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Pierre Cardinlemon
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Budapest, Hungary, EU
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Profile of Pierre Cardinlemon
I would like to know more about the different types of decks. Is there a good summary somewhere on the topic that can answer my numerous questions including:

What are pros and cons of different finishes, sizes, back designs, back colors, etc? What decks are "must try"? Why are forcing decks and marked decks are much more expensive than the ordinary cards with similar characteristics? Why some decks are said to be better for specific moves, e.g. the faro shuffle?
Pierre Cardinlemon
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New user
Budapest, Hungary, EU
15 Posts

Profile of Pierre Cardinlemon
Since I've received no answer so far, I share the results of my research. Maybe someone can extend it or correct my mistakes.

If one want to write on the back of the cards, it is more visible on red backed cards. I don't see any advantage of blue back cards, but they are useful for two deck tricks and color changing deck. Cards with back and face both black conceal threads better, but they are quite exotic, therefore more suspicious.

Borderless cards are better for hiding double cards (e.g., double push-over) and for false deals. Bordered cards are better for hiding reversed cards in the deck. The design can be symmetric or one-way. I don't see any other importance of the actual design, besides aestetic preferences.

In the Amateur magician's handbook Henry Hay names four different finishes: ivory, air cushion, linen and Steamboats. He mentions that nobody he knows prefers the linen finish. His list might be outdated, since it seems to be several other popular finishes nowadays: linoid, cambric and smooth. Some say that there are only two types of finishes: smooth and embossed, i.e., linen, cambric and air cushion are basically the same. I'm wondering maybe the different finishes influence making the cards rough or slick...

Henry Hay also claims that bridge size cards are easier to handle than poker size ones. I don't know whether this is always true, and isn't it more difficult to bend narrow cards which influences e.g., riffling and pinky count.

It seems that the cards can be cut from different directions and this makes a difference in whether faro shuffle is easier done face up or face down. But I don't feel any difference in the difficulty of faro shuffling face up or face down (using Bicycles). And I don't see any advantage of faro shuffling face up anyways.

I haven't found any info related to the quality of the papers used for producing the cards.

The most widely used cards seem to be Bicycle, Tally-Ho, Bee and Aviator, with Bicycle by far the most popular. I have experiences only with Bicycle and Aviator. I've found this latter more stiff, therefore more difficult to handle (except for some moves I rarely use, like the D'Amico one-handed double lift). I prefer the Bicycle, but I sometimes practice with Aviators in order to increase difficulty.

So I've drawn the following conclusions:
- I'm going to try Tally-Ho and Bee, but I will probably stick to Bicycles.
- I'm not interested in the exotic, flashy playing cards (however unique their ace of spades are). They contain the same 52 cards for higher price.
- I have to practice with cheap noname bridge sized cards as well, because those are the ones I will most likely meet as borrowed decks.
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