View Cart | View Account | Help
Order by phone: 800-880-2592
Check out our favorite NEW ARRIVALS
Need it fast? Order before 4pm Eastern and your order ships SAME DAY.

All times are UTC - 5 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:59 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Steamboat 999 Deck Review:
Attachment:
JS42.jpg
JS42.jpg [ 32.47 KiB | Viewed 2225 times ]


Where to buy: 2.63 / pack http://www.penguinmagic.com/specialorde ... hp?ID=7502

Information about my reviewing methods: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156760

Initial Impression: I have seen Steamboats on shelves of dime stores and gift shops for years but never bothered to pick a deck up. Boy do I regret that now. This is easily the best deck of cards USPC has ever produced! These things fan like a Bike and pop like a Fournier. I was amazed when I felt these cards. Amazed that they don’t have the same cult following as the Tally-Hos! In every single category they beat or matched the Tally-Ho. They fell just shy on a few categories vs. the Fournier but if you need a beautiful fanning deck and want the power the Fournier is touted for then this is the deck for you. Most decks need a bit of breaking in to hit an optimum but this one is ready to go out of the box. This is love at first site.

The Look: This is the Wild West baby! You won’t feel complete dealing doubles with this card without a derringer in a holdout and a stiletto in your boot. It’s a no boarder back with flowers centered in diamonds. The busy back will help hide any poorly pulled double when viewed from the back. The court cards are standard USPC art and the Ace of spades was fairly boring but the backs really make this card. There is one joker card with a fairly nice sketch of a steamboat and another card that says “can be used as a joker”….why not just print another joker? Anyways I think those of you doing a gambling demo might really appreciate these cards.

Card construction: This is a smooth finish card with a similar looking texture to the Aladdin cards. Basically, its has some feint texture visible but nothing like the defined dimples of the an 808. On the other end it is not as smooth as the Fourniers but overall I would class this as a smooth finish card. The stock is distinctly stiffer than an 808 but at the same time the overall deck is a bit smaller. The thickness was about 15mm which was 2 cards thinner than an 808.

Handling:

Fanning: 9
Easily as good as a bike coming out of the box. Smooth finish cards tend to lose their fan first so we will see how long this lasts.

Spring Moves: 9.5
In blind fold tests testing for the thickness of a single card the Steamboat and the Fournier were almost impossible to distinguish. When blindfolded holding and entire deck the Fournier edged the Steamboat out but just barely. When flipping Diving Board doubles in the air the Fournier seemed a bit better but again a close call. Overall I rated it a hair less than a Fournier 605 but it was a really hard call. What you need to know is that this deck will out match both the 808(by a mile) , and even the UV 500 stock.


Dribbles: 8
Not one of its’ strong points but it dribbles well.



Crimp hold and recovery: 8
It would have scored a 9 if it had a boarder but for some reason the busy colors visible on the side of the deck made the crimp a little more difficult to detect.



Single card glides: 8
Not quite as carefree as the Fournier 605 but a definite improvement over the 808s.


2+Card Obfuscations: 8
If you perform high end DLs(one handed, push off, etc) and spin based obfuscations with Tally-Hos you will find similar performance with this deck.

XCM cuts: With a smooth fans and a stiff powerful stock this would seem to be a great deck for flourishers. Perhaps the only thing keeping this from becoming a favorite amongst flourishers in the back design. Unlike the bold designs of the Tally-hos and the various E decks the multi packet cuts will seem almost a blur with it’s borderless back. Never the less the deck should perform admirably if you like the look.

Card Splitting and Gaff construction/availability: TBD

Who should not buy?: I’ll defer to my recommendations for the Fournier 605. The stock may be a bit stiff for beginners or folks with weaker hands. You will need good strength to perform deceptive false riffle shuffles and spring flourishes.

Who should buy these?: Anyone who likes the UV500s and the Tally-Hos will probably love these cards provided they can get used to the smooth finish. People who have been interested in the Fournier cards but have hesitated because of the price will get a good idea of way a Fournier handles by using this deck.

Final Thoughts: This was definitely the surprise hit of the review. When I first decided to take on this project I was mostly interested in the Aladdin 1001s and the Massas. The Tally-hos and Arrcos were obvious choices as comparative decks. It was just on a whim that I decided to throw these in as well. Boy was I glad I did! I’ll admit to some bias towards these cards. Any card that handles similar to a Fournier and costs $3:50 will win me over quickly. Some people will never get used to a smooth card so perhaps that accounts for the scarcity of reviews and lack of interest in these cards among Magicians. It seems that antique collectors are the ones who know the most about these cards. Perhaps it was a reputation tagged to this card over 110 years ago that biased magicians against it? Back in the 1890s Russell, Morgan & Co.(that eventually evolved into The United States Playing Card Company) produced several cards in their inventory. The Steamboat 999s were originally their cheaply produced line, much as the Aviators are today. So from it’s early days it was considered a low quality card. The Steamboat 999s and the Russell, Morgan & Co. have gone through several changes in the last century. When exactly the processing techniques of the modern Steamboat was created I was unable to find out. What is sure is that at some point it went from a low quality card to a high quality card. As I said before I believe it to be the highest quality card in the USPC line.

Now the sad news. Rumors out say that the Steamboats are being discontinued from the USPC line. I assume someone pointed out to USPC management that they were accidentally producing a quality deck of cards so they needed to put a stop to that quickly! Furthermore, there have been rumors that the last run of Steamboats was printed on 808 stock. That puts buyers of Steamboats in a weird position. If you are buying in the hopes that they will become a collector’s item you want that 808 stock as it will likely be a very rare item. If you are buying to get some quality cards before they disappear for good you might wind up with a card that looks like a Steamboat but acts like a Bicycle. If you are interested in this card for either reason I would recommend get only one or two decks to be sure what you are getting and then order in the quantities you desire.

In summary, this is a unique deck of cards. I regret not having found them sooner and will regret seeing them go. With its discontinuation USPC joins the ranks of many other American corporate giants (Walmart, McDonnalds, ect) that continually seem to choose quantity over quality.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:06 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Steamboat 999 1 Week Update:

Nothing after the first week of use has led me to downgrade my initial opinion of these cards. It is nice to be working with such a snappy deck of cards again. The one category that seems to have fallen off a bit is the fanning. It is fanning well but not nearly as smoothly as the OOB review.

Fanning: 8
As I already mentioned in my initial statement the fanning seems to have dropped off a bit. The final finish seems almost exactly the same as the Aladdin deck(which maintained a good fan throughout it’s review) but the stiff cards seem to clump a little more as a bow develops in the deck.

Spring: 8.5
After a week this deck still handles stiffer and more securely than an OOB Bicycle 808. I can detect a reduction in spring and stiffness when compared to a new Steamboat and a Fournier 605 but it is still better than all other OOB decks reviewed.

Dribbles:8
As this one ages I might recommend you evaluate this category much as I did with the Fournier 605. For those who haven’t read that review I’ll explain: If you have strong hands add one point(9) and if you have weaker hands subtract a point(7). The cards themselves separate very nicely in a dribble but it will require more strength to evenly control the dribble.

Crimp Hold/Recovery: 8
This one remains unchanged. As I mentioned before, I think the stock could possibly rate a 9 on it’s own but the fact that it is borderless, thus the sides of the deck are busy with color, make it a bit tougher to detect the crimp when needed.

Single Card Glides: 8
No Change.

2+card Obfuscations: 8
The stiff stock makes opposite corner displays very secure. The busy borders make minor misalignments harder to detect from the back. Diving Board DLs are more care free than any other deck reviewed except for the Fournier 605. The one draw back on 2+Obfuscations is during the drawing phase of the standard Push-Off double described by Hugard/Braue. To those of you who know that handling you are aware that the border can be used to help properly align the thumb just prior to execution. Without boarders this move has to be done by feel alone. To those who are expert at this move this will not likely effect you but to those who are still in the process of mastering it you may have some difficulty.

Additional Thoughts:

The borderless back is both a blessing and a curse for this deck. Some moves will benefit from the busy backs but reversal moves, half passes, ect. become more problematic for obvious reasons. Even with that caveat I would say that there is probably no better way to practice precision on reversal moves than with a borderless back.

With the first week out of the way this one still remains my overall favorite of the review. Perhaps the reason is that it handles so much like a Fournier 605. That gives me a personal bias towards this deck which you may not share. While the Steamboat didn’t score a nine in any single area it didn’t have a low score either. This makes it a very reliable all around deck.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:00 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Team Penguin

Joined: 03 Aug 2007
Posts: 4235
Location: Continuously practicing, even as I type.
Steamboats are my ALL time favorite deck. I LOVE them.

Here is the ONE thing though, they are taking Steamboats off the market for GOOD. (they haven't printed anymore since the USPCC moved).

So any you can get your hands on NOW, it is IMPORTANT that you do so. 90% of places online are sold out, so if you can find them, you should buy them. I almost see them becoming new Jerry's Nuggets in the future. I bought 6 decks and refuse to open them. :wink:


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:46 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Popchris wrote:
Steamboats are my ALL time favorite deck. I LOVE them.

Here is the ONE thing though, they are taking Steamboats off the market for GOOD. (they haven't printed anymore since the USPCC moved).

So any you can get your hands on NOW, it is IMPORTANT that you do so. 90% of places online are sold out, so if you can find them, you should buy them. I almost see them becoming new Jerry's Nuggets in the future. I bought 6 decks and refuse to open them. :wink:


You are absolutely right. I mentioned that in the OOB review but I was going to hold of on raising the alarm until I had a brick safely in my posession :wink: But now that the cat is out of the bag I might as well chime in as well. Get these before they are gone! Price / quality this is the best deck I have ever seen. Sure I think the Fourniers edge them out but they are over $10.00 deck. Steamboats cost me $3.50! If USPCC wanted to get rid of one of its' smooth finish decks it should have been the Aladdins.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:52 am 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Steamboat 999 2 Week Update:

Read close! This is only a 2 week update not a final update. This makes the Steamboats the first of the 5 decks to make it into the third week. So right there it has Tally-ho, Arrco, Aladdin, and the Massa decks beat in the longevity category. That is the good news, the bad news is that it certainly is beginning to falter in just about every category. Indeed I’ll save you the trouble of reading on and tell you that every category scored a 7. Still not bad considering how much abuse I have put it through in the last two weeks.

Fanning: 7
There is something weird about how these things fan as they age. If I put them in the box and the box in a clip, and let it rest for a night they seem to fan alright in the morning. (at an 8 maybe?) As soon as I start practicing with them they will tend to start fanning pretty blocky again after an hour or so. Overall I gave it a 7 because it is simply hard to predict when it will start blocking out,

Spring: 7
The stiffness and spring energy is definitely beginning to soften and loosen up. It is still a snappier deck than most others of the same age and will even hold it’s own versus an OOB Bike 808.

Dribbles:7
The fact that it has held its stiffness fairly well and lost its smooth fan seems to contribute to blockier dribbles. If you fan with the convex shape it still does fairly well but on a standard dribble, one going away from the direction of the bend, it can be pretty blocky.

Crimp Hold/Recovery: 7
Unintentional crimps are starting to show up in the deck. It still holds a medium or strong crimp quite well but a light crimp will likely get lost in the deck.

Single Card Glides: 7
Wile still performing well enough in the top of the deck gliding positions the bottom glides are becoming problematic. Specifically I have noticed that side steals have a tendency to pull extra cards.

2+card Obfuscations: 7
Diving Board doubles are still strong however I am finding it more challenging to do that move without a get ready. Derek Dingle DLs and opposing corner spins are still OK. The real problem seems to be in the Push-off Doubles. Not only do you not have the boarder to help locate proper thumb position but extra cards seem to slip themselves into the packet. One final note on all 2+Os: Most are aware of how a white bordered card tends to yellow at the edges. Similar to that the faces of these cards turn red (blue if it’s a blue deck) at the edges. Minor misalignments in the cards will be no trouble when viewed from the back(due to the borderless back) but the same misalignments will be unforgivable from the face. The red tinged edge seems much more noticeable than the yellow tinge and it will likely be viewed with a borderless(red or blue) back as a backdrop. These two factors combine to make face displays more difficult if your technique is not perfect.

Additional Thoughts:
Even with some of the difficulties that are developing with the 2+Os and the Fanning I will officially state the Steamboat 999s are my favorite deck of this review. No one single factor accounts for this but it is more of an accounting for its strengths as a whole. It is getting to the point where the end is near but I really love the way these things move and feel. You might get a bit more durability from a UV500 deck but I prefer how the stability of these decks. As Popchris said, USPCC discontinued the Steamboat 999s. If you can find a deck I would highly recommend you pick a few up. Sadly that discontinuation will soon take these cards out of the hands of magicians and flourishers and put them behind the glass display cases of the collectors.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:48 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Steamboat 999 3 Week Update:

Well it made it yet another week. It will now be moving into its’ 4th week of testing. There has been very little change in the overall performance from the 2nd week. The biggest difference is cosmetically…This poor Steamboat has been ridden hard and put away wet and it is beginning to look that way.

Fanning: 7

No significant changes from last week. Not a great fan but it is tolerable for a practice deck.

Spring: 6.5

This time I could detect a slight difference between an OOB Bike808 and the three week Steamboat. Not much change but in a blindfold tests the Bike had a bit more stiffness.

Dribbles:7

About the same as the two week test, it will clump in croups of twos and threes.

Crimp Hold/Recovery: 6

This will be the downfall of this deck. The stock seems to hold out well but after three weeks of abuse there are enough unintentional crimps that you will need to use at least a medium crimp to find and a pretty strong crimp to find easily. A light crimp will get totally lost in the pack at this point.

Single Card Glides: 7

Still the same from the 2 week update with the same pros and cons. The top card glides are working beautifully but bottom card glides have a tendency to pull extra cards.

2+card Obfuscations: 7

Diving board doubles and opposing corner spins are performing exceptionally(almost as well as a broken in Fournier) but now, in addition to having inconsistent push-offs, the Derek Dingle DL is becoming inconsistent as well. The advantages of the display of a doubled back are the same as are the disadvantages of a displayed front.

Additional Thoughts:

Easily the best deck USPC has ever made….(caveat: I have yet to try the Aristocrat stock and likely never will get a chance at a Jerry’s Nugget) I have been a been fan of the UV500 stock but this one will likely outdo those as well. The one thing the UV500s have over this is looks. No so much OOB looks(that’s a matter of personal choice) but in how they look as they age. I have noticed the Steamboats are really beginning to look trashy. I had hoped that I could wash them like you can with the Fournier’s but as I tried it the ink started to rub off on the artwork. They definitely have a faded, aged look that could be used for certain types of shows(Séance magic, haunted decks, ect) but if not for that it is already retired from performance. It is still performing admirably as a practice deck and I have a feeling it should last at least another week for that purpose. Overall I have been very pleased with this deck so far.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 7:40 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Team Penguin

Joined: 03 Aug 2007
Posts: 4235
Location: Continuously practicing, even as I type.
You know, I know exactly what you mean with the "worn" look. They do tend to get that way, rather quickly as well. HOWEVER, for the amount of time you can put these babies through RIGOROUS practice, they are worth their weight in gold.

They are my favorite deck of all time, hands down.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:32 am 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Popchris wrote:
You know, I know exactly what you mean with the "worn" look. They do tend to get that way, rather quickly as well. HOWEVER, for the amount of time you can put these babies through RIGOROUS practice, they are worth their weight in gold.

They are my favorite deck of all time, hands down.

I can totally understand why they are your favorite. I believe these things will last almost twice as long as a Tally-Ho(can't say for sure until the end of the week). Since working with these cards and doing some research into them, USPCC and USPCC's other cards I have been building quite a rant. I'll probably spill it all when this review is over with. Lets just say that it makes no since to me how USPCC can be getting so protective of the Bicycle logo and kick this one to the side. It is almost as if the people controlling the worlds biggest card companies know nothing about the cards they make. There has been rising concern about the possible discontinuation of Tally-ho but when it comes down to it I'd trade Tallys for Steamboats without hesitating.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 4:57 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Team Penguin

Joined: 03 Aug 2007
Posts: 4235
Location: Continuously practicing, even as I type.
eostresh wrote:
Popchris wrote:
You know, I know exactly what you mean with the "worn" look. They do tend to get that way, rather quickly as well. HOWEVER, for the amount of time you can put these babies through RIGOROUS practice, they are worth their weight in gold.

They are my favorite deck of all time, hands down.

I can totally understand why they are your favorite. I believe these things will last almost twice as long as a Tally-Ho(can't say for sure until the end of the week). Since working with these cards and doing some research into them, USPCC and USPCC's other cards I have been building quite a rant. I'll probably spill it all when this review is over with. Lets just say that it makes no since to me how USPCC can be getting so protective of the Bicycle logo and kick this one to the side. It is almost as if the people controlling the worlds biggest card companies know nothing about the cards they make. There has been rising concern about the possible discontinuation of Tally-ho but when it comes down to it I'd trade Tallys for Steamboats without hesitating.


Oh yeah. I have also noticed bicycle going REALLY commercial. They cut costs of production (and lowered quality) and now, a lot of stores have their own "bicycle" sections, where they sell little games and cards and everything.

I think it is rediculous, but magicians are only part of the spectrum they market to.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:00 am 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Steamboat 999 4th Week…Final Update:

Alright…Sorry this took so long to finish off. I had a couple of gigs I needed to prepare for and I needed to practice magic without cards! I almost forgot what that was like in these last few months!

Well the good news is that they made it a full month of use and abuse. They didn’t cross the month mark in the same style as the Fournier but at least they made it. They did well enough for me to say that they are….or more to the point were….the best value card on the market. Quality versus price just can’t be matched. Sadly now that they are discontinued they will likely begin rising in price. Here are the final scores.

Fanning: 6
By the end there it was like trying to fan a couple of blocks of cardboard. They got quite clumpy indeed.


Spring: 6
Well there wasn’t much left of the stock by the time I finished with it. Never the less it was still a manageable deck of cards


Dribbles:6

It began clumping in larger groups of cards. Sometimes five or six cards in a clump.

Crimp Hold/Recovery: 5

This was one of the two reasons I decides to KIA this deck. I was just too beat up for its own good.

Single Card Glides: 5

A huge drop in this category was another reason for the KIA. I just started using a new move that requires a one handed bottom card glide and it was just to difficult to get the cards to budge. What was worse was that when they did glide a group of four or five more cards went along for the ride.

2+card Obfuscations: 7

No real change on this characteristic. It was still a proficient performer in this area but not good enough to make up for the reductions in the other areas.

Additional Thoughts:

Wow. I was floored by these. Bearing in mind that these crappy stats I just listed only came after a month of heavy use and I retired most of the other decks between the first and second week I think it safe to say that the Steamboats are vastly superior to most cards out on the market today. If you see a deck selling for 5-7 dollars don’t hesitate to buy these. They will match most 5-7 dollar decks I have ever used. If you are interested in collecting I think spending $10.00 on a Steamboat would be a pretty good investment. I’m curious how long it will take these to reach the $200 / deck level. Probably a long time, after all it too Jerry’s Nugget cards almost 30 years to hit those prices. So don’t buy expecting the value to go up too quickly. Even for a collector I wouldn’t recommend more than $10.00 a deck.

Here is a final interesting note. In the first post I mentioned being curious as to when the quality of the Steamboat was increased. I had read that the original Steamboats were Russell and Morgan Companies “Cheap” card and the Bikes and Congress were the quality cards. I posted this question to the experts over at 52 and Joker and got the following answer. Apparently the Steamboat have always been this good. Back in the late 1800 and early 1900s cards in general were printed on much higher quality paper. So in actuality, the Steamboats didn’t get better, Bicycles just got worse. Kind of makes me wonder what it was like to handle an 808 back in Erdnase’s day?

Okay so on that note, if you’re a card guy I strongly recommend you snatch up a deck or two of these for posterity sake. Weather you want it for a collection or just to check out a deck with a unique feel I don’t think you will be disappointed. Good luck finding them!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 11:51 am 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 07 Aug 2009
Posts: 2948
Location: Sunny Orlando
Hey erik do you have a video supplement for these?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:15 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
No the Video suppliments and the "photo shoots" came later. This was one of my first reviews. If you ever get a deck and shoot your Scarne Aces you should post it here!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:18 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 07 Aug 2009
Posts: 2948
Location: Sunny Orlando
eostresh wrote:
No the Video suppliments and the "photo shoots" came later. This was one of my first reviews. If you ever get a deck and shoot your Scarne Aces you should post it here!


I AM getting a deck soon! I deff will =]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:22 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 2753
Sweet! That would be awsome! The Steamboats deserve a video suppliment.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Steamboat 999 Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:36 pm 
User avatar
Offline
born to perform.

Joined: 07 Aug 2009
Posts: 2948
Location: Sunny Orlando
eostresh wrote:
Sweet! That would be awsome! The Steamboats deserve a video suppliment.


Well I'll be glad to help out =] I may do a different type of patter to match the theme. Hey quick question do you happen to have a spare Joker (with the steamboat design) and a red Queen (hearts or diamonds) that you dont mind parting with? lol


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 15 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB © 2009 Penguin Magic, Inc.