Registered: 1452894633 Posts: 1,668
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I started in magic in the 70's and most of the gaffed decks were bridge sized Aviators or Fox Lake. Even the packet tricks were bridge sized cards. This was fine for me because my hands were smaller then.
Then there was a shift to poker sized Bicycles which coincides with my hands getting bigger as well. Because I happened to grow into this shift I think I was unaware of it happening it why it was happening? Does anyone know? Was it because Haines House of Cards were printing "magic" cards so that's what we were stuck with until US Playing Card Co decided to jump on the magic band wagon?
Registered: 1454629495 Posts: 1,516
Reply with quote #2
As far as I know, U.S. Playing Card Co. did not make gaffs until late in the game. Mystic Madness Supply was the first, as far as I know, to produce a line of gaffs in poker size. The gaffs were in Arrco Tahoe and Club Casino design. Tom Niesen was the owner of Mystic Madness Supply. He'd have a booth at magic conventions selling bricks of Arrco cards and gaffs. He only had the standard gaffs i.e. double back RR, BB and RG, double face, blank either side or both. I think that was it.
This was in the early 1980's. It was a while before U.S. Playing Cards started making gaffs. Prior to U.S. PC making poker sized gaffs, there was "Cards By Martin" where you could get custom made gaffs. Mike
Registered: 1454953553 Posts: 1,014
Reply with quote #3
I’ve always used bridge cards. In England, that’s all there were when I was young. And I didn’t know about poker size anyway. I tried poker size as they began to sneak into the country, but didn’t feel comfortable with them and still don’t, so stayed where I am. Others made the transition without problems.
I blathered about the subject and induced more than several yawns here. If you can’t sleep, have a look.
Incidentally, Haines weren’t in the printing business. The cards all came courtesy of the USPCC. Others will know more about it than I do, but as far as I’m aware, Ronald Haines worked out a deal with the USPCC and placed big enough orders to keep them interested. Along the way he also published
"36 Tricks With Fa-Ko Cards."
Generally, poker size gaffs had to be specially made. Cards By Martin* comes to mind here. There were others and when poker size gaffs became ready-made in the factory and therefore easily available, Haines cards lost ground. Add to this the quaint belief among many magicians that somehow poker size are more "genuine" than bridge cards no doubt helped the fading process.
*As noted by Mike Powers.
Registered: 1521158983 Posts: 294
Reply with quote #4
I think the main appeal for bridge sized cards was for playing trick-taking games like ... (surprise, surprise!) ... Bridge.
Games like Bridge and Whist require players to hold a 13 card hand, and the narrower cards make it easier to hold that many cards. I'm not 100% sure on the details of the historical development of the different sizes, but would be interested to learn. __________________ BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - c lick here to see all my pictorial reviews: ► Playing Card Reviews ► Magic Reviews ► Board Game Reviews
" Instead of attempting to learn a great number of tricks, concentrate upon a few good tricks and master them so that their technique and their presentation is so excellent that those who see them will want to see them again." - Expert Card Technique
Registered: 1452894633 Posts: 1,668
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I found this on the internet....
"Bridge cards are slightly smaller than poker cards because the nature of bridge- players need to hold many cards in the hand at once and so they can't be too big. Sometimes bridge cards are used to play poker in casinos because bridge cards are cheaper to make." That makes sense. Even though I don't know anyone who played bridge I know many card games were popular around that time and then slowly poker crept in. For me, bridge cards seem like kid size and then you grow up and use adult size poker cards. Even growing up, my parents and grandparents played cards a lot. And I remember the deck starting out as bridge sized Aviators and then it went to poker sized Aviators or Bees. My grandfather bought the cards at the local newsstand and I'm guessing that's how he stocked them over the years as well. So... Perhaps I'm a product of my own upbringing in cards.
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Registered: 1460490519 Posts: 1,808
Reply with quote #6
My parents played a lot of card games. Growing up I would flit around the kitchen table, either at our house or a friend's, and watch the adults laughing and playing. The cards were usually generic; backed with dogs or birds or flowers. I do recall Bicycle cards in use at least some of the time. When I started practicing card tricks the cast-off decks, kept in a junk drawer in the kitchen, sometimes wrapped by a rubber band, were what I used. Sticky and tacky from use and with dirty edges, they nonetheless sufficed.
While plumbing my memory banks for clues about the size of the decks I come up mostly empty. I do recall the Bicycles being Poker size, but when it comes to the generic decks, I can't be sure. One thing I can be sure of is that whatever the size, my mother bought them based strictly on price. The cheaper the better, just like cereal and mac-n-cheese. That being the case I imagine that most of the decks were Bridge size. The first cards I purchased for myself were Poker size. I know so because Henry Hay, in The Amateur Magician's Handbook made it clear that real magicians used only Poker size cards. Packet tricks from magic shops? Yeah, I recall most of those being Bridge size with Fox Lake or Aviator backs. I used Aviators for years; not sure why, I just did. Bicycles became my go-to at some point, most likely because they are ubiquitous and therefore less suspicious than other brands when performing card tricks. It regularly happens when I am using a premium deck that someone will ask if those are "special cards."
Registered: 1452898002 Posts: 545
Reply with quote #7
Jerry Andrus always used a bridge sized deck. He felt the slightly smaller sized decks were easier to perform his unique sleight of hand moves with. Funny thing though, magicians hardly ever noticed...his magic was so powerful , his personality so simple yet endearing, that the last thing an audience gave a hoot about was the size of his deck. Food for thought gentle magi.