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You’re sitting in front of the TV on a Friday night after a long day at work. As you flip through the channels, a guy flipping out cards gets your attention.
Now, you’re intrigued. The way this guy manipulates his playing cards looks impossible, yet you’re tempted to try the art of cardistry yourself.
If you don’t know where to start, we’ll be happy to lead the way. We’ll recommend the best cardistry decks for you, and provide a tip or two that you might find useful.
Our Top 5 Cardistry Decks
If you’re a beginner at cardistry, then the first thing you’re probably thinking is which cardistry deck to buy. We’ll help by suggesting a few products you might like.
1. Memento Mori Playing Cards
Let’s start our review with these amazing playing cards by Murphy’s. No one, whether they’re a professional cardist or still a beginner, could deny how attractive they look.
What makes these cards great for cardistry is that they’re crisp and have a smooth feel.
In addition to that, a lot of reviewers said that Memento Mori cards could last for a long while without getting worn out.
Also, if you happen to be a fan of Chris Ramsay, who is a well-known cardist on Youtube, you’d be thrilled to know that he helped design these cards.
- Cool design
- Durable materials
- Great deck for cardistry
- Smooth and crisp
- Some people have reported manufacturing defects
- Might be on the pricey end
2. Gent Supply Mythical Creatures Playing Cards
Another noteworthy option is this beautiful cardistry deck. We couldn’t help but admire the dark and elegant designs that decorate these cards
If you’re into mythology, then you’d be excited to find some of your favorite Greek, Egyptian, Norse, and East Asian creatures featured on these playing cards.
When you open the gold foiled box, you should find the 52 cards, plus 2 unique jokers and a card identifying all the mythical creatures.
These cards are made of 100% black PVC plastic and are waterproof.
As for the price, it’s slightly higher than the previous option. However, it remains a good deal for such an incredible product.
If you appreciate amazing artwork and great quality, this cardistry deck might be the one for you.
- Flexible and soft
- Durable material
- Impressive artwork
- High-quality finish
- Might feel slippery if you’re a beginner at shuffling
- The dark colors might make it harder to recognize the suits in a dim room
- The price can be high for a beginner
3. Monarch Playing Cards
Next on our list are these cards that work great with a tight budget. If you’re still a beginner and unwilling to spend a lot on a cardistry deck, you should give this one a try.
Besides the price, the Monarch cards are awesome because they’re made of FSC-certified paper. This paper comes from sustainable forests, and vegetable-based inks were used to create these attractive designs.
Also, if you’re a fan of Now You See Me, you’d be excited to know that Monarch playing cards were featured in this popular movie.
- Made of sustainable paper
- Manufactured in the USA
- Featured in Now You See Me
- Detailed artwork
- Classy appearance
- Easily bent after use
4. Prism Playing Cards
Looking for something shiny, cool, and eye-catching? You’ll probably be swept away by Prism playing cards.
Each card of the deck has shiny gloss ink combined with colorful designs. Besides, the smooth finish should allow any cardist to practice their art with ease and comfort.
They’re also perfect for game night and would be a nice addition to your collection of cards. With world-class materials and wonderful designs, you’d probably want to give Prism cards a try.
- Unique design
- Premium quality
- Excellent handling
- Humidity resistant
- Great for kids, card games, gifts, and cardistry
- Weight is suitable for throwing
- Could be on the expensive side
- Not waterproof
- The black coat might wear off quickly
5. Ellusionist Bicycle Black Ghost Playing Cards
Now, here’s a considerably affordable choice that can suit anyone, beginners or skilled cardists alike.
This black-and-white elegant deck should capture the attention of everyone around you. With its dark-themed designs, we consider it a piece of art. Also, you’ll most likely come to admire the high-grade materials and the smooth finish as we did.
You should know that the Black Ghost deck wasn’t originally made to enter the market. It was only limited to private sales, therefore given as gifts to professionals or presented as special promotions.
But after plenty of requests, Ellusionist released the 2nd edition for the market. This is why it’s a favorite of many cardists.
- Durable materials
- Impressive black-and-white designs
- Great for cardistry and card games
- Not suitable for throwing
- The black coating might wear off with time
What Exactly Is Cardistry?
After we’ve looked at all these amazing card decks, a question comes to mind. What do we mean by cardistry?
Well, cardistry is the art of creating visually impressive displays using playing cards. Some people confuse it with magic, but cardistry is an independent form of art and doesn’t rely on the sleight of hand.
Think of it more like a performing art. When you do cardistry, you depend on spinning, tossing, or throwing your cards in an aesthetic display. Basically, you manipulate an entire deck of cards, or more, into making you look cool!
Plastic Cards Vs. Paper Cards
Suppose you’ve finally decided to be the designated cardist of your neighborhood. One of the things you should consider before buying a cardistry deck is the material you’ll be working with.
Here’s a quick comparison between two common materials.
Being lighter in weight, paper cards are better for shuffling. As a result, they’re a lot easier to work with if you’re still a beginner.
Another reason to buy paper cards is that paper is sustainable, so you won’t be hurting the environment when you get them.
Also, plastic-coated paper cards are less expensive than 100% plastic cards, which is another plus for beginners.
If you’re an experienced cardist, then using plastic cards should be fine with you. The extra weight shouldn’t bother you.
Another advantage of plastic cards is that they’re perfect for throwing. Additionally, they’re more tolerant to bending and scratching.
How to Start Cardistry
Learning cardistry might seem impossible. All these maneuvers that you see cardists do might look challenging.
However, we’ll provide you with a few tips to set you on the right path.
1. Learn the Basic Grips
There are a few basic techniques you can teach yourself. These basics teach you how to properly handle your deck and have more control of it.
The right way to hold the deck is called the mechanic’s grip. This is the first thing you should learn.
After you’ve practiced this grip, learn other basic grips to gain more control over the deck.
2. Learn How to Rotate a Card
The more you practice the pivot, the easier it’ll get to master other more difficult rotating techniques. As you know, practice makes perfect.
To add a little excitement, try variations of the same move. For example, you can pivot the card so it can turn outwards instead of upwards.
3. Learn an Easy Fan Move
Fanning out cards looks impressive and difficult. You can start learning that by teaching yourself a simple fan maneuver.
After you’ve practiced it enough times, you can try more challenging fan techniques.
4. Practice Using Trainer Decks
Before you go and buy a fancy cardistry deck, you’d better practice using trainer decks. These decks contain fewer cards, and their material is thick plastic. That makes it easier for you to handle and practice with them.
As you become more experienced and familiar with these cards, you can train with cheap cardistry decks.
After you’ve mastered those cards pretty well, and learned more tricks, you can finally buy the pricey decks that you’ve been dreaming of.
How long will it take me to learn cardistry?
It’s really based on your motivation. If you get easily discouraged every time you can’t perform a certain move right, then it might take you a long time.
However, if you stick to practice every day for just 20 minutes, it might take you only one year to become a professional.
Can I do cardistry if I have small hands?
Yes. It might require some extra effort from you, but you’ll be able to develop your own style after a while.
There’s an advantage to having small hands, too. Small fingers can be quick and don’t get in the way of your cards.
Also, one of the best things about cardistry is that there isn’t an absolute right way to perform a move. You can always add your personal touch and work with what best suits you.
In this world of glossy finishes and colorful designs, you might get lost when choosing the best cardistry decks.
However, we’ve got your back. Our top pick is Ellusionist Bicycle Black Ghost Playing Cards. They’re affordable, popular, and they’d look fantastic in your hands.
If you’re on a tight budget, then we suggest that you go for Monarch Playing Cards. They’re featured in Now You See Me and are made of sustainable paper.