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Topic: Breaking in decks?
Message: Posted by: magic_kris (Dec 31, 2001 10:00AM)
Is there anything you do to break in a new deck? What do you do and why?

I've recently been experimenting with putting a slight bend down in both the length-wise and width-wise directions.

In this configuration a face up card on a face down deck will be raised at all four corners even if the center of the card is pressed firmly onto the deck.

Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Dec 31, 2001 01:38PM)
So you can forget about back-to-back doubles.


Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: Steve Brooks (Dec 31, 2001 01:58PM)

I have to agree with Thomas on this one.

The way I usually break in a deck is once it's out of the box, I start by doing a number of Faro shuffles.

This mixes the cards well, and [i]breaks them in[/i] as it were. If you are not able to do a Faro, just start doing shuffles, cuts, etc. It will not take long. In fact (at least with me), my deck is usually ready to be [i]retired[/i] in a week or less.



There will always be those that wish to rain on your parade, so I never leave home without an umbrella...
Message: Posted by: magic_kris (Dec 31, 2001 04:26PM)
I don't know that it really precludes back to back doubles as much as it requires a break before doing one. Unless I'm missing something.

Thanks for point out the issue.

Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Dec 31, 2001 08:09PM)
Youíre missing something.

What youíve described is some sort of full-deck breather crimp. When you turn the top card over there can be NO possibility of picking up the second card so that the two are back-to-back yet it still looks like youíve just picked up one card. Now perhaps you havenít a need to ever do that, but I do.


Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: magic_kris (Jan 1, 2002 12:12AM)
"No possibility" may be a little strong. I donít seem to have much of a problem, just playing around. As I stated before obtaining a break before a back-to-back double helps, but I donít even find that necessary.

When holding the double for display in a Biddle type grip, a slight bend keeps the cards from coming apart. When doing a turnover the motion hides any separation.

Not to say that I am not still missing something, I just donít see it... yet.

Thanks for the input.

Message: Posted by: cardguy (Jan 1, 2002 03:02AM)
I agree with Steve. I also do a number of faro shuffles first, and then go into riffle shuffles, then I do a couple of springs from hand to hand, then one last riffle shuffle and I'm done. It takes no more than five minutes. The purpose of breaking in a deck is to take some of the stiffness out of it. But some people like stiff cards, so it depends on you.
Message: Posted by: Tom Wolf (Jan 1, 2002 09:27AM)

I seem to remember an idea of Eddie Marlo to help solve this problem.

With the above ideas used, faros, etc., cut the cards at 25 and turn one packet face up and faro shuffle it into the other.

In the example, the cards are face to face. At this point, place them into your card box and store them in this manner.

This helped me and I hope that it will be of use to you.

Happy New Year to all.

Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Jan 1, 2002 01:44PM)


When holding the double for display in a Biddle type grip, a slight bend keeps the cards from coming apart. When doing a turnover the motion hides any separation.




Yeah, and Iíll bet thatís a real convincing display you got there; after all, doesnít everybody always handle a single card with a bowed Biddle grip? But Iím curious, how do you handle the deck - or a small packet - when you have a card secretly reversed near the top of the deck? By your own admission you can apply great pressure to the center of the deck and still have the top card show buckling at the edges, which means a reversed card will seemingly be obvious. Doesnít that condition make it difficult or impossible to hide such reversed cards, a technique used in many great tricks?

You started this topic asking for opinions regarding breaking in a new deck, but you seem convinced that your INTENTIONAL warping technique is superior; who am I to tell you differently. Itís no wonder Paul Curry called most magiciansí double lifts a "fan with two cards". But hey, if YOUíRE happy with your full-deck breather crimp thatís all that matters.

As for how I break in a new deck, I usually try to do eight perfect Faros, to revert to new deck order; then I do a series of sleights that I commonly use, such as the push-through shuffle, a couple of different passes and so on. My goal is to knock off or burnish down the rough edge from the factory die-cutting and also to limber up the cards a bit. If there is any natural bow to the deck I try to work that out by reverse bending, as I prefer the cards to be as flat as possible, you know, the way God intended...


Thomas Wayne
Message: Posted by: magic_kris (Jan 1, 2002 10:41PM)
I guess it depends on the type of display you are talking about... Do I sense a little hostility?

With slight downward pressure around the edges while in a dealers grip the break is not visible at all. In the case where the deck is tabled you can see the break, "IF you are looking for it." However, the deck crimp is not obvious, so I doubt anyone would be looking or know what it means if they see it.

I am far from convinced that the crimp is superior or even a good idea. Like I said, this is something I have just started to experiment with. It was suggested by another board member in the double lift thread and I am just trying to explore the idea.

I really would like opinions pro and con.

I have no doubt that you have more experience than I and I do value your opinion. However, in this case, my limited experience has not allowed me to concur with your opinion. Although, I do appreciate you taking the time and giving me things to consider, even if we do not come to the same conclusion.

If we left everything the way God intended, we wouldnít have near as much fun!!! ;)

Thanks again for your opinions.

Message: Posted by: Thomas Wayne (Jan 2, 2002 02:10AM)
Obviously you and I are of completely different minds here. I think many magicians fool themselves, thinking that simple obvious flaws in their handling or technique will "go right by" their audience. This sloppy attitude is reinforced by the fact that many flaws WILL escape the attention of SOME of the audience. So magicians find it easy to believe that two cards held approximately squared in a contorted, unnatural grip will be accepted by every spectator as being a single card. Or, more on point, that an audience probably wouldnít know what a gaping break two cards down in the deck would mean. Of course, if you DO get called on such a discrepancy, well... you can always chalk it up to a "bad audience".

I guess Iím just a little more demanding of myself. In my experience, audiences are far more perceptive than some magicians give them credit for. Whether you want to believe it or not, Kris, your audiences watch a lot closer and are a lot smarter than you might think. And just because you believe they wonít know what that unnatural break in the deck means doesnít mean you shouldnít care about it.

In "Strong Magic", Darwin Ortiz writes:

"An interesting difference between performing for magicians and performing for laypeople is that, if a magician succeeds in figuring out ninety percent of a trick but canít figure out the other ten percent, he will feel that the trick fooled him; if a layperson succeeds in figuring out ten percent of a trick but canít figure out the other ninety percent of the trick, he will feel that it didnít fool him."

What Ortiz is saying is that, in the quest for strong magic, even a slight weakness will work against you - possibly ruining the effect before a lay audience. For that reason, I prefer to avoid the pitfall of thinking that a flaw in my magic "is not obvious so I doubt anyone would be looking or know what it means if they see it".

I believe many audience members WILL see it, and I know from experience that just because they donít know its EXACT purpose does not mean they wonít think theyíve discovered how you "did it".

This is just my opinion, of course, but I think itís supported by the vast majority of skilled card workers throughout history whoíve expressed a strong preference for non-warped decks. Ask around, see if you donít find that most magicians would think that intentionally warping a new deck is foolishly counterproductive.


Thomas Wayne