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Magic With Cards: 113 Easy-to-Perform Miracles (Frank Garcia & George Schindler)

Perfect first book for card trick beginners

My experience

When I first developed an interest in magic many years ago, I stumbled across Garcia and Schindler's "Magic With Cards" at a public library, and later I bought my own copy. In hindsight, I would say that it was this book that single-handedly propelled me to the next level of magic. It helped me progress from the dry tricks that everybody knows (like the 21 Card Trick) to performing some real miracles. Although it essentially contains all self-working tricks, there are some real gems in here, and many of the impromptu tricks I still do today are ones that I first learned in this book.



Contents

The book is arranged into sections that include the following: The Key Card, Spelling Tricks, Aces, Poker Tricks, The Force, Reds and Blacks, Mentalism, The Pre-Arranged Deck, One-Way Cards, Mathematical & Self-Working Card Tricks, Gags Bets & Stunts, Card Miracles, and Card Handling.

Some well-known favorites are included, like "Wanna Bet?" (the common sucker trick using the key-card principle), "The Piano Trick", and "Do As I Do". But Magic With Cards also features stunning and classic self-workers like the "Lazy Man's Card Trick" (under the name "Too Tired") and an impromptu version of Paul Curry's "Out of This World" (under the name "Intuition").

When I learned Paul Harris' popular "Overkill" years later I noticed that I already knew the basic mechanics and concept from Garcia's "Astounding Prediction." Even to this day one of my favorite impromptu card tricks is "Aces Follow Aces" (essentially the same as Charlie Nagle's "Traveling Aces" in Scarne on Card Tricks, which just adds a magician's choice at the end).

See a complete list of the contents here: http://magicref.tripod.com/books/garciafrankmagicwithcards.htm

Recommendation

Much of the material in "Magic With Cards" can be found in other sources, so it's not a "must have" by any means if you already have a decent library, or are already at an intermediate level. But for a novice looking to take the next step, it's the perfect resource, and is even more suitable than commonly recommended titles like "Scarne on Card Tricks" or the books in Karl Fulves' Self-Working Card Tricks series. The advantage of Garcia and Schindler's book is that it is a very solid and well-rounded collection, and it gives some good suggestions for patter as well.

There's also a section on some basic card handling techniques, including some shuffles and elementary card control. But the tricks themselves don't require sleight of hand, which means that beginners can focus on performance.

I'm glad that this 1975 title was reprinted in 1993 to make it more widely available, and it's one the first titles I'd suggest for someone looking for good material to start out with in card magic.  It's also a bargain - via Amazon you can buy used paperback copies for around a dollar, or a brand new hard copy for under $5.



Want to learn more?  Get it on Amazon here.
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Playing Card Plethora / Re: Card Finish
« Last post by Illusionists Foundation on Today at 02:44:39 AM »
All the finishes that you've named off are embossed finishes, so while they are different, they're not too far off from each other. Air cushion finish is the standard on the bulk of decks produced by Bicycle. Linoid finish is the standard on most Tally Ho decks. As best as I can tell, magic and performance finish are the most similar to each other. The basic truth behind these finishes is that (speaking from experience and the many decks that I own), the performance coat is the more slippery of the four (closely followed by magic finish), while the linoid finish is closely similar to the magic finish, and air cushion seems to follow last in the order of the four. I believe the reason for this difference is due to how much air each respective finish allows between the cards (with performance coat seeming to allow for the most air). It is also claimed that performance coat and magic finish allow decks to last longer than the average deck with an air cushion finish. This claim really depends on how you care for the cards, but I'd be inclined to agree with it.

That said, no, the finishes aren't all the same based on how the cards feel, but is there a huge difference between them to make one superior to the rest? Not really. Decks with these four finishes will handle relatively similarly, and in the end since all four are embossed finishes (rather than smooth finishes) any deck with a finish you named will fan, spread, and flourish without any issues. As a final thought, I'd focus more on how to care for your cards and what you can personally do to make them last longer than which of the four finishes is the best. The obsession with comparing embossed finishes with each other is overrated.

I'm sure Don Boyer will chime in soon with his valuable and well-informed opinion as always, so I'll keep my comments brief. I appreciate Illusionists Foundation willingness to help, but unfortunately a lot of the information in the above post isn't entirely accurate, and perpetuates some common misunderstandings about these finishes.

Technically speaking, a finish is actually the embossing pattern on the paper-stock, while a coating is something applied afterwards. 
- Air cushion finish is a term Bicycle uses mainly in reference to their embossing but it has lost its specific meaning and they put it on virtually all their decks.
- Linoid finish and Cambric finish are terms dating back to when different production methods were used; Bicycle continues to use them because they are associated with their different brands (Tally Ho, Bee), but in reality today they are identical embossing patterns, and both would be considered "Air Cushion Finishes" by Bicycle. 
- Magic Finish and Performance Coating are simply different names for the same coating applied to the cards. 

I'd also suggest that Illusions Foundation check out the detailed article that I linked to earlier, which covers all of this and more, and should help correct any common misunderstandings:

Analysing the quality/handling of a USPCC deck: four key elements
http://www.playingcardforum.com/index.php?topic=10265

I've actually just been reading over your article, and it's very well written. I hadn't realized the USPCC had set things up as they did legally to end up with the coatings still having different names despite being the same thing. Aside from that, the decks I've been comparing the finishes on likely just had a more (or less) prominent embossed finish dimples, thus accounting for the difference in the ease of spreading despite the decks being recently opened. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it, what accounts for a deck spreading as well (or bad) as it does depends on how much air is allowed between cards by the dimples created by the embossed finish. The more air left in between, the easier and smoother the spread. Hence why decks with the same coating still have a different feel as far as how easy spreading/fanning is concerned.
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Playing Card Plethora / Re: Card Finish
« Last post by Don Boyer on Today at 02:40:18 AM »
First, a definition: a card's FINISH is the TEXTURE on the surface of the card.  It can have that texture many different ways - embossing, laminating, etc.  Many people confuse COATING with FINISH because of some of the trademark terms used by USPC, but the coating is just that, the laminate that goes on the surface of the card.

A very long time ago, back when USPC didn't have a corporate parent and was still an independent company (though they were still buying up every competitor in sight, practically from day one!), there used to be different finishes on cards.  Today, that's really no longer the case at that company, beyond the very simple distinctions of "embossed" and "smooth" stocks.

Why, you ask?  Simple.  Until some time around the 1970s, finishes were actually applied to the paper.  The coating used on pasteboard stocks to give them more durability also gave them texture because they were applied with cloth rollers, and just like the cloth rollers used by painters, they can leave a texture on the surface they're rolled over, unless you really lay on a thicker coating and make more than one pass.  Different cloths left different textures, hence the trademark names like Linen, Linoid, Cambric, etc.

The problem with using cloth rollers is that the cloth gets clogged quickly with the coating and requires replacement, slowing down production and decreasing efficiency in manufacturing.  Some time in the 1970s/1980s, this entire process was simplified by using an embossing process that's performed when the paper is created.

Pasteboard stock is created by USPC by buying large rolls of paper from paper mills and sandwiching together two layers of paper with a layer of glue in-between, glue that's been infused with graphite to give the stock a black core and make it opaque under bright light.  The amount of pressure used to press these two layers together is what creates differences in stocks today, and the rollers used to press them together are either smooth, creating a smooth stock, or have a fine, bumpy surface, creating an embossed stock with little pockets in the paper's surface that capture air when the card is gliding against a hard surface, such as a table or another card, reducing friction much like the dimples on a golf ball.

For all modern decks made by USPC in the past three or four decades or so, all embossed stocks are THE SAME on the surface, the only possible difference being the thickness and stiffness of the paper.  All smooth stocks from this period are ALSO THE SAME in the same ways that embossed stocks are the same to each other.

Does this mean that ALL PAPER EVERYWHERE used for playing cards is the same?  Nope...

Expert PCC does indeed make a difference in their stocks.  They acquire stocks that are embossed to different depths, with differing pressure and at differing thicknesses, thus making stocks that are genuinely different from each other in terms of surface appearance and how they perform.  Some of their stocks are also used by the Legends PCC, so they, too, benefit from these differences, though I can't speak for the stocks that Legends uses which Expert does not.

But back to USPC...

There's something they offer that's sold under a variety of names, the most common of which being Magic Finish and Performance Coating.  It's even been sold as Air Cushion Finish, though it's not the same as the basic, off-the-shelf Bicycle Standards sold at the corner drugstore.  For several years now, all custom card orders from USPC receive a special coating - the call it Magic Finish, but it's really a coating, NOT a finish - that gives the cards a slicker, more slippery feel.  The coating is distinct in that the cards are indeed more slick and have a sharper, more chemical smell fresh out of the box and even for some time thereafter (my second wife used to be able to identify that smell immediately when I opened a pack - she was actually fond of it).  To further confuse matters, this same coating can be found on embossed and smooth stocks, though it is far more commonly used on embossed stocks.

The theory behind why these cards have this new coating is that, like all US playing card manufacturers, USPC was required to conform to a new US law that went into effect around the same time they moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to their new facility in Erlanger, Kentucky (a suburb of Cincinnati on the other side of the Ohio River and closer to the local international airport).  This law required companies making playing cards to use papers with a higher post-consumer recycled content and to use inks and coatings that were devoid of petroleum products and easily, fully biodegradable.  Thus, all USPC cards manufactured today use coatings based on starch and inks based on vegetable dyes, something that most manufacturers outside of the US still don't do.  At first, they were having some quality control issues while adjusting to the new laws, but with the development of Magic Finish, the performance of their new decks increased dramatically.

Even their standard cards are somewhat better in quality than they were during the initial runs that came from the Erlanger plant, though some would argue that they're not superior to the cards manufactured in the old Cincinnati plant for a variety or reasons, not the least of which being lower production standards to mass-produce cards more cheaply.  But these are subjective opinions - it's something that's difficult if not impossible to measure objectively, and there are so many factors that can affect the quality of even a single print batch compared to another, or even two different decks in a single batch, that it's practically impossible to account for and compensate for them all to make a perfectly consistent deck from pack to pack, batch to batch, year to year.  The biggest issue a company like USPC runs into is the paper sources themselves - they don't manufacture their own paper, instead buying it from paper mills and using it to make their pasteboard.  Paper is a product that, at its core, is organic and impossible to make 100% consistent from batch to batch.  Factor in the issue of adding post-consumer recycled content and you further complicate the consistency issue.
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Deck Reviews! / MOVED: Card Finish
« Last post by Don Boyer on Today at 02:11:05 AM »
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Playing Card Plethora / Re: Wild West Playing Card Project
« Last post by Don Boyer on Today at 02:01:22 AM »
Hey Everyone, I have been working on getting the project ready for Relaunch. I am going with United States Playing Card Company and I have changed the shape of the suits. Some of the feedback is people did not like the shape of the spades. We have changed the shape of the suits. Here is a preview. Thanks, Justin

Hey, how interesting would this design be if you made the Outlaw deck an all-black deck...  ;)
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A Cellar of Fine Vintages / Re: Help me ID these cards I found please
« Last post by Don Boyer on Today at 01:55:40 AM »
These appear to be an advertising pack from Beirut printed in the mid-1950's featuring scantily clad women. Not a lot of value here but a nice collectible.

Based strictly on the fashions shown in the imagery on the cards, I might even wager a guess at early 1960s, but it's just a guess.  If it is 1950s, I'd say late '50s rather than early '50s.  The cars on the joker look more '50s, but the clothing on the women looks later.
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Design & Development / Re: Phonograph 5
« Last post by Don Boyer on Today at 01:44:42 AM »
Here is the adjusted colors they are slightly darker less washed out, now I am just getting my artwork ready for EPCC to approve and print me a tuck box proof.

This deck could be some of your best work.
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Introduce Yourself / Re: Casino Cards Rookie
« Last post by Don Boyer on Today at 01:43:38 AM »
Hi all.
I recently became fascinated with playing cards. More specifically casino branded playing cards.
While poking around on eBay, I found a banded case of what appears to be Late 60's early 70s Caesars Palace playing cards made by Bee. (USPCC)

Haven't a real clue of the value but I have a feeling you folks can assist me with that.

Welcome to the forum!  Glad to have you on board.

As far as the value of a sealed case, well, it's hard to tell without knowing exactly what's in the case.  It could be a box full of cut cards, canceled decks or souvenir decks for the gift shop for all one knows!

I can tell you that UNOPENED, UNCANCELED casino decks that were originally intended for table use tend to fetch a nice premium over most other casino decks - they're generally very well made and in the best possible condition one can find them.  It's rare to find such decks - they generally only become available in that state when the casino is changing colors or patterns and is discontinuing a particular color/pattern from use, thus making it no longer in play on their tables.  Whatever decks remain (and they usually wait until there's not much left) are made available to interested third parties - and even then, they're not easily found.

Some casinos don't even release canceled decks anymore, as I learned on a recent trip to Las Vegas - the Wynn and Encore casinos are among those, though I was able to obtain decks from the Luxor (where I stayed) and the neighboring hotel in the same chain, Mandalay Bay.  Canceled decks are generally sold pretty cheaply in the gift shops of the casino, usually for about a buck or two.

Little known fact: in the state of Nevada, by order of the state's Gaming Commission, all the casinos send their used decks in bulk to state prisons, where prison laborers work for below minimum wage re-sorting the cards into complete decks, marking and cutting the cards to deface them (so as to clearly identify them as canceled), repacking them into their boxes and resealing them with new sticker seals that label them as "used in actual play" at a given casino.  The prisoners are carefully supervised - possession of the casino cards outside of the work area is considered contraband.
9
*** BRING ON THE MAGIC WITH MURPHY'S! ***

Murphy's Magic and Playing Cards

In this series of reviews, I'm covering the decks that have been produced by Murphy's Magic, a wholesale magic dealer founded by Mark Murphy in 1998.  In addition to selling a wide range of magic products, Murphy's has also produced a number of decks of custom playing cards. All of these decks of playing cards are available from Murphy's Magic dealers, and since many retailers that sell magic or who specialize in custom playing cards often rely on Murphy's Magic for their products, this means that these decks should all be readily available from a variety of sources. 

I'm showcasing some of the successful playing card projects that Murphy's Magic has produced in the last few years.  I'll be covering nine decks in total, which I've roughly categorized according to the amount of customization they have:
Part 1 - Fully-customized decks: Fox Targets, Run, Revolution
Part 2 - Ultra-customized decks: Memento Mori, Memento Mori Blue, Darkfall
Part 3 - Semi-customized decks: Mandalas, At The Table, Magician Anonymous




*** SEMI-CUSTOMIZED DECKS ***

In this section I'll cover some decks that have less customization.  Although they all have customized tuck boxes, card backs, jokers, and Ace of Spades, these three decks all have completely standard number cards. 

In the case of the Mandalas deck, the colours are customized and so are the court cards; with the At The Table deck the court cards have traditional artwork but customized colours; while with the Magician Anonymous deck the courts are entirely standard as well.  So as we progress three these three decks, the amount of customization will decrease, until we are left with a deck that looks fairly ordinary, aside from the card backs, Joker, and Ace of Spades. 

These kinds of decks will especially be suitable for magicians or for people playing games, where too much customization will prove too much of a distraction, and where a simpler and more standard look is preferred.



Mandalas

The deck of Mandalas Playing Cards is ideal for magicians and cardistry fans. 

It begins with a very non-descript but elegant tuck box in a plain but shiny black.  All black - except for the flap, which has Mandalas in a cursive script, and the back of the box, which has two mandalas in raised and glossy grey.  The jet black tuck box exudes a sense of mystery, and begs to be opened.



Mandalas have a long history in Hinduism and Buddhism, where they are used as symbols to represent the universe.  But they are used more commonly outside of these eastern religions for geometric patterns that represent the universe as well.  The mandala design is understood by many to capture spirituality, balance, and beauty. 

Designer Damien O'Brien is a magician with a passion for magic, and for aesthetics.  His name may be familiar to some of you from BBC's Killer Magic.  You'll find his youtube channel here.  In this unique deck of playing cards, he has brought together his interest in mandalas together with his interest in tattoo art. 



These mandala designs are what the deck is about - a sleek black look, with a straight forward design. 

The card backs have the same design of twin mandalas.  The position of these is excellent for cardistry, because they emphasize the trajectory of movement during cuts.  The mandalas themselves consist of intricate patterns in a soft gray that isn't quite as bright as the white of the card borders.



Speaking of the borders, these are much thinner than normal, which creates a very pleasing look, much better than the standard width borders, especially given the relatively plain card backs.  The thin white contrast starkly with the black, and means that it has a much more pleasing look for spreads and fans.



Certainly this deck still has some customization, and it is perhaps the most noticeable in the deck's signature card, the Ace of Spades.  It's easily my favourite card in this deck, with an absolutely gorgeous design.



The court cards can sometimes be the high point of a deck, but in this case the deck is seeking a somewhat subdued and darker look, and so the usual garish colour scheme for the court cards has been abandoned.



Instead, all the court cards have the same basic colour scheme: red and black. 



But there is customization here too, even though the clothing style of the courts is completely standard within this simplified colour palette. 

But the customization lies in the faces, which all feature faces from Damien's real world friends and family, many of whom are magicians, like Daniel Madison and his King of Diamonds counterpart shown here:



Other notable figures featured in the Mandala court cards include Chris Ramsay as Jack of Hearts, Dee Christopher as King of Clubs, and Jeremy Griffith as King of Hearts.  The queens are also all members of Damien's family, although the Queen of Hearts is Laura London.   

Damien himself is featured as the King of Spades.



The two Jokers pay tribute to one of the ideas that inspired this deck, tattooing.



The likeness may elude some who are unfamiliar with body art, but what the image on the Jokers pictures is a dripping tattoo needle.



Finally there are two gaff cards, a double backer, and a card which is blank on one side.

Aside from the court cards, most of the deck has a relatively standard look, although the red used for the traditionally red suits of Hearts and Diamonds is a deeper burgundy colour than normal, in keeping with the darker theme and tone of the deck.

In many respects this deck reminds me of the Madison Rounders Black, which has similar colours, card backs that are black also with two points of interest, and customized courts with inside references.  But there are obvious differences as well, in that the Mandalas deck uses mandalas and thinner borders, and a higher degree of customization in the faces.



This deck has been printed by USPCC, with their standard air cushion finish, which has embossing to ensure smooth handling and performance.

Here's a video trailer that shows off the Mandalas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPAG3uPhBkg

At The Table

The At The Table Playing Cards are closely linked to the At The Table Live Lecture series, as is immediately evident from the tuck box. 

I'll say some more about these online lectures below.  This deck was produced as a tribute to the show, and was geared to be a functional deck especially suitable for performers. 

Once again, Lance Miller (designer of the Fox Targets) was the designer involved.



The wrap around design features a continuous tiling of diamond shapes.  Aside from this it's a fairly ordinary tuck box without frills.  Clearly this is intended to be a practical working deck, as is evident immediately from the outset.

The Ace of Spades has the classic Bicycle name and logo, but with a forest green look.  The card backs repeat the tiled design featured on the tuck box.



When you look closely one at the design of the tuck box and card backs, you'll notice that the lattice structure is actually composed of "AT" in tiny letters over and over.  AT, is of course short for At the Table!  Very clever.



The deck goes out of its way to avoid any distraction, and so all the court cards appear in their traditional designs, but in a simplified colour palette that eliminates anything garish. 



Green and red are the two main colours of this deck.    The traditionally black suits of Spades and Clubs are decorated with two tones of green, while the traditionall red suits of Hearts and Diamonds are decorated with two tones of red.  It's very practical, and also looks elegant and satisfying.

The rest of the deck, including the number cards, is standard, although the colour of the red pips and indices is a deeper shade of red than normal, and is carried over from the colour used for the artwork on the court cards.



The two matching Jokers are relatively plain, with the At The Table logo dominating an otherwise stark look.

The end result overall is a very practical and usable deck, ideal for a working magician or for a gamer who doesn't want any fuss, and yet wants a deck that is very pleasing on the eye, and has elements of style that you won't find in a standard Bicycle deck.



The two additional cards (standard in a USPCC deck) are promotional cards for At The Table, and include information about a special offer, and advertising for the weekly At The Table show.



The deck was produced by USPCC, and the quality is exactly what you'd expect from the highly respected producer of the quality Bicycle brand of decks.



The At The Table show that this deck honours is a series of video lectures/tutorials from Murphy's Magic, which are delivered via a monthly subscription service. Each month two new videos are produced, which can be watched via streaming video, or obtained via instant download. The monthly subscription fee of $9.95 entitles subscribers to access these new lectures every month. In addition, all the past lectures are available for individual purchase from the At The Table webpage, and there are ways to get these on DVD as well if preferred.

The lecture series has been running since 2014, and by my count there are more than 100 lectures currently available, and many big names and top creators in magic have been part of the program.  Typically each magician will go through the material of half a dozen effects or more, explaining and discussing various nuances to improve performance.

To learn more, see the separate review I posted of the At The Table show that features Rubik's Cube magician Steven Brundage.  An overview of the contents of this lecture can be found on Murphy's website here, while my separate review on this episode can be found here

Here's the official video trailer from Murphy's Magic for the Steven Brundage lecture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Z-4Gq_vamc


 
Magician Anonymous

The Magician Anonymous Playing Cards is a classic deck that will especially be appreciated by magicians, because it is designed to be a tribute to the theatrical and mysterious side of magic. 

Magic is much more than the mechanics of a trick - so much is about presentation and performance, and this deck honours that aspect of magic.

The front has a clever MA monogram (with an inverted A) as the main focus, along with the Magician Anonymous name.



The tuck box features a very understated matt black, which makes the silver foil lettering used on the sides and back of the box look very elegant, and evokes a classy feel. 

Like the card backs that we'll see shortly, the back of the tuck box features only the outlines of a masked face.  This masked figure is known as the Guy Fawkes mask, and depicts the most well known figure that contributed to the Gunpowder Plot which attempted to blow up London's House of Lords in 1602.  This stylized mask was popularized in the V for Vendetta graphic novel (1982) and the subsquent film (2005). In this deck, it captures the idea of anonymity and theatrics, and sets the stage for intrigue and mystery.



This deck is all about anonymity and shadows.  We don't even really know who Magician Anonymous is ... because they are anonymous!  In fact the whole concept is highly reminiscent of the Masked Magician idea.

Who is Magician Anonymous?  Little is known, except that Magician Anonymous is also the creator of an effect called "Tremble", which you can see here, and also of an effect called "An Unexpected Triumph", a remarkable Triumph routine you can see here.  But of course even in those videos, our magician is masked and gloved!



The back of the cards continue the look of intrigue, setting the stage for a magician to do his tricks. 

Our two masked figures from the tuck box back return on the card backs, but the shadows are deeper and darker, and only a few highlights are visible in a white-grey, conveying a theatrical mask. 



The card backs also have extra thick white borders, and a charcoal black colour that is softer in tone from the black used on the card faces, and it matches the matt black of the tuck box. 

The overall look sets a tone of minimalism, mystery, and intrigue.  This all suits well the Anonymous Magician, whose presence is felt only by means of the outlines of his mask. 



Besides the monogrammed Ace of Spades, the rest of the deck is entirely standard.

In other words, there's the usual colours and artwork you'd expect to see in a Bicycle deck, with pips in the usual arrangement, shapes, and colours; also the court cards are standard.



But there is one other exception beside the Ace of Spades: the Jokers. 

These continue the shadow style theme, with well-dressed tie-clad figures in suits. 



They are face-less of course, to continue the anonymous theme, which this deck is all about.



In the midst of all this anonymity, the signature Ace of Spades hasn't lost any class.  It features an oversized black pip, with the Magician Anonymous monogram in the middle, and "anonymous" in small lettering below.



This deck was produced by USPCC in their standard stock with an air-cushion finish. There are also two simple gaffs included for use by magicians: a double backer, and a blank card.

Collectors will likely look for a higher degree of customization that what is found here, and consider this a too straight-forward deck.  But that's exactly why it will be most appreciated in the hands of a magician.  One of its strengths is that it retains a classic and traditional look to make it instantly familiar for the eyes of spectators, but with just enough customization to add style and elegance, and a sense of mystery and intrigue.  It looks discrete and professional, retaining enough of the familiar to be acceptable to a magician's audience, while still adding small touches of personality and sophistication, to add to the mystery without making spectators start to think it is a trick deck rather than a standard one.



Here's the official video trailer for the deck from Magician Anonymous: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V75c6m6IU74


*** CONCLUSIONS ***

What do I think?

Gamer friendly: Some decks of custom playing cards are geared very much to collectors, and end up being consigned to collect dust on a shelf, or to remain in shrink-wrap in a drawer.  That's not the case with the decks from Murphy's Magic.  It's clear from the outset that these are decks of playing cards that are designed to be used, whether in the hands of a cardist or magician, or a gamer playing poker or some other card game.  In most cases, these decks not only look beautiful, but are also very functional, and the degree of customization is not such that they won't be recognizable or playable by the average person.

Magician friendly: For the same reason, these decks are superb to use for magic.  This is particularly the case with some of the decks, which have been created with the magician in mind, as is evident from the additional cards that are included.  Perhaps the best example is the Run deck, which comes with two gaff cards, and a secret URL that has two free video downloads of tutorials teaching you two great routines you can use the gaffs for.  Having said that, this is certainly by no means a magician-only deck, because the theme and look of the deck will work equally well for your weekly poker night!

Range of customization: One thing I appreciate about the decks in the Murphy's Magic range is the diverse styles, and varied degree of customization.  If you want a deck with faces that look very close to a standard Bicycle deck, and just a different card back, there's a deck for you: Magician Anonymous.  On the other hand, if you're looking for something where everything has been customized, including the look and orientation of the pips on the number cards, the court cards, and every other aspect, there are decks for you: Fox Targets, Run, and Revolution. 

Thoughtful design: In the case of the highly customized decks in particular, it is incredible how much thought has gone into the design.  This is particularly the case with the Fox Targets, Run, and Revolution decks, which are probably my personal favourites from all of the above decks for this reason.  I love the fact that not only are these completely customized, but that the designers have carefully considered all aspects of the design, and that there's an incredible amount of symbols and icons and stories that have been incorporated wherever possible.  This makes these decks full of meaning and significance, and I enjoy exploring and admiring this.

Printing: Most of these decks have been printed by United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), makers of the reputable Bicycle brand.  USPCC does an excellent job in producing quality cards, and the printing registration is usually good.  I noticed a couple of instances with the above decks that the sizes of the borders weren't entirely consistent and even, one side at times being slightly wider than the other.  Admittedly, most people will never notice this!  But this does happen occasionally with USPCC-produced cards, although fortunately it's not common.  But in my experience this issue almost never happens with decks printed in Taiwan, such as those by Expert Playing Cards (EPCC) and Legends Playing Cards.  Both the Fox Targets and Revolution decks were printed by EPCC, and the printing quality and cut of these decks in particular is outstanding; these also have super smooth edges as a result of EPCC's cleaner and neater `diamond cut'.

Handling: Both USPCC and EPCC are industry leaders in the world of playing cards, and so the cards they produce are superb quality in terms of handling.  The USPCC cards have an air cushion style embossing and magic finish/coating that handles beautifully, while the EPCC cards have an embossing and coating that produces a similar result.  In all cases, this means that the cards handle very smoothly, shuffle very well, and spread and fan consistently and evenly, with just the right amount of friction.  They also tend to be durable, and continue to perform well over a long period of time.  Magicians, cardists, and gamers will all find the handling very pleasing and second-to-none.

Professional: One thing I'm really impressed with is the polished marketing that Murphy's uses to promote these decks.  Murphy's Magic has to be a front-line industry leader in this regard, producing very impressive video trailers for their in-house decks.  Typically these are about 2 minutes long, and feature amazing cinematography, visuals, along with appropriate music and voice-overs.  These videos are really slick, and do a great job of conveying the flavour and theme of a deck, as well as showing what the deck looks like in action. 

Lectures: Having a deck of cards is just the beginning - you also need things to do with it.  Almost everyone will have use for a lovely deck of playing cards to play games with.  But if you do enjoy tinkering with magic or want to expand your horizons, definitely check out the At The Table lectures.



Recommendation

So are the decks of playing cards from Murphy's Magic for you?   While some of their decks will especially have appeal to cardists (e.g. Memento Mori), for most of us, these are ideal and quality decks that are perfect to use for playing card games, or if you're a magician, for doing card tricks.  You can also choose the amount of customization that you prefer.

So if you're looking for cards that are high quality in terms of looks and handling, the decks from Murphy's Magic definitely fit the bill.  Even Murphy's Law couldn't stop me from being a happy customer!

The decks reviewed above are all available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic retailer. Want to learn more? Murphy's Magic: www.murphysmagic.com

Here are direct links for all the decks featured in this review series:
- Fox Targets: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=59119
- Run: https://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=53842
- Revolution: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=58533
- Memento Mori: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=57265
- Memento Mori Blue: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=59438
- Darkfall: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=56651
- Mandalas: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=58314
- At the Table: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=54437
- Magician Anonymous: https://www.murphysmagic.com/Product.aspx?id=55788
- At The Table Experience: www.murphysmagic.com/atthetable/

10
Playing Card Plethora / Re: Card Finish
« Last post by Magic_Orthodoxy on Yesterday at 09:33:04 PM »
I want to win the award for shortest answer !!!

Air Cushion?
Linoid finish? ... are the same (it's the linen texture embossed into the cards)

and then

Performance finish?
Magic finish? ...... are the same  (it's an actual coating applied to the surface)

For the long answer - watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_6bD9eRfu8
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