History of KEM Cards
KEM Cards began producing playing cards during the first half of the 1930s. The company’s proprietary manufacturing methods gave KEM cards the enviable title of the first mass-produced plastic playing card. Made of cellulose acetate, KEM cards were bendable, washable and retained their shape long after paper-based cards had withered and died. KEM’s unique polymer gave the cards their distinctive texture, snap and handle. Unlike other cards, KEM cards were able to withstand the occasional spilled beer, making them an instant hit with seasoned poker players.
KEM cards gained substantial popularity during the Second World War as troops gathered together in barracks across Europe to play stud, draw and other poker games. The cards could withstand the humidity of jungle weather and were less affected by desert sand and grit.
KEM cards set the standard for poker card design. In fact, KEM’S red and blue arrow design is arguably the most well-known card design in the world and has become an icon for poker players across the globe. This design was features in the 1998 movie “Rounders” in which Matt Damon battled John Malkovich in an underground card room in New York City.
For 70 years, KEM cards ruled the plastic playing card industry. The company experienced great success through the 1950s and 60s. Then, in 2004, after many years of success, KEM cards sold their plants and copyrighted artwork to the US Playing Card Company. This historic corporate purchase left the industry with a shortage of plastic playing cards. Finally, after almost two years of silence, the presses once again began churning and the US Playing Card Company began re-releasing KEM’s vintage Arrow and Paisley designs.
In 2007, KEM was selected as the official playing card of the World Series of Poker. This signified that the KEM Brand was once again the top runner when it came to card games. Since then, KEM has been happy to remain the official playing card of the greatest poker tournament ever.