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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The workers » » Do pros use fancy decks? (5 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Maestro
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Just wondering if professional magicians use the fancier decks or not,

Thanks
Maestro
Emory Kimbrough
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For cardistry / XCM / card manipulation (whatever your favorite term is), definitely YES.

For card magic,many pros prefer Bicycles, with the theory they will be familiar to the audience and therefore not arouse suspicion. Well, that's the theory, and it may indeed be true, but like many ardently-believed theories in magic, nobody has done a scientific test, so it's anecdote and opinion behind it, not proof.

I occasionally use Monarchs from Theory 11, and I know of a few other pros who also use them. They're an attractive card, but in an understated, non-flashy way. I don't know any pros who routinely use highly unusual, flashy backs, but then I don't know everybody.

I know more pros who have had their own custom backs designed, sometimes including their initials, logo, etc. See also the Keepers cards by Adam Wilbur and the False Anchors by Ryan Schlutz.

And speaking of untested theories, I'll toss one out. I suspect maybe there's a generational difference, with younger performers far more likely to use a variety of the newer fancy / flashy / unusual decks, while older performers stick to the long-established, well-known brands. So, if anyone answers here with their preferred brands, let us also know where you lie on the young punk - ancient geezer spectrum.
Brent McLeod
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AS a Corporate Professional I use new Bicycle decks each gig, as mentioned above,guests being familiar with this product...
dmoriarty1
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Emory,

I fall somewhere in between young punk and ancient geezer, so young geezer? Smile

That said, I live in a non-English speaking country, and interestingly enough only Bikes are sold in shops. If it's a trick deck, the only brand is Tenyo, which have their own designs. Also, when I see magicians perform (in clubs, on the streets, and on TV), they are always using Bikes, so I don't think anyone here is familiar with other brands. They may be fancier, but they immediately become suspect.

I do own fancy decks, but when I perform I always use Bikes for their familiarity, but I think it's interesting to look at this topic from a cultural perspective, as well as age.

D.
dmoriarty1
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Quote:
On Jan 23, 2019, Brent McLeod wrote:
AS a Corporate Professional I use new Bicycle decks each gig, as mentioned above,guests being familiar with this product...


Brent,

I saw a photo on your website where you're holding gigantic cards (I'm assuming it's a Monty routine). Just curious--do those have Bicycle backs, as well?

D.
TheAmbitiousCard
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He77 no, I don't.
Imagine how much money I have saved since this "craze" has appeared on the scene.

Costco bikes by the brick, I always say Smile
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pepka
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90% of the time, it's Bicycles, although I think the quality of regular bikes sucks and I love the gold seal Turners or the Penguin Elites. I find that people are familiar with these and that's the best. If I'm doing a formal show or a gambling demo I sometimes use Aristocrats becuase they have a beautiful soft feel and a classy back design.
WitchDocChris
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I don't do card tricks in my professional shows and haven't for years. But when I did, I used custom decks more often than not.

Personally, I disagree with the common thought that Bicycles are the only brand people know. At least in the US/the people I know. I think this mentality has become outdated. There was probably a time when it was true, maybe 30 years ago, but now I really don't think it is.

My reasoning is this: Go to bicycle.com and look at their selection. Go to WalMart, Target, Walgreens, CVS - all places where people are likely to grab a deck of cards for some games that weekend. Dozens of unusual designs are available.

And who knows how many people have novelty decks from souvenir shops? I reckon folks are just as likely to have Disneyland or Harley Davidson playing cards as they are to have Rider Backs these days.

I know plenty of people that use custom cards. The smart ones get them in bulk and sell the deck BOR as well.
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Mike Powers
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Here's something to try.

Put five new decks on the table, one Bicycle 808 standar, and four "custom" decks. Say, "one of these is a trick deck. Can you guess which one?"

Unless they're trying to second guess you and choose the Bike deck, I'm betting that it won't get chosen. If you ask why they picked a certain deck, you can factor out that eventuality.

People know about trick cards. Seems to make sense to use cards that are least likely to be imagined to be tricky.

For cardistry, "tricky" doesn't matter. But for magic, I think it does.

M
arthur stead
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My preference is Bikes. I’ve always avoided fancy decks for the simple reason that I suspect spectators might think a deck pattern they are unfamiliar with might be “tricky.”
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WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On Feb 15, 2019, Mike Powers wrote:
Here's something to try.

Put five new decks on the table, one Bicycle 808 standar, and four "custom" decks. Say, "one of these is a trick deck. Can you guess which one?"

Unless they're trying to second guess you and choose the Bike deck, I'm betting that it won't get chosen. If you ask why they picked a certain deck, you can factor out that eventuality.

People know about trick cards. Seems to make sense to use cards that are least likely to be imagined to be tricky.

For cardistry, "tricky" doesn't matter. But for magic, I think it does.

M


The only time I have ever been accused of using a "trick deck" was with a deck of red-backed Bikes. I have never been questioned with a custom deck.
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Rupert Pupkin
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If you're not using a "trick deck," then I don't see what the problem is. That's just one solution that's easily cancelled.
Mike Powers
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I'm surprised at your experience WitchDoctorChris. It's not clear why the most common cards would seem to be tricky to specs when faced with strange looking cards they've never seen?? Who knows??

I have definitely been accused of having tricky cards while using Bikes. That's because I always use Bikes and specs have heard of tricky cards. They couldn't imagine that what I was showing them could be done with normal cards. Therefore, in their minds, my cards must be the "tricky" ones they've heard of. I have had spec's check for a stripper deck too. When they can't imagine how normal cards could be used, they go to "tricky cards" as the explanation. That's why it's good to have spectators handle the cards i.e. shuffle etc. It gives them a chance to test their theory. It's also why you get a boost from a borrowed deck.

A friend took me to a bar he frequented where they had serious poker going on in the back room. He asked me to show his friend the bartender some magic. I saw some decks behind the bar and asked if I could use one. I did a few killer tricks e.g. Ambitious and Visitor and blew him away. He turned to a group sitting at the bar and said, "You've got to see this. This guys is awesome - AND HE'S USING MY CARDS." Harry Lorayne has pointed out that you get an extra percent impact if you can borrow the cards. He likes to always work with borrowed cards. That's not so easy for walk around close up. Who can you borrow the cards from?

Don't be surprised if you're accused of using tricky cards. It's the only thing people can imagine when confronted with otherwise unexplainable occurrences. The brain tries to make sense out of what it sees in the world. Tricky cards is a way of making sense out of the unexplainable.

Mike
MeetMagicMike
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I used Bikes for years but am recently using Phoenix decks because you can order them with larger indexes. My feeling on the subject is most people couldn't care less about deck art. If you perform for an audience that is into cool decks then go with it.
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Mobius303
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Bikes, Tally-Ho and Bee are what I use when performing for laymen. I give them the deck when I am done. I also borrow a deck sometimes but you never know the quality of an already opened pack.
I am a old timer I guess. having been doing this for 45yrs now.
I do not like most of the fancy decks but now they are sold at target so I use them if they are available and yes I give them away too.

They are cards and should be treated as common objects and not anything special. You do special things with them, but they are ordinary objects.
WitchDocChris
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Quote:
On Feb 16, 2019, Mobius303 wrote:
They are cards and should be treated as common objects and not anything special. You do special things with them, but they are ordinary objects.


I honestly think this is the key. I assume at some point anyone doing card tricks will be accused of using trick cards. It's up to the performer to script and block and such until the audience is unconsciously convinced the cards are 'normal'. When I was accused of using trick cards was when I first started busking and hadn't developed that kind of scripting yet.

For me it's actually more cost effective to use custom decks because I get them through working for Ellusionist. I've found that in dim environments, decks like Shadow Masters are easier to see. The pips really pop on the black background. Since I only do card tricks in casual situations, it's usually a party, bar, or similar environment, so the black decks suit best.
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Harry Lorayne
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There is only one way to PROVE that you aren't using a trick deck - USE THEIR DECK!! And, Lord, I've written that and this so many times - giving your audience your deck doesn't "do" it - they just think (or say) "I'm not a magician, I won't be able to find the trickery here." The only time, most won't think you're using a trick deck, IN MY OPINIO0N, is if your effects/routines aren't "great." If they're "great" - they WILL THINK YOU'RE USING TRICK CARDS. (Which is fine, if you've entertained them.)
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MeetMagicMike
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I think that is a great point Harry when you can ask the host ahead of time to bring their own deck. For us table hoppers it's another story. Almost no one carries a deck of cards. I often tell my guests to bring their own deck and I'll do the same tricks but in many years no one has ever taken me up on it.
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Mike Powers
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Because cards are cheap, at least Bikes are, you can give away the deck at a cost of about $1.20. If I suspected that someone thought the cards were tricky or if they said it out loud, I'd leave the deck with them at the end. If you give away the deck a couple of tricks before you end your set, I suspect you'll get a tip or a bigger tip. The give-away is an investment.

Also, Harry is dead on about using a borrowed deck. But, as mentioned, that's difficult in a walk around environment.

Mike
MeetMagicMike
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I use up my decks pretty quickly so I often give them away as Mike Powers mentions. If someone, usually a kid, expresses a desire to learn magic I sometimes teach them a very simple beginners trick and then give them the deck with my autograph on the box.
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