Wednesday, December 03, 2014

One last Goodbye

Thank you all once again for being very loyal readers, followers and friends of The Pack Gambler.

It's been a blast talking with you about our hobby and helping out where we could. We'll miss each and everyone of you as you were what made The Pack Gambler in demand and made it work. 

To my fellow Canadian Collectors: keep pushing the envelope to have products travel north of the border. Baseball, Football and Soccer all have a place in our hobby with us. Visit your local card shop and support your local card shows. Without support the industry will die again in Canada. And for those that are within Ontario or like to travel, come to the Sports Card Expo. You'll meet fellow Canadian Collectors, great finds and provide support to the Canadian business's.

To our neighbors to the south: You have a lot of resources to keep the hobby alive and well. Continue to support your LCS and Card shows. Make some friends north of the border and trade some of those hockey cards you've been looking for. You never know what you might find from a collector up here.

To those that follow outside of North America: Glad to see our hobby stretches out beyond Canada and the US. It might be hard for you to obtain cards and memorabilia, but each of you are true die-hard collectors because of this factor. Hopefully it won't be so hard in the future. 

To Panini, Upper Deck, Leaf, In The Game & Topps; Keep bringing it. You have collectors that love your products and that are always looking for "The next big thing". All of you have this capability and I'm sure we will see some pretty spectacular innovation in the coming years.  

Thank you again for the amazing comments left during the last @SportCardColl contest (

To be honest it made us think twice if we should really do this or not. Hearing that we brought some collectors back into the hobby is just amazing for us as this was something we were hopeful to achieve. 

We are very thankful for this opportunity we had the last few years and your support and friendships will not be forgotten.

May you all continue to find happiness in your collecting and wish you all he success in the hobby.

The Pack Gambler  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Thank you all very much!

Dear Gambler Followers,

As most of you found out last night, we will no longer be a part of the hobby in this capacity after December 2014.

It has been a great few years covering the hobby and making new friends. We were looking towards some sponsorship and support funding to keep everything going with reviews and keeping up within the hobby, but unfortunately some opportunities didn't come through. Not having these resources makes it very hard to stay on top of the hobby and be a supporting voice within the community.

It has been a great experience full of ups and downs. From having fun running box breaks, writing reviews and being able to meet some of you either in person or online will be times I won’t forget.

For our remaining in-stock inventory, we are holding a massive blowout sale for everything on our site. The Sale has started with some items yesterday and will have the rest of the items on sell starting tomorrow October 21st and run until November 14th.

We also have two more contests with @SportCardCollec that we will sponsor and will have a great packages to giveaway.

All of our social media avenues will stay open for now but will shut down in December. 

I’m not sure if you’ll see The Pack Gambler online in the future but I wish you all the very best in your future hobby success.

Thank you all for your support and friendship over the years


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Product Review: 2014-15 UD MVP Hockey Hobby Box

Hockey is in full effect in the collecting world for 2014, and another popular products has arrived a few weeks ago that has been a staple, MVP. The comparable low-end product to O-Pee-Chee, MVP brings new technology to its brand and offers boxes below $60 each.

The 2014-15 set is 200 cards strong, but also has 100 short print cards making it 300 in total for complete sets. SPs land 1 per pack so building a set shouldn't be too hard and won't break the bank.

Like all products MVP comes with a slew of parallels and die-cut parallels of the base cards. Silver Script are found 1 per pack but you can also search for Super Scripts which are serial numbered to only 25 and Gold Scripts that are found in Blaster boxes.

Spectrum Light F/X technology is brought into this years set and look better than ever. Each card under the Colors & Contours title are die-cut and have different levels to collect. Teal, Gold and Purple each have three levels all found at different pack ratios from 1 in 8 packs up to 1 in 520 packs for the most rare.

Three inserts make the MVP checklist this year. Players of the Week, Players of the Month and Rookies of the Month . Players of the Week are most common coming in at 1 in 8 packs, but the Rookie of the Month and Players of the Month are only 1 in 40 packs making these both tough insert sets to collect.

MVP isn't known for their Autographs or Relics but this year they do have a couple of sets to hunt down. Your better off finding these online or at card shows than pulling them in your box. The lowest odds of either is 1 in 128 while the others are looking more like buying a case to actually finding one or maybe two.

Each box will come with 24 packs with 8 cards per pack. You also are guaranteed to find either a Super Script, Autograph or Relic in each box. Since the Super Scripts are numbered to only 25 those aren't too bad of a pull overall.

Lets see how we did on our box;

Base Card: 132 (0 doubles)
Base High Series SP: 24 - Sakic, Nugent-Hopkins, Crosby, Lemieux, Kane, Gretzky, Lundqvist, Teravainen RC
Silver Script: 16
Silver Script SP: 8 - Tavares, Couture, Kessel, Rinne, Van Riemsdyk, Giroux, Lecavalier, Selanne
NHL 3 Stars of the Week: 4 - Malkin/Kronwall/Keith, Scrivens/Seguim/Harding, Ovechkin/Jones/Hutton, Nyquist/Lundqvist/Iginla
NHL 3 Stars of the Month: 1 - Steen/Crosby/Niemi
Colors & Contours Teal L3: 3 - Zuccarello, Foligno, Campbell
Colors & Contours Gold L2: 1 - Robert Lehner
Colors & Contours Gold L1: 1 - Kevin Shattenkirk
Colors & Contours Purple L2: 1 - Pavel Datsyuk
Super Script: Brock Nelson /25

The Base cards this year have a decent design to them. I like the technology type pattern and they don't feel or look low-end too much overall. The Silver Scripts are also nice with the autograph facsimile on the front. On the Rookie cards I like the Rookie at the top of the card as it sets it off nicely against the design.
Short Prints are not easy to tell unless you look at the numbering of the card. From the 24 we pulled we hit most of the top hits in the product which was nice including Teravainen and Gretzky.
We pulled 5 inserts in the box and one of them was a 1 in 48 packs shot. 4 of the inserts were the Players of the Week and the Players of the Month was a nice one with Crosby on it. Being that these are touch inserts to put together I thought they would have been a little better designs and types of cards. 
Colors & Contours is my favorite parallel so far in 2014. I love the awesome technology and die-cut shapes on these cards. In a product like this you don't expect this type of high-end look and feel but this was very surprising and made me want more.

From the 6 cards we pulled we came across 3 that were harder pulls overall. Lehner is a 1 per box pull, Shattenkirk is a 1 per 2 box pull and Datsyuk is a 1 in 6 box pull! Very nice on all three of these cards.
Our main hit in the box came as a Super Script (as we assumed it would be) of Brock Nelson. Upper Deck did a nice job on numbering these only to 25 cards and using a technology foil to brand the card. Even though these are 1 per box they will still bring in decent secondary value with the low numbering.
The 2014-15 MVP product did a decent job. This is a very affordable box and you can expect a little of everything from decent base cards, Short Prints, cool die-cut parallels and a low numbered parallel or if your lucky a relic or autograph. This is a great little set for beginners or set collectors as the set isn't too big and you can have a lot of fun tracking down those SPs you need.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Box Hit: 4/5
Design: 4/5
Parallels: 4.5/5
Inserts: 3.5/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Product Review: 2014 Upper Deck Team Canada Juniors Hobby Box

Up here in Canada we celebrate Hockey every chance we get. Once of the more special moments of the Hockey season happens around Christmas with the World Juniors. It just seems fitting that Upper Deck would create a Team Canada Juniors product to celebrate the great game of hockey for Canadians.

Whether your a hockey fan or just a collector in Canada this is the product we have been waiting for. Its a Mid to High range product with only Team Canada Juniors and Women included and exclusive for Canada. Upper Deck created a 18 pack Hobby box with 5 cards per pack to celebrate the top prospects and women of Team Canada.

To say this product is loaded is an under statement. Each box will include 18 SP base cards, 3 Parallels, 4 Special Edition inserts, 1 Autographed Patch, 1 Multi-Swatch Relic, along with 4 Autographs, Relics or Printing Plates. Wow! That is simply amazing for a collector to get in a box these days.

This product has a few base set parallels as well like Gold Sepia, Exclusive Red and High Gloss. These will be tough to pull as they are only 3 per box on average, so building a "Rainbow" could be fun and challenging at the same time.

The Relics come in different types like Single, Dual, Triple, Quads, and Jumbo. Some of the Jumbo Patches I've seen just look ridiculous and will be fetching a lot in the secondary market. The smaller Patch cards seem to be more so of multi color swatches than true patch cards.

Boxes run currently around $100-$120 each, while you might be able to find packs priced at around $10. Not too bad for this product and the finds you could potential hit are really cool. With a loaded product like this you have to take a chance on a box.

Lets find out how we did with ours:

Base Cards: 63 (1 Double)
Base Card SP: 18 - Fucale, Drouin, Ekblad
Base Card Sepia: 5 - Audette, Mantha, Pelech, Gauthier, McDavid
Base Card Exclusive: 3 - Lacasse, Paterson, Bowey (all /199)
UD Special Edition: 6 - Bigras, Pouliot, Billia, Fucale, Reinhart, Johnston
Team Canada Juniors Relic: 1 - Alexandre Carrier
Team Canada Women Relic: 2 - Lauriane Rougeau, Natalie Spooner
Team Canada Dual Jersey: 1 - Drouin/Mantha
Clear Cut Playing for a Nation: 1 - Brayden Point /75
Team Canada Autograph Patch: 1 - Alexandre Carrier /199
Team Canada Gold Autograph: 1 - Connor McDavid

Lots to cover here so lets start with the Base cards. The design is pretty sleek and very clean looking. Love both the front and back of the cards. Adding in the 50 SP's makes you take a double take on the cards you pull. The SP's are found just after the filler card or relic per pack so they are easy to tell, plus they are #101-150. We did pull 1 double of Mikkelson but no complaining here, just weird to find a double in a product like this. If your looking to complete the base set you'll have to buy more than a couple of boxes as we were 37 cards short from the first box.
The parallels of the base are a nice touch. Like that the Exclusives are Red foil to match the colours of the team plus they are numbered to 199. The Gold Sepia are not too bad but hard to tell while sorting through your box at the end. 
The Special Edition cards are a famous Upper Deck insert that you've seen around. These could bend easily from busting open the packs so be careful. The Clear Cut came in the pack in a penny sleeve which looked weird at first but I guess to not have them stick to the other cards in the pack. Nice that they are numbered to only 75 and you can see some good return in the secondary market for the right player.  
Onto the Relics. We pulled 3 single swatches from our box of Carrier, Rougeau and Spooner. The card designs are nice and the relics were basic but overall still a nice piece to pull. Natalie Spooner is currently on The Amazing Race Canada and is a very popular athlete in Canada, this one is headed right to the PC.
We pulled a dual swatch relic of Drouin & Mantha. These are found only in every 48 packs so this was a bonus hit in that sense. Drouin is a top prospect that should be playing in the NHl this year so this was a good pull.
Two autographs came out of this box. One for Alexandre Carrier that is classified as a Auto Patch card but is really a two colour swatch. Numbered to 199 and is a nice card that matches the single swatch above of him. The other autograph couldn't have been any better as it is of the high touted Connor McDavid. This seems to be an SP autograph but we haven't been able to confirm just yet. This was a fantastic pull from this product. Both are sticker autographs but this might be the only time that I don't mind that in this type of product. Especially if McDavid is the 1st Overall in the June Draft. 
We've seen a number of boxes busted recently and overall we hit a couple of bonuses with the Clear Cut, Dual Swatch and the McDavid Autograph. Love the cards, love the chances at pulling some great hits, and love that it is strictly Canadian and Team Canada. As a hockey fan in Canada this is an amazing product to collect. Upper Deck really did a great job on this one and will be completing the Base Set along with the SP set. If your in Canada go out and buy a box now, don't wait as these will be going up in price and will be sold out in no time.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.75 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autograph/Patch: 4.5/5
Design: 5/5
Parallels: 4.5/5
Inserts: 4.5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Product Review: 2014 Panini Donruss Series 2 Baseball Hobby Box

I've said it on Twitter, Blogs and other posts.......It's too bad Panini doesn't have a piece of the MLB licence. Since they came back into creating Baseball products, Panini has been on top of their game with cool designs, great photography and overall amazing products. The 2014 Donruss Series II product is no exception.

The follow up release to the popular Series I, Series II brings us even closer into the old Donruss look and feel. 24 Packs per box with 8 cards per pack make this a fun and enjoyable product to open. Aside from the 100 regular base set you have great inserts and Short Prints waiting within each box. Rated Rookies are again SP's and packed at 1:6 packs, Diamond Kings are also SP's and come in at 6 per box (on average).

The Elite series is packed into this Series and provide almost 1 per pack. These are a great edition for those set collectors to hunt down. With 100 cards in the set, you'll need a few boxes in order to complete it your self.

The Base set as well as Elite both have serial number parallels to chase like Career Stat Lines, Season Stat Lines, Silver Press Proof, Gold Press Proof, Dominator, Turn of the Century, Inspirations and Status are just a few to find.

You'll find 3 hits per box that can be either Relic or Autographs, some boxes I've seen have up to 4 hits which knowing Panini is more often that not. Your price point on this box is around $80 or so which isn't too bad for a product like this.

Lets see how we did on our box:

Base Cards: 133 (33 doubles) 
Rated Rookies: 4 - Springer, Cron, Martinez, Abreu
The Rookies: 4 - Bettis, Bethancourt, Hembree, Martinez
Diamond Kings: 6 - Fernandez, Trumbo, Gomez, Cepedes, Upton, Gonzalez
Elite: 24 - dArnaud, Abreu, Walker, Springer, Trout
Career Stat Lines Rated Rookies: 1 - Erisbel Arruebarrena /276
Career Stat Lines Base: 1 - Bautista /400
Season Stat Lines Base: 1 - Votto /400
Career Stat Line Diamond Kings: 1 - Marte /275
Silver Press Proof Base: 1 - Kolten Wong /199
Silver Press Proof Rated Rookie: 1 - Holmberg RR /199
Silver Press Proof Diamond Kings: 1 - Encarnacion /199
Gold Press proof Diamond Kings: 1 - Marte /99
Elite Face 2 Face: 1 - McCutchen/Kershaw /999
Elite Series 2: 1 - Bryce Harper /999
The Elite Series: 3 - Longoria, Cabrera, Beltran (all /999)
Elite Dominator: 2 - Wright, Tanaka (both /999)
Elite Turn of the Century: 1 - Headley /199
Elite Inspirations Die-Cut: 1 - Jeter /98
Elite Status Die-Cut: 1 - Cano /49
Elite Turn of the Century Autographs: 2 - Solarte, Nelson
Elite Status Die-Cut Autograph: 1 - Andrew Lambo /49
Jersey Kings: 1 - Derek Jeter

Lots to cover off here. With the base cards I enjoyed the card design and photography. Not getting the MLB logos is tough but some of the photos are very clever and look great. The backs are nice too with the 1988 feel to them. I did pull 33 doubles from the box which is pretty high, too bad there couldn't be a substitute for them but with a mid-low range product you have to expect this. 
Love the fact the Rated Rookies and Diamond Kings are SP's. Both are apart of the "Continuous Set" and could be the big sell to set builders looking for these cards. 
The Elite Series are a nice foil type design and come with veterans and rookies. They can chip so be careful when busting your box. Being a 100 card set, this is another one to watch on the secondary market. 
The Elite Series and Elite Dominator inserts are great looking cards. Again Panini is bringing back those old impossible to find inserts from the 90's and making them more available in this product. Both would be great to complete sets.
The Rookies insert set is an awesome "bring me back to 1988" design. Love the retro feel on these and a pretty cool set full of this years rookies. 
Parallels are everywhere in this box. I pulled 18 in the box, those are pretty good odds in a $80 box. With the different flavors to pull I really liked the Die-Cut and Career Stat Lines. 
I pulled three autographs in the box with one being a numbered die-cut. All three are sticker autos and of low tiered players. The Die-Cut is a cool card and only numbered to 49, Lambo is not a house hold name but again you don't expect trout to pop up in every other box.
I managed to pull an additional hit, that being a Relic of Derek Jeter. Nice looking card and a great player to pull in a pack.
Overall I love this product. It is so right for Set Collectors and Baseball lovers. It doesn't break the bank, you pull a lot of great cards and the retro look and feel to the box is hands down fun. It's one of those addictive products that you just can't get enough of. I'm strongly thinking about buying a few more boxes or maybe even look into a case of this stuff. Panini does it again without a MLB licence, you can only imagine what they could do with it. 

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.6 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Relics: 4/5
Autographs: 4/5
Inserts: 5/5
Design: 5/5
Fun Aspect: 5/5

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Derek Jeter - The King of Cardboard

Can you think of any baseball products produced since 1994 that didn't have Jeter in it? Didn't think so. Jeter has not only been the face of Baseball since his inception but he's been the face of our Hobby.
Year after year every product has had a base card and at least the minimal 1 insert. Among the plentiful parallels, subsets and inserts are some of the nicest autographed cards and relics of the New York Short Stop. Always in popular and high demand, Jeter's cards are always at the top of the list with collectors.

Being this is his last full year in the majors, does this mean it will be the last we'll see of him in our cardboard world? Not even close. Typically you won't see "freshly" retired players in the following year products unless they are inserted as a subset, insert or variation of some sort. Even at that, you need to be a superstar in order to crack the mold on getting in. If you don't fall into this category you'll find these players coming back after 3-5 years of being away from the game in a Legends or Retro product.

Jeter won't be the same. With the legacy that he is leaving he'll be in a lot of sets in the foreseeable future. Now you might not see him as a regular base card player or normal current player inserts/subsets but I'm sure we'll be seeing one if not more Jeter type special inserts or subsets celebrating his career. The given Topps sets he'll be always apart of are Archives, Allen & Ginter, Gypsy Queen, Five Star, Tier One, Triple Threads, Museum and Tribute due to the product flavor of adding retired stars into the checklists. With Panini, they could include him in all of their releases since they have a mixed flavor of current and retired stars in each product they produce.
With each of those you know that they are stocked with relic pieces just waiting to be put into cardboard. Autographs might become a little less available than before but there is a chance they could turn around and become more apparent after he retires. You see Mays and Koufax signing a lot nowadays and it would only make sense that Jeter follows suit and signs for every product and will a high quantity too.

If you’re a Jeter collector it's a little saddening to have your player retired and not playing everyday. It takes some time to get use to it, however you will be still able to collect everything and anything of Jeter for a very long time. Sure it will be weird not seeing Jeter on the Topps Series 1 checklist for the first time but we'll see him everywhere else that you'll convince yourself he's still playing even though the box score is missing his name.

The Pack Gambler

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Thursday, September 04, 2014

Product Review: 2014-15 UD O-Pee-Chee Hockey Hobby Box

If your looking for a large set to collect and love hockey, 2014-15 O-Pee-Chee is the perfect fit for you. Since I was a little kid trading cards at the playground, O-Pee-Chee has been one of the most popular names in Canada for trading cards.

500 Regular Base set cards plus an additional 100 Marquee Rookies and Legends make up the 600 total card set. Both the Rookies and Legends are Short printed and slated to come in at 1:2 packs.

Upper Deck didn't stop at just a large base set. They also have added in very nice parallel sets to collect. Each base/Rookie/Legend comes with a Retro, Rainbow Foil. and Black Foil parallel to chase down. Rainbow Foils are 1 in every 4 packs, Black Foil cards are serial numbered to /100.

Stickers make a return for 2014-15, these are 1:3 packs while a new Insert V Series A are introduced and come at 2 per box (1:16 packs).

Autographs are back in the form of O-Pee-Chee Signatures, Team Canada Signature, Sport Royalty Autographs, and Buybacks. In O-Pee-Chee releases these autographs are always tough pulls and are seen 1 in every 3 boxes or more.

A very popular insert that of course is back this year are the Team Logo Manufactured Patches. These are 1:96 packs (on average but seem to be higher odds), a really great secondary market value is always seen on these cards. Collectors love these to collect of their favorite team as well as the sets.

In Canada we're fortunate to have our own Pack Redemption program that requires 50 Packs in order to receive a 5 card pack of Red Border and 1 Tall Boy. Most collectors break as much as they can in the first week and try to collect as many packs as they can for re-sale.

Being a traditional product we bought a box to break for the review, lets see how we did on our Hobby Box:

Base Cards: 177 (0 doubles)
Marquee Rookie: 9 - Rattie, Trocheck, Knapp, Gormley, Knight, Hishon, LeBlanc, Halmo, Visentin
Marquee Legends: 9 - Yzerman, Oates, Linden, Roenick, MacInnis, Beliveau, Damphousse, Roloson, Forsburg
Retro Base: 27 - Crosby, Checklist
Retro Rookie: 3 - Ortio, McKegg, Knapp
Retro Legends: 2 - Linden, Forsburg
Rainbow Foil Base: 5 - Nyquist, Johnson, Vanek, Gonchar, Lucic
Rainbow Foil Marquee Rookie: 1 - Paquette
Rainbow Foil Marquee Legend: 1 - Fuhr
Rainbow Foil Black: 2 - Stepan, Backstrom (both /100)
V Series A: 2 - Nugent-Hopkins, Brodeur
Stickers: 11 - Lemieux, Forsburg, Sitter, Yzerman
O-Pee-Chee Signatures: 1 - Daniel Girardi
Manufactured Patch: 1 - Winnipeg Jets 2011-12 to Present Alternate

Being this is a retro feel and look product you can't get excited over the Base card design. It's pretty plain but does give you the feel of Retro with the backing and non-fancy design. The Marquee Rookies and Legends are better designs than the base look.
If you think the Base card design is basic, don't look too far for a worse design. The Retro design is one of the worse we've seen. The front of the cards are weak and not appealing anyway you look at it. Same as the above, Rookies and Legends do tend to look a little better but still are very plain.

 With the Rainbow Foil parallels you can't go wrong. Base, Rookies and Legends all look great. Anything shinny these days always look great. Nice to continue the Black Foil numbered out of /100 to increase the value of these parallels.

We pulled two V Series A inserts. Kind of like Mini cards for the set, they are a nice retro touch. The Stickers are very colorful and very thin. Be careful pulling these out, you might end up using them as stickers instead of collecting the set.

We managed to pull two very hard cards in this product. The Daniel Giradi Autograph is found in 1:272 packs. It is a sticker autograph but the design and surprise of pulling this in the box was cool. Additionally we pulled a Team Logo Patch for the Jets. It's part of the Modern Era patch and found 1:123 packs. Its a really nice patch and should do well in the secondary market. Pulling both of these within one box is pretty amazing. You typically would pull one at the minimal in every three boxes or so.

Overall I did very well with this box. Of course a lot of this had to do with the Autograph and Patch pulls but the product is pretty decent. The down side to the product is the Retro design parallels. Hopefully next years will be much better to look at. Foil parallels are again great and having the Rookies and Legends as short prints is very smart. Set collectors will enjoy putting this set together and will have fun with the box. For a 32 pack box at around $70-80 your getting very good value for your money. If your as lucky as us you'll get even more bang for your buck.

Most cards/hits pulled in our breaks end up on our site storefront, or our COMC account ThePackGambler. If you are interested in any of the cards we have mentioned please send us an e-mail at

Gambler Overall Rating: 4.2 out of 5
Cost: 5/5
Autograph/Patch: 4.5/5
Design: 3.5/5
Parallels: 4.5/5
Inserts: 3.5/5
Fun Aspect: 4/5