It took me a while to convince Bill to allow me to write this article, but I finally got the OK. I think it is important to share the motivation of Conjuring Arts and the Expert Playing Card Company on why they produce playing cards, and why so much effort is put in the creation of incredible playing cards.
William “Bill” Kalush, Executive Director of the non-profit Conjuring Arts Research Center and The Expert Playing Card Company printed his first custom deck when he got the chance to introduce the Yukon Gold potato to the U.S. market back in 1988 with his produce business. 1500 commemorative decks were produced at the International Playing Card Co. in Windsor.
By his words, Bill “was very lucky and the cards came out beautifully! I wish I had more than a few decks left! This deck had the “paper” feel that USPCC was migrating away from at that time”.
As an actual user of cards myself, not just as a collector, the feel of cards is very important to me. A deck should not be too slippery, yet slippery enough to do the moves I want to do. Some call this perfect feel a “broken-in” deck of cards: a deck used to the point where it’s in the ideal condition for that specific user. Although this might vary from person to person, generally most users of cards agree on this “broken in” state of the deck. It’s hard to describe… perfection.
With his perfect feel in mind, Bill wanted to see how close to this perfect state he could get a deck of cards right of the box, right from the factory.
A constant, yet ever failing effort was born: devising the perfect deck of cards.
Ever since that time, Bill has been looking for reasons to do runs of cards to accommodate the search for this perfect deck of cards. For example, when he got married, friends received decks of Bicycle & Bee playing cards that he printed for his own use or his own private reserve. These were the first thin crushed Bee’s and Bicycle’s ever made. At that time USPCC made them under the strict agreement that they were for his own use and NOT to be sold.
Around this same time, Bill introduced the Erdnase 216 Bee’s a thin crushed, smooth reproduction of a unique Bee deck from the time of the publishing of Expert At The Card Table. This was the first thin crushed deck released to the public.
Just two weeks ago, Bill released a new series of cards that I think are incredible. Incorporating over 30 years of knowledge, trade secrets, and his constant effort, Bill managed to – in my opinion – outperform the USPCC… WITH THEIR OWN DESIGNS AND THEIR OWN PROCESSES.
Released at his web store Conjuring Arts, he introduced 3 sets of decks:
– Red and blue Bicycle Rider Back Playing Cards
– Red and blue Tally-Ho Circle Back Playing Cards
– Red and blue Tally-Ho Fan Back Playing Cards
These cards are thin crushed meaning in practice, that a deck of 52 cards (no jokers), feels like a regular deck that has approximately 48 cards. These cards are printed on the USPCC’s web press which makes a world of difference in how they feel and how long they last. I think they turned out incredibly, and I highly recommend giving these a try for yourself.
Get these today at https://store.conjuringarts.org/category/cards/thin-crushed/