When was your deck born?

The United States Playing Card Company (USPCC) utilizes this coding for their regular decks: Bicycle, Bee, Tally Ho, Aviator, Aristocrat, etc. The code can be found on the Ace of Spades. The first letter reveals the year it was printed.


The letters I, O, and V are not used because they can easily be confused with numbers. However, Q was used sporadically throughout 1991 and 1992.

USPCC was once based in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 2009, it moved to a new location in Erlanger, Kentucky. There, printing machines were new and needed to be calibrated. Hence, in between 2009/2010, the cards printed were not up to satisfaction. Thereafter, the quality began to improve.

In 2014, USPCC introduced a new ‘snappier’ paperstock. It was first found on the Pro XCM Passion deck and Blue Fontaine. Regular Bikes made in 2014 also have this new stock and it has replaced the old “Bicycle” paperstock to be the new standard across-the-board.

*Thanks to Margery Griffith, who originally published this article & courtesy of 52 Plus Joker Playing Card Collector’s Organization and Lee Asher, to allow us to publish this information.


Why should I break in a deck of cards? 

A fresh pack of cards has rough edges and may be too slippery for your flourishes or sleight-of-hand. Hence, there is a need to condition the cards first to optimize its performance. Here’s an easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. Make sure to properly wash and dry your hands first!

1.  Smoothen the edges This can achieved by rubbing each sides against your pants or shorts, Jeans is most preferred. About 5 seconds on each side. Do on all four sides. Do not exert too much force nor too fast. Everything should be in moderation.
2.  Riffle shuffle Do twice face down, twice face up.
3.  Thumb Fan Fan the cards twice face down, twice face up. Pressure fan is preferred.
4.  LePaul Spread Do twice face down, twice face up.
5.  Card Spring Spring the cards twice face down, twice face up.
6.  Faro Shuffle Do twice face down, twice face up. Depending on how the deck was cut, it may be difficult to faro on one of the sides. Never use force to push the cards in.
7.  Repeat steps 2 to 5 again.

For each individual move, you can learn it on YouTube.

How do I know when a deck is ‘broken in’? This varies with different decks. Usually the deck gets softer and smoother, and is much easier to manipulate. Have fun:)

*Thanks to Lee Asher, Kevin Ho, Jaspas Deck and Ben Loo in helping of this article.


Before Use

Always make sure your hands are clean and dry before handling the cards. It’s always good to dry your hands first if you have excessive sweaty palms. Wash your hands after meals. You do not want to have your cards smelling like McDonald’s french fries. After washing your hands, your hands must be completely dry before use. There is a layer of ‘varnish’ protecting each individual cards, which will deteriorate when in contact with moisture. That means, never attempt to clean the cards with water! You may gently wipe off dirt with a tissue paper.

After Use

Always place the cards back into the box after use. Keep the deck away from direct sunlight.

Fanning Powder can be used on worn-out decks. Do not use excessively. Place a piece of paper underneath the cards, so that excess powder can be reused. Never use baby powder on cards; likewise, do not use Fanning powder on babies. They are of different ingredients.
Card Clip should be used on your frequently-used decks. Cards warp due to high levels of humidity. Especially in Singapore, cards do warp more easily. Card clips will lengthen the life of your cards and flatten the cards after each use.
Joe Porper clips are a tad expensive, but it is the reason why card clips exist. Joe Porper is a magician who invented the card clips, so if you see other card clips in the market, you know they are just a cheap knockoffs that won’t benefit your cards.





Store your collection in a dry, cool, well-ventilated storage area, as humidity and heat will speed up deterioration. You can use a Dry Box for your collection, or ziplock bags individually. The ziplock bag should measures 3.5” x 4.5” inches. It will be most preferred to store your collection in a closed environment: drawers, cabinets, boxes, etc.