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Review: Empire Playing Cards

A big milestone in my career was the day I stepped from out of the shadows of my boss and did it myself… It was a complete cock-up.

Then there are guys like Lee McKenzie. Lee, once an artist for that company that gets way more hate than it deserves for regurgitating decks in different colours that we still buy because we secretly like them and want them for our ever expanding collection. Lee has recently left that company to build his own; Kings and Crooks.

The first deck for Lee on his own turf was Empire. Blisteringly successful, his project shone with the force of a thousand suns to burn a hole in enough pockets to make Brad tremble a little. It was this deck that saw Lee with Success on Kickstarter and release a deck for magicians and collectors now hard to get your hands on.

Why is Empire so hard to get a hold of these days? Those that had them for sale have sold them, those that bought them have kept them, and I dropped a deck in to the pool, so there’s one less deck to be had.

Empire will likely remain the most sought after Kickstarter deck for us. Even though we can no longer get them, I am constantly bombarded with requests to restock them, however Empire was a limited release and there is just no more to be had. We live in hope for an unlimited release in the future.

Does it work? 

I was, as my wife put it “Embarrassing yourself again Joseph” by practicing in public with this deck, a complete stranger walks up to me and says “that’s a fine deck of cards you have there” and then just walked away, I didn’t even get a chance to tell him where to buy it from. Sure I was taken aback, but I think it is a testament as to how well the deck works.

This deck has a bag of tricks too, the six of heats reveal and the subtle one way feature. Empire is functional and collectable.

The art

Lee McKenzie… ‘Nuff said.

What I don’t like

That I don’t have anymore.

What I do like

What I like is this deck is completely customised, and completely functional. Unlike other highly popular, fully customised decks, this one serves its owner well in the usability category. I also like that they handle just as good as about every other high quality deck ever printed by the USPCC.

Empire! Uhh, what is it good for? Absolutely anything

Want to play poker? Go ahead. Are you a magician? A deck doesn’t come any better. Need a bookmark? Lee has you covered with a box full of them that will make your fellow book club members jealous. Good for XCM and flourishing and also highly collectable, this deck gets my highest rating ever… three thumbs up.

This review is written by Joey Heininger for kardify. No part of this review can be reproduced without written permission from the author. You can check out Joey's Australian based online playing card store at Use discount code KARDIFY to save 10% for orders above $50.
Review: Empire Playing Cards Reviewed by Ivan on 5/08/2014 Rating: 5

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