Steam Trading Cards will launch on Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT, Valve says. Several games will get cards on that day, too, with updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays to follow. Trading offers and a virtual binder to house the collection will be implemented later.
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Some people who got into the beta have already been buying games using money they got from selling cards. That, and letting their games run in the background (or using the Steam Achievement Manager) so that cards will drop.