Copag Casino Poker Cheat Card for Luminous Ink Contact Lenses
Copag casino poker cheating cards with invisible ink markings are much suitable for poker cheating activity and poker magic shows. Just like the original playing cards, you can’t see which one is invisible ink marked with the naked eye. They are identical from the exterior. Luminous ink contact lenses or sunglasses used to read Copag casino cheating poker cards are specialized product. As marking on the back of Copag cheating marked cards is unseen to human eyes, we need external cheating devices to view these markings. Marked cards contact lens is a nice choice. COPAG spring back to their origianl shape, which is perfect for peaking games like Braccart. Copag Casino poker decks are 100% plastic playing cards as well as the marked one. The smooth underside of 100% plastic will shuffle with ease and deal flawlessly to players. https://preview.redd.it/ccqxd74tafc31.jpg?width=350&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=554c9a877129ec6b74d985dc638a5cbbecbe0f64
I have a small collection of regular bicycle cards, and want to expand my collection. I want them just to gamble (play games like poker, blackjack, etc.). I recently purchased the Prestige edition because I heard that plastic cards are better for shuffling and such as well, of course, that there more durable. Was this a right decision? Are there any other brands that offer something better or perhaps a different model? I'm kind of new to this so thanks for your answers.
Who has experience measuring card thickness with calipers?
I'm a noob. Just started cardistry and collecting during quarantine and MagicOrthodoxy quickly became my favorite deck review channel. A cpl weeks ago I invested in a Mitamoyo (the best) caliper so I could start measuring and contributing to his card thickness database. First I got results quite different than his. His thinnest card is Bike Autocycles at an insanely thin 2.5mm for 10 cards. I bought the same deck but mine is 2.88 which is casino stock thickness. That's just one example. There were many of those. Here's the really weird part though. Cardi's B9 true linen is supposed to be one of the thickest stocks. I have at least 4 decks I measured several times. Black Monolith and Red Keepers were, as expected, over 3.0mm per 10 cards. However, my Kubik v2 and Copag Alpha Orange are two of my thinnest decks at just 2.61 and 2.63 respectively. Why? Why guys?! It's driving me nuts! Help me understand (And please assume I'm not a complete idiot and know how to measure with a caliper.)
How To Protect Yourself Against Cheating in Home Games
I could have written a whole series about cheating, but decided to try and be as brief as possible. One of the reasons that we willingly pay the rake in casino poker is for game protection. The casino executes this in many ways — automatic shufflers, standard dealing procedures, surveillance, and of course, by providing professional dealers. Above all else, a professional dealer’s number one priority is to maintain the integrity of the game and ensure protection for all of the players. If you’re playing in a home game, you probably won’t be provided with the luxury of a professional dealer. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t educate yourself about the various cheating methods commonly used in home games. Don’t go into a game blind — protect yourself. There are many different types of cheating methods, both old and new. The most recent cheating method to hit the market involved an intricate electronic system that used an infrared camera and infrared ink. The system originated from China and involved a certain level of know-how that was required to obtain and use the system. The camera was disguised as a cell phone, car key fob, shirt button, etc. It was almost impossible to detect unless you were knowledgeable in electronics, since the camera would transmit the data to the receiver over a normal, unencrypted radio channel. This system, which cost anywhere from around $2,000 - $10,000 was revealed at DEFCON a few years ago. For those who don’t know, DEFCON (Defense Convention) is a conference where the top cyber security professionals meet and share their findings for the year. One team in particular explored this modern infrared cheating system and came to the conclusion that it was being professionally manufactured and could have only been produced by at least a few different experts in their respective fields ranging from software development, digital image analysis, hardware and microchip development, etc. The bottom line was that the team at DEFCON reasonably presumed there to be a rather lucrative market for this system. It stands to reason that if there’s enough money involved, given the opportunity, cheating will always have the potential to take place. You should always remember that, as it’s a universal truth of crime and deception. Now, it’s very unlikely that your home game will employ a cheating system to such a high degree. But remember, it’s always a possibility. The one giveaway that could reveal that this high-end system was being used, is that it required the dealer to cut the deck on the table, and leave the long edge of the cards untouched for about 2 seconds. This was so that the camera could scan the deck (marked with infrared ink) and determine the winner, given that the right data was input into the software. Normally, the dealer will cut and then instantaneously pick up the deck and deal. You can do some more research on your own if you’re interested in this system and how it was potentially used in one of the card rooms on the strip, in Las Vegas. There was a bit of a scandal stemming back a few years ago. Now that you have an idea of the lengths that people will go to in order to cheat, let’s talk about some of the cheating methods you’re more likely to encounter at your local home game. Ironically, these methods are mostly sleight of hand techniques that are hundreds of years old. Magic and poker cheating go hand in hand. I’ll start off by saying that unless you are playing with a group of guys who you trust and know very well, I would advise you to never play in a self-dealt game. There are just too many opportunities and variables to deduce who the cheater is. Self-dealt games aside, there are a few things that should always be present to help ensure game protection. There should always be a cut card to conceal the bottom card on the deck, and you should always take note of the types of cards being used. If you’re playing for any stakes that are $1/$2 or bigger, then the game should be using either KEM, Copag, or Modiano cards. The most popular Bicycle Rider Back cards were a common choice for magic shops to offer as a marked deck for sale. Luckily, the USPCC (the producer of Bicycle cards) no longer allows third party companies to produce marked decks. I personally have a few in my collection, and while the marking system isn’t the most complex, it’s easy to miss unless you know what to look for. If your home game has a set dealer, be sure to watch the way they handle the cards. They should be employing the standard shuffling procedures that all casino card rooms use — riffle, riffle, strip cut, riffle, and cut. Unless the dealer is a skilled card mechanic, it would be very difficult to beat this standard shuffling procedure. You should never allow an overhand shuffle, as it’s very easy to cull cards and false shuffle this way. Culling cards is sleight of hand jargon for obtaining particular cards from the deck to be later put into a certain position. A false shuffle is exactly what it sounds like — a shuffle that looks real but doesn’t change the order of the deck. There are many types of false shuffles. Some of them retain the order of the entire deck, others retain the top half, some the bottom half, and so on. The bottom line is that an overhand shuffle is a red flag. The most important thing that you must make sure happens, and I can’t stress this enough, is that the deck is cut before the deal. While there are ways to nullify a legitimate cut, and even execute a false cut that looks incredibly genuine, you should be alright as long as you closely watch the deck get cut. If you see any noticeable gaps within the deck, which would allow someone to easily cut to a specific card, then you should be on the lookout for what’s called a “gambler’s crimp”. This technique puts a special bend (crimp) in a card, allowing the thumb to catch it and cut to it. You should also make sure that the dealer isn’t doing anything out of the ordinary like burning a card before the action is complete, or rolling the deck. Rolling the deck simply means not holding the deck level. Most amateur dealers will roll the deck at some point, usually while pulling in bets, however, it’s also one way to peek at the next card. Now that we’ve discussed cards to a sufficient extent, let’s talk about chips and bets. No one should ever splash the pot, this is to ensure the proper amount of money was put in. In addition, all bets should be pulled in after the betting round is complete, unless you are heads up in a split-pot game. An unethical player might pull back a chip or two, if given the opportunity. Finally, and this is paramount, make sure that you watch the rake! This is absolutely the most common way that you will be cheated. Dealers are sometimes instructed by the host of the game to over-rake in big pots, when it is less noticeable. Always ask what the rake and structure of the rake is so that you know how much should be coming out of the pot. If you encounter a dealer taking too much rake, be aware that sometimes it is simply a mistake. I would advise you to not hastily accuse a dealer of raking too much. Instead, discreetly approach the host of the game, away from the table. If you see overraking occur more than once, then you either have an incompetent dealer, or you’re being cheated. Always make sure you are paying attention to the handling of the cards and to the chips being put into and pulled out of the pot. This is one of the best defenses against being cheated — it’s much less likely to happen when the cheater is aware that they are being closely watched. One method I haven’t mentioned yet is something called signaling. This is simply a form of collusion. Players will covertly signal to each other in various ways. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know how they are doing it until you discover some type of pattern. If you find you are consistently being “sandwiched” out of a pot by the same two guys, yet the hand never goes to showdown, then this should be another red flag. Signaling is one of the more obvious cheating methods, and as such isn’t used as often as the others. Any decent poker player would be able to figure out that the action makes no sense, as it pertains to the hand. In conclusion, I would advise that you only play in games that have a good reputation. The more players who you are personally acquainted with, the better. The biggest advantage you can have is personally knowing the host of the game. If you trust them, then it eliminates a majority of the various cheating methods that could be used. That doesn’t mean a particular player won’t try and mark cards or short the pot, however, it does mean that the more costly ways of being cheated won’t be possible. Getting cold decked requires more than just the dealer being involved. Always remember that you never have to play in any game. You have nothing to gain and only something to lose if you continue to play in a game that doesn’t seem honest. Make sure that you always pay attention, and keep in mind that you are putting your own money at risk. That alone should be enough to keep you cognizant of what is going on.
The Cartamundi Decks: A comparison between their popular finishes
Belgium-based publisher Cartamundi is already arguably the biggest publisher of playing cards in the world. As a big player in the games and toy industry, they have 11 manufacturing plants around the world, and their popular Copag brand of playing cards can be found in casinos across the globe. As further evidence of their clout is the recent news that Cartamundi has signed an agreement to take over the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) later this year. In the mean time, they have also become a growing presence in the custom playing card market. Not only have an increasing number of creators been using Cartamundi to produce their custom decks, but Cartamundi has also showed real signs of being willing to innovate and compete. Decks with their B9 True Linen Finish are becoming more and more popular, and beside this card stock and finish, they are adding other card stocks and finishes to the range of options available for buyers. But how do the Cartamundi decks stack up? How are they different from the Bicycle decks available from USPCC, and what is their handling like? Let's find out in this article, by taking a closer look at some of the Cartamundi decks hitting the market. Cartamundi's popular True Linen B9 Finish Let's begin by talking about their B9 stock, which is the most common Cartamundi card stock at this point. You won't have to look far to find it, and you could introduce yourself to it by means of their Copag 310 range, or some of the wide variety of other decks available in the B9 True Linen finish. Examples include Ondrej Psenicka's innovative Butterfly Playing Cards, the stunning Cobra Playing Cards, the Rubik inspired Kubik Playing Cards, and many others. The first thing you'll observe is that the playing cards using the B9 card stock make up a deck that is one of the thickest you'll have ever had in your hands. Especially for card flourishes, the increased thickness is immediately noticeable. But then comes a pleasant surprise: despite this extra thickness, it is a super soft stock. In fact, it's so soft that it brings to mind the thin-crush stock from USPCC in terms of how it feels and handles. As a result the cards handle perfectly straight out of the box, and you won't need to break them in at all. What's more, they also hold up well over time, due to the thickness, they won't quickly show signs of wear. This is a welcome attribute, especially when compared with the thin-crush decks from USPCC. The USPCC decks feel soft, but this comes at the cost of durability, and they will usually wear much faster than a normal deck. But this isn't a problem with Cartamundi's B9 stock, due to the increased thickness. Another difference from USPCC playing cards is that Cartamundi's B9 finish uses a different embossing pattern than most other decks. Rather than having a series of small dimples like a typical air cushion style deck from USPCC, it has a series of vertical and horizontal lines. This also explains the name "True Linen", since it's the pattern you'll find in linen textiles, which are made from the fibres of flax plants. This embossing pattern gives the cards a different look than what most of us are used to when they catch the light, but functionally their performance appears to be no different from the usual air cushion embossing design. The important thing is that they are embossed, and this enhances the motion of the cards as they slide over each other in fans and spreads. Finally, Cartamundi's playing cards appear to have a smoother cut and cleaner edges than what you typically see in a USPCC deck. The overall result makes these cards a joy to handle. Some testimonials from big names in cardistry and magic confirm that I'm not alone in my enthusiasm for this card stock. Magician Shin Lim says "The B9 finish is soft, durable, and feels great in the hands." Magician Daniel Madison's comment is: "Arguably one of the finest finishes that I’ve experienced. I have no doubt that these will be the deck-of-choice for all future card-makers – including myself!” And noted cardist Jaspas Deck remarks: "“Angel feathers in card form. These cards feel great." With super soft stock that is durable, and produces consistently even fans and spreads, it's hard not to love these decks, as long as you don't mind the thicker-than-normal card stock. https://preview.redd.it/q6jlq8bimnd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=fc07d875d4761bfcac5f47f7f0f7b1bbe798bf09 Cartamundi's newer C9 Finish Despite the praise, not everyone is a fan of the B9 True Linen Finish, mainly due to its thicker card stock. Fortunately the critics haven't been left in the cold without other options. Cartamundi has stepped up to the plate by releasing two other new card stocks that aren't quite as thick as the B9 card stock. The first of these is their C9 card stock. Cartamundi's official designation for this is the 9C[size=8]2[/size], and they also refer to it as "the Touch finish". This hasn't been used for that many decks, possibly in part due to the fact that it has a considerably higher price tag. But among the very few decks that are available with the C9 card stock are the decks from Touch Cardistry (e.g. Pulse Cardistry deck) and the Ravn v3 deck from Stockholm17 and magician Caroline Ravn. So how are the C9 decks different? The official Cartamundi marketing materials describe both the B9 and C9 decks as using "Superlux paper, 320gsm FSC, black core board, snappy, soft touch perfect for springs and aerials." But the ad copy for the Ravn decks describes them as being lighter, with 310gsm black core paper. When comparing the two, the C9 decks are definitely slightly thinner than the B9 decks. While they are still slightly thicker than your average USPCC produced deck, they don't feel quite as noticeably thick as a B9 deck, and this gives them a thickness that is more similar to a standard USPCC produced deck, and makes them more pleasant to use if you're used to handling USPCC produced decks. So while they do use a similar card stock to the B9 stock, my educated guess is that the core board is around 5gsm or 10gsm lighter. I've also been told that the more expensive and thinner C9 card stock can't take foiling, while the B9 card stock can. Another difference is the embossing pattern used. Unlike the true linen finish of the B9 card stock, the C9 playing cards have a more traditional air cushion style embossing pattern, with small dimples spread out evenly on the surface of the card. I didn't find that the true linen finish of the B9 card stock handled differently, because the end result of the embossing seems to be the same. But the true linen look does take some getting used to, and although it's simply a matter of personal taste rather than functional difference, I personally prefer the look of the more standard air cushion style embossing, like that on the C9 decks. The custom finish (varnish) used with the C9 decks is also different. It's been customized and optimized for flourishing, and the ad copy describes it as "a custom varnish, for an amazing feel and effortless fanning." The C9 decks also include the option of a bespoke cut, which presumably means that the deck is either a modern or traditional cut, depending on the choice of the creator. Due to the different card stock, embossing, varnish, and bespoke cut, the C9 decks are considered a higher grade playing card than the B9 decks, and that's reflected in the price difference. A recent marketing price list revealed that 1000 decks of B9 will cost creators €3.90 each, while 1000 decks of C9 cost €6.35 each. In terms of how it looks and handles, the different type of embossing pattern is immediately noticeable, and while this doesn't really affect performance, it does affect the look and the feel in your hands. The C9 finish is much more along the lines of what we're used to with a USPCC produced deck, while the B9 finish looks quite different. Since the C9 cards are slightly thinner than the B9 cards, these decks also feel slightly softer than the B9 cards. This overall result is that the handling will feel a lot like a crushed stock deck from USPCC, while having improved durability. It also means that they perform well straight out of the box, and will immediately serve you well for performing spreads, fans, and cardistry moves. While there hasn't been noticeable clumping, the cards aren't that slippery that you can't do cuts. In other words, as far as handling goes, you really seem to get the best of all worlds with the C9 finish. But they are expensive to produce, and perhaps that's why there's only been a very small number of decks released so far that actually use it. https://preview.redd.it/cozyws3kmnd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=5a75273d29bd4b84485be2bbc6fa4c3bd0ce4283 Cartamundi's newest E7 Finish Even thinner yet is Cartamundi's newest card stock, their E7 stock, which Ellusionist uses for their marked Blue Cohort deck. The ad copy describes it as follows: "our brand new luxury pressed E7 stock in a vibrant blue, this is the crushed stock deck you’ve been waiting for. We worked hand-in-hand with Cartamundi to find an answer to ‘Bicycle Crushed' and boy did we deliver! People often comment on Cartamundi's stock... `Their stock would be perfect if it was just a bit thinner' ... NOW IT IS." This stock is described as being exclusive to Ellusionist, and is also used for Ellusionist's just-released Marbles deck. And wow are these ever thin! In all likelihood you'll find this to be the thinnest deck you've ever used! To illustrate: when placed beside a deck of B9 card stock, you'll have to remove about six cards from the B9 deck to end up with a deck that is the same thickness as a complete E7 deck. The product image from Ellusionist exaggerates the difference between the two decks, but even so it is thinner than a typical Bicycle deck with thin-crush stock. One suspects that this stock was developed as an alternative to USPCC's thin-crush stock, and that makes it of immediate and real interest. Admittedly, because these cards are so thin, they might not hold up to the exacting standards required for some card flourishing, although that depends on the kinds of moves you do. Magicians may find that sleights like double lifts or colour changes come with the increased risk of bending the cards. As such the super thin E7 card stock probably represents the other extreme in contrast to the thick B9 stock, and some will find the E7 stock too thin. But do they ever handle nicely! They feel super soft from the get-go, spring beautifully, and many cardists will absolutely love them. And unlike the thin but sloppy card stock of the Hidden King deck from BombMagic, these thin cards still feel snappy and durable. As for the look of these cards, the E7 card stock uses the "true linen" embossing pattern similar to that used on the B9 card stock. So they don't have the look of the traditional air cushion style that is used on the C9 card stock, and on most USPCC produced decks. As far as I can tell, this doesn't have much of an impact on the performance or handling, but mostly just affects the looks. Those who are big fans of the thin-crush stock from USPCC, and who would like to experiment with something thinner yet, might just find this to their liking. It is the kind of game-changer that could even make Cartamundi converts from some USPCC fan-boys. And early reviews have been extremely positive, with comments like these from buyers: "This is absolutely one of my favorite decks I’ve ever owned. They handle like a dream." (J.R. Pourchot). Another fan, Steve F, says "Amazing!! Cards feel unbelievable. So thin and soft. All Cartamundi decks should be printed with this stock. There other stock is a little too thick for me. But these are insanely thin and soft. I really was blown away. I am a USPCC guy but this really ups the competition." High praise also comes from Isaac Smith, who comments: "All I can say is WOW. These cards are phenomenal, and Ellusionist isn't kidding when they say that these are thin. By far the thinnest deck I've ever handled, they feel so soft." https://preview.redd.it/vateaixkmnd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=48be065dc16e3ebe15ad0bc3916f31377ed36366 Final thoughts The Cartamundi decks are especially worth checking out because of their soft stock. While the the thicker cards of the B9 decks won't be for everyone, there's no doubt that they handle as smooth as butter. And if you do want something thinner, try something with the C9 card stock, like the Pulse Cardistry deck. But it's the thinner E7 card stock that could especially make waves in the market place. Currently, besides the marked Blue Cohort deck, the only deck with this finish is the Marbles deck from Ellusionist, so if you're a fan of crushed stock, it's definitely worth checking that out. If this proves to be a success, especially with fans of thin-crush stock, we could be seeing a lot of custom cardistry decks using the E7 stock in years to come. What also excites me about the Cartamundi decks is the excellent print registration. USPCC decks are known to often feature print registration errors, resulting in misaligned borders. Especially when a deck has been designed with relatively narrow borders, this can present a real problem, and more than a few buyers have been disappointed with a USPCC-produced custom deck for this reason alone. I've not noticed any such issues with the Cartamundi decks. In fact, the Blue Cohort deck I have features very narrow borders, and yet the printing is spot on. This is an important quality that will be a very welcome for playing card designers and consumers, especially in cases of decks that do have narrow borders. I'm very pleased to see the rapid innovation that Cartamundi has been displaying, and welcome their increased presence in the custom playing card industry. It can only be a good thing when there are more options for consumers. There's a growing number of custom decks with the B9 True Linen Finish arriving in the market place, and we are seeing some big name publishers like Ellusionist opting to partner with Cartamundi as the printer of some of their decks. It continues to be an exciting time for cardists and collectors, and with a big player like Cartamundi joining the fun, the future of our industry looks very rosy indeed! https://preview.redd.it/7gvkidhmmnd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=88d092f9c0c5d4489680500f83882f6dd7bba7de Where to get them? See a wide range of Cartamundi decks available here. Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks.comhere.
Dealers amaze me with how easily they’re able to toss the cards around. When I or anyone in my home game try to deal, we struggle to keep the cards from turning over as they go from my hand to each player. What is the secret? I cannot find out anywhere what I’m doing wrong. Thanks.
The Cartamundi Brand: USPCC's competition and now their new owner
Big playing card publishers Last month, an unexpected bombshell hit the playing card industry, with a press release announcing that publisher Cartamundi has just signed an agreement to purchase the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) from its parent company, Newell Brands. But who is Cartamundi, and what does this mean? For a long time, the playing card industry in North America has been dominated by the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC). With a long history that goes back to the 1800s, and a solid reputation as the producer of the famous Bicycle brand, USPCC has often been the publisher of choice for crowd-funded custom playing cards. But in recent years the landscape of the custom playing card market has begun to change. Several other players have had a growing presence in the industry. Perhaps the most well known of these are Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC) and Legends Playing Card Company (LPCC), both of which are based in Taiwan, and share facilities and factories. Over the last number of years the EPCC/LPCC brand has cemented itself as the reliable supplier of a quality product, and many creators of custom playing cards have opted to have their decks printed by these Taiwanese publishers rather than USPCC. https://preview.redd.it/1yv6m4723dd31.jpg?width=540&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=2cd981bd53de00c7824ee3b983fac649a31c533d A hot new player in the market In the past year or two, another big player has entered the marketplace of custom playing cards. That publishing company is Cartamundi, which is based in Belgium. Cartamundi has quickly become a well known name, and a competitive force to be reckoned with in the playing card industry. Their name cartamundi, incidentally, is Latin for "cards for the world". For many buyers of custom decks, the Cartamundi brand may have appeared to have come out of complete obscurity. But in fact Cartamundi is a large publishing company with a proud publishing history that goes all the way back to 1765. What's more, they already have an established reputation as a large supplier for the board game and toy industry. They advertise themselves as "We are the brand you don’t know you love." If you have played big brand name games like Monopoly, Uno, Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, or Trivial Pursuit, it means you have already played with Cartamundi-produced cards and games. They also have had a long time and strong presence in the playing card industry, particularly under their well-known Copag brand. So it wasn't a big stretch for Cartamundi to expand somewhat aggressively into the custom playing card market. They have 11 manufacturing facilities in multiple countries, and so they already have established connections in the industry. Now we're beginning to see a growing number of crowd-funded custom decks opting to be published with Cartamundi, and even larger publishers like Ellusionist have had decks produced by them. https://preview.redd.it/46p5wd823dd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=3d86f8e4e755b878fa9035fc9a270b7c6903a324 Cartamundi's new decks As a result, in the past 12 months or more, we've seen a growing selection of decks appearing on the market from Cartamundi. Their signature deck is arguably the Copag 310 deck, which is their own branded deck. This is a relatively standard deck of cards, that is printed on the company’s B9 True Linen or Cardistry stock, which is a super soft card stock that has received rave reviews for its pleasant and smooth handling. The Copag 310 decks also include a range of matching accessory decks tailored for magicians, like a Svengali deck, Stripper deck, and Gaff deck. Since the release of these decks, the B9 True Linen stock has also been the product of choice for a growing number of cardistry and other custom decks. More recently Cartamundi has been printing some decks with card stocks that are thinner than their relatively thick B9 card stock, and that are more similar in thickness to a standard USPCC produced deck. Their C9 card stock, and the even thinner E7 card stock, means that they are even more set to provide a viable alternative to USPCC's crush stock decks. All this gives even more reason to expect to see an increasing number of custom decks coming from this publisher. https://preview.redd.it/iq2lcwv33dd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=63eed02e89380842400a4073ac232d552d840945 Cartamundi's new acquisition So the news that Cartamundi has just signed an agreement to purchase the USPCC from its parent company isn't a total surprise, considering how big a player they are in the toy and games market. Cartamundi is evidently looking to expand their reach into new countries and channels, so this proposed acquisition is a move that makes obvious good sense from their perspective. The important place and connections that USPCC already has in the more specialized niche that produces playing cards for casinos, and the large market share it has in serving the cardistry and custom playing card community, are all welcome assets for Cartamundi. This acquisition isn't likely to change the product line or the quality of cards being produced by USPCC, but it does mean that USPCC's products will now fall under the larger Cartamundi umbrella. In some private correspondence, a Cartamundi staff member has confirmed that there are no plans to make any major changes to the products or finishes of USPCC. Both companies will continue to operate independently of one another, and Cartamundi realizes it is in their interests to keep everything that is good about USPCC going. They have every incentive to preserve the legacy and quality of USPCC's big brands like Bicycle. So there's no need for us to panic or to think that USPCC card stock or processes will change. The change is primarily one of ownership and management, and will affect things like distribution channels rather than manufacturing or product quality - although only time will tell after the deal closes later in 2019. Meanwhile, Cartamundi will continue to produce their own custom playing cards, and their own positive contribution to the market will continue right alongside the ongoing and independent contribution of USPCC. There's no doubt that Cartamundi has the experience and resources to make a big impact on the playing card industry. Their B9 True Linen finish has already proven itself to be somewhat of a game-changer. And while the critical reception of their new C9 and E7 stocks remains to be seen, there has been a growing sense that with these latest efforts Cartamundi is set to provide some real competition to USPCC at last. Strong competition is good for the market, because it is an incentive for companies to improve their products. And Cartamundi has been doing in the last couple of years, by producing playing cards with new types of stock and finish. Acquiring USPCC could remove that incentive, so let's hope that this acquisition will not slow down the healthy innovation that Cartamundi has produced in recent times. But on the other hand, this development could also open up the possibility for Cartamundi to piggy-back on USPCC's expertise in the niche that they have dominated for so long. What's more, Cartamundi's own expertise might just be what USPCC needs to overcome some of their own niggling weaknesses, such as occasional misaligned borders. We can only hope that partnering resources and experience will make the products of both companies even better, and will enhance their continuing development and positive contribution to the playing card industry. https://preview.redd.it/oe9iipm43dd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b7ba9aa2e6095622e0c9e228fc91439cf5397e31 Final thoughts Seeing the Cartamundi name on your deck of playing cards is an indication of quality. You just need to be aware that you should expect differences in performance compared with a typical USPCC deck. It will look, feel, and handle differently, and which you prefer will often be a matter of personal taste. In the next article, we'll be covering in more detail the differences between the different stocks and finishes of the Cartamundi decks, like their B9 True Linen finish, their C9 Touch finish, and their newest luxury pressed E7 stock. Personally I welcome new contributors and new contributions to the playing card market place, and am happy to see Cartamundi having a growing presence in the industry! https://preview.redd.it/ns0rh4763dd31.jpg?width=500&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d5c2d3469ec71ac18675deba8c2f57fb264a76db Where to get them? See a wide range of Cartamundi decks available here. Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks.comhere.
I have come to really prefer four color decks online. Do we think there's any chance in hell of four color decks becoming a thing live? Or will it be too hard for people to let go of the traditional deck?
Factors that affect how a deck of playing cards handles (Part 2)
Factors That Affect the Handling of a Deck -Part 2: Non-Bicycle Playing Cards Most creators of custom playing cards today choose to print their decks with United States Playing Card Company (USPCC), makers of the famous Bicycle brand of playing card. USPCC is a well-known publisher with solid credentials, and has a long history and positive reputation for creating quality playing cards. In previous articles we have covered the process by which Bicycle playing cards are made, why it's worth the money to get a Bicycle deck, and what factors affect their handling. But USPCC doesn't produce perfect playing cards. Their decks are often printed in high volume on a web press, and one disadvantage of this process is that the print registration can be slightly off, creating slightly misaligned borders. We've probably all seen decks like this, and it can be disappointing to receive a deck that has this issue. The good news is that this issue is typically a rarity when decks are printed on a sheet-fed press, which is the printing method used by most of the competition, which typically produces runs of playing cards in lower volumes. As a result several reputable publishers have emerged in recent years that offer an excellent alternative to the industry giant of USPCC, and many of them have already earned for themselves a solid reputation for producing consistently high quality playing cards. The first of these is Expert Playing Card Company (EPCC), which is based in Taiwan. EPCC often works in tandem with Legends Playing Card Company (LPCC), and even uses the same facilities and factories, so we'll take these two together and refer to them as LPCC/EPCC. The second of these is Cartamundi, which is based in Belgium. Along with Bicycle cards, these are arguably the key players that are at the top of the industry right now, and are producing the highest quality playing cards today. But what you need to know is: how are their playing cards made differently from Bicycle decks, and how does this affect their handling? Let's find out!
Legends and Expert Playing Cards
Stock The stock refers to the paper used to print the playing cards. LPCC/EPCC has a slightly different approach to this than USPCC, which typically uses either Bee stock (thicker), Bicycle stock (normal), or Thin Crush stock (thinnest and softest). Instead, LPCC/EPCC sources their paper from overseas, and this paper stock comes pre-embossed from their suppliers. As a result, LPCC/EPCC uses a single name that doesn't distinguish between their embossing and their stock. They both offer several four main "finishes", all of which feel and handle differently: Diamond/Master Finish, Classic Finish, Elite/Damask Finish, and Emerald/JN Finish. These are really just different combinations of paper stock and embossing, and the main differences between these "finishes" has to do with the type of paper and embossing used. These different paper stocks not only vary in thickness and firmness, but are also embossed to varying depths, making each unique in terms of how they handle. The Classic Finish and Elite/Damask Finish use the thickest paper stock, while the Diamond/Master Finish uses a thinner stock. The Emerald/JN Finish is thinner yet, and represents LPCC/EPCC's efforts to replicate the feel and handling of the Jerry's Nugget Casino cards from the '70s, which were considered legendary for their performance. Decks produced by LPCC/EPCC in their Classic Finish and Elite/Damsk Finish are the most similar to a standard USPCC deck, and have a relatively soft and papery feel. In contrast, decks with their Diamond/Master finish have thinner cards, while decks with their Emerald/JN Finish are 0.01mm thinner still. Unlike the Thin-Crush stock from USPCC, these thinner cards from LPCC/EPCC are amazingly hardy/durable, and have a real spring and pleasing snap to them, with a surprisingly stiffer feel than the Classic Finish decks. Texture The texture refers to the embossed surface of a playing card. While you won't notice significant differences in embossing with USPCC produced decks, the different "finishes" of LPCC/EPCC produced decks do have different types of embossing, both in terms of the pattern and the depth used. The Diamond/Master Finish and the Emerald/JN Finish decks are the least-embossed paper stock, and that makes these cards feel somewhat oily and plastic-like. Yet these decks are also their stiffest and longest lasting cards, since these cards have a real spring to them, and prove very hardy and durable. Their Classic Finish decks have a deeper embossing pattern that the most similar to Bicycle's "Air Cushion Finish". As a result, it feels softer, and has an overall feel that is arguably closest to a Bicycle-type deck from USPCC. The deeper the embossing, the softer the cards will feel, so while the Elite/Damask Finish decks use a similar paper stock to the Classic Finish, a different and deeper embossing pattern on these cards makes them feel even softer yet. In practice, this means that a deck of custom playing cards by USPCC will feel most similar to LPCC/EPCC's Classic Finish. In contrast, LPCC/EPCC's Diamond/Master Finish and Emerald/JN Finish deck are noticeably stiffer and also feel more "tacky", making them more ideal for moves and sleights like springs, cuts, and even double lifts. Coating The coating refers to a protective finish added at the end of the printing process, to protect the cards and make them slide over each other smoothly and evenly. LPCC/EPCC uses the same coating for all their card stocks/finishes, although they are constantly experimenting with their coating formula to improve it. Like the Magic Coating used on Bicycle decks, the aim of this coating is that it combines with the embossing to create the perfect amount of drag, slip, as well as durability. LPCC/EPCC's coating tends to be sightly less slippery than those of USPCC produced decks. In my experience, the coating on USPCC produced decks tends to wear out more quickly, meaning that your cards won't spread or fan as evenly over time. In contrast, LPCC/EPCC produced decks have a coating that seems to be harder wearing, slightly less slippery, and they seem to perform consistently for a longer period of time. But this is not always true - while most LPCC/EPCC decks are produced in their factory in Taiwan with a consistent level of quality, watch out for decks produced with their JN Finish in China - these don't seem to be as good, and these cards tend to clump much more quickly. Cut The cut refers to the direction of the bevelled edge of the cards, and affects the direction in which cards can be faroed or weave shuffled together. LPCC/EPCC decks are all given a traditional cut (face to back) rather than the modern cut (back to face) that is used as a standard by USPCC. Their cutting process also involves a Diamond Cut technique that produces a much smoother cut than UPSCC. As a result, their decks feel super smooth on the edges, making the cards of a USPCC feel noticeably rough in comparison. These beautiful clean edges are clearly superior to those of a USPCC deck, and can make maneuvers like a perfect faro easier and smoother.
Cartamundi Based in Belgium, Cartamundi is a large publishing company with an established reputation in publishing games, but which has only more recently entered the custom playing card market by producing a growing selection of decks, the most well known being the Copag 310s. These have been printed on the company’s B9 True Linen or Cardistry stock, which has also been used for a growing number of cardistry and other custom decks. Examples of decks using the B9 stock include Ondrej Psenicka's innovative Butterfly Playing Cards, the stunning Cobra Playing Cards, Bas John's Cubeline deck, and many others. These cards combine to make up one of the thickest decks I have seen. Yet despite this thickness, it is a super soft stock that is reminiscent in feel of USPCC's thin-crush stock. As a result, straight out of the box, these cards handle perfectly, requiring no breaking in whatsoever. These cards hold up extremely well, and despite fairly intense use they go the distance with no obvious signs of wear - a somewhat surprising outcome because usually softer decks prove to be quicker wearing. What is also unique about the finish is that the embossing pattern on the card faces is different than the embossing pattern on the card backs. This allows the cards to slide perfectly over one another for fans and spreads. The cards have a very smooth cut, resulting in perfect and smooth edges, unlike what I've seen with some USPCC cards. Cardists will find the stock super soft, and a joy to shuffle and spring, while still fanning and spreading evenly and smoothly. With its B9 True Linen stock, Cartamundi has announced itself as a strong competitor, and you're almost certain to be very pleased with any Cartamundi deck produced with this stock and finish. But not everyone is a fan of the thicker cardstock, and more recently Cartamundi has been putting out some decks that aren't as thick as the B9 stock. Both the Touch Cardistry decks and Stockholm17's Ravn v3 decks use Cartamundi's C9 stock, which has a more traditional air cushion style embossing pattern, and a thickness similar to a standard USPCC produced deck. Even thinner yet is their E9 stock, which is used for the new Cohort Classics decks. These cards are so thin that they aren't likely to hold up to the exacting standards required for card flourishing. But with their new C9 and E9 stocks, Cartamundi is providing a viable alternative to USPCC, and we could see an increasing number of custom decks coming from this publisher. Others There are a few smaller publishers that have produced a much smaller range of playing cards, such as Hanson Chien Production Company, and BOMB Magic. Both of these also use factories in Taiwan, and their playing cards seem quite comparable in quality and handling to those produced by LPCC/EPCC for the most part. One other publisher's name you might see mentioned is MakePlayingCards (MPC). What makes MPC attractive to creators is that they offer the advantage of good pricing on smaller print runs. Unfortunately their products aren't considered as high end as some of the other publishers, but they do enable creators to produce a print run as small as a single deck for a reasonable price. According to some reports, their cost for producing a single prototype is about a twentieth of what USPCC charges for the same thing. While their decks are fine for collectors and prototypes, the handling is definitely inferior to those of the previously named publishers. Their playing cards tend to fan and spread smoothly out of the box, but will quickly start to clump. You'll often find the same with the JN Finish decks produced by LPCC/EPCC in China. This also tends to happen with decks produced by another relatively new kid on the block, WJPC, which is also based in China, and has printed a small selection of custom decks. A final publisher worth knowing about is Noir Arts (NPCC), which is based in the Ukraine. They produce absolutely stellar tuck boxes with a high level of innovation and quality. But like MPC decks, their playing cards don't always handle consistently. NPCC does use high quality cardstock - German black-core linen 310gsm card-stock, which is also the top pick used by Make Playing Cards. This stock is also embossed with an air cushion finish, and has a real firm, snappy, and springy feel, with a stiffness somewhat similar to the Diamond/Master finishes from LPCC/EPCC, but it doesn't fan or spread as evenly or evenly as USPCC or LPCC/EPCC decks. While very durable and superior to a typical corner store deck, the handling will disappoint serious card flourishers. Publishers like MPC and NPCC also reduce their printing costs by using a high-speed laser to remove cards from their press sheets instead of the die-cutting used by USPCC and LPCC/EPCC. The disadvantage of this method is that the laser creates a perfectly flat, 90-degree angle at the cut, with no bevelled edges whatsoever (unlike the modern/traditional cut), and this makes weave/faro shuffles more difficult.
Quality control: Some publishers also have exceedingly high standards of quality control. Special mention should be made of USPCC, which has different standards of quality control, depending on the deck they are printing. Q1 is their highest standard, and where they check the most closely for the best results in areas like centering, print registration, cutting, colour, and flaws. Q4 is their lowest standard, and is considered "tolerable" - it basically means that more margin is given for error. In most cases this will only affect how the cards look, and not how they handle. Press type: LPCC/EPCC uses a sheet-fed press exclusively, which USPCC also uses for smaller print runs. In contrast a web press is preferred by USPCC for the sake of efficiency and speed when doing higher-volume print runs of many thousands. A sheet-fed press gives greater precision in printing and cutting, and a consistently crisp and bold printing registration. This also enables the use of narrower borders than normal, gives a greater range of options for designers, and also can produce a classier look. In decks printed by USPCC on their web press in high volume you'll sometimes notice that the borders are slightly off-centre for this reason, while this problem is rare to non-existent with LPCC/EPCC decks. However this will typically only affect the look of the cards, and not their handling. Metallic foil: High gloss embossed metallic foil stamped onto the back of playing cards adds a real element of bling and visual appeal. But one challenge resulting from this extra bling, due to the materials needed to create these unusual cards, is that they do handle somewhat differently than a standard deck. The significant amount of foil on the backs does make them feel somewhat slippery, and you will find fanning and spreading a bit more challenging to master with these decks. Spot UV printing: Another area of innovation in recent years is the use of technology that allows printers to produce embossed and glossy ink via UV spot printing. Basically this adds a secondary printing process where a layer of polymer is applied to create a raised glossy effect on the card faces. Cards printed in this way are like those of a regular deck, but in addition they have a glossy and raised surface that stands out visibly and can actually be felt. This naturally affects handling, because it can reduce the effect of the normal embossing and coating, since the raised surface that has been subject to UV spot printing becomes the point of friction instead of the entire card. When this happens, certain cards can become slightly more slippery, making it harder to have completely consistent fans. Deck condition: Even the best deck will eventually wear out. A good quality deck will still handle and perform consistently over a long period of time. But eventually the coating will wear, and the cards will attract oils and dirt from your skin. When that all happens, your deck will no longer handle as smoothly as it did initially. A new deck will typically handle like a dream, and depending on its quality, will continue to handle well for a decent amount of time. But its handling performance will eventually be affected by sheer use as it wears, and slowly deteriorates. Skill: A poor workman always blames his tools. No matter how good your deck handles, it is no substitute for skill, practice, and experience in card handling. The more time you spend mastering card flourishes and card fundamentals, the better you'll get. On the other hand, don't expect a good quality deck to be a short cut to mad card skills! It will certainly make difficult card flourishes easier to master, but is no substitute for skill!
So when you are purchasing a deck of playing cards, do you need to become an expert in all these details, and how decks are produced? Fortunately the answer is no. In the case of USPCC produced Bicycle decks, the quality will nearly always be identical, and the main difference in handling will depend on the thickness of the stock, and whether or not a deck is Thin-Crush or not. With non-Bicycle decks, the most important thing to consider is who the publisher is. With the possible exception of their JN Finish decks produced in China (of which there have only been a few), decks from LPCC/EPCC that are produced in Taiwain are almost always going to be of a consistently high standard, which is why they are a popular choice for many custom designers. You will immediately notice smoother and cleaner cut edges in all their decks. Especially their Classic Finish and Elite/Damask Finish decks are quite comparable in handling and performance to USPCC produced decks. It is worth paying attention to whether a LPCC/EPCC deck uses Diamond/Master Finish, however, because these decks will feel noticeably different. They perform excellent and are very long-lasting, but do feel more oily/plasticky, and the cards feel noticeably firmer, with more of a spring to them, although they still fan and spread fine. Some people like and even prefer these, while others don't, so it's largely a matter of preference and taste, and sometimes even a matter of getting used to it. But virtually all the LPCC/EPCC decks are great quality and handle well. Decks from other publishers, on the other hand, can be hit or miss. Cartamundi is doing an excellent job with their new decks in their B9 True Linen finish. There are also some publishers like Hanson Chien Production Company that are producing a small range of good quality decks out of Taiwan. But if a deck is produced by a company like Noir Arts (NPCC) or MakePlayingCards (MPC), you can expect the handling to be sub-par, and you'll immediately notice that spreads and fans won't be as smooth and consistent as you'd like. So it is worth taking note of who the publisher of a deck is if you're considering supporting a Kickstarter project or choosing a deck to buy. Of course all this only matters much if you're into cardistry or card magic, whereas such questions about handling will be less important to collectors or those wanting a deck for playing card games. The good news is that for the most part, the vast majority of decks available at retailers that specialize in custom playing cards (e.g. playingcarddecks.com) are produced by USPCC and other industry leaders like LPCC/EPCC. Almost all playing cards produced by industry leaders like these are the printed with the latest machines and technology, and that's why you are almost certain to be satisified with one of their decks in your hands! Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks.comhere.
Shipping is estimated around 7€-17€ in Europe (Depending on weight and size of the package. And 9€-25€ for international shipping
I only accept payment via Paypal. Hope I can offer you some interesting decks :) Don't hesitate to ask in the comments. Image: https://imgur.com/5SSy98A edited for better format edit 2, added the whispering imps deck
One of the Best Marked Cheating Poker Decks--Invisible Ink Marked Cards
Invisible ink marked card is a well-known poker existing in the poker manufacturing sector for most poker player in the world, which can be used for casino game or applied to many other large-scale poker competition in the world, such as Texas hold’ em poker tournaments, Omaha, Crazy Eight, Rummy, Blackjack and Baccarat. Our company is a professional exporter for the poker marked card in this sector, which can guarantee to provide the high quality product for you. More other types of marked poker cards, please click this website: https://www.cards999.com/marked-cards.asp The marking of invisible ink marked cards is marked on the back of the card. Compared with other common poker marked card, it is reprocessed by special material that is unseen to hunman naked eyes. Its tinting pattern is made by the luminous ink and it cannot be identified by the naked eye but can be read by wearing the specified infrared contact lenses or the perspective sunglasses in a quick glance. It means that when your opponent shuffle and flop the poker marked card, you can get the information from the cheating device. You will find the game is much easier by using this cheating cards with the infrared contact lenses or the perspective sunglasses. All in all, it can increase the winning odd for poker player. Nearly all poker brands can be made into invisible ink marked poker cars, such as Fournier, Copag, Modiano, Bicycle, BEE, Kem and so on. What’s more, that can be customized by you for other thoughts in different shape or pattern. After all, our target is to supply the top quality products and best service to our clients. At last, here I want to tell you is that this kind of invisible marked card have done the countless legend of poker and form the fantastic poker card magic.
NB: I posted an off-site link to this last week, but figured I'd just re-post the entire Gift Guide here. I've edited it slightly, and also included some information about Black Friday specials. The end-of-year holiday period is just around the corner. And for many of us, holidays means gift-giving and gift-getting. As they say, it is better to give than to receive. But we all know that receiving gifts is great too, especially if it involves playing cards! Playing cards make great gifts, if when carefully selected to suit the tastes and style of the person that you're buying for. It's always good to plan ahead, and to think about the kinds of playing cards that would make good gifts for others. But we also have to think about the kinds of gifts that others will be buying for us, because we really don't want Uncle Bob or cousin Mary getting us yet another unwanted pair of socks, toiletry set, or ugly t-shirt. So let's be smart about this: a well-timed and careful whisper in the right person's ear can help get things moving so that a lovely deck of custom playing cards ends up heading our way these holidays. We're in this together, and at the suggestion of the good folks over at PlayingCardDecks.com I have done some hard work for you by putting together this 2018 Ultimate Playing Card Holiday Gift Guide. It's not a comprehensive list, nor is it intended to say that these decks are necessarily the "best" or the only ones out there - so please don't go screaming about decks that aren't on this list. I haven't seen every single deck that's come out in the last year or two, and obviously these are my own choices based on my own personal experience - you might suggest others that are equally as good. But it will give you some great ideas for playing cards you can pick up as gifts. It's also the kind of thing you can post on your social media, or email a link to your family and friends, as a small hint of what they might want to consider getting for you. This is really about showing them love by making their job easier in finding you the perfect gift, right?! So whether you're a keen playing card enthusiast already, or whether someone in your life sent you a link to this list as a not-so-subtle hint, I'm here to help you out. I'm confident there's something on here for almost everyone. I've especially focused on playing cards that were released in 2018, but haven't limited myself to that entirely, because I want to give you lots of choices. PS: Don't miss the very bottom of this Gift Guide, where you'll find some great promo codes for the upcoming Black Friday weekend, which will give you up to 25% off the regular price for these decks!
For the Card Gamer
Once in a while, what you're looking for in a deck of playing cards is pure class. Whether it's for playing a game of poker or for a game of traditional cards, it's nice to have a deck that looks classy and sophisticated from the moment that its tuck box makes its first appearance. And when the cards do emerge from the box, the feeling of refinement is only confirmed by the classic beauty and style within. If you are looking for something sophisticated and elegant that is also very functional, with clearly recognizable indices and suits, the decks in this category are for you. These decks are practical, while at the same time making a stylish statement. ● Visa Playing Cards (2017) - These lovely decks (available in several colours) have a luxurious look from the tuck box onwards, and the metallic gold and silver used for the card backs and court cards makes them look super stylish and elegant. ● Cobra Playing Cards (2018) - The tuck case immediately impresses with blind embossing and gold foil, with serpents decorating both the box and the fronts and backs of the cards, and a graphic design that is just all round classy. Courtesy of Cartamundi's B9 Cardistry Finish, the cards are supremely soft and inviting, while still having a standard look that ensures they are very practical. ● Hudson Playing Cards (2018) - This recent release is a tribute to the Hudson Playing Cards that were produced alongside the Hudson River until the factory wound up operations in 1871. While the card faces are fairly standard, the card backs are very stylish, and the tuck box - as to be expected from Theory11 - is super classy, with extensive use of foil accents and embossing.
For the Cardist
Card flourishing has a long history in the magic industry, but in recent years the art cardistry has developed an independent existence, and is gaining legitimacy as an art-form in its own right. For best results, cardistry benefits from a deck of cards that is colourful and has striking patterns, which will enhance the visual aesthetics of card flourishing. These cards need not necessarily be very functional for playing games or card magic - although often they can serve a dual purpose of being used for this as well. But of primary importance in card flourishing is the visual appeal, and having a design and pattern that looks great when the cards are being handled. ● Virtuoso FW17 Playing Cards (2017) - When it comes to cardistry, it's hard to look past one of the dominant forces in this growing art-form: The Virts. Based in Singapore, they were the first produce a deck entirely optimized for cardistry, and their Fall/Winter deck is the latest version of their popular and smooth performing series. ● School of Cardistry v4 Playing Cards (2018) - Any mention of cardistry is hardly going to be complete without the lively presence of Jaspas Deck, the bubbly personality behind the New Deck Order and the School of Cardistry. This is the fourth edition of their deck, which continues their exploration of what they describe as a new standard for cardistry: non-standard faces that are all identical! Optimized entirely for cardistry, this hypnotic design and energetic purple and orange colours of this deck won't go unnoticed. ● NOC Summer v2 Playing Cards (2018) - The NOC decks have been popular with cardists for half a dozen years already, since their minimalist design is ideal for the simplicity and elegance of card flourishing. For the summer of 2018, these snappy decks were released in three great new colours: blue, orange, and a limited edition pink.
For the Collector
There are people who collect decks out of sheer love for their variety and novelty - you may even be one of these people! The decks featured in this category are creative decks that have extra touches that make them particularly appealing to the card collector, such as an individually numbered tuck seal. They often have lavish tuck boxes, other intriguing features that generate interest, and have been produced by well-known designers with a solid reputation of creativity and success. ● Top Aces of WWI Playing Cards (2018) - One of the latest decks from popular designer Jody Eklund, noted for his attention to detail and history, comes a deck that is a tribute to the flying dare-devils of the first world war. As always, Jody's artwork is exquisite, and each court card features a notable historical figure from the era. In this Signature Edition each deck comes in an elegant tuck box that is individually numbered. ● House of the Rising Spade Playing Cards (2018) - Stockholm17 is a designer from Sweden with a large following, and this deck represents his latest effort to hit the market. A limited edition two deck set, it consists of two different decks: Cartomancer, which is a tribute to the tarot deck; and Faro, which features cards without indices and a one-way design, just like the vintage decks of the 1800s. ● Planets: Saturn Playing Cards (2018) - This is the sixth and newest addition that makes up the popular Planets series, representing all the planets in our solar system. The collector will be in love once he sees the luxurious tuck box, which is arguably the best yet, and features gold holographic foil, white foil, interior foiling, and embossing.
For the Connoisseur
At times we might be looking for something stylish and classy that we can use for anything involving playing cards, whether it is card magic or card games. The important thing is that we want to show class and style. Certainly the custom playing card industry has produced some very original and stylish decks, bursting with character and energy, while still having somewhat of a traditional or more serious look. Here are some examples of such classy decks that are on offer. ● Green Wheel Playing Cards (2018) - Green and brown are the dominant colours in this elegant deck, which has a lush split-pip design. The bicycle theme and look is inherited from its popular predecessors, the Red Wheel Playing Cards and Blue Wheel Playing Cards, which both have an elegant use of metallic inks, and which I also highly recommend. ● Aphelion Luxury Playing Cards (2018) - Created by Italian team Parama Playing Cards, this deck has a box that makes an instant statement of style with its gold foil and embossing, while the metallic gold inks of the court cards ensure that any standard deck placed alongside it looks very ordinary. ● Makers Blacksmith Playing Cards (2017) - From publishing house Art of Play comes one of the finest tuck boxes you'll see, with elegant gold and silver foil in intricate lines stamped all over a jet black box. Oh, and the cards are great too - highly detailed characters inhabit the court cards, with a simple black and red colour scheme emphasizing the customized artwork!
For the Magician
Magicians definitely have their secrets. Admittedly, most magicians prefer to work with a standard deck, and have developed such skills with sleight of hand that you can hand them an ordinary deck of quality playing cards and they can work miracles with it. But once in a while, there's a need to perform miracles of an extraordinary nature, and they're looking for something with that added extra that gives them the means to accomplish the impossible. Here are some specialized decks that will be ideal for anyone interested in serious card magic. ● Mechanic Optricks Red Playing Cards (2018) - This brand new release features card backs with hypnotic flip-book animation. Yes, really! But the real draw-card lies in the innovative gaffs that are included, especially the Optibox Gaff (makes your tuck box look empty even when there's a full deck inside), and the Anamorphic Gaff (creates an optical illusion that a card is being seen right through the deck!). ● Marked Maiden Back Playing Cards (2017) - Don't tell anyone, because it is top secret, but yes, marked decks are really a thing - but only for card magic, not for cheating! This looks like an ordinary Bicycle deck, but the markings are very easy to read, so you don't have to strain to figure them out or decipher them, and many consider it the best modern marked deck for exactly that reason. ● Bicycle Magic Playing Cards (2018) - This deck isn't so much a deck to be used for card magic, as it is a tribute to the art of magic itself. The card backs and faces include mischievous imps, along with various items long associated with magic, like wands, top hats, gloves, and dice, while the court cards feature delightful images depicting different magic acts. The art style/colours have a distinctly vintage feel, making this an ideal collector's piece for a magician to appreciate.
For the Artist
Even if you're not an artist, you can still enjoy something that is artistic. A deck of playing cards is the perfect canvas for showcasing some colourful and artistic designs, whether they have been created by famous artists, or by artists who have just used playing cards as their chosen medium to create something colourful and beautiful. ● Mondrian Broadway Playing Cards (2018) - These playing cards pay tribute to famous Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, and the card back design is based on his 1943 work "Broadway Boogie Woogie", which expresses his fascination with New York. Colourful and playful, it is ideally suited to card flourishing. ● Untitled Playing Cards (2018) - Along with the sequel Untitled V2 `Reflections' Playing Cards (2018), this vibrant deck was created by noted photographer Adam Borderline. It is a tribute to abstract art, as well as to the creativity and fluid motion that are essential to cardistry. ● Masterpieces Playing Cards (2017) - More than a deck of cards, this is a miniature gallery of individual works of art. Created by Bocopo Playing Cards, it was a collaboration that involved 8 artists, 348 hours of work, and 58 illustrations. Each face card has a unique and fresh design that is its own work of art, and tells a different story.
For the Animal Lover
Do you love animals? Or do you have an animal lover in your life? How about a deck featuring dogs, or cats, or else some great artwork of animals from around the world? These beautiful decks are sure to please anyone who appreciates our four legged friends, whether they are family pets or the kinds of animals you'd normally only see at the zoo. ● GAIA Playing Cards (2017) - With stunning and realistic artwork by talented young artist Ben Sinclair, these playing cards feature delightful hand-drawn pictures that showcases animals in different ecological habitats and biological communities. Amazing art, and a beautiful deck that is also available in a Moonlight Edition that offers a nocturnal perspective. ● The Dog Playing Cards - Friends of canines will love this deck, which features a close-up of a dog on every single card, not just the court cards. And each single card pictures a different dog, making this deck a real treat to look through! ● Sweet Cat Playing Cards - Created to help support abandoned cats, this is a deck that friends of felines will appreciate and enjoy. Much like the Dog deck, it features a gorgeous photo of a different furry friend on each and every card.
For the Children
Children especially like decks that are colourful, and that are lively and fun. Here we have some more light-hearted decks that are sure to amuse kids and adults alike. If you're looking for something playful, and that is designed to keep the inner child happy, then these are decks for you. ● Rainbow Unicorn Fun Time Playing Cards (2018) - This deck first started as a joke, but has gone on to become a legend in the card playing world, and has even appeared on TV. When noted cardist De'vo is involved, you know that it's going to be special, and this quality deck offers a whole lot more than rainbows and unicorns, and is fun for all ages! ● Chicken Playing Cards (2018) - I've been amazed by how popular this deck has proven with children and teenagers, who find the playful feathered friends pictured on this deck irresistible. A whimsical deck with extensive customization, the highlight has to be the delightful court cards, which feature our fowled friends in all manner of exalted poses. ● Sharks Are Wild Playing Cards (2017) - Aimed at preschoolers, this deck isn't just a collection of playing cards, but is also an award winning game, designed to help youngsters learn sequencing (i.e. counting forwards and backwards). It has colourful cards where various sea creatures replace the usual pips.
I'm a real sucker for decks that look highly unusual, and have a great amount of novelty. Admittedly, not many of these are the kinds of decks that would quickly make it to the table for a card game, although many of them are certainly functional and playable. But the prime appeal of these kinds of playing cards is to the collector who appreciates the unusual elements that decks like these bring to the table. Here are some prime examples. ● Music Box Playing Cards (2017) - Novelty doesn't come much bigger than this: the Music Box deck doesn't just have the luxuries of gold foil, a custom numbered gold key, and a cherry wood look. This deck's real claim to fame is that it plays music! It has a unique tuck box design that plays 30 seconds of "Claire de Lune" when opened, and has the genuine sound of an old fashioned music box with a metal comb flicking over metal teeth. ● Burger Playing Cards (2017) - Part of the Deliciousness series from Flaminko Playing Cards, this deck celebrates the almighty burger. The design suggests two halves of a bun, complete with sesame seeds, which have a tactile feel courtesy of UV spot printing on the box. Each suit has been individually customized to depict foods that you'll find on an actual hamburger bun, including the patty, lettuce, tomato, and cheese! ● $100 Bill Gold Foil Playing Cards - Looking for high bling at a low price? The tuck box and all the cards in this deck are entirely made out of gold or silver foil, depending on which deck you choose. The card backs feature the image of a US $100 bill, and the shiny surface of gold or silver catches the light, and is sure to make an immediate impression of luxury. Yet all this shiny-ness can be yours for under $8!
Are looking for something with softer colours or a more feminine look? Just because they're heavy on pink doesn't mean that these decks are strictly "girlie" decks - guys might like them just as much! So regardless of whether you're male or female, if you're looking for something pretty in pink, you'll find something here for you. ● Sakura Spring Playing Cards (2018) - This unique all-pink deck is dedicated to the Japanese cherry blossom. It is entirely done in different shades of pink, with a simplified look that is a true exercise of harmony and beauty. ● Hanami Playing Cards (2018) - Another wonderful deck that captures the elegance of cherry blossoms, the Hanami deck features a palette of soft colours and a captivating design that will especially be appreciated and enjoyed by cardists. ● Madison Rounders Pink Playing Cards (2018) - Daniel Madison's highly popular series of Madison Rounders finally arrives in a colour that everyone has wanted to see: pink! Thin crush stock ensures that it handles as smoothly and softly as it looks.
Not only does PlayingCardDecks sell playing cards, but over the last couple of years the man at the helm of operations, Will Roya, has also used his expertise and experience in the magic industry and the playing card industry to produce a number of high quality custom decks. Here are several great decks that have been produced under the PlayingCardDecks banner in 2018. ● Ancient Warriors Playing Cards (2018) - This is great as a limited edition and matching two-deck set, one in a red/gold colour scheme, and the other in black/silver, with metallic inks. Each suit represents a different culture of ancient warriors (Crusaders, Japanese, Zulus, Aztecs), with gorgeous detail, and aspects of each civilization are also reflected on the Aces and pips. ● Strigiformes Owl Playing Cards (2018) - One of my favourite decks from 2018, this deck is full of owls. It has just the right colour combinations to give a true nocturnal feel, and the artwork is incredible, especially on the court cards. Every card has highly customized pips, along with intricate and ornate details, and a terrific graphic design. ● Royal Vortex Playing Cards (2018) - Looking for bling? Look no further! This deck was created in honour of PlayingCardDecks' first anniversary. To celebrate, it has a gold and black colour scheme on the card backs with an enormous amount of gold foil. The card backs are also designed to give the impression of a hypnotic and eye-catching optical illusion.
It's amazing how many different decks have been created that are based on your favourite characters from TV shows, films, comics, books and more. You can check out the entire range of licensed decks, but here are some of my favourites. ● Bruce Lee Playing Cards (2018) - This is the second and completely revised edition of a deck that is a beautiful homage to a popular martial artist. The vivid black and yellow will appeal to cardists, and one notable feature of this updated deck is that each card features a different philosophical Bruce Lee quote in easy-to-read white capitals! ● Saturday Night Live Playing Cards (2017) - It's a famous TV Show, and now it's a deck of cards! All the customization in this deck is inspired by the show. And because it's a Theory11 deck, you can count on a spectacular tuck box, with lots of foil accents and embossing! ● Princess Bride Playing Cards (2014) - This deck is a wonderful tribute to the classic comedy film of the same name. The court cards all feature characters from the film, such as Westley, Princess Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Vizzini, and the giant Fezzik, and include memorable lines from the film like "Prepare to Die!" and "Inconceivable!" The number cards are also absolutely exquisite, and the entire deck is heavily customized, really captures some of the magic of the film.
Some of the most eye-catching decks are the ones which look the oldest - even though they are made of high quality playing cards that are brand new. Whether it's a result of a vintage or a deliberately distressed look, or whether they are a modern replica of a classic deck from the past, these decks look like they have arrived into the present straight from the past, and yet look and feel fantastic. You'll find more by checking out the full range of vintage decks. ● 1883 Murphy Varnish Playing Cards - This is a high quality replica of a 19th century deck originally created to promote Murphy Varnish. It is a famous transformation deck, which means that each card features clever artwork that incorporates the pips as part of a larger picture, which in this case is both entertaining and ingenious! ● 1889 Texan Playing Cards - Want an authentic look straight that's more than a hundred years old? The Texan deck was first printed in 1889, and USPCC has brought it back into circulation, using a yellowed tinting on the cards to give it an authentic antique look, and with court designs that are typical of that period. ● Vintage Classic Playing Cards (2017) - This deck is brand new, but looks much older than it really is, courtesy of the faux-aged look and yellowed tones. A black triangle on the edges of the cards creates beautiful fans and spreads that card flourishers will love, while each card has a unique dirty, weathered, and worn out look that will instantly grab attention.
Yes, I know we already have a For the Cardist category earlier in this list. But you didn't really think I could get away with having only three cardistry decks in this list, did you? Plus you might just need a cardistry deck for yourself as well as for the cardist in your life! There are lots to choose from, but here are some of the favourites that came out this year and have made it into my own collection. ● Off the Wall Playing Cards (2018) - This unconventional deck comes from Art of Play, and has a surf-skate theme that opts for a deliberately styled casual look, yet with a bold choice of energetic and vivid colours include a vibrant blue, orange, and yellow, along with some black. The stylish and borderless card backs are loud and dashing, but isn't that exactly what cardistry is often all about? ● Superfly Spitfire Playing Cards (2018) - Inspired by modern streetwear, fashion, and culture, this deck is the third in the Superfly series from Toomas Pintson. It has eye-catching colours with a vibrant teal-green, yellow, and black, plus a unique card back design that reminds me of a finger-print, and of course the distinctive "Superfly" branding on the cards themselves. I love the fact that each card has one pip that picks up the finger-print style design of the card backs. ● Casual V2 Playing Cards (2018) - One of the more elegant and sophisticated cardistry decks I've ever seen, the luxurious look and feel of the tuck box already impresses. The card backs have a clean geometrical design consisting of triangles and parallelograms, and use complementing tones of brown, mint green, and gold. The gold uses pantone/metallic inks for a truly elegant look, and also returns in heavy doses on the court cards. Thin crush stock completes the perfect cardistry package.
Occasionally what you're looking for is something absurdly expensive and over-the-top. Something with lots of bling. Bring on the gold foil, the embossing, the iridescence, the UV spot printing, the exotic tuck case, and whatever other luxury you can think of! And especially: gilded edges. Here's a few examples of such gilded luxury. ● Unicorn Rainbow Gilded Playing Cards (2018) - This exclusive deck was created for the Magic Live! 2018 event, and is a limited edition with a tuck box that has embossed glitter, and an iridescent foil. But the best is inside the box: the cards have metallic gilded edges for a stunning and shiny iridescent/rainbow look. Unicorns don't get better than this! ● Ombre Edged Playing Cards (2017) - Unlike most gilded decks, the Ombre Edged deck doesn't feature gold or silver edges, but the gilding uses red and blue to match the card backs and courts. These colours are carefully blended together with a gradient look that makes this deck like no other, and the tuck box is cleverly designed to show off the gilding even when the deck is inside the box. ● Spirit II Gilded Playing Cards (2018) - These stunning decks have all the bells and whistles collectors love: embossed tuck boxes with foil accents, individually numbered seals, and fully customized artwork on every card, which is inspired by the mystical stained glass windows of ancient cathedrals. Gilded edges in gold and silver just add to the feel of luxury.
While most of us love customization, there are times where we don't want much in the way of customization, but are looking for something more ordinary, with a standard and traditional look. Decks like these will fit the bill perfectly! All of these selections are available in both red and blue backed cards. ● Honeybee Elite Playing Cards (2018) - This is a new edition of the popular Honeybee series from Penguin Magic. It has a honey-comb style borderless back design, the super-soft thin-crush stock from USPCC which handles smoothly, and has been receiving raves from card handlers world-wide. ● Arrco Playing Cards (2018) - The Arrco decks are an iconic and practical deck, with a signature back design and superb handling that made them popular with everyone who used them in the late 20th century. Now this classic and beloved deck is back in print, with the air-cushion quality and handling from Bicycle. ● Copag 310 Playing Cards (2018) - Cartamundi has been making a real splash with their new B9 True Linen finish card stock. It's slightly thicker than a normal Bicycle deck, but is amazingly soft, and handles fantastic straight out of the box. These decks have been receiving rave reviews, and with good reason! As an added bonus, you can also get popular gaff decks (e.g. Svengali deck, Stripper deck, Gaff deck) with the same Copag card-stock and designs.
Cheap decks (under $5)
Fortunately you don't have to spend a huge amount of money to get a top quality deck of playing cards. To keep things in balance after some of the more exotic decks available, it's good to know that there's a solid range of low-cost decks that are under $5, and yet are high quality playing cards. Here's a few fine examples of great decks from this budget price range, that offer something cheap without sacrificing quality. These make the ideal stuffing stocker, and there's a whole lot more available - see a complete list in the under $5 range. ● Stargazer Playing Cards (2017) - For this price, this deck can't be beat. Not only do you get a tuck box with shiny silver accents, but the cards have a stunning borderless design that creates amazing fans and spreads. The cards have an inky black background, while the artwork features bursts of light touched with purple and pink, inspired by a classical design transported to a colourful starry night sky. ● House Blend Playing Cards (2018) - Need some more caffeine in your life? The House Blend is a play on the classic Bicycle rider-back deck, with alternate coffee-inspired art on the card backs. The tuck box has novelty embossing reminiscent of a coffee filter, while the courts cards and pips have adjusted colours in shades of brown to fit the coffee theme. ● Wild West Playing Cards (2017) - At a bargain price, you can travel back in time to the Wild West, where all the familiar names are represented among the court cards, including famous names like Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, Jessie James, Belle Starr, and more. This is a fully custom deck with a real wild west feel.
If a deck is very popular, it's often a strong indication of quality. After all, there must be something special about it that draws people in, whatever that magnetic quality might be. These decks have proven to be best-sellers in the past year, and it shouldn't be difficult to see why! ● Cherry Casino (Tahoe Blue) Playing Cards (2018) - The popular Cherry Casino series has a retro casino feel, and this versatile and practical deck has an immediate touch of style and class courtesy of the bold metallic ink that is used for the signature "tahoe blue" colour on the tuck case. Inspired by the clear colours of Lake Tahoe, this inviting pearlescent blue is also found on the card backs in a metallic ink, while the card faces are standard enough to make them ideal for card games or card magic. Also don't miss the newest addition to the family, Cherry Casino (Reno Red) Playing Cards. ● Memento Mori Blue Playing Cards (2018) - Created with the involvement of popular magician and youtuber Chris Ramsay, this best-selling deck has an elegant tuck box with a wrap-around design featuring the shape of Ramsay's own skull. The card backs return to this design, which gives interesting possibilities for card flourishing, and the courts are designed in a similar style. The blue version of this deck was released in 2018 and is like the original, but has a more subdued and cooler colour palette. ● Monarchs Blue Playing Cards (2012) - One of the all time most popular decks from Theory11, and even featured in the film Now You See It, this best-selling deck has a stylish navy blue tuck box laced with royal gold foil that exudes class and sophistication. The card backs and faces have a classy design that is not too complicated or distracting, and gold metallic ink emphasizes the regal feel of the court cards. Happy shopping, and happy holidays! Promotions for Black Friday weekend at PlayingCardDecks.com as posted by Will Roya: [source] ● Nov 22/23 - Black Friday - promo code: black18 - 25% off entire purchase plus 3 free random decks on all purchases over $100. Nov 22 5:00pm - Nov 23 11:59pm. ● Nov 24 - Small Business Saturday - Starting at 9am, over 100 items will be added to the clearance section for 24 hours only, with savings of up to 50% off. ● Nov 26 - Cyber Monday - promo code: cyber18 - 20% off entire purchase plus 1 free random deck (no minimum purchase required). Promo codes are good for one use per account and not valid on Pip Box Club or gift cards. Promo codes can not be combined with any other codes or offers. All times are in pacific coast time. Author's note: I first published this article at PlayingCardDecks.comhere.
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