Discussion: Is it safe to use designer decks?

January 10, 2018

There’s in an interesting discussion happening on Reddit about whether or not it’s safe to use designer decks like this or this or even this when performing a card-based magic routine. The concern is that the audience is used to seeing tricks done with Bicycle cards, and anything deviating from that is likely to raise suspicion. The counterargument is that their suspicions are raised no matter what, so you may as well use whatever deck you feel like using. Here’s the original post from user Ebackes88

I used to think that if you have cards other than standard bicycles, people would be suspicious that they are trick cards and I know a lot of magicians who still think that. The more thought I put into it the less I think that’s true. I’ve had people accuse me of using trick cards when I’ve been using standard bikes. I think most people don’t even think about there being trick cards, and if they do they are going to think that no matter what cards you’re using. Another thing I’ve been seeing is people using designer decks that open by saying “now these aren’t trick cards, they just have a cool design.” Which I think is a horrible idea, because then you’re putting the idea that you could have trick cards in their mind. What do you think?

I think we can all agree that saying “Nope, this isn’t a trick deck, I swear,” is not in anyone’s best interests, but where do you come down on the specialty deck question? I know I’ve been told that laypeople only want to see Bicycle decks, but I feel like it’s up to the performer to win over the audience no matter what tool is being used – cards, TicTacs, whatever. What do you think?