Poker Card Protectors: Do You Need One When Playing Live?

min read
Playing cards with a coin on top of them.
BetMGM Sep 11, 2023, 3:21 AM

If you play poker online, you certainly don’t have to worry about protecting your hand. Other players aren’t going to see your cards, another player’s cards landing on yours won’t create a dead hand, and there’s certainly no chance of the dealer accidentally mucking your cards, either.

While there are specific considerations that may be useful for players who prefer to play live online poker games, utilizing playing card protectors is something that players who prefer in-person poker games should consider. 

Don’t know anything about poker card guards/protectors? Here’s all the information you might need.

What Are Card Protectors?

Live poker games require players to keep their hold cards on the table. Players are not allowed to keep them in their hands. At the same time, players are also told to protect their hold cards. What could they possibly need to protect their cards from? There are two things card guards protect players from: unintended mixing with another player’s cards and the dealer accidentally mucking cards that have not been folded.

Both scenarios are disastrous for a player whose hand will be declared dead, and they’ll be out of the game. 

A poker card protector helps to prevent mistakes during a live game and avoids specific scenarios. They’re usually small objects that poker players place on their hole cards, showing they’re still in play.

Do You Need a Poker Card Protector In Poker?

As mentioned, live poker players must always keep their cards protected. If your cards are confused with another player’s or the dealer mistakenly picks them up, it’s 100% your problem, and you won’t be allowed to continue playing. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll get your cards back in either of these situations.

You should maintain a proper position to protect your cards at all times. A card protector isn’t the only way to do this, but they are fun to use — especially if you’re a little superstitious.

Do You Need a Card Protector in Poker?

Card protectors aren’t strictly necessary, but they help players who are used to online poker tournaments protect their cards in live games. These players aren’t used to protecting their cards and may need something extra to remind them and help them out.

Superstitious players usually use poker protectors to bring them luck while they play, and many will bring custom poker card protectors to the game.

Card protectors can be fun and valuable, but it’s also important that they don’t change how you play. One downside of protectors is that they can make a player easier to read. Many poker players aren’t aware of their tells, and sometimes having something extra on the table makes it harder to concentrate. 

For example, players who use chips as protectors may not always be aware that they tend to put one chip on a bad hand and two on a strong hand. Opponents who pick up on this can unravel their gameplay quickly. 

So, if you’re using a protector, you must ensure it doesn’t impact your tells or body language.

What Can Be Used As a Card Protector?

So, what can you use to protect your cards? It can be anything, as long as it’s not obnoxiously big and restricts other players’ view of the table. It can also not be anything offensive. 

A famous example of a player known for their protector is WSOP champion Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer. He was an avid fossil collector and would bring a fossil from his collection to every game to protect his cards.

Here are some ideas for card guards.

Poker Chips

Players’ most common protector is simply a chip from their stack. Always use the same number of chips to not reveal your card value subconsciously. You could also use a lucky chip from another game or casino, as long as it’s different from the chips used in the current game.

Personal Lucky Charms

Many poker players have items of sentimental value that they use as lucky charms. If they’re small enough, these kinds of things make wonderful protectors. Whether that’s a coin you received from your father, a cuff link from your loved one, or a cross from church (or other religious items.)

Metal Chips

Companies have cottoned on to the popularity of protectors and have started producing metal chips specifically for this purpose. You can engrave these metal chips with anything you like. 

Traditional Lucky Charms

The traditional lucky charm will do just as well. Think of a four-leaf clover keychain, a horseshoe, or a rabbit’s foot. There are many wonderful and unique ways to use a lucky charm as a protector.

Miscellaneous Items

At a live poker game, players use all sorts of items as protectors. Small animal figurines, cartoon characters, and LEGO are some of them. You can use anything you want, as long as it’s the right size and not offensive. 

Play Online Poker With BetMGM

You certainly won’t need protectors when you play poker games online, and at BetMGM, there are plenty of games to choose from. Then there’s also the BetMGM blog, filled with excellent information and advice on how to win against passive players.

Register with BetMGM today and gain access to a host of games and information about them.

Actress Vanessa Hudgens flipping casino chips next to the text "The King of Casinos"
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Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are casino experts with a wealth of knowledge of the online casino industry at all levels. Their coverage includes company news, game reviews, how-to instructional articles, strategy guides, and editorials showcasing BetMGM’s superior product and game library.