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PhotobucketMy idea of an obnoxious magician is one who struts around like a peacock and acts like he is the greatest thing since peacocks.

The strutting around is sometimes not physical. It also happens figuratively on online forums.

Someone writes a Yoda-like post and counsels everyone against the use of unfamiliar magic props. To be amazing, he pontificates, a magician must use only ordinary, everyday objects in his performance.

And then he proceeds to declare that he uses Black Tiger playing cards when doing card tricks.

The irony is so pure you can almost hear someone cue for a canned laughter.

PhotobucketA similar thing happened to me in real life. A magician railed against magicians who love to use nondescript, garishly painted, out-of-this-world magic props. After spending some time complaining about unusual magic props and dispensing Yodaisms of magic, he fished out of his pocket a black, nondescript, somberly painted, out-of-this-world Black Tiger playing cards.

At that moment, my real life became surreal.

Now, I don’t have anything against Black Tiger playing cards, or any of the arcane brands of playing cards. Trust me, I love playing cards.

If you go to Ellusionist, you will find several brands of playing cards designed exclusively for magicians. There is, for example, the Infinity playing cards (it boasts of performance coating finish), Arcane Playing Cards (it embodies everything a magician is [whatever that means]; Artifice (it possesses the dark psychology of artifice and deception), and Black Tiger (it claws its way into your card handling).

PhotobucketAnd now the latest offering is the Arrco US Regulation playing cards. They have been out of print for several years. Recently, the New York Magic Project commissioned a special, custom run of White Arrcos for magicians to play with.

Those playing cards are engineered (so their ads claim) to improve handling and the performance of magic tricks. They have beautiful back designs, come with custom indexes and Court cards, multi-level embossing and debossing and many other features.

Fine. I have no quarrel with that. I’m sure they are excellent playing cards to use for performing magic tricks.

My issue is against magicians who say they dislike using uncommon objects, articles or props when performing magic, and then proceed to false shuffle, do hot-shot cuts and perform tricks with one of those arcane, for magician-use-only playing cards.

If you fulminate against the use of queer, unusual or exotic magic paraphernalia, then don’t use curious-looking brands of playing cards.

In case you didn’t notice, no lay person plays with Infinity, Arcane, Artifice, Black Tiger or Arcco playing cards. At least not in this country. To the ordinary citizens of the Philippines, even the most unlucky member of Gamblers anonymous, those cards don’t look ordinary. Or even feel right. For all they know, those are marked or gimmicked cards. They probably will not play poker using them.

At the risk of sounding like a skipping CD, let me state my position again: I have no issues with those brands of playing cards. My issue is with magicians who profess to hate uncommon magic props but use arcane playing cards to perform card tricks.

PhotobucketIf you hate unfamiliar props, then don’t use playing cards except Bicycle, Bee or Hoyle.


PhotobucketEven I, a magician in the Philippines, have been using only Bicycle playing cards since I was still a cute, cuddly and cooing baby. To me, Bicycle cards are the most ordinary of all magician’s props.

I think I’m pissed off already. When I start expressing myself in Spanish, I’m usually pissed off.

Stay magical,