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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Gaffed & Funky » » My Take on the Various Bicycle Brands (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DanielTyler
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My topic concerns the three types of decks that I've worked with extensively in the field to determine what, if any, is superior for my own style: The standard, traditional Rider Backs, the Black Tiger Deck, and the Ghost Deck.

First, my overall opinion of Ellusionist should be noted: I've never really had much respect for them. I think their success stems mainly from their MTVish marketing rather from the magic itself. I also think their exclusive videos are horribly over-priced and designed to lure beginners of magic (thereby sheltering them from everything else the magic world has to offer.

That said, my respect for Ellusionist has gone up since they started innovated original deck designs, such as Black Tiger, Viper, and Ghost. I won't discuss Viper Tally-Ho's (although I've played with them) because my interest lies with Bicycle. Why Bicycle? I find the quality and basic design most appealing, and I can mark them in a way that I am used to and comfortable with. Incidentally, marked decks play an integral role in my repertoire. But I digress...

In short, the only things that Ellusionist has done better than any other magic company, in my opinion, are the innovative decks. I've purchased all of them, and experimented with all of them, and compared them to the traditional Bikes we all know and love. Here are my findings. Note that this is all my personal opinion based on my personal experiences and style. What works for me may not work for you, and I respect anyone's preference. That said, hopefully this will help some of you who are unsure of what decks to use in performance.

TRADITIONAL RIDER BACK PLAYING CARDS

- The Superpowers: They're both cheap and easy to find. Almost all card gaffs and gimmicks are customized for Rider Backs. They will be familiar to your audience, which serves you in two ways: 1) It reduces suspicions of "trick cards," which is an advantage whether or not you're using trick cards, and 2) It makes you look casual and puts you on the same level as your spectators.

- The Limitations: They don't stand out in the crowd. These are the cards most people use on poker night, and they do not instantly qualify you as a magician. While we all know how to qualify ourselves as magicians, the use of ordinary cards may dull the edge of your initial impression and the tricks that follow.

BLACK TIGER DECKS

- The Superpowers: They draw instant attention and qualify you as a magician. They're also just eye catching. Everything from the tiger on the box to the reverse image can be arresting, especially in flourishes. In my opinion, visual color changes (especially employing gaffs) are sleekest with this deck. The quality of the cards thmeselves is also improved, which makes everything from double lifts to extreme card manipulation easier.

- The Limitations: They are not as cool as they look on the website. In fact, when I opened my first pack, the word that came to mind was "Plain." At the same time though, they scream "trick cards." The advantage of qualifying you as a magician also works against you in this respect. Finally, I don't think I've ever had them signed, 1) because you have to have a silver sharpie (which is just sketchy) and 2) because the cards aren't cheap.

GHOST DECKS:

- The Superpowers: Of the three decks in discussion, these are the most elegant and artistic in my opinion. Like the Black Tigers, they instantly draw attention and qualify you as a magician, but they reflect a sophistication that the Black Tigers lack. I also have to say that of the three decks, the Ghost Decks have the best impact with the use of gaffs. In my opinion they're greatest appeal is in their mysteriousness. Even the explicit "Ghost" label on the card box contributes to this aura. The Tigers are gritty and visual, but the Ghosts are captivating in a much more subtle nature.

- The Limitations: Much the same as the Black Tiger limitations, you will be suspected of using trick cards. Also, while they CAN be signed, the cards still aren't cheap to be using this for all my Ambitious Card performances. Finally, people may pay too much attention to the deck (I'm not kidding, they're beautiful) which can take away from your magic.

THE OVERVIEW

- The main advantage of Rider Backs is that they make you seem casual and reduce suspsicion of trick cards.

- The main advantage of Black Tigers is that they're visual eye-candy which can enhance flourishes and changes.

- The main advantage of Ghost Decks is that they are beautifully designed and mysterious.

CONTEXTS

Each of the decks have unique appeals. So they will each play strongest in unique situations. For most of my magic (Card to Anywhere, Triumph, Ambitious Card, etc.) I stick to the traditional Rider Back cards. Anything where the magic is centered around the cards (aka anything where gimmicks could likely be in play) I stick to Rider Backs. Anything where I want a card signed, I stick to Rider Backs. I also keep my performances to Rider Backs in kid shows and the majority of my table-hopping.

For mentalism, I've converted almost entirely to Ghost Decks. Most of the Ghost Decks I own, in fact, are marked and stacked with Osterlind's BCS or constructed as Radar Decks. Here the magic is not focused on the cards, but on the people involved. Very few people accuse me of using trick cards, which is perfect for when I want to incorporate one of the Ghost Deck gaffs into a mental performance.

I rarely use the Black Tiger Decks as standalones. The only circumstance in which I would use Black Tigers is one where I want to demonstrate flourishes, or for very machine-gun, visual routines.

INTERMIXING DECKS

For those of you that want to try the different decks, I'd highly encourage mixing them. I find that the most use I get out of the Black Tigers is in routines with Rider Backs or Ghosts. Try different variations of Triumph and Do as I Do, intermixing the decks. You can enhance the impact of all three versions by combining them in creative ways.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Ultimately, I recommend buying one of each and experimenting, as I did, under different contexts, with different effects, for different spectators, and seeing what responses you get. You WILL develop a preference based on your personal style, I hope the ideas above help guide you there. Thanks for reading.
- Daniel Tyler

www.tylermagic.com
silverking
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Ellusionist cards are all way to thick.

Joe Porper had to make a special "enlarged" clip for them they're so thick.
They make you feel like you're shuffling telephone books.
DanielTyler
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I think that's quite an exaggeration. Although I have noticed the difference in thickness, I haven't found it to hinder my performances.
- Daniel Tyler

www.tylermagic.com
silverking
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Where's the overstatement?

That Porper made a mega clip to accomodate the Ellusionist cards, or that I think they shuffle like bricks?

.......Porper DID make a larger clip, and I DO think they shuffle like bricks!
airship
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The ironic thing to me is, though there are some gaffes available for the Ellusionist decks, there are MANY more available for the blue and red backed Bicycles. So the odds of you working with a 'trick' deck are actually much higher with a 'standard' deck than with a funky-looking one. Which only goes to show you, that magic really is in the eye of the beholder.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
magicbar
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Still prefer Bicycles because everybody has seen them at their Grandma's house and arouse no suspicion
DanielTyler
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Indeed airship, but if you ask around you'll find that very few layman know or assume that there are gimmicked cards made in standard Bicycle brand, and they are much likely to assume something fishy with unusual backs.

And as for the overstatement, silverking, I'm sorry, I guess I've just never shuffled bricks before.
- Daniel Tyler

www.tylermagic.com
daffydoug
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So it's a matter of rob Peter to pay Paul.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Reis O'Brien
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Quote:
On 2006-05-20 17:04, magicbar wrote:
Still prefer Bicycles because everybody has seen them at their Grandma's house and arouse no suspicion


Well, then by that line of thinking, we should all be using those ratty little bridge decks with pictures of sad kittens on the backs, because for some reason, every grandma has that deck too.
Homo vult decipi; decipiatur

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Pete Biro
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If you work for Grandmas YES... I often prefer to work with any cards borrowed from folks... ususally partial decks pulled out of a kitchen drawer. Then you can really fry 'em.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
airship
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The only problem I've found with that, Pete, is that people tend to let their cards get all dinged up and gunky. When you can buy a new deck at the Dollar Store for a buck, I've never understood why. I've even known people to play Solitaire with a deck of 51 cards because they're too cheap to buy a new one! Smile
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
cajmagic
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Quote:
On 2006-05-20 17:04, magicbar wrote:
Still prefer Bicycles because everybody has seen them at their Grandma's house and arouse no suspicion


totally agree here
Caj Brejtfus
CajMagic and the CAJ Deck of Magic Gaff Cards
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Alan Munro
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I prefer to use a Bicycle deck, despite the fact that it takes 5 minutes to break in a new deck. Man, do I wish the stock was a tiny bit thinner! I do like the fact that they're common cards, that I can pickup anywhere, when I'm running low on cards.

As for a magician needing a flashy deck to set the tone, I believe that it's the magician's job to be flashy, not the deck.
silverking
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Bikes, Tally's and Bee's pretty much sum up the decks of cards I've seen professional card handlers use this past couple of years.

The Ellusionist decks, and fancy colored USPCC decks don't show up often, if at all.
Kaylan
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I don' think specs give a hoot which deck you use, as long as you amaze them.

But there was that one time when this girl said, "Hey wait a second there magic boy...you're using that black tiger deck from Ellusionist...do you have gaffs in there?"

Yea, right.

:) Kaylan
nbps05
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As long as the magic is good it doesn't matter what deck but for me the tiger and ghost deck from ellusionist looks the nicest
Daniel Faith
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I don't think any particular deck is going to instantly qualify you as a magician.
That's rediculous.
Using an ordinary deck may qualify the cards as ordinary and ungaffed in the mind of a spectator which is what you want.
The magician qualifies him or herself as a magician.
Cards have nothing to do with it.

I stick with the red or blue bicycles.
Daniel Faith
Jonathan Townsend
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You'd think they'd be making up the gaffs in the poker game decks from the TV show.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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