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2018 CONVENTION - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

It's Official!

The next 52 Plus Joker convention will be held Wednesday, October 10th to Saturday October 13th, 2018 at the Holiday Inn (Strongsville) in Cleveland, OH. See main Convention page for details.


 2018 CONVENTION - Cleveland, OH - (Oct. 10-13th, 2018) Minimize

 52 Plus Joker's Annual Playing Card Collector's Convention 2018

WHAT:    52 Plus Joker's Annual Playing Card Collector's Convention
WHEN:    (Wednesday) October 10th - (Saturday) October 13th, 2018
WHERE:  Cleveland, OH (Holiday Inn Cleveland - Strongsville - 15471 Royalton Rd, Strongsville, OH 44136, USA
COST:      $50 registration (includes your trading table) // $50 per person to attend banquet.
CODE:      Enter our special code JOK when making your reservation.

Meet legendary collectors & designers, hobnob with premier card manufacturers, and talk playing cards with other enthusiasts all night long while staying at the Holiday Inn Cleveland - Strongsville (8 miles from the Cleveland airport). The dates for our convention are Wednesday October 10th to Saturday October 13th, 2018.


Register For 52 Plus Joker's Annual Convention - Cleveland


While our schedule is not yet finalized, we expect to unveil the 2018 club deck and several others during the Expert Playing Card Co. reception, have exciting speakers, lots of trading, fun auctions, raffles, closing buffet banquet, etc. Schedule coming soon.


◈ Walter Mach - Thursday Oct. 11th, 2018 @ 2:15 PM

Indice History NEW Revelations - Did you know that the first indices used on cards was over 350 years ago and invented by a Catholic Cardinal? Or that the second use of indices, by a priest, lead to his decks being destroyed by royalty? Walter answers these questions & more with exciting revelations.

◈ Joseph Pierson - Friday Oct. 12th, 2018 @ 1:30 PM

Symmetry In Playing Cards - Most of us take the symmetrical patterns on playing cards for granted, but how did these back designs evolve the way they did & why? Joseph Pierson explores the history and science of symmetry in playing cards, with a focus on Bicycle cards from his collection.

◈ Lotrek - Saturday Oct. 13th, 2018 @ 2:00 PM

Designing Modern Playing Cards - Lotrek takes us through his first works as a freelance illustrator to the present, where he shares his in-depth process of creating modern award winning playing cards. He also explains what triggers imagination & why he seems obsessed with playing card innovation.


We have a terrific rate for our hotel - $105 per night for double occupancy (includes breakfast for 2)! The rate is vaild for all nights booked during the convention plus three nights on either side of those dates subject to availability. We also receive a 15% discount on all meals in the hotel (alcohol not included).

  • Complimentary WiFi available in the bedrooms & public spaces.
  • Complimentary airport shuttle service.
  • Complimentary area shuttle service.
  • Complimentary coffee in Lobby.
  • Complimentary fitness center.


In order to make it as easy to make your reservation, the Holiday Inn Strongsville has created a personalized link which has the 52 Plus Joker code JOK automatically built into it. This tool is extremely user friendly, and will help to make sure your stay is booked within at 52 Plus Joker's group rate.

  • Visit the Holiday Inn Reservations website by clicking here.
  • Simply enter your information about which days you're staying.
  • Enter your credit card number being used to guarantee the reservation.
  • A confirmation number will automatically generate.
  • If you've included an email in your contact info, confirmation will be sent to you immediately.


If you prefer to speak with someone about booking your room, please call the Holiday Inn Strongsville reservations department directly at +1 (877) 408-4913. Make sure to reference group code JOK when speaking with the booking agent.

We hope to see a record number of you at this great location this October!

 Previous 52 Plus Joker Conventions Minimize

Previous 52 Plus Joker Conventions

  • 2018 - Cleveland, Ohio (Strongsville) (Merger with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 2017 - Erlanger, Kentucky
  • 2016 - Chicago, Illinois
  • 2015 - Orlando, Florida
  • 2014 - Charleston, South Carolina
  • 2013 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2012 - Erlanger, Kentucky (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 2011 - Denver, Colorado
  • 2010 - New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 2009 - Toronto, Canada (Joint with International Playing Card Society)
  • 2008 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 2007 - Westborough, Massachusetts
  • 2006 - Montreal, Canada
  • 2005 - San Francisco, California
  • 2004 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 2003 - Wilmington, Delaware (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 2002 - Atlanta, Georgia
  • 2001 - Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • 2000 - New Haven, Connecticut (Joint with International Playing Card Society)
  • 1999 - Cincinnati, OH
  • 1998 - Toronto, Canada
  • 1997 - Kansas City, Kansas
  • 1996 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 1995 - Cincinnati, OH (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1994 - Arlington, Virginia
  • 1993 - Kissimmee, Florida
  • 1992 - Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 1991 - Cincinnati, OH (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1990 - New Haven, Connecticut
  • 1989 - Indianapolis, Indiana (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1988 - Chicago, Illinois (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)
  • 1987 - Cincinnati, OH (Joint with Chicago Playing Card Collectors)


 Top 10 List For Newcomers Considering The Convention Minimize

By Joseph Zompetti 

Joseph Zompetti: Member of 52 Plus Joker

The 52+Joker convention in 2016 was my first. While I am an avid collector, with several thousand decks in my collection, I have never attended a gathering of fellow collectors, until last month.

The convention was more than I could have imagined. In a moment, I will provide my “top 10 list” of things a newcomer should consider when attending the convention. But, one thing that isn’t really captured in my list is the pure energy and sense of being overwhelmed. There are so many decks of cards! And, everyone attending is as excited as I was! For a geek like me, it was sort of like coming home.

So ... if you are considering coming to the convention (which I hope you are), here are my top 10 things to consider. I was a little anxious as a newbie, and I didn’t quite know what to expect. Fortunately, I had a friend in the magic community who was a member, so he helped prepare me. I hope this can do the same for you:

  1. Attend the first reception.

    I am also a professor, so I have attended many scholarly conferences. One of the things many academics do is they avoid the initial reception or gathering of a conference. Instead, they meet with friends or go sightseeing. For some reason, I did not follow this habit when attending the 52+Joker convention. And I am glad I did. Not only was there free hors d'oeuvres and adult beverages (although I'm not sure this is always the case), but I also met and talked to some really awesome, cool people. I met Lee Asher, the president of the organization, as well as Bill Kalush (president of the Expert Playing Card Company, pioneer for the Conjuring Arts Research Center, and consultant to magician David Blaine), Mark Stutzman (amazing card designer and designer of all of the David Blaine decks), and I happened to stumble upon a few other 'virgins' of the convention, so we all bonded!

  2. Bring any rarities that you would like to sell for one of the auctions.

    There are at least 2 auctions at the convention (maybe 3). I didn’t quite understand the initial “auction” that was described and announced, but the other two were pretty cool. In the middle of the convention, there is an open-bid auction of items that are on display. This past year, many of the items were also publicized in the publication of the organization, so many of us already knew about them. Nevertheless, we could examine and inspect the items as they were displayed on tables. Then, the auction began. Very few items went unbid. Some went for very large sums. But, for newcomers with small wallets, I can attest that some items go for a pittance – because I was able to secure one! Then, there is the “silent auction” at the end of the convention. During the banquet at the end of the convention (which you simply MUST attend), many of the member place their wares on tables at the back of the room with a suggested opening bid. And then, like any silent auction, other members may place their bids for the item as long as it exceed the suggested bid. At the end of the evening, if the item has a bid, the item sells, and the seller and buyer square the deal. The organization only asks for a 10% donation (from the seller), which is extremely reasonable. And, of course, you can provide anything you’d like in this auction. I bid for several items as well as put some on the market. Ultimately, I made $40!

  3. Bring other decks you’d like to sell.

    The auctions are just one way of selling some of your items. Each attendee is given a table so that they can display their “goods.” Some people simply showcase their rare and cool items. But, most folks use their table as an opportunity to sell some of their decks. The decks may have price tags, but most owners/dealers are open to negotiation.

  4. Ask questions about the club.

    Okay, so enough about buying and selling. The club/organization is MUCH more than just the buying and selling of decks. The club is really about maintaining a network of like-minded folks who share similar interests. There is, of course, the annual convention, then there is the website which has a ton of very useful information, and then there are the members who are also a reservoir of knowledge. Anything you’d like to know about cards, as well as collecting, are at your disposal. Just ask!

  5. Ask questions about decks.

    There is a ton of information about designers, playing card manufactures, and actual decks. While the club embraces the vintage, antique and modern collectors, there will undoubtedly be someone at the convention who knows something about what you are interested in. They also may very well be excited and enthused about the same things!

  6. Bring a friend.

    I brought my girlfriend, and I am very happy I did. Not only did she learn why I love collecting cards, but she made some good friends at the same time! Everyone at the convention were extremely friendly, and they made my girlfriend and myself very welcome. Having someone to share my experience added a great deal to the overall weekend.

  7. Make new friends.

    While at the convention, you should reach out and expose yourself (appropriately and meaningfully!). I made contacts with folks that I otherwise wouldn’t have. We exchanged business cards and email addresses. At the next convention, I know that there will be people who will know me and expect to see me. As with any club or organization, the idea of “feeling included” is a huge benefit. But, not only that, I made some friends for whom I can collaborate with my collecting and/or trade or sell my current decks with. In other words, the convention provides an atmosphere of collegiality that benefits everyone.

  8. Scope out what others have brought to display and sell.

    The open room includes tables of all of the members. A word of caution: There will be a TON OF CARDS!!! You will want to walk around the room several times to explore what everyone brought. Most of their cards will be for sale.

  9. Don’t buy everything you see immediately.

    Pace yourself. Of course, if you see something you like, and you’re worried that someone else might snag it, you should go ahead and talk to the member. However, you may see something else in the room you like more; or, it might be the last day of the convention, and the member may have dropped their price. Either way, you might consider waiting instead of buying everything immediately.

  10. Bring money.

    Speaking of buying – you should definitely bring extra cash. My friend warned me to bring $100 more of whatever I was budgeting, and boy was he right! I could have spent a ton more than I did! Fortunately, I brought my (girl)friend who kept me in check. You might want to consider a similar mechanism to check your spending proclivity. Or, as the members might say, don’t, and just bring your checkbook!

All-in-all, I firmly believe you will enjoy the convention. I know I did. I became an instant convert. If you love cards, you’ll love this convention. And, perhaps more importantly, you’ll love the members. They are incredibly friendly and helpful. They will help you and guide you and encourage you. You will be welcomed.

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