Where to Buy Playing Cards
is highly recommended for playing cards.
Playing Cards Reviews
(5/5 is a great bargain, 1/5 is a rip off)
Are these cards a good deal? KEMs can be 10 times more expensive but they can last 20 times longer for poker so to some they are a good deal.
(5/5 is the best looking, 1/5 looks awful)
How do these cards look. Does the back have a nice design?
(5/5 is the highest quality, 1/5 is terrible quality)
Are these cards forgiving? Will they last a long time at the poker table?
(5/5 is the highest quality, 1/5 is terrible quality)
Will these cards hold up well for magic tricks? Are they resistent to oil and dirt buildup?
Playing Cards Dimensions
Bridge Cards are 58mm by 88mm
Poker Cards are 63mm by 88mm
Everyone knows that bridge cards are not as wide as poker cards. The difference is only 5 millimeters but it is quite noticable when the 2 types of cards are stacked next to each other.
Playing Cards Brands
Our card tricks forum has quite a few threads on the advantages of certain brands of playing cards. The biggest names for paper cards are Bicycle Cards, Bee Cards and Tally Ho Cards. The biggest names for plastic cards are KEM Cards and Royal Cards
Bicycle Black Tigers and Tally Ho Viper Cards
Homki made a great post about how Bicycle and Tally Ho cards are ideal for magic. The normal decks are fine but the Black Tiger and Viper decks are espcially nice.
Two decks for magic, and two only for me. Black Tigers and Vipers.
Black Tigers are Bicycle cards with a reversed image. It's all black and white, and they handle like a charm. I've done some of the smoothest moves and florishes with them. It's like a regular Bicycle deck on MLB steroids, so you know it's big. They were My #1 choice until these bad-asses came along, the Vipers.
Vipers are Tally-Ho decks like the Black Tigers, only sexier and more professional feeling. The Vipers are made with a UV500 Air-Flow finish, which makes them (I think) crisper and slicker than a Black Tiger (which are made with an Air-Cushion finish). The ink on he Fan Back is "Iced", meaning it is all black and SILVER. The pip and back designs are all in Silver ink, giving these a sexy and awe-inspiring look. The regular back is in silver and red. The hearts and diamonds are in red (same for the Black Tigers, it comes in two versions).
These two decks will seriously make you wet yourself. I ordered 3 Iced Vipers (and for 23.95, It was worth every penny) and muttered every swear word in the book when I handled these cards. Believe me, these are beautiful. You have to try them out.
Another Bicycle and Tally Ho Post
Chipmaster: most people use Bicycle brand made by the Cincinnatti Playing Card Company or Bee made by them as well.
Many people say Tally Ho are the best but I have never tried them.
I assume you are talking about cards for flourishes and magic??...
If you want cards for a poker game although I still like the ones mentioned above you can get Kem cards that will last about 50 times longer.
Shadow: I agree with Chipmaster. I have some Tally-Hos and they are really good.
bigperm: I also prefer the Tally Ho Fan Backs. In my opinion they have a very sharp look to them and the ace of spades is sweet looking. They also handle well espicially for fans and multi packet cut displays! Bikes are the easiest to find anywhere and are also great for tricks, they are cheaper and almost disposible once they are worn out.
Tom Ace: I disagree that Bee's are a good choice for poker card tricks. Ofcourse they can be used for tricks, just like any other brand.
If you want to learn poker card tricks I suggest you use Bicycle cards. Bee have an overal back design, and you certainly don't want that when you are performing card tricks. Double lift for example.
If you're looking for cards that are suited for gambling demonstrations, false dealing, stacking, shuffling than Bee's are your choice.
I don't like to be sticked with one brand. I use them all, and I use them for different situations as I explained above.
One brand I'm not very fond of is Tally-Ho. They have a different finish. They feel more "plastic" to me. But, different people, different cards
Aviator is another brand. Also nice casual back design. Also white bordered. Nice cards, not as good as Bycicle though.
Aristocrats are also a nice variation. Different finish. Still not as good as Bycicle.
KEM cards are indeed allot more durable than paper cards but I prefer paper cards. The feeling, I think, is much better. Plus if you watch the big games (movies etc) they also use paper cards So maybe that is a reason for you to stick with paper cards
expertmagician: I somewhat agree with Tom Ace....
I personally think Bicycles are the best for 2 reasons:
- White borders for magic
- they feel good and are great for sleights
On the other card Bees are also great for gambling moves and the back design (all around/even pattern) hides a great many of sleights, but has the downside of being hard on a spectators eyes (so they are not great for magic).
Bees and Bicycles must be marked in different ways if you want marked cards.
BOTTOM LINE: I personally feel that Bees and Bicycles are best because they are VERY common and easy to get at the local drug store. I only want to use cards that people are used to seeing. So, odd back designs like Aristocrat, and even Bicycle Fan Back raise suspecion as being a trick deck.
Note: In some locations Tally-Hos are also common, so feel free to use them too....
That's my opinion for what it is worth.
marpenothi: I agree with people in saying that Tallys are the best for card tricks, flourishes, and manipulation. When it comes to magic, I used bicycle decks because they are the most widely known and accepted. When you show a spectator bikes, they automatically think ok no gaffs, no setups, nothing funky about this deck.
Tallys are something fun to look at and make the art form of manipulation and flourishes more visually appealing.
Thats my take on it,
Tom Ace: It is indeed true that in the States people (laymen) are used to Bicycle cards aswell. And that the aren't suspicious about the cards. When I watch American sitcoms, Friends, Will & Grace, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, you always see the Bicycle brand.
Here in Holland people use "no brand" cards Mostly these are bridge sized cards. Sometimes the name of a company (from work) is at the back of the cards. More often than not these are also "one-way backs"
It is said that Dutch people are cheap, well, if you look at their playing cards I guess this is true. I honestly don't know any laymen who actually bought playing cards. The cards are always for free.
You can imagine that they are suspicious about Bicycle. So in their eyes a cheap bridge sized company deck is regular.
Ofcourse you can perform some nice tricks with these decks. But mostly these decks are so extremely old. The cards are from a company that doesn't excst anymore etc.
More thoughts on different cards can be found by going directly to this
Best Playing Cards thread.
KEM Cards versus Bicycle Cards
Our Flexibility of Bicycle Cards versus KEM Cards
thread talks about the advantages of different cards:
CardSorcerer: It is amazing how durable kem cards are. While Bicycle cards can be ruined within minutes when handled abusively Ė kem cards will keep going and going. Unfortunately, the finish on kem cards makes many sleights and flourishes difficult to perform.
Another durable plastic playing card worth checking out are Copag cards. They are as durable as kem cards and have a finish more akin to that of regular playing cards. This produces a firmer playing card that better accommodates sleight of hand as well as some difficult flourishes . They are available in both bridge size (narrow) and poker size (wide).
Shadow: I buy Tally-Hos for 2$ per deck (this doesn't include the delivery price which is somewhere around 2.5$ per deck for me ). But if you live in States, then it's quite cheap I think.
I think I have some other plactic cards here. Fournier Vitoria from Spain. If I remeber it well they had some finish but that was long time ago because I used them a lot. Now it's impossible to fan them. I remember that they were usable for fanning. I will upload the flexibilty video tomorrow.
Tom Ace: Plastic cards... I'm not sure what to think about that.
Some casino's already have these kem cards, and prefer them above regular (paper) playing cards. I can't say I'm not interested in those kem cards. Maybe I should order a deck of kem's . Anyone an idea how much you pay for a regular poker sized kem card deck?
I watched the clips here , and the kem cards are indeed very flexible.
I'm curious if cheating is harder with these cards.
Maybe some shuffles, dealing...
Shadow: Casinos also prefer plastic decks becuase they last much longer than the regular cards (you can wash them for instance). And there isn't very big difference between paper and plastic for normal poker dealing. The riffle shuffle might be even easier with new plastic cards than with new paper cards.
Tom Ace: I can see that casino's prefer those plastic cards. But I hope that not all the casino's will swich their paper cards for kem cards. Personally, I think that cards should be made from paper, not plastic. And I can't get rid of the idea that plastic cards are not as flexible as paper cards. Plus, they look so cold. And I like my cards rather hot then cold
I could be wrong ofcourse, and please tell me if I am.
Hopefully someone can answer my question how some gambling sleights work on plastic cards: Bottom dealing, second dealing, riffle shuffle, crimp , false cuts, palming etc.
CardSorcerer: kemís handle differently than regular cards and take some getting use to. If you are used to a Bicycle deck, it will seem like kem cards are horrible for accomplishing difficult sleight of hand. However, someone who only uses kem cards will probably say the exact same thing about Bicycle cards.
The main restriction on sleight of hand with kemís is their non-slippery finish. Doing a strike second deal with a kem deck is extremely difficult. However, the double push-off second deal can be done without any impairment. While kem cards are harder to mark, there are still a few crimps and other techniques that can be done during a magic trick to mark them. Some peaks which bend the cards, such as the bubble peak, are easier to do with kem cards. I think palming is slightly easier with a kem deck Ė some hand mucking sleights are probably easier to do as well. You can see a picture of me palming a kem card at http://www.cardsorcerer.com/plastic.php
A plus playing cards and Copag cards feel a lot closer to USPC playing cards than kem cards do. This is because of the finish they use. Which type of deck you use is really personal preference though. If you purchase a plastic deck, do not expect it to handle the same way as Bicycle cards because they will not.
Deck Life of Playing Cards
Some decks of playing cards last longer than others. Our Short Deck Life thread talks about the problems folks have when their playing cards don't last long.
Which Cards Do You Use
Plastic cards are good for poker and paper cards are good for magic.
That said, everyone has their own preferences.
Best Type of Card Deck
It is said that Bicycle Cards are the best paper cards and KEM cards or Copag cards are the best plastic cards. Our forum members have their own thoughts too.