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Topic: How Important Are Bicycle Decks? Question From A Newbie
Message: Posted by: Soumyajit (Aug 5, 2016 02:33PM)
Hello experienced conjurers,

I am a 30 year old magic newb from India :) I have started learning magic with some simple card tricks and wish to expand my repertoire as I progress. My question is, are Bicycle decks absolutely necessary to learn good card tricks? Below are the facts that compel me to ask this question:

1) I tried with some locally available playing cards. They are way too tough and slippery when new and stick together like glue when old. Forget double lifts, you can easily to a 10 lift with them without breaking a sweat. But if you are to surreptitiously peel off one card, you are screwed.

2) I have Bicycle cards available online and in stores here but they cost too much (probably because they are being imported from US). A deck that costs couple of bucks in the US costs 10 bucks here.

3) Few of my colleagues are in US and they will come back soon. I have set one of them up to bring me some Bicycle decks but I wanted to ascertain whether they are absolutely necessary and what is it about them that makes them so sought after.

Everywhere I look for tutorials, it seems all conjurers are using Bicycle decks. Please guide me in this regard. Also I believe there are different decks available for different stuff (that include double backed cards, blank cards etc.) Please suggest which decks a newbie like me should have at their disposal.

Thanks,
Soumyajit
Message: Posted by: plink (Aug 5, 2016 04:58PM)
In the USA Bikes are more or less standard and tend not to arouse suspicion...in the USA.
Message: Posted by: Soumyajit (Aug 5, 2016 05:32PM)
[quote]On Aug 5, 2016, plink wrote:
In the USA Bikes are more or less standard and tend not to arouse suspicion...in the USA. [/quote]

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I see American magicians mostly using Bikes. But then again I see most magicians from other countries using Bikes as well. This led me to think they must be really good for performing magic tricks. If someone can explain how and why they might provide me with an edge, I will confirm the purchase mentioned in my original post :)

Long story short, just looking for some expert guidance.
Message: Posted by: Asaka (Aug 5, 2016 08:48PM)
1. The cards are air-cushion finish, providing a smoother handling;
2. Cards have white edge, allows you to do some moves with less chance of being get caught. Imagine you have a card secretly turned over in the deck and then you spread the deck for display.
Message: Posted by: LesL (Aug 6, 2016 03:27PM)
Buying a few Standard Bicycle decks in the US is not a big investment so it is worth doing. However, if you live in a humid part of India they may not work that well in handling. There are decks made for the Asian market which might hold up better. If you live in a place where Bicycle decks are scarce because of price, then I think using a non Bicycle deck will not arouse suspicion. Also, don't be disappointed if your Bicycle decks come warped. Every time I bring a couple of decks in my carry on luggage traveling by plane on vacation, they get warped but will straighten out in a couple of days with proper care.
Message: Posted by: Soumyajit (Aug 7, 2016 02:37PM)
Thank you all for your kind replies. As this is the rainy season in India, all parts of it are kinda humid at the moment :) I have decided to give them a go and have a feel for them. Maybe a couple of decks to start with.

One thing in India is that there is no standard deck of cards used throughout the country. Every place you go you will find a different brand. So I guess Bikes will not arouse much suspicion.

Thanks again :)
Message: Posted by: Sari Atassi (Aug 7, 2016 07:09PM)
Hello Soumyajit,

Speaking from my experience as I had the same question for about 2 years because I live in "Syria" -Of course no bikes in here-

I always "thought" using bicycle cards will make some sleights much easier, and in my personal experience I was wrong.

They were not.

After practice I could do anything with my (0.5$) cards.

But as stated above having a back design with white border really helps concealing some sleights.
-Just for the fact, having no white border helps with other advanced sleights like "second deals" but never mind this now-

Back to the subject, in my opinion try different brands in your country,
Figure out what feels comfortable in your hands (try double lifts, simple fan, simple shuffle)

My overall point is that Bicycle cards are really not necessary to practice/perform magic.
Message: Posted by: Tom G (Aug 7, 2016 08:32PM)
While not necessary to do card magic, there are many gimmicks made with Bicycle cards.
Message: Posted by: Poof-Daddy (Aug 7, 2016 09:17PM)
Phoenix Brand cards out of Germany are good also. They are made by a magician and are great quality.
http://www.card-shark.de/index.cfm?lang=de
http://www.card-shark.de/index.cfm?lang=en

there are links to both versions of the site.
Message: Posted by: Soumyajit (Aug 8, 2016 11:10AM)
Thank you very much for the responses guys, really appreciate. Yes I am trying to nail the basics with the locally available cards as much as possible. While I am still a newb, I like some of the tricks that use double backed cards, blank cards etc. and I do not think I can get them in the local decks. And then again I do not think I should go all in for Bikes. I will probably order couple of decks and see how they feel :)

Poof-Daddy, thanks for the links. I have a friend staying in Germany. I will tell him to lift couple of Phoenix Decks before he visits India again :) Those 56 card marked decks could give me some extra edge :P
Message: Posted by: DelMagic (Aug 9, 2016 09:46AM)
Although expensive compared to regular Bicycle cards, many people say these work well in hot, humid environments. They are plastic and don't suffer from the same problems as paper decks.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Bicycle-Prestige-Cards/19766241
Message: Posted by: Soumyajit (Aug 9, 2016 10:42AM)
Thank you DelMagic. I will check these out as well :)
Message: Posted by: Mrg1974 (Aug 25, 2016 07:45AM)
Bicycles are generally good quality, have lots of gimmicks available for them and are cheap and readily available in the UK/USA.

As the posters above have said, you certainly don't need to use them to do good magic, I learned with a tatty pack of Waddingtons - linen coated but there are some sleights that you simply can't do with that type of deck. (I now use bicycles)

I think your best bet is to work out what card magic you are planning to do and then check you can do the magic you want with the cards you have or can acquire easily. There are loads of self working, or almost self working tricks that you can use any deck for.

Amazon sell regular bicycles fairly cheaply - 3.73 (329 rupees) for two packets which may be an option.
Message: Posted by: Soumyajit (Aug 25, 2016 05:26PM)
[quote]On Aug 25, 2016, Mrg1974 wrote:
Bicycles are generally good quality, have lots of gimmicks available for them and are cheap and readily available in the UK/USA.

As the posters above have said, you certainly don't need to use them to do good magic, I learned with a tatty pack of Waddingtons - linen coated but there are some sleights that you simply can't do with that type of deck. (I now use bicycles)

I think your best bet is to work out what card magic you are planning to do and then check you can do the magic you want with the cards you have or can acquire easily. There are loads of self working, or almost self working tricks that you can use any deck for.

Amazon sell regular bicycles fairly cheaply - 3.73 (329 rupees) for two packets which may be an option. [/quote]

So true. In fact I have just found out the cards that were not up to the mark for me can be pretty good for most stuff if they are aged and broken in a certain way. Thankfully I will be able to replicate it and do standard tricks using it.
Message: Posted by: JassTan (Nov 4, 2016 05:28PM)
Bee's playing card is also a great choice, it has no borders, good quality. Its great especially when you are looking to do gamble routines.
Message: Posted by: DavidJComedy (Nov 6, 2016 08:08AM)
Bees look nice but don't hold up like Bikes. I, like many of us I'm sure, became obsessed with purchasing some of the specialty decks, like Monarchs, etc. Though they held up very well and look great, I came back to the belief that bikes are better for 3 reasons: readily available, match my gaffs, easily recognizable (laypeople don't appreciate the other decks the way magicians do). I'll also use Phoenix as a secondary deck, as I own several effects that use them and I would like to do a few "regular" effects with a normal deck prior to getting into Sympathetic 10, Out of Sight, etc.
Message: Posted by: AndreOng1 (Nov 9, 2016 11:14PM)
I agree with David, Bees look nice but not as durable as. Plus a lot of gimmicks are made with Bikes.