The Ikea Tarot

Akiva Leffert has designed an Ikea-themed tarot deck:

Ikea is a place of transition, a journey, a source of light and comfort, but also strife. Ikea contains the universe. Harness that power to understand your own life with these cleanly designed Ikea themed tarot cards. They'll go great sitting on your BILLY bookcase or on the table next to your MALM bedframe. The deck contains the four suits of the minor arcana: sofas, lamps, dowels, and allen keys as well as a full set of major arcana.

Available at Etsy.

(Via Brandon Sheffield.) Read the rest

Visualizing what happens when you shuffle a deck of cards

Nathan Davis writes, "When you shuffle a deck, it rearranges the order of the cards and I got wondering what that looked like. Read the rest

Deck of cards with pixelated 8-bit style designs

The 8bit Deck is a standard 52-card deck with pixelated artwork using the Pico-8 pallette.

A few months ago, I began designing a few face cards for what, at the time, might have been an 8-Bit solitaire game or something similar. As the process continued, the idea of making these pixel art cards in to actual high-quality playing cards came to mind, and thus the 8Bit Deck was born. Each card has been crafted pixel by pixel, and the color palette was heavily inspired by the Pico-8 fantasy console

Here's the full set:

I'm going to be that guy and say that instead of rounded corners, there should be a singe-pixel-sized notch on each. Read the rest

Steve Albini, legendary Big Black guitarist and Nirvana engineer, is also a poker champion

If you played poker with Steve Albini -- esteemed guitarist for Big Black, Rapeman, and Shellac, recording engineer for Nirvana, Pixies, and PJ Harvey -- he would take all your money. I was surprised to learn that last year Albini won gold in the World Series of Poker. Above, a short documentary about Albini's poker prowess.

(Poker Central via Uncrate) Read the rest

Blank Bicycle 'Rider Back' cards

This deck of 56 'Rider Back' Bicycle playing cards has blank faces.

These come in handy for a number of magic tricks. The cards are printed on US Playing Card stock, and excepting the missing printed faces are identical to your regular deck of Bicycle 808 cards.

Magic Makers Bicycle Blank Face Red Back Card Deck via Amazon Read the rest

This deck of cards will spark small, IRL experiences

The fabulous Lea Redmond of Leafcutter Designs (previously) has launched a brand new project. It's called Lively Matter and it's a 52-card activity deck to create grand adventures and experiences out of the ordinary.

She writes:

Each card in the Lively Matter deck gives instructions for a tangible, mini adventure that you can do by yourself or with friends. The activities are delightful, thoughtful, and repeatable. For example: get a gum ball at a vending machine, then pay special attention to that color for the rest of the day... The activities don't take a lot of time, but they do encourage creativity, observation, and poetic engagement with the everyday world.

The deck itself is $15. For $40, you get the deck plus that cool silkscreened "Will Return At" pouch shown in the photo. To take a "digital detox" break, you just zip your phone inside of the pouch and mark what time you want to get it back.

Lea put Lively Matter on Kickstarter this past weekend and, as of this writing, it's already completely funded (!).

(RED) Read the rest

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

Images via Amazon Read the rest

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

Image courtesy Amazon.com Read the rest

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.

Artisan Playing Cards (Black) via Amazon Read the rest

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.

Bicycle Archangels Playing Cards via Amazon Read the rest

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!

Banshees: Cards for Throwing via Amazon Read the rest

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

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