Best Ways To Tell If A Pokémon Card is Fake

Fake cards are taking the world by storm. If you’re new to the hobby, you will want to know if the cards you are buying are real! 

These are the best ways to tell if your card is real. Including the infamous RIP TEST.

Is My Pokémon Card Fake?

You can tell if a Pokémon Card is fake by looking at the color, text, texture, holo pattern, and a hidden thin layer.

You can only see these thin layers by RIPPING the card. However, listed below are ways to find out if your card is real without destroying it first!

Fake Pokémon Card Color and Textures

How to tell this Fake Pokémon card from the real one.

1. Incorrect spelling

2. Incorrect bolding

3. Colors are too dark and appear smudged.

Pokémon cards have a very sophisticated feel to their textured cards. It is smooth and not rough. It is even throughout. Some cards have a very slick feeling as opposed to being very slightly raised when sliding your finger against them. Beware of the slick cards.

Not all light-colored cards are fake.  Some print runs are lighter than others but are real. I have seen these personally!

However, fake and light cards are easy to spot because they usually have another factor that identifies them as fake. This holds true for dark cards also.

A light card with a slick feel, incorrect grammar, spelling, or bold fonts is most likely fake! Fake Pokémon cards also have smudged texts. The outline of wording can be heavily or lightly bolded which is incorrect. 


Fake Pokémon Card Coloring

Can you guess which side of real or fake? (Answer at the bottom)

Often, a fake Pokémon card has one shade of blue throughout the card. 

As seen here, the blue is completely one shade whereas a real one has different shades of blue. Also, the boarder of the card is more purple than it is in the iconic Pokémon Blue.

Notice on the top right of the Poké ball, there is a patch of blue that is overpowering.

Answer: Right is fake!

Fake Pokémon Card Spelling and Lettering

An obvious error is spelling. What’s not so obvious is the kerning. Kerning,  the space between the letters, is usually evenly spaced. 

In the example above notice the abnormally large spacing. The letters are even the wrong typography!

Poorly produced cards have exaggerated spacing between letters.

Thanks you Reddit user /u/Riezenberg for this photo.

Other things to watch for include high HP. The Pokemon TCG community is massive! TCPI creates cards that appease too this audience and can’t make cards too unfair. If the Pokemon’s HP is too high, its probably fake.

Fake Pokémon Foil Cards

Holofoil cards are the most sought after cards. They tend to hold the most value.

Because of this, they are the most counterfeited cards. 

From afar, these might look real. Upon closer examination, you can see these cards are truly fake. Pokémon does a great job printing foil cards. These cards have a direct vertical rainbow print. Real Pokémon cards run diagonally or on a slant.

Pokémon also places the holofoil strategically. Often, they will only make a part of a card holo. The bottom right Umbreon does not have holo on the eyes on the real card, but this entire card is holo.

Credit: Reddit /u/infinitefancy

Energy Symbols (Hard To Spot)

Some fake cards are very hard to spot! While scammers take their time reproducing all of the shiny part’s, they forget the fine details.

Energy symbols are hard to duplicate. They are so small. Often fake cards will have misaligned energy symbols!

Notice this fake card. The star in the energy symbol is fitted to the right!

Look closely for this fine detail that is hard to find unless you pay close attention!

Pokémon Stickers

Flimsy, plastic-y, or slick? These are all signs of a fake card. 

Also, STICKERS. Some cards are just stickers. Feel the card and if the corners are peeling, it’s probably a sticker.

This is not to be confused with actual Pokémon Stickers. These stickers however, never look like a real card. These are designed completely differently.

However, there is one exception. The Ditto card from Pokémon Go. This is a card that has a ditto sticker on it!

 Pokémon decided to make this a fun card and have people peel off the sticker to reveal a Pokemon. This is the ONLY exception.

Grab a card you know is real, then compare the card you just got. If it has any of those characteristics stated above is the texture or feel of your card, it’s probably fake!

The Pokémon Card Rip Test

The last thing you want to do is rip your card. This will completely devalue your card. The only time I would rip a card is if I bought cards in bulk and could rip a lower valued card to test it. 

English Pokémon cards have a distinct black layer that is visible when a card is ripped. It is part of the cardstock.  Japanese cards have a distinct blue layer that is part of the cardstock. 

Once again, this is the last resort. More on the Rip Test here.


Trying to see if your Pokémon card is fake? Try these helpful pointers.

  1. Color
  2. Text
  3. Texture
  4. Holo Pattern
  5. The Light Test
  6. The Rip Test
If you’re still unable to tell, bring your card to your local game store and as for an opinion. Right before the rip test!
Good Luck!