How do the cards "handle?"
First of all, whomever first coined this phrase is a marketing genius because they've convinced the noobs and fan boys that there is such a thing. And because it's then "force fed" to you over and over - when you pick up a deck - you convince yourself that it's true.
"Wow, these cards do handle great." you say to yourself.
Is there some truth to it? Well, of course there is - but it's not as apples and oranges as you think.
How do I make this simple for you?
First of all about 90% of the cards in America are printed from the United States Playing Card Company - the other 10% come from all the other printers like Legends, Expert, MPC and Cartamundi. (there are also a few other printers who only print decks for casinos)
"So how do they handle?"
First off, answer your own question.
If you want to know how a deck of Bikes "handle" buy a deck. One off the shelf deck "handles" like the next. USPCC prints all of their retail decks the same way, using the same paper stock and the same ink. Yes, even if it's a Hello Kitty deck or Duck Dynasty.
Then, you need to buy a Q1 deck from USPCC. That would be any deck from Ellusionist, the Blue Crown or Kickstarter. What is Q1? That's USPCC's highest quality control. It seems USPCC pulls out all of the stops for their custom decks - so you'll get smoother edges and a better print registry.
If you want - you should also buy a deck from Theory 11, they are the only house that asks for USPCC's "green eco friendly" paper and inks.
"What about Tally Ho, I heard they were the best?"
Eh, they used to be back when USPCC made their cards differently. But your deck of Tallys will handle exactly like a Q1 deck from kickstarter or Ellusionist.
Next, purchase a deck of Bee. This is a thicker card stock (same paper, different thickness) this deck will give you an idea of how "casino" thickness cards handle.
Next, purchase a deck of Aladdins - now this is not a necessity but Aladdins will give you an example of how "smooth finish" decks handle. Personally I don't like them and the possibility that you'll come across a "smooth finish" deck is not that probable.
Congratulations - with your collection of 4 or 5 decks you now know how 90% of the decks in America "handle."
Am I serious?
Remember, USPCC uses the same paper and ink and cutting process for all of their decks so for the most part one deck will feel the same as the other...
For the most part.
"What do you mean for the "most part?"
Well, it's not an exact science. And the truth is USPCC doesn't have any way to make one deck's print run EXACTLY the same as another. In fact, if Ellusionist orders 10 thousand decks from USPCC and then a year later orders 10 thousand more.... sorry those two different print runs won't be identical. So even one deck from 2016 won't handle like a deck from 2015 even if it's the same make and model.
So in truth, asking how a deck handles is absurd. Because as soon as USPCC drops another spool of paper - the variables change all over again.
Just as an example, I have a deck of Traditionally cut Black Lions from David Blaine and I have heard from others that they got a "modern cut" - so now what? Even within the same run the decks are not consistent.
So in a field where there is so much inconsistency... it makes no sense to ask how a deck handles.... right?
Plus even if I could tell you how it handles what rating scale do I use that you can understand?
If I said they handle great - what does that tell you? How specific is the word "good" or "bad?" It's all subjective isn't it?
The bottom line is - if you want to know how a deck handles, buy it and see for yourself. If it comes from USPCC, then you should have a collection of cards that should give you a very good idea already.
But what if it isn't a USPCC deck?
And certainly there are other variables?
Good questions, i'll answer those in another post - in the mean time, comment below with your questions or arguments.