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Player's, players' or players card

3 November 2008

John,

Player's, players' or players card?

Which is the correct industry spelling?

Thanks,
Eric

Dear Eric,

I don't know that the industry has really settled on one spelling, but I think it's definitely leaning towards the no-apostrophe version. I've always debated about which version to use in my writing, so let's try to set a standard now. We have to decide whether "players" is merely an adjective describing the card or whether "players" shows who possesses or owns the card.

Let's look at what each version means. I found a good explanation of the differences along with more examples at http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-apostrophes.aspx.

Player's card The apostrophe shows possession or ownership. Players don't really own the cards, they use them in much the same way that they use credit cards. As for possession, consider this sentence: He dropped his "players" card. We still need a possessive pronoun to show who possesses the card.

Players' card We can rule this version out right away. This version says that all players own just one card, just like all homeowners may own and control their homeowners' association.

Players card This version uses "players" to tell us what kind of card it is, like credit card and business card. Another example is "winners circle," not a circle owned by the winners but a circle for the winners. We feel like we should use an apostrophe because we show possession by adding apostrophe-s and "players" sounds possessive, but it isn't in this case. I like this version best.

The following boring little story shows the standard we should follow:

I was waiting in line at the Players Club booth. The player in front of me dropped his players card. I picked up and returned that player's players card to him.

Best of luck in and out of the casinos,
John


Send your slot and video poker questions to John Robison, Slot Expert, at slotexpert@comcast.net. Because of the volume of mail I receive, I regret that I can't reply to every question.

John Robison

John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots
John Robison
John Robison is an expert on slot machines and how to play them. John is a slot and video poker columnist and has written for many of gaming’s leading publications. He holds a master's degree in computer science from the prestigious Stevens Institute of Technology.

You may hear John give his slot and video poker tips live on The Good Times Show, hosted by Rudi Schiffer and Mike Schiffer, which is broadcast from Memphis on KXIQ 1180AM Friday afternoon from from 2PM to 5PM Central Time. John is on the show from 4:30 to 5. You can listen to archives of the show on the web anytime.

Books by John Robison:

The Slot Expert's Guide to Playing Slots