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Review: Madison Dealers - Erdnase Green Playing Cards



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


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