Víctor Piña is a fantastic Spanish magician and a great friend of ours. He helped Ondřej put together his Magnolia Online Magic Show. In 2022, we invited Víctor to hold a lecture for Czech magicians in our Butterfly Wonderland in Prague.
Piña Playing Cards resulted from yet another collaboration between Víctor and us. The first print run is a limited edition of 2.500 decks. We discuss the process behind the creation of this deck below.
Víctor knew right from the start he wanted a classic deck of cards. He loves Arrcos and Studs and wanted to emulate that old-style design. The main inspiration for the design was Visa Playing Cards by Patrick Kun and Alex Pandrea. We also used Monarchs by theory11 and Jetsetter Playing Cards as a guide for the style.
The main theme for the design is pineapples. Why? Piña means pineapple in Spanish. And Víctor’s logo is, you guessed it, a pineapple. Paulina incorporated it into the symmetrical back design and created two pineapple Jokers. There were several iterations of the pineapple and the back design. We finally landed on the Art Deco version for its elegant and clean aesthetics.
You can look at some of the drafts of the back design and Jokers below. The drafts accompany Paulina's commentary explaining her thoughts behind the design.
Piña Playing Cards feature a brand new marking system, which Ondřej derived from the classic Butterfly Playing Cards marking system. It is easy to use and read. If you’re familiar with the Butterfly markings, you will quickly get used to these.
There is more to the deck than just the markings. The Piña deck features a one-way face and back design. These can be used in countless routines. If you have the Butterfly Workers Edition, Ondřej shares some ideas in their tutorial. We highly recommend the book Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, which includes a chapter dedicated to magic with one-way cards, among many other gems.
We asked Víctor to share some of his techniques with these cards. He kindly shared two that use the one-way back design. The first tip makes the spectator find their card in a shuffled deck. The second one lets you locate the spectator's card without touching the deck. Enjoy!
Víctor's Tip #1
Let your spectator pick a card from the deck with the black corners pointing towards them. You then do a quick deck reversal, and the card is returned and is now the only one pointing in the other direction. It is easier to see the black corner among the white ones than it is the other way around.
You can then let the spectator shuffle the cards. If they use the standard overhand shuffle, they won't alter the orientation of the cards. After they are done, do a thumb fan with the backs towards the spectators and yourself so no one sees the faces of the cards. Spread the cards with your other hand, if necessary, to locate the spectator's card. Now that you know its position, you can perform a simple time force with your first finger moving around the fanned-out deck. This way, the spectator can find their card in the deck they shuffled.
Víctor's Tip #2
This little tip will help you locate the chosen and reversed card while the spectator shuffles the cards.
You start the same as mentioned before - let the spectator pick a card and return it in a reversed deck. They can shuffle the deck. You're going to show them a thorough shuffling sequence they are going to do to ensure their card is lost in the deck. Tell them to start dealing the cards on the table, and whenever they like, they can pause, shuffle the remaining cards, and then continue with the dealing.
They can repeat this how many times they like until they've gone through the whole deck. During this sequence, you're looking at the cards dealt on the table, and for the one card turned the other way around (their chosen card). Hidden under the messy shuffle, you can fairly accurately estimate the position of the spectator's card. You can then go anywhere you want from this point. The spectator shuffled the deck and thought there was no way you knew where their card was, but you did know.
It was given from the beginning that the United States Playing Card Company would print Piña Playing Cards. Víctor made it clear he wanted the cards printed on a crushed stock for the broken-in feel straight out of the box.
With that set, it was left to decide - Retail (Bicycle) or Premium (Casino) stock. Before printing the cards, we sent Víctor several decks to test. His favorite was Cartelago Playing Cards by Franco Pascali, printed on a crushed Retail stock.
We had long discussions with Víctor regarding the stock. When printing with USPC, we are always inclined towards the Premium stock when printing a deck made to be heavily used. It is more durable than the Retail stock, and the cards hold their shape better.
As the cards can come out in different thicknesses, the features of all decks vary. Even though two decks can be printed on the same stock, the result and final feel will differ. The crushed Retail stock, already thinner and softer than Premium stock, can sometimes come out almost too thin and soft.
It came down to one question. Does Víctor want a deck that feels soft and ready to use straight out of the box or a slightly stiffer deck that will last longer? So, what was the final decision? We printed Piña Playing Cards on a crushed Premium stock. We also made them traditionally cut for smooth faro shuffles from the faces to the backs.
This is our first completely collaborative deck. We produced two Butterfly decks with Penguin Magic, but Piña Playing Cards is a new project and venture. We and Víctor are excited about the cards and hope you are too.
We already have plans for future collaborations. Who would you like to see us work with next? Let us know!