Playing Cards

Discuss products and their reviews in Genii.

Postby Bill Mullins » 05/05/03 08:27 AM

I'd like to see a review of the various brands of playing cards available, from someone who has worked with them (maybe Jamy??).

I can easily buy locally Bicycles, Mavericks (a smooth budget brand from US Playing Card), Ace (comparable to Bikes, from Carta Mundi), Eagle (Carta Mundi's budget brand), an many novelty/advertising decks from Bicycle (Budweiser, Harley Davidson, etc.). If I call Haines or other dealers, it isn't hard find Tally Ho, Bulldog Squeezers, and Steamboats. I can find Arrcos on the internet (are these a re-issue from Bicycle? The ones I bought at Kmart about 5 years ago were nice), as well as Fourniers and other European brands.

For day in, day out use, Bikes are standard. Does anyone go to the trouble of finding and using other brands? Has anyone else seen the Ace cards -- they are novel (to me), but don't look "fishy".
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Postby Guest » 05/05/03 11:32 AM

Bill,

Where can I get some Aces to try out? As you know, I live only 45 miles north of you. I am not familiar with Aces, but they sound interesting, especially for multi-deck, different-back trick requirements.

Do you have a May meeting coming up this week? When and where?

Thanks,

Jon
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/05/03 01:32 PM

Bought the Aces cards at Bruno's Supermarket in town -- it's the only place I've seen them (except for card retailers on the net).

I've answered the meetings question off line -- check your email.

Bill
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Postby Guest » 05/05/03 01:49 PM

I've had good luck with several different brands of cards including some of the ones you mentioned. I cannot locate them currently, but I still have some decks of Angel Back Squeezers and Blue Ribbon Brand cards that work as well as if not better then Bikes. They are also made by USPC but I've not seen them advertised lately. I've tried Aristocrat, but they had a slick finish that I did not like. Other than that, there are others similar to Bikes that are decent, but I'll have to try the Ace brand you mentioned in order to see how they compare. A final note, I bought a pack of the Eagle brand, they are smooth-finished and handle o.k., but the pack is thicker than a standard pack, strange...
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 05/05/03 02:03 PM

Originally posted by Bill Mullins:
Has anyone else seen the Ace cards
Are those the ones that have little biplanes on them? Out of curiosity, I bought some at Long's drugstore recently.

Interesting back design. The ones I purchased are blue poker size with standard indexes (the store didn't have jumbo index). Thicker and stiffer than Bicycles.

The cards are a little glossier than Bicycles and have a air-cushion finish. They feel nice and slippery when brand new, but get sticky and clump together after only a short while. That makes one-handed top palming a real bear. You can't even get a decent looking pressure fan out of them after only a few dovetail shuffles. Way too stiff and sticky.

The deck doesn't faro easily either (probably due to the thickness).

On the upside: Elmsleys and doubles handle very well. Very warp resistant.

I don't recommend these for serious work.
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Postby Glenn Godsey » 05/05/03 08:20 PM

"Stud" cards from Walgreens stores are pretty good. They are a little more flexible than Bikes.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 05/05/03 09:28 PM

Originally posted by Glenn Godsey:
"Stud" cards from Walgreens stores are pretty good.
Another vote for STUD cards. They're light and slick and they come with four, count 'em four, identical Jokers in the pack.

They also have the Walgreens name on the box which makes them pretty "honest" seeming for those who suspect trick cards.

They are also have the ugliest back design I've ever seen.
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Postby Tommy Brown » 05/06/03 05:50 AM

I have used "Stud" cards in the past and really liked them. The funny thing was I had other magicians see them and thought they were trick cards. :(
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Postby Michael Kamen » 05/06/03 07:42 AM

Originally posted by RAY JAEGERS:
I've tried Aristocrat, but they had a slick finish that I did not like. ...
I thought USPC stopped making Aristocrats. I used to love them, but of course most cards are not what they used to be. May I ask where you were able to get them recently?
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Postby thecardman » 05/06/03 10:50 AM

I tried e-mailing Walgreen's regarding ordering their "Stud" cards and having them shipped over to Scotland. Ufortunately, no luck. They refuse to mail anything outwith the 50 States :(

Does anyone know how/where to get them outwith the USA?

Peter
:)
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Postby Guest » 05/06/03 12:04 PM

Cardmen,

No worries mate, I'll go down to the local Walgreen and pick some up for you. Send me a mailing address.
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Postby Guest » 05/08/03 11:13 AM

Is it true Hollingsworth prefers Stud cards? I found that kinda odd.
Steve V
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Postby Charlie Chang » 05/08/03 11:53 AM

Originally posted by Steve V':
Is it true Hollingsworth prefers Stud cards? I found that kinda odd.
Steve V
He uses them on his Routines tape(don't remember if he uses them on London Collection or not) so it's probably true.
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Postby thecardman » 05/08/03 02:01 PM

Yes it is true. For as long as I have known him, he has used "Stud" cards. On his trips to the States, he would order them in large quantities and ship them back to the UK himself.

To joker808, I've tried e-mailing via the e-mail on your profile and IT DON'T WORK! Get in touch with me via my e-mail, which can be found in my profile.

Thanks

Peter
:)
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/08/03 04:21 PM

Tommy Brown:

I have used "Stud" cards in the past and really liked them. The funny thing was I had other magicians see them and thought they were trick cards.
That's funny. When I see someone using Stud cards I just assume they're not gaffed, because most gaffs are only available in bicycle backs.


On a related subject, I see about 50 magicians a year (mostly at the Castle) and I can't remember the last time I saw someone using jumbo index cards. I'm not a pro, but if I were, I think I'd use jumbo index cards exclusively. Even in the second row of seats in the Castle's close-up gallery, it's hard to read the indexes of a card in the performer's hand.

Am I missing something here? Is there a reason why jumbo index cards aren't standard for professional workers? Other than inertia, that is?
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 05/08/03 05:17 PM

I WoUld PrObAbLy UsE JuMbO InDeXeS MoRe OfTeN, If OnLy ThEy DiDn'T LoOk So WeIrD Up ClOsE.

LaRgEr InDeXeS MaKe ThE PiPs AnD CoUrT DeSiGn SmAlLEr ToO. FoR Me, It'S AlMosT As AnNoYiNg As ReAdInG A PoSt ThAt WaS TyPeD WiTh A BrOkEn CaPsLoCk KeY.

Yucko.
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Postby Guest » 05/08/03 05:27 PM

If I remember correctly I think there was a Max Maven/Phil Goldstein article/piece in Genii or Magic years ago stating that jumbo indexes aren't necessarily better.

Cheers,
Rich
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Postby Tommy Brown » 05/08/03 08:41 PM

Pete McCabe, I totally agree with you that when you see the "Stud" cards, you think non-gaff. I did a routine for some local magicians and was asked afterward if I was using a stripper deck. Apparently because of the routine and the unfamiliar cards, this was their solution. It was a version of "The Squeeze" of John Mendoza that uses several Zarrow Shuffles. The red and black cards are shuffled, but somehow they separate. At first I felt bad about it, because I put a lot of work into it. But, then I realized the Zarrows went by them. :) I still use the "Stud" cards occassionally.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 05/09/03 10:00 AM

Craig,

I didn't think of the larger index cards having the actual pips and/or court card design being smaller. That's a definite drawback.
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Postby Max Maven » 05/09/03 06:29 PM

Originally posted by Rich Kameda:
If I remember correctly I think there was a Max Maven/Phil Goldstein article/piece in Genii or Magic years ago stating that jumbo indexes aren't necessarily better.
Actually, I did not hedge: Jumbo index cards are a bad choice, as they are harder to read than normal cards. Try it out yourself: Prop up some cards of each type, then look at them from a distance. Even from just a few feet away, you'll find the standard faces easier to read, because your eye uses the pattern of the pips rather than the index information.

Other than their theoretical value in making it easier to read cards when they're being held in your own hands (e.g., looking at a hand in a dealt game), jumbo indices are essentially worthless.
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Postby Brian Marks » 05/09/03 07:17 PM

I like the Jontay gimmick which uses the bic indices but other than that I prefer regular cards.
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Postby Guest » 05/11/03 07:26 AM

Are Tally Ho cards still widely used or have they deteriorated in quality? I remember them as being the card of choice years ago....Can no longer buy them in Canada however..
I think using cards with an attractive back design is a plus from an audience viewpoint..from my viewpoint Bicycles and Tally Ho backs are pleasing to the eye....
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Postby Guest » 05/11/03 08:05 PM

Philip, Tally Ho's are just as good as they were years ago in my opinion. I've noticed a pretty wide range of quality in Bicycle Brand cards lately. I understad it depends upon where you buy them, Costco, Walgreens, Sams, etc. Someone said in a previous post that some Bikes on the market are actually seconds, that they are not first-quality. If true, I would like to know how to tell the difference. But as for Tally Ho, you can still get the original Fan Back and the Circle Back and they are premium cards!
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Postby Guest » 05/11/03 08:30 PM

I've noticed two different quality levels in Bee cards. This may be a bit subjective, but I think Juice work looks different on the two kinds. one of which is plastic wrapped and the other is blister packed. iT might be that one deck is just a bit darker to begin with.

I would love to find a few more decks of the old slick bee's, which as far as I know have been discontinued.
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Postby Glenn Godsey » 05/12/03 04:37 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
That's funny. When I see someone using Stud cards I just assume they're not gaffed, because most gaffs are only available in bicycle backs.
[/QB]
Back in the 60's, gaffs were only commonly made for Aviators (Fox Lake), and when magicians saw Bikes, they assumed that they were gaff free. So, I went to a lot of trouble to make all my gaffs in Bicycles to fool magicians. I still use some of them: my personal version of "Back-Flip" and my version of Bruce Cervon's "Dirty Deal" where each card back is associated (in my patter) with a card man; Vernon, Marlo, Jennings, Racherbaumer, Jimmy Grippo,etc. The back of the last card turned over is "Glenn Godsey, Magician".
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Postby Michael Kamen » 05/12/03 09:38 PM

My thanks to everyone on this thread who called my attention to the Walgreen's brand. I would never have believed it, but they are a pleasure to work with. (So what if they cannot seem to print the back or the face in the middle of the card, no other manufacturers seem to be able to do it either).
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Postby Ryan Matney » 05/13/03 03:17 PM

Does anyone know where I can get Bike "league' back cards, the ones with the three wings? Some place besides Jeff Busby would be nice.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 05/13/03 04:52 PM

I think League backs are made for Africa ... but have you tried Haines House of Cards in Ohio?
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Postby Guest » 05/13/03 07:12 PM

At one time the league backs were made exclusively for South Africa...but you see them often carried by some of the bigger dealers at conventions.

Mike
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Postby Guest » 05/13/03 07:36 PM

Twin Cities Magic in St. Paul, Minnesota has league backs. I just bought a few decks several weeks ago.

Their phone is 651-227-7888 Ask for Mike, Fred, or Jim.

While there yesterday, a fellow not affiliated with the store was selling the iraqi card decks for five bucks, Hoyle brand, made by US Playing card Co in Ohio. There is a double backer in each deck! They fan and faro great, the only drawback is that there is no border and the camoflage back design is one way, but for manipulators, the fans are beautiful. They're a bit stiffer and slicker than bikes. I like a good smile on my decks, and bubble peeks require quite a bit more pressure than bikes or bees.

Their phone is 651-227-7888 Ask for Mike, Fred, or Jim.
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Postby Van » 05/13/03 08:21 PM

Just bought a deck of STUD cards and discovered that thay have replaced one of the four jokers with an advertising card. Still getting 3 jokers is pretty good.

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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/14/03 07:33 AM

Originally posted by Mark Johnson:
I like a good smile on my decks,
What do you mean by this?

Also league backs are available on one of the game packs issued by Bicycle -- the rummy one, I think. The fronts have extra indices in non-index corner, though.
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Postby John Signa » 05/14/03 01:39 PM

Originally posted by Glenn Godsey:
Back in the 60's, gaffs were only commonly made for Aviators (Fox Lake), ...
While I was in college, I used Longs branded cards, which were OEM'd Aviators, simply because they were so affordable (50 cents a deck when on sale).

In the middle of my membership performance/audition at the Castle, one of the committee members started to examine one of the cards and asked if I was using gimmicked cards.

As I showed him the box, I explained, "No, they're regular Longs brand playing cards; I get them two for a dollar... Although fifty dollars for a full deck is a bit expensive."
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Postby IanB » 05/15/03 08:34 AM

Regarding League Backed Bike's, I inquired about them to USPCC a while back and got the following replies:

First message regarding the origin of the "League Back" name:

Regarding the history of the name "League Back" for our Bicycle cards, this was just a name that our marketing department came up with when developing this different Bicycle back. I am sorry to inform you that there is no special meaning in the name, it is just a name.

I would like to confirm that league back Bicycle cards are only found in
Europe.
Secondly after I pointed out I had seen US magicians with them:

It is my understanding that the League back cards are only found in
European markets because they wanted a way to distinguish the difference
between rider back and league back. They also have distinguishing marks on
other brands for the same reasons. I am not sure how the US magician
arrived at having league backs, maybe they do have friends that are sending
them the cards. I also think there may be web site in which they are
allowed to purchase for the UK. I am not sure of the cost on those decks,
they are probably not cheap though!

Hope this helps out!

Thank you for emailing USPC!

Katrina Palmer
Consumer Relations
League backs are freely available from www.cards4magic.co.uk or www.keithbennett.co.uk
Ordering US manufactured cards from the UK seems strange - but maybe Clive or Keith can point you at their US suppliers if it's not direct from USPCC themselves.

Rgds,

Ian
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Postby Daniel » 05/15/03 09:30 AM

League backs are also available from www.magicbox.uk.com at just 1.99 a deck.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 05/15/03 12:24 PM

Thanks for the leads everyone.
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Postby Guest » 05/15/03 01:49 PM

Bill,

Mark is referring to the thickness of the cards when he mentions he likes a good "smile". Thinner cards develope a bridge, or a "smile" (an uniform bow), after a certain amount of handling which can be utilized to produce some fantastic card magic; as you well know.

The Iraqi Pack cards are too thick to work-in the preferred "smile" or bridge than the standard thickness which most magicians are use to.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/15/03 01:58 PM

Steve -- thanks. I learn something new everyday (and forget two things; this is progress??)

Some online game stores sell Bicycle cards packaged for "Six Handed Five Hundred" -- a game with which I am not familiar. The design for this game is the league back, but I don't know if the faces are the standard 52-card deck.
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Postby Scott Fridinger » 05/16/03 12:56 PM

Originally Posted:
"Pete McCabe, I totally agree with you that when you see the "Stud" cards, you think non-gaff."

Do laymen ever think, "That cards can't be gaffed, it is not a bicycle?"

Also I bought some Bicycles from the Base Exchange here in Tucson and one of the decks had 2 large jokers, with stars at the pips instead of "$", and the Ace O' Spades said Internation Playing Card Company while the box was not different in anyway. Also the cards were slightly thicker, (the deck barely fit in my card guard). Anyone know what that is all about?

Scott
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Postby Bill Mullins » 05/16/03 03:14 PM

International Playing Card Co. is the Canadian division of U.S. Playing Card Co.
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