Quality of Bicycle cards

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby walkinoats » 03/11/02 12:34 PM

Has anyone found that the Quality of Bicycle's is not the same when you buy a case of 12?
Posts: 138
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM

Postby Guest » 03/11/02 01:46 PM

Some of the larger cases (particularly league back) are made for the South African market and so are made cheaper so they are affordable their.

I find they don't fan as well and sometimes are a little thick. But for $AUS3 per deck rather than $AUS12 you won't here me complaining.

Postby Pepka » 03/12/02 02:03 PM

Been thinking about posting the same question myself. They warp very quickly. I even use a card guard and still, warp. Any suggestions on other brands? Steamboat, Bee Etc. I saw the debate on Arco a while back, but they seem unavalaible.
Posts: 391
Joined: 05/04/08 09:40 AM

Postby Guest » 03/16/02 01:13 PM

I have had occasion to return cards to USCC
and have always had a good response from their customer sevice department(admitted some time ago)has the company policy changed ?

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/16/02 01:25 PM

Not long ago I experimented with Tally Ho and Stud brand cards (both also made by U.S. Playing Card Co). Both are discernably different from Bikes (Tally Ho are stiffer, Stud are thinner).

But I could not find any move that I use that was any easier or more consistent with any brand of cards, so I buy the cheapest ones.

If anyone has done any similar experiments and found a move or moves that are easier with one brand over another (aside from the obvious second deals with a borderless back design), I'd love to hear it.

The best solution for warping cards is simple but not necessarily all that attractive: open a new deck more frequently. Still, this is as good a reason as any to buy the cheapest deck available.
Pete McCabe
Posts: 2137
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Guest » 03/16/02 01:55 PM

Well I like the Bee brand better because of the finish. For some reason they feel better in the hand and I feel they bend easier(which I like). But that is more of a person prefence I think. That's my two cents.

Postby Guest » 03/16/02 01:59 PM

Sorry forgot one other thing. The Bicycle Card I have gotten lately have had a very rough edges(not like the card I bought about 10 years ago). Almost as if the blade that cut them was not as sharp as it should be.

Postby Guest » 03/16/02 03:10 PM

I was once informed that you could reques "First cut"Packs of cards and it was explained that although the blades used were self sharpening they had to be renewed.At the time I was whinging about the quality of the edge cuts.I never did request "First cuts" !!

Postby Guest » 03/17/02 06:20 AM

Thanks for letting me put in my 2 cents. All this talk about “brands” of cards is interesting – and yes, we all like to work with the “best” cards – but we all have a different “feel” with a deck – the best for me might not be the best for you – and so forth.

Sure, it's nice to use a “Bee” for second deals – but are “Bees” that good for Elmsley Counts with a reversed card – of course, the idea is to be able to use any deck for any thing – so why not work with all brands – new – old – decrepit, whatever – so that when someone hands you a deck in any condition you don't have to beg off doing anything.

Maybe you won't do certain tricks with certain moves with an old deck – be prepared with tricks you can do effectively with any condition.

I buy by the 12-pack – and I haven't noticed a difference. With Bicycles it does seem that the thickness varies somewhat with decks in the same 12-box. But, should it make that big a difference?

Maybe this was more than my “2 cents” – so thanks again.

Postby Bruce Arnold » 03/17/02 07:09 AM

I believe cards that vary in thickness, could create an interesting challange for cardmen who do estimation. Most of us don't do enough of this type of work to have it affect us.

Bruce Arnold
Bruce Arnold
Posts: 16
Joined: 01/19/08 01:00 PM
Location: St. Petersburg, FL

Postby Pepka » 03/17/02 12:12 PM

Has anyone used one of the Joe Porper card clips? I use a card-guard and wonder if there's much of a difference and it can overcome this warping problem that the guard can't.
Posts: 391
Joined: 05/04/08 09:40 AM

Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/17/02 09:20 PM

Two things!
Joe DeStanfo: when I was in the back at Lou Tannen's at 1540 Broadway, I saw a large manuscript of your material for a book--what happened to it?
Pepka: I used a Porpor card clip for years and they kept my Tally-Hos flat as a board.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 22227
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 03/18/02 05:03 AM

Richard, when you saw that manuscript of my materials at Tannen's must have been a while back. When they published my Chinatown Poker in "New Stars of Magic" - 1973 - they also put out a few more items - and then we started to put more info together (the manuscript you saw)for a future book, but for certain reasons the project just faded. I thought of doing it on my own - but it would have been too big a project. Thanks for remembering snd for asking about it. I had just about forgotten it.

Postby Guest » 03/18/02 07:41 AM

Looking very close the quality of two Bicycle's is never the same. When you buy a large quantity you`ll get rough/smooth edges shiny/dull ink, different court card colours and of course white rims of different size. This is all normal. Use it in a trick...
;) Read the guarantee-card: When you send the Ace of Spades you get a new deck, in case the abnormity of your deck makes it impossible to normally play cards with it...

[ March 26, 2002: Message edited by: Zauberfranz ]

Postby Brian Morton » 03/18/02 10:16 AM

Richard Kaufman wrote:
I used a Porpor card clip for years and they kept my Tally-Hos flat as a board.

Denny Haney is stocking the Porper card clips now. I just met Joe Porper this past weekend at a billiards expo in Valley Forge, PA, and he says he's getting back into manufacturing magic items again. He says he soon will be coming out with Cups & Balls and Chop cups, in addition to the card clips.

And he's a really nice guy.

brian :cool:
User avatar
Brian Morton
Posts: 388
Joined: 03/12/08 11:43 AM
Location: Bawlamer, Merlin

Postby Robert McDaniel » 03/25/02 02:20 PM

I've used Tally Ho Circle back cards for many years and have found that some batches are better than others, but they seem to stay flat better than other brands like Bicycle. I've gotten some really bad Bicycle decks in the past. But, I've started using Bicycle Rider backs all the time because they are familiar to lay people (and obviously most of the gaffed cards come in Bicycle Rider). One thing I've noticed is that the Bicycle CASES are cheaper or flimsier than they used to be.

I've got a thing about warped cards, so I use card clips AND alternate every other card face-up / face down in the case and let them "cure" for a few days. This usually ensures that the deck stays flat. At least it seems to work wiht Tally Ho and Bicycle cards.

Robert McDaniel
Robert McDaniel
Posts: 139
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: USA

Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/25/02 08:33 PM

Am I the only one who remembers that great thing Frank Garcia used to do with Tally-Ho Circle Backs? He would very carefully run his thumbnail all around the edge of the circle a tiny bit at a time--he really took his time doing this, apparently separating the circle from the rest of the card.
Then, he would hold the face-down card solely between his thumb, above, and first finger, below, with all the other fingers spread well out of the way. His thumb was dead in the center of the circle.
With his OTHER hand, he would flick the corner of the card, causing it to rapidly turn a bit--but it appeared as if the circle did NOT move.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 22227
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Matthew Field » 03/26/02 07:42 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
it appeared as if the circle did NOT move.

I saw Frank do this (at Tannen's), but it only works under fluorescent lights. Strobe effect.

Or if you rapidly fire your FISM flash!

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
Posts: 2635
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/26/02 12:00 PM

Theoretically the non-moving circle effect should not require any special lighting. Our eyes have a built-in scan rate, which is why sometimes the wheels on the car in the next lane don't seem to be moving.

A fluorescent light would certainly make it easier to see. But not necessary.
Pete McCabe
Posts: 2137
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Brad Jeffers » 03/26/02 02:01 PM

Just a note concerning the "quality" of Bicycle cards ... The best deck of strippers that I ever saw, was a deck of Bicycle rider backs that I purchased from a local grocery store! It was, of course, not supposed to be that way, but the cut was slightly off, which made for a very fine, but fully fuctional pack of strippers! Just imagine the problems that could arrise for some unwitting fellow who purchased such a deck for use in his weekend poker game and then was "caught" using a gaffed deck. Mabey the resulting lawsuit would induce the U.S. Playing Card Company to tighten up its quality controll efforts! :D
User avatar
Brad Jeffers
Posts: 638
Joined: 04/11/08 05:52 PM
Location: Savannah, GA

Postby Guest » 03/26/02 03:19 PM

Has anyone noticed the increase of decks that have got thier backs printed off center? I personally don't mind, as I will occasionally use the fact to make the cards into a one way deck and use it for a bit of mentalism with cards or whatever.

Over here you can get what are called Bike Seconds, they are sold at a cheaper rate because they have slight defects, but not very noticably so. Occasionally they won't be as air-cushioned as much or something like that, but It's not usually anything to worry about.

Postby Mike Powers » 03/26/02 08:32 PM


I don't think that eyes have a scanning rate. You do need the strobe effect. Wheels don't strobe by themselves. Sometimes the lines on the road can make a strobe effect. I've been wrong before but I need to see the research on this one.

Mike Powers
Posts: 174
Joined: 01/24/08 01:00 PM
Location: Northern Indiana

Postby Guest » 03/26/02 10:22 PM

I agree with Robert M about Bicylce Riders being best simply because of their familiarity. And Robert, if you were still using the Tally Hos, you'd notice that those boxes, too, suck. Quite often, you will find the flap inserted IN BETWEEN a few cards, and the rest of the deck! As opposed to encasing all of the cards. This is especially nice if you like a sticky residue from the sticker on a few of the cards!

Postby Pete McCabe » 03/27/02 12:35 AM


I suppose I could be wrong. It was a while ago when I took Psychology of Perception in college.

But I do know that the effect was widely noticed in wagon wheels, lit solely by the sun.

Pete McCabe
Posts: 2137
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Guest » 03/27/02 09:20 AM

If you would like to see an optical illusion to demonstrate eye scan have a look at some optical illusions on this site web pageInternet Magic

Postby Guest » 03/27/02 09:23 AM

The link above doesnt take you to the correct page but look at "Shimmer"

Postby Guest » 03/27/02 03:03 PM

Good guess, Mr. Tordoff, but no cookies. The Frank Garcia Tally-Ho Circle Backs bit is not like the optical illusion "shimmer". (But I can understand the confusion!) This, BTW, is called the Moire Effect. For the Moire Effect definition click here. For a excellent Moire Effect click here. And how to make a Moire Effect click here.

You're more on the money, Mr. McCabe, with the Wagon Wheel solution but, I believe, just a little off the mark. For a explaination of the Wagon Wheel Effect click here. For a scientific explaination (in PDF format) click here.

I believe Mr. Garcia's fine effect is similar to a strobe effect but without the strobe! i.e. it imitates the strobe effect. Anything can appear to BE under the influence of a strobe to the human eye if it is small enough and moving very fast in a short distance. e.g. the Tally-Ho card is moving a slight fraction in a nano-seconds' time (as opposed to the much bigger movement of wagon wheels matching slower shutter speeds, wagon wheels on wagon wheels- Pete's aforementioned sun effect, and drops of water falling UPWARD). Does this make sense?... Mr. Powers?

It's rare when science is solely used and incorporated into close-up magic. Kudos to Frank Garcia for bringing us and Richard Kaufman for reminding us about "The Magic Tally-Ho Playing Card"!

[ March 27, 2002: Message edited by: Steve Spicer ]

Postby Bob Gerdes » 03/27/02 04:16 PM

I believe Mr. Garcia's fine effect is similar to a strobe effect but without the strobe! i.e. it imitates the strobe effect

Almost got it Mr. Spicer! In fact, the "wagon wheel illusion" does indeed occur even during continuous light: here is another scientific explanation for those who are interested (in PDF format)

Mr. McCabe was pretty close, but it isn't our eyes that have a scanning rate, but rather our brains which apparently process visual input in sequential episodes rather than in a continuous stream.
(Boy, has THIS thread wandered!)

[ March 27, 2002: Message edited by: Bob Gerdes ]
Bob Gerdes
Posts: 138
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Glen Cove, NY

Postby Oliver Corpuz » 03/27/02 05:08 PM

I little more on topic, but not really.

Has anyone noticed that the cases that Bicycles come in have recently changed? The new cases that say "Bicycle Poker 808" on the top are sealed differently on the bottom, and have a bigger "tongue" flap on the lid,

The older cases that just say "Poker" on the top lid, had "flaps" on the bottom, that with a little skill at cutting through the plastic wrap without tearing it up too much, you could get at the cards from the bottom end, mark them or add gaffs, then re-seal the cards back in the box by gluing the bottom back together and taping the plastic wrap back together and make it appear that the cards haven't been tampered with.

The new cases are constructed differently to prevent this type of tampering. The new construction makes it a lot harder to secretly juice a deck. There no longer is a way to easily open the case from the bottom and reseal and cover up the work.

I loved being able to hand a "sealed" marked deck to a spectator, have them remove the plastic wrapper and break the blue US Playing Card Company seal at the top, take the cards out and verify that "the deck is legit".

It is amazing that it took them so long to figure out that you could tamper with the deck so easily with the old packaging.


p.s. I agree that the quality of Bicycles nowadays is very, very poor. Since US Playing Card Co. has practically no competition anymore, it seems like they just don't care to put out a quality product. Their cards are very inconsistent with the finish and the cuts on some decks I've opened are just plain atrocious.
Oliver Corpuz
Posts: 105
Joined: 05/09/09 08:33 AM

Postby Guest » 03/28/02 12:52 AM

My bad Bob! Thank-you for correcting me.

Your excellent PDF find definitely demostrates that... "taken together these observations indicate that the frequency of stimulus element presentation- RATHER than the linear VELOCITY of the elements OR the size of the drum- PRIMARILY determines the illusion of the reversed rotation"... (emphasis mine); or in the Garcia effect seemingly SAME position. Now that that's settled just gotta get me some circle back Tally-Ho's!

And while I'm at it I'll measure the effects of a vacuum on Bicycle cards. (Duh, I'll just ask the Space Odditie himself- Ben Harris!)

Thanks again Bob,


[ March 27, 2002: Message edited by: Steve Spicer ]

Postby Guest » 03/28/02 01:21 AM

Call me Martin,please

Return to Close-Up Magic