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Topic: Bridge decks -- please read
Message: Posted by: MagicalChris (Jan 21, 2002 05:19PM)
Hello everyone, I was recently practicing my moves and my dad suggested I work with a bridge deck instead of a normal Bike deck... So I went to my room and got a junky little one to mess with and could do tenkai palms, backpalms, normal palms, one handed cuts, all the color changes etc. good with it. I donít know if I should switch to a bridge deck and donít want to use both because if I need a normal deck for one trick and a bridge for the other, people may think that one is gimmicked.. And speaking of gimmicks a good amount of card trick gimmicks use a normal Bike deck, but can be adapted to a bridge..

Opinions and thoughts please,

chris :hmm:
Message: Posted by: Stephen Long (Jan 21, 2002 06:14PM)
I think it all depends on where you are from, dear boy.

Being a Brit, I know that Bikes (and even poker sized cards) are nigh on impossible to come by in England.

As has been mentioned before in the Cafe (canít remember where), try using which ever brand of cards is most common in your area.

People will certainly suspect less with bridge sized cards in the UK as those are the only size people really use.

("No. 1s" are good bridge sized cards to work with)

Over here in America, Bikes and poker sized cards are very common.

Now that Iím in the states, I work with Bikes.

Make sense?


I hope so


:carrot: :banana:
Message: Posted by: MagicalChris (Jan 21, 2002 06:33PM)
yes, it does.

any other comments please?
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (Jan 21, 2002 06:56PM)
Bridge cards are great, they just aren't used much here in America. I'm not sure where you live, but it does make some difference. In the UK it's quite common. On stage it makes no difference, but close-up, some people will wonder why the cards are so narrow. Nevertheless, they are indeed much easier to use and great to practice with. If you can get the moves down with them, then you can move on to poker sized cards. I wouldn't worry too much about using both, it's not the problem you might think. And of course as I said, they're great for stage productions.


:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: martinkaplan (Jan 21, 2002 08:01PM)

If you are talking about whether it is preferable to use a bridge deck or a poker deck for card tricks, I think poker is the way to go. Commercial bridge size gaffed cards are becoming more and more difficult to come by. My other reason for opting for poker size is that if someone hands you a deck and asks you to do something, if the deck is poker size and you are used to bridge size, it may be difficult to make the accomodation.

Message: Posted by: MagicalChris (Jan 21, 2002 08:35PM)
Ok I will be sticking with normal Bikes

thanks for your help,

chris :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: ;) ;) ;) ;) :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana:
Message: Posted by: Talus (Jan 21, 2002 09:37PM)
When it comes to sleights & flourishes, I have no choice!

My parents passed me the genetics of small hands!
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jan 21, 2002 10:30PM)
Bridge decks are actually very common in the U.S. Most of the cheap supermarket decks are bridge sized, and very often, those are the types of decks that "normal" people get, because they are less expensive. It makes absolutely no difference what size you use. Some of the all-time greats, including trade show legend Eddie Tullock used bridge decks.

My advice? Practice with a poker deck, and perform with a bridge deck. The extra comfort and ease of handling will give you confidence, and if someone hands you a poker deck in an impromptu setting, youíll be used to it.
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (Jan 22, 2002 12:59AM)

Not a bad idea!


:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: MagicalChris (Jan 22, 2002 01:00AM)
Ok, I was messing with stuff and found I could do all my color changes, sleights, everything, better with the bridge deck.. and It looks kind of normal in my hands because of how small they are. :lol:

I am going to get a Bike bridge and use it for awhile.
Message: Posted by: aznviet6uy (Jan 22, 2002 01:18AM)
Just as long as you can perform with it, I don't think it really matters!

:rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Reian (Jan 23, 2002 11:44AM)
I use poker sized Bikes, due to it's commonly used. So a good bet is to use a deck that is commonly used in your area.
Message: Posted by: Tilt (Jan 23, 2002 01:14PM)
I know that Jerry Andres only uses bridge size decks. Personally I think that they would look suspicious to the typical American audience.

Message: Posted by: Jim Morton (Jan 23, 2002 02:24PM)
I'd say use poker cards. If you learn the sleights with the larger cards, they are much easier to do with the bridge cards. The reverse is not true. If you've only practiced with bridge cards and someone hands you a poker deck, you may be in trouble.

As for the subject of small hands. Take a poker card and lay it on the table. Now place your hand over it. If your hand completely covers the card, your hands are big enough to do most sleights with a poker deck (this idea is from Hugard & Braue's ECT). People too often blame small hands for their inability to perform sleight of hand. I have smaller than average hands, and I have learned to do nearly every major sleight. Some things take some modification, and there are a few things that just aren't possible with small mitts, but that list is extremely short. For another example, look at Jay Sankey, who also has very small hands. He has never let that slow him down.

Message: Posted by: Tilt (Jan 23, 2002 02:42PM)
I find that the small hands excuse is usually used by people who don't like to practice. Why would you be into magic if you don't like to practice?

Message: Posted by: spfranz (Jan 23, 2002 03:26PM)
Well for me, it's not a matter of not wanting to, but time. Between my job, my wife, my kids, and my other hobbies, and daily responsibilities, time is a valuable thing that has to be spread around.
Message: Posted by: Tilt (Jan 23, 2002 05:03PM)
I know what your saying about time. I end up practicing on the toilet or while my fiance is trying to talk to me (at least according to her.) Then again I don't have too many other hobbies besides card tricks and gambling.

Message: Posted by: craig fothers (Jan 23, 2002 06:11PM)
nah tilt... the man just has small hands...
Message: Posted by: MagicalChris (Jan 23, 2002 07:02PM)
Hey, Yes Jerry Andrus uses bridge sized cards.. He lives in my city :) AMAZING!

And I am starting to work with bridge cards more.. but I'm still thinking about using poker ones :lol: so disturbing to me. :lol:
Message: Posted by: BroDavid (Jan 23, 2002 07:09PM)
Just another quick thought on the issue that was raised earlier about switching from a Bridge deck to a Poker deck being a
"suspicious" move.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I switch deck's a lot. And I am mostly using Poker sized cards. And even if I'm not using bridge cards, I switch decks. Many times the new deck is brought in openly as other things are taken away or the area is
"cleaned up".

At other times, I switch decks right in front of them covered by a misdirection.

I guess I don't know many folks who do card magic very much, and do it all out of the same deck. Even Daryl puts a gaffed deck in one or more of his routines (get the tape to see - if you don't believe me)

I also have never had anyone look at my very old packet tricks or other bridge sized cards and say "hey, those aren't full sized poker cards..."

So, I say do what you are comfortable doing. If you think it is suspicious to switch deck's don't. Or use another type of effect between to cover the switch. Or don't ever switch. If you don't think it's a problem, switch away and it doesn't much matter if they are poker or bridge, or both - In my opinion....

Message: Posted by: spfranz (Jan 23, 2002 08:15PM)
I use several different decks but to the audience they all look the same. In other words, I have 4 decks of red Bikes that get brought in and out during the course of a close up show. Each is stacked for a different effect.

I make use of a joke that Doc Eason uses. My first card effect is Solid Deception. At the end, I turn the box over and there's a big sticker on it that says "TV Magic Cards". Get's a little chuckle. For the next card trick, I bring out the box, turn it around and it has a "Regular Deck" sticker on it. This box also has a couple of rubber bands wrapped around it (different colors) for later rubber band effects. Each of my 4 regular decks is prepared the same way. I don't ever tell the audience that it's the same deck but try to lead them down that path.
Message: Posted by: MagicalChris (Jan 23, 2002 08:41PM)
I am now going to stick FOR SURE with normal poker 808 cards.

I did the thing where I cover the card with my hand and it covers it so I am good.

Message: Posted by: Tilt (Jan 24, 2002 12:10PM)
Good to hear Chris. I think you will find that over time you will be just as comfortable with poker size cards as with bridge size cards.

Message: Posted by: DaveVegas (Jan 27, 2002 01:55PM)
I have very small hands and have always used poker sized Bikes, BUT it is easier, and I can make faster progress with bridge sized cards.

It's not to do with practice so much (even someone with big hands who doesn't practice will be found out), but there is very little margin for error.

With bridge sized cards, you get a little slack at least.

Still, I mostly use poker Bikes anyhow and good misdirection!
Message: Posted by: N14 (Jan 27, 2002 04:49PM)
Having small hands can even be a positive thing. As long as you learned your sleights.

Think of two guys, one with big hands and one with small hands. If they both would be doing sleights, the spectators would be more suspicious about the guy with big hands, since they might think, he has such big hands, he is probably palming cards.

About using bridge size cards. I'm living in Holland and most of the pro's use bridge size cards. Even in casino's they use bridge size cards. At home people will have bridge size cards. I use poker size cards..

First thing is said already. If you can handle poker size cards, you can also handle bridge size cards. Not visa versa.

When I perform most people know of the existence of gaffed decks, so it doesn't matter if you use one or not, most of them will think you're using a gaffed one anyway.

My audience doesn't really care about the cards I use because there are just so many cards on the market, it's impossible to know all of them. Every major beer company has his own deck of cards. (and there are a lot of beer companies here in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.) Not talking about all the other cards. They never questioned me about the size of the cards.

Anyway, if you would like to use bridge size cards. But think there are no trick decks on the market. You're wrong.
Try Piatnik cards, Austria. They have basically all the cards you'll need. Double backs, (double) blanks, double face, ESP, rainbow, 123 (numbers), etc. etc.

Hope I made my point(s)
Message: Posted by: Rolando Santos (Jan 27, 2002 09:17PM)
I use a wide range of cards and styles, since my day job takes me on the road a lot.

For me what deck I use and the size of the deck has more to do with a particular story line or plot than whether people will think I have gimmicked cards.

If the story line is good enough they won't be worried about the deck.

However, having said that - I DO NOT switch between bridge and poker decks during a peformance. I have to have a really good reason for that to happen.

I Do switch as need be between sizes in packet tricks because the audience understands that it is a different effect.

When I travel I try to use at least one deck that is customarily used in that country.

In England, I use Waddington Number 1's.
In Spain Fournier 505's,
In Africa Protean 501's,
In Turkey, I buy the deck everyone buys at the local store (the cardboard like non slick decks are miserable for magic, but a neccesary evil).

I also make sure I practice with the deck for each country prior to the visit so I am comfortable.

Two more points --- In general, I practice in poker size ( even though I have small hands) that way no matter what card size I use or need I can do the effect. I also have found if I can do it reasonably well with a poker deck, a bridge deck is a snap.

Conversely, if I am having trouble learning a move I will use a bridge deck because it is easier to master a concept and then I work my way into using a poker deck. (I am not proud, if it works, I use it)

Secondly, I have never ever had anyone call me on the size of the card. I think that's true for me because as part of my patter the back design or cards are usually explained away.

Finally, more and more places seem to be selling bridge size Bicycle backs. That gives you the best of both worlds.

Message: Posted by: M.P.D. (May 7, 2002 03:51AM)
I am from the U.S. and I am now living in Poland and performing all over. I can find poker sized decks here but they are imported and expensive so I use bridge sized cards and I really feel sneaky when I use them because it is so easy to get rid of them or do just about anything with them.

As far as gimmicks go with bridge sized deck I feel lucky because I can make almost any kind of card gimmick (acrobatic, sliding parts etc.) but my advice is, if you cannot make them, then have them specially made for you, you can look up Don England, Dave Solomon, Kevin Kelly and so many others. :kidding:
Message: Posted by: Garrett Nelson (May 7, 2002 10:00PM)
Or you can send them to Poland!

I use poker sized just because, as was mentioned just now, just about all gaffs are in that size. I do a lot of shuffle work, and I like to keep a constant stiffness (the lack of width makes bridge decks feel different).

If you spend a lot of time on riffle-stacking or the like, I would go with poker sized. They have more flexibility and allow you to get much more "feel" with the thumbs.

I think everyone should keep a bridge sized deck around. If nothing else, just to coax your ego with how quick and smooth you can pass with one :rotf:
Message: Posted by: DaveVegas (May 8, 2002 10:43AM)
On 2002-01-23 15:42, Tilt wrote:
I find that the small hands excuse is usually used by people who don't like to practice. Why would you be into magic if you don't like to practice?


What utter nonsense! Ever tried running in a pair of shoes that don't fit? Sorry, but I have very small hands and practice a great deal, and using poker sized cards does make moves more difficult to achieve; try using a tarot deck and do your moves with it, see if it's just as easy.