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 Post subject: Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards deck review
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:09 pm 
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born to perform.

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Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards
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Where to buy: $4.95 available at…
Card Finnesse: http://shop.cardfinesse.com/Playing-Cards_c2.htm
Dan and Dave: http://store.dananddave.com/erdnase-playing-cards.html

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

Initial Impression:
Good news and bad news for some…but mostly good news. I originally had suspected, and now I’m about 95% sure, that the Bee Erdnase ed. Deck is indeed the same stock and finish as the Bee Stinger backs. This should come as no surprise as both decks advertise their construction characteristics in about the exact same way…”Printed on casino grade Aristocrat stock.” For those hoping that they might have got something a little extra “under the hood” I’m sorry to disappoint. The good news is that the Stinger backs were a very high scoring deck OOB. The other good news, at least for me, is that it gives me an immediate opportunity to try this deck out again in dryer conditions.(some may recall that the Stinger Back review was plagued with an unusual spell of heavy humidity and as a result didn’t fair so well in the longevity review) So for those who live in drier climates (fingers crossed that the weather holds) this review should suffice for both decks and for those who live in humid climates check out the Stinger Back review. For those in wet/dry climates like mine, read both! The last, as of yet, unanswered question is the plain old Bee Club Specials. Are they the same? I can’t say yet. Certain forum posters who have experience with both Club Specials and Stinger Backs claim that they are different, but all my research so far leads me to believe they are all the same stock and finish. Indeed it seems every limited run Bee card produced advertises the Aristocrat stock. It is possible that they reserve that stock for all their limited run cards(in the words of Sheriff Bart…’scuse me while I whip this out!) and it is also possible that they always use an aristocrat stock on all bee cards but only advertise it for the limited runs. So enough with the techno mumbo jumbo, on with the review!

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The Look:
So the first thing to mention is the box. It is a standard USPCC tuck box that is printed up to look like a mini Expert at the Card Table book. Both it and the backs of the cards are printed in the green of the original edition of the book. The only actual trademark indicators will be found on the bottom of the box and on the flap tuck itself.
The back design is a standard Bee Diamond patter except that it comes with a boarder and the color, as mentioned before, is the green of the original book. The Ace of spades has the same character of the Bee AOS but the details have been changed. Instead of the bee hive and bees in the center of the spade pip there is a crossed…acorns? At least I think that is what they are? The flowers surrounding the spade pip have been replaced with green branches. The added color on an AOS was kind of a nice change. The ‘BEE’ at the top has been replaced with S.W.E. That stands for the author of the book, S.W.Erdnase, for you new folks who may not be hip yet to the immortals of the card world. The Consolidated Dougherty banner has been replaced by “The Expert At The Card Table” and the -92- has been replaced with “1902,” the original publication date.
The Jokers are quite dull. There is a big JOKER sign at the top, a silhouette of the crossed acorns, and a “Copyright, 1902, By S.W. Erdnase” on the bottom. There are no “pip” indicators on the Jokers either so if you use Jokers in effects you will need to spread a bit wider through the deck to find them. The advertising cards are actually quite cool. One is a reprint of the famous Erdnase preface in which he waxes eloquent about the fine art of card manipulation but then admits that the real reason for writing the book was because the author “needs the money.” The second ad card is of particular interest to read card geeks like myself as it is a reprint of the original title page of the book, which is different than the Dover edition that most of us are familiar with.
Other than the changes mentioned all colors and artwork of the pip and court cards are the same as standard USPCC. The actual font size of the pips is a tad smaller than standard 808s but you would really have to look close to see the difference.
Overall a nice looking deck and I really like these green earth tones on decks. I liked it in the Fournier 605s, the Smoke & Mirror v.4s, and I like it in these. It’s also really cool to walk around with a book printed like the original book. Indeed if you have an original copy of Erdnase you can show off your book’s “mini-me.” While I do love the overall look and color here is just a comment for other card makers out there…enough of the green! I love it but, four signature and specialty decks have come out in the last two years with an earth tone greens. I would hate for it to become as banal as the standard red/blue/white/blacks that dominate the market. Time to move on to a new color!

Card construction:
These cards were 14.8 mm or about three cards thinner than a bike. As I mentioned these cards “feel” just like a Stinger back but if you will look back to that review some may note that those were a bit thinner….by .3 mm! I’m pretty sure that is no more than standard error you can expect from the factory. They also weighed the same as the Stinger, 89 grams. Trust me it’s the same deck. As I mentioned in the Stinger review the Aristocrat stock is a softer flexing stock than most other brands on the market but that probably helps make the finish feel smoother as well.

Handling:
Pretty much what follows is a cut and paste from the Stinger review as I couldn’t really tell the difference between the two in the OOB performance. Overall great fans and dribble but a little sketchy on the sleights.

Fanning: 10
Okay I have done my best to avoid handing out 10s but I have to admit this fans discernibly smoother than any other card I have reviewed. Simply outstanding!

Spring Moves: 6.5
While your “spring flourish” should look fantastic with these supple cards the actual spring energy is quite poor. Even a Bike 808 has this one licked. That is certainly not a bad thing, I found a lot to appreciate in the Massa deck, but if you like a stiff stock I’d stay clear of these.

Dribbles: 9.5
Well I didn’t want to hand out two 10s on one review but it was darn close. If you recall my Tally-ho review you know that I really fell in love with how easy and smooth they dribbled after they broke in. These top the Tally-ho dribble right out of the box. Perhaps not by much, but you can tell the difference. If you like dribble passes, dribble forces, or Anaconda flourishes these come highly recommended.

Crimp hold and recovery: 8
The stock seems to hold and recover well from crimps. Hopefully this characteristic will give it a bit more durability than some other soft flexing decks. (Note added in light of Stinger experience- As is often the case this is about the hardest evaluation to make in the OOB review. After a few heavy practice sessions this will quickly become one of the weaknesses of this deck.)

Single card glides: 8
Pulling a bottom card longitudinal glide off the pinky was a little difficult but all other glides were pretty good.
2+Card Obfuscations: 6
The Hugard&Braue push-off dl had a tendency to grab an extra card. Probably something you could adjust to once you get used to the soft stock but either way going into a single corner display from there will be a delicate operation. The soft stock and super slick finish will make spinning moves more tenuous than with the Bike 808 stock. You will have to be careful with a Diving Board double. The cards may have a tendency to break apart on the initial snap out and during the turnover phase. Ironically a deck like this might be good to practice your various 2+O techniques as it is fairly unforgiving in this category.

XCM cuts: This is not a deck to learn new multi-packet cuts with but should be okay for moves you are familiar with. Obviously if beautiful fans, ribbon spreads, one handed faros, and Anaconda dribbles are a large part of your flourishing repertoire then this is a deck to get.

Card Splitting and Gaff construction/availability: There is no Double backer with this deck and most gaffs will have to be home made. If I get a chance to split some I will let you know how easy they are and update this. With all cards save the ace of spades a standard double face card should work. I had mentioned that the font size on the pips was a bit smaller than the 808 font but it is not a big enough size difference that it will be detected during a performance.
Who should not buy?: Folk whose repertoire is heavily laden with modern card sleights. Floops, Diving Board Doubles, One Handed Pop-outs, Clip shifts, Nowhere Passes, Herman Outjog Passes, are just a few of the moves made either a bit more tricky or a bit less deceptive with the slick finish and soft stock of the Erdnase editions. (Note- I wrote those words for the OOB Stinger review. I’m approaching this review on the heels of reviewing two soft flexing decks in a row, the v.4s and the Stingers. The truth is if you know those moves you will get used to this deck. If you are “learning” those moves you might want to try a stiffer stock.)
Who should buy these?:
Anyone into fans of all sorts, dribbles of all sorts, and one handed and two handed faro shuffling. Ie. Anyone into classic card sleights and flourishes. I don’t consider myself particularly good at many of these classic flourishes but I can perform most of these fairly well with this deck. Also if your are learning gambling specific moves, 2nd and bottom deals, tabled blind shuffles and cuts, culls, ect. the soft stock is very forgiving for those moves. That’s a good thing because if you think about it, most of that stuff can be found in “Expert At The Card Table!” So the cool thing is, if you are in the process of studying your Erdnase, get and Erdnase Edition deck!

Final Thoughts:
Overall I’m quite a fan of this deck. It could be that after a month of steady practice with soft decks I’m getting used to them and learning to appreciate them. It also could be what this deck is. It’s a celebration of Erdnase. That’s the book that inspired the magician (Vernon) who went on to inspire all of us. There is a totally geeky coolness factor to practicing Erdnase moves with a deck made to commemorate that book. I also have some good news for people interested in the Stinger Backs as well. I actually got this deck a few days back and recorded it’s scores but just now had a chance to sit down and do the write up. So to be honest the first weeks review is almost up. I feel l I can say with certainty that the poor longevity I experienced with that deck can be attributed to the humidity I experienced at the time. So far I’m having a lot of fun with these cards. If you are in to collecting cards for their appreciation I would recommend hunting down some 1st edition Erdnase cards before the price gets way out of site and if you collect just for fun, like me, go get some of these 2nd editions while supplies last. I can’t recommend these as a practice deck (which of course I am for the purposes of this review) for the obvious reason that both 1st and 2nd editions are limited runs. Stingers seem to be here to stay so practice with those but keep these for you. These are just to cool!


Last edited by eostresh on Mon Jun 14, 2010 6:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards deck review
PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2010 9:16 pm 
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Penguin

Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 313
Location: Illinois
those are definitely acorns.


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 Post subject: Re: Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards deck review
PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:38 pm 
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born to perform.

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worldwideme wrote:
those are definitely acorns.

Thanks...thought I was going "nuts" :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards deck review
PostPosted: Tue Jun 08, 2010 1:56 am 
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Bee Erdnase Edition 1 Week Update
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Overall thoughts:

As I suspected this stock and finish performs much better in drier climate. I was just shy of tossing the Stingers into the street after a week of rain but these have held their own quite nicely.

Handling:
There was a sleight deterioration in fans, springs, and dribbles; a sharp drop in crimp hold; and a small increase in 2+O performance.

Fan: 9.5
Not much deterioration but you could still tell a difference in a side by side comparison. I personally think it is still a smoother fan than an OOB 808.

Spring: 6
Again this is just enough of a drop to detect in a side by side comparison. The slow deterioration of the deck stiffness is a good thing as it didn't have a lot to begin with.

Dribble: 9
A combination of lots of on again off again practice and the easy dribbling characteristics of this deck has got my Anaconda flourish finally starting to look a flourish and less like an impromptu game of 52 card pick-up.

Crimp Hold/Recovery: 6 Hold/ 7 Recovery
Even the dry weather can't fully protect the Aristocrat stock from its Achilles heel. This is just a stock that gets "beat up" pretty easily and can't really hold an intentional crimp for very long. I have been having to re-crimp my "breather" every few days but it is doing much better than the Stingers did during the rains.

Single Card Glide: 8
Glides coming off the bottom from the pinky are getting easier to grasp but there was a slight reduction in glides coming off the top. Overall I left this characteristic the same.

2+ Obfuscations: 7
As seems to be the case with these ultra smooth cards you need to get them broken in a bit so the cards don't skate around too much. I gave it a full point of improvement based mostly upon a more reliable push - off double, fair performance in a Diving Board Double, and not completely terrible performance in the single corner display.
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Additional Thoughts:
I'm glad I have had the opportunity to evaluate the Aristocrat stock in more favorable conditions. I sense it is at it's peak right now and expect it to last another week. Here is one general thought that strikes me about this deck. The Smoke&Mirror.v4s started out feeling almost uncontrollable but after about a 1/2 a week they broke in and became one of the most precise decks(by far the most precise "soft" deck) that I have used. The Erdnase on the Aristocrat stock were not quite as "out of control" when they come out of the box and likewise don't feel as "precise" as the v.4s did now that they are broken in. With that caveat the two decks have a very similar character and for those who might want to save their precious v.4s, or who didn't have an opportunity to buy v.4s, the Bee Aristocrat stocks (Erdnase, Stingers, and probably Club Specials) would be a great alternative. With that said I wouldn't recommend buying the "Erdnase" editions for a practice deck. For gods sake it's a unique deck that was printed to commemorate a profit of card magic and it would be a shame to see people treat a limited edition deck like I have been. I'm taking one for the team here guys so if you get a few decks just bring them out for special occasions. They are to nice to waste as a practice deck!


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 Post subject: Re: Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards deck review
PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2010 8:25 am 
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Erdnase Deck (final update)

Well bummer. A bit more humidity just rolled in and put these guys to bed. Fortunately I was able to make it to the 9th hour of practice in the second week and I feel I was able to get a pretty good sense of the longevity of this deck. Without the humidity I don't think it would have lasted much longer than the two week mark. Here is the overall handling scores when I gave it the KIA.

Fanning: 9
Even after two weeks of abuse and getting picked up off the floor the Aristocrat stock should still match an OOB 808. Overall the smoothest fanning deck I have ever used.

Spring Energy: 5
Well this is one of the reasons for the KIA. A soft deck from the start I'd now call it soft and floppy. Some people might not care to much about that...I do. That's why I'm sticking the first nail in the coffin.

Dribble: 9
As well as fantastic fans this one of the best attributes of this deck.

Crimp Hold and Recovery: 5 hold /7 recovery
With most of the review blessed with drier weather I did not notice as many unintentional crimps popping up in the Erdnase deck as when I reviewed the Stingers. Never the less the crimp hold will still be a problem for some. Because I use a breather crimp in a few routines this is all the excuse I need to drive the final nail in the coffin.

Single card glides: 8
A pretty good performer in this from the beginning. The one glide that seems to be an issue at all is pulling a glide to the thumbs side(left for me) off the top. I don't know why but from the beginning this deck just seemed to want to pull mini thumb fans instead of single cards in that direction. I left it at an 8 because it is really the only glide direction that I need to catch a break before execution. All the other glides are relatively effortless.

2 + Obfuscations: 7
It got much better at pulling pushoffs and diving board doubles but the loose stock makes opposing corner spins very insecure. You will have to be really delicate on a Floop move or a Jones change. Looking at the strengths and weaknesses I decided to keep it average at a 7.

Final thoughts:
There is a lot to love about the Aristocrat stock but with that said don't get caught up in the marketing of decks labeled as such. The bad is that I don't think that this stock/finish combo is anything unique, such as the recycled paper stock used for the v.4s or the venerable UV500 stock finish combo that you find in the classic E decks. I think the Aristocrat stock is one of the standard stocks used by USPCC and, in that regard, its as common place as the Bicycle, Hoyle, and Tally Ho stocks. Indeed to last two weeks in my hands makes it only slightly more durable than an 808 and puts it about on par with Tally-Hos and Arrcos. However, I don't think you can judge the Aristocrat based solely on its longevity. For one, even if it is one of the four or five standard stocks USPCC makes I would argue that it is the best stock of the standard line. The Aristocrat does what USPCC stocks do best. It fans, spreads, faros like non other. It does not encumber itself by attempting to be stiff. It's a deck made for people with a light touch.

You may question why it's worth spending up to $5.00 for decks using a standard stock. Only the magician can truly answer that but I'll offer my thoughts. Bee has a reputation for quality that dates back over 100 years. It is still one of the most common brands found in Vegas casinos and it's reputation is such that it was the only deck to receive a product placement in Erdnase's classic card treatise, "The Expert at The Card Table." (see Legerdemain, Three Aces Routine, Figure 101) This reputation and quality has gone relatively unnoticed to magicians as the borderless backs (as you can imagine) draw attention to reversed cards, double facers, double backers, ect. If you want to experience the elegance of a Bee deck but not be encumbered by the limitations of a borderless back then certainly the Stingers and Erdnase editions are excellent choices. Furthermore, the quality controls USPCC puts into to these cards is of a much higher caliber than you will find with most of the main market brands they produce. It is not uncommon to see Tally-hos with misaligned edges and it is uncommon to find Bike 808s without misaligned edges. The Bee Erdnase editions and the Stinger backs will come out of the box with smooth edges and evenly cut cards. Finally, especially as it relates to the Erdnase Ed., these are limited run cards. You are definitely paying for the collection value of these cards as well as the overall quality of stock and quality controls. If you are into card collecting they are both worth the price. These factors lead my to recommend the Erdnase for collectors and card enthusiasts. Happy shuffling!


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 Post subject: Re: Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards deck review
PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2010 8:14 am 
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Here is the video suppliment for the Erdnase review. Not much for performance actually. This time I cover some thoughts on the ACR and I teach a move out of Erdnase. These are kind of becomming my card vlog :D Might be of interest to some of you newer guys, probably nothing new to the old salts....and the good new is that I could care less if you rate or subscribe!
http://www.vimeo.com/12611286


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 Post subject: Re: Bee 2nd Edition Erdnase Playing Cards deck review
PostPosted: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:25 pm 
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***Note on Bee Club Specials***
I have been asked openly and PMed about whether or not the Club Specials are the same stock and finish as the Stingers/Erdnase. I finally got in a few Club Specials to compare side by side and here is what I found. Basically I think it is the same stock and it may be the same finish as well. Comparing the cards side by side I didn’t notice any differences that would warrant a separate score for any of the categories I use. Spring, dribble, glide and crimp hold and recovery were all a match. I might give the Club Special an edge on 2+ Obfuscations due to the borderless design that makes push off DL very deceptive. The Stinger/Erdnase might get a bit of an edge on fanning. The truth is that you can feel a difference in the club specials versus the others. They seem to have a slightly rougher feel to them, particularly on the edges. What accounts for this is likely quality controls more than everything else. I read a post from Jonathan Bayme from T11 that mentioned that USPCC has a press that is generally reserved for the cards they print for Casinos and that all T11 decks are printed on that press. That may indeed be the biggest difference in the cards. There may be a different final varnish used on the cards as well but without getting an insiders scoop on that I couldn’t say for sure. Whatever the case there is something more than just a paint job going on with the Erdnase and Stingers but it is not enough in my opinion to warrant yet one more review. This is just a note to assure Erdnase and Stinger buyers that there is a justification for the higher price tag on these cards. Whether you are willing to pay that much more for a card based purely on quality controls is a question that can only be answered by the buyer. This is also to let Erdnase and Stinger owners know that if you want to spare your fancy collector decks for performance the Bee Club Special would be a good “practice” card to compliment either of those two cards. Overall I would say the Bee brand is just a higher quality brand than the Bicycle and even (let the fireworks begin) the Tally Hos!


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