What is the best way to approach magic? What are the most important things to learn? In what order should I learn them in? Currently funding on Kickstarter, the Foundations of Card Magic will answer those questions with structured video course on powerful AND practical card magic.

Created by Asad Chaudhry of 52kards, the goal of Foundations of Card Magic is to make the course approachable for complete beginner, and at the same time provide a lot of value for experienced magicians. As there are a lot of materials to cover (from basic card handling to techniques, flourishes and routines), the instructions will be thorough, yet concise. The video will be shot with multiple angles and have slow motion footage when relevant. This will all be compiled into a DVD..

We had a quick chat with Asad on his background in Magic, 52kards, using Kickstarter, the idea behind the Foundations of Card Magic and his thoughts on the community support he's been getting.

Can you tell us about yourself and what is your background in Magic?
Sure, I’m a 26 year old guy living in San Jose, California. I started learning about magic almost 13 years ago after seeing a friend do a back palm card vanish at school. It quickly became an obsession and I started spending hours every day reading magic books and practicing. My focus has always been close-up sleight of hand magic with playing cards, but I also dabble a bit with rings and coins. I ended up going to school for electrical engineering and spent a few years working in the industry before quitting my job earlier this year to work on 52Kards full time.

Can you tell us quickly about 52Kards and how it came about?
The Youtube channel actually came first. I had amassed quite a large collection of tutorials on card magic, and it was becoming difficult to organize them in a clean way. I built the website and developed a very user friendly video library to allow visitors to find exactly the type of video(s} they are looking for. You can see it in action over at 52Kards.

Later on I added the deck store, the community section, the blog, etc; but the videos have always been the core of 52Kards.

From running a vibrant site for a community of aspiring card magicians to starting your own Kickstarter project. When did you first start thinking about using Kickstarter? What made you decide to take the plunge?
The Foundations of Card Magic has been in the back of my mind for quite some time now. Using Kickstarter to launch it was a no-brainer for me. I love the Kickstarter community and am thrilled to see so many amazing projects being funded by ordinary people. Over the last couple of years I have gathered large following of magicians and playing card enthusiasts, and I have never sold anything to my audience before; so it just made a lot of sense to crowd fund the project.

Can you describe the Foundations of Card Magic project and why you are passionate about it?
The Foundations of Card Magic is a culmination of the strongest and most practical card magic I have come across thus far. It will consist of the material that I feel is the most important for students of this craft to learn. I get messages every day from students asking questions like “what is the best way to approach magic? What are the most important things to learn? In what order should I learn them in?” Magic has been such a blessing in my life and I’m excited to share it with others who are eager to learn.

From the project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why? 
The $25 is the most popular. You get a digital download of the DVD and you get invited to a private Facebook Group for magicians called “The Inner Circle”. My favorite is probably the $50, where you get everything I just mentioned, plus I ship you a signed deck of cards from my personal collection (shipping fee is on the house).

The project is currently 4x above the initial funding goal. What do you think of the playing card community in terms of the feedback and support that you’ve been getting?
The feedback I have received from the project has been incredible. I wasn’t expecting to hit the funding goal so fast and so many times over. I think there is a lot of overlap between the magic community and playing card community, but I think most of the people backing this project are probably magicians first, and card collectors second. Most of us magicians completely geek out over custom decks though :P

Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks? 
Here’s a few that come to mind. Not in any particular order... Split Spades, Monarchs, Empire, Aurum, Classic Bikes are good and JAQK Cellars.

Awesome project Asad! At the time of writing, the project is 500% funded with 23 days to go.

Don't miss out! Pledge now to get the digital download or physical copy of the DVD. Backers will also receive a life time membership to the 52Kards Inner Circle group.


The wait is over, the beautifully designed companion to the 52 Plus Joker Club deck is finally here....the Gold Edition. Unlike the Club Edition which is only available to Club members, the Gold Edition is available to everyone!

Designed by Jackson Robinson and printed by the Expert Playing Card Company on their Master Finish, this deck features Expert's exclusive sideways tuck made of EPCC's new exclusive synthetic material. Very supple, waterproof and wears like iron! 

Jackson Robinson's back design is produced with metallic gold ink and stunning gold foil on each card. The gold foil design carries over to the back of the tuck box as well making it truly eye-catching. The deck also features Jackson Robinson's beautiful new Custom Court design!

For those who act early, for 1 WEEK ONLY you'll be able to take advantage of a great Introductory Offer!!

  - $14.95 per Deck
  - $39.99 for 3 Decks Postpaid in the US
  - $148.92 for a Brick (12 Decks) Postpaid in the US

You can't beat the savings by getting on board early and while they last!

The 52 Plus Joker Gold Edition is truly unique and inspiring and won't last long.

Once the introductory offer expires on this deck, it will be offered at its regular retail price
  - $19.95 per Deck
  - $54.95 for 3 Decks Postpaid in the US
  - $199.00 for a Brick (12 Decks) Postpaid in the US

So mark your calendars and don't miss out on this amazing deck at an amazing price!

The one thing you can always count on from Paul Carpenter of Encarded is a unique design concept. Paul Carpenter always seems to find a way to take design concepts, shapes and patterns to a whole new level, and Zenith is no different. 

The Zenith deck was self funded by Encarded and was a very limited release of only 1000 numbered decks. Needless to say they sold out relatively quickly and have found their way onto the "Sought After" and "Must Have" lists of many collectors and enthusiast.

The deck is completely custom, starting with the rainbow reflective tuck case design wrapped around a side opening Tuck case. The tuck itself has a bit of a heavier feel to it than most tucks and photos just don't do the "Reflective" creativity justice. The deck also comes with a custom Ace of Spades, custom Jokers and courts that continue the "Spherical" design and theme of the deck. The back design in basic black and white has a hypnotic look to it and produces a truly stunning and intricate fan. Zenith definitely earns a spot on my "Must Have" list, if you missed out on the release of Zenith, the deck can still be found with a little searching, but does command a bit of a premium. There are a handful of designers out there who continue to ride the edge of creativity with each new release, and Paul Carpenter and Encarded are one of them. They never seem to settle for the same old, same old and are always looking for new and interesting ways to share their vision.

Highly recommended!


The Collection segment is produced by Anthony Ingrassia of Kardify. No part of this article, images or video can be reproduced without written permission from the author and Kardify.com. To see more of  Sparkz- Anthony's collection please visit anthonysparkz.blogspot.com

This review will feature the Madison Dealers Erdnase Green Playing Cards. Review taken from the archive of TuckCase.

Released by Ellusionist.com, the Madison Dealers are of Daniel Madison, popular card magician and illusionist.  Madison had these cards "printed to [his] specifications"  from the design right down to the paper stock and finish. These cards come in a common unlimited Erdnase green and a rare Scarlet red. In order to obtain the Scarlet deck one must purchase a brick of the Erdnase. The cards are not your typical playing cards as Daniel implemented a built in marking system for card hustlers to use for their advantage. It is not known whether or not these cards were printed by USPCC but it is highly speculated.

The specs:

Name: Madison Dealers - Erdnase Green
Company: Ellusionist
Release Date: June 24th, 2013
Stock: Casino Bee (Speculated)
Finish: Magic Finish (Speculated)
Colors: Erdnase Green (Also comes in Scarlet Red)
Face: Standard
Size: Poker

The tuck case design is all white with a card finish.The entire case design is rather minimalist with only the name of the cards plus "Luxury Playing Cards" and Madison's logo on the front in Erdnase green, which is the same color used on S. W. Erdnase 'Expert At The Card Table' first edition. The back design is on the box's back and "Madison Dealers" is written across the top flap. Extremely simple, extremely luxurious. An interesting design element that was added to the case is the "JL" on one inside side flap, which was done in respect to the artist of the cards -  Jeff Lianza. Jeff is also a good friend of Daniel's and makes an appearance in the card deck as the King of Spades.

The back design is a two way borderless design in Erdnase green that features Madison's logo repeated. This is reminiscent of the early house casino decks that were used around the time Erdnase's book was first published - 1902. Most people nowadays know borderless to be the Bee brand of cards. The back design also includes the special marking system that Daniel developed. Most marked decks comes at a hefty price tag but these are offered at normal cost of a custom deck (currently on Ellusionist.com for $6.99).

For the spectator, if they look at the back design enough, it will play tricks on them as the small repeating pattern tends to make the brain do odd things. The marking system in that sense is undetectable. However, as the card magician once you train your eyes where to look for the markings, the back design becomes much less confusing. If you struggle with sight and your vision is poor, this marking system may cause you trouble as the markings are only visible within arms reach. Holding this deck further away causes more problems so trying to use these cards to cheat in a poker game won't be of use.  According to the instruction video, the point of these cards were to be held close up - hence, being called "dealers."

Editors note: I played with this deck for a couple of hours after learning the marking system and was able to guess cards just by glancing at the back. My suggestion is to get used to finding/looking at the markings without giving yourself up first and then memorize the suits. Finally, once you know the suits, tackle the numbers and court cards. I learned if you break it up into three steps, instead of trying to get it all at once, you will get the system much quicker.  

The deck comes with a standard 52 plus 2 jokers, a double back and an ad card. The jokers feature a dead crow, which is extremely morbid for this deck of cards. Considering the deck says "Luxury Playing Cards" on the front of the box, anything to do with death and blood is far from luxury. The crows are not new to Madison's design as his last deck of cards the Rounders also featured them. Despite the morbid Joker design, a 3 of clubs reveal is built into the legs of the dead crow on one of the Joker cards. This is very undetectable unless you are really looking for it or have been told it is there. The Jokers also are not part of the marking system. If you plan on using the marking system it is best you take the Jokers out.

The Ace of Spades follows the "Luxury" theme by creating an ace out of Madison's logo. The court cards all have a custom Anglo-American style design. Each court features someone from Daniel's life, whether it be another magician or good friend. Daniel is actually featured on the King of Diamonds, which also has a 9 of Clubs reveal.  The Rounders also used people from Daniel's life as well. The use of real life people in a deck of cards is quite interesting and makes these cards all that more personal.

The number cards are standard with no differences other than a slightly darker red ink used on the hearts and diamond.

The Madison Dealers are extremely durable. Used for over 24 hours for practicing and breaking them in, the cards still look, feel and perform like brand new. The cards are a bit stiff as shuffling will require some hand strength initially. Over time that does not become a problem. Fanning is extremely easy as no clumping of the cards occurs. They are almost too smooth so be mindful of that as they do have a tendency to slip away from your fingers.

Notes on the Madison Dealers:

  • Brought to us by Daniel Madison and Ellusionist, who also brought us the Madison Rounders.

  • This deck was speculated to be the Madison Red Rounders.

  • The factory of this deck is not given out. It is speculated that USPCC printed this. However, USPCC is not mentioned anywhere on the deck or in any of the marketing material.

  • Daniel Madison also brought the Madison Players to market with Theory 11.

Final Assessment: The Madison Dealers are an extremely useful and versatile deck of playing cards. Although they are not a designer deck where you will see a lot of depth and color, they are certainly a hustler's deck with many tools for performing tricks. This deck has two reveals and a marking system that can all be used in a lot of different tricks.  This deck is recommended for the magician who doesn't want to spend time marking his/her own deck. It is also for the magician who doesn't want to pay double the price for a marked deck. The Scarlet red version of this deck is something for all collectors to track down as there were only a limited amount made available.

Score: 9.5/10

Vintage. Fun. Ticket.

From the cool guys at The Blue Crown, the Boardwalk Papers deck was inspired by boardwalks and small theme parks of yesteryear… with a really fun vintage vibe.

Featuring custom back design, tuck, Ace of Spades, and Jokers by Drew Melton with enhancements by Randy Butterfield. The back looks incredible in a vintage-style two-tone brown design. The tuck box has gorgeous Gold and White Foil, plus embossing and inside printing.

Printed by Expert Playing Card Company for this deck, utilizing their incredible Taipei factory to produce a thin yet stiff card stock with a Master finish to ensure exceptional handling for magic tricks and flourishes, as well as incredible durability to withstand even the roughest night of gaming.

Boardwalk Papers playing card decks are available at JP Playing Cards.

Created by Derek McKee and illustrated by Logan Max, Deckades Playing Cards showcases America in the roaring 1920's, a boisterous period characterized by rapidly changing lifestyles, financial excesses, the fast pace of technological progress and the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that heralded the end of the boom-times, and the following Depression years in the 1930's. Deckades tells the epic story of hardships and triumphs Americans enjoyed and endured.

The time periods have been depicted in 2 decks of playing cards. The first deck depicts the 1920's and then the second deck depicts the 1930's. Both decks have beautifully illustrated back designs showing Main Street America. Each deck also has art deco inspired tuck cases, aces, and jokers that illustrate the perception of each decks' perspective years.

We managed to have a quick chat with Derek about his design background, the inspiration & design process behind Deckades, his experience from his previous Kickstarter projects and thoughts about the growth of crowd-funded playing cards.

Can you tell us about yourself and what is your design background?
My name is Derek McKee, I grew up in Denver, Colorado but currently live in Los Angeles, California. I am primarily a number geek and a concept creator, more on the business side of playing cards. My designer Logan Max is extremely talented when it comes to the actual illustration.

Can you describe Deckades deck and why you are passionate about it?
The Deckades is a series that I am really passionate about because both decks illustrate what main street America may have looked like in the 1920's and then in the 1930's. I find something very poetic about playing cards that tell a story. This deck series is all about how we can feel like we have everything figured out and never be so wrong. The illustrations on the 20's deck are all about glamour and excess just like what that era was all about, the 30's deck is all about how we had everything and then lost it because of neglect and misuse. The 30's deck is my favorite of the two because it reminds us of what we as a nation have endured and ultimately made us a better nation.

Walk us through the process you took to design this unique deck. How did you get to this finished product?
Every great thing starts with an idea. After our first deck The Melies Logan and I were sitting in my moms office trying to think of what the next deck could be. Logan and I have been friends since the 1st grade so naturally we started thinking about books that we had mutually read in school. We wanted to find a way to tell the story of Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities through a deck of playing cards. Both of us have always had a passion for history and especially loved early 20th century American history. By combining the concepts of The Tale of Two Cities with the Roaring 20's and the Depression of the 30's Deckades were born.

From the project page, what are a few of your favorite reward levels and why?
I love any pledges with mixed decks. This series although both decks can stand on their own look great as a set. When it comes to Kickstarters I like to keep it simple by having only cards and maybe one or two add-ons so backers don't get overwhelmed with all the items.

You have successful completed the Voyagers deck. What are a few key elements and principles you incorporated into your project that you think future Kickstarter creators could benefit from knowing?
The biggest thing I have learned about doing a playing card project on Kickstarter is keeping backers in the loop throughout the whole process. As a creator you should always expect delays like the artwork taking longer than expected to finalize or the factory closing for two week for maintenance.

Then you have shipping, when handling so many orders that a playing card project naturally gets packages will get lost in the mail, people won't fill out the info form, decks get damaged or decks get returned to you. Its just probability that if you ship out 200 or 300 packages some packages will have issues. The right thing to do is to keep backers in the loop and being 100% upfront and honest when an issue arises.

What are your thoughts about the continuous strong growth of playing card projects on Kickstarter?
It's incredible. The playing card community as a whole does an amazing job at supporting independent creators. Its really cool to see all the decks people are coming out with.

Finally, what are your favourite playing card decks?
Hmmm so many to pick! I was inspired to do playing cards when Chris Chelko's Whispering Imps were on Kickstarter. For me the coolest thing was seeing somebody create an extremely beautiful deck that also tells a story in history so naturally thats my favorite deck. Dan and Dave also consistently put out really high quality decks, especially the Fulton Octobers and the Hi My Name Is Mark collaboration would be in my top five.

Great insights, Derek! Thank you and all the best! If want to support Deckades, you can find it on Kickstarter here

Deckades Playing Cards will be available in two editions: the 20's and 30's. Both decks are unique and fully customised. These elegantly crafted decks will be printed by USPCC. Pledge starts from $12. No other add-ons are available for this project.

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