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magicman344
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What do you believe to be the best type of playing card to be used for card magic. I normally use bicycle, but I am looking for other brands, I am hoping that you could tell me and others your preferences on cards and why.
Bulla
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I like to use many different custom decks, but recently I've started to take a liking towards the blue crown decks. They start out feeling like a regular deck of bikes but they seem to age a lot better and the finish lasts longer.

I think you just have to experiment yourself. Start off with a deck that has a design that you find intriguing and go from there. You're going to get a ton of different answers and in the end it justs comes down to what feels good in your hands. Bicycle cards have taken a tremendous drop in quality since the factory in Ohio closed down so I rarely ever use these.
Bill Hallahan
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Typically, without specifying a set of conditions, there is no "best".

If you are doing second deals, Bee brand cards are a good choice because they have no border on the card backs, so less skill is required to avoid flashing that the top card is not being taken. If you are doing certain other tricks that require more than one color back and the different color back must be hidden, the cards having a white border is an asset.

There are cards that are easier to backpalm.

Bicycle cards are relatively normal to many people and tend not to arouse suspicion, and they're relatively good quality compared to some other brands. I agree with the second post in that topic.

If you're doing certain fan color effects, special cards are needed that are not common and that do not look "normal", but they allow for surprising changes as the cards are repeatedly spread.

Some cards are cut such that they are easier to Faro shuffle right out of the box than other types of cards.

Jumbo cards are good for stage work and some specialized effects.

I'm sure there's more that I missed.

For general use, I use mostly Bicycle poker-size red or blue backed decks.
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avneis
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Actually to me, the Erlanger factory seems to have fixed up most of their issues with their regular bicycle decks. The standard Bicycle is quite good. They have always aged very well in my hands (washed hands before handling, using a clean surface at all times, not practicing excessively with a single deck, etc.). Nevertheless, I've tried other brands out of curiosity. I really like some of E's and T11's simple looking decks (the Madison Rounders, especially). However, I only use them on special occasions. $7 per deck + shipping can be a brutal price to pay for aesthetics.

After a bit of exploration, I bought my first pack of Tally-Ho's, and I haven't looked back since. They're much cheaper than the premium decks, and they seem to be a higher quality deck compared to a standard Bicycle (and amazingly has the same price!). Plus, I love the fan-back design over the tired old Bicycle back.
Atom3339
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My go to deck is Tally-Ho.
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Rogerbest
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I love 'STUD'...my favorite for faro shuffling.
neemdog
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I really like the stock and finish on Daniel Madison's new sets of cards--the Rounders and the Dealers. They're hefty, they last long, and they're good for just about anything you want to do with cards. Also, in my opinion, they look great too. The Dealers also have a marking system which can be extremely useful.
Poof-Daddy
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Bicycle, main reason - spectators know them as "regular" decks. Anything else can create a bit of "maybe those were trick cards" type of thoughts. Also there are many gaffs if you so choose (bikes being most common and readily available). If you want improved quality in your bikes, buy the Richard Turner Gold Seal Bikes as they are printed on Bee Stock and Traditionally Cut for the Professional. Alternativly, Ellusionist sells the Masters Deck, which is also printed on better card stock than regular bikes. The main difference I find in the two is the Ellusionist has a very different Ace of Spades where the Turner decks are the same Ace as regular bikes.

I use the Turner decks regularly to perform with and wring in a standard deck if I am going to tear up cards or have cards signed. I find the Turner decks outlast the standard beyond compare during regular use and are a great feel while using them.

Nothing against other decks (I own several of each) I just prefer bikes and enjoy using the Turners and the Masters more so than the regular bikes.
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Steve Brooks
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I think it is more of a personal choice - What feels good in your hands and works best for you? What is your budget? How many decks do you use each week? Are the availability of gimmicked cards to match your deck important to you? These are all important things to consider for a working performer.

In regards to magical performances I would agree that back in the day people might of been suspect of anything deck other than a standard Bicycle Rider Back or perhaps a Bee deck. I do not personally believe that is necessarily true anymore.
In the past few years there have been hundreds of new deck designs introduced into the market. Even the United States Playing Card Company themselves have flooded shelves with strange designs and colors - the public have seen many a deck now. Smile

As a final thought consider the fact that many spectators often propose the idea that you are using trick cards even when the pack in hand is actually a bonafide regulation deck. Sigh.
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charlie_d
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Monarchs. Because they're a very high quality deck with a normal-ish design. They faro perfectly. Also, they're nice and flexible for back palm.
Bees are also great for the faro, but I need a border for some reversed card tricks.

I haven't found a better handling deck than the monarchs.
Adam Wood
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Aristocrats come in blue and red backed decks and have a finish that feels perfect to my hands and they have a white border. They age nicely and since they are red and blue backed they don't arouse any suspension although I've used many other custom decks and no one has ever said anything about them ever. I also like the deeper red coluring on the heart and diamond suits as well as the gold embellishments on the court cards. They quickly became my "everyday" deck and can be found fairly cheaply if one looks around.
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charlie_d
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The aristocrats are great - and the jokers are amazing - just about the best joker design of any card, ever - but I couldn't get past the deep red, and they don't faro as well as the monarchs. I love the gold, but the deep red is almost black in low lighting, or for people with poor vision, and I prefer the more traditional, brighter red of the monarchs. I take the point about the traditional red and blue backs though.

I guess the gist is - card manufacturers take note - magicians want top quality cards that look like cards. You know, normal cards, with kings, queens, jacks and jokers - not ghosts, manga or skulls.

I think this is where my problem with bicycle cards comes from. I grew up in the UK, where Waddingtons bridge sized decks were the standard, and you'd find them in every pub. They are still incredibly popular. To the british public, this is the design they have in their heads when you talk about a deck of cards. The Waddingtons design has a patterned back (as in, squares and dots) in blue or red, and the faces are "traditional". The Joker is a jester. So the thing that seems a bit wierd about bikes is - well, the bicycles. What do bicycles have to do with royalty, or the feudal system? Kings, Queens, Princes, Jesters... and... velocipedes? What? That makes no sense. Why on earth would a king ride a bicycle? The bicycle is a relatively modern thing, invented in the early 1800s. It's anachronistic and incongurous to mix design elements like this.

That's one of the reasons I like the monarchs - the monarchy theme. But the jokers annoy me - the monarch joker design is a king on a penny-farthing bicycle. I think my perfect deck would be monarchs with aristocrat jokers. Or, Aristocrats with a normal, bright red, and cut however they cut monarchs.
Wizard of Oz
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Great viewpoint charlie_d. Thank you. This if good info for us stateside.
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ldl1017
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I use bikes because they're the most common among lay people.
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portellamagic
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I generally use bikes because they are common and easy to replace from anywhere. As for my favorite decks I would have to say De'Vo Blades from superhandz. Excellent finish and just all around very cool to handle.
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Jinx18
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Bicycles. Gaff decks are usually available in bicycle backs and most people assume a bicycle deck is a standard run of the mill deck. A fancy colored deck can raise suspicion.
Blindside785
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Mandolins have become a favorite, beautiful in a more simplistic way, 2 angels instead of 4, and you can use a bike double backer and nobody will notice. They take all the beating I give them.

Phoenix are beautiful and I do like the pips and enlarged pips on the aces, great style.

Aristocrats are ones I love, the new shiny court cards are very attractive to the eyes. The stock feels a tad thinner than bikes, breaks in faster.

The conjuring art decks are ones to check out, 1902 Acorn backs, love these!
Artemis17
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What about the Phoenix? I've seen on the website "card-shark" that they have a really good choice of normal, marked, and gaffed decks, and they seem to be cheaper than the Bikes on amazon. I by now have only used bicycles, and I'd like to change and try other brands, I'm thinking of Phoenix or Bee, which one do you prefer?
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Mr. Danny
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Used to use Bee only, but, getting very hard to find. Bicycles now have a $1.00 coupon inside the box, so that's what I am using for now. Miss the Bees Smile
sprouts1115
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Magicman344 - I've asked that question on many forums. It seems Bicycle stock is the best for Magicians. Bee stock is best for poker players, and Kem cards are best for drunk poker players. The one question I'm missing from Magicians is do you prefer Embossed or Smooth finish for card tricks. Embossed has the dimples and Smooth is just Smooth. This is the response I got from the USPCC concerning the two finishes.


Finish: Smooth and Embossed finish are available at no extra charge. You may have seen Embossed listed as Air-Cushion, Cambric, Linen and Magic but they are all the same terms for Embossed. Smooth is sometimes listed as Ivory finish.
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