The custom playing cards market has boomed over the past year, investment in crowd-funded decks has surged and new playing card designs and concepts are pushing the boundaries of the simple constraints of one tuck x four suits x thirteen cards.
No doubt, there are an incredible number of amazing decks out there and each deck is unique in its own way! So, how do you expand your collection? How do you know which decks to use for your stylish cardistry video? How do you impress your poker buddies at the weekly meet-up?
In the second of our popular "Top 12" series, we’ve collated 12 of our favorite custom decks to help you continue in this adventure. The playing cards featured below are a little harder to find but still reasonably affordable. As this series progresses, we will cover decks that are slightly harder to find and a little more expensive. Check out the first part here!
Enjoy the selection below. Difficulty scale from easy (1) to difficult (5). If you have one that we haven't discovered. Do feel free to share.
12. The Dawn of Flight
The Dawn of Flight Playing Cards is a fully custom deck inspired by the Golden Age of Aviation in the Art Deco era. Designed by Paul Roman Martinez these classy decks serve as an homage to aviation from the earliest days to the 1930s—a time defined by travel, art deco style and the spirit of adventure. Available in blue (Airplane) and in red (Airship), both printed by the USPCC.
Designed by StudioNumberONE and produced by Theory11, Rebels are a premium decks of cards inspired by modern street art. Mysterious and intricate, Rebels feature a custom-designed box, back design, Ace of Spades, and Joker. The backs proudly detail the United States Capitol Building, a timeless symbol of the nation's united spirit of independence.
10. Legends v1
Simply amazing cards! Illustrated by Mark Stutzman, the intricate "Dragon" back design is just incredibly detailed and eye catching. The somewhat standard faces help keep the look of the deck familiar for working professional. The handling of the deck is were most will be impressed, they are just very smooth and easy to work with. Just beautifully designed and full of amazing secrets to discover.
9. RUN Heat Edition
Produced by Murphy's Magic, the RUN Heat Edition captures detail, stunning looks and an attitude. Beautiful presentation with the outer shell case and just as impressive Crimson and Chrome tuck box makes RUN a unique concept. The deck is fully custom from every aspect in and out. Familiar yet different court cards tie the custom Jokers, Ace of Spades and stylized pips together. The decks also include a Gaff that can be used for various effects for your magic routine.
8. The Ultimate Deck
The Ultimate Deck is a one-of-a-kind, luxury deck of playing cards showcasing stunning works of art on every card. Produced in collaboration with award-winning design firm, Stranger & Stranger. Every single card is represented with a unique story, incorporating classical art, as well as works from todays leading illustrators. The Ultimate Deck features 54 unique works of art, and an elaborate back design. Packaged in a gorgeous tuck-case of extraordinary detail featuring embossed elements and foil accents.
7. The Hive
The Limited Edition Hive Playing Card is designed and illustrated by Brendan Hong and independently produced by Kings Wild Project. Inspired by classic playing card art, this fully customized 54 card deck that comes with its own unique court cards to customized back design to Bee inspired Ace of spades. The deck comes in matching set of blue and red back design.
6. Ornate Obsidian
The Limited Obsidian Edition decks are part of the very successful White Ornate series. Meticulously designed by Randy Butterfield, these beautiful decks exudes elegance which will elevate the impact of any magic or flourish routine, or add a high roller feel to your poker table. The tuck is truly mesmerising, crafted from a deep matte black vellum paper. The design has been carefully stamped in Black and Gold foil, giving the box a shimmer and shine. The inside of the tuck is coated in a solid wall of gold foil.
5. Special Edition Whispering Imps
The Whispering Imps are an original deck of playing cards illustrated by Mark Stutzman and inspired by American magician Harry Kellar's 'Whispering Imps' poster from 1894. Created by Chris Chelko, the "Special Edition" is a very limited edition deck of Whispering Imps. It features a brand new tuck box crafted from premium Starfire Red Vellum Paper embossed with Red Foil. The intricate card back design of the Whispering Imps is embossed with red foil on the back of the tuck box. Finally, the star pattern from the back design is printed with black ink on the inside of the box.
Bohemia is Uusi's second out of the eventual six deck series. The artwork of this eye-catching deck was inspired by the unlikely pairing of 17th-century Baroque style with contemporary, urban street art. Each have a flair for drama, tension and grandeur that when mixed together create one lush, combustible style! Every single card, right down to the pips and indices is individually hand-painted in varying shades of luminous blue for the dark suits of Spades and Clubs and lushly romantic red for the light suits of Hearts and Diamonds.
3. Branded Black Reserve Note
The Bicycle branded Reserve Note deck is the fifth deck released in the Federal 52 series. Inspired by US Reserve Notes of the early 1900s, the Reserve Note deck a completely new courts set from the Federal 52 series. The stunning embossing along with a hint of bright red foil just sets this deck apart, as well as Jackson Robinson's signature style for this series and the fully foiled tuck interior makes this an amazing center piece to any collection.
2. Seasons: Verana and Inverno
The Verana & Inverno are a set of playing cards that visually captures the changing seasons. Beautifully crafted by Alex Chin, this unique set stands out from other deck sets. These cards embrace two different illustrated artworks while still maintaining a consistency for the set. The back designs incorporate intricate flourishing enough to entrance any spectator. This summer and winter collection display class with beautifully complimenting silver and gold foiling and embossing across the set.
1. Tendril Ascendant
Tendril Ascendant is a worthy successors to the highly sought-after original Tendril playing cards. Its design incorporates all the refinements that Encarded have learned over the years and mixes those with the organic symmetry first seen in the original Tendril. The colors are bold, the borders are intense, the faces are dark and the level of detail has been increased. The tuck is printed on a soft-touch matte black paper with incredible metallic green details and subtle gloss black foil tendrils. Special edition shown on image.
The selection expressed in this top12 are solely those of the author.