Last week I made a little survey on playing card sizes. These are the results.
144 magicians responded:
28.5% (41 ) women , 68.1% (98 ) men, 0.7% (1 ) other and 2.8% (4 ) did not disclose their gender.
Of the 144 responses:
35.4% (51 ) said they would have use for a bridge sized deck of cards, 38.9% (56 ) said ‘No’, and 25.7% (37) said ‘Maybe’.
Genders and biases, or lack thereof
A graphical view of the gender distribution within each answer show that the ratios are pretty close to each other. There’s is a small gender bias, but it not as big as I had expected, which was somewhat of a surprise to me.
To be complete, let’s also take a look at a graphical representation of the distribution of answers within each gender.
Once again, the disparity between the graphs are not huge.
The survey also had a non-mandatory field for comments. Here’s a sampling.
The Yes replies
Magic pals that taught me all use Bicycle or decks printed in the USA and then treat them with face powder or that magic commercial roughing stuff. I have very small hands but have managed coin work, standard cards and even classical guitar. I would work with our standard and try the roughing fluid and any American made deck, Bee or other brands are okay too. It’s a classical standard but the extra anxiety into new and fresh patter and story. Wishing you the best of everything and prosperity in your work, and I enjoyed reading your paragraphs!
This is a great idea! I would also want common gaffed cards in bridge size to match (like double facers, double backers, blanks, etc.).
Card manipulation is so tough with my small hands, it would be fantastic to have other options besides Bicycle.
I have been an advocate of Bridge size since I started learning. Sadly the guys laugh and deride me and don’t bother to teach me the sleights as they think using bridge size means no ability!
I know that bridge size cards were hard for me to find when I was younger so I just used the poker size with my tiny hands, and probably discouraged me from learning better card tricks till I was older. I think this can be very beneficial to younger magicians and people with small hands like us
Bridge size works fine. I don’t know if there is a “problem” using bridge size if one is used to poker size But that might only apply to card nerds. Bridge size works just as fine, I might just get used to the feeling of holding a smaller deck.
I really like the Piatnik ones. I got a bunch at a magic auction and they have gimmicked decks too ^_^ I’m not sure if they’re still in business, I don’t do that much card magic so these have been lasting me a long time. Could send you a deck if you like ^_^
Yes! I have had to find many workarounds… Namely having to do certain effects with poker size decks and others with bridge size … It gets annoying
I have never felt bad about using bridge size cards. People have tried to make me feel bad about it, but those same people never noticed until they asked to borrow my cards. There are so many things to feel bad about in this world, cards should only bring you joy!
I have had only one bridge sized deck and I liked it very much. After that I learned how to use a “normal sized” deck. Because all the different gimmicks and different card decks was found in that size. I struggled a lot and I still do when i learn new sleight if hand tricks. I often drop card etc. I have made it work, but I would love to go back to bridge sized decks. They are so much easier for me to handle.
I don’t think it matters a good card trick is a good card trick now matter what the size…size really doesn’t always matter.
Bridge size are so much easier to use and it would definitely help a young magician like myself to practice slights.
I love the smaller size myself, and these are gorgeous!
I prefer bridge size I can manipulate easier. But yes a lot of these cards are sticky and good bridge size hard to find.
Easier to palm and also Bridge size is the standard size in Scandinavia and maybe also in Europe?
If there were good bridge cards with good double facers (MacDonald’s Aces) I’d use them in a flash.
I often use bridge size cards, depending of the trick. With quite small hands as I have, it feels more secure e.g. when palming
All my decks are bicycles apart from one Phoenix deck(gaffed) I would definitely use bridge sized bikes as I have relatively small hands and have always struggled with palming!! So a decent smaller deck would suit me.
I use bicycles primarily (especially Rider Back), not because of the recognizable brand, but because of the card stock and particularly the finish. I have a collection of many “premium” and “designer” cards. But despite the fact they are more expensive than Bicycles, almost none of them fan, spread, or otherwise handle as well as Bicycles. So I recommend putting a finish on your cards that will be exactly the same as, or as close to the same as possible, to Bicycles. The cards Tom designed are beautiful, by the way. *Note also that there are quite a few magicians I’ve encountered (female AND male) who consider their hands too small for palming
Personally I also use bridge sized cards too and fully agree that the versions on the market aren’t amazing. I use the Bicycle brand myself and I think they’re fine but I sometimes resort to using poker sized playing cards because they just feel better in terms of quality. Would be great to see good quality bridge sized cards on the market!
I like to use the Waddington make of cards, they are the most common for the UK.
Magicians have this thing about using cards that AREN’T easily available to “normal” humans! Use what works for you. You can also get quite a nice bit of chat if you use two different decks, one from USPCC lets say and one waddingtons – because USPCC are right handed cards – but Waddy’s are ambidextrous (try fanning left handed – you’ll see what I mean!)
The best decks I ever had were about 40 years a go and made by Enardo Later it was sold to a chinese company who took the design but the quality was far from the original linen one.
I’ve noticed that magicians in other countries often use bridge sized cards; yet the market here in the US doesn’t reflect it.
I’m running a cardshop (kortleksbolaget.se) and there is about 2 promille bridge size playing cards in shop. I think its a good idea to bring more of bridge size playing cards back.
Sometimes Bridge size is better. Easier to palm, and if you stuck two cards together it’s not so visible because of the smaller size.
Have always preferred bridge size cards.
I have tiny hands. I practice with poker-sized cards, but I would love a nice bridge sized deck for performances.
Having smaller hands bridge size cards means i can do things i can’t with poker size. Audiences don’t care about the size of the cards if your tricks are good enough
I absolutely love using bridge sized cards. A lesson from studying martial arts: practice with a heavier staff than the one I’d actually use. That way when using the real thing it feels easy. I used to do the same with cards. Practice with poker sized but perform with bridge sized cards. Mostly they just feel more right to me. Since bridge sized cards are far more common in the UK than bridge cards.
My hands are on the smaller scale, nice bridge cards would be appreciated
If enough interest, a marking system would be great. But not essential!
I too prefer smaller size bridge cards as I have small hands and really struggle with standard poker size.
With smaller hands, I enjoy bridge decks.
I have a TV card frame that uses bridge size cards.
I have small hands for a man and my fingers are not so nimble – I am 64. I am very interested in your idea and a marked deck version too.
I have a standard palm size but stubby sausage fingers which make some moves impossible and a lot of others difficult. I’d love to have some nice alternatives.
I only use poker size cards as that is what the magic shops sell and what other (mainly US) magicians seem to use. I do like the bicycle quality and feel. I’m a man with smaller hands and cannot hide a poker size card in a conventional palm. Growing up in the UK I always used bridge size cards, usually Waddingtons No. 1, but they don’t fan or spread like USPC cards.
Being a smaller size physically, a bridge size deck of cards would be easier to handle, including gaff cards.
me resulta interesante pensar en una baraja BRIDGE con buena calidad, pienso que se podria ir tanteando el terreno con juegos donde no sea necesaria una baraja completa, por ejemplo las 6 cartas de Tamariz, o un juego que no recuerdo el nombre que son 4 ases que cambian de lugar con unos que estan depositados en un atril, por ahi esas que son apenas unas 10 o 15 cartas poder encontrarlas en bridge, y asi ir entrando en el mercado, con luego una baraja para poder mezclarlas. firstname.lastname@example.org me gustaria saber como sigue este proceso, gracias
Bridge size over Poker size any day – but I’m biased, because I’m a Brit. In the UK, you do NOT generally see Poker size decks. UK Magicians may say Poker decks are popular – but they clearly don’t get out much. Fox Lake used to be my preferred card every time. Oh what happy days. Using the Aristocrat Banknote back design would be pretty cool – I’d buy a brick instantly! When will they be available? Do you take PayPal? However, please print them blue and RED……not the awful bloody brown colour back design that the USPCC used, when they reintroduced Aristocrats 10 years ago. Nor indeed the very dark casino red ink on the pips. In far from ideal lighting conditions that we often work, 5 minutes spent performing Out of this World can fall flat on its arse with the visually impaired.
The No replies
Almost all decks out there is in poker size and I have got used to that size. Important to add is that I have big hands.
My hands are admittedly rather large compared to most women. Standard cards fit me fine. However I would be absolutely thrilled for those for which quality bridge cards would be a great fit!
I’m really happy using the existing Bicycle bridge sized cards. I also use bridge sized cards for manipulation and flourishes – that are branded.
There are a few moves that give me trouble with a poker sized deck but I can usually construct workarounds or fold a bit of attention direction into those moments to get away with it. There are people who do card sleights with no fingers or even no hands and the secret is that they have to come up with their own sleights. Bridge sized cards aren’t hard to come by in my experience, but what is hard to find is bridge sized gaffs and gimmicks. Unless your plan is to create a replica of all those in bridge size, I can’t see there being a huge take up. That said, love the back design. If you did a poker sized run of it I’d buy a pack or two.
The most important thing when choosing cards is that you pick the right ones for you. Size is irrelevant if it makes you feel more comfortable and the outcome is that you perform better with them. I have never used bridge size myself but that was a personal decision based on the fact I mainly perform with cards and wanted to force myself to learn sleights in the more traditional way. I also feel more comfortable with poker size even with small hands. That’s perhaps because I have been used to handling them from a young age and there wasn’t much choice when buying gaff decks / cards either… That has now changed. Don’t worry about what anyone thinks, do what’s right for you x
I personally completely avoid card magic but would see there being significant interest. Kids getting started in magic and magicians of smaller physical stature.
I would definately buy an Arkane deck if the option to have it autographed was avaliable!
I have gotten used to handling Poker size cards, both shuffling and dealing, so I would not like to change sizes. Also, I have a few gaffed cards that I can sneak into play, so they would not fit my routine.
I have large hands and bridge-sized cards look too small in them.
Hi, Even though I don’t have big hands, poker size cards and their size, the width to height ratios is… just right. There is something “off” with bridge cards, which are more like small tarot cards.
I have used bridge size cards all my life—so far. I won’t change. I have about four dozen brand new Aviators. I bought several gross about and these 45 years ago are the remains. I was brought up on Waddingtons No1 and Alf Cooke’s Universal bridge size. This was in the days when they were quality. Alf Cooke’s disappeared centuries ago and Waddingtons are okay if you don’t get too fancy.
I’m used to poker size and doubt that I will switch. Also, I am a frequent user of Bicycle Mandolin backs marked decks, which is why I’m using Mandolin backs for everything now, even for non-marked decks.
There was a time in the US when gaffs were almost exclusively made only in bridge size. So I guess for many older US magicians, the Poker size became associated with “serious” sleight of hand, and they avoided the bridge size. Charlie Miller once wrote an essay on how the bridge dimensions are closer to the “golden ratio” and therefore objectively more attractive. None of that worked.
I never use Bridge size cards. Always poker size.
Have you tried Carta Mundi cards? They will print your design on the back using high quality stock. You can also agree with them about plastic finish or not etc.
They have to be faro shuffle-able!
My hands are too big to make use of a bridge-size deck. I imagine there would be some market for this product, but for most magicians who have been using regulation size cards, I don’t see them switching to bridge. I could be wrong, though. Really interesting idea.
Would definetly give them a try and add them to my collection.
I’d gladly use them, but I will probably keep to poker for my buying needs. I have tiny hands, too, so honestly, bridge size would probably be better for me, but I’ve just adapted to a life of not palming cards. Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you can get near-bicycle quality cards in single decks from MakePlayingCards.com . Use the highest quality deck without a minimum order. It’s not exactly bicycle, but it’s very, very close. Best of luck. PS – your back designs are beautiful!
I wouldn’t be a buyer. I’m used to poker sized cards and have little motivation to change deck size. I did have one deck of bridge sized cards. I numbered the backs to help me learn a stack. But even then they felt awkward in my hands and I quickly switched back to poker size. Just personal preference. But it doesn’t bother me what anyone else uses. I recently saw an effect done with a deck that had all the cards pre torn in half. Hope that helps. Cheers.
I do not use cards that much in my work and very rarely do any slights with them so I do not care much about the size. So do not pay to much attention to my preferences on this matter. But I can say one thing regarding the use of bridge size cards. I had the pleasure to meet one of the great inovators of card magic, Jerry Andrus; his hands were big, like those of someone who works with his hands, he used bridge size cards.
Nikola, use whatever type of cards you wish.
I am from a place, where regular card size is bridge size (or even smaller). So all card games we had played in childhood were with bridge cards, and the first magic I started to perform was with these cards. But when I found about American card size and got hold of one deck – it was a game-changer. Of course, the paper quality was way better, but the size makes these cards æsthetically more beautiful. I have quite small hands, I struggled a lot with bigger size, but I overcome it. Once I bought a Bicycle bridge deck, just for fun. It looked ugly, it felt ugly.
Rather practice with a larger card in case needing to use a borrowed deck for impromptu. They seem to be more prevalent in the average household.
I’ve become so used to poker size over 35 years that It would feel strange to use bridge size. If I had to, I would probably get used to them but only if my life depended on it!! I think a magician should use what ever suits them, and who cares what anyone thinks! Obviously a cheap Woolworths brand won’t look too cool but it’s what you do with them that counts in the end.
The Maybe replies
I prefer standard cards as my hands are large enough, but my daughter would definitely love a brick of high quality bridge size cards! Please consider making the indices larger than standard and the cut suitable for perfect faros, like the Phoenix Large Index decks.
Contact Card Shark in Germany. He has experience with good quality card deck printing companies and brought out his own deck for magicians which has been widely accepted in Germany. There is a company in France which I have bought bridge size card decks from in good quality for about 35ct a deck. 4,50€ for a set of 12 decks. Almost Bicycle quality. Right now I use it for my ambitious card routine which uses up two cards each time I perform. Unfortunately this batch is sold out and won’t be produced any more.
I use poker cards mainly but bridge is good for certain cardistry moves
Hi Nikola, we have our cards printed in Germany, by Christian Schenk at CardShark. He is the best in the business. Tell him we sent you…
Your cards look beautiful!! I’ve considered using bridge size cards before since I have small hands and would love to learn palming. Unfortunately, most of the gaff cards/special decks are made with poker-size Bicycle backs so I decided to just stick with poker-size Bicycle decks so it wouldn’t raise suspicions. Plus, normal Bicycle decks are less expensive and can be bought in bulk at Costco.
I struggle with most cards as I have little hands. I think there should be cards for female magicans that fit better in hands .x
I think providing good quality, bridge sized cards for smaller hands to manipulate and manoeuvre is valuable.
My hands are big enough to use regular sized cards so I haven’t really tried working with bridge size. I have three decks, bike red and blue, and Queen’s Slipper I got in Australia but I haven’t used them. I don’t do any effects that require card palming, but if bridge cards were more readily available, I might consider using them more. I can only JUST palm a card with regular! As it stands though, I don’t think about getting into bridge size because they’re hard to come by and more expensive.
So many gimmicks and specialty decks are made with poker sized decks. I would be worried that I would get used to smaller cards and be limited.
I can see this being a great thing for people who have petite hands! I’m surprised that it isn’t already more of a thing. I know my sister would have trouble doing slights with a poker sized deck if she were interested in magic and I know that I have thought before that it would make sense to have slightly smaller cards.
I think it is a good idea to have a smaller deck for women and for kids to learn magic. It would make it easier for kids who want to really learn magic. I don’t do alot if card magic. But I can see a use for these
Bridge cards are much more comfortable for back-palming, and palming in general. If you can find a way to make them, then market them as ideal for “multiple card productions” etc, you might be Able tap into that market 🙂
I like the Bicycle Bridge Size decks. It would be cool to have one of your decks in my collection, just because it is you, but for all practical purposes, there are already so many good decks on the market.
I don’t think laypeople would care what cards you are using so long as the effect is good. Magicians have hang ups about not using them just like they do about only using Bicycle Rider Backs because supposedly people won’t think they are gaffed. Never understood that one. In fact, if you say all magicians using Bikes, wouldn’t you tend to think they are all in on something and that maybe they are all gaffed? I say you be you! Jerry Andrus made quite a career for himself and he used bridge-sized cards frequently.
For years, Bicycle was THE deck for magic. With the explosion of new back designs/decks, that isn’t so. Same with poker vs bridge size cards. One should use whatever feels right to them.
I’d feel weird bringing out a deck that has someone else’s name on the box. I don’t have the Derren Brown cards for this reason. However, “Arkane” by itself could be a strong brand, so using the last name only is a good compromise. Given how expensive custom decks can be, and how many decks most magicians go through in a year, I suspect most who would like bridge sized cards will do the math and just settle for the less vibrant Bicycles. The design is lovely but I personally can only see myself buying one, maybe two, just to have something different to play with. I’d not be buying bricks every couple of months.
Try Waddingtons Number 1.
Jerry Andrus preferred bridge-sized cards. His explanation was that the ratio of the length to the width is close to the Golden Mean of mathematics. I collect fanning decks for exhibition card fans, and most fanning decks are bridge-sized–except the recent Art of Play Pau Doux replica decks which are poker-sized.
I have created one trick that is based on a packet of four cards turning into a single jumbo card cut in four. This only works if the four cards are bridge sized. So maybe. But I have pretty big hands, so I’m probably not the target market for this.
I am a collector of playing cards. I have a few different kinds, one of my favorites is Hoyle because they are coated with plastic. I do have a few bridge sets because I enjoy the old designs. But I don’t use them for magic, in fact most of them are purely for collecting. I’m curious why you enjoy the bridge size, they kind of play like tarot but I’m guessing you have small hands. My recommendation would be to make a poker sized run for the general public. And a limited run, say twice as many as you would need personally in bridge size. Red wood be nice for poker, and maybe green for bridge, just a suggestion though. I would be careful not to stretch the design but to make a smaller slimmer one. Sometimes people make the mistake of skewing in place of custom sized designs. But my best advice is to simply see it as doing both at different sized runs. I think the design is great, I would definitely appreciate a few poker sized myself, but would probably get both. I’m pretty sure Bicycle still makes bridge size and have a few traditional painted ones as well. Just contact the custom division and let them know what you’re interested in.
Hi Nikola. I often use Waddingtons Bridge cards and I’ve published some of my packet tricks in bridge size.
I’m left handed, and therefore when fanning cards the indices (indexes?!) are hidden. Waddingtons cards are bridge sized AND have four indices, and have often thought I should use them; however, I think the back designs (at least the ones I’ve seen) are very dated. Use whatever cards suit your hands! Simple.
I got the hand size more suited for bridge sized cards. But over time I’ve gotten so used to making do with poker sized, that I don’t know if I would change at this point. However I would certainly give it a go. Especially if simple gimmick cards like blank face cards was available. So I could still do my favourite routines.
I personally fall under the thing with male performers using poker sized cards as we’re “supposed to”, I have really big hands and don’t personally see a use for bridge size cards. I guess the availability would be good for people who are in need of such cards though, and as thus I vote “Maybe”.
The availability of gaffed cards is a consideration when choosing cards to use for performances.
If was given them, I would use them as I have used Bicycle bridge sized cards in the past (I still have a dozen or so fresh decks). However, I would not seek them out. I use mostly poker sized cards now.
I used Bridge sized when I first started in magic but later changed to Poker because of the availability of more gaffs. It had nothing to do with size of hands or consideration of my audience, who never care what you use as long as they are entertained.. Should you produce a high quality bridge deck I would certainly try them out but couldn’t see myself returning exclusively to bridge sized. Let me know when you have some for sale. (I’ll take a brick) Best of luck with this project.
I haven’t seen bridge-sized cards for many years, so I don’t know how much difference as I used them. However, it is an interesting point to raise, as I agree that it seems impossible to find non-USPCC cards that feel as good as Bicycle or related cards. If the bridge-sized cards were of comparable quality, I can imagine I might find them preferable to the larger size.
I’d recommend a full sized index for use in card magic. The smaller indices are tough to read from a distance.
According to the numbers, there seems to be a market for a narrow sized deck of cards. Gender doesn’t seem to be a big factor. From the comments it seems clear that there’s an unhealty attitude in the magic community that have a polarizing effect. While a few people exposed to the Poker size snobbery decide to overcome the limitations and become experts, for most it leads to abandonment. Sometimes permanent, while a few return to card magic years later. That attitude need to be fought and stopped – no one should be made ashamed over their hand size. No one should have their enjoyment of card magic extinguished over a trite matter like card size.
By comments elsewhere, on forums and Facebook, it seems that many have the notion that the only problems with small hands and poker size cards are a small number of specific sleights (classic palm, the pass…), but it is more all-encompassing than that. Even basic things like keeping a littlefinger break under the top card can be tricky.
From the responses it is also clear that the price is a factor.
Availability of gaffed cards and trick decks also seem to be a factor. In most cases, that can be solved without custom printing as most of the common trick decks consist of rearranged or modified cards (one-way forcing deck, Mene-Tekel deck, Invisible Deck, Brainwave). But it would probably be good with a collection of custom printed gimmick and gaff cards.
A “normal” look also seem to be desired. It would be awesome if USPCC’s discontinued Aristocrat 414 Narrow Size could be reissued with the properties we magicians want, as that design is both beautiful and subtle.
Now, after you have seen the numbers and have read the comments… what do you think should happen next? Is it any idea to pursue this? Ideas and suggestions are welcome.