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Where to buy: http://www.kardwell.com/page/KII/CTGY/SQUEEZERS Price:
$6.50 for 2 decksAnd 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.htmlhttp://www.stevensmagic.com/gemini/Mike ... lldogs.htm
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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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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.
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!