Borderless cards?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 12/27/01 05:53 PM

Does anyone here have a preference for using cards that have an all over pattern on the back, without the white borders? I have a couple of decks - one is 'Texan' poker size and the other 'Bee' bridge size - which i tend to use for practising with that have no borders.

I've heard that these borderless cards are often better for performing particular sleights since it makes it more difficult for the spectator to distinguish one card from the other and so could be more forgiving for the performer if he/she makes slight errors in performance - perhaps it might hide a poor Elmsley count? (Of course, that's no excuse for not practising!)

Does anyone have any thoughts on this or a preference for such cards?

Postby Guest » 12/28/01 05:08 AM

I think the borderless cards are better for performing false deals, false shuffles and 3 card monte, but if you are trying to perform an Elmsley count with borderless cards and the card you are hiding is face down, it makes the sleight much more difficult to perform deceptively because the white borders on Bicycles can cover up a tiny bit of error if the 2 cards are not aligned perfectly on count number 2. (Does that make sense?).

Postby Terry » 12/28/01 05:46 AM

Re Elmsley - if 3 are face down & 1 face up, there is a white edge that stands out amongst the darker edges.
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Postby Guest » 12/28/01 11:39 AM

I would say go with the cards that have borders. It is possible to do great false dealing with cards that have borders. But any trick where you have to hide face down cards behind face up cards will look bad, also tricks such as triumph won't look very good.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/28/01 10:09 PM

It has been my experience over the past 30 years that cards WITH borders help to hide sleights.
There seems to be some lingering rumor that cards without borders, like Bee, aid in performing a deceptive Pass or Second Deal.
Frankly, I can't speak about the Second Deal, but a white border HELPS to make the Pass more deceptive. Ditto for most sleights.
All the great sleight of hand MAGICIANS that I've known, including Vernon, Dingle, Jennings, and on and on, used cards with white borders. I figure they know more than I ever will, and so why not benefit from their wisdom.
The only exception to this has been Gene Maze, who used to use Bee backed cards when doing False Deals, but most of my recollection in later years puts a deck of Tally-Ho cards with a white border in his hands.
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Postby Tomas Blomberg » 01/02/02 01:39 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
All the great sleight of hand MAGICIANS that I've known, including Vernon, Dingle, Jennings, and on and on, used cards with white borders.

I have not seen much footage of Vernon, but during his Second Deal demo on a show (I think it was called Mumbo Jumbo It's Magic) he uses borderless cards.

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Postby Guest » 01/02/02 04:18 PM

Arthur Buckley evidently preferred borderless Bees, judging from the photographs in "Card Control" and "Principles and Deceptions." I have no idea why.

Postby Pete Biro » 01/02/02 05:14 PM

Bee backs had been pretty much the standard in Casinos. US Playing Card Company's standards for Bees is very high.

Gamblers (not the casinos) like the non-bordered cards as they provide "shade" for second dealing, make good "sorts" and can be marked very easily, especially with edge work (using sandpaper from match books is one nice way).

In magic, and around most person's homes, you find the Bicycle backs--with white borders--the most common.

Reversed cards, etc. are easier to conceal with the white borders.

Most magicians worry too much about the cards and the back designs... the audiences, for the most part, could care less. :rolleyes:
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Postby Pete Biro » 01/02/02 05:15 PM

In addition, Juice work is much better with the Bee design.

I know a mechanic that "sorts" Bee decks by feel... he can tell one deck from another if the texture/roughness varies.
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Postby Guest » 01/03/02 05:16 AM

Now that you mention it Pete, the only times I have ever seen a juice deck it has always been with Bee brand cards.

Postby Guest » 01/03/02 06:07 AM

A late comment on the Elmsley-Count-with-Bees posts.....

Some experts say that a "perfect" Elmsley Count should show the edge of the concealed card. That avoids the "hey, you only showed me three cards!" response.

And thus a face-up card cannot be concealed when ECing using Bees.

That's not necessarily my opinion. And I'm no expert.


Postby Rafael Benatar » 01/03/02 10:15 AM

The pros of white borders far outweigh the cons, if any, when performing straight magic. For deals, well, cards without borders might make it more deceptive in a certain way, but that's in a small proportion to what good timing and proper misdirection will do. I'll mention a particular case as an exception. I do a blank deck routine (with a reverse fan and 1 blank card) based on Darwin Ortiz's "The Lucky Deck". A magic friend pointed out that when you fan the deck with borders with the backs towards the audience, they see a lot of white, which might give a hint of the secret. I tried with Bee, but the pattern makes the fanned deck look like a piece of table cloth. I finally settled for Fournier cards N 18 which are the ones they give you when you buy a leather card case. These do have a border but it's not white. It is the same color as the back. They simply have a border line. This way the fan has a shape.
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