Pick a card, any card ... but from which deck? Shuffling through the multitude of magic card decks out there can be a bit tricky. Starting with the basics will lead a magician to becoming a King or Queen of magic, instead of being just a Joker.
| “[Customers] want tricks that "are easy to do but look unbelievable, like you've practiced for hours,” — Bob Bokor, UMSI Incorporated
In buying a deck of cards, people basically look for two things, Bob Bokor, president of UMSI Incorporated, a magic supply company based in Middlesex, N.J., told TDmonthly Magazine.
First of all, people want what´s new. Second, they want tricks that "are easy to do but look unbelievable, like you've practiced for hours," he said.
The number-three seller out of more than a thousand items at UMSI Incorporated is the new Ghostly Animated Match. Bokor, a magician for longer than 30 years, invented this card trick, which requires a regular wooden match to work its magic.
For beginning magicians, though, it's recommended they first purchase a Stripper deck.
"It is the most versatile of all the decks," said Fred "Presto" Broder, owner of Presto Magic in Long Beach, Calif. "It's extremely easy to use, so that makes it the deck."
The Stripper deck, also referred to as a Wizard or Taper deck, can be used for more than 100 tricks. When the customers that visit Presto´s store find out that many of the decks are good for only one trick, they tend to back off. All he has to do is show them the Stripper deck and they regain interest.
Presto, who has been a magician for 35 years, recommends moving on to the Svengali deck after mastering the Stripper deck. Both of these decks are best-sellers in his store, which he has owned since 1977.
The Svengali deck has been around since the early 1900s. It is "one of the most popular-selling decks of cards in all of magic," said Gerald Kirchner, vice president of Magic City, a wholesale magic distributor in Paramount, Calif. With the Svengali deck, a best-seller at Magic City, a magician can show each of the 52 different cards, flip them over and then suddenly they're all the same card.
Beyond the tricks offered with the use of the Stripper and Svengali decks, there are stacks of decks waiting to thrill an audience. Another big seller is the Invisible deck, Presto pointed out, because the effect that can be done with this deck can be enhanced by the magician's own style.
"Good magicians will take a standard deck of cards and do different things with them, which makes them almost new tricks," he said.
Many of the new trick decks out there are variations of previous decks that needed to be fine-tuned, said Presto.
What does the future hold for this type of magic? More card tricks and decks from professional magicians, according to Presto.
"In order to make a name for themselves they try to develop a move that's strictly theirs so it can be called by their name," he said.
What follows are a few popular card decks.
The P.D.A. stands for "Personal Deck Assistant." Based on the principle created with the Invisible Deck, this allows a magician to ask a spectator for his or her shopping list and the requested items appear on the blank cards. It comes with a booklet of instructions on how to put the deck together; the magician creates the deck with his or her own handwriting. It was created by Adam Grace.