Wash your hands
Before you pick up your card make sure and wash your hands with soap and water. If you pick up a deck with unwashed hands the edges of the deck become dirty faster. This will keep your deck looking cleaner and more presentable for much longer.
Less contact with the deck
I know it sounds odd but when you are not using your deck for manipulation try to touch it as little as possible, rather than having it in your hand in dealing grip hold the deck at your finger tips. The oils in your hands as well as sweat and heat get transferred to your deck making it sticky and deteriorates the condition of the cards. So hold it at your finger tips or set it down when your not practicing.
Buy a card clip
After practicing for a couple of hours the deck gets bent in all kind of different directions and might get a bit warped from heavy use. I would recommend that you pick up a Joe Porper Card Clip to hold your deck when it's not being used. This card clip is designed to hold a deck of cards and maintain equal pressure around the cards, which will keep the deck from warping. You can also put some heavy book on top of your deck or use 2 pieces of Plexiglas and some clamps to apply pressure, but the Porper Clip is compact and is more portable than these other 2 options.
Breaking in the deck
Every one has a different way of breaking in a deck of cards, I'll share the way that I do it, but feel free to modify it and do what ever works for you. After opening a new deck of cards and removing the ad cards and jokers I like to start by doing a couple of moves to bend the cards and get the slippery feeling out of them. Spring the cards, follow with a lepaul spread, and finally a pressure fan, once you have done these 3 moves turn the deck face up and do it again. Add a couple of Faro shuffles and cuts in between the steps to keep the face cards from getting too much of the oils in your hands on them. After repeating this process a couple of times your deck should be good to go and not feel as slippery and stiff as fresh out of the box.
Powdering your Deck
This is just personal preference, whether you decide to powder you deck or not is up to you. For me after breaking in a new deck I go ahead and apply fanning powder to it. It puts the deck in the perfect condition for me to be able to do an large range of card moves, from fans and armspreads to 2-handed cuts and displays. It keeps my deck in the proper condition for a longer time ranter than getting a deck into the perfect condition with out fanning powder only to loose that condition a couple of days to a week later. I've had decks for 2 or 3 months that still look presentable and fan as nicely as they did the first time. Again this is just my opinion.
This article was kindly contributed by Abe for unitedcardists.net
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