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=156760Initial 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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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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
Pulling a bottom card longitudinal glide off the pinky was a little difficult but all other glides were pretty good.2+Card Obfuscations:
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!