Macabre and creepy, I like the Karnival Dose deck of playing cards

This elegant, yet faux-distressed set of playing cards is just lovely.

A bit more shocking, while every bit as lovely as the Arch Angels or Skulls I have been using, these offer a bit more a gonzo element. Perfect for magic, this is a deck of US Playing Cards with the Bicycle Airflow finish.

Red provides a nice change from the black and white I've been so focused on.

Karnival RED Dose Deck Playing Cards -Redux Edition (Ltd Ed) via Amazon

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This is how you cut a deck of cards, or ten

In their latest video, the Hydraulic Press Channel team shows how to plow through 10 decks of cards (and other things like a rubber band ball and CO2 cartridges) using their extra-sharp "Guillotine 5,000,000" blade. Hard not to love watching that.

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

Limited edition Bicycle Karnival Midnight deck of playing cards

This purple and black deck of cards is absolutely lovely.

I like to tell myself that decks with lovely and unexpected art work distract people from mistakes as I'm performing sleight of hand. Mostly, I just like fancy decks of cards.

Limited Edition Karnival Midnight Purple Deck Playing Cards by Bicycle via Amazon

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Find your Garbage Pail Kid name

This exhaustive database of Garbage Pail Kids is structured to make it almost easy to find one with the same name as yourself. Meet the uncannily apt Rodent Rob. Read the rest

Bicycle Skull-themed playing cards

Be the dangerous bad boy with a deck of Skull cards!

My second favorite deck of cards is this Skull deck by the US Playing Card Company.

I flip back and forth between carrying a deck of Arch Angels, and these Skulls. The Skulls backs are just lovely, with mostly standard Bicycle 808 poker faces.

The black and white cards look fantastic in flourishes and are made with the usual USPCC stock and finish, so they fan and glide beautifully.

Bicycle Skull Playing Cards via Amazon Read the rest

Game announcement booed

Valve, publisher of legendary game series such as Half-Life, Portal and Team Fortress, announced a new game at The International, a convention for players of DOTA, one of its big hits. The hyped-up crowd's reaction to finding out that Artifact is to be a "DOTA card game" is quite something.

It seems like a perfect conceptual faceplant, where two popular things are combined to form something comically unappealing. But is there an ironic angle? The völkisch consumerism of gamers got out of hand years ago, so it seems unlikely to be a joke at their expense. In any case, one hopes players have to pay for every single card: a good innovation would be a micro-transaction for every time a card is deployed. Read the rest

The Design Deck teaches graphic design as you play cards

Ben Barrett-Forrest created The Design Deck, a nifty set of playing cards that each have facts about graphic design on them. Read the rest

Theory 11 Artisan playing cards in black

This deck is absolutely beautiful!

A stunning design by Simon Frouws for Theory 11, these cards feature gold foil stamped on lovely, lovely black paper. Just lovely.

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Theory11 'Archangels' are the prettiest playing cards

I still love these Archangels. 90% of the time, this is the deck of cards I have in my pocket.

I buy a lot of decks of cards, and this remains my go-to favorite. The beautiful black on white back design is mesmerizing to watch go by as I practice flourishes, and I think helps distract people from clumsy sleights. The Ace of Spades and Joker designs are some of the best I've seen, and the gold foil used on the face cards adds a touch of class.

No blank card or double backer is included. There is one Theory11 advertisement card that can be used for "write on this card" tricks and still preserve the decks 52 card integrity.

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These cards are for throwing

These Banshee playing cards are made for throwing!

Made of plastic, heavier and stiffer than my normal US Playing Cards Bicycle 808 style decks, the Banshee cards sail through the air. The cards also have some cuts in their face to make them scream!

Made of tougher stuff, these cards last a lot longer than a paper deck and are a bit easier to learn with. You will need to practice, however, these cards do not instantly imbue you with skill.

Talk about useful skills to have at a party!

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Libratus poker AI beats several of the world's best players

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

Watch Zach Mueller's card wizardry from California

Cardistry wizard Zach Mueller works his magic on the Santa Monica Pier. Special guest appearance by cardist CJ Ocampo.

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Meet Elliott Terral, Director of Magic

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

Kickstarting "Bears vs Babies," a new game from the Exploding Kittens team

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

Satisfying end to a $28 million hand of high-stakes poker

With nearly $28 million in the pot, the eight minutes of "speech play" between Will Kassouf and Griffin Benger came to a very satisfying end. Everyone is debating which of the two players crossed the line. Read the rest

Using card tricks to find the truth about Trump

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

537 artists from 67 countries competed to make this gorgeous card deck

Playing Arts held a design contest then turned winning entries for each card into a beautiful deck. Emi Haze shared how the winning 4 of spades was created, detailed above. Below, the rest of the winning 4 cards. Read the rest

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