How to Break in a New Deck of Playing Cards

How to Break in a New Deck of Playing Cards - Joker and the Thief

You’ve just got your brand new deck of playing cards, and you’re excited to start using them for Cardistry, Magic or even card games like Poker. Here are our 2 favourite processes that we like to use to condition a brand new luxury playing cards.

Step 1: 

Person rubbing the edges of a brand new deck of playing cards

Rub the edges. This may seem like an unnecessary step, however, it does serve a purpose and will improve the handling of your playing cards. You see, before a deck becomes individual cards, it starts out life as a sheet. This sheet needs to be cut. The blades that do this cutting are incredibly sharp, but can sometimes leave rough edges and fibrous material behind. 

With either your fingers, or against your trousers, rub each edge of the deck. You can even use a nail buffer to achieve this. It will leave your deck with smoother edges than it left the factory with, and you will notice a significant uptick in handling. 

Step 2: 

Person performing the LePaul Spread with a deck of playing cards

To wear the cards in, you need to perform pressure based flourishes and shuffles. We recommend using moves such as the Riffle shuffle, pressure fan, LePaul Spread, and card spring to achieve this. We wrote a tutorial on how to do Basic Shuffles HERE.

Cycle between each move, repeating 3-4 times and then turning the deck end for end. Repeat 3-4 times. Then turn the deck upside down and repeat 3-4 times once more. Cycle through this flourish routine until the deck starts to feel slightly more malleable. 

Person performing the card dribble flourish

The pressure based flourishes help “crack” the finish on the surface of the cards, and help eliminate the stiffness of the card stock itself. 


Make sure your hands are washed, clean and free from an excess oils. Not only will it make your cards last longer, it will allow them to break in nicely. If you want to learn more about Caring for your Playing Cards, click here!

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