Hello magic fans. Did you know what the technical term for a fear of palindromes (words that are the same spelled forwards and backwards) is itself a palindrome? Yep. It’s called aibohphobia. Somebody once looked at a group of people suffering from a possibly crippling irrational fear, sat down, and thought, “man, how can I make life worse for these people?”

And then they did. That’s drive, folks. 

Anyway, here’s some magic videos to help you through this week’s 48-hour work void. 

Marvel has put out a call for size-based optical illusions to promote its latest comic book adaptation, Ant Man And The Wasp. Kevin Parry tried his best…

Unfortunately he has nothing on these two masters of the craft. We still have no idea how this was done. 

The Amazing Johnathan has been celebrating the fact he’s still not dead by releasing some classic clips from his shows, like the one above.

Denny Corby was on the set of WBRE’s PA Live  to promote his upcoming show at the FM Kirby Center on July 7th. Minds were read. 

Bicycle influencer,” John Stessel, has made an easy-to-follow tutorial for the always cool one handed cut. You’re expecting me to make a gag about Bicycles right now, but those House Blends are really nice, actually. 

I know nothing about this hirsute Asian magician other than he has amazing facial hair and something to say about FISM. If he’s asking if he can go, let him. The world needs more moustache magic. 

Dr. Naomi Paxton, perhaps better known as Ada Campe, discovered a delightful automaton that is definitely quaint and charming and not terrifying at all. 

Here’s another bit of homework for when you’re done with the one-handed cut. In the above video, Xavior Spade’s mate, Dennis Kim, will teach you how to perform the very impressive Le Paul Spread.

There we go. Another week of magic brought to its natural, satisfying conclusion. See you next week! 

It has been said that I occasionally take my ribbing of Bicycle Playing Cards too far in my capacity as “card guy,” here at Genii Online. Indeed, there has been some suggestion that I relish opportunities to rubbish the brand and its propensity for ugly skeleton decks. This is of course absolutely true, and my disdain is supported by none other John Northern Hilliard, newspaper man, amateur magician, and author of the well regarded treatise on the art, Greater Magic. As discovered by magician and scholar, Lee Asher

Hilliard had little time for what is now the most ubiquitous brand of playing cards in the world, simply stating that they, “vary in quality.” In fact, he seems to be a bit of a downer on cards in general. He apparently wasn’t a fan of two other well regarded brands, Bee and Tally Ho. I imagine he might find it funny that all three of those brands are now manufactured by the same company, The United States Playing Card Company. Hilliard’s opinions on Tally Ho’s might not have aged well – a small army of professional prestidigitators swear by the brand – but we can perhaps all agree on one thing: That I am right about Bicycles. 

But Greater Magic was published in 1938, surely Bicycles have changed since then? That’s true, they have. They feature a lot more skeletons these days.


One of the more bemusing trends I’ve encountered while trawling through Kickstarter for playing cards is the tendency towards absurdly elaborate, often literally jewel-encrusted, tuck boxes. 

“Wow,” I say, as I read how many tons of gold foil are layered around the cardboard box the cards come in, “that’s a lot of time and effort put into something that’s going to end up abandoned under my bed.”

Like a lot of aspiring (and actual) magicians, I prefer my cards to hang loose – to go commando as it were. I have a few tuck boxes on hand for gimmicks that require them, but most of the time my decks are allowed to graze free-range around the house. Fortunately, the geniuses over at Ellusionist are willing to cater to my hedonistic naked deck ways. 

Reloads are just decks of cards that come in a simple cellophane wrap instead of a traditional tuck box. That change knocks about 45% off the price. Right now Reloads are only available for Sea Green Keepers, but that’s okay because Keepers are great. 

What are Keepers?

Adam Wilber’s Keepers, in my humble estimation, are better Bicycles. Designed with performers in mind, Keepers have standard fronts save for the ace of spades and the club royals and beautiful, light-house themed backs that are meant to pass for Bicycle’s gold standard at a glance (the Rider Backs that is, not the awful, custom flaming mariachi skeleton special editions people with bad taste can’t get enough of). 

The key difference is that Keepers are thinner, a little firmer, sharper (no joke, I’m fairly certain I could cut someone’s throat with one of my Keeper Blues), and infinitely tougher. The only downside is they cost about three times as much as Bicycles. Reloads kind of solve that problem. The introductory price puts the Sea Green Keeper Reloads at just $3.50 a deck. That’s close to Bicycle territory. Buy 12 or more and the price gets knocked down to $2.98 a deck. That’s not “oh yeah check out my 400 Bicycle deck bulk order,” cheap, but it’s cheap for a deck this good.

I would totally be stocking up right now, only I live in the UK and shipping is a thing. That being said, this is a great deal for a supply of cards that will last you ages. Here’s hoping Ellusionist starts to offer other decks in this new naked format. 

As a rule, I’m all about the minimalism when it comes to decks (like this amazing cardistry deck I wrote about earlier today) but I’ll go for busier decks if they’e pretty, and the Bicycle Stained Glass Phoenix deck is very, very pretty. 

The card designs are rich and intricate, and clever color choices give the effect of light filtered through stained glass. The card backs depict two phoenixes emerging from the sun, drenched in hazy reds and lush oranges, while the fronts feature custom faces and numbers in black and green juxtaposed against cool blues. The way the card fronts dim to black towards the upper and lower edges is particularly brilliant.   

The deck has already been approved by the United States Playing Card Company for printing and, since the Kickstarter is already successful, are expected to start shipping out in May. Since this is a Bicycle joint, I wouldn’t expect these cards to be Kickstarter exclusive for very long, if at all, but Kickstarter prices are always a little cheaper than retail in my experience. Rumor has it that GeniiOnline editor and fledgling cardist Susan Arendt has already laid down the cash for one of these beauties.  

The Kickstarter will continue until April 15th, but there are no stretch goals in place. The cheapest pledge that includes a deck will cost you US$11 plus shipping. A pacl of six decks will run you $55 plus shipping. There are no uncut sheets, unfortunately.  

Is the glass half empty or half full? Doesn’t matter, you can always get another beer, but you won’t be able to get another deck of Bicycle’s Craft Beer playing cards when this limited run gets snapped up by thirsty punters.

The deck is dedicated to fifty three of America’s finest (or “least awful,” if you’re European) local breweries and includes offerings from Uinta Brewing, Valley Vineyards, Gun Hill and, uh, “Ass Clown Brewing Company,” the logo of which adorns the Joker, of course.

The cards are printed on premium cardstock complete with the usual Air-Cushion finish and will run you a smooth $3.99 for a single deck or $21.54 for a case of six. Bicycle would also like to remind you to drink responsibly, presumably so you don’t end up playing 52 card pickup with your fancy new deck. 

Whoa. Dude. Whoa. Bicycle has a deck of hemp playing cards. Before you start up the “Legalize it” chants, let’s get the important info out of the way: No, you cannot get high by using the Bicycle Hemp Playing Cards. However, the herbally-inspired artwork and aged, burlap look of the cards does make this deck a good choice for any acts you book in, say maybe, Colorado. The deck is made by the United States Playing Card Company and features Bicycle’s Air-Cushion finish.

Buy the Bicycle Hemp Deck from Bicycle Cards

  • Category: Playing cards
  • Price: $3.99 (single deck)
  • Format: Physical

Because you can never have too many playing cards in your life, TCC Playing Cards is Kickstarting not one, but two new artful decks over the next few days. The Chinese playing card company has been making a name for itself for its exquisite designs and premium stock (we’ve covered the company’s Forma deck before, which is a stunner), and both the Rainbow and Crystal Cobra decks continue that trend.

The Bicycle TCC Rainbow Playing Cards are exactly what they sound like—official Bicycle playing cards printed by the US Playing Card Company, each card in the deck a different shade of color. With customized face cards and printed on Bicycle stock, this deck is perfect for caridstry or anyone looking to add a little flair to their friendly poker game.

Back the Rainbow deck on Kickstarter for HK$ 47 (about $6)

The Crystal Cobra deck is a bit more refined and subdued, but no less impressive, and features unique purple and blue polygonal art on the backs and all face cards.

Back the Crystal Cobra deck on Kickstarter for HK$ 78 (about $10)

Both decks are fully funded, and both Kickstarters end in about five days, so you only have a limited amount of time to get your orders in—especially if you want the Crystal Cobra deck, which is limited to 2500 orders.

A regular deck of playing cards is perhaps the most ubiquitous magic prop in the world. Even if you’re not into cardistry or sleight of hand, you likely have a deck or two kicking around your house somewhere. They may seem simple – it’s just pictures printed on glossy paper, right? – but a lot goes into their creation. Did you know they have an Air-Cushion Finish? Well, now you do.

Bicycle has been making cards since 1885, so they know a few things about the process. This video takes us into the factory to see how it’s all done. Pretty neat! Below find a slightly more detailed video featuring Cartamundi cards.