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Anglo: ‘Black Jack’ (AKA Anglo Rug Deck)Designed by Ake Arenhill
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Where to buy: $6.00 / deck (price varies depending on exchange rate) http://www.el-duco.se/start.asp?languag ... +the+World
Also here: http://www.gycklaren.com/
And here: http://www.bmpokerworld.com/
Information about my reviewing methods: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156760
Video Suppliment: http://vimeo.com/11002115Initial Impression:
There comes a moment in every educated red-neck’s life when someone turns him on to the fineries of Swedish snus over Copenhagen snuff. Ski bums as well may, at some point, be exposed to the added warmth and comfort of an authentic cardigan sweater over rag wool and poly-pro. It is high time my magic friends sampled their own version of Swedish quality. If you have read my review you know of my fondness for the Spanish Fourniers and I am happy to report the Swedes did not disappoint either. Offason, the manufacturer of the Anglo decks, has managed to combine a stiff springy stock with a fan that equals what North Americans have become accustomed to in a Bicycle. If you will recall that particular blend of characteristics was a large reason for my love of the USPCC Steamboat decks. The handling characteristics combined with a fresh new look in the design of a deck has quickly put these near the top of my favorites list. Provided they are a long lasting deck I expect they will remain there as well.The Look:
These are probably my favorite looking deck that I have reviewed. I always say that this comes down to personal preferance but if you like the basic design then you have six different colors to choose from. All Rug decks come with a thin white boarder and have gold design work inlaid into the primary deck color. Your options are white/gold, black/gold, red/gold, blue/gold, and green/gold. The gold decks use a primary gold color and inlay black design work on top. These decks have almost a circus like look to them. Though they are geared primarily towards magicians they don’t look like a “trick” deck: a criticism that seems to plague the E-decks and the T11 decks.
The court cards are completely new designs. Another reviewer said they had an art deco feel to them and I tend to agree. Definitely a modern look. Poker purists might get uptight when they realize the King of Hearts is not stabbing himself in the head but for the most part I think they are tasteful new design. The Aces are a bit on the boring side. The Ace of Spades has nothing more than a small spade in the center. The Ace of Hearts is the unique Ace for the Rug decks with a small silhouette of a unicorn under the center heart and “Offason-Sweden” printed under that. The 7’s placed the odd pip in the center eliminating it’s status as a one way card.
Other things of note: Rug decks are jumbo index. Not a big factor for me but if you have effects that either don’t work or don’t look as good with a jumbo index then you may want to consider this before buying. Most of the suits seem to be elongated compared to North American artwork. This gives the clubs in particular a very unique, European look. Finally, there is a kaki box centered in all of the spot cards where all the pips are arraigned. I’d never seen any card in which something like this had been done before. It gives a little more attention to the spot cards. It doesn’t make or break the design but I thought it was a nice touch. Card construction:
The first thing to note is the finish. The box calls it an “Embossed Finish.” (I never really understand the significance of the titles card companies give to finishes…I mean has anyone ever actually seen a Linoid? My spell check doesn’t even know what that is!) There is a dimpled pattern on the deck, much like what we are used to with most USPCC decks, but the dimples are much smaller than with most other cards. The last time I used a card with a pattern like that was on the Massa deck and it didn’t seem to hold its fan very long. Let’s just hope that the final finish coating had more to do with that than the actual pattern.
Next differences to note are the rounder corners of the Anglos. This may affect some spinning moves but so far I have not noticed an obvious drop in performance.
The last major difference is the length of the deck. Wile the width equals a standard poker deck the Anglos are actually about a half a millimeter longer. Nothing you will really notice when performing with them but worth noting all the same.
In all the deck was about 14 mm thick. This makes it one of the thinnest decks I have reviewed and in a side by side comparison you should be able to slide 3 to 4 Bicycle 808s over the top of the Anglo deck. Total weight was 92 grams.Handling:
Checking my numbers from past reviews this deck matches up just about on par with the Steamboats. Fanning:
I can’t tell any major difference between the Anglos fan versus the Bike 808. Both fans feel about as smooth. What you will notice is that the thin border on these decks seem to advertise fanning inconsistencies a little more. This seems to really bother the guys at ReviewXCM but personally I think the Anglo fans look nicer, even if inconsistencies are a bit more apparent. (Personally I think those guys are a bit to fastidious for their own good when it comes to fanning. When was the last time a heckler said “Dude you suck. Those two cards are two millimeters wider apart than the rest of them!”?) Anyways, they feel great to fan and I think they look beautiful as well. Spring Moves:
Like both the Steamboat and Fournier these cards combine a stiff snappy feel with a thin light weight card. The result? Shooting cards off a spring, Diving Board Doubles, and other aerial spring moves should look really impressive provided you have the hand strength to control it.Dribbles:
This was the worst performing characteristic. Sometimes breaking in the cards will help this a bit. Indeed the Tally-ho deck went from one of the worst dribbling decks OOB to the king of the dribblers. Time will tell but for now I’ll shy away from the dribble pass.Crimp hold and recovery:
It seemed to do pretty good in this regard. This has tended to be an indicator of longevity since this category is highly dependant on the stock quality. I’m hoping to get two to three weeks out of this deck at least.Single card glides:
A good performance here in the top card glides and an excellent performance in the bottom card glides. This category seems to be the toughest one to balance out. If the finish is too slick several cards may tend to follow the glide card and if the finish is too sticky cards seem to clump. The Anglo won’t quite beat the Fournier in this category but it is definitely one of the top decks in this category.2+Card Obfuscations:
Opposing corner spin displays are solid as soon as you get used to the rounder edges. Push-off doubles should pull nicely and display well from a single corner. Diving-Board doubles are equal to the Fournier 605s! That’s saying a lot. Not Even the steamboat could match that. I went ahead and gave it a 9 but keep this in mind. Many of these moves are dependant on applying certain pressures on the corners. If you can’t get used to the rounder edges you should expect problems with some of these.XCM cuts:
The combination of a smooth fan and a stiff stock should make this an excellent deck for XCM. In addition to its handling characteristics the bold design and variety of color choices should make this a favorite for flourishers.Card Splitting and Gaff construction/availability:
TBDWho should not buy?:
Much like the Fourniers and Steamboats these cards might be a bit much for new comers or people with weaker hands.Who should buy these?:
Intermediate and advanced card magicians looking for a little spice in their card vocabulary. Special recommendations for two groups. One: Flourishers. I think the look and performance of these decks should do you guys well. Two: Anyone who was in love with the Steamboat. Let me clarify that they don’t have quite the same feel as a Steamboat and obviously they don’t have the same look but their performance characteristics match the Steamboat almost category for category. I think that as soon as you get used to these you will feel right at home. Final Thoughts:
As always I’ll reserve final judgment until the end of the longevity review but my initial impression was quite good. When I initially reviewed the Steamboats I was thinking to myself, “Get the word out! These cards are great!” And just as I was preparing to do such I found out that USPCC was discontinuing them. I find myself in that same situation now except that this sleeper is not currently on the chopping block. So I therefore consider it my duty to extol the virtues of this deck before it gets discontinued! It was a shame to see the Steamboats go and it would be a shame to see these go. E and T11 have shown that there is obviously a market for decks in the $5-$7 range. If you thinking of getting some of those cards then pause and take a good look at these for a moment. If you find the looks of these cards suit your style then I would strongly recommend these. They will certainly match any high quality USPCC card in the performance characteristics and they will beat most. If you have read many of my reviews you know I use the UV500 decks as my bell weather for a high performance deck and I would take these Anglos over a UV500 without hesitation. To sum up in one word…..Tits!
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