Texan: Palmetto Back
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Where to buy: http://cards4magic.co.uk/acatalog/xUSPC ... Packs.html Price:
For more information about my reviewing methods and a list of other reviews: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156760&p=1224367#p1224367Video Suppliment with performance of "The Big Deal"(Josh Jay):http://vimeo.com/17940187Initial Impressions:
The Texan Palmettos are a deck that has been out of production for a while now. At one time they were made by the US Playing Card Company for distribution by the International Playing Card Company (I assume this is, or at least was, a subsidiary for USPCC.) Originally only available for distribution in Canada these have always been a bit hard to come by and are becoming harder the day. In addition to the website I listed your best chance of finding them would be from various E-bay sellers. In performance they seem on par with most mid range USPCC brands but they do seem to have a pretty rough cut on the edge(more so than even Bikes.)
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This is likely what made these decks so popular among magicians and collectors. It is a borderless back with a star logo in the middle surrounded by a palmetto leaf pattern. It is by far one of the most intricate and ornate of the decks with a borderless back. There is a guarantee Joker, and two poker hand ranking cards, one in French and the other in English. The primary joker is a cowboy riding a horse behind the image of a large star that has a ’45 in its center. It is a nice unique Joker but unfortunately you only get one of these. Other than that all the faces and even the Ace of Spades is exactly like a Bike 808.Card Construction:
The stock is about the same width and stiffness of a Bee card leading me to believe that it uses the same stock. Never the less, the edges seem to have been cut coarser than a Bee card so even if the same stock is used there are some subtly differences in handling.
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Because of the similarities in stock you will likely find the Palmettos handle similar to the Bee except that the coarser cutting makes it a bit more choppy to fan and faro. Fanning: OOB: 8.5
1st Week: 8
2nd Week: 7.5
Because of it’s borderless design it is easy to be fooled by the deck and think it is fanning better than it is. The truth is that even out of the box a keen eye will detect some irregularities between the Texan 45 and 808. Over the course of the two weeks it seemed to go through phases where the fans would get pretty clumpy. Sometimes it would deteriorate to a 5 or a 6 but it would always seem to work its way out of these phases and come back to life. Even though there were times where it would fan at perhaps a 9 the inconsistent nature of the fan convinced me to rate it just barely above average overall.Spring Energy: OOB: 6.5
1st Week: 6
2nd Week: 5.5
The deck starts out a little softer than the Bike 808 and diminishes steadily. Overall a fine stiffness for general magic or gambling routines but not a top choice for tricky “in-hands” knuckle busters. Dribble: OOB: 8
1st Week: 8
2nd Week: 8
It is an above average dribbler so should perform well for dribble shifts but probably not quite good enough for long dribble flourishes. Crimp Hold/Recovery: OOB: 7
1st week: 6 (hold)/ 7 (recovery)
2nd Week: 5(hold)/6(recovery)
This is the Palmettos weakest attribute. It doesn’t hold a crimp very well after the first week. By the second week even a breather crimp was questionable in a long routine. Another weakness to note is that the rougher edges on this card made susceptible to developing unintentional crimps, especially during faro shuffles. Single Card Glides: OOB: 8
1st Week: 8
2nd Week: 7
An above average deck in this category though I would still recommend using a break before glides off the top of the deck. 2+ Card Obfuscations: OOB: 7
1st week: 7
2nd Week: 6
The biggest issue with performing various 2+O techniques will most likely come from opposing corner spin displays(due to the soft stock) and difficulty in some push-off DLs(the borderless back making it difficult to find the right thumb alignment.) By the last week it seemed to be getting a bit better at these techniques but not by much. Gaff construction and availability:
None that I know of.
This is a surprisingly good deck of cards for XCM provided ithe finish is not going through one of it’s “clumpy” phases. These cards hold together remarkably well for a soft stocked card. I would, however, hesitate to recommend it as a card of choice for a flourisher.
Who Should Buy?:
Who should not buy:
people looking for a heavy duty practice deck.Final thoughts:
This certainly isn’t a bad deck of cards but I would say that most the value of this card is in it’s collection value. It has a very unique and interesting back design but the actual construction of the cards seems to be of a slightly lower quality than other mainline USPCC Brands(Bike, Bee, Tally-Ho) Though there are a few categories that best a Bike 808 I would say that overall it is a lower quality card(This is compared to the old Bike 808s from Ohio…not the ones from Kentucky) You can feel this difference most readily in faro shuffles and with close examination of a fan. My guess is that this card uses the same stock as Bee Club Specials but doesn’t seem to go through the same cutting process or quality controls.
Don’t infer from my criticisms that I don’t like this deck. Actually I was quite happy with these cards. I was practicing mostly gambling demos with this deck and the softer stock and borderless back work quite well for that type of card magic. Indeed if you plan on doing a gambling demo with a “wild west” theme, such as Richard Turner does, I can’t think of a better deck “image” wise. The look of these decks fits that theme as well as a Steamboat and I gather most would prefer the Texans softer stock. Also, except for the moments when the fan starts to clump, you really won’t notice the discrepancies in the fan. This deck “looks” great in a fan even if the fan itself is not as perfect as those from a Bike or Bee.
Finally the biggest reason for this deck is as a collectors Item. These were a mass produced deck that hasn’t been off the market as long and hasn’t had the same hype behind it as the Jerry’s Nugget cards. Thus, if you hunt around a bit you can find these for a fairly reasonable price. Indeed, currently they seem to be cheaper than the Steamboats and my guess is that they are a bit more rare than Steamboats.
So my final analysis is that these are a great card for collectors and great for gambling demos(especially ones with a wild west theme) but not up to the quality and longevity standards to make them worth the buy as a practice or every day deck.