Reviewer: Madame Curator
In the right hands, the unassuming marked deck is a diabolical magician’s tool. But what exactly makes a good marked deck? Obviously, a good organic design is key. That aside, the clarity of its marking system is equally as important. Your favourite (marked) deck would be the one you essentially use all the time because it is 100% reliable, and extra marks (pun intended) are scored if its price point is affordable.
Priced at US$5 per deck by the dozen, Penguin Magic’s Marked Cards are all that, and much more. As pictured, they look remarkably similar to your regular red Bicycle decks. There is no reason why your audience would even suspect they’re gimmicked. The markings are clear and easy to read and because they are placed in six different areas on the back of the cards, glimpsing the selected card becomes a breeze. There’s no issue whatsoever in how you use the deck; ribbon spread, messed up on the table, performed in the hands, it’s completely up to you.
Sighting the marks is effortless and you get access to 2 video downloads via your Penguin Magic account; one that is over an hour long from the ever creative Rick Lax, and another that is about half an hour presented by the affable Jon Armstrong. I’d recommend you watch Rick’s video first as he takes you through the workings of the deck before launching into several wicked effects with a fun bunch of people. Jon’s tutorial video takes you even deeper into the possibilities of this diabolical tool. Besides their personal handling of the deck, both share their magic theory on the all important aspect of TIMING because when utilising a marked deck. It is crucial to know when and how to peek. Doing a bad job would make it look all too obvious, giving the secret away.
What else is unique about Penguin Magic’s Marked Deck is that it comes stacked in Mnemonica. That means, fellow card workers familiar with the order can start their favourite Mnemonica miracle right after having a spectator unwrap the plastic and break the seal on the card box. This decision to stack the deck differently from the standard new deck order, is just simply brilliant.
You’d have to remove the extra Aces prior of course (simply inform spectators you’re removing the advertising cards and jokers)… yes Penguin Magic has so very generously provided 4 extra Aces. Feel free to let your imagination flow with these extra cards. Do your favourite Aces transpo effect; since your audience were the ones to open a brand new sealed deck, it’d be the cleanest possible way that would blow their minds!
In his hour-long video, Rick Lax does a great job teaching as always. At the start he offers 4 effects: Dual Divination (spectator as magician effect), Ace Yourself (pseudo demo of gambling skills), Spot the Difference (a modern presentation where you have a choice of using a spectator’s smart phone) and Show Me a Trick (a fun interactive piece). However, a 5th effect is also shared, which incorporates the use of a common popular gimmicked deck everyone would own 😉 Rick is an excellent teacher and in his video, it’s clear to see that his audience aren’t paid actors and they enjoyed his engaging performance and easy banter.
For performers keen to expand their repertoire, I strongly encourage you to consider investing in multi award-winning French magician Boris Wild’s work. Specifically his wonderful book published by CC Editions, which I regard as a legit modern bible for marked decks: Transparency.
There are many unique “limited edition” decks available in the market today, and over two years ago I just knew that customised marked decks would be the obvious next big thing. Today we have truly professionally designed marked decks like Ondrej Psenicka’s elegant Butterfly Playing Cards. I purchased them for my corporate close up gigs, and whenever I’m in the mood for something that passes for your standard red Bicycle deck, the Penguin Magic Marked Deck is my poison 😉
These really are the bomb. If I could give more than 10 stars, I would! The first batch sold out in less than a day, and the next lot is only available in August. Manufactured by USPCC on standard Bicycle stock, I honestly don’t know how they manage to price it at just US$5, so be sure to grab a brick or two once they’re available. Trust me, Penguin Magic’s Marked Deck will be one of your best purchases of 2017.
Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available exclusively from Penguin Magic.(10 / 10)