Unfortunately the world of magic lost one of its great cardmen recently.
I never had the opportunity to meet the man, and don’t have any unique or personal stories to share about the incredible Ricky Jay. But you cannot study gambling sleights and the various methods of cheating at cards without learning of his unmatched expertise and undeniable talents in the field.
He was an incredible magician and performer. He starred in multiple TV shows and movies and was often seen slicing into watermelons by throwing cards at them with the finest precision.
I will continue to enjoy learning all that is available to me through his legacy of video productions and book publications.
As my humble tribute, I will share some of Ricky’s work below. The following clip is one of many examples of his mastery with a deck of cards.
I have been a fan of casino style cards since I started down this crazy path of gambling sleights and magic entertainment. I have a collection of used (trimmed) decks that I brought back from Vegas years ago. At the time, they needed to be divided between my luggage so that the added 3kg (about 30 different full decks!) could be checked. I have since condensed the collection down to the Ace of Spades from each – a much easier way to store them.
I enjoy casino decks because I’m a fan of gambling sleights and cheating routines. Most of the decks produced in the USA are either USPCC BEE or Aristocrat, making them great to handle, traditionally cut, borderless and high quality.
My Random Brick
Earlier this year I wanted to try some of the new casino style “knock off” decks, many of which simulate the almighty Jerry’s Nuggets – a rare and extremely valuable deck today.
Chicken Nuggets were a fun idea, I am not a fan of the plastic finish though. Gemini cards were also a nice tribute, they were better to handle but unfortunately were about to have their thunder stolen.
One deck went the way of simulating a casino that didn’t actually exist. It wasn’t a tribute. Instead, it had all the classic familiar features of old town Vegas, on a brand new original design.
My First Cherry Casino Deck
Included in my random brick was a deck of V3 True Black “Black Hawk” Cherry Casino Playing Cards.
I instantly loved the feel, the minimal design, the casino theme and the traditional cut. I found the Coke style ribbon on each side provided me excellent shade for push through shuffles – providing a faux border to help disguise when the cards are misaligned.
As a cheeky nod to the casino world, the decks include “Jackpot” cards instead of jokers. The perfect simplicity continues with the deck including a double back card and a black face card (great for my White Out and Parabox routines!), wasting nothing.
As I write this today, Cherry Casino True Black (V3 – Black Hawk) is easily my favourite deck of cards to use due to its versatility, its quality and its durability.
And then they were Blue!
Not long after I went slightly nuts over the Black Cherry Casino cards, the pre-release for the “Tahoe Blue” versions were announced.
This was the same awesome deck with an incredible metallic sheen on the new blue back design. Another instant favourite for me.
These sold out fairly quickly but not before I got my hands on a brick for my own use.
Cherries are Red!
I was watching a Magic Live stream when I noticed some of the artists were performing cards tricks using Cherry Casino cards … RED Cherry Casino Cards! They were specially printed as a promotional preview for the event and the trailer for the anticipated deck soon followed.
Matching the cherry logo makes this deck a mono-colour design on the back. The metallic red looks fantastic and I once again grabbed a brick for my supply.
All the Cherries …
Version 1 (2000 Decks)
Cherry Casino Cards didn’t start with black. They released 2000 decks of an Aqua version back in 2015.
Version 1 “House” Edition (500 Decks)
Along side the version 1 release was a very limited run of what was called the “House” deck. Today, both version 1 decks are rare and very hard to find.
Version 2 (2500 Decks)
Next they released a run of “black” decks which, compared to the V3 “True Black” decks, look more like a shade of grey by comparison.
Version 2 Limited Edition (1000 Decks)
The limited edition of Version 2 Black (1000 decks)
Version 3 Aqua (Sold Out)
Along Side the V3 (True Black), an Aqua Edition, resembling V1, was also printed.
Set for a Limited Time
This makes a total of 8 versions of Cherry Casino playing Cards available of which I currently have 6.
I have all but the House edition of the Cherry Casino decks. Unfortunately the House edition, if you can find a sealed deck, would cost me over AU$300 to buy and import so I won’t be getting that one. Besides, I am no longer a collector.
I will no doubt be selling the full set of these rare and sought after cards very soon but before that time I took some quick photos of them all together while I had the opportunity.
A few days after writing my article, there was a new listing put up on eBay that includes all 8 Cherry decks in brand new and sealed condition. With a total price tag of over AU$800 to import, it will end up way too expensive for me to even consider buying but hey … Christmas is coming! 😉
Here are the photos that were included with that add featuring all 8 versions of the Cherry Casino playing cards decks together:
The routine “Hold’Em Hands” is a simple poker hand demonstration that utilises the Texas Hold’Em community cards. A small packet of face down hole cards is spread through one at a time. Each time there are different hole cards face up that (when combined with the community cards) display every possible poker hand in the game.
This video was shot in one take with no edits used as part of the effect. It was a secondary project while I was filming the demo for a new card effect. It is a simple routine that is not designed to be flashy.
It has evolved from 3 core ideas:
I wanted to create a Poker Hand Demonstration using the Texas Hold’Em Community Cards
I wanted to incorporate a “Twisting the Aces” style presentation where different cards (the required cards) would appear face up in the deck.
The final reveal of the Royal Flush with the community cards.
The challenges came from deciding on a set of community cards that could support every single poker hand with the addition of having only a small packet of hole cards to cycle through for the routine.
I like that this routine can be enjoyed on a few levels. Lay people can either watch or interact by guessing the next hands to appear. Magicians and Gamblers working (or anyone who watches to work out the method) will no doubt spot a few popular sleights, but will also hopefully be surprised by a few aspects of the handling.
I will release a free video tutorial soon demonstrating the method behind this routine and some others I have recently created.
As things get busier out IRL, things do get quieter here on my website. This is not reflective of my card work and magic practice. My days have been filled with learning new tricks, new sleights and, most importantly, working on some great new ideas.
Over the the last few weeks, I have created and updated multiple new routines to add to my live set and to potentially sell. Whenever I get a wave of creative inspiration like this, I know not to waste it.
I have created so much in the last few months, it has been hard to find the time to note it all down. Some of my new tricks include a fun new torn card reveal, an ACAAN effect and an impossible card penetration illusion called “Beeline” that (even though I know how it works) still sometimes fools me!
I am cautious not to go into too much detail before releasing my creations so I can protect and properly copyright the ideas. For now, the goal is simply to test and fine tune everything as much as possible.
REFINING, REHEARSING, RECORDING
The time has come to produce demos and instructional videos for the stronger of my multiple new tricks.
This is always great fun, but very time consuming. I have tested my new 4k equipment regularly filming songs with my band Walker St and I now have a powerful new laptop capable of editing the UHD footage to professional standards.
My new illusion trick “Beeline” will be produced and released first as it is a routine that requires very little spectator interaction to demonstrate. The other routines are much more interactive so I will need to wrangle friends and family to be involved to film them effectively.
SO HERE’S THE PLAN
The time has come for me to structure a solid 30-45 minute routine that I can perform regularly and reliably to build up the match practice I need to move forward in this craft.
In the coming months, I plan to visit as many people as I can (as many as will have me!) to practice my brand new (and first ever!) live card magic / gambling demonstration show. I look forward to finally demonstrating what I have been working on and hearing everyone’s feedback.
During the performances I will take the opportunity to video some demos of my original work and catch people’s reactions. The videos will have much more effect when filmed in front of spectators and will better demonstrate the routines to those who may wish to purchase and perform the tricks themselves.
So … who’s in?
HERE’S ONE I PREPARED EARLIER
Meanwhile, as you wait for my new videos you can check out all of my previous video releases on Penguin Magic.