We receive a lot of questions about using Bicycle Playing Cards. Here’s one that just arrived to the magic shop:
‘I have already decided to work only with US Bicycle playing cards in the future so that I build up some inter-changeability with my packs. The only sleight that I am still struggling to master is the ‘double-lift’ – having looked at a variety of recommendations I still cannot find a method that guarantees it will work without the spectator being aware of what I’m up to.’
Also, if you have a routine that involves using a mixture of straight and gaffed decks, is there a way for smoothly moving from deck to deck without arousing too much suspicion (this is one of the reasons that I am now going to stick to Bicycle playing cards).’
Should I use Bicycle Playing Cards?
Nice thinking Howard, you’re 100% right about sticking to Bicycle Playing Cards because you need to become familiar with one standard size and feel of deck. However, Bicycle make playing cards for just about all the leading magic playing card designers. So, if you want to use NOC Playing Cards, Ellusionist design playing cards, Blue Crown playing cards etc, you will be fine as far as muscle memory and feel.
You might want to check out the post about the difference between playing cards.
Trouble with your Double Lift.
Take a moment to study how the move looks when you just do a single lift. That’s what you want to copy. Avoid methods that look odd, such as twisting the playing card as you turn it. Grab some bicycle playing cards and a double lift until you can’t stand it any more… Try to find a method that looks as normal and natural as your ‘real’ action. A good source for learning the double lift is Gregory Wilsons DVD Double Take.
When you learn magic tricks, it’s usually in isolation. You practice one trick fully, then go onto the next one. The problem you are facing may be due to lack of act construction. There’s no need to follow a card trick with another. Put the deck away, and move on to a coin trick, or some mentalism. Return back to playing cards later in your set. Breaking up your card magic like this, means you don’t have to worry about decks being ready for multiple tricks.
Another popular option is to choose tricks that don’t require a switch. Many gimmicked playing card decks can be used with ‘follow on’ tricks, that will still work with them. You may ruin the stack of the deck, but unless you are table hopping and find it difficult to reset later, then that shouldn’t be a problem.
If the gimmick is just a few cards, consider using a clean up device. The product: Any signed card to any wallet is a great trick, but the device will also allow you to remove gaffs and add them to a deck of cards whenever you want, right under the spectators watchful eye. This may be a good solution for you.
I hope this helps you.