March 08 :: Custom Playing Cards

Discussion in 'Cerca Trova' started by waynehouchin, Mar 7, 2008.

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  1. #1 waynehouchin, Mar 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2008
    With the recent release of our Bicycle Centurions I thought it would be appropriate that this months topic revolves around a debate that many have been having within the community for a few years now. It was also suggested by AllanLuu:

    How does the use of specialized deck of cards affect a performance for laymen?

    Here are my immediate thoughts: Laymen ARE NOT card connoisseurs. For the most part, they have no clue what a "normal deck of cards" is. I have used many different types of cards over the years - everything from regular Bicycles to the newly released Centurions. I am speaking from much experience when I say that laymen - for the most part - don't know, nor do they care.

    There are a few exceptions however. Take Ellusionist's Ghost deck. The artwork on the face of these cards confuse laymen. When I filmed Stigmata - I used the Ghost deck a lot. I have hours worth of outtakes from performances that we could not use because the spectators either forgot the card, mis-remembered their card, or were just so distracted by the cards that the cards themselves actually interrupted the performance.

    With the popularity of poker on television, your average laymen has seen many different kinds of cards. Laymen DO NOT assume that Bicycle is the be all end all of playing cards - indeed, most laymen have now idea what a Bicycle deck of cards is. As long as the deck does not interrupt my performance, distract or confuse my audience - I have no problem using custom decks. What are your thoughts?
  2. I have a large problem with custom decks. Most people I perform to when I use a custom or specialized deck, when they cannot figure out the trick, assume the deck is altered in some way or another.

    I am not just referring to actual gaff decks-I am also speaking about normal playing cards with strange artwork.

    Generally, I score high with blue or red Bicycles. However, if the gaff is subtle or small, those also do well.
  3. I think a lot of the time a spec will think a deck is gaffed before even seeing the trick. I have introduced cards and before they are out of the box i am asked if they are "special cards".
  4. I like classic bikes. My idea is that if you use nice cards, it does distract(as you said). Flourishing,however is much different. In flourishing you make the cards look cool, but with a custom back design- it makes it that much better.

    However, if you get a nice, sharp looking custom deck and really want to use it- don't have it gaffed. If I am going to perform with a tricky looking deck, I want to let the spectator shuffle and handle those cards so they feel content. I want them to feel as though the "magic" that I do is in the performance and sleights, NOT the cards.
  5. I'm not much of a card guy, but I think it depends on the trick. Do something like the Invisible Palm, where the audience merely observes, and a custom deck should be okay to use. It's already a completely visual experience, the custom deck just adds a nice touch.

    Also for flourishing, because why not? No one's going to accuse you of using a trick deck there. Why not add some flash?

    For tricks involving the spectator, then it gets iffy. But it really depends on the performance. If it's a deck with re-worked faces (say the black tigers, with their all white pips), then you could expect some initial distraction, because that's not just a different deck - that's entirely out of what's considered normal for cards. Whether or not they think it's a trick deck, again, is an entirely different matter - I think that by dribbling, spreading, passing the cards around, you eliminate the trick deck mentality. Most spectators imagine some sort of gizmo INSIDE the deck when they think of a trick deck.

    In the end, though, it depends on two things: your conceived image for the trick, and I literally just forgot what the second one was, but I swear I had a second part to that statement. But, anyway - yes, how do you want to present the trick? An everyday impromptu miracle with regular bikes, or a unique feat of showmanship, signature to you, with a custom deck? (true, many others use that same deck, but chances are these people won't run into another magician, much less one that uses that same deck.)
  6. Personally I don't have a problem with custom decks. If your so worried about your spectators thinking it's a "trick" deck, then let them inspect it until there hearts content. You have nothing to hide right? Of course there is an exception to gaff decks as these can't be handed out for inspection. However all you have to do is a quick deck switch and your good to go. So overall I have no problem with custom decks and since I am into not only magic, but cardistry as well, it greatly enhances my performance. That's my 2 cents. I hope you respect my opinion as I do yours.

  7. For flourishing - hell yeah!

    Custom decks for tricks? Why not!

    If you're good, no one will accuse you of using a tricked deck ;)
  8. when i do a couple card tricks for my friends i'll use a custom deck, and since they know me i dont find it really distracts them and i can play the design into the performance.

    Myself, i dont think i would use a custom deck where there are different age groups. i would imagine if one were performing for young adults, 15- 30, then i can see using a stylized deck. something where the faces are a bit different but not visually shocking.

    Now when you say "specialized" what does that entail? a normal deck of bikes redesigned? something different from bee, bicycle and tallyho? ie the different casino brands of cardsL ie wynns, jerry nuggets, etc? plastic cards?
  9. especially if you show them the cards, they're not going to care. A normal deck, no, no deck that a magician holds in a normal deck. So either way it doesn't matter i like to use customs for tricks, especially ghosts, makes it a bit more eery.
  10. If I use a custom deck or a regular deck I always let the spectators examine the cards. It is important that they see that I do not have trick cards or that the whole thing is a trick deck. This makes some tricks more amazing as, more often than not, I will have cards copped before the trick starts. I may even do a deck switch mid performance. If the trick deck that I pull out has the same back and I pull it out of the same pocket, there is no reason for them to believe that the deck now in my hand is not the one that I have been using.
    That said, I simply do not use custom decks when I perform in public. I often use bikes or tallys.
  11. #11 youngd94, Mar 7, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 7, 2008
    I agree with wayne

    but i found that the so called "smart" people or people who feel threatened by the fact that you are tricking them (the characteristics of a heckler) often jump the the conclusion that they are trick cards (which is completely stupid because if one were to use trick cards they would probably want them to look as "normal" as possible) (so I guess the "smart" people aren't so smart)

    One time I pulled out my tiger deck in school, and the nerd/smart-ass in the class immediately said "trick cards huh" he always heckles me. And then i performed tivo 2.0 to a friend and she thought it was amazing but then another kid said "yeah i think they are trick cards"
  12. Wow, this is cool, my suggestion got used for cerca trova, SWEET!

    My thoughts are, if the spectator even thinks that you are using a trick deck, then your performance is not what it could be. Whern I perform, I want my spectator to think what I am doing is real magic and fi the thought of a trick deck passes there mind while I am using a fancy deck.
  13. When I started using custom decks, I noticed my spectators were calling out my cards. So I switched back to regular Bicycles and the exact same thing happened. Right then and there I knew that it wasn't the cards that was arousing suspicion, instead it was my presentation. So I sat down and thought long and hard about my presentation, I came back with a whole new routine, patter, etc. and was rewarded with good reactions and no suspicion towards my cards.

    I use Bicycle Guardians in every performance I do now simply because I love the design.

  14. Perfect! I think that this is an excellent point. Again, a deck of regular red-backed Bicycle playing cards is just as familiar to your average laymen as a deck of Centurions. If you are getting accused of using trick decks, I think it is much more likely that it is something within your presentation & performance that is arousing that suspicion - rather than the deck of cards you are using.
  15. +1. Cards are cards to laypeople. They see cardboard that isn't worth anything to them. They couldn't care less if they got wet or damaged in any other way. If you have your spectators focus on YOUR MAGIC rather than YOUR CARDS, there won't be ANY suspicion.

  16. I think custom decks should never be used on skeptical spectators or "Hecklers" But custom cards are just perfect for performing for magicians. On the other hand i have a question, A while ago there was a thread called "let's make our own cards" and it included a link which made it possible to make just one custom deck. Whoever started this thread, could you send me the link to that site which let you do that?
  17. I own many custom decks but when I work I use red or blue bicycles and you know I don't think it really matters. I still get asked if I'm using a trick deck sometimes. I try to use regular decks just for that very reason (at least to start), so that the spectator can freely view the cards and see that they are perfectly normal. If they have seen that and I just happen to switchout the deck they looked at for a gaffed one then so much the better because they are even more baffled and the magic remains intact. So, in the end, I think it depends on how you handle the question, not on the cards themselves.
  18. Lol

    Just to correct even nobody cares, coinnoseurs= Connaisseurs

    Well I use regular cards. I could use custom decks with laymens when its not black because people dont ususally play with black decks so i wont use them for magic. Some people doesn't care about that but teenagers does a lot! I see a TONS of hecklers in my school. Someone already checked if it was a brainwave deck. Its not really good to use black decks.
  19. In all fairness, Wayne, you're probably biased because you work for two companies that sell custom decks. However, I'm glad you wrote what you did.

    I disagreed loudly with Sankey's rant about custom cards. There are many more cards out there than Bicycle Riders. Heck, Bicycle is marketing custom-colored cards at major retail stores. It's not like magicians and cardists are the only people buying decks that aren't red or blue.

    What E and T11 have done is release some incredible custom cards that add to the mystique of a performer. As I wrote in another thread, my Shadow Masters get many appreciative looks. My brown Wynns give my "Gamblers Hate Magicians" routine an added flair. My experience is the same as a previous poster's: My spectators don't accuse me of having trick cards, but they can be distracted by the cards. Ghosts are my usual deck, and once they get over the all-black pips, they are cool with them. And if they ask questions, I'm more than happy to let them inspect it, as soon as I'm clean.

    Custom decks have definitely added to my performance. Over the last few years, we've seen design and quality go up several notches. I can't wait to see what comes out in the future.

    Which reminds me: I'd love to see T11's take on a joker reveal.
  20. I ALWAYS ALWAYS let them examine the cards. But if they are black tigers, for some reason, someone always says its a trick deck. Most people say its the performers fault but human minds just assume.
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