Everything You Need
To Know About Card Breaks


The classic break is the Pick Your Team (PYT). You purchase a single team in the break and get all the cards that have that team on the card. 


Another variant of the PYT you will occasionally see is the Pick Your Player (PYP) where each player in the checklist is sold a single spot. This is most often seen with Bowman Baseball and Bowman Draft products and usually only done close to the release day as the hype drives a lot of interest. This is a type of break I would only recommend for more experienced breakers.

Random/Drafted Breaks

While the PYT is the more classic style of breaks, by far the most common type of break you will find are the non-PYTs. Most times you will hear them just referred to generically as “breaks” if it is a single product (e.g. 3 boxes of Bowman Draft, etc.) or a “mixer” if it is a combination of products (e.g. 1 box of Bowman Draft, 1 box of Bowman Baseball, 1 box of Bowman Chrome).

Spots in these breaks are usually sold as a single team spot (30 spots) or a three-team spot (10 spots), although you will occasionally find other combinations. Since you are not buying a team but rather a spot, the way teams are determined for the spot purchasers is either through randomizing the teams or through a draft, usually snake style (spot purchasers are randomized for the draft order).


Pack Breaks

Pack breaks are popular with products like Panini Stars and Stripes USA Baseball because the checklist is almost always populated with players that are not on professional teams. That makes it relatively impossible to sell the traditional team or spot setup. Stars and Stripes comes with five packs per box, and each pack contains at least 1 hit (autographed or memorabilia card).

All five spots, or packs, are sold at the same price and then opened for the spot purchasers - this is essentially identical to the traditional buying packs at the local card shop. 

Hit Breaks

Hit breaks are popular with more expensive products where every card is a hit like in Topps Definitive baseball where a box contains eight hit cards and nothing else (6 autographed cards and 2 memorabilia cards). Eight spots are sold, and then the eight spot purchasers are either given a random card or randomized for a draft of the eight cards after the pack has been opened.


Serial Number Breaks

Serial Number breaks are similar to hit breaks in that they are often found in the more expensive products like Topps Definitive where most to all cards are a hit and every card is numbered to 99 or less. Essentially you are randomized or drafting a serial number or set of serial numbers and get all cards with that number.

Razz Breaks

Essentially a raffle. For example, there are 30 spots in the break, 100 razz spots are sold, and the top 30 that come out in the randomizer get a spot in the break. It’s a way to get a much cheaper shot at a break, but it’s a way to get skunked without even being in the break.

Personal Breaks

A fair amount of breakers offer the ability to purchase a box or multiple boxes all for yourself, referred to as a Personal break or just Personals. This is especially convenient when products are hard to come by for any number of reasons.


The Fine Print

Now that we have gotten through the majority of the types of breaks out there, we can take a look at some of the other scenarios you may encounter during a break. Always find out how a breaker handles the below situations, as each one will handle it in their own way. 

Multi-Player Cards

A fair amount of products will have cards with multiple players on them, and sometimes those players are from different teams. If those teams belong to different spot owners, you can’t really cut the card in half and send each half to the respective owner.

The most common way to handle this is that the breaker will random the card among the spot owners for each team on the card to determine who wins the card. (In our breaks, if one person has 51% ownership of the teams/players on the card it will go to that person without running a random).


Teams of Yester year

The next scenario is for teams that have moved/changed into new teams. If a card from the Expos is hit, the card will go to the owner of the Washington Nationals in that break.

No Team Specified

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will find cards that don’t specify a team or location. This is almost always seen with Leaf cards, as they are not licensed by the MLB or the MLBPA. This causes problems when a player has been traded while a product is in the middle of coming out, such as Will Wilson (Angels to Giants) this past off-season and Jarred Kelenic (Mets to Mariners) the previous off-season.

Most breakers will designate a team for those players from each product (all Kelenics from this product go to the Mets) or use a well-known checklist site as the deciding factor for a player-team assignment such as groupbreakchecklists.com.

Non-MLB team

Similar to “no team specified,” there are products that are part of breaks that have non-MLB team-based players. Anything from International players, Team USA players, or even non-sports cards in products like Allen & Ginter (such as the digging deep subset in this year’s edition). The standard ways to handle these scenarios are to include additional slots for purchase/drafting for these non-MLB cards or do a random at the end of the break to allocate the cards among the spot purchasers.

Combining Teams

The next thing you will see is when products that have teams with a disproportionately low amount of hits/cards, breakers will decide to combine teams into a single spot.


Excluding Teams

There may be products that have no hits and possibly no base cards of a team, like the Washington Nationals in the 2019 Bowman Draft. In that case, breakers should and do remove the Nationals as an available team for purchase or drafting.

Credit: Joe Lowry