A lot of people don’t know how to tell if a Pokemon card is fake but is really necessary to know if you are into collecting these cards. Pokemon cards have captured the hearts of collectors and enthusiasts around the world for decades. With their intricate artwork, strategic gameplay, and nostalgic value, these cards are highly sought after. However, as the demand for rare and valuable Pokemon cards continues to rise, so does the prevalence of counterfeit copies flooding the market.

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a novice looking to start your Pokemon card journey, it’s essential to know how to distinguish between genuine cards and fakes. We’ll walk you through the critical steps and techniques to help you determine if a Pokemon card is authentic or a clever imitation.

Let’s get started!  

Why Authenticity Matters


Authenticity is the cornerstone of the Pokemon card-collecting world. It’s not just about owning a piece of childhood nostalgia or completing a set; it’s about the genuine experience of collecting and trading these iconic cards. When you possess authentic Pokemon cards, you’re not only holding a tangible piece of the Pokemon universe but also a piece of history.

1. Value

Authentic Pokemon cards can be valuable assets. Rare cards from early sets, in particular, can fetch high prices in the collector’s market. Knowing your cards are genuine ensures their investment potential.

2. Nostalgia

Pokemon cards often evoke fond memories of childhood for collectors. Owning authentic cards helps preserve the sentimental value attached to these items.

3. The integrity of the Hobby

Counterfeit cards undermine the integrity of the Pokemon card-collecting hobby. They diminish the trust between collectors and the marketplace, making it essential for enthusiasts to learn how to spot fakes.

The Growing Issue of Counterfeit Pokemon Cards

As the popularity of Pokemon cards continues to surge, so does the prevalence of counterfeit cards flooding the market. Counterfeiters have become increasingly skilled at producing convincing replicas that can be challenging to distinguish from genuine cards. This growing issue poses significant challenges to collectors, traders, and the entire Pokemon community.

Examining Card Materials


One of the fundamental steps in spotting fake Pokemon cards is to closely examine the materials used in their production. Genuine Pokemon cards are made to exacting standards, and any deviation in materials can be a red flag. Here is how to tell if a Pokemon card is fake or not:

1. Cardstock Quality

Authentic Pokemon cards are typically printed on high-quality cardstock with a smooth finish. Counterfeit cards may use cheaper, lower-quality materials that feel flimsier or have a different texture.

2. Thickness and Weight

Genuine cards have a specific thickness and weight. If a card feels notably thinner or lighter than it should, it could be a fake.

3. Color Consistency

Pay attention to the color consistency of the card’s front and back. Genuine cards should have uniform coloration, while counterfeits may exhibit variations or off-color hues.

4. Texture

Run your fingers over the card’s surface. Authentic cards often have a slight texture, while counterfeit cards might feel overly glossy or unnaturally smooth.

5. Edges and Corners

Genuine Pokemon cards have well-defined, smooth edges and sharp corners. Counterfeit cards might have rough or uneven edges, indicating poor manufacturing.

Analyzing Card Printing

The printing process is a critical aspect of card authenticity. Pokemon cards are known for their vibrant and precise printing quality. To spot fake cards, scrutinize the printing details:

1. Image Quality

Genuine Pokemon cards boast crisp, high-resolution images with sharp lines and vibrant colors. Counterfeits may have blurry images, color bleeding, or pixelation.

2. Text Legibility

Examine the card’s text carefully. Authentic cards have clear, legible text, while counterfeit cards may exhibit smudged or poorly printed text.

3. Set Symbols and Numbers

Verify that the set symbols and card numbers match official designs. Counterfeit cards often have inaccuracies or irregularities in these elements.

4. Holographic Patterns

For holographic cards, ensure that the holographic patterns are consistent with the card’s rarity and set. Counterfeit holographic patterns may appear flat or poorly defined.

Identifying Common Counterfeit Traits

Counterfeit Pokemon cards often share telltale signs that set them apart from genuine ones. Familiarize yourself with these common traits and how to tell if a Pokemon card is fake or not:

  1. Misspelled Card Names or Abilities: Counterfeit cards frequently contain spelling errors or inaccuracies in card names, attacks, or abilities.
  2. Unusual Card Backs: The back of Pokemon cards should feature the iconic Pokemon logo and have a consistent design. Counterfeit cards may have noticeable differences in the card back.
  3. Incorrect Card Size: Be wary of cards that deviate from the standard Pokemon card size. Counterfeit cards may be slightly larger or smaller than authentic ones.
  4. Unusual Fonts: Authentic Pokemon cards use specific fonts for text. Counterfeit cards might use different fonts that don’t match the official style.

Comparing Genuine vs. Fake Pokemon Cards


When it comes to safeguarding your Pokemon card collection against counterfeit cards, the ability to distinguish between genuine and fake cards is paramount. This involves a meticulous evaluation process that includes side-by-side visual comparisons and an assessment of weight and texture disparities.

1. Side-by-Side Visual Comparisons

One of the most effective methods for spotting counterfeit Pokemon cards is to conduct a side-by-side visual analysis with known authentic cards. Pay close attention to the intricate details, such as image quality, color consistency, and text legibility. Genuine Pokemon cards are renowned for their high-resolution, vibrant images, and sharp lines.

Counterfeit cards, on the other hand, often exhibit telltale signs like blurry images, color bleeding, or pixelation. Additionally, scrutinize the set symbols, card numbers, and holographic patterns for any inconsistencies, as these are frequent areas of error in counterfeit cards.

2. Weight and Texture Differences

Weight and texture can offer valuable clues when determining card authenticity. Authentic Pokemon cards are made from specific materials, resulting in a distinctive thickness and weight. By carefully handling the cards, you may notice that counterfeits tend to feel thinner or lighter than genuine cards. Moreover, run your fingers over the card’s surface to detect any unusual texture.

Authentic cards typically possess a slight texture, while counterfeit cards may feel overly glossy or unnaturally smooth. Examining the edges and corners is also essential; genuine cards have well-defined, smooth edges, while counterfeit cards often feature rough or uneven edges.

Holographic Cards and Their Authenticity


Holographic Pokemon cards are often some of the most sought-after and visually stunning cards in the Pokemon TCG. Ensuring their authenticity is crucial for collectors and players alike. In this section, we’ll explore the various holographic patterns found on Pokemon cards and the methods to detect fake holographic effects.

-Types of Holographic Patterns

Pokemon cards feature different holographic patterns, each associated with specific rarities and sets. Understanding these patterns is key to authenticating holographic cards:

  • Holofoil Pattern

This is the most common holographic pattern, featuring a foil background with a repeating, shimmering design. The pattern can vary from set to set, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the official patterns for the cards you’re inspecting.

  • Reverse Holofoil

Some cards have holographic patterns applied to the entire card, while others have holographic patterns only on certain portions, like the Pokemon artwork. The reverse holofoil pattern is less glossy on the card’s non-holographic areas.

  • Prism Star

These cards have a unique prism-like pattern that covers the entire card. They are usually found in special sets and are highly sought after for their rarity.

-How to Detect Fake Holographic Effects

Counterfeiters often struggle to replicate holographic effects accurately. Here’s how to spot fake holographic effects:

  1. Angle of Light: Genuine holographic Pokemon cards exhibit a dazzling shimmer when viewed from different angles under direct light. Tilt the card and observe how the holographic pattern shifts and glistens. Counterfeit holographic effects may appear flat or static.
  2. Pattern Consistency: Examine the holographic pattern for consistency. Authentic cards have a precise, well-defined holographic pattern that aligns with the card’s rarity. Counterfeit cards may have irregular patterns or inconsistent holographic coverage.
  3. Texture and Feel: Run your fingers over the holographic areas of the card. Authentic holographic patterns often have a slightly raised or textured feel. Counterfeit holographic areas may feel smooth or lack the tactile qualities of genuine holography.
  4. Coloration: Authentic holographic patterns maintain consistent coloration with the card’s design. Be wary of holographic patterns that appear discolored or exhibit variations in color, as this can be a sign of counterfeiting.
  5. Set-specific Features: Some holographic patterns are unique to specific sets or promotional cards. Research and reference official sources to confirm that the holographic pattern matches the expected design for that card.

Tips for Buying Pokemon Cards Safely

When buying Pokemon cards:

  • Buy from reputable sellers with positive reviews and a track record of authenticity.
  • Learn card authentication methods to spot fakes.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask sellers for details or photos of the cards.
  • Use secure payment methods for added protection.
  • For high-value cards, consider professional grading and appraisal services.


Safeguarding the authenticity of your Pokemon card collection is essential to preserving its value and integrity. By learning to detect fake cards, conducting thorough research, and making informed purchases, you can know how to tell if a Pokemon card is fake and enjoy the world of Pokemon cards with confidence. Remember that a vigilant eye and a cautious approach are your best allies in ensuring that your Pokemon card collection remains genuine and cherished for years to come.

Happy collecting!

Bonus Tip

After knowing how to tell if a Pokemon card is fake, by the way, iFoneTool AnyGo is a tool that enables virtual location changes, allowing players to explore different features of the game without physically moving. However, it’s important to note that using such tools may violate the terms of service of Pokemon Go, potentially leading to penalties or bans from the game. Players should consider the risks and implications before utilizing such tools.

How can I tell if a Pokemon card is fake?

To determine if a Pokemon card is fake, examine its materials, printing quality, and characteristics. Look for inconsistencies in cardstock, weight, or texture. Check for blurry images, misspellings, or irregularities in set symbols and numbers.

Are counterfeit Pokemon cards common?

Counterfeit Pokemon cards have become increasingly prevalent due to the popularity of the Pokemon TCG. While not all cards in circulation are fake, it’s essential to exercise caution, especially when buying from unknown sources or online marketplaces. Learning how to tell if a Pokemon card is fake is crucial for collectors and players.

Where can I buy authentic Pokemon cards safely?

You can buy authentic Pokemon cards from reputable sources such as official Pokemon stores, well-established hobby shops, and trusted online marketplaces with positive reviews. Ensure the seller has a history of selling genuine cards and offers secure payment options.