number to protect their cards simply because they don’t want to telegraph the value of their cards and hint that they have a good hand.

The superstitious players, on the other hand, bring particular poker chips or chips from other venues to use as poker card protectors, viewing them as good lucky charms. So, if you don’t know what to use as a card protector in poker, just know that you can always use the current chips on the table.

Lucky Charms

Whether it is personal lucky charms (personal items, clothing, keychains, jewelry, etc.), or classic lucky charms (4-leaf clovers, rabbits’ feet, eight-ball, horseshoe, etc.), many players use lucky charms as their poker card protectors. 

In fact, one professional player called Greg “Fossilman” Raymer, who is also a WSOP champion, uses real fossils as poker card guards. As an avid collector, he decided to use fossils that he gathered during the years as both lucky charms and card protectors, which is also where he got the nickname Fossilman.

Other players may use other quirky items such as toys, lucky coasters, and other personal items that are of sentimental value. This may also include religious items, which however strange and contradictory may sound, are done more frequently than one might think.

Whether it is coins, jewellery, or other precious items, just make sure that you use items that are of appropriate size. You don’t want to bring a massive item that will interfere with the game and get yourself banned from the casino or the venue.


Animals, or animal figurines, are the third most common pick for poker card protectors simply because of what they represent. While some players who are superstitious believe that they can channel that spirit animal and its energy, others have a more straightforward purpose and just think that they are cute.

In fact, we dare you to look around when you are playing the next poker tournament and see just how many players use animals or animal figurines as their poker card protector, being that they serve a dual purpose of representing the spirit animal of the figurine as well as a guard for the cards.

Again, keep in mind the size of the animals, as you don’t want to bring a big toy or a figurine that will obstruct the game.

Metal Chips

Similar to regular chips, metal chips have also become one of the most popular poker card protectors used by many players. The only difference between the two is that metal chips were purposefully designed to act as card covers for poker, and many companies are producing them for that specific reason.

You can easily find metal chip poker card guards on the internet on e-commerce websites such as AliExpress, Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Wish, etc. One quick search and you will see that there are quite a few chip card protectors in various shapes, sizes, colours, and designs.

Considerably larger than the regular poker card protectors, and as a result, significantly heavier, metal chip card guards are ideal for protecting your card exactly due to their larger dimensions and weight, being that is much more difficult to flip a metal chip when compared to a regular one.


Cartoon & Movie Characters

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that cartoon and movie characters are one of the most frequently used items as poker card guards. Similar to the animals and the animal figurines, these characters are used by players both as card guards and as lucky charms.

Everyone has a favourite movie character, or a favourite cartoon character, for that matter, and as such, players often bring their most beloved fictional hero to the poker table to serve as poker card guards. What better way to protect your cards than your favourite hero, right?

Whether is Darth Vader or Bugs Bunny, many players feel that by using their action/cartoon hero as a card guard they will call upon good fortune to help them protect their cards, and bring them some good luck along the way.

Again, just make sure you bring reasonable-sized characters.

Lego & Other Toys

While you may think that Lego is strictly reserved for children, you will be surprised to find that many poker players use Lego figurines as card covers for poker. The customization options are endless with Legos, and as such, players love to create fictional representations of their fantasy and use them on a poker table as card guards.

And it is not just limited to Lego. Whatever toy you deem lucky, or effective enough to protect your cards, all while helping you make a personal statement, is an excellent choice to be used as a poker card cover.

Ranging from Marvel and DC to Game of Thrones, Star Wars, or even Looney Tunes, there are different sets of Lego and different figurines that you can use as card covers. Even Funko Pop figurines can end up on a poker table as poker card protectors, as long as they are the correct size, of course.

Should You Use Card Guards?

Whether you wish to use poker card protectors or not, is totally up to you. As long as the casinos allow for poker card guards, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use them, especially if you believe they will bring you good fortune, or actually help you protect your cards.

On the other hand, not everyone is fond of card guards as some professional poker players and coaches are against poker card protectors. One example is the legendary poker coach Jonathan Little, who believes that poker card guards add a physical element to the game itself which can be used against you in a game.

More specifically, during one tournament, on the final table, he noticed a player who used poker card protectors to cover his cards in two different ways, differing from when had medium-strength cards and premium hands, a tell that instantly gave him away.

From here,  it is clear that if you are too obvious and you don’t pay attention to your hand gestures, you can easily telegraph your hands and end up losing. Something that professional poker players can exploit to the fullest.

Final Thoughts

We conclude that if used properly and with care, poker card protectors can actually be fun. They bring a whole new dimension to the already-serious art of gambling. Moreover, they can be a source of inspiration, newfound focus, or even encouragement for the player, in addition to being a physical representation of the player itself.

Just make sure you practice covering your cards without giving out your hand. This is the only real danger of using poker card protectors, being that in poker, we don’t usually notice our mistakes, but rather our opponents.

There is no official rule, so it is completely up to you to decide whether you want to use a poker card protector.

Any personal object/item that you wish to use as a card protector is considered a custom card protector.

There are no rules regarding card protectors. Just make sure that your poker card guard is the optimal size so you don’t obstruct the poker game.

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