In a first, an artificial intelligence named Libratus has bested top-tier players at no-limit Texas Hold 'em. This is especially notable because imperfect information games are notoriously challenging to program. Read the rest
Every now and then I meet people who seem to possess superhuman powers. Elliott Terral is one of those individuals and his official title is Director of Magic at a company called Art of Magic.
How cool is that?!
After speaking with Elliott for a few minutes, I asked if he was a performing magician to which he didn't answer. Instead, he began patting down his pockets for a deck of cards. I beat him to the punch and handed him my very own deck of Erdnase 1902 Green Acorn Playing Cards. One thing to know about this deck, is that you either own it because you're a genius with a deck of cards, or you're a poser.
And for the record, I am not a genius with a deck of cards.
Elliott took my fancy cards and did the impossible. He showed me a King of Hearts and slowly flexed it back and forth as the card changed from king to an ace and then back again. His movements were slow and it was real magic to everyone that was with me. If you'd like to see the effect performed by the guy who invented it you can watch it here.
And if you'd like to purchase the method, it's only $5.00 but you need to know it isn't a trick you can do just because you bought it. There's a reason an "EXPERT LEVEL" descriptor is attached. But the good news is that there are other effects and concepts on the website that are far more approachable and equally satisfying. Read the rest
Elan Lee writes, "Bears vs Babies is a monster-building card game from the creators of Exploding Kittens, Elan Lee and Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal). Described as a game of 'strategic benevolent betrayal' it has already raised more than $2.5 million in funding on Kickstarter from 67,000 backers. Bears vs Babies completed the original $10,000 funding goal in less than 10 minutes after its launch. The game is set to join the ranks as one of the most successful crowdfunded gaming campaigns in history." Read the rest
Magicpeacelove writes, "Magician Ben Seidman wields his cards with elan to nail down the facts about why Trump would be such a great leader." Read the rest
Neither of these decks are smokable, but they bring two of my favorite things together: weed and magic! For sleigh of hand, and other tricks, I always prefer the Bicycle brand cards, but the rolling paper inspired cards are fun as well.
Bicycle's Hemp Deck has a hemp leaf on the back, but the cards are made of your typical US Playing Cards stock and finish.
RAW rolling papers aren't as iconic as Zig-Zag, but if you want to tell a joint rolling story to accompany a magic trick, this deck'll help convince people they are looking at something special. They also come with a bracelet.
RAW Rolling Paper Playing Cards via Amazon
Black decks of cards certainly get a lot of attention. This Bicycle reversed deck may is my current favorite. They rule, even outside of a 90s dance club!
The stark contrast over the reversed rider back, and the super black faces of the cards is wonderful. The deck comes with a blank, and a double sided ace of spades.
I figured Pesco might enjoy my magic tricks more, if I was using Bicycle's Big Foot deck.
The backs on this deck are just lovely. An absolutely homage to the Bicycle Rider Back, but done with Big Foot. Each face card is an illustration of a specialized, geographical Big Foot, and you'll rapidly learn the names from Ucu to California Desert Sasquatch. The numbered cards each include some Big Foot trivia!
I'm trying to come up with a Yeti themed trick!
Growing up, I used to fill my shelves with things I collected in my travels. As my radius of movement was only about 5 miles, what I amassed was pretty lame. Nowadays, thanks to Internet retail, I never have to leave my home and every day is like Christmas.
You may not realize it, but we’re living during the collectable playing card revolution. 10 years ago, I wouldn't have thought about being on a mailing list for collector's decks, but that all changed when I discovered the green Monarchs from Theory11.
It’s pretty fancy, and it’d better be. It has to live up to the claim of being “The deck that’s fit for a King”. The box features gold foil on an embossed, durable card stock (gathered from sustainable forests), and feels very substantial.
The design is uncluttered, with striking intertwining serpents.
I’m just fascinated with their foil-stamping dies—and envious of the designer’s ability to make something so balanced, intricate and beautiful.
When you open the box, the first thing you’ll see is the Latin phrase - Cerca Trova – Seek and you shall find.
It’s the same messaging that’s found in their Contraband deck, but don’t hold it against them. I think it’s good that these decks nod to each other, because they feel almost as if they’re distant cousins.
If you look closely on the backs of the cards you’ll see another Latin phrase – Esto perpetue – let it be eternal. The phrase can be traced back to a man named Paolo Sarpi, who used it as his dying declaration in 1623. Read the rest