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Top 12: Playing Card Decks Selected by Jeremy Griffith

The custom playing cards market has boomed over the past year, investment in crowd-funded decks have surged and new designs and concepts are pushing the boundaries of the simple constraints of one tuck x four suits x thirteen cards.

A real “expert at the card table”, Jeremy Griffith or popularly known as @lost_angelus on Instagram is one of the most knowledgeable card men around. With his background in mathematics, Jeremy has an unparalleled understanding of different card mechanics. Here are his Top 12 playing cards (Jeremys' comments in italics):

12. Gemini Casino: Vegas Blue

Gemini is a fictional casino deck inspired by classics like Jerry's Nugget and Dunes Casino playing cards. Created by Estonian designer Toomas Pintson, Gemini was made to look like a vintage deck you might find in an old Las Vegas warehouse from the ’70s.

Jeremy: This is a throwback deck that just won't give up. The longest lasting deck I've used so far.

11. Three Little Pigs

Produced by Pure Imagination Projects (PIP) and designed by Joe White of Ye Olde Studio, the Three Little Pigs playing cards are inspired by the classic fable. Featuring original hand-drawn artwork, the story of the Three Little Pigs is brilliantly translated into cards.

Jeremy: Few people pull off 'Whimsical' better than Derek McKee. This deck has a gorgeous back paired with a great storybook face.

10.  Cherry v3

The Cherry Casino Playing Cards is a modern take on a retro casino-styled deck. Simple and effective, the backs are minimalistic and features a white swoosh and twin cherries design.

Jeremy: Also a PIP / Derek McKee deck, this one has one of the most luxurious stocks I've ever used, crushed Bee stock from USPCC.

9. Bee "Erdnasium" Squeezers

From Conjuring Arts Research Center and Dan&Dave, the Bee "Erdnaseum" Squeezers deck is an exact reproduction of an early 1900′s classic. The card backs have been imprinted with an original Scott Kim ambigram that says, “S.W. Erdnase” or “W.E. Sanders” when turned end-for-end.

Jeremy: This is my Go-To borderless deck. It's just well made and very very affordable.

8. Mint Limited Edition

From 52Kards, the Mint Limited Edition playing cards provide a merger of form and function. The elegant borderless back design features beautiful tri-color design with gold line accents and masks an incredibly intuitive marking system for the clever magician to take advantage of. The deck showcases gorgeous semi-custom courts, custom pips and indices, custom Ace of Spades and a minimalistic custom tuck box with embossed gold foil and interior printing.

Jeremy: This deck is so hard to come by that I barely use it. But if I had a heavy stock of it, this would probably be in my top 3.

7. The Casual Deck

Simple, sleek and modern. Designed by Paul Robaia, the Casual Playing Cards features a minimal geometric back-design with simplified face cards and a soothing color palette throughout.

Jeremy: Odd looking and totally "Everyday Carry" worthy

6. Road House

From Ellusionist, The Road House Playing Cards are a version of the classic Steamboat deck. Designed with gamblers and card players in mind, but also smooth for magicians. The deck features borderless designs on high quality, thin stock and.traditionally cut, soft-glide finish.

Jeremy: Oban and Daniel made a borderless deck that has a quality out of all proportion to its price point.


VISA Playing Cards is a collaboration between founder Alex Pandrea and magician Patrick Kun. The concept of the deck is based on travel, discovery, and exploration. The deck features a Japanese artwork which represents Asia and includes simplified standard court cards with metallic ink accents along with custom Ace of Spades and Jokers.

Jeremy: Crushed stock that feels like the original Absolute Vodka deck. It just feels like the cards meld into whatever my handling style is.

4. Green Monarchs 

Released by Theory11, the Green Monarchs was the latest edition of the popular luxury deck back in 2015. The deck feature brilliant gold foil on an embossed, forest green tuck case and composed of two layers. It is the most durable tuck case Theory11 has ever made.

Jeremy: I enjoy the cards very much, but for this one, it's the re-enforcement on the tuck box that had me buying bricks of these

3. Vintage Plaid v2

From the Buck twins, the Vintage Plaid Playing Cards is a classy deck that features an embossed tuck complete with gold lettering, and in addition, all around back-design printing within. Not only have the tuck box been recreated, the Buck twins have gone a step further and created an all new Ace of Spades along with two Jokers and an all new typeface that adds a sleek component to the deck’s already rugged yet refined feel.

Jeremy: This deck speaks for itself. It's harder to come by, but worth every penny. Simple, elegant and just a damn good deck of cards.

2. Fulton's Casino v1

Reminiscent of vintage playing cards from casino's like Jerry's Nugget, the Ace Fulton's Casino Playing Cards combine that retro style with a modern stock and finish. Fully custom, no detail was left unnoticed, including a few "security". Printed by the US Playing Card Company

Jeremy: I was gifted a bunch of these by my friend Elliott on my Wedding Day, and from the moment I opened them, I knew these would be ones I only opened on special occasions 

1. Republic No. 02

Republic #2 is the second release in the Republic brand from the Ellusionist Playing Card Co. The clean and simplistic theme and layout draws the eye and makes fan and color change stand-out! Everything about Republic #2 has been distilled to deliver a pure experience.

Jeremy: Long out of print, this deck is still one of my favorites. If you know me at all, then you know me and this deck have a long history, and I created its sequel out of a love for the original. 

Top 12: Playing Card Decks Selected by Jeremy Griffith Reviewed by Ivan on 6/28/2017 Rating: 5

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