Play Fair is an elegant deck of playing cards designed by Japanese close-up magician Kei Izumi. Having used the standard Bicycle decks for most of his performances, Kei soon got bored and wanted a change. He discovered that the simpler the design of the cards, the longer he would use them. He then started designing playing cards that he would really want to use.

The result is deck of playing cards that combines strong solid colours and sophisticated design with familiar face cards similar to the well-known American Standards design. Pure elegance and no doubt very versatile deck suitable for the working magician, cardists and poker players.

We caught up with Kei and managed to chat about his design background, the inspiration & design process behind Play Fair, Kickstarter and his favourite reward level from the project.

Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
I'm Keisuke Izumi and Japanese (I know it's too long! Please call me Kei). I was born and raised in Kagawa prefecture. The population is quite small, so I had very few magic friends. When I was a teenager I went to Tokyo and attended several magic convention in order to meet and make friends with people who are into magic, and that was the first time I met Mahka Tendo, the FISM 1985 winner in Manipulation!

My design background? Hmm... I have never been thought about design. I'm just a... typical Japanese!!

This will be the first Japanese playing cards project on Kickstarter. When did you first start thinking about using Kickstarter for the project? What made you decide to take the plunge?
For two years I have been watching Kickstarter and sometimes when some cool projects make me go "Woah!!" I would back them. Sooner or later - I don't know why but - I wanted to make a deck of cards by myself. But at that time I had no idea how to launch the project on Kickstarter, and how to design the playing cards - I had a lot of things that I didn't know.

Years later, I chatted with a friend of mine and he gave me some details of playing cards like price per unit and minimum order etc etc.. I believe I can make a deck of cards with him. The problem was I don't have capital. Of course I can use some Japanese crowd funding sites, but Japanese aren't used to donation. I believe it would be hard if I launched the project in Japan. That's why I decided to dive into the Kickstarter universe.

What is your inspiration behind the Play Fair deck? How did you come up with the idea?
Before I became a photographer, I worked as a professional close-up magician. I performed magic in  local restaurants and magic bars. I loved performing card magic but I get bored easily. I mean, I use the Bicycle Rider Back most days, but I always want to change it to something else.

I don't know why, but a few years later, I finally realize that the simpler the design, the longer I would use them. So I started making a simple design. One day I came up with an idea; How about a magician performs magic with a deck called "play fair"?

It is funny, right? A magicians uses "play fair"! I snapped my fingers and decided to create the design for this concept!

Walk us through the process you took to design this unique deck. How did you get to this finished product?
Basically I was a professional close-up magician. I have had a lot of thoughts and ideas with my magic buddies! So then I tried incorporating all their ideas in to the Play Fair design as much as possible! For example, most card magicians know an extra joker is unnecessary. A back design of tuck case should be same as a back of card. A border should be thin because it looks beautiful when you spread the cards on table. Something like that!

This might make Play Fair sound unconventional. That's true! No background story on the design at all. I am aware that this kind of design is totally unattractive to most of serious card collectors.... but I really want to make a deck of cards for real close-up workers. And please don't forget, this kind of design is also cool for serious flourishers!

How did I make the product? I just printed the design on postcard and glue on Bicycle with scotch tape!! Very easy.

From the project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why?
Very tough question! I prefer a brick because I believe this deck is very practical and designed for daily use! To back one or two is also nice. Of course the handmade wood deck case is AWESOME!!! Believe me, everybody will fall in love with this!

We love the beautifully crafted wooden deck case. Very unique! Can you tell us a little about it and how it came about?
Yes! A friend of mine Yao from Taiwan is a specialist in handmade wood products. He makes everything with wood. When I go to somewhere and find something cool made by wood, I always ask him "Can you make this?" And he always replies "Of course"!! When I first received the sample, I was astonished with the quality! I love his creativity, and I am very honored to work with my best friend, Yao!!

Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
I LOVE many deck of cards! That is the most difficult thing to choose just one! If I should choose one deck only, I will pick the Ace Fulton's Casino deck made by a friend of mine Brad Fulton. I respect all of his works from the bottom of my heart, and I have to choose his deck first. I'm here thanks to you, Brad!

Awesome Kei! All the best! At the time of writing, the project is 81% funded with 9 days to go. If want to support the Play Fair deck, you can find it on Kickstarter here.

Pledge starts from $15 and there are multiple add-ons available such as the uncut sheet and the beautiful wooded deck case made by his good friend Yao. The deck case comes in two colours, Smoke Wood and Old House.

Thinking about buying a brick of playing cards within the next week? WAIT! It's almost Black Friday, which means you might be able to get special discounts and new releases from Ellusionist, Theory11, Dan and Dave, Conjuring Arts, the Blue Crown and more...!

Here, we bring you everything you need to know about Black Friday, and also give you some information about Cyber Monday. Information added as and when it comes in.

Conjuring Arts Research Centre

Two new releases, the NEW ZEN and Limited Royal ZEN. Both decks feature heavy black stock side opening tucks with embossing highlighted by stunning foil accents. The ZEN Deck features Red Foil stamping and an intricately beautiful back design. The Limited ZEN Royal features the same tuck style and embossing but highlighted with Silver Foil! The foil stamping on the Royal Edition is carried onto the back design with silver foil stamping on the two “Genies”. Both decks which will be available at a discounted price of $6.95 and $14.95, respectively.

There will be other Black Friday discounts offered on many other items and the discounts will return with a Cyber Monday blowout with some Discounts as high as 50%!

Collectable Playing Cards 

Offering the 60-deck and 24-deck card frames for $79.95 and $39.95, respectively. Also, 20% discount off your entire order for Black Friday weekend.

Use Coupon code is BF14.

Kings Wild

Four incredible sales, which will be announced throughout the week. First, the Complete Kings Wild Project Set for a steal at $650 and only 6 available.

David Blaine

Releasing 1000 red gatorbacks playing cards. Only 250 of those will be signed.


Started early with the release of the Prohibition 6 deck set, mini Black Rounders and mini Black Arcane. Currently, free gifts with every $75 (1 gift), $150 (2 gifts) and $300 (3 gifts) spent. Gifts include mini LTD, uncut sheets, the new Inverted Kings deck and more...!


So far, only the copper Rarebit has been teased on their social media outlets.

Gambler's Warehouse

Offering a mixed brick of Gambler's Warehouse decks for an unbeatable $50. Also, 15% discount off entire order from 24th-28th November on

Use Coupon code is BLACKFRIDAY.

The Blue Crown

The intriguing Sky Island Airways playing cards will be released on November 28th.

Origins Playing Cards 

A number of Origins Six Packs and Bricks are now available with saving up to 20%.

Use the coupon code blackorigins and save a further 5% off all products.

Official Bicycle

Offering a generous 20% (25% for Club 808) off purchases on their official store. Also releasing 3 very limited products.

Luxury. Elegant. Royal.

During the initial release, the demand for the White Monarchs were so overwhelming that Theory11's servers crashed. The White Monarchs are a limited edition version of the regular Monarch Playing Cards. This deck is made with FSC-certiifed paper and embossed box with stunning gold foil.

They look like they belong in a palace.

Gold metallic foil surrounds the elegant white tuck, with a vintage, timeless aesthetic. Absolutely breathtaking! ... and oh, they do handle as good as they look.

The Monarch playing card decks are available at JP Playing Cards.

Here is the second part of our exclusive first look at the intriguing Sky Island Airways playing cards. This stylish deck is created by the multi-talented Edo Huang and magician extraordinaire Alex Pandrea. In this part, we look at how the Sky Island Airways concept came about.

The whole concept started back in March 2014 when Alex called Edo in the middle of the night with an idea that he wanted to incorporate into a new deck of playing cards.

Alex told Edo, "Lets make up an airlines theme deck!"

From that idea, they discussed and brainstormed throughout the night about the concept and the theme of the deck. Following that, Edo started doing rough sketches, logo and the back design.

"Alex wanted to make a simple clean back design with a vibrant summer feel", Edo suggested that the face cards, courts, pips and jokers should be customized so that everyone can see a whole new design from these cards and at the same time generate some excitement.

Edo then continued his work with more sketches, digitising them and compiling it into a final draft. Alex liked what he saw and they proceeded to finalised the design.

Sky Island Airways Playing Cards will be printed by the masters at Expert Playing Card Co and will be available on November 28 (Black Friday).

To keep up to date on Sky Island Airways or for more custom playing cards, follow the Blue Crown on their Facebook page.

Multiple new Black Friday ads have been posted around the internet in the last few days, but none is as intriguing as those from the Blue Crown. The teaser ad features vintage photos of a luxury airline called Sky Island Airways. Little is known about this particular airlines and scouring the internet did not turn up much...

Except for this one little write-up on The News:
In the 1960s, a luxury airline called Sky Island Airways offered an exclusive getaway unlike any other. Passengers were whisked away on private jets to a secluded tropical island known only as "Sky Island". The island offered the very best in food, drink, entertainment, and relaxation. The airline served no other destinations - it was devoted purely to bringing customers to paradise. 
With a small fleet of aircraft and only 10 occupants allowed on the island at one time, it was truly a privilege to access this modern Eden. 
One day, it all vanished. The planes, the airline, and even the island itself. The only evidence that it had ever existed was a supply of the playing cards that were handed out to passengers during each flight. 

To this day, nobody knows exactly what happened to Sky Island or the airline. Did the island sink to the bottom of the ocean, bringing the planes with it? Was it a hoax? A dream?

Thanks to the Blue Crown, here's an exclusive first look at the Sky Island Airways playing cards that have been amazingly preserved for nearly five decades.

More images and information in Part II of this exclusive reveal. Stay tuned!

The Holidays are upon us and we’re here to give you an exclusive sneak peak at a few beautiful decks releasing on Black Friday from The Conjuring Arts Research Center!

Here is your 1st look at the long awaited and all NEW ZEN and Limited Royal ZEN!

Both decks feature heavy black stock side opening tucks with embossing highlighted by stunning foil accents. The ZEN Deck features Red Foil stamping and an intricately beautiful back design. The Limited ZEN Royal features the same tuck style and embossing but highlighted with Silver Foil………..the foil stamping on the Royal Edition is carried onto the back design with silver foil stamping on the two “Genies”

The ZEN deck will be retailing for $7.95 and the Limited Royal Zen for $19.95, but Black Friday shoppers will enjoy some savings on both decks which will be available Black Friday Weekend ONLY for $6.95 and $14.95 respectively. 

Also available on Black Friday for the 1st time is the all new Premium storage Brick Box! The Brick Box features a smooth finish and sturdy construction with a magnetized lid to seal your collection. The box is embellished with a foil stamping of the “Genie” on the lid. Retail on the Premium Brick box will be $19.95, but for Black Friday only you can purchase one for $14.95!

To make the Black Friday Sale even more appealing, Conjuring Arts will also be offering a Brick Package consisting of their all new Premium Brick Box filled with 11 ZEN Decks and 1 Limited Royal ZEN for the amazing price of $89.95 postpaid anywhere in the US! 

Along with these great saving there will be other Black Friday discounts offered on many other items and the discounts will return with a Cyber Monday blowout with some Discounts as high as 50%! So mark your calendar and make The Conjuring Arts Research Center the place to shop on Black Friday!

Sale begins Thursday November 27th at 6:00PM and runs to Midnight Sunday November 30th

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