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 Post subject: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 12:34 am 
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Bulldog Squeezers
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Where to buy:
http://www.kardwell.com/page/KII/CTGY/SQUEEZERS
Price: $6.50 for 2 decks
And for an even better price...right hear at PENGUIN!!!: Only $2.70/ deck!
http://www.penguinmagic.com/product.php?ID=S5612

For more information about my reviewing methods and a list of other reviews: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=156760&p=1224367#p1224367

Video Review Suppliment: http://vimeo.com/19881338





Initial Impressions:
WOW! This is probably the nicest quality stock and finish combination I have come across with a mid range USPCC card! The thing that immediately stands out with this deck is likely just the quality control used on this deck. I would pit the quality control up against most USPCC custom cards I have tried and well beyond what I generally find in most “off the shelf” USPCC cards. The borders are perfectly aligned and the edges are cut almost flawlessly. This deck excels in all forms of faro shuffling.

History:
I added this section specifically for this deck as it does have quite an interesting and long history. The Squeezers were a term added to several cards from the New York Consolidated Playing Card Company and at one time came with many different back designs. The one I’m reviewing is the No.58 back and it is the one with two dogs printed on the back with the quote, “The tie that binds,” printed across the bottom. This deck was originally minted in 1877 to commemorate the merger of the N.Y Consolidated (maker of the Bee brand) and the A. Dougherty(Maker of the Tally-Ho brand) playing card companies. Each Bulldog has a name printed on its collar. One saying Trip the other saying Squeezer. N.Y. Consolidated printed cards under the name Squeezer which referred to the way card players could cup and squeeze there card in order to see the pips. A.Dougherty printed a line of cards called “Trips” which stood for triplicates which in-turn stood for the way in which the card was printed with a large center image and miniature images printed in opposing corners. Incidentally both of these innovations, Squeezers and Trips, were the first time cards were printed with what today would today be called corner pips. Prior to this cards were printed with a single image design. Each dog was chained to their respective dog house which symbolized a shady business deal between the two companies by which each would sell their brand of cards on their “turf” and not undercut the others business. So, essentially, these cards represent a market fixing scheme that dated back to the 1870s. (Important to note, that type of market fixing was probably not illegal at the time) Eventually the two companies merged into “Consolidated Dougherty” which was bought out by the United States Playing Card Company. Why USPCC still prints a commemorative deck that represents a merger of two companies that it eventually bought out is a mystery but I am glad they did. Word on the street(specifically from a forum post by J.Bayme from T11) is that USPCC has no intention of discontinuing the Bulldog Squeezers anytime soon.
For a further look at the history of these cards you may want to check out these two websites. Most of the information above was gleaned from these two sites.http://whiteknucklecards.com/history/dougherty.html
http://www.stevensmagic.com/gemini/Mike ... lldogs.htm
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The Look:
These cards come in red and blue backs and usually will be found in sets with one red and one blue. As already mentioned in the history section the backs of these cards are a picture of two dogs, Trip and Squeezer, chained to there respective dog houses barking at each other. In the upper right is a sinister looking smiling moon. The upper left has a “REGISTERED 1877” printed on the roof of Trip’s dog house. On the bottom of the picture is a quote that says, “There is a tie that binds us to our homes.”
The Ace of spades is also a commemoration of the consolidation of the two companies. The central pip is similar to the wheel pattern used on the Tally-Ho AOS minus the N.9. The artwork surrounding the AOS is similar to the artwork that surrounds the Bee AOS. It has the same flower and bee design except that on the lower banner “Squeezer” is printed instead of “Consolidated Dougherty.” The Jokers are the same as the Tally-Ho Joker and the court cards are all standard USPCC.

Card Construction:
This card has about the same thickness and stiffness as Tally-Ho cards. They come in about 15.2 mm for a stack of 52 cards making them on average 1 or 2 cards thinner than a Bike but overall these are a tad stiffer than the 808 stock. You will likely find these a bit more tricky to split than 808s as well. My thought is that perhaps a higher grade glue accounts for extra bit of stiffness but for the most part they will feel quite similar to most medium stiffness USPCC cards. Where you really feel the difference is in the quality controls. As said before the cutting used on this deck is very precise. The deck feels very smooth along the sides and edges and the corners or perfectly rounded. Also the borders are perfectly aligned, something that I have found increasingly more uncommon in Bike and Tally-Ho brands.
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Handling:
While on initial inspection you won’t notice any major difference between Bulldog Squeezers and most other USPCC cards you will begin to notice the quality difference as they break in. To give you a basic idea I would say that these cards are almost a combination of the best qualities of the Bee(smooth fans and faro shuffling) and the Tally-Ho(just a tad more stiff and springy than a Bike 808)

Fanning: OOB: 9
1st Week: 9
2nd Week: 8.5

The fanning of the Bulldogs seems about as good as most USPCC cards out of the box but what strikes me is how well it maintains itself over the long haul. I’m close to the end of the second week and I just now have noticed a slight reduction in the overall evenness of the fan. I have had absolutely no clumping issues what so ever.

Spring Energy: OOB: 7.5
1st Week: 7
2nd Week: 6.5

While this deck starts out feeling very much like a Tally-Ho it seems to maintain it’s stiffness longer. My rough guess on that is that the corners being cut so smoothly means that the cards don’t take as much “unintended” abuse and this seem to last a bit longer. Though I rarely do the spring flourish myself(and this category is not necessarily meant to equate to that flourish) the combination of the smooth fan and stiff snappy feel of the deck ought to make this an ideal deck for that flourish.

Dribble: OOB: 8
1st Week: 9
2nd Week: 9

While it doesn’t dribble as effortlessly as the Bee brand, once it breaks in performs dribbles quite well.

Crimp Hold/Recovery: OOB: 8
1st week: 7 (hold)/ 8 (recovery)
2nd Week: 7(hold)/8(recovery)

This is what so far has made this deck stand out. Squeezers seem to hold a crimp about as well as Bikes but they recover from crimps almost as well as many of the super stiff European cards(Piatnik, Fournier.) A good example of this is the concave or convex shape that most decks develop after a while due to the type of shuffles commonly used(table riffle or in hands riffle.) The Squeezers after almost two weeks have still not developed a concave/convex shape. Also, the deck has developed very few unintentional crimps. This has certainly helped keep the deck feeling “almost new” even at a point in the review where most USPCC cards have either been retired or are close to being retired.

Single Card Glides: OOB: 7
1st Week: 8
2nd Week: 8

I would say this attribute is about on par with most USPCC cards. Once broken in it performs these techniques slightly above average but a small break is still recommended prior to a top card glide.

2+ Card Obfuscations: OOB: 8
1st week: 6
2nd Week: 6

Though the added stiffness of the deck helped it to feel a bit above average OOB as soon as the stock loosened a tad the smooth nature of the cards took over and some of the two card displays began to be a bit more problematic. Another thing that may hinder this deck’s doubling performance is ironically the stocks natural resistance to bends. Techniques that bend two cards in order to “seal” them momentarily together are less effective with these cards than most other cards. So while many USPCC cards may start out average and get better as they age I am finding the reverse to be true with the Bulldogs.

**special note: Faro Shuffles: I rarely include more than a passing mention to faro shuffles in my reviews. Partially because it is a technique that I have only been using a lot over the last year and thus am by no means a real expert, and partly because I usually find that cards that rate high on a fan tend to faro better so no particular category was warranted. Never the less I should point out that the Bulldogs seem to faro better than almost any other card I have tried save for a few well made custom decks. I never really practiced, nor to I currently have a use for, a perfect faro yet within a day of using this deck I had my first two perfect faros. More and more have been coming since that time. It could just be that sooner or later everyone who faros eventually get to a point where they faro perfectly whether they are consciously trying to or not, but the excellent cut job on the Bulldogs must play a role as well. In addition to the perfect faro the faro weave phase of the one handed riffle shuffle seems to bind less as well. Seeing as the one handed shuffle has, for me, been one of the most abusive techniques I put a deck through I’m sure this has in no small part been a factor in the Bulldogs longevity.

Gaff construction and availability: No on the market Gaffs that I know of. Splitting these cards will be trickier than with the Bike 808 but not as much of a pain as a Fournier.


XCM Flourishing:
The features about this deck that make it so durable and fun to play with ironically might hinder it’s XCM performance for some. The packets will be a little sketchy holding together for multi-packet and aerial cuts. Anyone whose flourishing is heavy on the fans and spreads should have no issue with this deck but it still won’t best a Bee.

Who Should Buy?:Anyone who likes the way these look should BUY! This deck has a quality feel to it that won’t be matched or bested until you get into the $5.00 and up price range. Especially if you have stayed away from Bee cards because you prefer a stiffer stock you should check these out. It is basically a Bee quality deck with a Tally-Ho stock.

Who should not buy: The only reason not to get this deck is if you just don’t like the back design.

Final thoughts:
Well I have finally found a mid-range USPCC card that I like better than the Arccos. I’m not sure that this deck will be for everyone. The Bucks came out with the V.4 earlier this year which kind of went for a “Retro look,” and, even then, some folks just didn’t like the looks of those. Well if you didn’t like the 1970s retro styling then you probably won’t care for an 1870s retro look. I personally love the looks. Not only do they look retro….they are! This is a design that dates back before the now iconic Bicycle Rider back design.

What for me is the most important selling point of this deck is the overall quality versus price. This deck will never quite reach the fanning capabilities of a Bee, especially custom Bee decks, nor will it match the stiffer decks, Fournier and Piatniks, in 2+O and single card glides, but those are largely due to the overall stiffness of the deck. Medium flex decks will always be somewhat of a “Jack of all Trades” deck but as medium flex decks go I think it is one of the best. Even after just two weeks I will already say that I overall prefer the Bulldogs to either the Carta-mundi or the UV500 stocks. After almost two weeks this deck feels practically new. The last time I used a USPCC deck that held together so well was UV500 Masters Edition(now KIA by USPCC) or the Steamboats(also KIAed by USPCC.) After seeing some of the best USPCC cards get discontinued over the last few years I’m happy that they plan to continue the Bulldog line.

This glowing review not withstanding I feel I should issue one warning about this deck. The cards I am reviewing were made in the Cincinnati plant. Though USPCC intends to continue printing this deck it will obviously eventually be switched to the Kentucky plant. We have all heard plenty of gripes about the quality of the new plant, which USPCC assures us was a result of the “learning curve” on the new presses, but even when things get worked out over there the overall processing qualities will be changed. USPCC will have two presses, the higher quality press will be the “Web” press, and four standards of printing, Q1 being the best and Q4 being the worst. So once Bulldogs get printed again it is possible the card may feel a bit different depending on which press they decide to use and which Q factor they intend to use. So keep your eyes peeled and if anyone happens to come across a Bulldog Squeezer from the Kentucky plant please post your thoughts here. Until that time, if you find a Deck of squeezers….BUY THEM!


Last edited by eostresh on Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:11 am, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 3:16 am 
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Wow.....these looks really nice actually. really unique...


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:32 pm 
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I don't know if you saw, but we have them back in stock here at Penguin. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:44 pm 
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Popchris wrote:
I don't know if you saw, but we have them back in stock here at Penguin. :)


Thanks for that Chris....I updated my post. At $2.70/pack these are an even better deal! Do you happen to know if the Squeezers stocked at Penguin are from Ohio or Kentucky?


Nice review of your own BTW. To clarify a few things when you say "soft" you are referring to the smoothness in shuffling and fanning as opposed to a softer versus stiffer deck right? Because I find them about on par with the Tally Hos and they seem to hold their overall stiffness a little longer as well.

Also, latest I heard is that the Squeezers were eventually spared from the chopping block. Of course now that a few folks have started raving about this deck I'm sure some USPCC exec will decide to cancel them. God forbid they make a top notch deck unless they can charge $5.00 for it!


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:20 am 
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Bulldog Squeezers (3rd week Update)
Three weeks on a USPCC mid range deck. I haven’t experienced that since the Steamboat review. These cards are definitely headed towards my all star category. They have begun to look like a worn deck, they finally took on a convex shape and the edges finally turned grey, but they still perform admirably.

Handling:
Fanning:
3rd week: 8

As the edges take more abuse the fans and spreads diminish a bit but I have had no clumping issues at all.

Spring:
3rd week: 6

For a USPCC card with an air flow(dimpled style) finish these things have held their stiffness and springiness surprisingly well. Last time I had a USPCC deck hold out this well was on the old UV500 decks.
Dribble:
3rd week: 8

Dribbles diminished a bit but this is still performing above average.

Crimp:
3rd week: 7 hold /7 recover

The end of the third week and it still holds and recovers as well as an OOB 808….impressive! I honestly think this is the hidden virtue of this deck. Not only does it recover well but the high quality cutting job make it less likely that snags will occur that could botch a faro and thus accidentally crimp and dent the cards.

Glide:
3rd week: 7

A bit of a reduction now that the deck has finally developed the telltale convex shape but the cards are smooth enough to compensate for that.

2+Obfuscation:
3rd week: 7

Probably this decks biggest weakness but now that the fan is diminishing the cards are starting to hold together a little better.,

Additional Thoughts:
There is nothing I wouldn’t recommend this deck for other than those trying to learn complicated and high end doubling techniques. These cards will be cagey for spinning doubles, aerial doubles, and sliding double techniques but other than that they are a real pleasure. Even though they are beginning to look and perform “average” I foresee them making it a full month.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 6:34 am 
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Bulldog Squeezers (4th week Update)
Wow! The First USPCC cambric style deck, and only the second USPCC deck, to make it to the end of a full month. That fact has immediately placed this deck in league with the Steamboat. I will honestly pit this deck against most of the USPCC custom decks on the market. If you are looking for a long lasting, good performing deck with a medium stiff stock, look no further. If you are a Tally Ho fan, check these guys out. This deck just bumped the Arrco out of its top five spot. I can’t recommend this enough.
Handling:
Fanning:
4rd week: 7.5
A slight reduction in the evenness of the fan yet I still have yet to notice any clumping. The biggest thing I noticed is that it’s faro shuffles started getting sketchier. After a month of abuse on those edges I really can’t complain about that. I’ve heard that Richard Turner insists on his cards getting a traditional cut to facilitate smooth faros and many times throughout this review I wondered if these cards have a traditional cut. Certainly no advertisements have claimed this but I am now anxious to compare these to my “Gold Seal” bikes(currently on order.) I’ll update when that happens.

Spring:
4rd week: 5.5
The spring is pretty borderline after a month but for a deck that started out at a 7.5 I am surprised it held out as long as it did. Softened stock is my most common reason for giving a USPCC card a KIA.
Dribble:
4rd week: 7
After a month this deck is getting pretty filthy and that is causing less even dribbles.

Crimp:
4rd week: 7 hold /7 recovery
Honestly not bad considering its age. Very few major unwanted crimps and it will still hold a medium sized crimp through several shuffles.

Glide:
4rd week: 8
This actually improved a bit in this final week. I often find that as ultra smooth decks lose their fan they tend to perform a tad better in single card glides and DLs. That seems to be the case here.

2+Obfuscation:
4rd week: 7
Always the weakest feature of this deck I did notice average performance in the final week. Overall this is not a deck to practice or perform new and challenging doubling techniques. When you get it out of the box it will perform a bit better than an 808(probably due to a slightly stiffer stock) but as soon as it breaks in the smooth nature of the deck takes over. Even with that weakness bear in mind that I had little trouble with even challenging techniques that I have a lot of experience with.

Final Thoughts:
Other than its unique “old world” look and its longevity not much stands out about this deck if you only look at the numbers. It has similar fanning and stiffness characteristics with most USPCC decks. It is a deck which has had its ups and downs with the two major magic categories(single card glides and 2+obfuscations) so on the surface there is little about its performance that would lead to a strong recommendation. Nevertheless, it was the things that are harder to quantify that led me to fall head over heels for the Bulldogs. The smooth faros ( probably best categorized in the fanning) is probably the most obvious hidden bonus. I certainly think that this directly influenced the longevity of this deck. Simply put, you are less likely to make mistakes in riffle and faro shuffles that may lead to unintentional crimps in the stock. For these reasons I think that this will be a well loved deck by any experienced card worker. Essentially, experience card workers will be less effected by marginal 2+O performance and more apt to appreciate a deck that can faro smoothly.
My final recommendation, this will be liked by any magician but in particular for magicians who like the idea of combining all the best features of the Tally-ho and all the best features of the Bee. In history, stock, finish, quality, and character the Bulldog Squeezers are the result of a perfect marriage.

Appendix: Some questions have arisen about the fate of this deck. USPCC has shown less of an interest in its heritage than its bottom line over the last few years. With Steamboats, Arrcos, and Texans gone and other cards becoming more and more scarce, many have assumed that the end of the Bulldogs was only a matter of time. John Bayme (Theory 11 CEO) has mentioned that they would keep the Bulldogs but my own personal insider source, “Deep Cut,” has told me that there was one last run made out of the new Kentucky plant in 2009. Basically that means that Bulldogs are flush on the market now but they could start becoming very scarce within the next few years. Because of this new information I recommend that you try these out as soon as you get a chance. If you really like them then buy a few bricks just in case. There is no real rush on this but I would recommend you make a decision on Bulldogs, and how many Bulldogs you would like in your personal inventory, by the end of 2011.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 1:32 pm 
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These smell weird, and look awful.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:04 pm 
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akirafist wrote:
These smell weird, and look awful.

LOL Personally I love the looks but I can understand why some wouldn't. After all, Derby hats and moustache grease were also popular back in 1878. Smell weird?...hrm...you mean like a mixture of Bengay and prune juice?


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:14 pm 
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eostresh wrote:
you mean like a mixture of Bengay and prune juice?


Nah like a weird chemical kinda smell. It's pretty strong.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:51 pm 
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akirafist wrote:
eostresh wrote:
you mean like a mixture of Bengay and prune juice?


Nah like a weird chemical kinda smell. It's pretty strong.

Now that is really weird? Ohio or Kentucky? If Kentucky I'll leave it to Chris to respond to that.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 2:14 am 
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I actually did notice as well that it smelt a little different.


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:33 pm 
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http://blog.penguinmagic.com/bulldog-sq ... eck-review

Such an awesome review. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:14 pm 
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By far my favorite deck. They feel awesome, look awesome, and last FOREVER. I have a pack from a year ago (used at least one day a week for many hours) and they're still going strong.

RE: Crimp recovery - I was hanging out with David Roth and Eric Decamps the other day and David wanted to show me a certain side steal. He borrowed my Blue Squeezers and proceeded to put a HUGE bridge in the bottom half. Eric's eyes went :shock: . Two springs and I was back in business. I was like, it's all good; they're Squeezers. 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:49 pm 
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ayli wrote:
By far my favorite deck. They feel awesome, look awesome, and last FOREVER. I have a pack from a year ago (used at least one day a week for many hours) and they're still going strong.

RE: Crimp recovery - I was hanging out with David Roth and Eric Decamps the other day and David wanted to show me a certain side steal. He borrowed my Blue Squeezers and proceeded to put a HUGE bridge in the bottom half. Eric's eyes went :shock: . Two springs and I was back in business. I was like, it's all good; they're Squeezers. 8)

Well that's what you get for giving your cards to a coin magician. :lol: jk


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 Post subject: Re: Bulldog Squeezers Deck Review
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2011 10:40 pm 
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ayli wrote:
By far my favorite deck. They feel awesome, look awesome, and last FOREVER. I have a pack from a year ago (used at least one day a week for many hours) and they're still going strong.

RE: Crimp recovery - I was hanging out with David Roth and Eric Decamps the other day and David wanted to show me a certain side steal. He borrowed my Blue Squeezers and proceeded to put a HUGE bridge in the bottom half. Eric's eyes went :shock: . Two springs and I was back in business. I was like, it's all good; they're Squeezers. 8)

Awsome story! Yeah I have done so many reviews and I think I ought to be able to predict stuff like that but....ehhh? For the life of me I can't tell why they recover so well......I guess it's MAGIC! :shock:


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