A marked deck is a great tool for card magic. It allows you to perform tricks that are impossible with a normal deck, and it gives you more firepower than you might think. But it also comes with its share of risks and drawbacks. And it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into before you buy one.
1. Marked decks can be tricky to read
A major problem with any marked deck is that it will draw attention from your spectators. This means that you will need to be very careful about what you do with it and how you use it.
Ideally, you will want to use your marked deck under the cover of another action that is not directly related to reading the card backs, so that you can get away with it without being caught. This might be as simple as handing a card to a spectator or pointing to the top of the deck while you’re making a point.
2. It’s not always possible to hide a marked deck
There are times when it can be impossible to hide a deck, such as when you are performing in a busy pub or at a poker table. For these cases, you might want to look for a marked deck that has been professionally printed and is not easily distinguishable by the crowd.
3. It can be hard to read
A lot of different methods have been used to hide a deck’s markings. Some of these techniques are very subtle and only visible to people who are trained to read them, while others require special glasses or contact lenses in order to see them.
4. They don’t work with every routine
While a marked deck can be a valuable addition to any card trick, it won’t make any of your effects easier or more difficult. A good trick will still need smooth handling and good technique, as well as a great presentation.
5. It doesn’t work with every method
There is a wide range of card methods that can be used with a marked deck, and they all have different pros and cons. Some of these are more effective than others, depending on the type of card magic you are doing and where you’re using it in the world.
6. It can be hard to read
When you first start out with a marked deck, you might find it difficult to read the markings. This is because your eyes are used to seeing regular cards, and it can take a while for them to adjust to the subtleties of the markings.
Luckily, there are some good reader decks out there that will help you to overcome this problem. Some of them have excellent markings that can be seen from a distance, so you don’t have to squint, and some even include an instruction card that tells you how to read the markings.
If you’re just starting out with a marked deck, then my recommended starter deck would be the DMC Elites, as it has a very easy to read system that can be seen from quite a distance, and includes an instructional card. If you’re looking for something more advanced, check out Andy Nyman’s The Code or Luke Jermay’s Marksman Deck, both of which come with online tutorial videos that will teach you amazing routines that you can do with a marked deck.