Bicycle Cards – Are They Really the Best for Magicians?

Bicycle Cards - Best For Magicians?

By Dominic Reyes

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.

 

 

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Comments

  1. Dan Pearman says:

    I’ve got to agree with all Dominic’s comments above. I started out originally with cheap cards and, not only did they fall apart really quickly, but I then had to relearn everything when I finally did get round to buying proper cards. Expensive decks can be really tempting (they look cool), but there’s definitely no point buying an expensive deck if you’re going to need to spend considerable time practicing with it – it’ll be ruined before it’s ever used for performance (especially true with black decks (and others with all-over colour) as they can ‘chip’ around the edges quite quickly). I’d recommend practising with Bicycles and then maybe getting a more expensive deck to perform with if you really want to – although there’s several good arguments for performing with Bikes too: much easier to get suitable gaff cards, plus they look more ‘normal’ (an expensive deck looks fancy and draws attention to itself by being special, this can mean that spectators assume that the deck has special properties and that’s how the magic works – just something to consider).

  2. Richard Lawson says:

    Bicycle playing cards are wonderful playing cards to use for magic and I agree with your comments. However as you say in your posting above; “Cheap playing cards that are sold in many high street shops tend to not be Bicycle cards.”-
    Bicycle playing cards are not commonly available on the high street and as a result are not the everyday sort of playing card that lay people have. I wonder if we should be using Bicycle Playing cards to perform magic; shouldn’t we use the type of cards that everybody has? Bicycle playing cards are the ones tht magicians use and they can shriek “special magic cards” so that even the best display of sleight of hand is possibly thought of as being bought about by using gaffed cards.
    As Dan Peerman comments “an expensive deck looks fancy and draws attention to itself by being special, this can mean that spectators assume that the deck has special properties and that’s how the magic works ” I believe that the same applies to the standard Bicycle pack as it is not available in the high street. As such, attention is drawn to the pack.
    I used to think the same about the Sharpie pen, but that is now available everywhere. Any chance of seeing standard Bicycle playing cards available in WH Smiths and similar stores?

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