The Magic Café
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Gaffed & Funky » » My comparison of several brands of MARKED DECKS (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

View Profile
Loyal user
222 Posts

Profile of Nikodemus
I recently decided to do some "market research" into various brands of marked cards.

For me this is a challenging topic because I have below average eyesight. Due to a problem with my optic nerves, I don't see fine detail as well as most people - even with my glasses or contact lenses.
To put this in context - I can read books & newspapers without a problem (with my glasses). But struggle with the tiny print on many tins of food etc. When I did my driving test (many years ago) I could read a car number plate at the required 25m (or whatever the distance is), But NOT at a few metres more. (Whereas most people can read it easily at twice the distance. Also I don't recognise faces until people are fairly close (long after they recognise me).

So a marked deck is pointless for me if I can't actually see it!

I looked at lots of images online before picking a shortlist.
Many got rejected because the marks looked too small. EG Ultimate Marked Deck, Boris Wild, Mint
Some I rejected because of the location of the marks. EG GT SpeedReaders. These are deliberately designed so the marks are not in the obvious place. But I wanted them in the corners so you could see them with a slight spread.

I liked the sound of the DareDevil deck - you can read it from across the room. BUT I saw an online image and immediately decided it was way TOO obvious. (And you need to see the whole back of the card).

These are the ones I bought to check out, and my thoughts -

PENGUIN Maiden Backs.
These are my overall winners. I can comfortably read the markings at a normal distance (ie where I would hold a book, or hand of cards - with elbows bent). I can just about read them at arms length - but I would never put myself in a situation where I need to.
They are very affordable - only $5 per deck if you buy 12 at a time.
They are very similar to Rider Backs. I don't care about the slight difference. No one in the UK uses Bikes anyway - except magicians!
The marks are pretty close to all 4 corners, plus mid-top & mid-bottom. The rank and suit are a little further separated than I would like - but still acceptable.
Overall - fit for purpose and affordable.
I am seriously thinking about making these my standard deck - exactly as Penguin say in their advertising - at that price you can afford to.

These are very well disguised - better than the Penguins.
The marks are perfectly positioned.
They are not quite as readable as the Penguins - but ok. (For most people I'm sure they would be absolutely fine)
They cost about £20/£20/20euro. So 4x the price - but of course are also available unmarked.

A brilliant solution!
Takes a while to train your brain/eye to get used to them. But once tuned-in, they are very readable (though still not as easy as the Penguins). The only ones I can read at greater than arm's length.
They don't look like any other cards. This would be ok with me IF they were available unmarked and in other colours. But they are only available in green - and there is no unmarked option.
They cost £10 each if you buy a brick of 12 for £120. I would be willing to do this IF you could buy regular unmarked decks for (say) £3-5. But you can't. And, as I said, there is only one colour. So they will sit on my shelf until I have a very special need for them.

I love the design of these. And the brilliant way the markings have been integrated into the pattern. But they looked a lot bigger in the pics online! In real life I can barely see them - even staring hard quite close. So for me a complete non-starter.
Also they cost £20, are only available in black, and there is no cheaper unmarked option.

This is a traditional "clock face" system rather than letters/symbols. It is well-disguised, but for me much too hard to see. (And then you need to mentally interpret).
They are available on cheap stock or quality stock. I bought the cheap ones to check out the markings. They feel terrible - plasticky. The quality stock is about $30.
View Profile
Inner circle
Considering Stopping At Exactly
5147 Posts

Profile of Poof-Daddy
You might do best marking your own since you have a specific vision issue. There are systems out there but many are too similar to ones also sold on the market (like the clock pattern). Experiment with a sharpie of the same color and see if you can come up with anything. If not, another way, which is hard for me to get the feel for is “The Blind Wizard Deck”
They are hand made and not cheap but they are very nice and it is an option.

Another option, which might be best. Learn a memdeck. When someone picks a card, you could peek the one above and know the card (have them return to the same place (not uncommon) and do a false shuffle or cut. Proceed from there. Plus with a memdeck, you would have several good effects built in.
Cancer Sux - It is time to find a Cure

Don't spend so much time trying not to die that you forget how to live - H's wife to H on CSI Miami (paraphrased).

Smile Smile
View Profile
Veteran user
308 Posts

Profile of slim23

Have you ever tried a juice decks? They are hard work to get but easier with persons having a bad eyesight. You do have to mentally interpret the key (unless you write the value and suit) but once you can see them, you have something nearly undetectable.


View Profile
Regular user
112 Posts

Profile of thegreatscungilli
I take it from your comments that you want to use a r*****. If you can use a non-r***** I find the Butterfly decks are one of the best.

I like the Penguin r****** decks and use them but in my view you have to be a bit more aware of your handling, if a spectator is really burning you, you might have a problem.

I have a number of decks and I especially like the DMC's. To get around the fact that they do not come in un****** versions I start by explaining that I like to collect card decks and have a box with different decks in it, let the spectator pick one they want to use..if they pick the DMC I use that if not I use another deck, not all are m****d. This also helps with doing deck s******s.

Juice is good as well but for me they take a long time to do and take some practice to get it working just right..the "stuff" is little pricey.
View Profile
Regular user
138 Posts

Profile of TH10111
If you don't want to put the work in yourself:
View Profile
New user
8 Posts

Profile of Juglr
I recently read somewhere that magicians don’t get busted using marked decks because the spectator notices the marks. They get busted because the magician takes too long staring at the back of the card trying to read the mark himself. The point being made that the most important consideration in using a marked deck is that the magician can read it instantly.
The spectator’s eyes are drawn to where the magician is looking. If the magician is burning the back of a card, that is where the spectator will look. Keep the attention off of the back of the card.
View Profile
Inner circle
Kevin Reylek
2136 Posts

Profile of Mercury52
Some of my favorite excerpts in regards to marked cards are from Al Baker's "Pet Secrets" published in 1951:

"When the marks are difficult to read, spectators are likely to wonder why the performer keeps squinting at the backs of the cards. The moment they do that, the trick is a flop. For magical use, the marks should be large enough to be read instantly and easily. And if they are also large enough to be read easily at a distance the method is even less suspect."

"You'll find many uses for cards so clearly marked. But try to disguise their use. Having to squint at tiny marks is a giveaway, but lack of proper psychological misdirection can be just as bad. Don't have a person take a card, then tell him immediately what its is, and then repeat this a couple of times. Few spectators are such dunderheads that they won't suspect what is going on."
Kevin Reylek
View Profile
Loyal user
maumee, ohio
217 Posts

Profile of pattrick
Poof Daddt has it right. I mark my own deck and able to do all the torn answer restored , card on ceiling, and signed card routines. I just keep the leftovers and start a new deck. After a while you can go to your leftover cards and refill any missing cards. Also since I mark my own I have a better and easier read on the marks. Just my two cents.
check out for the best in close up pads and tables.
View Profile
Loyal user
222 Posts

Profile of Nikodemus
Hi guys,
Thank you all for such helpful comments - I really appreciate it. What a great community this is!

To be honest, I haven't yet used any marked decks in anger - I just like buying, and reviewing stuff. So I know which I would use if I wanted to. And hopefully other people will find something useful in my review.

I tried marking my own decks. Found it too much effort compared to the ones available to buy.
Also I have learnt the Joyal stack (with a couple of my own amendments) - so as Poof Daddy said, I have much less need of marked cards anyway.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Gaffed & Funky » » My comparison of several brands of MARKED DECKS (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.13 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL