From Beginner to Master: Five Foolproof Ways Pokémon Collectors Care for their Cards

Today you'll learn how the main types of Pokémon collectors protect their cards. 

We spoke to countless customers and asked "How do you protect your Pokémon collection?” 

We uncovered some interesting findings, including different types of strategies and product recommendations (and no don't only recommend Ryker card sleeves).

Ready? Let’s go.

The Basics 

  • Sleeves should always protect your cards from dirty, grease, and liquids.
  • Keeping your cards in a cool dry place can help tons. Any foil can curl/warp over time, in any TCG and the main culprit is humidity.
  • Sleeves should always make your deck easier to shuffle if you’re playing tournaments.

What Type of Collector Are You?

Over the years we've sold card sleeves to thousands of Pokémon fans who were looking to give their card collection a little TLC.

We found that each collector fit into one of 5 types, each with their unique needs.

  1. The Beginner
  2. The Childhood Hobbyist
  3. The Present Parent
  4. The Tournament Player
  5. The Reseller

The Beginner

First of all, welcome!

If you’re just getting started and not entirely sure what your plans are, it’s safe to say you don’t need to be making any big investments in protecting your Pokémon cards.

If, however, you’re keen to keep them as good as new, start with some penny sleeves (great options are available at your local game stores).

They’re great for general protection from the elements but if you start dabbling in tournament play, you’re going to want something with a smoother shuffle (like these here).

The Childhood Hobbyist  

Ah, the nostalgia.

If you’re not keen on playing and just enjoy the act of opening a fresh pack of Pokémon cards, consider sleeving your high-trade cards and putting them in a binder (non-ringed, spine bound only) and storing the rest safely in storage boxes.

Every week we hear from customers re-sleeving their entire long forgotten collection with our Clear Matte Sleeves. Some like that our crystal clear front for those stunning foils. Others enjoy the peace of mind that our extra strong seal provides.

If you’re interested in playing, however, see The Tournament Player below.

The Present Parent 

There’s two key things you should know:

  1. There’s sleeves that are quality and
  2. There’s sleeves that look really cool and those are mutually exclusive. 

Now that you know this, you can decide what you or your child prefer more—the art or the quality.

That being said, even though the art sleeves will usually wear out faster, they’ll still do the job of protecting your cards just fine. 

For art sleeves, we like the classic Charizard Ultra Pro Sleeves and the Pokeball Ultra Pro Sleeves

If, however, you’re more keen on quality than artwork, we would recommend these sleeves here as a great option for both protection and play.

When the cards aren’t in use, try storing them in a secure box away from any heat and humidity.

The Tournament Player 

Not all tournament players treat their cards the same. 

If you riffle shuffle, you’ll almost definitely want to make sure you sleeve your cards to prevent them from quickly warping and since time is of the essence in tournaments, a riffle shuffle is usually the go-to for most players. 

We recommend these sleeves here for an easy shuffle and card protection while playing. Most importantly, they are 100% opaque, preventing the backs of the cards from being distinguishable - a requirement for tournament play.

For the cards you’re not playing with, we recommend storing them in penny-sleeves (available at your local game stores) and placing them in a storage box for safekeeping until you want to add them to your deck.  

The Reseller

You’ve just opened a booster pack and spot a rare holographic card. Before you pop the champagne, immediately sleeve it in a penny sleeve before inspecting. 

It’s also recommended that you don’t use cotton gloves to handle the cards—any minor scratch to the card can seriously decrease the value. 

Then, place in a harder shell toploader sleeve (like these here) to protect the card against bumps. Most grading companies require you to ship the card in a toploader anyways, so it’s a worthwhile investment. 

If you’re serious about your card’s value, send them to get them graded either by PSA or Beckett Grading. This will dramatically increase your card’s value and they return your card to you in a secure hard case which is much safer to store in. 

If you prefer to store in a binder, don’t slot your cards back-to-back and do not use ring binders. Instead, make sure to use one with pages secured to a spine. Binders are also great for non-holographics or lesser rare cards that you’re keeping in penny sleeves. 

If you’re going to use a box, make sure that it’s snug enough to prevent the cards from moving around too much (this will cause them to scuff). 


I hope you found this analysis interesting.

We’d like to thank all of our awesome customers for their feedback which made up the bulk of our research.

Now we’d like to hear what you have to say: What’s your #1 tip for protecting your Pokémon collection?

Tips and/or questions? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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