One-way deck

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An example of a non-symmetrical playing card back design.

A one-way deck is a deck of playing cards where the back of the cards has a pattern that can be oriented to have a "top" and "bottom". Magicians and card sharps can use the orientations of cards in one-way decks to encode information that allows them to perform card tricks.[1][2]

A certain number of the faces of playing cards are not symmetrical, and therefore can also be used as "pointer cards" (the seven of any suit, for instance, whose odd pip is off-center on most modern decks). When all aligned, these cards allow an otherwise ordinary deck (where the backs are all identical) to be used as a partial one-way deck.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dennis Rourke (1 September 2005). The Everything Card Tricks Book: Over 100 Amazing Tricks to Impress Your Friends And Family!. Everything Books. p. 168. ISBN 1-4405-2345-2.
  2. ^ Jean Hugard (30 April 2012). Encyclopedia of Card Tricks. Courier Corporation. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-486-15652-1.
  3. ^ Wayne N. Kawamoto (1 January 2008). Picture Yourself as a Magician: Step-by-Step Instruction for the Street, Stage, Parties, Card Table and More. Cengage Learning. p. 95. ISBN 1-59863-677-4.