Jay Sankey on Fancy Decks

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Mat La Vore, Dec 8, 2007.


Do you agree with Sankey?

  1. YES

    64 vote(s)
  2. NO

    22 vote(s)
  1. Here's my opinion on this. It's a little long, but read it. It will be worth the trouble. ;)

    When a custom deck is pulled out, suspicion is not ALWAYS aroused. But sometimes, you'll have a spectator who will right away ask to see the cards before you do the trick. In that scenario, there is no way you can argue that the cards didn't cause the spec's suspicions.

    But sometimes no one says anything. Just the other day, I had a deck of Studs on me. Now, these look normal, but are not used by lay people very often. I had a request to perform. So I used the only deck I had on me. No one said anything. Now, all of the people who are blaming the magician for the suspicions of the spec are wrong AND right. If the spec is suspicious right away, it is no doubt because of the deck. But, if they are suspicious at the end, it's probably because of the magician.

    In the end, regular Bicycle 808's are the #1 choice for any magician. Everyone has seen them, so they won't be suspicious, even if it IS a gimmicked deck. But if you whip out your handy-dandy Invisible Ghost Deck, I'll bet you that someone will say something.

    One more thing. I have no problem with using fancy decks for flourishing. Flourishing is meant for it's visual appeal. Custom decks with cool designs and colors just add to that. Also, it's quite obvious that flourishing isn't done with trick decks. Everyone knows that it's happening because you've got someone serious skills (hopefully). At the end of the day, flourishing isn't magic. No one will care what cards you use.

    Just my two cents. I hope some people actually took the time to read this.

    John :cool:
  2. #42 BlueBackedBikes, Dec 9, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2007
    So I give you an answer, you don't like it and it's 'bull'? Boy, I wish things worked like that in real life. Actually, in that case, I hereby deem everything in this thread that does not agree with my position "bull", because, well, I don't like it.

    (Kidding, I respect others' opinions).

    I do. I use brand name Ziploc bags as well as off-brand/store brand ones just like I use both custom decks as well as blue backed Bikes. Different plastic bags for different occasions; different decks for different occasions.

    Is that really so hard to believe? I'm having trouble finding the 'bull' here...
  3. In my experience, the only thing you have to do to convince someone a deck isn't gimmicked is spread them haphazardly between your hands and say "Look, just so you know, they're not all the same or any nonsense like that." Being overly careful and making a nice neat fan or spread at this point will attract suspicion. Also, over-proving it and insisting that they examine the cards carefully will also attract suspicion. Basically, if you don't treat it as a big deal, just as a throwaway line before you start your routine, then it makes the whole point of the card's normality a non-issue.

    It's the same principle as forcing a card. If you really make a big deal of it and start saying stuff like, "Now, that was a completely free choice, there's no possible way I could know your card, you made the selection yourself..." etc., then that's just planting the seed of the idea that you probably do know what the card is. An offhand, casual, "Just take a card for me." is much more convincing.
  4. This is a matter that will never be solved and so basically this thread will go on with opinions until it is closed... Count me in!

    There is no answer to this question, simply opinions that are both right and wrong. Why? Because there are billions of people in this world and people are different (3'rd grade science class, booyah) and no one is going to respond exactly the same.

    I've had people say I was using a trick deck when I was using normal bikes and i've had people think I was the best sleight of hand guy they'd ever seen while I was using ghosts... See my point? You will NEVER get the same response from every person and therefor any opinion is both right and wrong.

    For myself I do not use "custom" decks in most performances. Every so often i'll have one in my pocket for practise and i'll use it but it is not my main thing. My reasoning behind this is mostly because of gaffs, gimmicks, or setup... all of which I use at some point or another so I don't want anything to seem out of the norm at all. Sometimes my deck is stacked in a certain way so it actually IS a trick deck in a sense of the phrase... so why give them any other reason to supect it at all?

    Also, justifying a deck does not fit me personally. My theory's on magic actually are quite the reverse of that so custom decks are not the best thing for me to use. *WILL FINISH LATER*
  5. Ok I just noticed that some people complain that you have to give them the custom deck for examination. Really you can't use up an extra 10 seconds to let them look at the deck?

    Plus some may think this is wierd, but I did the slip cut force to my history teacher with my Red Bikes, after I told him what card he had he immediately wanted to see my deck of cards. He stared at the back of the card for a few seconds trying to see if something was written on it.

    Not always will they just call out on the custom decks, well they did for me. I am sure if someone is desperate to see if you used a gaff deck, they will want to examine the deck. So go ahead and use up 10-20 seconds more of your time to let them look through it.
  6. Yes and No, It happened to me a couple of times that someone asked me if it is a trick deck when I pulled out a fancy deck but at the same time they also asked me about the regular bicycle cards, because that is there only explanation for all of the amazing things we do.
    Also everybody knows that there is a big variety of playing cards and I don't want to start because it will take me ages, so think about it why would anybody suspect a nice good looking deck of cards when there are many types of playing cards.
    So basically what I am trying to say is that no matter what deck of cards you use people will always have this thought in there mind ofthat we are using trick cards because that is the only explination they have.

    -The Illusionist
  7. its all about spec mind :D. if the spec likes ur viper deck im sure all they will ask u is.
    1) where i can get one of those deck?
    2) wow love ur deck :D can i have it?
    3) Great Performance can u teach me some of ur magic?
  8. Exactly, no matter what deck you use and you amaze them, they are going to wonder if your deck is tricked or not.
  9. your performance have nothing to say if you pull out a deck of cards after saying you are gonna do a magic trick and they call you out on the deck AHA A TRICK DECK straight away.
  10. I agree with Sankey, mainly about the "black decks"

    And not to get off topic but I was just looking at the E forum and they just locked a topic about a youtube video about ripping up a black ghost deck...lol
  11. I don't know if I posted my opinion on this or not, but I think there are certain situations where I agree with Sankey, and certain situations when I would disagree.

    I would agree with him with decks like the Black Tiger Deck, Ghost Deck, Viper Deck, etc. However, I don't think the Guardians look like a gimmicked deck, and look very professional.

    Also, I think it's a lot in how you handle the deck. If you just handle it like a normal deck, and not like something special, then I highly doubt your audience will suspect your cards.

    For the most part, though, I will stick to regular 808 Bicycle Rider Backs for most of my performances.
  12. Sounds like you're sucking up to T11 here. You're saying that the Guardians don't look like a gimmicked deck at all? They're proffesional?! More than the Ghosts.... Guardians are the weirdest looking decks out there.
  13. No, I'm not sucking up to t11 at all. I just think they produced a very nice, professional looking deck. No, they don't have the same design as normal Bikes, but I feel the white border and faces make them look really nice. Once again, I'm stating my opinion, not sucking up to t11... I have no reason to suck up to them.
  14. I like the look of the Guardians, i have yet to buy a pack. They remind me of split spades which I have practice with once and awhile. And they don't feel like bricks, like ellusionist cards :)

  15. Do you perform professionally in restaurants/bars/strolling situations or mostly just for people you know?

    The reason I ask is that in a crowded restaurant you don't have much time with each table. You certainly don't need ANY hurdles and I can guarantee that if you perform for 30 to 50 tables in a night the issue will come up. You don't have very long to make a good first impression so you must pay attention to the little details. Simon Lovell only performs with red backed bicycle decks because he feels that red is a "warm" color.

    If you just perform for people you know then I'm sure the issue will not come up much if at all. Saying that it doesn't matter leads me to think that you don't perform for complete strangers very often.

    Remember, you don't want to give them a way "out", a strange looking deck is an easy way to excuse the miracle they have seen, even if it has nothing to do with it. Lay people will grasp for anything....
  16. Hart Keene, I totally agree with you.
    I personally think custom decks are for card collectors, not for magic at ALL.

    And Bluebackedbikes, please stop convincing everyone here that less than 5% (or whatever small fraction) of your "spectators" suspect anything with your black tiger/ ghost/viper etc. Your statement about the problem being entirely the performer's fault was very irresponsible and showed your lack of experience in this craft.

  17. I don't think that Bluebackedbikes is wrong. He is just speaking from his own experience. The more he performs for strangers the more he will understand what Sankey and others are talking about.

    Remember that Sankey used to work, A LOT. Way before he became the magi that releases a new project every other day. He is speaking from experience, and it shows. For those who have not read "Beyond Secrets" I would encourage them to do so. I'm sure most of you have enough tricks to last a lifetime but if you want excellent advice on everything regarding the performance of magic(including the topic at hand) I would strongly recommend it. In fact, if you pick up a copy of Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz, Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber, and Beyond Secrets by Jay Sankey you would just about be set...that is if you apply the teachings. But at least start with one of them...
  18. Alright...some great points for and against using custom decks for magic and flourishing.

    Here is my opinion and my experiences:

    Custom decks are for deck collectors. I am a deck collector, and although I don't have anything rare in my collection, I have a fairly large collection already. I would NEVER pay more than $10 for any deck of cards, no matter how rare or fancy or whatever anyone claims them to be! I usually get both red and blue backs for the decks I buy (unless they come in weird colours, and then I try to get one of each colour, just for completeness). I have never used these decks in my magic, nor will I ever use them, with the exception of the Ellusionist Ghost deck....

    I use them mostly because they look very close to more traditional red / blue backed bikes, and also to bring out something a bit more interesting. Before bringing them out I usually say something like, "I have been collecting cards over the years, and I foudn these ones. They look like black and white copies of the other deck I used" (after having done stuff with blue/red bikes), and I usually fan them out, or ribbon spread them on the table. If a spectator asks to see them, I usually hand them a card or two, usually the ace of spades and a court card, so that they can check out the backs and the cool art on the front.

    Now, I would strongly recommend anyone NOT bringing out a fancy custom deck if you plan on using gaffs with it. If you must, please use the gaffs AFTER you have established yourself with a few non-gaff card tricks. Maybe do a deck switch or something.

    One thing that no one has addressed yet (and if you have, I must have overlooked it, and I appologize) is the use of packet tricks. I think that packet tricks cause WAY MORE suspicion in spectators than does a weird looking deck. Often when I bring out a packet of cards, people ask why they are in their own wallet, or why they are separate from the deck. Depending on the trick I say something like "Oh, this trick uses X aces, and I've been collecting them so I need to keep them separate for just this trick" or whatever....
  19. Yeah. If you do magic, stick with the good old Bikes. For flourishes, get the neat back designs.
  20. I had a whole slew of reponses ready to go for posts in this thread, but it was depressing me how many stupid arguments I had to refute. Let me just say instead that this thread has further cemented my disdain for other magicians and has only encouraged me to be even pickier in the company I keep.

    Here is my post on this topic from over at Ellusionist. Judging by the attitudes going around here, I have a strong feeling that most of you who disagree with what I'm about to say will completely disregard it and not even spend a nanosecond of thought on my argument. And by saying that I said this over at Ellusionist, one or two of you will probably dismiss it outright out of some petty grudge. If any of you would like to prove me wrong, that would make my day.

    But it's not for those rabble that I'm saying this. Somewhere out in this sea of intellectual mediocrity are a few intelligent individuals who will genuinely consider what I'm going to say and discuss it like rational human beings. Here we go.

    Anyway, the reason I bring up ["The Purloined Letter" by Edgar Allen Poe] is because it presented a very interesting principle: hiding in plain sight.

    The eponymous letter was hidden out in the open where no one would think to look for it. It wasn't hidden at all.

    Now, some may argue that's the virtue of using a "normal" deck, and they'd have a valid point. Jay Sankey is right when he talks about the power of impromptu magic, especially with borrowed items.

    However, I use this principle a little differently. If I suspect my audience might be wary of the cards, the first thing I do is call attention to their uniqueness ("They're black and white, which is a little unusual, but I think they're cool because I'm pretentious that way.") and let them inspect it, not with then "Is this a normal deck?" question. Rather, I fawn over how nice they handle and say, "Here, check it out. Vegas quality." They usually agree with me that not only do the cards look cool, but they feel smooth and silky.

    In doing so, they subconsciously believe the deck cannot be gimmicked for several reasons.

    1. If the appearance was indicative of a trick deck, the magician would never call attention to it.
    2. By saying the deck is Vegas quality, that implies it's simply a fancy deck for people who love to use cards. Vegas is synonymous with gratuitously ostentatious.
    3. The magician never asked them to verify if it was a normal deck, so he had nothing to prove in that regard.
    4. They handled the cards. They had a chance to check for marks, unusual cuts, or other giveaways. They found nothing, and in fact the magician was continually calling attention to all the different features of the deck as if bragging.

    All these factors combined form the convincer.

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