sticky cards

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 11/27/02 03:09 AM

Another silly question for you guys. I bought some cards not too long ago and I have been practicing my moves with it everyday since. Now the cards stick. Why? My hands too dirty? I have bicycle bridge decks because it's easier to handle with my small hands. Are they no longer good for practices or for trick performances?

Postby Guest » 11/27/02 08:20 AM

Stop using those nudie cards.

Postby Bill Wheeler » 11/27/02 09:01 AM

Hi Philip--

The cards will naturally become a little more sticky over time. It could also be because of moisture/humidity. As you get more experience you should find that you can handle older cards with little problem. (Unless the deck is really beat up). In the meantime, you can use your sticky cards to practice non-sleight based tricks; or stuff like the torn and restored card.

And to Mr. Race .... I'm surprised no one on this forum has mentioned that you are "The King" yet? :)
Driver: Callaway FT-5
Irons: Titlest AP-1
Wedges: Vokey 52,58,64
Putter: i-series Black #9
Bill Wheeler
Posts: 172
Joined: 03/14/08 10:22 AM
Location: Downers Grove, IL

Postby Guest » 11/27/02 09:26 AM

Originally posted by Harley Race:
Stop using those nudie cards.
Please, I'm taking my card magic learning very seriously. If you don't have any good constructive help, please, don't bother posting. And no, as I said before, I'm using bicycle cards, not nudie cards.

Postby Bruce Arnold » 11/27/02 01:01 PM

O.K. - I'll mention it. As a fan of the classic Championship Wrestling From Florida with the legendary Gordon Solie, I recognize Harley Race as "The King Of Wrestling"!
"So long from the sunshine state."

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

Postby Pete McCabe » 11/27/02 03:40 PM


I opened a brand new deck of Bicycle cards the other day and they were sticky, right out of the box. I put the deck into a bottle (but that's another thread) and opened another, which was much better. Good thing Costco sells a 12 decks for 13 dollars.

So that's the first thing, the cards may just not be very good. The quality of bicycles seems to be steadily declining, as profit margins drive quality down to the minimum required for the average card player, which is certainly much lower than the average magician requires. I know Jamy Swiss uses Tally-Ho brand, whose quality seems to be a little higher (ditto the price) and more consistent.

Second, do you wash your hands before you pick up the deck? I don't personally, but then I get my decks for a dollar a pop. If the cost of the deck is a factor, washing may help extend their life.

Even so, the more you use the cards they more they get oily and dirty, thus the more sticky. You can slow this down by washing your hands but not stop it.

In the old days the cure for a sticky fanning deck was to put the deck in a paper bag with a pinch of cornstarch and shake it up. I have no idea if that's still done or if it might make them too sticky for normal use, but it might be worth a try.

Hope this helps,


P.S. There are several people who regularly post jokes on the forum. I am one of them. It's nothing personal by Harley, I'm pretty sure. If there's a joke there, someone will post it.
Pete McCabe
Posts: 2154
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/27/02 03:59 PM

Originally posted by Philip Kim:
...been practicing my moves with it everyday since. Now the cards stick.
What is it you are practicing? I have decks that are ten years old that are just fine to work with. Others that I try packet tricks with get a few cards smudged as I drop them and spill coffee etc. Cards I used to try flourishes with never lasted more than a month after getting broken in sincd the sweat and poweder start wearing off the finish very fast.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7333
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Westchester, NY

Postby Guest » 11/27/02 04:49 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
Good thing Costco sells a 12 decks for 13 dollars.

Wow!!! 13 bucks for 12 packs? Here in Japan one pack of poker card costs about 10 US dollars. Forget about even buying them in packs here and there is no Costco. I envy you. I miss living in the states again at times like this. Do they also sell bridge decks at Costco?

Postby Guest » 11/28/02 08:37 AM

I suggest trying to use fanning powder it will help extend the longivity of your cards (place them in a bags with some powder in it and shake)

Have you considered importing box of 12 pack from the states?

Postby Guest » 11/28/02 09:27 AM

Pete, thanks and everyone else who's given me advice. The problem is the location where I live. I can't get ANYTHING magical near here. I live in a very rural side of Japan and if I want to get to a big city for shops that sells hobby goods like magic (Nagoya, by the way if anyone knows where in Japan it is) which takes almost 2 hour train ride (one way)and the round trip fair for the train ride is about 80 to 90 US dollars. So I'm in a bind. Too expensive. Even buying card decks are difficult. The stores mostly have only plastic cards with just a couple (couple I mean is 2) bicycle decks, only. I can't seem to find any other brands. I'll probably have to go to Tokyo or big cities like it, which is WAY out of my way.

Anyway, thanks everyone.

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/28/02 12:00 PM

Originally posted by Philip Kim:
...rural side of Japan...
Where you are may be a good chance to discover what is part of the environment and learn to do material with that. Sea shells? rocks? comic characters from packaging?

The art progresses when the artist works from the very materials at hand where the audience lives.

Perhaps a good book or two on art history might be of more use than imported novelties.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7333
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Westchester, NY

Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/28/02 06:33 PM

1) why the heck don't you call Magic Land in Tokyo, tell Ton Onosaka, Satoshi, and Mama-san, hello from me, and then buy some Bicycle cards from them. I think they have some different kinds, and probably also sell fanning powder (which will keep them from getting sticky). Magic Land's phone number is 6-666-4749.
2) Dr. Sawa lives in a rural area of Japan, Seki, which is also two hours from Nagoya (a city I have been to many times). Sawa does magic with nuts, sea shells, rocks, you name it.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 22410
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Guest » 11/28/02 09:13 PM

I also have small hands, and I used bridge cards for about two years before I felt comfortable enough with the basics to force myself to use poker size. I own a lot of bridge decks, but I rarely if ever use them anymore. I never carry them with me. Sometimes I play with them a bit and especially for new or especially hard moves they can make it easier and less frustrating to learn with. However, the size of your hands (opposed to other parts of your body) really doesn't matter. Mine are small, but larger compared to Jay Sankey, and he obviously has no problem with poker size. For a long time I thought I could never palm with my hands, and now I do it all the time with no trouble at all.

So, keep using the bridge decks if that helps you learn, change them often and once you have a move down pat, try it with poker size. As you get experience, you'll be much lighter on your handling and the cards will behave as new for much longer. I remember going through two or three decks a week, sometimes two a day, especialy as I concentrated on false shuffles and deals. I never use fanning powder as I can't get used to the feel of it. Now a deck can last for months.

Sooner or later you'll switch to poker size, which are cheaper, easier to find, and more consitent with special cards such as double backs or faces, or packet tricks. you'll be happier in the long run if you switch to 808's, but the bridge size will help relieve frustration which helps you practice more.

Some moves are much easier to cover with the larger 808's. I still can be 100% reliable with a 3 or four card pushoff with bridge, but with poker size, I have to steal a glance for anything more than two. My passes are much better with 808's, but faster with bridge. second deals and double lifts look better with poker size. If I borrow a deck and it happens to be bridge size, I secretly am happy with it.

Return to General