just a poll

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 11/17/02 07:53 AM

How many decks of cards did you ruin before you all mastered the card decks? I am now on my 3rd deck now, practicing fanning and other flourishes, passes, etc...

Are you guys all using the Bicycle brand cards? What other brands are out there that are as good as the Bicycles?

Postby Matthew Field » 11/17/02 09:58 AM

I deeply regret my wasteful youth when I discarded deck after deck of Aarco cards after about a week's worth of practice. Don't throw 'em away. Switch to a new deck if it seems advisable, then come back to them after a while. The old decks are probably still more than serviceable.

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Postby Kendrix » 11/17/02 10:32 AM

Try Norm Nielsen's card presses. They will help, but plan on going though cases. They are still cheaper than any thing else in Magic. Remember your time is valuble, too.
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Postby Michel Huot » 11/17/02 11:51 AM

once the decks are not usable to practice certain sleight, instead of throwing them in the garbage, use them to practice sleights that will destroy cards like the MERCURY FOLD for instance, or practice tricks like williamson's TORN AND RESTORED TRANSPOSITION or CARD WARP (Roy Walton???)

But don't get discourage you'll go through hundreds of decks!!!

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/17/02 12:20 PM

Originally posted by Philip Kim:
mastered the card decks? I am now on my 3rd deck now,...
That reads like the old tootsie roll commerical. "How many licks does it take to..." Some folks have been working on material for decades. Learning to get through and then perform a card routine takes quite a while.

It does help to get comfortable doing routines with US Playing Card Company cards, old bridge cards, and other brands. One never knows what kind of pack of cards will be offered at someone's house when the time comes.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 11/17/02 01:32 PM

As an interesting footnote to this discussion, When I was talking with the U.S Playing Card Co. our requirements for custom cards, the discussion camee around to how many decks people use. The company did not consider magicians to be a large market, certainly not in comparison to casino's, but they were stunned to learn how many decks an individual goes through. They thought that like e very house hold a magician just used they same deck forever. They had know idea someof us go through multiple decks in a week.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/17/02 01:40 PM

Originally posted by Larry Horowitz:
...talking with the U.S Playing Card Co. our requirements for custom cards...
Any chance you could convince them to make some cards that are better for us? Maybe a little heavier finish and a bit more resiliance? They have the technology to produce cards that still have that nice snap while being less britle. My guess is that if the inner layer were replaced, we could all benefit.
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Postby Michael Kamen » 12/08/02 12:27 PM


This is an interesting discussion and Larry Horowitz' comments are encouraging. Years ago it seems U.S.P.C. gave us a much better selection of standard poker decks from which to choose. I used to love the "Aristocrats," which handled well for me. All the cards today seem to have a different kind of finish from the old "linen." While they fan well today (once upon a time you needed fanning powder to get cards to fan the way they do now right out of the box and never seem to stop), they also (I think) warp, bend, and crimp excessively. Further, they never seem to "break in," i.e., soften up to a condition that is optimum for close-up sleights. Stage card-manipulators have their own issues with the cards available today for that purpose. My old friend Jeff Sheridan made that the topic of his article in a recent Genii issue, which coincidentally followed a long telephone conversation with me in which I was whining to him about the problem I was having getting back into card magic due to the decks not seeming to break in anymore -- he commiserated and offered professional insights on the problem which seems to have been on his mind anyway hence his article. I suggest you take a look, it ran several months ago -- Jeff is a great magician and knows what he is talking about.

Perhaps people just starting out with these cards are not affected as much since they never got used to what now seems the luxurious earlier packs. In any case, when a deck passes what is for you its optimum state you will generally want to start on a new one. Until they are completely worn out you should work with several decks in different states of wear, as others have pointed out, to maintain your flexibility. Again, today I am personally not sure what "wear" means anymore, but then the issue is not as pressing for me now as it once would have been.

In any event, you should expect to go through gazillions of decks. When this thread started you were on deck #3. Keep practicing and good luck!

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