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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » When do you retire a deck and why? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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58 Posts

Profile of DrBrewhaha
Brand new to card magic. I've been learning the basics for a month or so with a new standard Bicycle deck. It still functions great in every way except it won't fan smoothly anymore. It used to but now clumps. I know I can use it for all other things and plan to do so. But I'm wondering if this is normal with decks, if it can be prevented, and finally when do you set the deck aside and grab a new one. Thanks.
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Inner circle
Trieste (Italy)
1041 Posts

Profile of mlippo
Hello and welcome!

Definitely no pack of cards can last forever.
If you've been handling it a lot in this month it could be a good idea to retire it and open a fresh one. Since you're asking yourself what to do is a sign that you feel it's time to change it.

How often to do it is difficult to tell. I always care to have a brand new looking one to carry around for performances. I never use a pack that is even slightly old looking. Not much for the techniques, but because I don't want to perform with a shabby pack!

Anyway, if the cards just don't fan, but are still in decent condition, maybe you can keep them as duplicates in case a trick or routine requires one. Be careful that in this case they shouldn't stand out from the other cards.

Or as you accumulate old packs, use them for Card Warp o Mercury !@#$ practice and so on.

Josh Riel
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Inner circle
of hell
1946 Posts

Profile of Josh Riel
The way I can tell they need to be retired is when they no longer fan well, as mlippo already mentioned, in fact I agree with everything he said.
f you're not doing it professionally and still learning, you can maybe wait a while longer, but when they start to look dirty and haggard let them go.
If there is a costco nearby you can buy packs of 12 for something like $16 if I recall correctly.

Also you can use the old cards for card manipulation practice since you might want your cards broken in.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
Cub Sines
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New user
Finland (Ostrobothnia)
35 Posts

Profile of Cub Sines
My deck´s life cycle goes something like this:
1. Fresh deck everything goes smoothly and it looks clean (not worn nor dirty). Usually lasts for up to two months (if it´s not practise deck)
2. A little "out of freshness", it have gotten little worn out feeling (e.g not fanning so smoothly), Then I mark that deck.
3. Worn out, when it looks like something that normal laymen are used to. that's when I turn that deck into gimmick factories.

So I usually use one deck from point 1 to 3 in about 2-4 month period of time, and even then I continue to use some of the cards as gimmicked ones (for example in torn&restored gimmicks, etc.)
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The City of Angels
805 Posts

Profile of danaruns
I go through decks pretty quickly. A deck of Bicycles might last me a week. I hate standard Bikes. They are not cut well, at all. Phoenix decks last me a month or two. It's not that I'm terrifically hard on them or that they get particularly dirty, I just like them to feel a particular way, and when I start to lose the feel I will replace them. Cards are cheap. There's no reason to keep them around longer than necessary.

I take about 30 minutes to break in a new deck, and then I'm ready to go with it. By the time some folks feel their decks are broken in, I'm probably ready for a new one. It just depends on what feel you like, and what you're doing with them. I may sometimes keep using decks that no longer fan well, depending on what I'm doing with them. Some moves are easier with such a deck. A (very) little stickiness is good for some moves and purposes, while a pretty new deck is best for fanning, imho.

Your mileage may vary. Smile
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
M. Tesla
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Regular user
Coral Springs, Florida
155 Posts

Profile of M. Tesla
Clumping cards = time to retire...

Amazon...$18.59 for 12 shipping if you're a prime member...
While the amount of water has remained static, the amount of Tequila and Triple Sec available for making Margaritas has expanded enormously. So you see, we have made progress after all. ~Anonymous
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Regular user
120 Posts

Profile of RyanWhiteside
I retireba deck once they get dirty edges and start to clump. Also if I drop them outside that usually finishes the deck off.
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
32 Posts

Profile of MudMedic
As soon as they start to clump I put them into my "gaffe" box for special cards. Once I salvage what I can, the dog usually uses them for the classic "which card did I digest" routine.

I love the feel of new decks...usually keep a dozen in reserve and a dozen in use.
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67 Posts

Profile of NightSG
Well, for practice decks, I generally ignore the look of the edges and go by how well they respond; I'm a bicycle (as in the things with two wheels that you ride, not the cards) repair technician, and have some hobbies that are equally dirty, and don't always get my hands as clean as they should be when I have a moment waiting for paint to dry or a part to be logged into inventory, when I'll pick up a deck to practice some flourishes or whatnot.

Any card not totally ruined goes into a box when the rest of the deck is retired. I need to organize the box at some point; I've had half a deck completely ruined by a spilled drink or similar when the rest isn't even broken in yet more than a few times, and I've tried a lot of cards, so there are blue and red rider backs, dragon backs, Mavericks, Cartamundis, off brands, and even ad cards if they have the normal back design. Once in a while I go through and split a few to make double facers and double backers, or grab extras so I can force a specific card on a signed or T&R effect without messing up a good deck.
Black Hart
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Elite user
Scottish Highlands
462 Posts

Profile of Black Hart
When your deck gets a bit tired feeling and looking, keep handling it, rough it up a bit with sandpaper, rub a bit more dirt into it (or treat it with Dr Strange Instant Old Age Atomiser) to make it look even older - then use it in a Bizarre storytelling ghost type effect!

The Black Hart
Black Artefacts, manufacturer and dealer of weird, bizarre and psychic magic:
Wandering Man
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New user
29 Posts

Profile of Wandering Man
This is so hard for me to read. I never throw things out until broken or torn. I can see that taking up magic s going to be challenging for me.

On another note, is there a break-in procedure for a new deck?
Never argue with drunks or crazy people.
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