Choosing the Best Marked Deck

If you’re serious about using a marked deck, it’s important to choose the best one. The best deck for you will depend on a number of factors, including your preferences, your skill level and how you’re going to use it.

Ideally, the best deck will have markings that are easy to read without being too obvious. It should also look like a regular Bicycle riderback deck, so nobody can tell it’s marked.


There are many great factory printed Bicycle-branded marked decks on the market, but one of the most attractive and versatile options is probably the GT Speedreader. It’s produced on USPCC’s Elite stock, which offers a traditional cut and is very popular for playing cards these days.

The cards themselves have the popular Rider Back design, which is very familiar to most people and very easy for spectators to pick up on, even if they aren’t trained card magicians.

But as it turns out, the manufacturer of Bicycle-branded playing cards, USPCC, took some steps to protect their brand about a decade ago, and alterations to this classic Rider Back design are now no longer permitted.

So if you’re looking for the best Bicycle-branded deck for your marked cards, this is pretty much the only option available today. It meets all the criteria of what makes a good marked deck. It’s also a bit more expensive than most of the other decks in this article, but it does offer an extra level of flexibility and quality that will be hard to find elsewhere.

DMC Elites

Drummond Money-Coutts (DMC), star of Card Shark and Beyond Magic with DMC, and designer and magician Phill Smith have teamed up again to create the DMC Elites deck. This latest version of the ELITES is a further iteration in DMC’s quest to produce the best decks available for professional magicians today.

Each ELITES deck features the Optical Marking System, which is designed specifically for use by magicians and mentalists (as opposed to gambling origin systems), with an intelligently hidden marking mechanic that’s readable at great range, in poor light and at extreme speed. The markings are located on all four corners, making them ideal for close-up and parlor magic performers.

Each DMC ELITES deck is printed by the United States Playing Card Company on their premium Bee stock, and each includes a language-free instruction card that clearly explains the markings visually. They also include a Mnemonica ‘crib’ card and two custom DMC jokers, one with an inbuilt card reveal.


Most card magic relies on a variety of tools, from sleight of hand and good handling to misdirection and showmanship. Sometimes, however, a magician may need to use something extra to make their act work.

This is where a marked deck comes into play. These are decks with markings hidden on the backs of the cards, which allow the magician to perform a wide variety of card effects that are impossible without them.

The best marked decks are designed for the magician in mind, which is why they should have a marking system that’s easy to read and ideally looks like a normal deck. They should also have decent size markings, so that it’s not too hard for you to identify the cards when you need to.

The best marked decks will be able to stand up to close scrutiny from spectators and remain invisible until they’re revealed. Thankfully, there are some excellent options in the market that have both of these criteria.


The best marked decks should offer you a great deal of versatility in the ways they can be used. They should have a marking system that is both easy to read and hard to detect, and they should also be visually pleasing.

They should be available in a variety of back designs, so you can choose the best one for your particular style of magic. They should be made from a durable plastic that is resistant to bending and breaking.

KEM cards are a high-quality plastic playing card that is scuff-resistant, washable and designed to stand up to the wear and tear of everyday use. They are ideal for blackjack, poker, bridge and other games. These 100% plastic playing cards will last much longer than paper or vinyl cards and are a good value for money on a per-play basis.

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