INSTRUCTIONS FOR BUTTERFLY PLAYING CARDS an excerpt from the Secret of the Butterflies book
What Are Butterfly Playing Cards? Butterfly playing cards are edge-marked cards. But they are edge marked in two ways. One set of markings is on both sides of the deck and the second set can be found on just one side. The two-way edge marks (the ones on both sides) enable you to see the position of any card in the deck. The one-way edge marks (the ones on just one side) make it possible to identify any card that is reversed end-for-end in the deck. The markings are hard to see if the deck is perfectly squared. When you want to read them, it helps to slightly bevel the cards along the side until the markings become clearly visible.
The Two-Way Markings The two-way marking system allows you to locate any card by looking at either of the sides of the deck. It is divided into six columns, four main ones and one on each end. The first column contains only four white marks for Aces. The next four columns contain markings for three values each. The first main column shows the positions of 2s, 3s and 4s, the second main column shows 5s, 6s, and 7s, the third main column shows 8s, 9s, and 10s, and the fourth main column shows Jacks, Queens, and Kings. The last (sixth) column shows the two Jokers. The fastest way to locate a particular value is to remember the middle cards of the main columns.
These are 3s, 6s, 9s, and Queens. If you remember that, then it’s easy to navigate to any card you want. The two-way marking system also allows you to read the suits. If you look closely, you can see that some of the white lines have dots on them. There are four possible combinations. The white marks that have a blue dot on the lower end are Hearts. (A Heart points down.) The white marks that have a blue dot on the upper end are Spades. (A Spade points up.) The white marks that have a blue dot on both sides are Diamonds. (A Diamond points in both directions.) The white marks with no dots are Clubs. (A Club does not have any points.) The Jokers are marked in a similar manner. The black and white Joker has no dot and the colored Joker has one dot.
The One-Way Markings The one-way markings only work if the cards have been arranged in the same orientation (the center flower of all the cards must point in the same direction). This then allows you to identify any reversed card in the deck by looking at the edge of the outer left corner. With the deck held so that the majority of the cards is oriented with the center flower pointing toward you. The one-way markings can also be seen when looking at he back of a card (as opposed to the edge). This means that the deck is not just edge-marked, but also marked on the back, but only in one corner, on the end with the one-way markings.
The markings are divided into three sections. The first section contains only one mark, the locator. This mark makes it easier to find the location of a reversed card. The second section contains two marks for suit. The system is the same as in the Two-Way Markings:
—— If there is only one short line (the upper one, right next to the locator), it’s a Spade. (A Spade points up.) —— If there is one longer line (the lower one, further away from the locator), it’s a Heart. (A Heart points down.) —— If there are two lines it’s a Diamond. (A Diamond points in both directions.) —— If you see only the locator, with no lines in the gap next to it, it’s a Club. (A Club does not have any points.)
The third section shows the value in a binary system. There are four grapes. The first one counts as 1. The second one counts as 2. The third counts as 4 and the fourth counts as 8. You can create any number from 1 to 15 by adding combinations of these four numbers (but we only need to concern ourselves with numbers up to 13, as there are only 13 values in a deck). To find out the value of the card, you have to add up all the positions that are white.
—— If only the outer grape is white, it’s an Ace. —— If only the second grape is white, it’s a Two. —— If the first and the third grapes are white, it’s a Five. —— If the third and fourth grapes are white, it’s a Queen (12), and so on. Some of the one-way marks carry other information as well: —— The lower (longer) mark for suit is only on the red cards. —— The first mark of the binary grapes (1) is only on the odd cards. —— The last mark of the binary grapes (8) is only on the high cards (Eight–King). NOTE: Sometimes, when there is a card reversed in the deck, you may still not see the locator. In that case the card is probably on top where it tends to be much less visible.
The One-Way Flower Theodore Annemann’s favorite deck of playing cards for one– way work were the Bicycle League playing cards because their one-way center was bold enough to be easily read from a distance of about 15 feet, while still being subtle enough not to be suspicious.1 The flower in the center of The Butterfly playing cards is designed in the same manner. It blends into the design and still allows you to spot a reversed card from a distance.
The One-Way Faces The spacing of the index in one corner of each card is subtly different from that of the index in the opposite corner. The difference is in how close the pip is to the number or letter above it. If one card is reversed in the deck, and the deck is ribbon spread, you can see that the spacing of the index of that card is different from the rest of the deck. If they are ribbon spread face up with the center flowers pointing away from you, it will be easier to spot the reversed card, than if you spread the deck with the center flowers pointing toward you. Thank you to Christian “Card-Shark” Schenk for his generous permission to use this one-way feature, that was first produced in the Phoenix Decks by Card-Shark.
United States Playing Card Company, Bicycle League Back playing cards, currently made exclusively for the South African market
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Written by Ondřej Pšenička Edited by John Lovick Proofread by Will Houstoun Illustrations by Tereza Kovandová Butterfly playing cards design by Stefan Eriksson Layout by Martin Čtverák Copyright © 2017 by Ondřej Pšenička. All rights reserved. No part of these instructions may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without written permission of the author.