Saturday, March 10, 2007

Tips on taking care of your deck of cards

Here's an article on some useful tips on how to take care of your playing cards.

Card Care

As magicians, XCMer's, and flourish people, we all know how a new deck of cards feels. We all also know what it's like to invest large amounts of money into new decks of cards. Whether it be normal Bicycles to Tally-Ho Playing Cards to the new Black Tiger and Viper decks. But the cards still need to be taken care of. Hopefully, this will answer all questions about taking care of a deck of cards.

XCM vs. Magic

This is not a battle or anything like that. For XCM, I recommend using the Tally-Ho cards and Bicycles for Magic.

Tally-Ho cards are not typical cards that people see everyday, so the trick card suspicion is in play for the laymen (not by much, but it is). Tally-Ho cards have a different finish on them that allow them to last longer than Bicycles, and all you XCMer's know that you can go through cards pretty quickly, so a higher quality card is well worth it.

Bicycles are common to the layman. There are many trick decks out there for Bicycle. They are inexpensive, and last for long enough for magician.

Breaking in a New Deck

We all love the feeling of a new deck, but they are so stiff. Here is my method of breaking in a deck:

1. Riffle shuffling the cards face up, then face down about four or five times.

2a. Springing the cards on the short side from hand to hand face up, then face down twice.

2b. Springing the cards on the long side from hand to hand face up, then face down twice.

If you can do a one-handed shuffle, then the second half of the routine is really good for breaking in cards. If not able to do the one-handed shuffle, then repeat steps one and two multiple times.

3a. Performing the one-handed shuffle face down in the right hand.

3b. Performing the one-handed shuffle face down after rotating the deck 180 degrees with the right hand.

3c. Repeat 3a and 3b face up in the right hand.

4. Repeat step three with the left hand.

Repeat entire routine a couple of more times. Once you are done, you can put the deck underneath something heavy to flatten it out, but the deck should be flat after this work out.

I highly recommend Steps 3 and 4 for XCMer's, I've broken in a deck of Tally-Ho Fan-Backs this way about 3 or 4 weeks ago, and I'm still using the deck.

How to Conserve a Deck of Cards

When a new deck is received, the deck of cards before it can still be put to use. One way is to use the deck as a practice deck.

Wash your hands before you begin to practice. Wash in cold, soapy water; then fully dry your hands afterwards with a towel. This prevents the cards from absorbing moisture on your hands from sweat.

When practicing, if you feel your hands becoming sweaty; stop and wash your hands again.

When practicing, don't leave the top card and the bottom the card the same. Cut the cards numerous times during practice.

Keep the old deck of cards in a dark, cool corner; leave it there, and forget about it. A couple of weeks later, you will eventually find it again. This deck will be better than it was before, all the moisture is now out of the cards and they are great again.

When to Call it Quits for a Deck of Cards

Eventually there comes a time when you need to call it quits for a deck of cards. There are many phases of calling it quits:

- When a deck has about half of the cards left.
- When there is a line in the middle of the long side going down the entire deck from where you've bent the deck so many times (this does happen, trust me)
- When they don't fan well any more and the clumps are in at least 6 to 10 cards.

There are reasons that once the cards get to this point that they aren't even good for practice, except for tearing up, folding, burning, stuffing in your mouth, etc.

First of all, it doesn't help with new decks. New decks have a slippery feeling to them. If you are used to the cards sticking together, you will have less control over them (fans may jump out of your hand, cards may slide during a one handed cut, etc...)

Secondly, if the deck has less than a full deck, your hands are not using the usual amount of cards, which will mean that a normal deck will feel big for your hands which can effect the magic greatly.

Black Deck Care

This is covered in the black deck book. Here is a little something though for those who don't own the book (I highly recommend buying the book, it has miracle ideas within its pages, and sparks many more ideas to your mind)

Treat the deck with a little more respect than the normal white cards, even though it will last longer, this doesn't mean that it won't last forever.

Don't add fanning power, it becomes a gray deck of cards.

I recommend a Card Clip for it. This can make the case last for a long time, works well.

Practice black deck tricks with a white deck so that the black deck cards don't go through unnecessary wear and tear.

Whenever you get a new deck of cards, if it is from the United States Playing Card Company, it usually (should) come with a seal on the box.

Removing the seal

How do you open the box? You usually have to either rip the seal with your fingers/knife as if opening a letter, or carefully peel the seal off.

It looks a lot better with the seal completely peeled off, but a lot of times the sticky stuff remains on the box. So if you keep the deck in your pocket, a lot of fabric fluff, dirt, etc. will stick on the adhesive from the seal and looks quite unpleasing.

So how do you exactly get all the stick stuff off? Follow these simple steps:

1. Carefully peel off the seal. If it rips or some part still stays on, don't worry. Try to remove as much of the seal as you can.

2. Taking the removed seal, re-attach the seal wherever there's a sticky spot. Quickly take the seal off, and repeat until all of the adhesive is taken off.

3. If the seal loses its stickyness, you can do step 2 with a piece of scotch tape.

I guarantee this will work for you and will leave the deck box looking as though it never had a seal on it in the first place.

Article source: Magic Hat

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