Finding The Best Playing Cards for Magic

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Alright, magicians, gather around. We’ve got some important talk here.

We all know how card manipulation depends on sleight of hand techniques. With your audience up close and watching your every move, you need to be quick and light-handed. But here’s something you might not know: the cards you choose will factor in your performance.

So lay off your magic tricks for a bit, because we’ve got some work to do here. In this article, we’ll explore the best playing cards for magic.

Tune in! Our Top Ten Picks

Got a few tricks up your sleeve? Save them for later. Now, it’s all about the best playing cards for magic. It’s easy to be confused with the variety out there, after all. That’s why we’re here to help.

1.   Bicycle Playing Cards

It’s time to go back to the classics. A pack of bicycle playing cards is something that you can’t go wrong with.

The Bicycle brand has been doling out their creations since 1885. For more than a hundred years, these cards have been used by street magicians. It’s easy to see why.

There’s a reason they’re so popular. Affordable and durable, these cards are hard to refuse. They handle really well, in addition to having a decent air cushioned design. 

Your usual Bicycle deck has 52 playing cards, with two jokers and two additional ad cards. You’ve also got your first standard card stylized as the ace of spades. It’s a Bicycle trademark, after all.

Pros

  • High-quality cards
  • Affordable
  • Good air-cushioned design

Cons

  • Isn’t water-resistant 

2.   The Bee Playing Cards

This is another popular choice. These Bee playing cards are of good quality. You’ll notice the premium finish on this standard poker-size deck. It’s certainly not to be missed.

Here’s one thing you might want to note about these playing cards: they’re borderless. The lack of a border could make it harder to spot a marked card. Depending on the trick you’re performing, this little detail could help or harm you.

Pros

  • Slides smoothly, never sticks together
  • Long-lasting
  • Well-coated

Cons

  • Borderless

3.   Tally Ho Circle Back Playing Cards

For most of his career, Tally Ho was the deck that Harry Loryane preferred using. You might not be a renowned magician, but you can certainly learn from one.

There are no gimmicks to Tally Ho. A common fan-favorite, these cards simply get the job done. With a premium lined finish, these cards are of good quality. 

But looks matter too. Something you’ll certainly notice about them is the signature back design: a full fan circle on the back of each card.

Pros

  • Noticeably soft
  • Has smooth edges
  • Shuffles very easily

Cons

  • There’s a lack of custom colors

4.   Joyoldelf Cool Black Foil Poker Playing Cards

Listen, we’re all about style. Your performance shouldn’t only be good, but it should look good as well. Well, these glossy black cards will certainly catch some eyes. 

With their distinctive design, these cards will definitely attract curious onlookers. But their unique look will also attract you. Whether it’s natural sunlight or lamplight, you’ll notice the brilliant gleam.

Looks are only surface-deep. Special tech is a feature of these cards. The pattern has an advanced high-temperature laser hot-stamping technology.

Pros

  • Water-resistant
  • Washable 
  • Very long-lasting
  • Durable

Cons

  • Can be hard to deal; too much friction between cards

5.   SolarMatrix Black Diamond Waterproof Playing Cards

The classy packaging will pull you toward these cards. The gold and black design is a huge win-over, no doubt. But the good quality will keep you.

Dull-edged, these cards help prevent unneeded finger cuts. But that’s not their only feature.

If you’ve used any type of card for a while, you probably know how easy it is for oil and dirt to build up. Do you handle them every day? Then all of that will build up even faster. 

Your deck will wear down quickly. But these cards will give a smooth shuffling experience. You won’t have a problem dealing them either. 

Pros

  • Shimmery black-and-gold design
  • Unbendable
  • Waterproof
  • Flexible

Cons

  • It may be difficult to read the character on the black diamond decks

6.   EAY Gold Diamond Luxury Playing Cards 

These cards are no joke. Gold-colored, you’ll immediately notice their glossy gleam. 

Made of high-grade plastic materials, these cards are quite durable. They’re also made with gold foil and refraction texture. You’ll notice it under intense lighting.

Now, you might notice that these cards aren’t the easiest to read. It’s well-expected, since they’re reflective gold cards. But they make up for it with easy shuffling and dealing. Plus, the attention you’ll get with these cards will make it worth it.

Pros

  • Materials are eco-friendly
  • Waterproof
  • Hand-washable

Cons

  • Characters aren’t always very visible

7.   Joyoldelf Creative Playing Cards

Made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), these cards are incredibly smooth. You’ll notice that they never stick together.

Pull these cards out at beach or pool parties, and have no worries. Did some dirt build up on them? Just wash them. These cards are waterproof.

The patterns are also presented in different colors, like blue and red. This makes reading the cards so much easier. 

Pros

  • Good flexibility 
  • Very durable
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • Cards are difficult to bridge

8.   Monarch Playing Cards

Have you seen ‘Now You See Me’? It’s a good movie! 

You might have noticed Morgan Freeman with this Monarch card. It’s no surprise, since they have a distinctive vintage look with metallic gold accents.

These cards are all about detail. They feature custom artwork, including custom jokers, aces, and ad cards. 

They’re eco-friendly too. Made of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) -certified paper, these cards are made to last. They’re strong, durable, and easier to shuffle than regular cards.

These cards are made by the United States Playing Card Company (USPCC). They’re prepared under Q1 standards, which means they have some of the best quality control technicians during production. You might have to think twice before letting your friends get their hands all over these cards.

Pros 

  • Premium quality
  • Made on FSC-certified paper
  • Long-lasting
  • Very slippery

Cons

  • Isn’t waterproof
  • It costs more than your average cards

9.   Ellusionist Bicycle Black Ghost Playing Cards – 2nd Edition

Elegant and simple, it’s no wonder that magicians favor these cards. 

You see, the original Black Ghost deck was highly exclusive. It wasn’t available to the common masses. It entered the market by private sale. Being used for special promotions only, it was gifted to professional magicians such as David Blaine and Banachek.

With a great hand feel, you’ll have no trouble handling these cards. They also deviate from the usual air cushion finish we’ve gotten used to from the USPCC. Instead, these cards have a performance coating.

Pros

  • Has a slippery finish
  • Joker card has a unique design
  • They handle incredibly well

Cons

  • Can easily get worn out

10. Gent Supply Mythical Creatures – Black Silver & Gold Edition Playing Cards

Do we have any readers interested in mythology here? Well, these cards have a bit of a mythical flair to them. This custom deck features creatures from Norse, Greek, East Asian, and Egyptian mythology. 

Made of PVC plastic, this deck is waterproof. You don’t have to worry about any drinks spilling over. Get your friends, get your drinks, and get your cards. It’s time to show off your new tricks.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Durable
  • Flexible

Cons

  • Can be a little difficult to shuffle

History of Card Magic

The exact origins of card magic are unknown. All we can say with confidence is that it dates back to the 14th century, when playing cards was common.

However, many believe that card magic began with an Italian magician named Giovanni Giuseppe Pinetti. He’s the first known magician to perform card magic in a theatre in front of an audience. One of the most prominent magicians of the 18th century, he largely pioneered card magic.

In 1902, S.W Erdnase wrote a book about card manipulation. It’s called Artifice, Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table: A Treatise on the Science and Art of Manipulating Cards. It’s now one of the most carefully studied works ever published written about card manipulation.

During the 20th century, card magic became popular among magicians and non-magicians alike. Even renowned director Orson Welles couldn’t resist performing a card trick every now and then.

Conclusion 

It’s time to pick your playing cards. You might not think it’s that important, but you should trust us on this one. Looks go a long way, that’s for sure. But the quality of these cards could hugely affect your performance.

Maybe you’re still a little confused about the best playing cards for magic. Well, why not go for the classic? Bicycle Playing Cards is an excellent choice. These cards are good-quality cards, with good value for money. But they’re not water-resistant. 

In this case, the Joyoldelf Cool Black Foil Poker Playing Cards is a good option to consider. They’re waterproof, durable, and long-lasting. 

In the end, a good magician is a good magician. Whatever choice you’ll go with, you’ll be sure to impress your audience.

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