Pokémon Holo Vs. Reverse Holo: What is the difference between them?

While my love for playing Pokémon role-playing video games was established almost instantly, it took a while for me to get into the Trading Card Game. Unlike the video games, I felt Pokémon’s TCG was a lot more complicated at first. This mostly had to do with the different cards that existed, which some were confusing.

The best example is the Holo and Reverse Holo cards. I have always confused the two and therefore always wondered how they truly differentiated. The information online was not of much help at first, since there wasn’t any clear explanation of how the cards differed.

But after years of interacting with the cards and doing more and more research, I believe I have come up with the perfect explanation for how the two differ. In case you would like a clear and simple answer concerning this, keep reading this article.

What does Holo mean in Pokémon?

Pokémon Reverse Holo
Pokemon Rare Reverse Holo. Image source: Pinterest

In Pokémon, Holo is short for Holographic. It is an effect used in the design of certain cards, where a thin layer of foil is put on certain areas of the card to give it a shiny effect. Cards with this holographic effect are either called Holo cards or Reverse Holo cards. The reverse holo card usually has an alternative print design of the holographic effect, when compared to the Holo version of the same card. Hence the term “Reverse” holo.

How is a Holo Card different from a Reverse Holo Card?

Pokémon Holo Vs. Reverse Holo
Reverse Holo Card. Image source: Pinterest

This is a question that has bothered many players if the different forums are anything to go by. The two cards are easy to confuse, given how limited and contradictory the information about them can be. Regardless I will do my best to give the simplest explanation of how they differentiate.

One of the main differences is the frequency with which you can come across either card. Reverse Holo cards are more common compared to Holo cards since the former are almost in every pack. Holo cards on the other hand are harder to come by.

But the major difference is in the design and appearance of the card. This is where the confusion sets in. In earlier sets, Holo cards had a shiny effect on the artwork only. The rest of the card’s background was normal. For the reverse Holo cards, however, the shiny effects were on the entire background but not on the artwork.

Later on, this became confusing since some Holo cards had a shiny effect on the background and not the artwork, and vice versa for the reverse holo. Now the best way to differentiate a Holo from a Reverse Holo is by checking for the name of the set the card comes in. For Reverse Holo cards, the logo of the set they come in (e.g., FireRed LeafGreen) at the bottom or somewhere on the artwork. This does not appear in Holo cards.

FAQ Section

Is Holo or reverse Holo worth more?

Both cards are worth a lot, especially the vintage reverse holo and holo cards. However, the value of both will depend on how valuable the normal version of the card is.

How can you tell if a card is Holo rare?

A card is Holo rare if it has a black star at the bottom corner of the card and has a holographic effect in its design.

Can all cards be reverse holo?

Not all cards can be reverse Holo, however, according to TCGPlayer, any card that is Holo rare could come with a reverse Holo version.

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