Karen asks: My son has started learning magic and is asking me to buy him quite expensive playing cards. I've been told that he just needs Bicycle Cards. Which playing cards do you recommend?
You can spend a great deal of money on expensive designer playing cards. Many of the limited edition decks become collectable investments, but that shouldn't be your son's first goal when training as a magician. You want a solid, well performing deck of playing cards that he can use to work on his card technique.
Skills are more important that tools.
I would recommend getting him a standard deck of bicycle cards. The most common are the Poker 808 Bicycle Cards. These are the 'standard' playing cards used my magicians all over the world.
Bicycle cards are perfect for most magic tricks. They perform really well, are cheap to buy, and because of the Bicycle Cards UV-500 AirFlow finish they will be easy to handle. Cheap playing cards that are sold in many high street shops tend to not be Bicycle cards. They are often smaller in size because they are designed for playing Bridge rather than Poker. Although they are very cheap, they tend to ruined fast, stick together in clumps, and bend easily.
If you son starts his magic practice with 'Bikes' he will be building up his 'feel' for the cards right from the start. As he adds gimmicked decks or special cards to his card work, he will be able to include these without trouble as he is already using the standard deck most professional magicians use.
A deck of Bicycle cards can last a long time with careful use. I recommend that your son reads this post on how to make your deck of cards last longer.