Playing cards an essential part of emergency supplies

September 22nd, 2011 | Joe Hadsall | Filed Under General

Since when did a deck of cards become important enough to put in a disaster survival kit? Seems kinda frivolous at first, but after reading Katherine Rosman’s story about surviving Hurricane Irene on, it makes perfect sense.

According to her column, her husband is one of those thorough, list-making types. Before the hurricane hit, her husband devised an epic list to get through a few powerless days. Apparently, he didn’t appreciate her joke about how the “survival pile” needed playing cards. Sure enough, their power was out for six days. Those cards came in pretty handy.

With no light, no iPads and no TVs, Joe and I poured wine, and we played cards by candlelight. I lost two out of three rounds of gin rummy. “I’m glad I married someone smart enough to think about putting a deck of cards in the Survival Pile,” Joe said.

That’s the power of cards. There are a myriad of games that can be played with them. But for us magicians and flourishers, they are so much more. They are time-passing hobbies, tools of self-improvement, a medium of artistic expression and a way to snap anyone out of their funk by making their eyes get a little bigger.

So we completely recommend throwing a deck of cards into a survival kit. Heck, keep a brick beside the batteries and bottled water. Here’s some other invaluable places to keep a deck stashed (supply is also no problem for us magicians, because we tend to buy a lot of these things):

Inside our car. It won’t be good for the functionality of the deck, that’s for sure — when it gets hot, that deck will develop a click-bend that registers on the Richter scale. But how many times have we found ourselves waiting in the car, wishing for something to do? Working out that click-bend with a few faroes makes a wait in the drive-through line much better. Field-tested tip: Keep them in the glove box. They won’t get AS hot.

At the office. If that crusted, old guy two desks over can blow 30 minutes a day getting paid to smoke, you have definitely earned some card breaks. But even more than that: Nothing helps a long wait on the phone like practicing Charlier cuts. And in case the office needs to let off steam, you’re ready to blow them away with a quick Triumph. Field-tested tip: Avoid shuffles. Stick with cuts. You can get away with a lot of practice, as long as you stick to the quiet stuff.

In your briefcase. (Ladies: In your purse. Trust us: It will fit. We’ve seen the kinds of things that are stuffed in there, and a deck of cards will be no problem.) Women will have extra advantages here, because most carry a purse wherever they go. Not so with guys and their briefcases, but stashing a deck in our pockets is not for the half-dedicated. Stash a deck in the computer case, manpurse or whatever the kids call those things these days. It will be there ready for you in a number of situations: Painfully long lines, spots with no WiFi, etc. Field-tested tip: Hardly anyone will bug you for having a deck of cards. No one will think you are weird for doing it, so get over the fear and pack some pasteboards already.0

Near the kitchen table. We understand that there exists this thing called “cleaning,” and a lot of people like to do it, so keeping a deck actually ON the kitchen table will not fly all the time. But keep it close by: It comes in handy for on -the-fly games. Field-tested tip: Avoid pulling out the cards during a meal. We’d rather not discuss how we found out why that is so important.

Now you tell us: Where do you keep your cards?


  1. in a cardclip when there new cards or nice cards and sometimes old decks or practice decks in my pocket.
    and ofcourse cards in a empty conpartiment of my eastpack to school .
    ( the little compartiment of course I’m not taking jumbo cards to school :)
    I can practice all i want ( exept on my bike)and the cards are good for poker in free hours too.

  2. In a cigarette box. When I take them out and offer them to somebody without saying a word, depending on the response I get, I can launch into one of my routines. It’s a good ice breaker too.

    P.S.: Original idea from Lee Asher. Thanks a lot!!!

  3. I always keep a deck on my belt in a padded digital camera case.

  4. iv allways just carried one around with me in my pocket whereever and whenever i go somewhere, usaly come in hand, do a few tricks or play a few games or even just a few flourishes to make me look pro

  5. I’m kind of a card fanatic. I keep them everywhere. I have 3 decks on my desk, 2 in my laptop bag, 1 in a clip in my pocket, 2 in my car, and another 50 or so at home, in a cabinet.

  6. I’m always packin me some playing cards. I have an ammo box in my closet for emergencies, it contains: walkie talkies, fire starter, boey knife, crank and solar usb charger, thermal blanket, and two decks of bicycle playing cards, you know, the basic life essentials

  7. I keep one in the bathroom. I must always be ready to do magic. Tip:be careful by the toilet

  8. I was taught to always have a deck of cards on you in your survival kit…especially in the wilderness, or hiking…if you ever get lost..sit down and start playing solitare, and as sure as the day is long, someone will come along and say: put the nine on the ten, or 4 on the three…that way, you will never have to worry about being lost, as someone will always find you!!

  9. i usualy carry a small backpack since i dont like carrying stuff in my pockets especialy in sumer (exept ruber bands and coins which i laways have on me)so i have a pack in there or in my school backpack.

  10. I keep cards in my closet basically, the red and blue Bicycle ribbon edition cards.

  11. wow it was a very fine one to look great to see..

  12. I’m in the Army and when we have long field training, I keep a pack in my side plates for my armor.

  13. Shoot, keep them EVERYwhere! They’re so cheap, one could easily stash them in secret caches around town! Pretty neat effect to produce a sealed deck from ‘nowhere’, yeah?

  14. Always in a pocket, everywhere I go. Also, by the computer, on the coffee table, pretty much every other corner of the house.