There's something about opening a new pack of cards. It doesn't matter whether you buy them at a filling station to while away a few hours on the road or if they're a classic deck of Bicycle cards bought specifically for a poker night-they smell the same. There's the same whiff of possibility, of hands to play or chances to take, of bets to win and of fun just waiting to be had.
THE GAMES: There are thousands of games we could have included, but along with some of the most popular, we've also chosen those we think are the most fun, the most challenging, and the most exasperating. Also, much of the beauty of card games is that they vary so much, and we've included plenty of tips for trying something a bit different. Of course, when faced with so many variations and different games, it would be impossible to include them all here; we only hope that you like the ones we have squeezed in. THE SKILLS: Shuffles, cuts, ribbon spreads, fans, flourishes, false cuts, forces, false shuffles, finger lifts, double lifts... they're all here, explained in a simple step-by-step fashion that makes it easy for anyone to pick them up. THE TRICKS: Here we've concentrated on tricks we think are easy and approachable because there are few things more frustrating than trying to do something that's simply out of your league or utterly beyond your physical abilities. Thus, you won't find any magician's glue or funny specialized decks of cards; there are few props, and no fiendishly complex sleights and palms... and there are definitely no cards up anyone's sleeves. We hope the result is a book that you'll be able to come back to again and again, whether it's to brush up on your shuffling or because you want to learn a new game or a new trick for the holidays. If you do that, then this book has served its purpose. Oh, and always remember, it's not the cards in your hand that count, it's how you play them.