Annotated RRTCM

November 13, 2018 | Author: corporatedesign2760 | Category: Magic (Illusion), Gaming Devices, Ephemera, Toys, Circus Skills
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Guide for The Royal Road To Card Magic...

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 20  2010 E di ti on

By

Andrew Musgrave

Compiled by Garrett Holthaus

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The Annotated Royal Road to Card Magic is a project aimed at helping to provide a companion text to the classic book by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue. It is based solely on my opinions and as such should be taken with the appropriate grains of salt. It includes editorial commentary on the book, with opinions o pinions that range from praise to scorn. It should not be considered a replacement for a book, and whenever suggestions or improvements are offered that belong to other magicians, effort has been made to point the reader towards those resources —  resources —  this  this guide  should not be considered a replacement for those books or DVDs either.  Royal Road to Card Magic is one of those foundational books that is recommended to beginners, usually with the advice to just buy the book, start at chapter 1, and work your way through. Even though the Annotations are done sequentially chapter-by-chapter, I do not share the opinion that this is the best way to read the book. Within the conclusion is a guide that basically outlines the order of study that I think would benefit the student based upon what their priorities are.  It is my hope to eventually put all of this into an e-book format, hopefully with photographs, videos, and more in-depth discussion of methodolog y, if I can get the necessary ne cessary permissions. Until then, this guide is best read with book in hand, and with the understanding that there are other books out there that will be worth acquiring to dig deeper into the various subjects covered.

 Best of luck…  Andrew Musgrave

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The Annotated Royal Road to Card Magic is a project aimed at helping to provide a companion text to the classic book by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue. It is based solely on my opinions and as such should be taken with the appropriate grains of salt. It includes editorial commentary on the book, with opinions o pinions that range from praise to scorn. It should not be considered a replacement for a book, and whenever suggestions or improvements are offered that belong to other magicians, effort has been made to point the reader towards those resources —  resources —  this  this guide  should not be considered a replacement for those books or DVDs either.  Royal Road to Card Magic is one of those foundational books that is recommended to beginners, usually with the advice to just buy the book, start at chapter 1, and work your way through. Even though the Annotations are done sequentially chapter-by-chapter, I do not share the opinion that this is the best way to read the book. Within the conclusion is a guide that basically outlines the order of study that I think would benefit the student based upon what their priorities are.  It is my hope to eventually put all of this into an e-book format, hopefully with photographs, videos, and more in-depth discussion of methodolog y, if I can get the necessary ne cessary permissions. Until then, this guide is best read with book in hand, and with the understanding that there are other books out there that will be worth acquiring to dig deeper into the various subjects covered.

 Best of luck…  Andrew Musgrave

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Contents Introduction ...................................................................................................... 10 Chapter 1: The Overhand Shuffle (Part 1).......... .................... ..................... ..................... .................... ................. .......11 “The Overhand Shuffle” & “Using the Overhand Shuffle” ................................................. Shuffle”  ................................................. 11 “Overhand Shuffle Control” ................................................. ............................................................................................. ............................................ 11 “Overhand Shuffle Practice Routine”  Routine” .............................................................................. ............................................................................... .. 13 “A Poker Players Picnic” .............................................................. Picnic”  ................................................................................................... ..................................... 13 “A Pocket Discovery” .................................................. ..................................................................................................... ..................................................... .. 13 “Telepathy Plus” .......................................................................................... Plus” .............................................................................................................. .................... 14 “Though Stealer” ................................................ ................................................................................................... ............................................................. .......... 14 “Pinkie Does It”  It” .................................................................................... ............................................................................................................... ............................ 14 “A Card And A Number” ...................................................... Number”  ................................................................................................... ............................................. 15 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... .................................................................................... 15

Chapter 2: The Riffle Shuffle ............. ........................... ............................. ............................. ............................ ..................... ....... 18 “The Riffle Shuffle” ............................................. .............................................................................................. ............................................................. ............ 18 “Riffle Shuffle Control”  Control” ......................................................................... .................................................................................................... ............................ 18 “Riffle Shuffle In The Air” ..................................................................................... Air”  ................................................................................................. ............ 18 “An Instinct For Cards” & “Mirror of the Mind” ................................................................ Mind”  ................................................................ 18 “Ultra Card Divination” ........................................................................................ Divination” .................................................................................................... ............ 19 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... .................................................................................... 19

Chapters 3: Flourishes ....................................................................................... 21 Introduction................................................................. ................................................................................................................... .................................................... .. 21 Displaying the top card .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... 21 Ruffle ........................................................................................... ............................................................................................................................... .................................... 21 Click ..................................................................................................... ................................................................................................................................. ............................ 21 Spread and Turnover................................................... ...................................................................................................... ..................................................... .. 21 Springing the Cards ...................................................................................... .......................................................................................................... .................... 22 A Flourish Count .............................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................. 22 Throwing a Card .................................................. ..................................................................................................... ............................................................. .......... 22

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Waterfall Shuffle .............................................................................................................. 22 Card Fans ......................................................................................................................... 22

Chapter 4: The Glide ......................................................................................... 23 “The Glide” ...................................................................................................................... 23 “Design For Laughter” ...................................................................................................... 24 “The Observation Test” .................................................................................................... 25 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 25

Chapter 5: The Glimpse ..................................................................................... 27 “The Glimpse” .................................................................................................................. 27 “Gray’s Spelling Trick” ...................................................................................................... 28 “Round and Round” ......................................................................................................... 28 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 29

Chapter 6: The Key Card .................................................................................... 30 “Key Undercut” ................................................................................................................ 30 “Key Undercut shuffle” .................................................................................................... 31 “Do As I Do” ..................................................................................................................... 31 “The Three Piles” ............................................................................................................. 31 “The Twenty-Sixth Card” .................................................................................................. 32 “A Meeting of the Minds” ................................................................................................ 32 “The Non-Poker Voice” .................................................................................................... 33 “Intuition with Cards” ...................................................................................................... 34 “Sliding Key Card” ............................................................................................................ 34 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 35

Chapter 7: The Palm .......................................................................................... 36 “Introduction” ................................................................................................................. 36 “Top Palm, I (Single Card)” ............................................................................................... 37 “Top Palm, II (Several Cards)” ........................................................................................... 38 “Palm Glimpse” ................................................................................................................ 39 “Replacing Palmed Cards” ................................................................................................ 39

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“Card in Pocket” ............................................................................................................... 40 “Now You See It!” ............................................................................................................ 41 “Grab Bag Card” ............................................................................................................... 42 “Good-Luck Card” ............................................................................................................ 42 “Do It And Fail” ................................................................................................................ 42 “Gathering of the Clan” .................................................................................................... 42 “Spring Catch”.................................................................................................................. 43 “A Vested Interest” .......................................................................................................... 43 “The Piano Trick” ............................................................................................................. 43 General Thoughts on This Chapter .................................................................................... 44

Chapter 8: The Backslip ..................................................................................... 46 “The Backslip” .................................................................................................................. 46 “The Backslip Force” ........................................................................................................ 46 “The Backslip Control” ..................................................................................................... 48 “The Lightning Card” ........................................................................................................ 48 “The Tantalizer” ............................................................................................................... 48 “Under Your Hat” ............................................................................................................. 49 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 49

Chapter 9: The Overhand Shuffle, part 2 ...........................................................50 “Injog and Break” & “Overhand Break Control” ................................................................ 50 “Overhand Lift Shuffle” .................................................................................................... 50 “Lift Shuffle Force” ........................................................................................................... 51 “Spread and Break” .......................................................................................................... 51 “Holding a Break” ............................................................................................................ 51 “Spread and Break Control” ............................................................................................. 51 “The Sevens” ................................................................................................................... 51 “The Obliging Aces” ......................................................................................................... 52 “Leapfrog” ....................................................................................................................... 52 “Spectator’s Card Trick” ................................................................................................... 52

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“A Poker Puzzle” .............................................................................................................. 53 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 54

Chapter 10, False Shuffles and Cuts................................................................... 56 “Optical Shuffle” .............................................................................................................. 56 “Charlier Shuffle” ............................................................................................................. 57 “The Cut” ......................................................................................................................... 57 “Palm Cut” ....................................................................................................................... 58 “An Incomprehensible Divination” ................................................................................... 58 “Circus Card Trick” ........................................................................................................... 59 “Black Jack, Detective” ..................................................................................................... 59 “General Thoughts on this Chapter” ................................................................................. 59

Chapter 11: The Double Lift and Turnover ......................................................... 63 “The Double Lift and Turnover” ........................................................................................ 63 “Double-lift Glimpse” ....................................................................................................... 64 “Double-lift Card Reversals” ............................................................................................. 64 “Rapid Transit” ................................................................................................................ 64 “The Trey” ....................................................................................................................... 65 “Ambitious Card” ............................................................................................................. 65 “Throughth and Consequences” ....................................................................................... 66 “Insidious Dr. Fu Liu Tu” ................................................................................................... 66 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 67

Chapter 12: The Pass ......................................................................................... 69 “Introduction” ................................................................................................................. 69 “The Pass” ....................................................................................................................... 71 “Riffle Pass” ..................................................................................................................... 71 “Spread Pass” .................................................................................................................. 71 “Spring Pass” ................................................................................................................... 72 “Off Agin, On Agin, Finnegin!” .......................................................................................... 72 “Kangaroo Card” .............................................................................................................. 72

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“Righting a Wrong” .......................................................................................................... 72 “Blindfolded Pack” ........................................................................................................... 73 “Double Speller” .............................................................................................................. 73 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 73

Chapter 13: Miscellaneous Flourishes ............................................................... 75 Color Change ................................................................................................................... 75 Double Color Change........................................................................................................ 75 The Changing Card ........................................................................................................... 76 Self-Cutting Deck.............................................................................................................. 76 A Pretty Cut ..................................................................................................................... 76 Pop-Up Card .................................................................................................................... 76 A Bit of Byplay ................................................................................................................. 76 Charlier Cut ...................................................................................................................... 76 “Acrobatic Aces” .............................................................................................................. 76 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 76

Chapter 14: The Reverses .................................................................................. 78 “Spellbound” ................................................................................................................... 79 “A Tipsy Trick” ................................................................................................................. 79 “Double Reverse”............................................................................................................. 80 “Mentalivity” ................................................................................................................... 80 “Mountebank Miracle” .................................................................................................... 81 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 81

Chapter 15: The Hindu Shuffle and Other Controls............................................ 83 The Hindu Shuffle ............................................................................................................ 83 Hindu Shuffle Control, Single Card .................................................................................... 83 Hindu Shuffle Control, Several Cards ................................................................................ 83 Hindu Shuffle Force .......................................................................................................... 84 Hindu Shuffle Glimpse...................................................................................................... 85 The Step .......................................................................................................................... 85

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Natural Jog ...................................................................................................................... 85 Twelve-down Riffle .......................................................................................................... 85 “All Change Here” ............................................................................................................ 86 “Ewephindit” ................................................................................................................... 87 General Thoughts on This Chapter .................................................................................... 87

Chapter 16: The Classic Force ............................................................................ 88 The Classic Force .............................................................................................................. 88 One-Hand Force ............................................................................................................... 88 Bottom Force ................................................................................................................... 88 Slide-Out Force ................................................................................................................ 88 Two Card Force ................................................................................................................ 88 Riffle Break Force ............................................................................................................. 89 Sliding Key Force .............................................................................................................. 89 Double-lift Force .............................................................................................................. 89 Cut Force ......................................................................................................................... 89 “Justice Card Trick” .......................................................................................................... 89 “Fours of a Kind” .............................................................................................................. 90 “Pulse Trick” .................................................................................................................... 90 General Thoughts on This Chapter .................................................................................... 90

Chapter 17: Top and Bottom Changes ............................................................... 93 “The Top Change” ............................................................................................................ 93 “The Changing Card” ........................................................................................................ 95 “Top-Change Byplay” ....................................................................................................... 96 Bottom Change ................................................................................................................ 96 Top and Bottom Changes ................................................................................................. 97 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................... 97

Chapter 18: Arrangements ................................................................................ 98 “Arrangements” ............................................................................................................... 98 “The Selective Touch” ...................................................................................................... 99

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“A Future in Cards” ........................................................................................................ 100 “Jacks Wild” ................................................................................................................... 100 “Think Stop” .................................................................................................................. 100 “Deal Away” .................................................................................................................. 100 “The Educated Cards” .................................................................................................... 101 “Reds and Blacks” .......................................................................................................... 101 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................. 102

Chapter 19, Routines ...................................................................................... 103 “Routining Card Tricks” .................................................................................................. 103 “A Table Routine” .......................................................................................................... 104 “A Rollicking Routine” .................................................................................................... 104 “Card Discovery Routine” ............................................................................................... 104 “Razzle-Dazzle Routine” ................................................................................................. 105 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................. 106

Chapter 20, Platform Tricks ............................................................................. 111 “Conus Ace Trick” ........................................................................................................... 111 “Ladies’ Looking Glass” .................................................................................................. 111 “Everywhere and Nowhere” ........................................................................................... 112 “Egyptian Pocket” .......................................................................................................... 113 “Cards to the Pocket” ..................................................................................................... 114 “Enlarging and Diminishing Cards” ................................................................................. 114 “Three Cards Across” ..................................................................................................... 115 “Everybody’s Card” I & II ................................................................................................ 115 General Thoughts on this Chapter .................................................................................. 116

Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 117 Recommended Study Guide ........................................................................................... 117 “Close-up Card Magician’s Guide” .................................................................................. 117 “Stage Card Magician’s Guide” ....................................................................................... 119 “Mentalist’s Card Guide” ................................................................................................ 119

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Introduction I have to admit the Cups and Balls month burned me out somewhat when it came to blogging, so sorry about the lack of activity lately. Anyways, I‘m starting a new project. I‘m going to be going through Jean Hugard‘s and Frederick Braue‘s Royal Road to Card Magic chapter-bychapter and annotating it with some additional thoughts. Please note, I‘m a nobo dy in the magic world, so it would be irresponsible of you to simply take my word on any of the opinions that I‘ll  be offering. That said, I really liked the idea Darwin Ortiz and others had of taking Erdnase and annotating it, and I think that more classics of magics could benefit from this sort of treatment. While of course there is a significant benefit to focusing one‘s study on the primary text, I‘ve always found it helpful to listen to the advice of other magicians based on specific, published issues. If there‘s one thing I can‘t stand about some of the recommendations you‘ll get from other magicians is when they list a text or a resource to study from, and when you ask them why, they won‘t tell you in anything other than generalities. Now, if anybody who was just starting out in ca rd magic asked me which text to get, I‘d send them here, before Erdnase, before Vernon, before Lorayne,  before Marlo… and of course I‘d then tell them what I‘d personally change to the text. I‘ve done this often enough that I‘ve decided to actually codify some of the advice I‘ve given, and why. So, for the next little while, I‘ll be focusing on this book. Hope it‘s helpful.

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Chapter 1: The Overhand Shuffle (Part 1) “The Overhand Shuffle” & “Using the Overhand Shuffle” Generally, this part of the chapter is good. After demonstrating how the legitimate overhand shuffle goes, it then teaches you how to control a card from a given spot to the top, to the bottom, to different positions in the deck. The tea ching is fine — we‘re talking about rudimentary stuff here, and like most rudimentary stuff, you‘ll find a lot of commonalities between what‘s here and what‘s elsewhere. The pinky position is important, in that you‘ll find it reassuring when you‘re trying to keep ahold of an injog. The shuffle drills that they give you later on are pretty good, and I‘d recommend doing them. A quick story from a previous gig… I was doing a multiple selection routine (an MSR, if you don‘t already know, is a trick where several people each select and then return cards, and you reveal them each quickly in increasingly impressive ways), and there were six people there. All the cards were returned and then controlled to the bottom, and then shuffled up to the top. I knew almost instantly that I‘d lost control of one of the cards (the sixth was gone for sure, but I didn‘t know about the fifth one). I was able to get out of it, but if I didn‘t even know the shuffle drills I might never have known a card was gone in the first place, let alone been able to formulate an escape plan. That‘s one of the benefits of drilling in general. Drills are stupid and mundane, but when you get them down cold to the point that you‘re bored with them, you‘ll actually be at the  point where you can handle situations on the fly and even jazz a little. If that‘s something you value, then you should do well to drill everything you can — and that‘s not just cards, but also shuttle passes with objects, handling the gimmick in a lot of rope magic, etc. Drills will instill skills (we like to rhyme on the olde blogge now and then) that you can call upon whenever you need, and while scripts are all well and good for making sure that your routine is proceeding according to a good pace, if you‘re like me and you like to depart from the script in order to address a situation as it arises, then drills are key. The last thing you want to do is try to dream up a new strategy on the spot without knowing your tools inside and out.

“Overhand Shuffle Control” Buried in here is one of the first real gems of the book… your first full-deck false shuffle. To understand why this is valuable, you‘ve got to understand what it is that you can do with a full deck stack in the first place. Consider the classic force —  you spread the cards out and they take a card that you want them to take. Now, if you want them to take the same card that you‘ve got  printed on your shirt, then we‘re talking about one situation where they need to take a specific card. On the other hand, if it doesn‘t matter ahead of time which card they take, and it‘s important only that you know afterwards which card it was that they took (so tha t they can then shuffle the deck themselves and you‘ll still know it, or whatever) then a stack is wonderful. Do some research into the Si Stebbins or the Eight Kings stacks and, armed with a trick that uses those stacks, and this particular shuffle, you‘ll have a full routine on your hands. Incidentally, if I say something like ―You‘ll have a full routine o n your hands‖ then I‘m not saying this lightly — 

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the preface to the book brings up an issue that I think is highly pertinent to the working  professional, which is that it‘s better to have a few good routines on your hands than a million secrets in your head. You can get five minutes of good show out of a single damned card force. A full routine is nothing to sniff at.  Now, the full-deck false shuffle taught here is basically a variation of the GW Hunter false shuffle (undercut, run X cards, keep a break, undercut at the break, run X cards, dump on top). I can tell you from experience that even though this is rudimentary, if it‘s used in tandem with something like a stacked deck, and if your execution is solid, you will fool people with it. Again, going back to another gig, I gave out enough signed cards from one deck that I needed to ring in a fresh one. Out of habit, one of the first things that I do before I do a trick is make sure somebody can see the cards and shuffle them —  I generally assume that any prop I introduce will be perceived as unfair somehow, and I don‘t want to be perceived as the ―Don‘t touch my  props!‖ guy. Anyways, I was working for a couple of new guys, and I broke out the new deck which was in new-deck order, and I offered it out to them to let them shuffle. They said that it was ok, it wasn‘t necessary. The moment that happened, they got an extra trick on their hands without knowing it. ―Are you sure?‖ I asked. ―Because you know you can‘t really trust a magician when he shuffles the cards.‖ As I was talking, I did two full deck false riffle shuffles, and after getting their response, I spread the de ck out face-up to show that they were still in order. They were surprised. I gathered them up and asked. ―Are you sure you don‘t want to shuffle?‖ They laughed, and I immediately repeated, using the GW Hunter and then a false cut. ―Because I just told you that you can‘t trust a magician when he shuffles the cards.‖ Another face-up spread, another reaction. At that point one of the guys who was laughing agreed to take the cards and give them a shuffle. When he gave them back to me, I held the deck, and looked at the guy knowingly, and immediately they wanted me to spread the cards again to show I hadn‘t fixed them. I did, to show they were all well-mixed — ―Hey, I‘m not THAT good!‖ —  and there was another reaction. Anyways, I told you all that to tell you this —  they were surprised when a GW Hunter shuffle, combined with a false cut, kept the deck in new deck order. I was just using that for quick laughs before getting to the tricks I was trying to get too, but imagine what you can get away with…? In any case, yeah, the GW Hunter shuffle is pretty good. I‘d argue that the re are better overhand full-deck false shuffles out there, but we‘ll get to t hose in a later blog entry. This one is pretty good. If you care, I do it a bit differently than what‘s described in the tex t… rather than 5, I go with 6, and I go with an injog of the last card rather than the step after the last card, and I also use a finesse that Allan Ackerman recommends in his Advanced Card Control series. I‘m not going to tip that here as it‘s not mine to tip, but the reference should help you out. If you like the way the shuffle in this chapter of Royal Road feels, and you want to do it, then look into Ackerman‘s work on it.

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“Overhand Shuffle Practice Routine” This is basically a recommended routine for practicing all the techniques covered thus far. I recommend it, especially if you‘re new to card magic. Aside from giving you the necessary skills to pull off these sleights, you‘ll want to just get comfortable havin g a deck of cards in your hand. ―Topsy-Turvy Cards‖ This is a weird trick. The effect isn‘t exactly clear, and it‘s a long way to go to get to a magic climax. There‘s also no real application of the techniques taught in this chapter. This is od d to me, since the whole concept of cards that are facing the wrong way in a deck being made to flip the right way around, is actually the basis for the Triumph card plot. If you don‘t know Triumph, it‘s essentially this —  a card is selected and returned to the deck, whereupon half the cards are turned face-up and mixed with the other face-down cards, and after faced with that messy situation, the magician snaps his fingers and then spreads the cards to show that all the cards are facing the right direction again, except for the spectator‘s selected card. It‘s a classic plot, and Royal Road actually teaches a good ver sion of it called ―A Tipsy Trick‖ in the chapter on Reverses, and if you can do all of the shuffling control drills in the first chapter, you‘re read y for that trick. What‘s more, you could even use the techniques in ―Topsy-Turvy Cards‖ to pull off a Triumph routine — I‘ll leave that as an exercise for you to consider.

“A Poker Players Picnic” Junk. Anybody who tells you that this isn‘t junk is either lying or incompetent with cards. The only thing this trick has going for it is the fact that the magician never touches the cards throughout, but the process is just so tedious that the trade-off, to me, isn‘t worth it. If you really want to do a trick where the spectator cuts to the aces, then there are dozens of better, clearer methods out there. The real reason why this trick is in the book at this section is because it demands very little of the magician and it involves the techniques covered up until this point in the text. That‘s all well and good, and maybe we can‘t fault Hugard and Braue for not knowing what guys like Marlo would do to the plot, but really, the only reason to familiarize yourself with this trick is to know what to expect when you do some card magic for people, and one of them says, ―Hey! I know a trick!‖ Now, if that happens, don‘t be the asshole who says that their trick sucks — it‘s a nerve-wracking thing doing magic for people, so congratulate them for successfully pulling off the trick. Still, this is an entry-level card trick, and if you‘re looking to do halfway decent card magic for people, read it to know what it‘s about, but move on.  Now, the ironic thing is that this trick represents one of the better uses of the false shuffle… doing it at the beginning of a trick to maintain a stack of several cards. That said, you‘ll benefit from looking at better applications of that principle elsewhere. We‘ll talk more about the ―Spectator Cuts To The Aces‖ plot later on.

“A Pocket Discovery” Probably worth considering as it involves controlling a card to a specific location, so that you‘re set up for a decent glimpsing strategy. I‘m not a h uge fan of the plot described here, personally,

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 but maybe somebody‘s gotten mileage from it. Pay particular attention to the reasoning behind making sure everybody sees the selection —  selection —  this  this is good advice. Later on in the book there are some better ideas about how to accomplish a ccomplish this type of effect —  effect —  just  just read ―The Egyptian Pocket‖ and you‘ll see what I mean.

“Telepathy Plus” One of my pet peeves with wi th card magic is an effect that pretends to demonstrate telepathy, but the handling makes it obvious that card manipulation of some kind is involved. If you really want  people to think that you‘ve got telepathic powers, and you want to use cards to prove this, then the best short-term advice I can give you is (a) learn a false shuffle with a stacked deck, (b) learn a few really convincing forces, (c) study stud y Dai Vernon‘s ―Out of Sight/Out of Mind‖, or (d) look into the Invisible Deck. Again, I‘m not giving this advice lightly. Some professional magicians close with the ID. ID. If you‘ve REALLY got a taste for this (using cards to demonstrate ESP  powers) then start looking into what serious mentalists mentalists do with cards, such as Max Maven, Richard Osterlind, or Bob Cassidy. Richard Osterlind in particular has a lo t of material where your ―stacked deck + full deck false shuffle‖ strategy can get put to good use.

“Though Stealer” A bit better than Telepathy Plus, if only onl y because it‘s more direct in terms of getting from the moment that they think of a card to the point that the card is then revealed to them. Again, I‘ll be honest with you —  you — not not my bag. Richard Osterlind‘s got some decent de cent touches on his Easy to Master Mental Miracles DVD Set using this principle, but I still think it‘s a bit of a shallow mystery, compared to some of the other othe r stuff out there that can be obtained obtain ed with equal effort.

“Pinkie Does It” This one is pretty good. I use a modified version of this regularly (go on youtube and look up Ricky Jay‘s videos, and you‘ll find something similar to the o ne I do), and back when when I was doing kids shows in Korea, I‘d open with it. I will point out something from Tyler Erickson that I think really helps this effect —  effect — many many tricks in magic that aren‘t very overwhelming ove rwhelming magically can be immediately improved simply by having the spectator, rather than the magician, shuffle the deck. Think about this for a second: a card is selected and returned to the deck, and the spectator shuffles… how is the magician to know reasonably wh ere the card is? If, at that point, he says, ―Oh, well, I‘ll just I‘ll just ask the deck to find your card. What was it? Four of spades? Well, if the deck spells out ‗f -o-u-r-s-p-a-d-e-s.‘‖ -o-u-r-s-p-a-d-e-s.‘‖ and look, there‘s the card, you‘ve got a real mystery on your hands brought on almost completely by the fact that the spectator shuffled the deck. Having the spectator remember that they shuffled the cards before the trick started could even lift ―A Poker Player‘s Picnic‖ into quasiquasi-respectability. As such, if you‘re looking to take something like ―Pinkie Does It‖ and eventually eventuall y make it a stronger trick, consider letting the spectator shuffle the cards before you make it rise from the deck. Of course, such strategies aren‘t covered in this opening chapter, but we‘ll get to them later.

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“A Card And A Number” There‘s a technique taught in this this trick to mark a card which you might find useful. Other than that, I‘d argue that there are better tricks that invo lve a selected card being at a number freely thought of, including one in particular taught later in this book.

General Thoughts on this Chapter It might sound like I‘ve been a bit harsh on this chapter, but really, most of my criticism is towards the tricks included here. Later on you‘re going to learn about double-lifts double-lifts and palming, and the shuffling techniques taught in this chapt er can easily be used in concert with those more advanced sleights. We‘ll talk more about that later. For right now, consider instead what the techniques allow you to accomplish —  accomplish —  a  a spectator can select and return a card, and you can shuffle that card into any position you need; you can shuffle the deck d eck while still maintaining a  block of cards; and you can actually false shuffle an entire deck. Get these skills down, and  pretty soon you‘ll be able to do some good card magic. However, just because we can do something, it does not follow that we should do something. One thing to consider is what‘s going on in a trick where you‘ve got to bring a card to position N from the top or bottom of the deck —  deck —  are  are you later on going to be dealing off N cards? If so, there‘s a potential bit of an issue since running c ards frequently looks like you‘re running cards. For a trick like ―Thought Stealer‖, S tealer‖, it‘s hard to avoid giving this impression. In more advanced card work, you‘re going to learn about other methods of getting cards into into position, such as through riffle shuffles, or perhaps even altering the riffle-force (taught later in this boo k in the chapter on The Classic Force) so that instead of having a card selected from a given spot, you‘re having a card returned to a given spot. Taking this idea a bit further, there are some tricks where you won‘t even want to use a shuffle or cut to control a card. Consider Con sider the following sequence: a card is put into the center of the deck, and with a snap of the fingers, it rises to the top. This simple sequence is at the heart of one of the classic card effects out there, the Ambitious Card Routine. There are ways of doing this involving a control of the card, but in those cases we‘re talking about invisible controls (such as a classic pass) in which it appears nothing happ ened to the deck. A shuffle to bring the card from the center to the top will give you significantly less impact. That doesn‘t mean that invisible controls are better than visible controls —  controls —  sometimes  sometimes you want to give the impression that a card is lost in the deck, and a shuffle will help you sell that better if you know what you‘re doing —   but it does mean understanding which tools help you best accomplish what you need. One other aspect to this chapter that I think is worth worth considering is this: usually, you don‘t really want people to know that you can control cards by shuffling. Sometimes there‘s a lot of benefit to the idea of you picking p icking up the cards and shuffling as though you‘re just toying with the cards, as if cards were just meant to be shuffled. Shuffling offers an image of randomizing and adding chaos, so don‘t neglect those touches in a trick like ―Pinkie Does It‖ where they give you the finishing touch of showing how the card ca rd rose from the middle of the deck somewhere. This

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whole thing seems to eliminate the idea of the card having been shuffled to the top. If, on the other hand, they get wind of the fact that the card was somehow on top of the deck, then all of a sudden your shuffling betrays itself as having no ran domizing or chaos-giving qualities, and you‘ve just undermined one of your tools of deception. Given the limits that shuffle controls have, does that mean we‘re going to abandon them later on for better techniques? Nah, but it does help to understand how they can be put to best possible use. As said earlier, the use of the false shuffle to maintain a stack at the beginning be ginning of a trick is a good idea —  idea — it it uses the shuffle at a period of low heat, and if the stack is well designed, it won‘t  be as easy to figure out the way it and the false shuffle combine to make the effect possible. Also, if you look at something like ―Pinkie Does It‖, the shuffle alone doesn‘t exactly ex plain how the card manages to rise out of the deck. Also, as stated previously, a shuffle control used together with an additional deceptive strategy (such as a sleight or principle) can be very effective. We‘ll see plenty of examples of this in later chapters. So, at this point, what tricks can you do? * Go Google Si Stebbins to figure out the order, and then put the cards in Si Stebbins order. Do the full-deck false shuffle taught in this chapter. Spread the cards out, and when they the y take a card,  bring apart the two halves of the spread on either side of that card, and then bring the cards that are the top half of the spread below the bottom half of the spread, and then square up (you‘ve ( you‘ve effectively cut the cards at the point of their selection). While they are looking at their card, catch a glimpse of the card at the face (the bottom) of the deck. Because you know the Si Stebbins order, you now know their card. They can put the card back into the deck themselves and shuffle the deck, and you can either try to name their card through telepathy, or else have them spread the cards out and you can pick up psychic vibrations from a spread, or else you could even pull out your invisible deck and reveal it that way. As mentioned previously, you could also look into the work that Richard Osterlind has done with the full-deck stack, in his Breakthrough Card System routines. * Jump ahead in the book to the chapter on Reverses and learn ―A Tipsy Trick‖. If you can control a card, you‘re ready for this trick. For all its simplicity, there are some card guys who consider this the finest Triumph out ther e. e. In fact, if you‘re looking at the advertising copy for a card trick out there, and the only sleight-of-hand requirement is that you need to know how to control a single card via shuffle, you‘re now ready to add it to your repertoire. Daryl‘s got an entire DVD set of Card Revelations, where a good portion of the tricks require nothing more than for you to simply know how to control a card via shuffling, and some of them are really good.

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* At some point in your magic career you‘re going to come across some kind of 4 Ace trick. If you‘re going to pull out the four aces, you might as well do it in some impressive way. If you‘ve got the four aces on top of the deck, then the techniques here will allow you to seemingly shuffle and cut to your heart‘s content, and produce the aces one at a time between shuffles. Alternately, if you hold the deck in your right hand, thumb pressed down on the middle of the top card, and fingers contacting face of the bottom card, you can with a jerking motion toss the cards into the other hand, leaving behind the top and bottom card in the fingers of the right hand. You can repeat the action with the left hand to toss the deck onto the table, and retain those two cards as well. If you‘ve got the aces in the correct position, you can with that slick little sequence produce all four in a flashy manner. So, start with the aces in position, do the full-deck false shuffle to keep them in the correct position, and proceed with the double-toss revelation as described. In any case, all that, combined with the shuffle drills, should give you enou gh to start with. When you‘re ready, move onto the next chapter on Riffle Shuffle technique.

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Chapter 2: The Riffle  Shuffle “The Riffle Shuffle” A good chapter on how to Riffle Shuffle cards neatly. I do take exception somewhat with some of the ideas here, but they‘re mostly presentational and I‘m a bit nitpicky that way. I don‘t want to come across as somebody who‘s got incredible card skills, so when I riffle shuffle, I don‘t want it to be in a neat and tidy fashion, and there are some incredible false riffle shuffles out there that benefit from not looking all pristine. So, when they write about how not all magicians do it neatly, I‘m a bit annoyed on behalf of those of us who can, but choose not to. Similarly, when at the end of the section they mention that this shuffle can b e alternated with the Overhand Shuffle, part of me thinks ―Hey! Not so fast…‖ P erhaps this isn‘t something that‘s going to be an issue with a beginner, but for somebody who‘s been performing for a while and who wants to develop a specific performing character, choices ab out card handling shouldn‘t be made lightly. Personally, I think there‘s a lot to be said for figuring out if you‘re a neat-and-tidy riffle shuffling kind of guy, or a slopp y overhand shuffling kind of guy, and making sure you‘re not arbitrarily switching from one to the other without a good reason. Still, these are tiny considerations that most sane people will find silly.

“Riffle Shuffle Control” Again, it‘s rudimentary stuff that most beginner‘s resources are going to cover, but it‘s still solid. One thing that Daryl mentions in his Encyclopedia of Card Sleights that‘s worth looking into is this —  if somebody is staring at the top card in the deck, and you‘re trying to keep that card there, doing the exact same false riffle shuffle twice will tip the fact that this card never actually goes anywhere, and how you‘re accomplishing that. Daryl offers the advice that you can obfuscate things a little by alternating which hand takes the top packet of the deck, and finishing with alternate hands.

“Riffle Shuffle In The Air” Another good skill to know. Once you get this down, skip ahead to the chapter on Flourishes so that you can learn the Waterfall finish on this riffle shuffle. It‘s a nice touch.

“An Instinct For Cards” & “Mirror of the Mind” Forget everything you know about card magic for a second and just read the description of ―An Instinct For Cards‖. This is certainly some genuinely baffling stuff… if you can pull it off. It‘s not an easy thing to manage a situation where the spectator is in complete control of the  proceedings like this. It‘s worth noting that Benjamin Earl has a DVD series called ―Past Midnight‖ where he talks about his own touches and finesses on this routine. There‘s a lot of advanced material on there, so if you‘re not sure if you‘re up for it, getting an en tire series just for one trick might seem a bit steep. ―Mirror of the Mind‖ offers a trick that‘s somewhat easier to manage, but there‘s not the exact same feeling of fairness to the card selection procedure, and it feels (to me, anyway) that something is lost —  in fact, the very notion of counting down to a

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card at the beginning runs the risk of suggesting a method that you‘re not even using (ie: that you‘ve got the top 13 cards memorized and in order), something that you‘re not actually doing,  but that doesn‘t matter because you can‘t show the cards to prove that you‘re not doing that, so you might as well be doing that. This brings to mind another thing about the tricks —  since you‘re going to have to do some altering to the deck beforehand in order to pull off the tricks anyway, you might want to just go with a full-deck stack and adopt some of those strategies, since they can come across as ridiculously fair as well, and you‘ll have more options open to you. It‘s worth reiterating that if you want to do ANY sort of mind-reading effects with cards, then you‘ll benefit from researching the material of Osterlind, Max Maven, and Bob Cassidy, amongst others. In any case, if you‘ve got the guts for this sort of thing, then all power to you. Me? I‘m a pansy. And, of course, it also means that somebod y‘s probably going to fool the pants off me using the  principle sometime in the near future as well.

“Ultra Card Divination” This trick starts losing me at the point where you‘re supposed to remember the 34th card. There aren‘t exactly many subtle ways to do this. Honestly, if it were me and I really wanted to do this sort of trick, I‘d just make sure to know the 34th card ahead of time, pull out the deck, false shuffle it once or twice, and then proceed with the trick as designed. Additionally, tricks with a lot of dealing and math don‘t exactly rock my world. Stop thinking about cards for a moment and start thinking about the effect. Are you really predicting the future? Or are you just forcing  people to go through a long and complicated procedure that‘s designed to get you were you want to go?

General Thoughts on this Chapter And here we‘ve got another chapter where the techniques are generally solid, but the tricks are a  bit underwhelming. Again, I promise you, this book is worth it. I think the main problem is that overhand and riffle shuffles comprise some of the earliest necessary building blocks to card handling, and yet it‘s not easy to find tricks which rely on these principles alone. In fact, it‘s worth noting that Card College 1, the first of two volumes which, as a whole, were apparently meant to be an update of Royal Road to Card Magic, has ―Thought Stealer‖ in it as well. (I was able to confirm through a friend that it also has a superior version of ―Spectator Cuts to the Aces‖ than is in Royal Road, but it‘s got some additional sleight-of-hand in it, so I sort of consider that cheating. Anyways…) If you liked the GW Hunter shuffle in Chapte r 1, it‘s worth noting that it‘s also possible to do entire full-deck false riffle shuffles. The main issue with these is that the y‘re almost all difficult to do, and will require a skill level beyond that of a beginner. If your curiosity can‘t be contained, then I recommend the Grey Shuffle (also on the previously mentioned ―Past Midnight‖ DVD by Benjamin Earl) and the Truffle Shuffle by Derek DelGaudio for in-the-hands

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false shuffles, and Herb Zarrow‘s Zarrow Shuffle, the Push-Through Shuffle (various sources) and the Strip-Out Shuffle (various sources) for working on the table. So, again, at this point, what tricks are open to you? * In the previous chapter we talked about how a full-deck false shuffle can maintain the entire order, which meant that you could have the aces where you wanted to produce them either oneat-a-time, or else in that fancy friction-using deck-tossing way. You‘ve got the same options available here, only with the riffle shuffle, you don‘t need to do a full-deck false shuffle. If you want to maintain all four in the same spot at the top of the deck, just follow the technique taught in this chapter. If you have two on top and two on the bottom, then you can do a really legitimate-looking shuffle that maintains that order, simply by starting the shuffle by riffling off the bottom packet of the deck first for a few cards, riffling both packets together throughout the middle, and then finishing the shuffle by riffling off the top packet of the deck. You‘re now set to do the same reveal. * If you followed my advice in the previous chapter and went ahead and studied ―A Tipsy Trick‖, you now have an extra shuffle that you can use as part of the presentation of the trick, where you describe the different ways that somebody might normally shuffle a deck of cards,  before demonstrating the weird way that the other guy shuffled them. (Read the trick and you‘ll know what I‘m talking about) * If you disagreed with my thoughts on some of the tricks in the previous chapter, then you can add the false shuffling procedures to help c onceal the idea of prearrangements. For instance, the trick ―Thought Stealer‖ needs a block of cards, and if you have those cards already set in place, then you can do some of the false shuffling that you‘ve learned in these two chapters before starting the trick, to conceal the idea of there being a prearrangement in the first place. * Taking this idea further, you might want to look into other self-working tricks that require a minimal setup, and take a look at how the shuffling can be used to improve the effect —  such as to sell the idea of the card being lost, or to dispel suspicions about card pre arrangements. Karl Fulves‘s ―Gemini Twins‖ is one such trick, and you can find it in an inexpensive book called ―More Self -Working Card Tricks‖ and which Google Books (for better or for worse) actually currently has available to be freely read by anybody on the internet right here… The usual nature of self-working tricks is that you don‘t really need to know any card manipulation in order to pull them off. Sometimes, though, you can improve the effect a little by adding just a bit of sleight-of-hand in the right way. In the case of ―Gemini Twins‖, after you remove the two prediction cards, you can false shuffle the cards before handing them over to the spectator to proceed with the trick, just to throw them off the scent a little bit further. I‘m going to bypass the chapter on flourishes for now as I‘m not much of a flourish guy, but I‘ll talk about them later. Next up, the Glide! Yeah!

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Chapters 3: Flourishes Introduction There‘s the usual caution against overuse, etc. One thing that isn‘t talked about is how they could  be potentially useful in immediately establishing some prestige and/or credibility. Jay Sankey talks about using springing the deck as his opener, since it basically separates him immediately from Uncle Jim who knows a few card tricks, and that can be helpful if you‘re in a situation where you‘re having to appr oach an audience cold. Personally, I like the idea of being able to do something magical instead —  even the usual cliched production of an item off a spectator is a cliche for a reason. Still, that‘s an academic discussion best left for elsewhere. There ar e some other considerations that I‘ll talk about later on.

Displaying the top card (A) seems alright. (B) seems alright. (C) doesn‘t even seem like a flourish, but wh atever. One thing that‘s worth considering is that if you‘re going to displa y cards, it might help to do it in a manner that will match how you might need to do it whilst in the middle of sleight-of-hand, for conditioning purposes. (A) and (B) in particular might be tricky to do if you‘re handling a double, for instance. If you don‘t have to worry about that sort of subterfuge, though, disregard that advice.

Ruffle I like this sort of thing more than other flourishes (such as endless Z cuts) in that they can be used to signal a magic moment of some kind. Ruffling (or riffling, as we‘d say these days) the deck onto a single indifferent card to change it into the spectator‘s selection, for instance, h as a nice feel to it, perhaps even better than snapping the fingers, which to me is such a massive claim to power that it instantly renders itself false and trivial without having the magic to back it up. Anyways… (A) seems alright. (B) seems alright. (C) seems like it could be nice, if you can get the sound they talk about.

Click It seems weird to me that one would want to make this particular noise with a deck of cards, but whatever.

Spread and Turnover (A) can be pretty, and there‘s a technique to divide the turnover so that two cards (one in each hand) seem to be guiding two different waves. If there‘s a nice side-effect of this sort of thing, it‘s that it can look as though the magician were trying to do something flourishy, wherein extra information could be conveyed at the same time (such as implying that the deck of cards has  been well-mixed, when you‘re really working with a mem-deck). (B) will require some practice to make it look really good and even. (C) should be fine so long as you‘re not working on a splintery table.

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Springing the Cards I learned this through the method described in Expert Card Technique, and frankly, I‘ve found that it gives me better control over the cards. Basically, in ECT, they talk about having the  pressure being created by the thumb at the inner left corner (assumes you‘re doing this righthanded), and the pinky at the outer right corner, and using the rest of the fingers to just guide the cards rather than put pressure on them. Again, though, I‘m no aficionado.

 A Flourish Count As before with the card displays, since I think that it‘s best to make sure that such actions match what you‘d need to do if you were trying to do something secret (such as a false count), I‘m not drawn to this sort of technique. However, if that‘s n ot an issue, this would probably look pretty for people if done well.

Throwing a Card Actually, if you can get the boomeranging action down, this is not a bad flourish. I never do this sort of thing so I can‘t tell you if the way it‘s taught is good or not. I‘ll assume it is since it strikes me as an old move.

Waterfall Shuffle This is worth learning if you‘re ever going to be doing in-the-hands shuffles. Frankly, I think that doing this smartly can be just as good at conveying that you know what you‘re doing with a deck of cards without using something potentially obnoxious like springing the cards or gratuitously making card fans. Speaking of which…

Card Fans Practice makes perfect on these sorts of things. ―Th e Fan‖ is a rudimentary method. ―One Hand Fan‖ is something I could never get down to my satisfaction, and my lack of interest in being a flourishy card guy probably didn‘t help foster the discipline needed to perfect it. Some people divide the deck into two and do this with each hand, and I think (besides making the flourish that much grander) it helps to make the fans appear more spread out (with an entire deck in one hand I think they have a tendency to bunch up in an unsightly way — unless you‘re a master at the move). ―Thumb Fan‖ is probably a prettier method than ―The Fan‖, especially if done quickly,  but it requires having the cards in decent condition. ―Pressure Fan‖ is a nice alternative if the cards aren‘t in great condition —  again, I learned using the way they describe in Expert Card Technique, where the grip they suggest is similar to the one for Springing the Cards.

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Chapter 4: The Glide “The Glide” Finally, some legitimate sleight of hand! It‘s a funny thing that this move isn‘t more popular, and I have to assume it‘s because people think it has to be done as it‘s been traditionally taught. In my view, the big problem with the sleight stems back to a core thing —  the traditional manner of holding the deck for executing the move isn‘t exactly the most natural thing in the world. If you‘re going to hold a deck or a large packet of cards, you want to go for something that is either natural or motivated. On the natural front, there are some universally accepted ways for holding a deck of cards — in the dealing hand in a dealer‘s grip, spread between the two hands, in an overhand shuffling grip or in a riffle-shuffling grip in preparation for the two respective shuffles, etc. You can also motivate slightly unnatural wa ys of holding the cards due to different circumstances, such as spreading the cards faces outwards so that people can see them, or in a Biddle-type of grip (ie: in the right hand in an overhand grip as if you picked them up out of the left hand where it was in a dealer‘s grip) for repositioning or quick display, etc. The suggested mechanic for the glide in Ro yal Road isn‘t really all that great —  if you want to improve it, you‘ve got a couple of easy options. The first, and in my opinion best, thing you can do is switch from the grip as described in the  book to a Biddle-style of grip. In other words, hold it with the thumb at the rear short end of the cards, and the fingers at the outer short edge of the cards (ie: look at the grip in the book and rotate the deck 90 degrees). It‘s a bit of a shame that Hugard and Braue had the ―Side Glide‖ in Expert Card Technique, but didn‘t choose to include it in Royal Road, because it‘s simply a much nicer way of holding the cards. Imagine you‘ve just shuffled a selected card so that it‘s second from the bottom, and you square the cards in the left hand as per dealing. The right hand comes over and the magician lifts up the deck as a whole and displays it outwards to the audience, proud at having controlled the card to an ideal location. The audience boos. The magician can then point at the card with the finger of his left hand, asking, ―This isn‘t it?‖ They happily yell no. The magician, despondent, drops the hands down so that the face is no longer visible, and immediately performs the glide from that position, and then pulls it out, and renames the card he just showed them. ―Are you sure?‖ he asks. The y yell yes. He asks what it was, and they tell him. He blows on the card, and then turns it face-outward again. Thunderous applause (or more boos, depending upon how the magician is doing). A simple set of mechanics, but this stuff can work well for a beginner, and even better, there‘s no arbitrary repositioning of the deck just so that you c an set yourself up for the move. Later on you‘re going to be exposed to the double-lift and the top change which allow you to do the same thing with some added benefits, but to have at least one ―Isn‘t/Is‖ card trick in your repertoire is well worth it. Technique-wise, you‘re just doing what‘s described in the text, except with the deck rotated 90 degrees.

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The second great touch comes from Dai Vernon, which involves eliminating finger action on the  part of the hand holding the deck, which reduces the overall tension which can betray the fact that you‘re in the middle of doing a move. I‘m not really keen on republishing the specific mechanics that he discusses, if only because Dai Vernon was really meticulous when it came to designing technique, and to really talk about the nuances of his ideas properly, I‘d basically be  best off repeating it verbatim, which strikes me as a bad idea. However, if you get your hands on the Dai Vernon Inner Card Trilogy, you‘ll learn that touch (as well as a whole bunch of other  great Vernony stuff). It‘s also taught on Daryl‘s Encyclopedia of Card Sleights. Incidentally, this technique can also be combined with the grip alteration described above. One other nifty thing you can do is alter the side glide a little bit to set yourself up for one of the easiest card palms in existence. John Carney teach es this in his On Palming DVD, and while he doesn‘t use it in order to execute the glide, that doesn‘t mean you can‘t, if you‘ve got a trick that requires a switch and immediate palm. If you get the DVD, you‘ll know which move I‘m talking about when you get to it (if you don‘t, send me an email).

“Design For Laughter” A good trick. It‘s essentially an easier version of Dunsbury Delusion (Charlie Miller‘s trick taught in Expert Card Technique) which requires a second deal, but the overall class of effect is the same. Magicians have been playing around with this general idea for years, including Dai Vernon‘s take on Clyde Carny‘s ―Dick Trac y Card Trick‖ (now almost universally known as ―The Fingerprint Card Trick‖), and Eddie Fechter‘s ―That‘s It!‖ If I had to mess with it at all, it‘d  be to change the presentation so that you‘re not practically scolding the spectator for having been unable to cut to the card. A friendlier approach might to take our cues from Eddie Fechter… Do the trick up until it‘s time to cut the piles, and then guide them through that or do it yourself so that the selection, rather than being on the bottom of the left-hand pile, is on the bottom of the middle pile (cut 1/3 from the top, set to the right, cut 1/2 of the remaining, set to the left). Now go from right to left, saying that the first card on t he bottom of the packet will tell you a hint about the colour of the card. Let‘s say you‘re showing them a a red card. Ask hopefully: ―It‘s not a red card, is it?‖ ―Yes.‖/‖I thought so.‖ or ―No.‖/‖Right, that‘s what I said, it‘s not a red card.‖ (Do the latter in a really dry manner and you can get a laugh from it. It might sound like a weak way out, but if you‘re like me, you‘re actually praying for those sarcastic moments.) Remove that card, and set that card down (no sleight here, but make the removal look exactly like the way you‘re going to glide later on) and then set the packet off back towards yourself on the table.  Next, go to the middle packet. ―The second one should tell me the specific suit.‖ Show them the card on the bottom of the packet, and ask them if the suit is the same. They should say yes, since it‘s not just the same suit, it‘s actually their card. ―See? And you guys thought I didn‘t know what I was doing…‖ Now go through the glide mechanics, place that indifferent card next to the single card you drew out earlier, and dump the packet next to the other packet closer to you on the table (keeping track of it). ―The third card will actually tell me where it is in the rest of the deck.‖ Flash the card on the bottom of that packet, and let‘s assume it‘s the Four of Hearts. Draw

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that out (again, no sleight, but make it look like the glide) and drop it next to the other two cards in front, and then take that packet and reassemble the packets so that their selection is now on the  bottom of the deck. Explain that you‘re going to use that last card to find their card. Do a glide removal, but then immediately replace it, covering the selection. ―Oh, I should explain. That last card was a four, so I‘m just going to count off four cards.‖ Do this while flashing the bottom card of the deck. Now do a legitimate removal for the first card, and then glide the next two cards, and then legitimately remove the last card, which will b e their selection. Ask them what their card is, and when they say it, express some surprise, because everyone should believe that their selection was amongst the three at the front of the table. Now show them their selection. Ta-da! If, for some reason, you draw out an Ace for the third card, then rather than counting down a single card, you can actually spell the card out in its entirely, gliding all the way. One thing that‘s worth noting about this trick (and to its credit Royal Road‘s version describes this as well) is that you can use legitimate takes of the bottom card to condition the audience into  believing that the action is a fair one, so that there will be less heat on you when you have to do the false action. Also note that the questions that you ask the audience are also useful in misdirecting them away from your hands. This is sometimes a ver y good practice, and it‘ll serve you well to remember it as a possible strategy to use to your advantage in any branch of magic, not just cards. In the long run, you might come to the conclusion that most other magicians do that it‘s arguably a bad idea to do a trick which relies so heavily upon executing a single sleight many different times. Then again, in the long run, you‘ll have learned a bit more about card magic and you‘ll know how to do the above with double-lifts or some other means of switching cards. That said, the above plot, in a general sense, has been proven effective. Easily one of the gems of this book.

“The Observation Test” Ok, not a bad trick, but the handling here is a bit involved given the effect. You have a card selected and returned to the deck, and then you go hunting for twos. Now, you‘re not actually searching for the selected card, but you might as well be. The four twos portion seems like a bit of a pointless detour, and it seems to me that there‘d be better ways to incorporate them so as to  put some more magic into the whole experience (red twos changing to black twos, or else having cards change places, or else changing the two with the matching suit into their selection, or whatever). Still, if they‘re convinced they‘ve seen four ca rds and only four cards, and then you  produce a fifth, that‘s not bad. You might want to kee p this on the backburner in case you can think of something magical to do with the four of a kind.

General Thoughts on this Chapter With the changes talked about in handling, and with the Design For Laughter trick, we‘ve got some quality here. The glide might be a move that you end up abandoning for a different switch later on, but with practice, and in the context of the right trick, it‘s still workable. If you‘re new

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to magic, you should get the overhand shuffle control down, and the glide down, just so that you can Design For Laughter. Remember when I was talking in an earlier blog entry about having a full routine? That‘s a full routine, and it‘s nothing to sniff at. There‘s another relevant four ace trick out there that a lot of magicians swear up and down by. I‘d name it publicly, but again, it strikes me as poor form, in this case because it‘s pretty exposure. There‘s more to the trick than just the glide, but if you‘ve got these techniques down, and you‘re willing to put a bit more work into it, then it‘s attainable. Again, another full routine. If you shoot me off an email and tell me the name of the magician referenced in the trick ―Three Cards Across‖ near the end of the book, I‘ll reply with a name of the trick, and a link to a  performance of it. From there you should be able to find an affordable resource that teaches it. EDIT: Eric Fry on the Magic Cafe pointed out that Dai Vernon‘s finesse on the Glide actually goes back to Robert-Houdin in the ―Secrets of Conjuring and Magic‖. This leads us to a touchy subject —  the way I see it, if somebody brings something new and profound to the magic community, then they should profit. If they‘re dea d, then their immediate beneficiaries should  profit, up to the point of said contributions entering the public domain. Since we‘re going back to Robert-Houdin, though… Ah, to hell with it. Here‘s the idea: the hand that‘s coming in to take the card can actually be the hand to push the card over and take the next, to execute the glide. If you think about it, that hand that‘s coming in to take the bottom[?] card has a function anyway, and that external reality can take heat off any hidden secondary function it might have, rather than the other deck-holding hand, which should ideally remain stationary throughout. If that doesn‘t make sense, well, look into the Vernon. You might just want to do that anyway, given that Vernon was a sharp cookie. Coming up next is the glimpse.

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Chapter 5: The Glimpse “The Glimpse” Caveat Emptor: I don‘t use any of the glimpses in this chapter, so take my opinion with the requisite grains of salt. That said, the techniques talked about seem to read right, and if you‘re in a situation where you‘re basically getting the glimpse of a card before the trick has even begun (either to force or to use as a key card, more on both of those later) then even the method that they say is bold (Bottom Card Glimpse #2) should fly fine. There is a slight danger of having the card flash outwards towards the audience, so obviously make sure to watch your angles, especially if you‘re going to force that same card onto them later on. Very quickly… ―Bottom Card Glimpse #1″ is interesting —  I might give that a shot sometime. ―Bottom Card Glimpse #2″ doesn‘t feel as bold to me as the writers suggest. ―Bottom Card Glimpse #3″ strikes me as somewhat unnecessarily flashy, but if you‘re good at card fans it might give you a chance to display your flourishing prowess while getting the secret information you need. One I‘m surprised that they don‘t talk about is how to catch a glimpse of the bottom card in the midst of a riffle shuffle —  just start the riffle shuffle technique and look down, and it‘s fairly easy to catch a glimpse of a card on the face of one of the packets and then make sure it‘s shuffled off first to end up on the bottom. T he reason I‘m surprised is that it‘s both useful (I‘ve been using it since I started card magic) and it also strikes me as a rather obvious idea. I‘ll talk about another glimpse later on in the chapter on false shuffles that has a specific purpose. In any case, the glimpses should all be fine, and the shuffling techniques that you‘ve learned thus far should be good for getting the card into position. ―Top Card Glimpse‖ is a good one —  A long time ago, I had a chance to watch the Royal Road DVDs with R. Paul Wilson at a friend‘s place, an d he absolutely fried me with this basic glimpse in a trick later on in the book. If you can motivate the action of turning the wrist, it‘s a good enough technique for you to actually use it after you‘ve had a card selected and returned, something that none of the earlier three technique s are really suitable for. ―Fan Peek‖ strikes me as bold and a bit overhandled. Raising the fan, lowering the fan, only to raise it again afterwards? If I had to guess how regular people might think magicians can know what card they‘ve taken, I‘d guess that the glimpse would be one of those intuitive solutions. As such, any situation where it seems like you‘ve got the opportunity to get a look at the cards immediately after the card is selected and returned strikes me as a dangerous time to glimpse, to the point that many teachers recommend always looking away when the card is selected and shown to everybody, even if you couldn‘t actually see the face of the card if you were looking in its general direction. So, yeah, this technique doesn‘t really appeal to me all that much, which of course means somebody‘s probably going to fool the pants off me with it someday. If you do get good enough at card fanning, it‘s worth noting that many card men hold Steve Draun‘s fan peek in high regard, so you might want to look into that.

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There will be more glimpses taught later in the b ook. They require some sleight-of-hand prowess that hasn‘t been covered in the text to this point.

“Gray’s Spelling Trick” For the life of me, I‘ve never understood the appeal of spelling tricks, but some notable magicians hold the plot in high regard. Personally, I would only use it in a situation where the audience was absolutely convinced that the card was lost —  meaning that they get to shuffle the cards themselves, and I don‘t get to look through the faces in order to find it. There‘s an interesting recommended nuance here that the spectator actually spell the trick silently to themselves befor e calling out ―stop‖ when they finish spelling it, which strikes me as strong, but risky for two reasons —  first, it gives too much control to a spectator who could try to louse you up, and second, you‘ve got to be sure that the spectator knows exactly how they‘re supposed to spell the card (ie: including the word ―of‖ or whatever). Elsewhere in the card universe are card spelling strategies where you can basically control the card to a set location, and then it doesn‘t matter what they say, you can spell to it —  this allows for a neat twist where you can actually have the spectator lie to you about what their card was, and then you use that named card to spell to their selection (I‘ve done this a couple of times to good effect, and the premise of letting the spectator try to ruin your trick strikes me as a good one). It‘s also worth noting that Eugene Burger teaches a Double Speller in his Magical Voyages DVD series, which involves the magician spelling to two different cards, before giving the de ck to the spectator to let them do it themselves. The construction of that trick is good, with everything motivated correctly, and a fun surprise early on in the routine. Anyways, back to this specific trick. One thin g that‘s worth noting here is that the method  basically involves the use of the Key Card principle, but in a really rudimentary and bald-faced way (the subsequent shuffle helps somewhat). If you like this trick and the method, keep your eyes open for superior Key Card placements talked about later in the book (there are a couple of  brilliant ones) so that you can find some slightly more deceptive ways of applying the principle here. Definitely include the handling suggestion tha t allows you to spell off an indifferent card  before they spell to their own card —  Burger thought so much of that touch that he made sure to do it twice before letting them spell themselves, and if you‘ve got the memory for it, the method for doing this should be self-evident (you should still check out Burger‘s handling if you lik e this trick, though, as there are additional touches that aren‘t mine to tip here).

“Round and Round” Bleah. I couldn‘t see myself doing this trick unless I was deliberately trying to take the piss out of all the convoluted steps needed to pull it off —  the specific secret is clever enough, mathematically, but self-working tricks that feel like self-working tricks have never appealed to me, and things like the down-and-under deal (the technique at the end of the trick) and the secret transfer of a small number of cards both reek of self-workingness. If you like the trick, though,

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go nuts —  it does have the nice touch of them never naming their card aloud, them dealing it to themselves, and you being able to name it before they turn it over. Also, because you know the  position of the card, you can get into the fan glimpse much better than the way they recommend it earlier in the chapter. Still, it just strikes me that all the surrounding stuff und ermines the things the trick has going for it.

General Thoughts on this Chapter Secretly catching a glimpse of a card that you‘re going to force or use as a Key Card is a solid technique, and while as I said none of the techniques listed are ones that I‘ve used, the first four all seem workable enough, and when we get to the trick later on in the book that uses the Top Card Glimpse I‘ll gush on about it some more. I absolutely recommend the glimpse I described earlier involving the riffle shuffle. One other thing you can do to help yourself out is to get in the habit of getting a glimpse early before you even have a card trick in mind. Darwin Ortiz talks about a concept known as the Critical Interval in a trick —  this is the time period between the moment the spectator believes the trick starts, and the moment the spectator believes the trick finishes, and getting as much work done outside that interval is often a good idea. It‘s a simple thing to pick up the cards and give them a cursory shuffle and catch a glimpse in the process, and if you get in the habit of doing this automatically you‘ll be in a good position to get ahead on the audience before they even realize that a trick‘s coming. If the only possible ex planation for the trick is that you somehow knew which card was where, and yet you apparently never even looked at the faces of the cards, you‘re golden. And Lord knows there are plenty of ways to get that secret information — go to this webpage, click on ―Sleights‖ and then ―Glimpses‖, and you‘ll see just how many options are in print out there. I‘m sure that there are a few people who‘d recommend reading the book in order from start to finish without skipping any material. Well… you can probably guess from my earlier advice to  jump forward and learn the Tipsy Trick that I‘m not one of them. It seems to me that you should  be able to jump ahead to the chapter on The Classic Force and take a look at some of the options available to you —  at the very least you should be able to do the Cut Force and the Bottom Force. Forcing is great, but don‘t fall so in love with it that you neglect the other card control techniques that you‘ve learned so far. In my own personal repertoire, none of the strongest effects that I do involve forcing. Coming up next… the venerable Key Card!

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Chapter 6: The Key Card The Key Card, I think, is one of those methods that tha t doesn‘t get the respect it deserves, but there aren‘t many methods in magic that allow you to recap in the following way: ―Ok, here‘s the deal. You shuffled the cards ahead of time. You took any card you wanted from the deck, and had a chance to change your mind. You put it back anywhere you wanted in the deck. We even mixed the cards up some more, right? There‘s no way I can know what your card is or where it is in the deck right? And these are your cards…‖ Consider what what we‘ve got here — there‘s — there‘s no card control, no forcing, and if you can erase the moment from the spectator‘s memory properly, there‘s no opportunity to even look at any of the cards. Yeah, things aren‘t totally fair, and you‘re not out of the woods yet, but but for the moment, we‘re talking about some pretty fair -seeming -seeming conditions. The big drawbacks to the method are usually two-fold —  two-fold — first, first, the spectator can‘t shuffle the deck (―We even mixed the cards up some more, right?‖ is some clever phrasing to cover the fact that while they can cut as much as they like, you were the one who actually did the shuffling), and second, gaining control of their card after you‘ve done the technique isn‘t exactly an expedient and/or easily-motivated process. Also, as talked a bout in the ―Introduction‖, another drawback to the Key Card is that it‘s one of those methods which are basically b asically ―out there‖ amongst non-magicians, non-magicians, and usually you don‘t want to use a technique for somebody where they‘re in a potential position to recognize recognize its use. Still, when you consider all the things going for the method, it‘s really worth considering. In any c ase, let‘s get to what‘s offered in this chapter.

“Key Undercut” In my opinion, junk. At least throw some randomization into it —  it —  assuming  assuming you‘ve you‘ve got your Key Card ready as described in the chapter, undercut, and then begin an overhand shuffle with the  packet you‘ve undercutted in your right hand (assumes you‘re shuffling cards into the left hand), ask them to say ―Stop‖, let them put the card back on top of the left hand‘s cards, and then dump on top. It‘s the same damned thing, but it‘s immediately improved. One other nice thing abo ut it is that this general approach to having havin g a card selected and returned is that it‘s versatile, allowing a few different strategies without much change in external ap pearance. If it‘s not important that the card be directly adjacent, then th en you can even continue shuffling straight away after the replacement and run X more cards and then dump on top, and now the Key Card and the selection will have X cards between them. Later, you‘ll learn the Hindu Shuffle, and it‘s almost better than the overhand shuffle in terms of flexibility, allowing you to control, set a Key Card, and force, all the while just shuffling the  pack.

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“Key Undercut shuffle”  Now, where the other method is junk, this specific technique is actually quite good. For the love of all things decent, if you‘re going to settle for using the Key Undercut, at the very least follow it up with this. It‘s worth noting, not ing, though, that you can apply this technique to many of the other Key Card Placements out there.

“Do As I Do” A good trick. The ―Do As I Do‖ plot is a hu ge one in card magic, and while this particular incarnation of it might come across as a beginner‘s be ginner‘s trick, it‘s important to recognize some of the significant aspects to it —  it —  because  because of the ―Do As I Do‖ premise, there is no apparent magician‘s advantage, making it more difficult for people to figure out how you could have done the trick. What‘s more, the parallel the parallel nature of the trick allows you to actually give much of the credit for the success of the trick to the spectator (meaning, amongst other things, that you c an lead applause for them, which is a nice moment). This particular trick has become a classic, and while it‘s also one of those ones that non-magicians non -magicians might know, just remember all the other techniques you‘ve learned thus far which allow you to get your Key Ke y Card secretly. If you‘re able to, make friends with a magician in Minneapolis/St. Paul called Tyler Erickson, and if you can squeeze out of him his excellent presentation for this trick, you‘ll have an absolute gem on your hands.

“The Three Piles” This sort of trick has appeared in various forms throughout the literature of card magic. Denis Behr‘s archive lists Rossini as the inventor of this one, but apparently something similar appeared in Greater Magic by Carl Ca rl W. Jones, and that trick was the basis for S al Piacente‘s ―4, 5, 6 Packet Trick‖. Basically the key k ey to doing this sort of trick eff ectively ectively is to dress it up with  presentation so as to play up the fairness of everything —  everything —  consider  consider that they get to shuffle the cards ahead of time, they get to cut the piles themselves, they get to shuffle each of the piles, they get to think of any card that they want, they get to reassemble the piles any way they want, and they get to cut the deck as many times as they want. The only time the magician gets any information about the card at all, it‘s after he‘s do ne touching the cards, and the only thing he thing he gets to know is the position the card was in a good minute earlier, with lots of cutting and shuffling in between. The downside is that the magician has to take that information and somehow turn it into a card revelation in a theatrically correct manner. There are a couple of o f different ways that you can go with this. If you want to go sleightless, then one thing you can try doing is coming up with a system of outs, and a lot of good magicians out there have put a ton of work into this sort of thing —  thing —  Dai  Dai Vernon with ―The Trick That Cannot Cann ot Be Explained‖, Juan Tamariz with ―Mnemonicosis‖, etc. I think having a graceful system of outs that lets you complete the trick without having to even touch the cards can be really powerful. Another idea could be to name name a number earlier on that‘s large enough, and then afterwards, when you know where their card is, you could grab as many cards as you named earlier and then

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somehow force through an equivoque process their selection back onto them. (We‘ll talk more about equivoque in a later chapter). If you don‘t mind going with sleights, consider your options. If you do the trick as stated in Royal Road, you‘ll have offered a number. Later, they‘ll be giving you a different number. Based on their number, you know where their card is. Presentationally, though, you could add the two numbers together, and then immediately begin dealing cards (gliding when you get to theirs —  theirs — it‘s it‘s possible to execute the glide even with the deck face-up) face-up) and when you have dealt the total of the two numbers together, bring b ring out the next card. Asking them what it is, you could then turn it over to show that they th ey match (or, if you‘re doing it face-up, face-up, deal out the total of the two numbers together minus 1, and then ask what their card is, before removing the next card). I don‘t know the specific handling of Sal Piacente‘s trick, but if the only thing th ing that makes it different handling-wise handling-wise is the fact that you‘ve got a larger number of packets, then that also means you‘ve got a small number of cards in each packet, and then THAT means you‘ve got a smaller range of cards to have to devise an out strategy for. A lot of o f people swear by Sal‘s handling of this trick, so you might want to hunt his DVD called ―Expert Card Magic‖ where he teaches it. A quick google search showed it to be pretty affordable. A lot of people swear by b y this trick. It‘s not exactly my bag, but then again, I like having the card  jump to my pocket and things like that. There‘s enough in the procedure here that a competent  performer could leverage to turn it into a strong hands-off piece.

“The Twenty-Sixth Card”  Not too keen on this one as you‘ve got to fan the deck towards yourself and count 26 cards. The final flip-up flip-up revelation is nice, but it‘s bad enough searching through a deck  to find a key card, without having to also count through half the deck on top of that, and with a fairly good risk of having to stop counting when you reach the top and continue counting from the bottom. It‘s a clever principle, but surely there are better better ways of employing it. It‘s worth noting that (again) Hugard and Braue found a slightly better way around the trick in Expert Card Technique, adding The Circus Card Trick as an opening o pening phase to it in such a manner as to set up the distant key. If you go here here you‘ll find a few resources on the distant key (the description to Gene Finnell‘s entry suggests a mathematical principle which could be used to set up an interesting prediction and/or coincidence effect).

“A Meeting of the Minds” Another somewhat procedurally-heavy procedurally-heavy effect. I know I‘ve been complaining about this alot, so I might as well be specific. If you‘re going to d emonstrate an effect, such as a mind-reading mind-reading effect or a coincidence effect, then it helps to look at what Tommy Wonder and Derren Brown have talked about in their writings on magic theor y. Derren Brown first —  first —  one  one of the important ideas that he came up with is that it‘s vital to determine a cause for the effect, an d if you‘re doing something where the magic itself is not obvious (such as ―card to sealed envelope‖ or something)

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then the entertainment value of the effect is going to be in large part influenced by the entertainment value of the way the cause is dramatized. So, if you‘re doing an effect where you‘re reading their mind to find a card, then you have to spend time learning how to act like you‘re reading their mind. The big thing here is that audiences are generally interested in what makes the magic happen, and if you don‘t supply a cause, then they‘re going to try to supply one for you, and that might point to your actual method rather than the ―magic‖ cause that you‘re trying to promote. Next is Tommy Wonder —  one of his important ideas was the concept of the Mind Movie, where you dream up an idealized version of the effect, and design the method necessary to do that. Taken to the extreme, that means that if you‘re going to read somebody‘s mind, is it more interesting to divine the card the y‘re thinking of, or would it be better to reveal their middle name, or their birthday, or whatever? If you‘re like me, you‘re going to think divining a playing card ranks low. That means, that if you are going to divine a playing card, you‘ve got to do it in a manner that really makes it look like you‘ve got mind-reading powers. So, in an effect like this, where the magician is touching the cards and, after the spectator has already thought of a card, he‘s got to fish out his selection and isolate it in a set spot, and then the cards are all replaced in a very specific manner, and then the magician has to look through all the faces to find it, are we really giving a straightforward demonstration of a magic power? Again, like the previous two card tricks, there are some aspects to the trick that could be leveraged by a competent showman, but there‘s very little within the trick‘s description itself that helps guide a new magician to getting there. It‘s essentially a challenge effect, but the only way you‘re going to have somebody challenge you on your mind-reading powers is if you‘ve already given them compelling displays of mind-reading, and thus far no thing in the text is going to beat anything that you‘ll find in the first chapter of Corinda‘s 13 Steps to Mentalism. Anyways… Here‘s one basic presentational idea you could try. Go through the card trick as described up until the point where they show the selection to everybody else. Then have them  put the card face-down on the table, and then hold their wrist, as if checking for a pulse. Study it for a second, and then proceed to the replacement of the card in the deck. Explain that the card they chose couldn‘t have been forced, and that you‘ve got no idea of the cards before it or after it, and with all the cutting there‘s no earthly way that you could know where their card is in the deck, since you haven‘t even touched the cards after the replacement. Now have them spread it out, and then take them by the wrist, and pass it over the spread, saying that you‘re trying to pick up on vibrations in their pulse. If you locate the card early, you could even look them in the eyes the entire time as you pass their hand over the cards, giving more credence to the pulse-reading. It‘s no Invisible Deck, but it‘s something, at least. Also, later on in the book, you‘ll learn a method for doing the trick in reverse, where they‘re actually reading your pulse, which is a compelling idea.

“The Non-Poker Voice” Here we go. This is better. You might even want to ditch the method (which is really quite clever) and take this presentational approach o f reading the cards aloud and use it as the basis for

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the revelation of a couple of the other tricks in this chapter. Another nice thing about this is that you can repeat the effect using different methodologies (forces, shuffling it to a set position, etc.). If you can establish a playful rapport with your audience, there‘s potential for comedy here as you come up with increasingly preposterous ―tells‖ that help you know when they named your card. The tell could even be that, after they‘ve read out their card and then a couple more, you interrupt them, mentioning that you think they now sound relaxed as they‘re naming the cards, as if they‘ve already passed it. Get them to name the previous cards again, and then isolate it down to one. The important thing about this trick is that you‘re using the key card principle in a way that‘s  presentationally-motivated. Since you‘re going to detect tells, they‘ve got to read out the cards in the deck. You‘re not just arbitrarily looking through the spread for no good reason —  here, it contributes to the magic, or helps establish the cause of the magic, as talked about earlier. Plus, unlike most of those ―mind-reading‖ demonstrations, it makes sense to actually have a card selected, since we‘re talking about a situation where you‘re playing card games, and you‘ve got a card in your hand, and you‘re worried that the guy is going to figure it out. One thing that could be a trouble-spot is if, during the cutting process, their selection ends up  being last or first in the deck. You‘ll need to be prepared for that.

“Intuition with Cards” This is another ―Do As I Do‖ style of effect, and from the description it sounds like it ha s some  potential. On the plus side, it has a lot less of the belaboured procedure that some of the other tricks in this chapter have. On the minus side, though, it requires some preparation, and it might take some experience with the trick to know how to best handle the reveal (I‘m not a big fan of the idea of saying something like ―…and if this worked, you‘ll have taken my six of spades!‖ and then you have to wait ten seconds for them to actually go through their cards to fish out the selection to confirm that it worked). If nothing else, though, notice how that little bit of  preparation, combined with the key card method, offers a much nicer pacing right up until the moment of the reveal.

“Sliding Key Card” This is one of the best things in the entire book. It might seem merely clever at first glance, but it‘s actually a gateway drug into one of the most important techniques in card magic, the spread cull, brought to us by Hofzinser. If I was going to rewrite the entire book, I‘d have a chapter devoted to this specific technique simply because of everything that you can do with it. There‘s too much to go into here, but there are plenty of books and DVDs that cover it. Daryl‘s Encyclopedia of Card Sleights has it, Volume 1 of Card College has it, Kostya Kimlat has a highly-acclaimed DVD devoted to it, John Carney teaches a version in his Book of Secrets and his Video of Secrets (Volume 2), Juan Tamariz has some fascinating work with it, etc. If you‘re interested in doing card magic seriously, I absolutely recommend do ing some work to seek out more information on this move. Using it to set a Key Card is just the tip of the iceberg.

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General Thoughts on this Chapter For all my nitpicking, one of the good things about this chapter is that amongst the tricks there are a variety of ways of applying the principle, and that the presentations for some of them help to eliminate the second big weakness of the Key Card (that the process of getting to the card revelation isn‘t as brisk or interesting as other methods are). We‘re finally starting to get into the material that has established Royal Road to Card Magic as one of the classics of the genre. It‘s worth pointing out that there are other tricks elsewhere in this book that either use the Key Card (―Gray‘s Speller‖, ―The Circus Card Trick‖) or could easily be mod ified to use it. What the chapter could use is a few more ways of setting the Key Card. There are techniques that are going to be learned later on in the book that can be used for this purpose, and I‘ll point that out when we get to them. Also, it‘s worth noting that you can add layers of deception above and beyond sleight-of-hand adjustments. Take a card from an older deck and add it to a newer deck, and you‘ve got a key card that you can recognize and locate in a spread without having the cards face-up. Have a short card or a crimped card on the bottom of the deck, and now you‘ve got a key card that you can locate simply by touch. Learn a full-deck false shuffle and you won‘t disturb the relationship between the selection and the Key Card. A while ago, I wrote a book that had to do with presentational theory and the different sort of archetypes out there that a magician could adopt as models for his performing character, and to keep things simple (and in large part as an academic exercise) I did my best to make sure that each archetype had a trick in there that used the key card in one form or another. I never worked to publish the damn thing — let‘s be honest, who‘s going to invest in a magic book written by a nobody? —  but I learned through the work I put into that book just how versatile the method can  be. You can use it to sell psychic powers, to demonstrate an ability to read poker tells, to find a card by feel. You can set multiple key cards in different parts of the de ck, or else set an entire  block of cards next to the selected card, for a different sort of effect. It‘s flexible enough to be the method in a comedy routine or a creepy bizarrist‘s routine, and it can be used as a principle in a routine that doesn‘t even use playing cards!  Next up… ye olde intimidayting palme…

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Chapter 7: The Palm “Introduction” I really like the fact that they cover this aspect of card magic early, but at the same time, I‘m somewhat torn on the way they went about it. First, let‘s get one huge bias that I have out of the way —  the best first palm that somebody can learn is a bottom palm, and the specific technique that I would recommend anybody go to first is taught on John Carney‘s ―On Palming‖ DVD. I‘m not sure if it‘s his, exactly, but he‘s pretty good about crediting and there weren‘t an y credits on this one, although Ackerman attributes a similar get-ready for a multiple card bottom-palm to Marlo. Carney had it as a small- packet palm for his ―Everywhere, Nowhere and On Your Face‖ routine, but it‘s doable with a full deck — I‘ve been doing it for the last few years, and it‘s honestly one of my go-to moves. Michael Close, in his Workers series, has talked about the merits of the bottom-palm as opposed to the top-palm. The big ones that were obvious to me  before I‘d read Close‘s comments — you‘ve got the deck as cover during and after the steal. I‘m actually more intimidated doing the double-lift for people than I am doing this palm. In any case, if you‘re looking for a palm simply because you need it for a card-to-impossiblelocation or whatever, and you‘ve got some flexibility about where the impossible location is going to be (eg: it‘s got to be in a pocket, but it doesn‘t matter which one), then this is a ridiculously attainable palm. There will be a non-trivial jump in difficulty if you‘re going to go to multiple cards, but not everybody wants to (or needs to) make that leap. If you‘re not going to  bother with that, then you‘ve got a brilliant palm right there, and trust me, the fact that you can use the deck to mask the fact that you‘re palming a card will take away almost all fear at being discovered — it‘s essentially magic-wand theory brought to cards. Obviously, Hugard and Braue shouldn‘t be faulted for not teaching this palm, or for ignoring the  bottom palm in this sort of book to begin with. One of the things that the 20th Century has given us is a lot of innovation in card technique, and at the moment we can palm from friggin‘ anywhere in the deck. Still, if a beginning magician needs to learn a quick-and-dirty palm just to get a single card from location A to location B, then I‘d tell them to ignore Royal Road and go straight to the technique that Carney teaches right away. It‘s worth mentioning that some of the  better card steals from the center of the deck also end up with the card being palmed by the left hand (just as a bottom- palm would). Things like the Diagonal Palm Shift (Erdnase, ―Expert at the Card Table‖) or the Tamariz Perpendicular Control (Juan Tamariz, various) can be extremely effective, and while there are some variations that allow you to use those strategies to get the cards palmed in the right hand, from my (admittedly limited) experience, the best ones involve getting the cards into the left hand. One other nice thing about the DVD is that Carney talks about the concept of the retreat, which is extremely helpful, because it doesn‘t really matter if the steal is good —  if your hand comes away from the deck looking like it could be concealing a card, you‘re toast. If you‘ve got the

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card bottom- palmed and the deck is on top of it in your left hand, then there‘s a brilliant retreat that you can do, simply by picking the deck up with the right hand and rotating it slightly so that the face of the card is flashing out at the audience —  this is an almost perfect misdirectional technique that will cover the retreat of the left hand. I‘ve done this for other magicians, explaining what it was that I was going to do, and their eyes still followed the deck, rather than the palming hand. It‘s almost unfair. I learned that strategy from Tyler Erickson and it was confirmed by Steve Draun elsewhere in his teachings. It‘s gold. Unfortunately, if you‘re top  palming, you don‘t quite have that strategy, as you‘ll only be flashing the top of the deck towards the audience. A rising action might still draw their attention (Gary Kurtz talks about this sort of thing in his excellent work on misdirection called ―Leading With Your Head‖) but I suspect it only has a fraction of the power that the face-of-the-deck flash that the previous strategy has. Incidentally, the choreography should be this —  right hand rises with the deck and rotates, left hand falls dead by your side, wait a beat, and then have the left hand go where it needs to go. However, all this stuff isn‘t taught in Royal Road, and (as before) I‘m not going to outline the mechanics of things which aren‘t mine to teach. For the excellent single-card bottom palm, I can only point you towards Carney‘s DVD and hope you get it, figure out which palm I‘m talking about, employ the retreat that I describe in the previous chapter, and just s tart doing it for people. You‘ll be pulling cards out of nowhere in no time. In any case, if there was anything to add to the ―Introduction‖ text, for me it would be two things. First, if you‘re worried about palming cards, one o f the things to keep in mind is that the  people you are performing for are not going to be prepared for it. Second, when we‘re talking about palming, we‘re talking about a larger branch of magic that extends beyond cards, and you can gain some quick confidence in the realm of ―holding out‖ (ie: concealing stuff in your hands) if you don‘t limit your studies to card magic, an d in fact look into coin magic (or other forms of small object manipulation) and study the concepts of timing, misdirection, choreography, and  body language —  you can take the things you‘ve learned from these lessons and bring the knowledge back to card magic. However, things being what they are, we‘ve got a top palm here to look at.

“Top Palm, I (Single Card)” This is a pretty good technique. One thing to make sure you don‘t do is use the second image as a model for how your hand should look at the point of the steal. It is possible to get the card into  position and pop up into place using the techniques taught without having to align your hand to the deck like that. Ackerman talks about keeping a nice high arch to the hand, and that strikes me as good advice here. To its credit, the book points out that having a nice high arch throughout is important, but at the same time, that image doesn‘t seem to me to convey that advice. For what it‘s worth, my memory of R. Paul Wilson‘s teaching on this entire topic in his DVD set for Royal Road was pretty thorough.

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Since we‘re speaking of top palms, you might want to looking into one of Dai Vernon‘s highly praised contributions to card magic — his ―Topping the Deck‖ technique. This was published in ―Select Secrets‖ but has been taught in a few places, including John Carney‘s ―On Palming‖ DVD and the second volume of Card College. Dai Vernon was also highly influenced by the writings of Erdnase in ―Expert at the Card Table‖, and while I‘ve got some criticisms of that text, the palming taught in there is really quite good —  in fact, the multiple-card bottom palm can look excellent if done well (and you should know how I like bottom-palms at this point). Another thing that‘s good about the teaching of this technique in the book is that they talk about some of the surrounding actions for the moment you‘re palming. Imagine, for instance, that you‘re holding the deck in the left hand, with a spectator on your left. ―Can I ask a favour?‖ you ask, gesturing out with the left hand, which is somewhat awkward given that you‘re holding the deck, so you continue saying ―I need your help‖ and you transfer it to the right hand, executing the palm at that moment, and take the entire deck in your right hand (ignore the illustration for that as well —  use a Biddle-style grip rather than having the deck feed into the thumb crotch like that), and then gesture with the left hand more openly ―Can you come over here?‖ These sorts of transfers in order to free up a hand that‘s closest to the direction you want to gesture towards are what some people consider ―theatrically correct‖ —  to do it the other way (ie: making that gesture with the hand opposite from the direction that you want to gesture with) would require you to reach across your body, and that‘s somewhat awkward. A small point, but if you‘re going to do the same dozen routines for the rest of your life, these sorts of touches can be beneficial details. It‘s worth mentioning that you‘ll want to make sure that your transfer of the deck is done exactly as you would do it if you didn‘t have to palm off cards at all. That‘s not as trivial as it sounds, but we‘ll hold off on that for a second.

“Top Palm, II (Several Cards)” A slightly more difficult technique. I wish I was more conve rsant in palming multiple cards so that I‘d know if there were easier methods out there. Unfortunately, I don‘t. This one will involve a bit more of tension in the left hand as it‘s putting more work into making the steal happen. If the right hand can remain soft throughout up until the point where it takes the deck (at which point it‘ll have a reason for looking slightly tense, since it‘s holding a deck of ca rds) then that should help camouflage things. If I were in a situation where I needed to start multiple-card palming regularly, again, I‘d  probably be looking at methods that involved the bottom-palm. The Erdnase bottom palm can look great, and another one which Michael Vincent does a lot —  the Hofzinser Multiple Card  bottom palm explained in ―Expert Card Technique‖ — looks great in his hands as well (I‘ve not yet been able to get the knack of it, presumably because I haven‘t practiced enough). There are even strategies for doing one-handed multiple-card b ottom palms, including one in Benjamin Earl‘s Past Midnight DVD set.

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“Palm Glimpse” This is good. If you control and then palm off a card, it‘s a simple matter to catch a glimpse of the card you‘ve palmed, under pretense of directing your attention towards the deck itself (all the while using the deck to cover the palmed card). This can be helpful to name the card they‘ve selected (before pulling it out of somewhere unex pected), or simply make sure that you‘ve not stolen off the wrong card (if you‘ve had it signed). I do the latter all the time as a safet y  precaution. One thing you might want to consider… later on, you‘re going to learn the hindu shuffle. When you do that, come back to this portion of the text, and consider how you might, after having palmed a card in the right hand, use your left hand to rotate the deck and then re-grip it so as to begin a Hindu Shuffle, from the cards in the right hand into the left hand. This can help you out a bit because it‘s no big deal to glance at your hands if you‘re executing a shuffle (staring is bad, but glancing is not), and that means that your glimpse of the card is covered by a naturally motivated reason somewhat. I personally do this all the time before heading into my card-to-impossible-location effect. It‘s worth noting that a bottom- palm, for all its merits, doesn‘t automatically give you this advantage.

“Replacing Palmed Cards” This is a good topic for those people who are either going to be stealing cards off prior to letting spectators shuffle the deck, or else to add cards to the deck that weren‘t there to begin with (such as smuggling in the four aces, or a gaffed card). The first method strikes me as a teens y bit awkward (despite the authors‘ claims that it‘s perfectly natural) since there‘s no reason wh y a spectator who‘s just shuffled the cards themselves couldn‘t also cut the c ards themselves, so I don‘t quite like the momentary intervention. That said, if the execution is solid, I‘m sure it would fly by most people. The second method, I‘m not totally on- board with, but it‘s a bit convoluted to explain why. Tyler Erickson made a great point about false transfers that applies here —  people do not always pass an object from one hand to the other in the same way. Depending upon the object and what it is that they plan to do with it, they might either toss the object from the left ha nd to the right hand, or else the left hand might present the object to be taken by the right hand. This might sound like overthinking, but consider that we have natural ways of dealing with these sorts of things, and since we want these transfers to be forgotten and l ost amidst other surrounding actions, we need to know what feels specifically natural. Tyler‘s example (which I b elieve was ins pired by the writings of Michael Close) was to consider what would happen if you got home and needed to unlock the door, and the key was hidden above the upper ledge on the side opposite the doorknob. Obviously you‘d have to fetch it with one hand, get it into the other hand to open the door, and then get it back to the first hand to put it back on the upper ledge. Do you know off the top of your head if this involves ―taking‖ actions or ―putting‖ actions? I sure don‘t. But I‘m sure my body subconsciously does.

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Anyways, I said all that to say this. If the idea is to transfer a deck from one hand to the other, and to use that action to cover the moment that palmed cards are replaced on the deck, you need to surround it with the proper motivation. It‘s not just a question of having objects to transfer. I‘m not saying that what they‘re talking about wo n‘t work, but I do think the motivation needs to  be made clear. Are you passing the cards to make a gesture with the hand? Are you passing the cards to place them to the side? Are you passing the cards because you plan on actually doing something with them? etc. And yeah, I‘m sure all this reads as nitpicky. Take it with wh atever grains of salt you need. It‘s worth mentioning that in Expert Card Technique, the authors of this book offer many more covering actions for getting palmed cards back on the deck. There are nine in total — they‘re for different situations, and while some of which might have choreography that might be awkward for you if you‘ve not designed the effect that way, there‘s a good chance that you‘ll find at least one good one. Other texts will no doubt offer plenty.

“Card in Pocket” One mistake that‘s easy to make with card palming is to look down on an effect just because you know the modus operandi. Before I‘d started doing them myself, I never understood why people found card-to-impossible-locations strong, since frequently it‘s just a question of being able to  palm off a card and then loading it somewhere. It took me some experience to realize that, if the effect is properly defined, it‘s a nuance that most people never, ever pick up on. Something like a simple ―Card To Pocket‖ can play nicely. In Pete McCabe‘s ―Scripting Magic‖ he talks about a great strategy, where you have some stuff already in your pocket, such as a cellphone and keys, and you palm off the card, and go to the pocket to remove the cellphone and then the keys, and later on, when it‘s time to find the card, you riffle the deck, and reach in with a clearly empty hand, and produce their card. Now, this sort of thing needs to be designed impeccably, since you don‘t want to stuff your hand in your pocket without them knowing why you‘re going there. McCabe‘s book is well worth owning for many reasons besides his script for that particular trick, so you might want to invest in it (I‘m unfortunately away from most of my print library right now, so I cannot verify if this touch was from him or somebody else, but it was definitely in that  book). Taking a cue from Pete McCabe… Put in your r ight pocket a card-shaped object (such as a library card or a business card —  some cities have bus transfers that are card shaped) and then your cellphone and your keys. Control their card to the top. Riffle the deck with your left hand, and then (with an empty hand) proudly go to the pocket to produce their card, and then pull out the card-shaped object and display it proudly, before you notice what it is. ―Sorry, can you hold onto this?‖ you ask as you extend the object forward for them to take, and then reach inside to  pull out your cellphone (make sure they see an empty hand go in). Drop it back in, saying ―Maybe it went to the wrong pocket?‖, and then pass the deck from the left hand to the right hand (executing the palm in the process), and go with an empty hand into the left pocket,

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 producing nothing. Say ―No, it should be the right pocket… Can I ask a favour?‖ as you take the deck back with the left hand, and without waiting for an answer say ―Can you take this?‖ and extend the deck towards them with the left hand as you drop the right hand dead for a moment, and then go into the right pocket again with the palmed card and dump it off, as you remove the cellphone (hand it to them to hold again), and then go back with an empty hand again to remove the keys (give those them), and then finally grip the card, acting suddenly reassured, saying ―Sorry, it was there under all this other stuff. What was your card?‖ They name it, and you  produce it. The trick here in Royal Road is, unfortunately, not in that vein. Instead, it‘s yet another attempt at mentalism. They think of a card in a packet, you remove a card from behind your back and put it in your pocket, and then you deal off a bunch of cards, making a big deal on the last card dealt off, and then you go to the pocket to remove the original card… Bleah. What‘s more, the entire moment that you steal the card from the deck before going to the pocket feels rushed. Again, this is the issue of the retreat that I touched upon earlier. If the entire deceptiveness of the trick relies upon you using blatant misdirection (a la ―Look! It‘s Tom Cruise!‖) to cover the action of grabbing a card and quickly shoving it into your pocket, I think the trick‘s construction needs revision. I‘m not saying there‘s no merit to using the palm combined with the strategem of openly putting a card into your pocket ahead of time. I‘ve done this for other tricks, and it can play well. That said, I don‘t like the overall execution here. Similar to the ―Round and Round‖ trick in the Glimpse chapter, I‘d want to perform it almost sheepishly. Alternately, I might instead do Tarbell‘s ―Psychological Impossibility‖, wherein a freely-thought of card in one half of the deck turns out to be exactly the same as a random card taken from the other half of the deck. The mystery‘s a bit more compelling there.

“Now You See It!”  Not so hot on this one either. Remember the ―Isn‘t/Is‖ plot we talked about earlier? If not, it‘s  just this — take a card that isn‘t their card, and change it into their card. To me, the most important part of this condition isn‘t that an apparent free choice of one of four wrong cards changes into the right card, but rather that they believe that the selected card is, in fact, totally lost in the first place. If you get conviction in that, being able to change it deceptively ought to be enough, and going beyond that, I think we‘re talking about diminishing returns. If there is an advantage to this method, it‘s that the switch happens far enough away from the moment the change is revealed. I think there are better uses to put the palm to, and better tricks of this general type, than this particular trick.  Now, that aside, one technique that‘s talked about in here is something known as ―equivoque‖, and it‘s worth reading this example just to see how the technique works. It‘s essentially a means of forcing one of a bunch of objects, simply through dialogue. It‘s also somewhat ―out there‖ as

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a principle, although usually in its most baldfaced form (ie: Somebody holds out four things and tells you ‗Touch two of them!‘). This particular trick isn‘t terrible in the way it goes about equivoque, but again, this is another tactic where mentalists rule the day. Look into the scripting of Max Maven to look at equivoque, as well as dealing with systems of forcing and outs in general. He‘s very good.

“Grab Bag Card” An interesting idea — not a bad method considering how specific this sort of effect is. You‘ll need a coat pocket for this, unless you don‘t mind people dipping their hand into your pants (which could actually make it a useful plot for comedic workers) I‘m not quite sure I understand what the heck the bit of business in the middle is about involving turning th e cards face-up. I‘m guessing it‘s meant to be a subtlety of some kind in order to sell the fact that you‘re only holding indifferent cards, but without having done this trick myself, I can‘t think of whether or not the subtlety works, or if it‘s even needed in the first place. Still, an interesting idea. It also seems like a potentially neat counterpart to the PATEO force (I‘ll let you google that one).

“Good-Luck Card”  Not entirely sure that the method flies when you‘re talking about the reveal. However, it‘s an interesting process to get control of a freely thought -of card, although I think some work could go into streamlining the presentation just somewhat. I‘d overact just a bit when the spectator chooses your hand in the first round, and then ham it up just a bit more when they name which hand it‘s in for the second phase (―That‘s amazing! Because I got the card again right when I was sitting there, two seats to the left counterclockwise from the dealer. How did you know?!? Is it really in there? Amazing!‖), and then offer some plausible dramatic reason why it might be missing from the bridge-hand for the finale. Also, I‘d want to try to figure out a method so that even though I‘m shuffling, they get to deal every time, just to give the appearance of ceding control. I‘m going to think on this for a while, and I might post an update later. There‘s something here, I think.

“Do It And Fail” The authors praise this trick highly. They also sa y that it‘s something that should be done as a casual puzzle, not in a regular card set. I can see why —  with all the laying down of cards and dealing and whatnot, it seems like a long way to go. It also includes that ever-so-risky element known as the ―colossal spectator failure‖. If the general ide a is that the spectator deals out a  bunch of cards and the results are amazing, then this is something that has been done in a more commercial package — go research ―Out of this World‖ and all the variants out there. Generally, that trick requires no palming.

“Gathering of the Clan” Ah, the famous Four Ace Assembly. Four aces are dealt into four piles, and then three indifferent cards are placed on each. With a snap of the fingers, all the aces jump to the same location. If this sounds interesting to you, then you might wan t to ignore my opinions for the remainder of

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this section because… God, I hate this plot. I‘m not even all that keen on Macdonald‘s Aces, which is a really strong trick. It seems to me that th e best way to go about this trick would be to  pretend to be a magician in a poker game, and have the Royal Flush magically jump to your hand from the four other hands. If you‘re going to do that, though, and then claim magic is what‘s making it happen, I‘d want to add a whole bunch of conditions to make it fairer and clearer for the audience, and off the top of my head I can‘t think of a way to do that without using cancelling methods, which would mean having to do the trick several times successively, and I already have enough trouble stomaching the idea of doing it once. Anyways, the key strength of Royal Road‘s version of the trick is apparently that there are multiple flashes of aces as you lay them down. That supposed strength is, in my opinion , completely undone by the fact that all the cards end up back in the deck after all that dealing down, and then the cards are made to assemble. Pretty much every modern Ace Assembly worth its salt leaves the rest of the deck out of the trick, and just causes the magic to happen amongst the cards on the table. It‘s just much clearer that way. I‘m the last person to tell you which Ace Assembly to go with. Start googling ―Best Ace Assembly‖ and read your way through the infinite pages of Magic Cafe threads. Some might require palming.

“Spring Catch” This isn‘t a bad revelation of a single card. It‘s certainly quite spectacular, and it also does a decent job of signalling the end of your card set, unless you like the idea of picking up all those cards off the table and floor. I personally think there are better ways to en d a set (definitely more  practical ways) but it‘s worth noting that Ricky Jay ends his Multiple Selection and Revelation routine by locating the last two cards at once (catching one in each hand) in this way. If nothing else, it‘s a nice applause cue.

“A Vested Interest” Another one I‘m not totally on board with, since the modus operandi comes really close to what I‘d suspect is the default audience suspicion as to how the trick could have occurred —  ie: that you somehow stole the card off and jammed it under your clothes when you went to get the  pencil. Plus, if the idea is to convince them that the card that appeared in your clothes is the same as the card they stole, then you‘re going to want to have that card selected and signed straight away so there‘s no possible suspicion that a duplicate was in play. Frankly, I think that there are  better ways of conveying this type of effect, and I‘ll talk about them in the next part coming up…

“The Piano Trick” Oh, bleah. Some performers have been able to apply this principle in interesting ways that have nothing to do with cards (pairs of socks, cutler y, etc.) but it strikes me as a ridiculous wa y to

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imply that a card has transposed from one place to another. Other magicians‘ mileage may vary on that one, but this trick does nothing for me.

General Thoughts on This Chapter I‘ve got mixed feelings on this chapter. On the one hand, I admire the effort that went into coming up with a lot of tricks where the palm could be used subtly (ie: NOT in a card-toimpossible location), so that there‘s not quite as much heat on the move as a concept. And yet, at the same time, I think that the student gets a bit shafted. Later on in the book, you‘re going to learn some great effects involving the palm. If you‘re starting to feel comfortable with palming cards, then jump ahead to the final chapter on Platform Tricks, and give ‗er. One of the tricks there should jump out at you as one that could have easily been included in this chapter, but for the fact that palming can be a little intimidating. One other downside to the choices of tricks in this chapter is that the palming isn‘t even necessary to pull them all off. ―Gathering of the Clan‖, ―Do It and Fail‖, and ―Now You See It‖ could have easily been dumped for other methods, and replaced with things like a Card-toPocket, Card-to-Hat, or Card-through-Handkerchief. If the idea o f having a card jump from one location to another seemingly magically appeals to you, then look into the following effects… * ―Homing Card‖ (credited to Francis Carlyle, but some argue that Jimmy Grippo beat him to it) from Stars of Magic. * ―Homing Card‖ Plus in Card College, Volume 2 (takes ―Homing Card‖ and gives it a fantastic kicker). * ―Card to Hat‖ (Daryl‘s version inspired by Larry Jennings‘s trick), on his Card Revelations DVD series. * ―Card to Sealed Envelope‖ (again, many versions, but a good one is on Daryl‘s Card Revelations DVD series). * ―Card Through Handkerchief‖ from Erdnase‘s Ex pert At The Card Table (focus on the part that requires the palm) —  also note that many versions of this trick exist that require no palming, Tommy Wonder‘s being a good one. That might not sound like many tricks, but if you start to realize that anything can be a destination, you can use the strategies in those tricks to make the cards jump to anywhere or go through anything. And they‘re all great effects that professional magicians use. Another trick  previously mentioned (Tarbell‘s ―Psychological Impossibility‖) offers a nice lesson in terms of the timing of the palm. Plus, once you learn the double-lift, something like Ed Marlo‘s Misdirection Palm is a wonderful strategy —  display the top[?] card, turn it down, insert into the center, and palm at that moment. This is a very solid sequence. Also, consider one other thing that this chapter allows you to do. You have a card selected and replaced in the deck. You shuffle it a bit, but then you let somebody else shuffle it. When they

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give the cards back to you, you can now find it in any number of ways, but the fact that they shuffled it is no small potatoes — in letting them shuffle, you‘re raising conviction that the card is out of your control and lost, and now you‘ve got a situation where you actually come closer to making it look like you‘re using magic to solve a difficult problem. Add something like this to ―Pinkie Does It‖ or ―Design For Laughter‖ and you‘re raising the stakes quite a bit. Even the  palm glimpse opens up some great options for you. In conclusion, I want to say this… At some point in your education and development as a magician, you‘re going to run into a problem that most magicians run into —  the fact that everybody has seen somebody do a card trick, and that a lot of people that you run into will even know one. Something like being able to palm well is going to open up to you a range of great effects, and if you do one of these effects well, you‘re going to separate yourself from the average joe, if only because the means is simply going to be beyond them. If you‘re intimidated, then immediately look into John Carney‘s DVD on the subject and learn that easy-as-hell bottom  palm on there. I personally use it all the time. Up next, the controversial Backslip.

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Chapter 8: The Backslip In the previous chapter I mentioned that the Backslip is a somewhat controversial move. I  probably overstated that somewhat, as ―controversy‖ seems to suggest that a lot of people have opposing views on it, whereas the truth is there aren‘t many people who object to the move, but those who do object to it, do so quite vehemently depending upon when it‘s used. I‘ll get to that in a second, though.

“The Backslip”  No problem with the description here. Nate Leipzig‘s touch is well worth noting, and I never do the move without using this subtlety. You can get perfect cover here.

“The Backslip Force” …and here we go. Lots of performers, including some noteworthy ones, use this force. Richard Osterlind even uses it twice in a row in a great routine. I‘ll even admit that I‘ve used it when I‘m arbitrarily expanding the Multiple Selection and Rev elation routine to allow for an extra spectator — it‘s a good enough surprise to use early on to reveal a selection, and I‘ve sometimes used it in conjunction with a couple of different riffle-style force-revelations (including one that fails, to set up a colour-change). And it‘s not hard to see why people use it. As the book states, it‘s easy to get into and execute, it‘s reasonably deceptive, and if you know what you‘re doing you can get a full routine out of a single card force. So why not use it? Here‘s the theory (in large part thanks to T yler Erickson). If you‘re going to have a card selected  by somebody, there are three main situations you need to be ready for. The first is with the magician holding the cards, and the spectator close by. The second is with the magician holding the cards, and the spectator at a distance. The third is with the spectator holding the cards themselves. Obviously, the third situation doesn‘t apply here, but if you consider what is probably the most fair and natural for situation 1 and 2, it‘s difficult to justify a selection procedur e via the  backslip. If they‘re close by, the fairest and most straightforward way is from a spread. Ideally, if you‘re going to force a card on a spectator, they‘ve got to leave with the impression that the selection of the card was an innocent and guile-free procedure. The more of a non-event the selection is, a lot of the time, the better. A riffling procedure makes sense if the spectator isn‘t close enough to take a card for themselves, but from close-up? Not easy to justify. Some magicians might argue that if you know how to manage your audience, nobody will complain. Well, yeah, few people are going to complain out loud in the middle of a magic show, but what about within their own thoughts? Some of those magicians might argue that people won‘t even notice. If you‘ve worked long enough for regular audiences then you know that there are a large number of people for whom that‘s true — some people don‘t know or care. However, if you‘ve

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worked long enough for regular audiences then you know that there are a large number of people for whom that‘s not true at all — they won‘t be happy unless they grab the cards from your hands, choose one for themselves, and put it back in the deck and then shuffle themselves, before giving you the cards back. Not everybody is an easy audience, and the more you can work without triggering suspicions, the better. The second situation, when the spectators are at a distance, does allow you to motivate some slightly unnatural ways of having a card selected. After all, they‘re not close enough to take from a spread, right? At this point, we switch from hav ing extremely natural ways to having extremely fair ways. The one force that comes closest to the backslip force is the riffle force, but o ne key difference about it is that, for the riffle force, you‘re able to cleanly open the point they say ―stop‖ at like a book and flash it outwards. You can even motivate it further by saying that even if the card was marked somehow, you couldn‘t possibly know what the card is because of all the cards behind it. You can open it up so tightly that there‘s no way anybody but the spectator could have any clue what the card is. With the backslip, though, all of a sudden that Nate Leipzig cover that makes it so deceptive now becomes a liability —  you get a glimpse of the card next to their card, so that‘s some information a magician might u se to their advantage, or else in the turnover action you can even get a glimpse of the intended selection itself (a fair suspicion, given some of the methods we have in our arsenal). One thing that we don‘t want to do is allow for the  possibility to occur to the spectator that we‘re somehow doing things to our own advantage. If nothing else, this is the sort of thing that can trigger that prototypical pain-in-the-ass spectator talked about earlier. It‘s worth mentioning that when Osterlind does the move twice in the same trick, he simply hands out the card to be selected, rather than going through the Leipzig finesse. This doesn‘t mean that the move needs to be abandoned, but it does mean giving some thought as to what your justification for using the move is. Using the force as a revelation of a card negates the suspicions talked about in the previous paragraph, since the trick terminates at that  point. On his Revelations DVD series, Daryl also has a handling of the move where it‘s used as the basis for a card stab, which is another clever way to surround the move with a context that  justifies all your actions. Finally, if you‘re basically just forcing a card so that you can reveal it in a sealed envelope, then any suspicions about glimpsing don‘t really apply, since the glimpse doesn‘t help you — ditto for those situations if the card you‘re forcing has some sort of gimmick to it where the gimmick is what‘s helping make the magic happen. The previous criticism is still applicable, though, that it turns what should be a cursory process into a bit of an event. Is all this skepticism necessary, or even relevant? All I know is that I trust Tyler Erickson‘s thoughts on magic more than any other magician out there, and I also know that there are other magicians who‘ve silently shared his sentiment over this move. A gain, if you‘re in this for the long haul, and you‘re hoping to make your dozen or so routines as tight as possible, then coming up with the best card force for the routine that needs it is no choice to make lightly. Here endeth the rant.

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“The Backslip Control” This feels somewhat convoluted to me. While it does set up an interesting situation if they buy it  —  that the card is placed into a packet which they then shuffle themselves —  it still feels weird to have a card replaced at a stop point, only to then take that card and jam it into the top half of the deck, which they then take to shuffle. If we were being straightforward, wouldn‘t we just let them keep the card, give them half the deck, and then let them shuffle it in themselves? There‘s a  bit too much back-and-forth in this procedure. I think there are better strategies elsewhere in the  book.

“The Lightning Card” This is a good plot. Any time they‘re convinced of the location of a card, and it shows up somewhere else, you‘ve got a good moment of magic. I don‘t know that I‘d want to do it quite this way with the backslip that they describe in Royal Road, though —  even if you do the move well, it strikes me as a moment that the spectator would remember, whereas if you‘re able to  palm off a card without being detected, you‘ve got a stronger mystery, I think. Later on, when we get to the double-lift, we‘ll talk about some better strategies for this type of effect. I‘m also not the biggest fan of forcing a spectator to remember both a card and a number, but then again, I‘ve performed for drinking audiences. The trick do es have the nice aspect of letting them see that the card hasn‘t travelled yet because of the riffling, even after the dirty business.

“The Tantalizer” The first time I read this, it felt flat to me, although I know some noted cardmen, including R. Paul Wilson and Darwin Ortiz, absolutely love the plot. It‘s worth noting that Wilson added one touch to the trick which I think lifts it from being quite boring into something spectacular —  in Wilson‘s handling, the final three cards that the magician is left with a re flashed at the audience, and the selection isn‘t one of them. Of course, when the magician gives himself the final card, and the card is named, the selection is shown. That one moment really makes the trick play strong, especially if you‘ve got something in there to make it seem as though the card is lost (ie: they shuffle the deck).  Now, that addition that Wilson made came on his ―Extreme Possibilities‖ DVD series, and it‘s unfortunately not impromptu. I do know that Wilson has been messing around with completely impromptu methods for doing the trick with that ad ded flash at the end, and hopefully one of those will get published soon, because with that flash, it‘s a great trick. (He also added the idea of making it into a bet, which is another way to make it play stronger —  by putting something at stake. Incidentally, another way to take this to the next level could be to have them perform the trick to themselves.) Unfortunately, this particular incarnation of the trick doesn‘t include the flash, so to me it  basically reads like the cards are set up in some way so that you‘re dealing the card to yourself. The only way that I think this can play really strongly is to let them shuffle the cards

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immediately after the replacement, as if implying that they shuffled the card to the perfect spot where you end up dealing it to yourself. For what it‘s worth, I do like the strategy of using the backslip to set up a key card, although the Leipzig strategy couldn‘t be used here — after all, if you‘re flashing the card at the face of the top packet outwards in order to cover the move, you might as well forgo the move altogether and use that as the key card.

“Under Your Hat” Sort of like ―the Piano‖ trick in the last chapter didn‘t have any palming in it, this trick doesn‘t use a backslip. Anyways, it‘s extremely bold. I bet there are people who could pull this off and it would be a real barn- burner. And, of course, 20% of the time it‘s legitimately clean.  Now, take what I say with a grain of salt, because I‘ve never done this trick, but when they say that the feat is strengthened immeasurably the 20% of the time that it‘s clean, it makes me wonder if it‘s worthwhile doing the trick the other 80% of the time. There exist methods in mentalism that allow you to basically get to that point —  where the spectator is reading the slip of paper to verify that it‘s theirs — and I can‘t help but wonder if one of them isn‘t worth  pursuing. Again, not as perfectly clean as that 20% scenario described in the trick, so I don‘t know if the trade-off is worth it. If you‘re curious, look into Corinda‘s 13 Steps to Mentalism if you want to know what I‘m talking about. You can send me an email if you‘re still not sure what I‘m suggesting.

General Thoughts on this Chapter Obviously, take my concerns about the move with a grain of salt —  surround it with the right context, and you will fool people with it. Just be careful with it, and un derstand why it is that you‘re using it. There‘s a big temptation to use this move as a force, and to its credit the book resists this temptation. Now, to use it as a Key Card placement will require excellent execution, since you‘re not easily able to use that great cover Leipzig designed, but if you can do it nicely without Leipzig‘s cover, then all those Key Card tricks in previous chapters are opened up to you, with a replacement that‘s potentially much n icer than the simple Key Undercut, since the card is replaced at a point of the spectator‘s choosing, where you couldn‘t possibly know the card next to it on either side. I don‘t think it‘s the best there is, but we‘ll get to those later.  Next up is the second installment of the Overhand Shuffle.

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Chapter 9: The Overhand Shuffle, part 2  Now we‘re kind of back to the relatively un-sexy aspects of card handling, but being conversant in all the techniques here will be good for those who do a lot of shuffle controls, since it‘ll help make them survive a bit more scrutiny. I‘m not entirely sure that it‘s not better to keep track of the card solely by an injog, rather than using the injog to move into a break , but we‘ll get back to that in a second. One additional thing that I think is necessary to consider is that, even if we think we‘re improving a control‘s handling, the effect‘s context still needs to be taken into account. If the effect makes it obvious that you had to shuffle the cards to the top, then it doesn‘t matter how good the shuffle looks. Similarly, a crummy injog-shuffle off-undercut is often good enough if the effect conceals the fact that the card‘s on top (ie: doing ―Pinkie Does It‖ and then doing the additional subtlety that shows that it rose out of the center of the deck).

“Injog and Break” & “Overhand Break Control” I‘m actually not huge on this particular strategy. I understand the major benefit of it, which is that it allows you to look like you‘re shuffling the entire deck, where the simple injog-shuffle off-undercut sequence doesn‘t really. I think m y main concern about it is that in order for it to look good, that break has to be small, and if the break is really small, it turns what should be a loose and casual handling into something tight, since a tiny break usually means running cards carefully near the end as you‘re making sure you don‘t shuffle past it and louse up the whole works. If the concern is making sure it looks like the whole deck is shuffled, why not just run six cards, injog, shuffle off, then undercut and immediately run six cards (using Ackerman‘s finesse for the G.W. Hunter shuffle to break up the rhythm in a good way), and then cut? Alternately, if you‘re just contr olling a single card, why not injog above it and shuffle off, undercut and run the selection, injog the next and then shuffle off, and then undercut (this gives you the appearance of having shuffled the deck twice, and adds a cut)? Now, if you can angle things a little bit to your advantage so that they can‘t see the break (maybe you‘re on stage on something) then you can afford to not keep that break small, which means you could probably shuffle off a bit more casually as you‘re approaching reach the break , but still, even attaining that break in the first  place strikes me as something that can seem a little too careful when doing what should be a sloppy-looking shuffle. I suppose with a bit of work it can be made to look really good. I‘ll describe the shuffle I usually use later on in this blog entry.

“Overhand Lift Shuffle”  Now this one can look really, really nice. I never would have believed it myself until it was done to me by Jeremy Macintosh, and he had the rhythm for it down perfectly. It‘s worth noting that in order to conceal the separation of the packets you‘ve got to watch your angles a bit (since the gap is arguably a fair bit worse than in the previous shuffle) but what you lose there, you gain with the fact that the shuffle can be made to look really casual throughout, and if you think about it, it seems almost impossible that the card should end up on top of the deck afterwards, since to

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all appearances it stayed in the middle and had a bunch of other cards shuffled on top of it. The key thing is that the rhythm needs to be maintained —  if there is any break in rhythm at the point of the packet steal, you kill the illusion. Do what you have to do in order to fix that, either by getting that packet steal faster so that it matches the rhythm of your shuffle (this is possible, JMac was able to do it), or else slow down the rhythm of your shuffle so that it matches the speed at which you steal that packet. Get the rhythm even, though, and you‘ve got a great shuffle control.

“Lift Shuffle Force” This one I‘m not so sure about. In order to execute the move deceptively you‘ve got to essentially have the two packets kiss at a moment where there‘s some heat on your hands. Frankly, if I‘m asking them to say ―stop‖ at some point during a shuffle to select a card, then I want to immediately and clearly separate the two packets so that the spectator can agree to the  precise location they said ―stop‖ at. That drop-off ruins it for me. I think there are better forces than this one — if they‘re nearby, you probably don‘t want to force from a shuffle, and if the y‘re far away, there are cleaner strategies. Still, if you‘re the t ype of person who wants to be able to do anything from a given motif (ie: being able to control, force, or set a key card from the same shuffle) then you might want to see if you can perfect this. I personally would love to see somebody do this well —  for a long time I was trying to do something similar to this, but I could never make it look as nice as I wanted to, precisely for that reason previously mentioned about the packets needing to kiss.

“Spread and Break” Setting aside the whole attaining-the-pinky- break thing, it‘s good the authors point out that cutting the deck and telling the spectator to return the card there sucks (I agree, which is one reason why I dislike their Key Undercut technique, but anyways…). In any case, the spread and  break technique used is pretty good for getting the pinky break under cover.

“Holding a Break” If you can do this reliably, it‘s a good technique. Me, I suck at it, so I generally let the pinky get in there and then manage my angles to make sure it‘s not visible, or else I just use a jog to mark the spot, or usually even shuffle the card into position straight away, making the whole issue moot —  that last one might seem questionable, but I‘ll get into that in a later chapter.

“Spread and Break Control” Honestly, I‘d rather work with a jogged card —  that arguably eliminates the need for getting a  break in the first place, never mind maintaining it as you pivot the deck in preparation for the shuffle, but whatever, that‘s just me.

“The Sevens” A big aspect of this trick is that it requires you to execute the Overhand Lift Shuffle Force in order to get going, so already I‘m not so sure about it. Also, the shuffle that‘s talked about to

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reposition the sevens seems like it‘ll need a lot of practice to make smooth. Assuming you can get the Overhand Lift Shuffle Force to work, you might just want to start with two sevens o n top and two on the bottom, start the force, dump off the packet to complete the force, cut the cards in your right hand to the bottom straight away, and then (if you think a shuffle is necessary) move into a full deck false shuffle. That gets you into position without having to shuffle the sevens around at this stage of the trick. The reveal of the cards at the bottom of the packet seems discrepant, but if you handle it casually and confidently, I think it‘s one of those discrepancies that should fly. Another approach that could work is to start dealing the cards into a pile, but asking them to say ―stop‖ at the point you should stop, rather than having cards arbitrarily selected from a spread to figure out how far down to deal off. After you‘ve repeated this twice more (doing the shuffle as described in the  book when necessary) and dealt three piles, you could even cleanly count the number of cards in each pile to bring those sevens into position at the top of the deck, which could take some heat off the discrepancy. The patter for each pile could be something like ―Now, is there any way I could have known that you‘d say ‗Stop‘ after dealing six cards?‖ Or, you could abandon this sort of trick altogether for a cleaner ―Spectator C uts To The Aces‖ handling (replacing the aces with sevens as necessary). Still, it‘s not all that brutal…

“The Obliging Aces” …unlike this one. Good Lord. I hate that damned force used for the first three cards. The only reason to use it is so that the trick can be done without the magician handling the cards, and yet you‘ve got to handle the cards to get the fourth ace into position. If you want to do this trick, go for it, but the preceding one strikes me as far better, and there are other tricks of this gen eral type that strike me as much stronger and less convoluted.

“Leapfrog”  Not bad. It seems to me that this sort of trick falls into the category of those that are improved immediately if the spectator shuffles the card themselves. It might be a neat way to reveal one of the four aces in a flourishy four ace revelation, though, assuming you could do the other three in a similarly off-beat way.

“Spectator’s Card Trick” I‘m not a fan of the presentation. I do like the general strategy, though (that o f miscalling the selection), and I think the trick on the whole has some real potential. If it were me, I‘d find a way to go through the whole trick so that the spectator ultimately reveals the card b y themselves, since there aren‘t many tricks that allow you to come to such a clean conclusion without the magician ever touching the deck from start to finish. It‘s possible that a magician could talk the spectator through the process of shuffling and cutting the selection so that it‘ll appear to be totally lost, before the spectator finds the card on t heir own. I‘m going to play with this one for a  bit, and then report back on the handling I come up with.

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“A Poker Puzzle” Gambling demonstrations have the potential to make a high impact on audiences, and the core  principle to this trick has been used in other such tricks. This trick appeared on Michael Ammar‘s Easy To Master Card Miracles, with a tiny change wh ere the climax involves the magician demonstrating the false deal using the Aces, a nd then ending with a Royal Flush. It‘s actually possible to dress this trick up a fair bit more to turn it into a proper gambling demonstration, and if you‘re reading these blog entries just out of curiosity since you already have good card skills, then you might want to give this variation of ―A Poker Puzzle‖ a try… Assume you‘re working from a shuf fled deck in use. Make sure that the spectator shuffles the deck once more, and then say that you‘ll show people how some guys cheat when the games are loose. Ask them if they‘ve ever heard of the various ways of cheating that there are in card games, and keep that discussion going as you head through the deck yourself, removing and tabling the Aces as you come to them, but also culling the 10, Jack, Queen and King of one suit (say, the Hearts) so that they‘ll end up on top of the deck. You‘ll find that even though it‘s  potentially a boring process getting through the entire deck in order to get the Aces out and put the rest of the Heart Royal Flush in position, if you actually play off the answers that they give you, they won‘t mind at all, since people generally like to talk about themselves and what they know. When you‘re finished, and you‘re able to gracefully move back onto the trick, mention that you‘ll talk about three different kinds of cheating that are good for cards. The first is the second deal. Pick up one of the aces (not the Heart) and then do a quick demonstration of the second deal, showing how you maintain the ace at the top of the deck, which can be useful for something like blackjack. You‘ll have to make an artistic choice about whether or not you‘ll want to actually do a nice second deal — I think that if you‘re trying to build credibility as a ―card guy‖, then the more deceptive your false dealing is, the better, but if you don‘t want people to think you‘ve got those skills, you might want to do an overly sloppy false deal where you don‘t even pretend that you‘re able to do it well (maybe even saying ―I‘m not going to pretend I can do this well.‖). Second deal the top four cards onto the table (face down, and don‘t go deeper than those four ), and then show that you‘ve kept the Ace on top. Table the Ace amongst the other three Aces, and replace those four dealt-off cards on top of the deck. Patter about how seconddealing can be good for something like blackjack, but for poker, if you want to control an entire hand, you might want to try a different technique. Put the Aces openly on the bottom of the deck, making sure that the one at the bottom matches the suit of the rest of the Royal Flush (ie: in our case, make sure that the Ace of Hearts is at the face of the deck). Now go through a five-handed game of poker, this time bottom-dealing the Aces to yourself — again, you‘ll have to choose whether you want to do this skillfully or not. Reveal that you‘ve got the four aces, and you might want to show that the other hands contain nothing (I‘ll leave that up to you). Replace the five hands back on top of the deck, making sure that the bottom of each packet contains one of the necessary cards for the Royal Flush. Now, hand them the cards and get them to deal the five hands. Show that their hand contains the Royal Flush.

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Some notes on this… This trick plays stronger for those who know a thing or two about poker, obviously. If the second-deal or the bottom-deal aren‘t as clean as you‘d like, don‘t worr y about that so much unless you‘re trying to pass yourself off as a legitimate card-sharp. The cull to set up the Royal Flush cards to the top, however, will need to be very clean, since you really want to drive home the fact that they shuffled the deck ahead of time, so that you can give all credit to the spectator for the outcome of the trick. If you want to get a bit more show, and you like the idea of showcasing your skills, you could start the trick by pulling out your own deck, and then immediately going into a few full-deck false shuffles, before showing th at the cards are still in order —  this can motivate giving them the cards to shuffle, and you really want them to remember that specific detail. I wouldn‘t stress about trying to get the Ro yal Flush cards in order  — frankly, I think the whole thing can come across as more legitimate if they don‘t come out in order. I suppose somebody could, after the bottom-deal demo, actually put the Royal Flush cards into the necessary spots so that the spectator is a ctually dealing them to you, rather than to themselves (all the cards might need to be second or third from the bottom of each packet, rather than at the bottom). I‘ll leave that up to you. I‘ve gotten good reactions from the above trick, and while it‘s not quite up there with something like R. Paul Wilson‘s cheating demo that ends with you dealing four perfect bridge hands, it‘s still not a half- bad cheating demonstration assuming that you‘re working from a shuffled deck in use. And, really, it‘s just a dressed-up version of ―A Poker Puzzle‖. Obviously, you‘ll have to know how to cull cards deceptively in order to get the most mileage out of it, so if you‘re not there yet, you might want to revisit this trick later. If you can handle all the sleights, though, it‘s a pretty good trick — after all, it‘s not often that a spectator is going to d eal themselves a Royal Flush from a deck of cards that they shuffled.

General Thoughts on this Chapter As you probably gathered, I‘m not totally on board with some of  the control strategies here. I do think that the Overhand Lift Shuffle can look wonderful if it‘s done well and you can manage the angles. I think that working with jogs rather than shifting from one form of break to another is a  better strategy —  aside from the reasons talked about earlier, it allows you to table the deck at times. I‘ve been doing one form of selection from an overhand shuffle that I‘ll share here, and you can see what you think about it. Undercut and start running cards, asking them to call out ―Stop.‖ When they do, part the two packets immediately, square the cards in the left hand and adjust the  position within the fingers so that you can bring the packet up with the faces outwards towards the audience, and with the thumb push over the top card, asking them if they want that card. If they say ―No‖ then immediately return to runnin g off some more cards, asking them to say ―Stop‖ again. When they do, display the card once more, and if they say they like that card, immediately bring the displayed card flush with the deck, and as you start shuffling again, use the thumb to rear-jog that selection before continuing the shuffle. If you can time this well, and

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make sure your shuffle is messy enough, the injogging action and the injog itself won‘t be visible amongst the mess. Now, because the selected card itself is injogged, rather than the next card, you can undercut under the selection and immediately start shuffling off all those cards, bringing the selection to the bottom. Now you could either shuffle it up to the top, or else use the milk shuffle (more on this later) to keep it at the bottom. Depending upon the effect, I might doublelift to show that their selection is not on top of the deck, and then flash the bottom of the deck to show it‘s not on the bottom —  the implication is that their card is outside my control. I do this all the time, and I find that it gives me the benefits of selling the idea that the entire deck has been shuffled, without the liabilities of having to maintain or shuffle to a b reak, or else switching  between breaks. It also allows me to handle the cards really carelessly, just the way I like to do things during a shuffle. As for the tricks, they‘re not bad (aside from my d istaste for ―Obliging Aces‖). I must say that I like having my version of ―A Poker Puzzle‖ in my back - pocket whenever I‘m dealing with somebody who‘s curious about cheating with c ards, and I‘m working either from a shuffled deck in use or even with a borrowed deck. It‘s played sufficiently well for me. I also admit that I‘m intrigued by the thought of trying to streamline a presentation for ―A Spectator‘s Card Trick‖. ―The Sevens‖ could be a good trick if you can nail the force. Up next, some more false shuffles and cuts.

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Chapter 10, False Shuffles and Cuts This is a weird chapter for me. For one, if you remember all the way back in the annotations on the first chapter, you‘ll remember that I talked about how the G.W. Hunter shuffle is, from my vantage point, one of the real gems of the book. Obviously, the real test of the utility of a sleight is what it can help you accomplish, but again, let‘s recap what it is that the G.W. Hunter shuffle allows you to do. CLICK FOR VIDEO  Now, to be clear, the G.W. Hunter shuffle wouldn‘t be my tool of choice for this sort of thing —  we‘ll get to that in a second —  but even this alone will fool the pants off a lot of people. Why? Because all the sleight of hand that you‘re doing is being applied in a non-intuitive, indirect way. Remember how Darwin Ortiz talks about the Critical Interval of the trick, which is the period from the point the spectator believes that the trick starts, to the point that the spectator thinks that the trick is over. All of the real sleight-of-hand in t he above video is accomplished before the card is even selected —  which is going to be the starting point of the Critical Interval for most  people —  and keep in mind that they get a truly, legitimately free choice. The one thing that you have to do, you have perfect cover for, because it happens right at the point that they‘re looking at the card, or showing it to everybody else, or whatever. This is the real power of combining a false shuffle with a full deck stack. Simply naming that card alone is going to baffle a lot of  people, and if you take it to the next level, such as letting them put the card back themselves and guiding them towards cutting and/or shuffling the deck so that the card is truly lost, now you‘re coming really close to approaching the ideal situation for any basic pick-a-card trick —  they have a free choice of a card, they get to put it back where they want, they get to shuffle, and you can still find the damn thing using an y number of techniques that you like. You‘re obviously not out of the woods yet, but you‘re at a point where you can really sell the card as being lost, and that‘s a good thing. It doesn‘t even matter if you take some of the crappiest revelations that Karrell Fox had —  if the audience is convinced that the card is lost, you‘ll have a minor miracle. Which brings me to my frustration about this chapter of Royal Road… the authors don‘t talk about any of this! Gah! What‘s more, the things you can do with what‘s described in the previous  paragraph will outweigh all but maybe a dozen tricks in the entire book, but there‘s no mention of any of it. And to make matters worse, some of what‘s taught here techniqu e-wise is nowhere near as good as what was in Erdnase‘s Expert at the Card Table, several decades prior to the  publication of Royal Road. Anyways, I‘ll bitch more about this later in the ―General Thou ghts‖ section below. For now, taking into account the techniques that are taught…

“Optical Shuffle” This isn‘t bad. When I was first researching false shuffles on the internet, this shuffle was highly rated amongst magicians, and while I‘m not sure it‘s quite as good as the people there were

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raving about it, it‘s still not bad. Some peop le really do shuffle in this manner, and an y time you can perform a false shuffle in a way that appears identical to the way real people shuffle, it‘s worth noting. Ackerman has touches on this as well if I remember correctly from his Advanced Card Control series which you might want to ch eck out, if you like it.

“Charlier Shuffle” If you go back to your Erdnase and read the false shuffles section, you‘ll notice that the technique that the authors describe here is on e that Erdnase mentioned as something that selfrespecting magicians might want to avoid. In truth, I‘m not a big fan of this shuffle, but again, it is one that approximates what regular people might do from time to time, and Daryl, on his Encyclopedia of Card Sleights DVDs, actually uses this shuffle to good effect in small packet work — there‘s something about his particular rhythm and sloppiness that makes it look like it‘d  be difficult to control cards in those actions. I think it‘s weak to use it for a full-deck false shuffle  because it‘s difficult to keep it from looking ponderous, but it can look alright for small packet work. All in all, though, I agree with Erdnase that there are better shuffles out there, and this is even taking into account what was available during Erdnase‘s time, rather than all the good stuff that‘s become available since.

“The Cut” Four methods for false cutting are taught here. The first two keep the entire deck in order, whereas the second two keep blocks in order. The first method is ok —  whenever I see cuts like this I always shudder, because they seem so damn blatant, but I also know that plenty of magicians employ such cuts and they do consistently fly. One thing to keep in mind is something that Bill Malone says, which is that what really sells the cut isn‘t so much the cutting action, but a big slap of the packet on top of the other packet at the end. That‘s a weird piece of psychology,  but I can sort of understand how it applies. It‘s a nice punctuating moment that in and of itself seems to communicate that a cut took place. In any case, I‘ve always thought that it would be great to replace something like the first method with a Classic Pass as a false cut, but in the end, sometimes it‘s better to go with a bold discrepancy than to try to get away with a sneaky move. The second method isn‘t bad either, although I don‘t think I‘d go so far as to use six packets. It‘s sort of working with the same principle that makes the Jay Ose false cut deceptive. I think the Jay Ose cut is slightly better —  three packets seems like just right, whereas six strikes me as turning what should be a cursory action into an event, and events invite scrutiny. You might want to sit down and take a look at what‘s taught here in Royal Road, as well as the explanation for the Jay Ose false cut, and try to figure out your own false cut choreography based on the ideas. Consider things like changing the placement of the packets you lay down, as well as changing the hand that cuts off the packet versus the hand that reassembles them. Th ese touches, combined with a casual indifference to the proceedings as well as the old Bill Malone slap, should allow you to come up with a nice false cut sequence that works for you.

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The third method for retaining top stock would probably fly if you had the even rhythm that the authors talk about. One thing that‘s worth considering is the idea of trying to get into this sort of action after a jog shuffle. So, for instance, you‘ve got your stack on top —  next, undercut a large  portion of the deck (ideally about two-thirds or more, taking care not to cut into your stack), injog and shuffle off, making a bit of a mess. Set the deck down to patter for a bit, and then later, take the deck, attaining the break at the injog in the way they talk about in the text before continuing with the small packet cutting action —  this will eliminate the somewhat fishy (to me, anyway) sequence where you cut, only to square up, only to start cutting again. That‘s just my two cents, though. The fourth method reads much better to me. Again, I‘d want to try to get into that rapid cutting action directly out of a shuffle, rather than cutting, only to square up, only to start cutting again. Another option might be to —  rather than cutting two-thirds off and then squaring and then entering the strip cuts —  instead cut off several small packets in succession and stacking them in front of you, then terminating with the bottom p acket containing the stock you want to maintain, and then moving into the strip cuts sequence. Again, just my two cents. It‘s worth noting that I don‘t do this sort of thing alot —  maintaining a slug can be really useful in some instances, but I don‘t really do any tricks that need it, and I tend to work in the hands primarily.

“Palm Cut” I like this. If done well, this sort of action has the potential to simulate an actual cut, with none of the open discrepancies in the preceding techniques. It does require you to do a move, though. This is really the tricky thing about sleights versus discrepancies… if people are hip to the fact that you‘ve got card skills, they‘re going to look for tells on sleights, which can bring heat to bad moments for you. If you can properly sell a discrepancy, though, then now you don‘t have to worry about getting caught on a secret move. Tyler Erickson and Benjamin Earl (if I‘m correct in what I‘m intuiting from his Past Midnight DVDs as well as a conv ersation we had in Blackpool once that I‘m sure he‘s forgotten) both are really good with cards, and while both of them can do the sublime finger-flinging stuff, both of them will also go for the discrepa ncy if they think they can get it. If you‘re a real bona fide sleight-of-hand artist, you want them to miss the move s you do, and if that‘s what you‘re going for, sometimes a discrepant move is a greater ally than a welldone sleight, because now there‘s no move to conceal. Still, even taking into all that into account, I‘m partial to the Palm Cut. If nothing else, it‘s a good moment for replacing palmed cards on the deck.

“An Incomprehensible Divination” You don‘t see many people doing tricks like this these days. I‘m not entirely sure if this sort of trick rises above the puzzle level, but if you can hit that Joker climax talked about in the Royal Road write-up, then you‘ve got a pretty good moment. If you‘re intrigued by the trick, then Erdnase has a write-up of it as well.

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“Circus Card Trick” Some people swear by this trick. I think this falls into the category of trick that is improved b y making things as fair as possible for the spectator. The key card isn‘t a bad method for this situation since they can have a free choice of the card as well as where to return it, but if I was going to try to turn this into a show- piece, I‘d probably want to take it to the next level and use a full deck stack, since they can have a legitimately free choice and shuffle the deck afterwards. Glimpses strike me as weak for this particular trick. In any case, since they don‘t talk about using a full deck stack, I have no idea why this trick is included here in this chapter, when it would have been a suitable addition to the Key Card section.

“Black Jack, Detective” A trick with a lot of dealing, use of the glide, and the old ―detective card‖ plot. Not really my thing. Pretend for a second that you‘ve been bestowed legitimate magical powers. Would you ever in a million years do a trick like this? If I was going to take this p lot and really try to make something of it, then I‘d want to do two things —  first, the spectator would have to be able to shuffle the deck so that conviction is there that the selected card is lost, and second, the challenge would be put on them, or on a second spectator, to place the Jack into exactly the right point. With the claim lowered that much to a level of plausibility, we‘ve got something that‘s a lot less ―magical‖ then having the Jack jump to the spot where the selected card was, but then again, if I was going for ―magical‖, I wouldn‘t be doing a trick like this in the first place.

“General Thoughts on this Chapter” Bleah. If you‘ve read these annotations at all, then you know I‘ve got a fair bit of criticism for some of the contents of the book, but I don‘t know of another chapter of Royal Road that‘s as disappointing as this one. Not only are we not getting the best tools for accomplishing the things that the chapter promises, but we‘re also not getting anything really compelling in terms of effects that make use of those tools. In some cases, I can understand us not getting all the tools in this text, because they‘re either too hard or not even invented yet. The latter half of the 20th century has brought about some major advances in false shuffling, that‘s for sure. Still, this represents one of the b ig voids that needs to  be addressed with this book. So, I‘ll point out a few here. This isn‘t meant to be a comprehensive list, just a sampling of the stuff most decent card gu ys are familiar with, combined with some things of personal taste on my part. If I‘ve left out a shuffle that you feel should b e included, let me know in the response section below this article. For false overhand shuffles, one of the most beautiful that exists is Lennart Green‘s adaptation of the Greek Shuffle (described in Erdnase‘s Expert at the Card Table), which is called the Joker Shuffle. It‘s especially good if you don‘t mind leav ing a Joker in the deck, and if it doesn‘t matter if you‘re cutting the deck in the process of shuffling — if you‘re using a circular stack, then a cut in the midst of a shuffle is not a problem. For what it‘s worth, if you can maintain jogs,

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then you can do it without a Joker. Another few magicians have come up with interesting ideas for ―chop‖-style of false shuffles. One I‘m not allowed to mention here as a favour to a buddy,  but it‘s out there in the literature, and another one which also looks pretty good is taught on Eugene Burger‘s Exploring Magical Presentations DVD. If you don ‘t need to maintain an entire deck in order, but instead want to maintain a separation of two packs of cards (such as keeping all the blacks together and all the reds together) then Laurie Ireland‘s got a fantastic shuffle to check out. For false tabled riffle shuffles, there are two major types. The first is Herb Zarrow‘s Zarrow Shuffle, and this thing can look exquisite if done well. It‘s available in a v ariety of sources (Genii had a special article on it, there‘s a DVD with Zarrow himself, and Ackerman does a decent enough job on his Advanced Card Control DVDs), but if anybody claims to teach the Zarrow and only has a single card cover on top, ignore them, they‘re doing it wrong. The second is more of a general style of shuffle where th e packets are legitimately shuffled into each other,  but are then stripped free afterwards. Different versions of this exist — in Hugard and Braue‘s Expert Card Technique, they describe the strip-out shuffle, and various forms of the Push Through Shuffle are taught in a variety of places (Daryl, Ackerman, etc.), and there‘s one that was demonstrated to me once by Tyler which he credits to Darwin Ortiz‘s Annotated Erdnase which can look really good. These are a bit more difficult to do than Zarrow-style shuffles, but for some people, that extra effort is worth it. I go back and forth in terms of which I like better. It‘s worth noting that Dai Vernon‘s Triumph Shuffle can be adapted into a regular full-deck false shuffle, and people might find that a bit easier than the preceding types (although maybe not the Zarrow, hard to say). It‘s also possible to do false in-the-hands riffle shuffles. We‘ve had a major leap forward in terms of published methods over the course of the last decade. Not necessarily in perfect chronological order… Lennart Green finally tipped the work on his Real Green Shuffle, which had a pretty good illusion but a lot of noise to it. Still, at the time it was a real killer. Then came Karl Hein doing the Heinstein shuffle, which looked and sounded great. Then came Benjamin Earl and his Grey Shuffle, which looked really good in his hands. Currently, it seems that the state of the art is Derek DelGaudio‘s Truffle Shuffle, which has a really, really nice illusion to it. There are some other false shuffles out there that u se a strip-out technique after the weaving of the packets, and you might want to look into those —  Guy Hollingworth had one, and I believe Eric Anderson had another —  but to me the potential for failure and leaving cards behind after the strip-out was too much. Then again, I really like to handle the cards loosely. There are some older shuffles that have been put to decent use —  Richard Osterlind, when working with his Breakthrough Card System stack, us es some really rudimentary false shuffles. There‘s an old shuffle in Erdnase that I think doesn‘t look all that hot when tabled, but when Osterlind‘s doing it on his leg it actually doesn‘t read that poorly. One thing that‘s worth

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considering is that simply changing the angle of the shuffle can make things like the Shank or a one-card-cover Zarrow look pretty good, whereas they don‘t seem as nice when tabled (from my vantage point, anyway). But even with all this, the real question isn‘t just which technique to use, but why you‘re using it in the first place. These shuffles can all look really good, but what‘s the aim of keeping an entire deck in order? That brings me to the second short-fall (in my opinion) of this chapter in the book, in that these topics aren‘t addressed — we‘re just not given any good effects that rely upon these shuffles. There are some great tricks that require an arrangement but don‘t need it to be for the full deck, in which case a shuffle to maintain a stock will have an advantage because in those shuffles, parts of the deck are legitimately being mixed , which aids the illusion. However, for those effects which rely upon a full-deck stack, and there are some good ones, these shuffles should do the trick. For full-deck stack work, there are three ma gicians who are at the forefront of developin g the  best work — Juan Tamariz (―Mnemonica‖), Simon Aronson (various books), and Richard Osterlind (BCS stack). All of them have some great ideas, with tricks that range from gambling demonstrations, to ―any card called for‖ effects, to magician-in-trouble style of effects, even to traditional plots (such as ―Triumph‖) that actually maintain the stack despite all the apparent chaos. With Tamariz‘s and Aronson‘s stacks, you‘ll need to memorize the entire deck stack (although for a large number of the effects, it doesn‘t matter which stack you have memorized, only that you do have one memorized). Even given the merits of having those stacks committed to memory, I cannot stress enough the power of just being able to divine a single selected card from a stack of any type, even Si Stebbins or Eight Kings (google those). The one main advantage of using the stacks b y any of the three magicians above is that you can false shuffle,  before spreading the cards to show that they‘re in a random order, because there‘s no visible  pattern to the cards —  but you‘ll find with experience that people, if they‘re not given tons of time to examine the order of the deck, and if they‘re not ready for that technique, will have difficulty picking out the pattern even in Si Stebbins or Eight Kings. Even in Tamariz‘s Mnemonica he implores people to focus in on doing a simple revelation of a selected card from a stack, and then jokingly expresses regret in knowing that magicians are going to k eep reading looking for the ―good stuff‖, not knowing just how much good magic there exists just in simply revealing a card in this manner. If you want to know more about this, Simon Aronson wrote a great e-book on the memorized deck which you should check out. Go here and answer the ridiculously easy trivia question, and then click on ―Memorized Deck Magic‖ and then download the ―Memories Are Made Of This‖  pdf to get more information on the merits of learning a full-deck stack. If you have any trouble with that trivia question, then reread this blog entry, as the answer‘s hidden in here.

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I suppose, given all this ranting, it might seem amu sing to find out that I don‘t use a full-deck stack at all in my work. I want to be clear that it‘s not because I dislike the idea, it‘s just that I like having cards signed and then given away during a trick, and that sort of makes it impossible to do any decent stack work. Remember when I was talking about choosing the dozen tricks that you‘re going to do f or the rest of your life? Well, the two major cards tricks that I do are both non-stack dependent, and they fit me. Still, when I was messing about with the Si Stebbins + simple divination strategy on my girlfriend, I was reminded of just how powerful this can be, and to be honest, I feel a bit jealous of those who can make that sort of thing a part of their repertoire. Ok, that‘s enough of that. Up next… THE DOUBLE LIFT! Woo-hoo!

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Chapter 11: The Double Lift and Turnover If the 20th Century gave us anything, it was a massive leap forward in tech nique —  at least insofar as getting lots of options. If you completely forgot about the specific mechanics of technique for a while, and made yourself just sit down and dream up the character you want to be (ie: ―I want to handle the cards like this.‖, ―I need to show the card like that.‖, ―I want to shuffle like this.‖ etc.), focusing only on those a esthetic choices, then with some subsequent research guided by those choices, you could probably come up with multiple solid options to satisfy each individual need. And the double-lift, probably the most popular modern card sleight, is no exception. I‘m not going to be in a position to catalog all the different double lifts out there. I‘ve been making do with the Larry Jennings Snap Double for years, and while I‘d love to replace it with something better, it‘s served its purpose well enough. If I could r eplace it with something, it would be with a straight-forward push off double. My main reason is this —  if you give a regular  person (ie: not a magician) a deck of cards and ask them to show you the top one, they‘ll usually do one of three actions. Assuming the deck is in their left hand, the y will either (a) push over the card with the left thumb, take with the right fingers, and lift it to show it to you, (b) drag o ver the card with the right thumb, take with the right fingers, and lift it to show it, or (c) place thei r right fingers on the flat of the top card, drag back towards themselves, and then take it and flip it to show it. Personally, I like to choose techniques based on how regular people do something, and camouflage the sleights within that. The push-off doub le comes closest (that I know of) to (a)  previously, so I rate it highly —  certainly higher than my own technique, which requires a thumb count and a snapping action before I can lift that card up. Unfortunately, I can‘t do it well enough to take it live, but with practice, it‘s possible to get the push-off action down so smoothly that the cards never separate more than the width of the border —  Tyler Erickson does this move  beautifully, and with the complete lack of tension, it‘s got a leg up on even the pinky-count  based methods. That said, what do Hugard and Braue have for us?

“The Double Lift and Turnover” The means here of attaining the break for the double-lift is lousy. There are simply better methods out there. I don‘t know what to recommend first, so I‘ll basically say this: pretty much any decent modern resource for card magic will give you the necessary means to avoid having to use the thumb in the manner that they describe, which is just too difficult to make inconspicuous. Daryl‘s Encyclopedia of Card Sleights, Volume 5, h as a bunch of methods, and he demonstrates them well enough to get you started, and there‘s also enough variety there that you ought to find something that works well for you. It‘s worth noting that the method for getting ready for the double-lift in the upcoming ―B) Second Card Reversal‖ is really close to something Dai Vernon recommended —  simply lift off the top card, keeping it face-down, hesitate for some reason, an d then replace the top card, and smoothly execute, using patter to justify.

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The turnover itself, though, I don‘t actually hate. It doesn‘t fit the three ―non-magician‖ handlings that I mentioned earlier, but I‘ve seen w orse. It seems that modern convention leans towards turning the card over as if turning the page of a book, but this turnover isn‘t awful.

“Double-lift Glimpse” Bold. I‘m sure it would fly for a lot of people —  especially if the DL itself is executed properly. I‘ve never had the need to glimpse a card in this manner, so I‘ve never done it personally. I‘m not a big fan of apparently doing something in which information is being k ept secret from the audience, such as taking a card from the deck and looking at it myself, but not showing it to anybody else, unless this has something to do with the trick (ie: you‘re making a prediction of some kind).

“Double-lift Card Reversals” I‘m not totally on board with the idea that showing a card reversed in the deck is all that great a way to end a card trick, even a quick one. This isn‘t necessarily the best measure of the strength of a revelation, but if I was going to do it in a Multiple Selection/Revelation routine, I think it would probably be done really, really early —  I personally rate it as less impressive than a colour-change, and only slightly better than a flourishy reveal. Somebody once made the claim that the weakest place to reveal a card is within the deck, and I agree with that somewhat. For the reversed-card climax to have its greatest power, the amount of handling of the deck would need to be at an absolute minimum. As such, I‘m not too thrilled with ―A) Top C ard Reversal‖ simply  because there‘s a bit too much action going on in what should be an innocent display (in terms of what the audience perceives, the top card is turned face-up, then drawn out face-down after the deck is inverted in the old glide grip, then turned face-up again). ―B) Second Card Reversal‖ I like a bit more, since the actions seem to flow a bit better. ―C) Second Card Reversal‖ is the nicest of the three, because it has a clean turn-down after showing the top cards, and has no need to reverse the deck. In this instance, though, because the turn-down happens early, I think it‘s ok to actually turn the deck over afterwards and show that the bottom two cards aren‘t their selection either — you‘re not having the two phases of display bleed into each other and making the thing feel movey.

“Rapid Transit” Two card transpositions, particularly those with a borrowed (or examinable) deck, can play well.  Now, if there was one thing that I would say makes a two card transposition weaker than something like ―Copper/Silver‖ is the fact that the deck is usually present throughout the trick. Ideally, there wouldn‘t be a deck, just the two cards. Since we can‘t have that, I think that an improvement could still be to make it seem that the original card doesn‘t come in contact with the deck after the moment of magic. As such, for this particular handling in Ro yal Road, in order to reveal the change in your card, I‘d go with a top change rather than another double lift, or else something like this —  show the top[?] card and then place it in your pocket, shuffle[?], then show the next top[?] card and then hand it to them face down, then take the deck and set it aside

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(having palmed off the card), say ―Boogah boogah!‖, and then reach into your pocket to show that the cards have changed places. In fact, you might find that the moment they see the card in their hand has changed is so strong that the amount of misdirection that you‘ve got to execute the  palm (or at least retreat after the steal) is almost unfair. It‘s worth noting that another advantage of either of these two is that you‘re not executing the key move a third time —  twice is already  pushing it.

“The Trey” Yay, puns. The seemingly magical change of one card into another can be a good effect, and as such I wouldn‘t want to waste it by surrounding it with a joke that almost requires an apology afterwards. It‘s possible to get a few minutes of good show o ut of a single card change, there‘s no need to aim low. I‘d recommend looking into the Rossini Card Stab for something t hat‘s a hell of a lot better than this.

“Ambitious Card” As far as Ambitious Card routines go, this one might have been good for its time, but it‘s pretty much junk compared to our options nowadays. Generally, the ACR is just so strong, and gets stronger through repetitions, that it‘s worthwhile to come up with a routine that builds conviction in the core effect with each successive rise to the top. As such, shuffling between ph ases of the ACR pretty much stomps on the trick. Consider the effect in its clearest form —  the magician takes the spectator‘s card, really puts it in the middle, does nothing, and then shows it‘s on top. Shuffling muddies all that, as it weakens the ―magician does nothing‖ aspect to the effect, as well as inserts some unnecessary dead time into the effect. Since the point of the shuffling in this specific routine is to get ahead, you might want to find some more moveless ways of accomplishing this. There are plenty of options fo r this, and we‘ll get to one resource that deals with this in a second. Other things I‘m not too fond of… Putting the wo rd ―ambitious‖ into the patter for the trick, which creates a problem likely not foreseen b y Hugard and Braue but important nonetheless, that of somebody having access to google and being able to hunt down explanations of the trick; not having the card signed, since this deals with the usual suspicion as to how the trick is possible, which is that you‘re using duplicates, something not aided by the fact that the magician chooses the card for the effect himself; having the card jump to the bottom and then to the pocket, which sort of changes the effect from ―the card that continuously jumps to the top‖ into ―the card that  jumps all over the place‖ —  not a bad thing in and of itself, but if the latter is the aim, I think there are better ways to go about it; the general attitude around the ending, which  presentationally kind of takes a dig at the spectators, especially considering that everything about that moment handling-wise makes it obvious that the magician set them up to fail (again, not necessarily a bad thing, but requires some ch arm to diffuse).

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There are a couple of phases in here that I think are pretty good. I do like the use of the impromptu double for the first phase, it‘s a very strong strategy for effects like this, as well as others where you want to sell a jump from one location to another. I also like the strategy for the fourth part of the routine, which I think can be quite convincing, since (if it‘s executed well) there‘s a potentially strong sense of being able to keep track of the card, coupled with the reversal of the deck to make it difficult to figure out where that card came from in order to rise to the top. Max Maven has a pretty diabolical sequence that‘s somewhat in this spirit, which Tommy Wonder used in his famous Ambitious Card Routine. I‘ve got some really strong feelings on the wa y that an Ambitious Card routine should be sequenced. Of course, so will anyone who‘s got one in their working repertoire, so I‘m not going to indulge in the specific details of mine right here. The one thing that Tyler Erickson drilled into me when he forced me to develop a routine was this —  there is no other routine in magic where you have the opportunity to instill complete conviction in the effect. We‘ve just got so many ways of getting the card to the top of the deck, it‘s not funny, and what we can do is take the strong aspects of each method to cancel out the weak aspects of other methods, while making it look like we‘re doing the exact same thing each and every time, so that we end up getting a cumulative illusion of the pure effect. That last strategy is known as using ―Cancelling Methods‖, a term coined by Daryl but probably best presented by Juan Tamariz in his book ―The Magic Way‖, which I whole-heartedly recommend to anybody who‘s unfamiliar with the concept, and looking to take routine construction to the next level. If there was ever a routine  built for this mode of routine construction, it was the Ambitious Card. But, that‘s a hard book to get your hands on, and it‘s got implications that go way beyond the Ambitious Card. Basically, if you like this effect, then I absolutel y recommend getting your hands on Daryl‘s Ambitious Card DVD, since it contains most of what you need to do a great ACR. Daryl doesn‘t cover the pass, but he‘s got information on just about everything else. Get that DVD, get down the pass and the top change, and you‘ve got everything it takes to construct a strong Ambitious Card routine of your very own . Later on, if you‘re able to, find a way to get a hold of the book (or borrow it, at least) so that you can examine the theory at a deeper level.

“Throughth and Consequences” This is basically just a dressed-up routine built upon using the double-lift to set up a reverse. A  bit ―meh‖, especially if you share my opinion that revealing a card within the deck is usually weak. If you‘re in love with the presentation (complete with yet another pun, yee-hah) then I think you might want to consider setting yourself up to do the ―C) Second Card Reversal‖ described earlier. I think it‘s cleaner.

“Insidious Dr. Fu Liu Tu” Ah, see? It‘s funny because it‘s supposed to be Chinese, but it sounds like he‘s saying Doctor ―Fool You too!‖ Get it? A ha ha…? What do you mean, ―that seems racist‖?

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Exasperations aside, I think this is a pretty good pl ot. A strange card appears out of nowhere, and it helps you name a freely-chosen card, and then their selection suddenly appears reversed in the center. I‘d probably want to take it to the next level, and make sure that they can examine the deck ahead of time, and then perhaps come up with some other way to reveal the selected card (colour-changing the gimmicked card into their selection? dunno), but the overall idea is one I like. Plus, it‘s offbeat and nobody‘s doing it. Finally, because of the way the whole presentation works, the glimpsing strategy is set up beautifully. The one ch ance I was able to see R. Paul Wilson do this I was totally taken in by it. I don‘t know if I‘d go so far as to say this is one of the gems of the book, but it feels like there‘s something special here.

General Thoughts on this Chapter There‘s good stuff here, if you can find a cleaner way to get the break. There are lots of good tricks out there that use this technique in one form or another. Many people swear by the two card transposition plot, and Rapid Transit is as good a trick as any to start with, if you‘ve got the execution of the technique down. The Ambitious Card plot is considered one of card magic‘s alltime classic effects. And I‘m convinced that somebody somewhere is going to find a way to make the ―Insidious Dr. Fu Liu Tu‖ into a killer. It‘s also worth noting that there‘s a lot more you c an do with the double-lift than just what‘s described here. Aside from being a great way to switch or set up a glimpse, it can be used as a card control, a force, a false count, and it even has utility as a false display of the top card (more on that in a second). Part of the problem with the power inherent in this move, though, is a tendency to view it as a S wiss Army Knife and try to shoe-horn it into applications where it doesn‘t belong. One guy put up a video on Youtube of his version of card to wallet, which  basically involved a selection and return of the card, followed by some shuffling, before going to his wallet to pull out another card, which he then placed on the deck and did a DL in order to (I guess) prove that the card in the wallet was the selection. I don‘t know if the old adage of the deck being the weakest place to reveal a card is universally true, but in this case, oh Lord, is it ever. It‘s a great move, but don‘t let moves own your magic. If there was one other thing that I wish would have been addressed in this chapter, it would have  been to talk about trying to motivate everything about the double-lift, with or without the turnover. Why are you turning the card face-up? Why are you turning it face-down? That last  part can be a bit of a problem, since you don‘t want a spectator to start questioning the identity of a card before you‘re ready for it, and yet you usually need to do this turn-down action. This is  perhaps one real advantage to Dai Vernon‘s handling of the Dick Tracy Card Trick (which is usually attributed to him as the Fingerprint Card Trick) in that the motivation to show the cards is obvious, since you‘re trying to find it, but there‘s also a motivation to turn it back down, since you‘re looking for fingerprints on the back. It‘s a nice example of using the presentation to deal with issues related to handling. For another wa y of looking at this whole moment, you might want to look into Whit Haydn‘s thoughts on ―Calling the card face down‖, which is essentially

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about getting the audience to agree to unfair circumstances, and how the double lift relates to all that. As mentioned previously, one other thing that I think is underestimated as a use for the doub lelift, is to use it after a false shuffle controlling the card to the top, so that you can then show that the card isn‘t on the bottom, nor is it on top, implying that it is out of your control somewhere in the middle of the deck. In many instances, I think this strategy can even replace the pass as a card control, including for some of the tricks on the pass coming up in the next chapter. Speaking of which…

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Chapter 12: The Pass “Introduction” This is a weird subject for me to address here. The Pass, particularly the Classic Pass, is a difficult sleight to do well, and there aren‘t many people that seem to understand its nuances. Even Ed Marlo, on his video ―The Cardician‖, included two passes, one of which is magnificent (the Table Edge Pass), and another of which is pretty lousy (the Combination Pass), and  presented them both side-by-side as if they were of equal worth. Let‘s start at the beginning of what sleight-of-hand in magic‘s all about. We‘ve got the thing we‘re pretending to do (magic) and the thing we‘re actually doing (the sleight-of-hand). These two things won‘t coexist in a spectator‘s mind — we‘ll never get them to the mental place where they‘ll even consider magic if there‘s suspicions of sleight-of-hand (or any non-magical method, really) that haven‘t been disproved. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of magicians have given up trying to reach for magic, and as such are satisfied coming up with covers for the sleight-of-hand. The classic pass can be done instantaneously, it can be done silently, and if you allow for a little  bit of movement and angle management, it can be done invisibly even if they‘re looking at the deck. What‘s more, if you‘re willing to do what it takes to get their eyes off the damn deck, then it can be done indetectably, and that‘s the standard you want to aim for. However, so many of the standard covering actions, the seesawing tilt action, the shaking of hands, allowing for riffling, mugging of the deck, etc. bring attention to the hands. People are spending so much time trying to make sure their pass looks great on video, that they‘re not aiming high enough —  yes, you don‘t want them to see the mechanics, but at the same time, you want to get the move down, and all of your surrounding body language down, so that if they‘re looking you in the eyes, and you execute the pass, nothing brings their attention downwards. If you can do that, you get closer to escaping detection, even if the packet transposition would be visible if they were burning the hands. That moment of being caught on the packet transposition, though, is a cause for such fear that many magicians spend more time getting the covering actions down, than they do creating the atmosphere necessary to get the heat off the hands at the moment of the transposition. The ironic thing, though, is that many of those covering actions that they adopt end up tipping the fact that the move happened anyway. They might as well have just shuffled the deck. Again, I repeat, it‘s  possible to make the move instantaneous, silent, and invisible even if they‘re looking at your hands, if you can allow for a little bit of movement and angle management. Unfortunately, the proof of this involves a handling of the pass that isn‘t mine to teach. I can  point you in the direction of the guy who can (Tyler Erickson), but other than that, you‘ll have to take my word for it. I understand if you don‘t. If nothing else, just get these basic mechanics down, study your Erdnase and your Vernon, and work on eliminating tells, both in the finger

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action and in your body language (ie: staying relaxed throughout). Get it down so that it looks like your right hand touched the deck in the left hand for a moment before coming away, and you‘ll be on your way. In any case, though, that‘s the big problem that I have with a lot of the passes out there. Most Herrmann (or Hofzinser, depending on who you ask) Passes sacrifice speed for cover, and it‘s difficult to get enough cover on the deck without looking like you‘re mugging it. If there‘s one reason why I love Marlo‘s Table Edge Pass, it‘s that it uses cover in an intelligent fashion, and even though it involves the H. Pass mechanics, you‘re still able to accomplish the pass really quickly. And it‘s not difficult… CLICK FOR VIDEO It took me about a couple of hours of practice (after not having even played with the move in a couple of years) to get to that level. I get no credit for what‘s there — that‘s all inherent in the technique. Can you imagine what it would look like with months of practice, to eliminate that injog and cut down on the tilting action? It could look beautiful. I‘d put the work in myself if I ever performed seated. I don‘t know many other passes that come close to that level —  the LePaul Spread Pass does if you‘re standing and they‘re close-up, and maybe Steve Draun‘s Midnight Shift if you‘re working more parlour. Beyond that, I‘d try to point people towards Tyler‘s handling of the Classic Pass. One other thing that needs to be remembered, of course, is that if you start first with the effect that you want to accomplish, and then find the methods you need after that, you might never need to do the pass at all. There are relatively few effects that actually rely on the Classic Pass, and most of the ones that do seem to be built on showing off the move (ie: Cavorting Aces —   blech). Now, one thing people say a lot of the time is that the Pass is overkill if you‘re just using it to control a single card — there‘s some truth to that, but it‘s worth taking into account Tyler‘s idea of the Pass versus the Side-Steal, which is that the Pass is much further away from being an intuitive solution on the part of the audience. The theory is this —  if you locked 100 people in a room and told them they needed to come up with a sneaky way to secretly smuggle a card from the middle to the top of the deck, they‘d probably come up with something approximating a Side Steal before they ever even thought of trying to cut the deck at high speed. What this basically means is that the tells of the Side-Steal are potentially problematic in a way that the tells of the Classic Pass are not. I know I‘d personally rather P ass a card to the top of the deck rather than use a Side-Steal, both for that reason and the speed of it. Remember, the Classic Pass can be done quickly, so quickly that it can become a moment that‘s comparatively easy to erase from a spectator‘s memory.

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In any case, enough blabbing about that. When it comes to the text, I‘m a bit annoyed that the authors state that pass can frequently be replaced by other sleights (which, depending upon the effect, may be correct), but that when well done it‘s the most important card sleight out there, all the while failing to acknowledge what makes it so important. Granted, if the pass can be done indetectably, that means that a card in the middle is now under control at the top or bottom, and the spectator is none the wiser, but that change in state alone isn‘t enough to make the move important. How does that change in state bring the spectator to the conclusion that magic was at work? How do we leverage their mistaken belief that the deck‘s in its previous state? These aren‘t easy questions to answer. This is why I maintain that a lot of the time, a pass can be replaced by a shuffle control to the top, followed by a DL to show the card is not on top, and then a flash that the card is not on the  bottom. This does a good job of selling the fact that the card is lost. This is usually what most  pick-a-card tricks require, to the point that you might want to take it to the next level, and find ways to get the card under control after they‘ve actually shuffled the deck. We‘ll see this again when we cover the tricks in the chapter.

“The Pass” Just so you know, this is the basic ―Classic Pass‖, which is going to be a bit more difficult than the Herrmann (or Hofzinser?) Pass. For the most part it‘s suitable, but again, not my preferred handling, but I‘m not in a position to teach the specifics of that here. G et thee to Tyler Erickson‘s website in a hurry.

“Riffle Pass” As I‘ve already talked about, I hate the idea of using a riffle to cover the pass, and so I‘m in disagreement with the authors that this is one of the best covers for the Pass there is. When it‘s done well, it‘s good enough to cover the packet transposition, sure, but it‘s not going to make them forget that moment —  in fact, the riffle punctuates it. I personally think that if you go this route, you‘re aiming low.

“Spread Pass” I don‘t hate this, if only because spreading the cards is one of those images that is a natural, and expected, part of card magic. I would handle it a bit differently — I‘d have the card selected from a spread, and then, when they look at it, ask, ―Is that card ok?‖ If they say ―No,‖ then let them put it back and take another card from the spread. If they say ―Yes,‖ then have it returned where they wish, and then say, ―Now, that was all fair, right?‖, passing on the square-up, before immediately spreading out again, saying, ―Because you could have taken any of these cards instead, right?‖ Since you established the spread earlier in the card selection process, by making reference to it, the image of spreading again is motivated and not unexpected. One nice thing about establishing the spread is that you‘ll find that in squaring up the spread, you‘ll be giving yourself lots of cover to ex ecute the move, as well as a motivated reason to have

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 both hands on the deck, since you need to square up those cards (many magicians consider this vital, including John Carney). These things will help make make the moment more forgettable. One thing that makes no sense to me, though, is shuffling the cards after having executed the  pass. You might as well have just used a shuffle control.

“Spring Pass” Bleah. My thoughts on this are pretty much identical to what I wrote for the ―Riffle Pass‖. I‘m also not sure that the conditioning will work here… Tommy Wonder talks about this in his thoughts on the Hamman Count — if you‘ve got several motions, and all of them are fair except for one, sometimes the tells of that one motion where you do something unfair will stick out greater in relation to the other fair ones. You‘re actually giving them the information to identify which one is the pass, rather than effectively conditioning them and camouflaging it. Because the Pass is a move which can have a slightly violent kick to it, there‘s the potential for it to stick out in that one moment of springing the cards. To condition them to that, then you‘ve got to fake that extra kick every time you do the spring, and all that does is make it seem like you could have done the pass at any number of opportunities. I don‘t know. Maybe somebody can do this well. I‘ve not seen it yet, though.

“Off Agin, On Agin, Finnegin!” This trick is strangely intriguing to me. I don‘t know h ow strong it would play, but I am curious. I might try this out and report back. If nothing else, I do like the timing for the pass here, although the misdirection might be too strong given the moment. Hard to say.

“Kangaroo Card” Earlier, I talked about how I believe sometimes th e pass doesn‘t improve the trick more than some strategy that convinces the spectator that th e card is lost. This is one of those times. I think a shuffle followed by a ―Not on top, not on bottom‖ show (or better, letting them shuffle the cards themselves) would make this trick play better. It is a neat moment when that card pops out of the hat, though. Saw somebody do this live at a Vancouver Magic Circle meeting, and it was  better than I expected it to be.

“Righting a Wrong” Again, passing only to shuffle again afterwards makes little sense to me, and since the whole trick hinges on you apparently being unable to find the card, then shuffling makes sense, since it would be ridiculous for a card that was placed in the center to suddenly be eighth down (or whatever). As for the trick itself, I think it could b e a decent surprise, but assuming I was really going to embrace this, I‘d probably want somethin g that would allow them to name how far down they think the card is. Ironically, this could be accomplished via a pass, but in a different way —  have the card returned to the deck, and shuffle it to somewhere in the middle, and get a  break above it. As them to name any smallish number that they want, and deal off that number onto their hand. Ask them if they‘re happy with that number, and spread the cards out saying,

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―Not more than that, right?‖ Square up and pass, commenting on the fairness of the proceedings, and then do a double lift, showing the indifferent card. Apologize, set it off to the side, and then say, ―Oh, right, we forgot to say ‗Abracadabra‘!‖ Repeat the trick as described, so that you get to the same indifferent card, and then show the card on the table has changed into their selection.

“Blindfolded Pack” The only way I think this plays is if the handkerchief is borrowed, since there‘s something about the mechanics of it that I believe gives all credit to the handkerchief. If it were me, then if I were forced to have to do the trick with my own handkerchief, I‘d probably switch it to a traditional card-through-handkerchief (Erdnase‘s handling would suffice), since the hank can then be offered out for examination, and the mystery of it would be more sustainable. I think this also might be another trick where it‘s improved by having conviction that the card is lost. I‘m not entirely certain, but my instinct says so. I also think that it could be made stronger  by having the spectator place the deck into the handkerchief and go through the folding themselves.

“Double Speller” Again, I don‘t understand the idea behind passing if you‘re only going to shuffle immediately afterwards anyway. Now, that said, I think this is potentially a prett y good trick, insofar as spellers go —  I like the idea of having the spelled-to card appear face-up, since it seems as though the deck is actually offering the card to you in exchange for having spelled it. If it were me, I‘d want to go the extra mile, though, and have two cards spelled off before they spell it themselves, and it would be lovely if all three cards were to end up face-up. And, of course, it‘d  be just swell if the spectator could shuffle the deck prior to the revelations. Still, wishful thinking aside, I think this trick here isn‘t a bad one, even if the pass is unnecessary.

General Thoughts on this Chapter It‘s a shame that there‘s not much here that actually needs the Pass as its key sleight. I do remember one thing very vividly from my one chance to watch R. Paul Wilson‘s Royal Road to Card Magic DVD, which was the trick he included called ―Pass At Red‖. Not only is the Pass the appropriate method for the trick, but the misdirection inherent in the trick‘s construction makes it easy as hell to execute the Pass. If you can‘t successfully pull off this trick and g et away with the Pass, then again, it‘s time to ditch sleight-of-hand altogether and go for self-workers. You‘ll need to be able to do the move well enough, of course, and the trick itself strikes me as one that needs a bit of presentational skills to really sell (it‘s not the most direction demonstration of clairvoyance I‘ve ever seen), but if the key is to get a trick under your belt to do the pass, then I don‘t know of many safer ones out there. One other trick you could do which would allow you to execute the pass under pretty good conditions is the straightforward sandwich trick. Do a quick, flourishy production of the two Red Jacks. Have a card selected, control to top via a shuffle. Ask which of the Jacks is going to be a

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―leader‖ Jack (don‘t elaborate on what that means) as you place the Jack of Hearts on top of the deck face-u p, and keep the Jack of Diamonds in your hand. Whichever their answer is, you‘re going to set aside the Jack of Diamonds on the table, and do a double-lift, placing the Jack of Hearts with the selection hidden behind it on bottom of the deck, keeping the Jack face-up, and then place the Jack of Diamonds on top of the deck. (Patter: ―The Jack of Hearts is the leader? Ok, that means he‘s going to go first, all the way down to the bottom of the deck.‖ ―The Jack of Diamonds is the leader? Ok, that means it‘s going to go on top, and the Jack of Hearts goes to the  bottom.‖ It‘s not exactly a sophisticated equivoque, but its primary purpose is to get their minds thinking about something else when you‘re getting ahold of your double.) At this point, get a random break somewhere in the middle and pass, which will achieve the desired result. If it‘s deceptive, you‘ve got something borderline ma gical, whereas if they detect the pass, you still get some credit for skill. As much as I hate using the riffle to cover the pass, to a certain extent a riffle might actually work here, since it would signal the mo ment of magic. In another trick, though, where the pass is meant to be done at a secret moment, riffling actions would suck. Later on, you can learn the Erdnase Two Handed Transformation to change that trick somewhat. Go through the previous procedure up until the point of the ―leader‖ question. At this point, though, there‘s no real equivoque —  just put that Jack on top of the deck, execute the Erdnase THT to apparently vanish it, and then place the second Jack on top of the deck, and execute the Pass to vanish it (other colour-change-as-vanish options exist). Effort should be put into making the two vanishes appear identical, so you might want to adopt one so that it has the ―tells‖ of the other (for instance, adding a tilting action of the deck just after the Erdnase move, to mirror the tilting action that can cover the classic pass, or else using the riffle action again). I could probably blather on about the pass a lot longer than this, but I‘m going to conclude on  just one point that I feel is vital. In Designing Miracles, Darwin Ortiz alluded to the concepts of Internal Reality vs. External Reality. The External Reality is that which the audience perceives, and the Internal Reality is that which is goin g on behind the scenes. Usually, in order for magic to really work, two things have to be going on —  first, the External Reality has to fit a magical illusion of some kind (ie: ―He waves his wand and the coin vanishes.‖), and second, the Internal Reality needs to be kept internal, giving no clues as to its nature. It is possible for the Classic Pass to have no External Reality. Things like riffling the deck, tilting the deck, twisting the deck, etc. exist in the External Reality, and if you‘re aiming high, you‘d do well to avoid them as covering actions if at all possible. There are a couple of DVD products that have come out on the market recently, and both of them spend a great deal of time teaching you a pass where the  packet transposition may be invisible, but because of the nature of the covering actions, the moment is not. Both of these products have been put out by guys who have a reputation for being card men with good passes. If you ask me… you should do yourself a favour and save your money. Enough of that.

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Chapter 13: Miscellaneous Flourishes Color Change I don‘t really like this technique for a couple of reasons. First, the hand that‘s going to be depositing the card almost looks like it could be concealing a card —  the fact that you need feints in order to sell a cramped hand-posture as fair is a bad sign, as is the fact that the hand is going to look that way immediately after apparently covering the deck, even if only for a moment. Second, a lot of colour changes benefit from making it look like the hand covering the deck couldn‘t have just deposited a card there. Smooth execution and a natural-looking hand will often be enough to get beyond my second objection, but if the hand doesn‘t seem empty, then you‘ve got a problem. The last thing you want it to seem like you did is just deposit one card over another one. There are tons of colour-changes out there, and finding the right one can be a long search. I eventually settled on something out of Marlo‘s Revolutionary Card Technique, but that sort of thing suits me. You might want to consider look ing into the Erdnase (Houdini?) Two-handed transformation in Expert At The Card Table, which pretty much everybody calls the Erdnase Colour Change, and which many magicians have since come up with some pretty finesses for. After that, well, here‘s the requisite Denis Behr list you can start plowing though (go back a page in the directory to get to the tabled and free-handed ones, which can also look nice). One thing to consider… if you want to magically change one card into another card, you don‘t HAVE to do a colour change. It can look pretty, but like many visual moves, in order for people to appreciate the magic, they have to be looking at your hands at the moment it happens, and that frequently means that they could spot tells on your moves at a bad time. Frankly, I think that despite their visual nature, the level of mystery is low if you‘re doing it on the deck, and while I‘m happy to have one in my multiple selection routine, I usually get it out of the way before going to stronger stuff (like having the card magically travel somewhere). I do like the byplay talked about at the end of this section, though. I think if it‘s delivered in a really dry manner, that‘s funny stuff.

Double Color Change This one I‘m torn on. While it‘s nice to have two cards visually change at once, colour changes are really meant to be visual, and I don‘t like the idea of one of the cards being concealed in the manner they talk about. I think , for maximum impact, you‘d want to have two spots change into two face cards (or vice versa), and ideally those cards would be related in some way, and that‘s not an easy thing to just get into (both in terms of mechanics as well as laying out a clear effect). In Daryl‘s Revelations DVDs (volume 2), he does a trick called ―Two Cards in the Eyeglasses‖ which basically involves the same thing (two ca rds change into the two selections), but the magic is so much better overall —  another case of visual magic not necessarily being better.

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The Changing Card Again, not a big fan of it, since it‘s supposed to be a visual change, and yet the card is very  palpably obscured from view at the start. The immediate nature of the change is nice, and nobody‘s really doing this these days, so you might want to consider it on that basis alone. I know Steve Draun had something really similar to this as part of a four-ace revelation, and it was a nice touch, in that (if I remember correctly) three of the aces were discovered in a way that suggested skill, but the last one was an indifferent card that was magically changed into the fourth ace.

Self-Cutting Deck Some have used this as a revelation in a Multiple Selection routine. If you‘ve got a dozen cards selected and you‘re trying to find novel ways of producing them, this might be of interest.

 A Pretty Cut It‘s… well… pretty?

Pop-Up Card Again, like the self-cutting deck, possibly of interest for those who are looking for extra revelations in either a four-ace discovery routine o r a Multiple Selection routine. It strikes me as angle-sensitive, though.

 A Bit of Byplay I think, if you‘re doing a routine where the same card keeps showing up again and again, this sort of thing could fit in. I can‘t imagine doing it on its own as anything other than a throw-away.

Charlier Cut The famous one-handed cut you‘ve probably already seen somebody do. This should be fine if you like that sort of thing.

“Acrobatic Aces”  Not exactly my idea of a major mystery. It could be a decent part of a larger routine where a pair of cards aren‘t doing what they‘re supposed to be doing, but there‘s a bit too much action on the  part of the magician for me to think that people buy that the cards magically jump back to where they were. For it to work, it needs to look like you‘re just splitting the deck open (rather than cutting it). Perhaps it could be done in conjunction with something like Daley‘s Cavorting Ac es, maybe as a lead-in. If you‘ll remember, the authors recommend do ing it in the middle of the Razzle Dazzle Routine in Chapter 19, where the cards are apparently misbehaving throughout.

General Thoughts on this Chapter And now you know why I put the flourishes off until last —  due to my background and biases about magic, I don‘t exactly have a lot to say on the subject. I get the feeling that somebody looking to really blow people away with the cards undergoing visual acrobatic antics will

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 probably not get much out of these chapters other than a basic foundation. These are some pretty standard flourishes that I guess would have to be added to any book of card magic, but if you‘re looking to take it to the next level and get all fancy-dancy, I wouldn‘t know where to suggest you go at this point. Jeff McBride has a DVD series on playing card flourishes, but I‘ve got no idea as to its quality (or the quality of any other resource on card flourishes, for that matter) because, frankly, I don‘t like to treat a deck of cards like Tony Hawk does his skateboard. If you‘re just starting out, it‘s probably best to just learn as much as possible so that you can get your skillset as broad as possible, but later on, when you‘re going to be choosing a performing character, then trying to figure out the role of flourishes isn‘t exactly a small thing. Flourishes imply skill. Do you want to be seen as skilled? There are artistic arguments to be made both ways. If you‘re going to specialize in mental magic, I‘d argue against them vehemently. If you‘re going to specialize in gambling effects, I‘d say go for them, even if only to say ―Just make sure you‘re not going to sit down and gamble with a guy who does this.‖ There‘s comedy potential in flourishes (―Here, just shuffle them like this.‖ whilst doing some crazy Sybill Z-Cut sequence)  just as there can be in their absence (―Now, to do this trick, you have to shuffle them in a really fancy matter like th-‖ and the cards accidentally explode and spill all over the place). If you want your magic to look graceful or pretty or spectacular, they can have a place, whereas if you want to make it seem like you have no sleight-of-hand ability (which can be nice psychological misdirection for actual sleight-of-hand ability), you might want to avoid them altogether. It‘s not a small decision, and it‘s something that you‘ll have to figure out on your own. It‘s a shame that card dribbling (which I don‘t think is a modern innovation) was left out, as was spinning a card at the fingertips. Some people have gotten some nice mileage out of spinning a single card out of the deck —  Audley Walsh and Martin Lewis both have long-distance spinners talked about on Daryl‘s Encyclopedia, and Daryl‘s own hot-shot cut is also a nice spin-out  production of a card. Also, look into Piet Forton‘s work. On the whole, though, I‘m sorry I‘m not better able to offer advice.

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Chapter 14: The Reverses Since the real meat of this chapter is in the tricks, I‘ll plow through the techniques quickl y. It‘s worth noting that, as with the glimpses chapter, I don‘t use any of these techniques when I work, so you should take my opinions with the requisite grains of salt. ―First Method‖ would require a good deal of misdirection and/or cover, or a strong off- beat, but it‘s doable. Some people have  been known to do this in the Ambitious Card immediately following having the card signed, so that you replace the selected card on top of the deck face-up, turn the two cards face-down, and then immediately head into the effect. This can make for a pretty clean switch-out, and the card signing ends up being suitable misdirection to set up the moment. ―Second Method‖ seems like it could work, but I‘m not big into it. One thing that Steve Draun warns against is ―squaring a square deck‖ — if you‘re squaring something that doesn‘t need squaring, it‘s got the potential to look fishy. This sort of thing strikes me as having that feeling —  the right hand has to cover the deck a fair bit in order to palm off, but then the deck gets rotated, so the left hand has to come all the way in to do its part. That‘s a pretty tight framing of the deck. Maybe if it‘s not in the middle of a trick, it might work… Now, if you spread out the cards immediately after the palm, and then have the right hand rotate around underneath the spread, and then feed it into place on the square up, I think you‘ve got something a little bit better —  angle-sensitive, but better. ―Third Method‖ strikes me as being extremely fiddly. How do you motivate pulling out the bottom card and  putting it on top of the deck only to take it off again and place it on the bottom only to turn the deck over and pull it out again? The authors suggest that you should appear to be toying with the deck, but that‘s a pretty meandering sequence to have to find innocent-seeming patter for. ―Fourth Method‖ has been recommended in other sources, but I‘m not a fan. The sequence motivates the actions somewhat, but if the only p urpose is to set up a single card reversal, that strikes me as lame. As for doing it just to set up a reversed card in the deck prior to the trick, I think there are less conspicuous ways, but if people don‘t suspect a card trick is coming up, and the conclusion of the effect doesn‘t suggest that a single reversed card was the modus operandi, it‘d probably be fine. As for ―Reversed Location‖… Ugh. If you‘ve b een studying and practicing all the methods up until this point, then you‘ve got all the tools up until this point to control a selected card without having to resort to this sort of silliness. Yes, the point about being sloppy versus being slick is well-taken, but it‘s not worth lowering yourself to this level. Now, if you‘re willing to turn it into a fun moment, you could do something like, ―And now, all I have to do is just riffle the deck like this, and one card magically turns face up.‖ Spread, look at the indifferent, and sheepishly say, ―Well, I didn‘t say it would be your card, I said one card magically turns face up…‖ Credit goes to John Carney for using this patter dodge in different ways throughout his magic. It gets laughs often enough for me. One other thing to consider is that you don‘t need to use the key undercut in order to pull this off —  any key card placement technique from a shuffle works.

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So yeah, not so impressed with the techniques offered to reverse a card. If you‘ve already studied the pass (particularly the Herrmann/Hofzinser mechanics) then you‘re probably ready to look into the half-pass, which is basically just a secret reversal of the bottom half of the deck (or even of a single card). It‘s taught in a variety of locations —  Richard Kaufman does it capably on his On The Pass DVD, and apparently Aaron Fisher‘s Gravity Half Pass is well-liked by those who use it. I‘d probably use something like that before I used any of these if it was to reverse a card  prior to the effect, and to reverse it during under high scrutiny, I‘d probably prefer to use something from Chapter 11.

“Spellbound” It seems like it should be a decent surprise, but it strikes me as a bit overhandled to get there, and it uses that god-awful Reversed Location. If I was goin g to do this trick, I‘d probably want to try something a bit more straightforward. For instance, have a card selected from a spread, control to top, palm, glimpse, spread the cards out again (―I didn‘t make you take any of these cards, right?‖), and spread over the num ber of cards necessary to set up the spell, feed the palmed card so that it‘s reversed at the right point, square, proceed with the trick (including showing the top and bottom cards, if it helps the trick). On the whole, though, I think there are better spelling effects in the book, and from the looks of it, ―Double Speller‖ from Chapter 12 could be adapted for it.

“A Tipsy Trick” One of the gems in this book, and if you‘re working through the book in order, it‘s a shame you had to wait this long to get to it, when all the necessary techniques were covered in the earliest chapters. This is the Triumph plot, and while I offered as a premise earlier that one of the weakest places to reveal a card is within the deck, this trick is a definite exception to that rule,  because really, we‘re not talking about a trick where you find a single card, we‘re talking about a class of effect where you show an impossible mastery of the entire deck. In any case, if you like the Triumph plot, then you should definitely check out the work put out  by Dai Vernon on the subject, starting with his riffle shuffle based method in Stars of Magic. For what it‘s worth, there are so many variations on this trick that it‘s not funny —  on the table, in the hands, with the aces or multiple selections, without any selections at all, hard versions, eas y versions, self-working versions, gaffed versions, versions where the specs shuffle themselves, etc. I‘m not going to tell you which to go with, but I will say this —  there are some respected card workers who consider this the best version of Triumph out there. Some extra things to think about… if you can control multiple cards, it‘s possible to finish this trick off with all the selections reversed and gathered in the center (think about it), which gives a nice side-benefit of there not being a single card-cover at the conclusion of the shuffle; there‘ve  been arguments about whether or not the cards should be revealed all face-down with the selection face-up (which adds clarity) versus all face-up with the selection face-down (which

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adds an extra beat to the magic) —  I prefer the latter, but many respected card men prefer the former; by making a real mess of the cards during the shuffle, and then applying through the lefthand‘s fingers upwards pr essure on a bunch of the face-down cards at the bottom, and with the thumb applying downwards pressure on a bunch of the face-up cards at the top, you can help reduce the feeling of depth between them; the sequence used at the end to fix the deck isn‘t the greatest — look into Dai Vernon‘s handling of Triumph to see his approach, and then make friends with Tyler Erickson somehow to learn an improvement upon that; I‘ve got a ton of things to say against using something like ―Abracadabra‖ to signal the magic moment, but I‘ll get into my nitpicking a little later on. In any case, a good trick. Absolutely worth learning.

“Double Reverse” Also a good trick, with a great routine construction. On more than one occasion someone‘s offered to show me something, and they‘ve gone through the first few steps of the trick, and I only recognized when it was too late what was going on (at which point I usually curse). The routine design has great misdirection built into it. Eugene Burger has some interesting work on this trick that you might want to research, if you want to add a slightly bizarre flavour to it. If nothing else, I‘d try to get a bit more mileage out of the magic moment, perhaps by riffling the deck, and then asking the spectator to riffle it as well.

“Mentalivity” This is sort of a weird trick for me. Lately in card magic there‘s been a resurgence in interest in the ―Card At Any Number‖ plot, and while this trick isn‘t exactly a CAAN, it strikes me that this trick could easily be altered to accommodate the plot. Now, if you‘re like me and your soul isn‘t exactly stirred by the Card At Any Number plot, then you might not think much of this idea, but it‘s (in my opinion, anyway) a decent strateg y for the effect, and at least one well-known magician (can‘t say who without exposing it) published an impromptu CAAN which was pretty similar to this one. Briefly, in CAAN, a card is selected and returned, and the deck is shuffled. That spectator (or another) then names a random number, and their selection is cleanly found at that number. The strength of this trick is, in my opinion and the opinions of others, based on the conditions surrounding the effect —  and so a lot of people have gone to great lengths to improve the fairness of the effect, such letting the spectator deal, or else having a card actually named rather than selected and returned, etc. If that‘s the important thing for you, then perhaps the strategy in Mentalivity might not fit you (since the magician has to set up the deck, and then does all the dealing), but if you can sell the basic premise (perhaps as a bet of some kind), I think this strategy on the whole is fine.  Now, there are some things I‘d want to change for myself. I‘d probably change it to a pick -a-card trick (probably by having the card selected via a spectator peek), control it to sixth from the  bottom, do a half-pass on the bottom seven, and then ask the number, and immediately start

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dealing, doing the deck reversal at the number named minus six. Now, you‘ve got to motivate the reversal, so I‘d probably set it up by stopping the deal a couple of times at an arbitrary number, in order to point out that they could have said this number, but they didn‘t, and turning up that card to show it as indifferent. Do this fairly a few times, and then do it at the named number (minus six) amidst the dirty business, and then deal off th e last cards to cleanly reveal their selected card. The fact that the card is only thought-of in this version is a nice touch, though, so my idea loses that aspect. John Born recently put out a book called ―Meant To Be‖ which is a treatise on the plot. If you like the idea, you might want to check it out.

“Mountebank Miracle” You‘ve probably gathered by now that I don‘t like tricks that feel like the y involve math. Asking a spectator to cut off a bunch of cards, remember that number of cards, and then think of another card at that number reeks of some self-working mathematical principle to me. Also, I‘m not entirely sure that the spectator would buy the fact that the magician didn‘t just flip over the card that he needed to, as opposed to it having magically reversed. To me, if you want to show the card‘s reversed, you spread the damn deck and show it‘s reversed. So, a thumb‘s down for me on this trick. There‘s a trick by Ackerman, Harris and Emberg called ―Overkill‖ which uses a similar principle to the above, and while it‘s a highly-regarded trick, I think that the only reason the trick‘s worth doing is because of the way the climax can be sold — otherwise, it‘s just a silly bit of ―Nya nya, look, I mathematically forced a card on you!‖

General Thoughts on this Chapter While I‘m not so keen on some of the reversal methods, two modern classics and one trick with a lot of potential isn‘t too shabby. Can‘t complain. I should probably elaborate on the point I made earlier about how it‘s generally weak to reveal a card within a deck, only to then recommend two tricks that use this as a final revelation. The reason why they strike me as exceptions to the rule is because of this… Usually, in magic, spectators get to see very little actual magic. Instead, they usually get an initial state, a final state, and a suggestion that ―magic‖ was the cause that got from one state to the other. As Derren Brown pointed out, one of the things that a lot of performers fail to do is ma ke the cause of the magic the dramatic focus, when in fact it can be as interesting (or more) than some of the supposed miracles you‘re doing. As such, it‘s not enough if the magician has a selection returned to the deck, and then does some fumbling, and then shows the card has reversed. There‘s nothing in that which is inherently interesting, there‘s no dramatization of a magical cause. Now, with Double Reverse, if you can

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involve the spectator in being a part of the magic, then you‘ve got a magic moment you can really sell, which is made more legitimate by the fact that the Do As I Do premise to the trick strongly implies that there‘s no magician‘s advantage. As mentioned previ ously, Eugene Burger has some great ideas with this. With Triumph, we‘re not just having a sin gle card reversed at the center, we‘ve got a totally messed-up deck completely reorganizing itself, and that‘s another trick that can benefit from having a really solid magical moment (again, I like riffling the deck, since it has just enough plausibility mixed with just enough mystery in the implied cause for how the magic happens).  Now, when the magic is more obvious, such as in Card To Pocket or the Colour-Changing Deck or whatnot, you can probably lighten up on the dramatizations of the magic moment, but there are some tricks which are really strengthened b y paying attention to this idea. One reason why I like both ―Triumph‖ and ―Double Reverse‖ is that you can get a lot of mileage not just out of the effect, but also what the effect seems to imply about the magical cause at work. That‘s another reason why some of the other tricks in Royal Road piss me off so much — there‘s an implied cause to the magic, but the way the effect unfolds, that cause is totally undermined by the handling. You do a lot of unnecessary finagling with the deck and then show that the selection is reversed —  chances are that your method was hidden somewhere within all that finagling, rather than within the magic moment itself. You say you‘re going to read a spectator‘s mind, but then he‘s got to think of a number, and count down to that number in the deck, and then bleah bleah bleah — again, you may say it‘s mind-reading, but it certainly smells like something else. People come to a card magic show wanting to see magic done on the cards, not senseless twiddling. People come to a mind-reading show to see a performer lock eyes with a spectator and struggle to pull the thoughts out of them, not to have to follow math. Anyways, enough blathering on about that. Next up, the Hindu Shuffle.

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Chapter 15: The Hindu Shuffle and Other Controls The Hindu Shuffle  Not really anything to say about the description here. It‘s fine. I guess one thing that might be of interest is to know that in Korea, where this shuffle is quite predominant, the handling of the cards is actually frequently quite violent, with a slapping of the two packets together just prior to the cards being dragged off (there‘s also a slight difference in grip, but that‘s not as noteworthy). Some of the card games there actually use cards that are the same size as those in our miniature decks, and the general Hindu Shuffle style of mechanic seems to suit them, and as such all decks of cards are shuffled in this manner. It‘s quite a contrast to the delicate and graceful way that magicians usually employ the Hindu Shuffle. I do n‘t know if this holds true for all of Asia, but I wouldn‘t be surprised, with there being so much cultural influence between China, Korea and Japan.

Hindu Shuffle Control, Single Card This is essentially the lift shuffle mechanics applied to the Hindu S huffle grip. Despite the fact that I like the Overhand Lift Shuffle so much, I‘m not terribly fond of this one. The reason is this  —  the illusion you wish to create with a lift shuffle is that they replace the card at a point, and then you shuffle off on top of it. If you can do this well, the impression is simply that a shuffle is interrupted and then continued, with the card somewhere in the middle. This illusion is, in my opinion, killed if the two packets are made to align perfectly just after the card is replaced. With the Overhand Lift Shuffle, you‘re able to jam the packet into position, which leads to the appearance of a rough, sloppy handling of the cards, which isn‘t a bad thing to have when Overhand Shuffling anyway. If you‘ve got the cover and angles down, you don‘t need perfect alignment to do the Lift Shuffle well. The problem is that in order to execute the packet steal for the Hindu Lift Shuffle, it‘s more difficult to do deceptively without having that pause at the moment of alignment, and to me, that kills the illusion. The fact that the Hindu Shuffle is a bit more open doesn‘t help much in concealing that alignment. So, perhaps my main reason for not liking this isn‘t that there‘s something wrong with the mechanic itself, but rather that it‘s difficult to make it look good — it‘s also difficult to make the pass look good, but it‘s possible.

Hindu Shuffle Control, Several Cards Again, not easy to do without looking like you‘re handling the cards in a precious manner, and if you‘ve got several cards being returned, it‘s eas y to run out of cards and have to start the shuffle again in order to get the last of the cards returned to the deck —  not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but if you‘re having multiple cards selected and returned, it helps if the process is  brisk (obviously without cost to its deceptiveness). So, if you‘re trying to make sure that you‘re not forced to start a new shuffle, that means you‘ve got to be really careful in drawing off small  packets, and that makes the shuffle look a little too neat and tidy for my taste. In order to make sure that you don‘t run out of cards, you‘ve essentially got to dictate where the car d is going to  be returned in the deck, and I hate that. Of course, when you give them the power to do that, you

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run the risk of them waiting quite a while if they‘re trouble-makers. Overall, I would prefer to use something like a cull in order to get multiple cards to gather — it‘s fast, straightforward, easy to get into, and innocent-seeming. There are a couple of multiple card controls using the Hindu Shuffle that are worth looking at. Dai Vernon in particular had two, a Multiple Shift which is well-known and highly regarded, and another one which involved milking the bottom cards that I think is a bit more difficult to do well, since it looks like you‘re changing up the tempo mid-shuffle which isn‘t really a great thing. The Multiple Shift has been published in many places, and both of these are on Daryl‘s Encyclopedia of Card Sleights.

Hindu Shuffle Force Strangely enough, whereas I liked the Overhand Lift Shuffle as a control but not as a force, I dislike the Hindu Lift Shuffle as a control, but I don‘t mind it as a force. I don‘t know that it‘s repeatable, but if you‘re able to get that gesture down (saying ―Here, just take the top card‖ as you gesture with the packet that‘s going to drop off the packet) it‘s fairly disarming, I guess  because of the openness of the shuffle and the fact it‘s a natural-seeming aesthetic to point at the top card with the other packet, something which looks a bit more closed with the Overhand version. Michael Ammar has a slightly different way of getting into this t ype of force that you might want to look into. I‘ve used this, and when it‘s well-executed, it‘s quite nice. If there is a  problem with using this style of force, it‘s that because you‘re asking them to take the card they stopped at, that means they need to be near   by, and if they‘re nearby, why aren‘t you just offering from a spread? Not an insignificant thing, but I‘ve actually found I could get awa y with it just by saying I learned the trick in Korea, and by showing that this is how they shuffle there. It‘s not quite as natural, but it is theatrically motivated, and if the evidence leads them to buy that it‘s fair (convincers aid in this), that‘s often good enough. Most of the time, people don‘t even bother going through the mechanics described in Royal Road and just end up flashing the bottom card in the right hand (assumes you‘re shuffling from the right hand into the left). It‘s a strange thing —  if people are paying close attention to the  proceedings, the discrepancy of this should jump out, but because people don‘t really know the mechanics of shuffling, it flies all the time. There are plent y of ways to add touches to this, such as stripping out a middle block (reserving the force card at the bottom), and saying, ―If you said stop here, then this would be your card –‖ flashing the indifferent, and even applying a bit of  pressure from the index finger and riffling off that card onto the left hand‘s packet, and continuing, ―–or if you said stop here, then this would be your card.‖ Afterwards, when you  begin the next shuffle, you draw out the packet from the bottom as per usual. One interesting thing about this is that in order to do this explanation-section deceptively, you‘ve got to get those  packets to align again, but I‘ve learned through experience that this is a moment of low heat, and if you can get agreement on the fairness of proceedings (despite the discrepanc y), that means you can be really clean about the moment you show them the selected card. What‘s more, this is

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 probably a superior application of the Hindu Shuffle to force a card, since it‘s suitable for when the spectator selecting the card isn‘t close to you, whereas the previous handling needs them to  be close up. Tyler Erickson has a bunch of touches that act as convincers for this force, and if you get the chance to study under him, you ought to ask him about his handling. It‘s a good sequence.

Hindu Shuffle Glimpse Bold, and done at a time that I believe would be a moment of high heat. I wouldn‘t do it this way, if only because it‘s not difficult to get the necessary glimpse ahead of time for a Key Card, and it‘s way too close to being an intuitive solution for a regular pick -a-card trick, with an obvious opportunity for applying that intuitive solution due to the openness of the shuffle.

The Step The step is a decent technique, but I‘d recommend a dribbling action rather than a springing action, if only because the dribble is easier to do slowly. Quickly, the dribble flourish involves holding the cards in a pseudo-Biddle grip, with the thumb at the rear short end, and the fingertips at the front short end (you can do this with just your middle and ring finger), and with the index finger curled over the top and pressing down slightly to apply the necessary pressure. I‘m using the Dribble here in this video, only without the stepping action. CLICK FOR VIDEO I don‘t do it that much so don‘t use me as a model. Done well, it can be a very innocent and carefree way of handling the cards.

Natural Jog This can look good if done well, and it adds a nice side benefit of allowing you to table the deck immediately afterwards with a carefree attitude. You‘ll want the final result to be a bit messy for two reasons — first, if you‘re going to table it, you‘ll need the cover, and second, it motivates you squaring up a bit in the hand, which covers getting the break. One tip from Tyler Erickson (I don‘t know if it‘s original with him) —  when the right thumb is coming in to do its dirty work, rather than having a lifting action on the top packet when you‘re getting the break, alter it so that you‘re making the lower packet drop. This is less conspicuous.

Twelve-down Riffle This isn‘t bad. It‘s basically like a Le Paul Bluff Pass but with a little less bluff to it, and if you‘re good at dribbling cards you can do that with the small packet remaining at the end, to help sell the illusion that the card is being returned to the middle of the deck (when doing the Le Paul Bluff Pass, people often have to align the deck momentarily in order to grab a bunch of cards to do the same convincer — here there‘s no such issue if you can dribble those cards well). Earlier on in the book there was talk about using the overhand shuffle to run cards onto a selection to put

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it in the Nth spot, and this is a nice replacement for that. One thing Dai Vernon recommends for a slightly different instance but which I think could apply here, is making sure that rather than counting the twelve cards individually whilst spreading, to try to count them in chunks —  this will make the initial spread look a bit more natural, although it will run the risk that you accidentally get more than twelve cards pushed over. Again, it‘s not the most natural procedure for havin g a card selected, but it does make for a pretty clean replacement. I‘ve usually felt the need to motivate this sort of ―stabbing‖ process by sa ying that you want it to be truly random, and the fact that they get a truly free choice of where they insert their finger (along with the par allel implied condition that it‘s impossible to force from this) helps somewhat.

“All Change Here” Hard to say how I feel about this trick. I do like the fact that, in the opening, it uses two different ways of getting the card into position, and they seem to cancel each other out. Still, I‘ve found that revelations of the card in this manner are generally pretty weak unless there‘s conviction that the card is lost, and it‘d also be nice to have them deal off the cards themselves. The segue into showing that all the cards are the selections is somewhat bold —  incidentally, if you were confused about my explanation of the ―flash‖ version of the Hindu Shuffle Force, this is essentially what they‘re doing (and exposing to the audience) here. Since it‘s possible to get five minutes of show out of a single card force, I think there‘s more merit to using it furtively in that manner, rather than as a throw-away magical gag. Still, many people have used this sort of strategy, including Tommy Wonder, who has some nice touches on it that are worth looking into in his version of ―Everywhere and Nowhere‖. Speaking of which, one thing that I think is important to consider is that if you‘re reall y going to embrace the claim that all the cards are the same, you‘ve got to of fer some pretty high proof. Roberto Giobbi made the point that it‘s very difficult to do a satisfying Everywhere and  Nowhere effect without using duplicates — and that‘s just proving that several cards are the same, not the whole deck. So, if you‘re going to show a bunch of cards are all different (such as in the first phase of this effect), you‘re going to ha ve a bit of an obstacle in showing that they‘re all now the same card, since you‘re only showing them one card at a time, really quickly. Now,  people have used the Hindu Shuffle flash sequence in the Ambitious Card (showing that the card can apparently jump anywhere) and I think it fits there better because you‘ve already established some pretty good magic, and you‘re now expanding the nature of the eff ect, but still keeping short of a single, defined claim that would be difficult to prove. I‘ve actually spent a great deal of time trying to come up with a suitable trick of this type that uses a regular deck. It‘s not been easy, but I‘ll get into that later in Chapter 20.

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“Ewephindit” I‘m guessing that they were running out of titles for tricks at this p oint. I dislike the idea of going from one shuffle into another for no reason. Yeah, it can give the impression that the cards are really being mixed up in a bunch of different ways (I switch shuffles in the middle of my Multiple Selection routine) but for a single selection it strikes me as being more expedient to just do the whole thing using a single shuffle. Again (sorry for sounding like a broken record here) I‘m not so fond of revelations that occur within the deck unless the spectator can shuffle. The sliding key card is great, but there are better ways to use it, including one described in the next chapter.

General Thoughts on This Chapter Some decent controls here, but the tricks don‘t rock my world. I‘m a bit surprised that they  passed over one obvious function —  that of using the Hindu Shuffle to place a key card. Very quickly, you know the bottom card, begin the Hindu Shuffle and say ―Say ‗Stop‘ at any time.‖ When they say stop, have them put the card back, and immediately dump the rest of the cards on top of it, setting the Key Card. If you take this into account, the Hindu Shuffle is one of those great versatile techniques that can be used to control (assuming you can make that lift shuffle look good), to force, or to set a key card. There are some sneaky things one can do through this shuffle. Aside from the previousl y mentioned techniques from Dai Vernon, Lennart Green managed to come up with ―The Circulation Shuffle‖ which is a full-deck false shuffle from the Hindu Shuffle grip (not my favourite thing of his, but perhaps others might like it), and it‘s also possible to take packets off the bottom of the deck (rather than the top) and still make it look good —  one could apply this strategy to the setting of the key card, so that it looks like you‘re shuffling fairly both before and after the replacement, or else even use it as a false shuffle to preserve a stack or possibly a fulldeck (probably unnecessarily bold, given other methods out there). It‘s also my preferred cover for a top card palm —  palm off the card in the action of taking the deck and rotating it into  position to begin a Hindu Shuffle. Don‘t really have much else to say on the topic… Next up, Forcing!

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Chapter 16: The Classic Force The Classic Force Hi. My name is Andrew Musgrave. I‘m a magician… and I don‘t Classic Force. It‘s a great technique, if you‘re able to use it. Frankly, when I‘m working, I‘m doing on e of two routines, neither of which requires any kind of forcing. If I decide I‘m going to force something, I usually end up using something that‘s more fullproof, such as the Hofzinser Spread Force, which hits all the time, and also allows you to offer them the chance to change their mind on the card they‘ve chosen. It‘s not quite as open as a Classic Force, but then again, a Classic Force isn‘t quite as fair as a non-forcing card selection procedure (which is the sort I end u p using in the effects I do). In any case, I told you that to tell you this. I have no idea whether or not Royal Road teaches this technique better or worse than other resources. For the most part the advice offered here sounds standard to me (considering what other sources recommend, such as Daryl‘s Encyclopedia). I do know that Dai Vernon had some great ideas, including a touch that makes it seem as though the force card is actually not the most obvious card offered to the spectator. Sorry that I can‘t be of much help here.

One-Hand Force This seems like a reasonable alternative to the classic force, but it‘ll take some practice to get into it without being detected. I think a force such as this one would look pretty good from stage, where it could read as nice and open, and any discrepancies in the fan would be impossible to see  by anybody except your assistant.

Bottom Force This is a bit of an affected selection procedure. If they‘re close enough to get in contact with the cards, I‘d want to work from a spread. Various people have been pla yingwith the idea of doing this force from a Biddle-style of grip, so that you‘ve got the slant along the wide edges rather than the short edges. I honestly don‘t know which I like better. Personally, I think this sort of thing is best-suited to something like a card-stab, as a revelation, rather than a card selection.

Slide-Out Force I wouldn‘t have thought this could look good, but I saw someone do this once, and it wasn‘t bad. That said, it‘s another affected means of having a card selected — again, I‘d reserve it for a cardstab type of revelation.

Two Card Force Again, I didn‘t think this could look good, but it wasn‘t bad. Bill Simon‘s Prophecy Move seems to be the most popular current force of this type, and it has the advantage of being doable from a spr ead. It‘s also got a more open feel to it.

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Riffle Break Force This has become a popular modern force. Tyler Erickson has some great touches on this force —  it‘s worth getting lessons from him on card forcing in general if that‘s a strategy you plan on employing — and he also makes the great point that it‘s best reserved for those situations when you‘re forcing a card on somebody who‘s not close enough to touch the cards themselves. You could also possibly motivate it by saying that you use it to deal with people who are suspicious about marked cards, and for those who find themselves using something like a spectator-peak, this is a suitable counter-strategy for that situation. It also has a nice feature to it in that you can riffle to a spot that they fairly select, and you can even riffle off a few more cards one-by-one if they‘re not happy with where they‘ve stopped.

Sliding Key Force This is gold. Now, it does hinge on getting the card off the bottom deceptively — I‘d prefer to get the card into position using a Hofzinser cull strategy —  but it‘s a bullet-proof force from a spread. I would absolutely recommend trying to get this down, and if you‘re having any trouble getting the card into position, then look into the Hofzinser cull. The advice about not giving the cards out immediately for a shuffle is good as wel l, since that‘s the sort of thing that can signal to the spectator that you already know what the card is. Tyler recommends trying to goad them into wanting to shuffle of their own accord, as if thi s would mess up the trick.

Double-lift Force The description of this force seems to have an error in it, since there‘s no way the card could get into position based on what they describe. If you shuffle it to second from the top, it should work  properly. Now, this force doesn‘t really do anything for me, since there‘s counting involved and the magician needs to handle the cards themselves to get everything set up. For the most part, I don‘t like the idea of a card selection being such a big event without good reason. If you‘re hoping to sell the fairness of it, I think there are better ways.

Cut Force Known now as the Cross Cut Force, this is one of those techniques that is easy to hate if you know the mechanics of it… the discrepancy is just so blatant. Tyler Erickson, though, made the  point that if you sell the force properly, this is a technique that actually allows you to have a card selected without you ever touching the cards. That‘s a fairly big deal, especially if you‘ve established that you‘ve got some really good card skills. Again, as somebod y who almost never forces, it‘s hard for me to comment on this, e xcept generally, which I‘ll get into later. Again, Tyler‘s worth contacting about this, as he‘s got some great ide as on selling the fairness of the force, including even eliminating the need for the ―time misdirection‖ aspect of it.

“Justice Card Trick” I suppose this could be a good trick for somebody who wants to try to sell the idea of Extra Sensory Perception or whatnot. The blindfold advice is good — it‘s not something I do regularly,

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 but the times I have done it, it was easy to forget that you need to have your eyes closed except the times you need them open. Definitely pay attention to that part of the trick if you want to work blindfolded. Some more great advice on this can be found in Corinda‘s 13 Steps to Mentalism. Which brings me to why I‘m not totally sold on this trick. Mentalists have been doing wonde rful things with blindfolds for a long time, and I don‘t think this is the strongest ESP-type of effect that can be done with a deck of cards. Something like Annemann‘s Par Optic Vision or Malini‘s Card Stab, for instance, let you reveal multiple cards in an impressive (and less lengthy) fashion, and there‘s no forcing involved. Similarly, you can do more impressive things ESP-wise if you‘re able to force a card. I‘ll get into this more later on. If I were to do this sort of trick, I‘d probabl y try to find some way to work with half the deck,  just to cut down on all the dealing involved.

“Fours of a Kind” A good trick, although blech to the backslip force. Essentially, what we‘re talking about is the ―Matching the Cards‖ plot, a highly-regarded trick, and one of the most popular handlings for it is Dai Vernon‘s — a version that‘s well worth looking up. Plus, some magicians have taken this to the next level, so that you follow up the magical appearance of the ―right‖ four -of-a-kind by having the original ―wrong‖ four -of-a-kind jump to the magician‘s pockets (or wherever else he wants). Many car d guys swear by this trick, and considering the power of a simple ―Isn‘t/Is‖ trick (which only involves a single incorrect card changing into the correct card), it‘s easy to s ee why. If this sort of thing appeals to you, I‘d recommend looking up Dai Vernon ‘s ―Matching the Cards‖, and then Dr. Jacob Daley‘s ―Gambler versus Magician‖ —  however, while those tricks will be considered superior to ―Fours of a Kind‖, in much the same way that ―Dunbury Delusion‖ or ―That‘s It!‖ will be considered better than ―Design for Laughter‖, you should try it out in this form anyway just to see if it fits you as a plot.

“Pulse Trick” This isn‘t bad — I like the idea of being able to turn the tables on the spectator so that you‘re doing for them almost exactly what they did for you. This approach is being very true to the effect. Since there‘s potential to flash the modus operandi to a larger audience, you might want to try to use a pulse-taking grip for when the magician reads the spectator‘s pulse that covers the spectator‘s fist adequately, so that you can motivate a similar grip for when it‘s time for them to read your pulse. I‘d say this is one of the better ―mental magic‖ type of effects in the book.

General Thoughts on This Chapter Perhaps I‘ve been ruined by Tyler‘s teachings —  specifically his thoughts on forcing, and trying to make sure that the techniques fit the same general aesthetic of non-forced card selections. If you design your strategies in this manner, then it basically makes it difficult to want to do some of the forces in this chapter. Now, it‘s hard to blame Royal Road for this, when you see plenty of

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modern sources doing exactly the same thing. That aside, this chapter does have some good techniques in here that fit the three major card-selection contexts that Tyler identified. The first, having a card selected from a nearby spectator, can be satisfied by either the Classic Force or the Sliding Key Force (if you study your Marlo you‘ll find another one that‘s brilliant, but that o ne‘s too good to name publicly here). The second, having a card selected from a distant spectator, can  be satisfied by the riffle force or the Hindu Shuffle force (the flash version described in the last chapter) and if you want another strategy to look into, consider the Dribble Forc e (Carney teaches this pretty well in various sources). The third, havin g a card chosen without the magician even touching the deck, can be satisfied by the Cross Cut Force (although one more that‘s worth looking into is the Balducci Cut Deeper Force, using Marlo‘s subtlety). It‘s probably worth spending some time analyzing the role o f the force as a strategy. Both ―Justice Card Trick‖ and ―Pulse Trick‖ can actually be done using alternate strategies, and you might even find that working with a full-deck stack or even using a Key Card might offer some advantages over forcing, since both of them can allow you to give a truly free choice. Considering that, you might instead consider researching those sorts of effects that actuall y must have a card forced, in order to really see the power of the technique. Unfortunately, it‘s difficult to describe specific effects that use forcing, since that‘d be tantamount to exposing the modus operandi of the effect, which I‘d be hesitant to do for things that are currently on the market.  Now, if you are going to be using a force for the situations described in ―Justice Card Trick‖ and ―Pulse Trick‖, you might want to figure out how to leverage the strong points of your choice —  if you can get a secret glimpse of the card you‘re going to force, then they can leave with the memory of having shuffled both before and after the trick. I will single out predictions as an obvious application for forces. Essentially, you force a card and then show it‘s in a newspaper classified ad, on a tattoo, on your T-Shirt, etc. The real challenge with this sort of thing is that, while it will have an impact if the technique fooled them, it also pretty much exposes the fact that you forced them to take a specific card. Again, you‘ll want to try to figure out the strong aspects o f your chosen force technique, and leverage them so as to challenge the idea that you could have possibly made them take a specific card. A Sliding Key Force, for instance, lets them remember that they could have touched any card they wanted to, whereas a Cross Cut Force lets them remembe r that you didn‘t even handle the cards. Being able to psychologically sell a force is a valuable strategy at any point, but with a prediction it‘s  particularly vital, since there‘s basically no additional layer of deception for the mystery —  unlike, say, using the paddle move to make the card‘s name appear on a pen or something. One fun tactic is doing one of those effects where you consistently force the same card over and over. Do this once to somebody who doesn‘t know about card forces, and you‘ll likely be hooked  by their reaction. It creates two-fold problem, though. First, it pretty much exposes the fact that you can make people take a specific card (which can undermine a lot of tricks), and second, it

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requires you to up the ante drastically in order to complete the effect in a satisfactory way. For what it‘s worth, though, because I don‘t classic force, wh en it‘s been done well to me, I‘m always fooled by it, and it‘s a great feeling. One more thing that‘s worth looking into is forcing strategies that require gimmicked decks of some sort. For me, the Cross Cut Force or th e Cut Deeper Force might be acceptable for those situations where you‘re working FASDIU or with a borrowed deck or something, and when you‘re performing for a single person (or maybe a small group) where you know you can sell the convincers on those forces, but if I was going to go onstage and do something that needed a hands-off force, I‘d probably establish a regular deck in some preliminary routine doing card-to pocket or whatever, and then try to find a way to ring in a gimmicked deck so that I could do a fairer hands-off force that doesn‘t have a perceivable discrepant procedure to it. This idea —   basically using one routine to offer proofs that make a latter routine stronger —  is particularly devious, and often overlooked, given that in magic we tend to only think one routine at a time. There are gimmicked decks that can make for very clean close-up and hands-off forces. I might come back to this chapter later on, but now I think that‘s it. Up next, the frightening top change!

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Chapter 17: Top and Bottom Changes “The Top Change” There‘s some good ideas in here, but while I think there‘s merit in looking at the various choreographies out there to set up the top-change, I think it‘s also worthwhile to consider the  possibility that the move can be adequately covered by natural gestures, if somebody has a good concept of timing and misdirection. This is one of the reasons why it really helps to have a  background in something other than cards if you want to be a well-rounded magician —  the lessons that one can learn in a simple coin vanish can apply here. If you consider Dai Vernon‘s choreography for practicing the top-change (the famous little bit of business where he accidentally knocks over a balanced card box whereupon he plans to set the card), there are some striking parallels to the vanishing of a coin with a wand. Just some general thoughts… * You don‘t want them to suspect the top-change. Here is where timing is important. When I open my Ambitious Card Routine, I always do the first phase with a pass, followed b y a topchange to set up the next phase. The thinking here is simple — when you‘re doing a multiple phase routine, you don‘t always need them to know that it‘s going to be a multiple-phase routine. That moment, after you‘ve done the first phase, if you‘ve got the body-language of somebody who‘s relaxing after having completed his trick, you can coax them into relaxing as well. This is a good time. This is where it‘s hard to say whether or not the suggested choreographies in this  part of the chapter in Royal Road are any good, but that‘s alright, because in an upcoming section there‘s a very good instance that we ‘ll talk about then. One thing that‘s worth noting is that body language can help establish a good time for you —  you want to look relaxed, as though you‘re done, rather than tense, as though something‘s coming up. Having the postur e of somebody who‘s relaxed also gives you a good reason to have your arms in a rest position about a fist-width in front of your belly- button, a spot that Tyler Erickson calls the ―sweet spot‖, which is a great place to do a lot of secret moves, if you‘ve got the right timing. * Preferably, they‘re not looking at the top-change. Here‘s where misdirection comes in hand y. I‘m going to talk about two kinds of misdirection — the first is where they‘re looking away from a spot of danger, and the second is wher e they‘re looking towards a spot of interest (whilst simultaneously looking away from a spot of dan ger). I‘ll elaborate on those two points in a moment, but first, one can‘t really talk about misdirection without considering Tomm y Wonder‘s work on the subject. Wonder did a really good job in outlining the concept of the Mind Movie, where you basically present the trick (choreograph y and gestures and conditions and all) without any thought as to method, and then, after you figure out how you want it to look, you figure out ways to plug in a method that fits it. Presumably, if you‘re going to wield real magic, you‘ll gesture towards the appropriate points of interest throughout, and if d esign the effects in this manner, sometimes you‘ll find that in your choreography there will emerge shadow areas where

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there will be no audience attention, and these are places where you can conceal sleights. It‘s a complicated concept, and you‘ll have to look into Tommy Wonder‘s work to see specific examples of this (his Cups and Balls routine, Magic Fa rm, and Elizabeth IV contain some great examples of his ideas of focusing and controlling their attention so that things are lost in the shadow areas, and his Everywhere and Nowhere construction is worth looking at to see ho w this sort of thing applies specifically to the top chan ge). If you‘ve got something in your routine that allows you to control attention towards a point of interest, then you might find that it‘ll be easier to misdirect away from the top change. That said, it‘s still possible to misdirect away from the top-change effectively when there‘s no real magicrelated point of interest, and still get away with it. J ohn Carney, in his Carney on Ramse y DVD and in Carneycopia, talks about the mechanics of the simple wand-based vanish of a coin, and the idea is that you basically ask them something or remark upon something, get them to look you in the eyes, and then execute the move at that moment (there‘s a lot more to it than just that, the resources previously mentioned give you a better idea of how the timing and choreography work together, but the underlying concept is what‘s important). This can be somewhat risky, in that regular people are conscious of the idea of being misdirected away from things. As such, you need to massage those moments so that they don‘t feel like they were misdirected away from something important, and that might mean making sure that the state of affairs after the moment of misdirection appears to be identical to the momen t just before it. One reason that the shuttle  pass of similar objects is such a devious strategy, arguably much better than a mere false transfer, is that you can use bold misdirection at the point of the exchange, but the openness of the object  before and after the transfer can make it difficult to suspect a switch took place. With the topchange, you‘ve got something a bit similar going on, in that before they look away they‘ll see a card away from the deck, and after they look back they‘ll see a card at about the same spot, and if their attention was sufficiently harnessed they‘ll not notice that the two came close, and this can make the switch difficult to detect. * If they are looking at the top-change, preferably there‘s cover. Now, you‘re in real danger if they‘re looking at your hands at the point of the top-change. Some magicians have tried executing a top-change while flicking the card against the deck, but to me that‘s giving up on trying to make the technique as invisible and indetectable as possible, similar to doing a riffle during a pass. Other ideas include trying to turn the body all the wa y to the right so that everybody is getting the back of your hand. This can look a bit too much like you‘re shielding  people from the action —  my personal preference is to try to turn to the right-most spectator (having a theatrical reason to do so helps), so that I‘m getting cover for the sleight with everybody else in the audience, and then work like the Dickens to make sure he‘s misdirected away from my hands. Still others have worked on trying to camouflage it within other actions, such as gesturing one way with one hand as you address somebody on one side, bringing the hands together as you turn towards the other way, top-changing, and then gesturing the other

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way with the other hand as you address somebody on that side. If you‘ve got really good attention control, you might be able to get away with this. Me, personally, I like the covered route, which isn‘t quite the way that Hugard and Braue recommend. You‘ll want to experiment. * Ideally, they shouldn‘t know how a top-change could have helped you in the first place. This means making sure that the top-change itself isn‘t the only key to the mystery. Let‘s say you‘re doing a straight-forward trick where you‘re exchanging a wrong card for a right one —  show the wrong card, top-change, and then show it‘s changed. If you get away with the top-change itself this won‘t be bad, but you can make the mystery deeper b y making it seem impossible that you could have known what the right card was (again, letting them remember that they shuffled the deck after the card was returned can help with this). It‘s worth pointing out that a top-change is an intuitive method —  after all, what more straight-forward way is there to turn on e card into another card? — and as such you‘ll be doing yourself a favour if you make it seem like there‘s more to the mystery than just a top-change. * Using good technique. If you do all the above correctly, you might find that you don‘t need the  best technique to get away with the move. I‘m pretty sure I don‘t have the best technique (I use something pretty close to what‘s in Royal Road), but in judicious use of the above ancillary techniques I get away with it. If you‘re going to aim higher than that, though, you might want to look into David Williamson‘s Top Change. It‘s more difficult, but it looks great, an d is just that much harder to know that a move just occurred, as his method really helps eliminate the  perception of excessive finger-action. That said, I do think that if you‘ve got a good choreography built into a good routine, the method taught in Royal Road should do you fine, if you take into account all the good minor tips in there. Some have looked into using the Biddle Grip for the top-change, which could work, but I think that because the Biddle Grip isn‘t quite as natural-looking as the grip in Royal Road (or something similar), you might want to have a good reason for why you‘re holding the card that way (once more, consider Tommy Wonder‘s approach, where the grip is motivated somewhat by the display he gives the card right  beforehand). * Having an out. Thankfully, there‘s an easy one. If you even smell a bit of suspicion that somebody caught your top-change, replace the card on top of the deck and double-lift. This might not work in every instance, in which case you‘ll need a different strategy. For additional thoughts on all this, you might want to look into Gary Kurtz‘s Leading With Your Head, which is a treatise on misdirection in gen eral.

“The Changing Card” The real key to appreciating this trick is to understand the timing that‘s built into it. It‘s quite good. The idea is that you want to top-change immediately after they‘ve seen the wrong card, but  before you‘re made aware that it‘s the wrong card. What you want to have is that moment where the technique is already over and done with before you‘re made to answer for the fact that it‘s the

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wrong card. Get that, and you‘ve got a good moment on your hands. The idea is that, if they are convinced that you‘re only just discovering your screw up, that means that Darwin Ortiz‘s Critical Interval (definition: the time period bounded by the moments whe re the spectator  believes the trick starts and ends) starts now, and as talked about previously, it really helps if you don‘t have to do a move during the Critical Interval. As for the rest of the trick, I don‘t know if you‘ll get five good seconds of laughter the way the authors describe, but you will get a good trick out of it. I‘ve been using this basic construction to good effect, with some minor changes, for a routine that‘s pretty much 4 minutes of byplay coupled with maybe 10 seconds of method (the top-change itself, needless to say, only takes a fraction of that). I absolutely encourage you to try to find a way to present this type of trick. Not only will it help you get this move down, but it‘s a good exercise in showmanship. Two things… First, I think this sort of trick is strengthened immeasurably if the card is lost. R egardless of how clean it is, most people are going to come to the intuitive solution that you somehow invisibly switched the cards. As such, all things being equal, the switch will be more powerful if they‘re convinced you couldn‘t have known which card to switch in for the wrong one. Second, I think there‘s merit in trying to use subtleties to convince somebod y that the card you‘re holding after the switch is the same card you showed them beforehand —  something like miscalling the card can help. Even basic acting, showing that you‘re surprised you got the wrong card, won‘t hurt.

“Top-Change Byplay” I could see this working out as fun, but really, the trick in its current form lacks a climax. Personally, I‘d want to do something like havin g the card that you discard prove to be of importance. Two ideas… First, a card is selected, returned and lost, and then you tell them that if they snap their fingers before taking a card, they‘ll find it themselves, and then start forcing the Joker on them repeatedly. Finally, you toss the Joker[?] on their lap (making sure that they hold onto it so as to stop the shenanigans) and then force the Joker again, and when they check their lap, they find that it‘s their original selection. Second, two spectators each select cards. The first spectator finds their own card, and then the second spectator keeps finding the first spectator‘s card over and over. Toss out the first spectator‘s card, and then repeat, onl y to have the first spectator‘s card show up again, and the second card on their lap has changed into their card. (That second one could conceivably be altered to be something similar to Tommy Wonder‘s Deja Reverse, one of my personal favourite card tricks of all time.)

Bottom Change On this one, I‘m pretty much ignorant. The authors claim that it‘s both easier and in its perfect form indetectable, and yet still maintain that the top change is preferable. I don‘t quite follow the logic there, but whatever. It seems to me that there‘s a bit more finger -action going on with this one than the original top-change, but if you follow the angled blocking approach I talk about earlier, it might not be noticed.

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Top and Bottom Changes Good general advice here. The mirror comment reads funny to me, but maybe they‘re right. Dunno. Everything else is worth reading.

General Thoughts on this Chapter I like this chapter alot. Despite the fact that onl y one trick is really taught, and a brief one at that, the stuff in here is good and useful. Again, I absolutely recommend trying to come up with a single trick where all you‘re doing is taking an indifferent card and changing it into the correct card. If you‘ve been plowing through this book, you‘re probably up to your neck in cardmanipulating techniques, so you‘ll want to switch gears and instead start thinking theatrically. If a card is selected, and you produce the wrong card, you‘ve got conflict. Conflict is a really effective way to engage your audience, so much so that it‘s easy to overuse the whole magicianin-trouble motif (Tommy Wonder‘s got some great thoughts on that as well). How are you going to produce the wrong card? Does it come out of the deck in an interesting manner? How are you going to change the card into the right card? Do you have a magic ritual for that? Maybe you‘ve got an assistant helping you out. Have they ever done magic before? Comedy potential. Do you need to teach them the magic ritual for finding the card? Again, comedy potential. Do you need to teach them the magic ritual for changing that card into the right card? Still more comedy  potential. And, of course, at the end of the trick you can lead the applause for them. This sort of stuff might read flat, but it‘s this sort of routine that really allows you to ex press who you are as a character, while still giving them a decent trick. Otherwise, I think I‘ve already explained everything I was taught and/or studied on the subject. Definitely take into account the various contexts for doing the top-change described earlier, and don‘t be afraid of this move. Learn to do it smoothly, and know that the out will save you if you need it to. Up next, Arrangements.

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Chapter 18: Arrangements “Arrangements” I‘ve already complained at length about the lack of work in Royal Road on the full deck stack, so I‘ll keep it brief: This chapter should have work on something like the Si Stebbins or Eight Kings stack in it, and it‘s annoying to me that it doesn‘t. Instead, most of the tricks in h ere are based around the idea of medium-sized arrangements of cards. The introduction to the chap ter offers some ideas for getting into position with the arrangements, and some are better than others. ―1″ makes the most sense to me if you‘re going to be working with a large stack. It‘s worth mentioning that with the rise of full-deck stacks, a lot of work has been put into coming up with routines that are slight variations on traditional card plots but that don‘t alter the stack. Juan Tamariz and Simon Aronson are both worth reading for this sort of thing. That wa y, you don‘t have to worry about opening up with the routine that takes advantage of the stack exactly, and  put that off for later. Starting with a version of Triumph that maintains the stack, for instance, might get them looking for sleight-of-hand prowess in subsequent routines, which can be a nice way to get one-ahead of them in a different way. ―2″ strikes me as somewhat problematic. When I‘m working, I tend to end up with a diminishing deck due to signed cards being handed out during the course of the evening. A lot of the time,  people don‘t notice, but when they do, I‘ve got a fair answer for it, and the magic itself doesn‘t suffer (meaning, working with 40 cards doesn‘t explain how their signed card ends up in my hat). If you‘re going to have to make a move to the pocket to retrieve cards and then boldly add them, I think you‘re taking a bit of a risk. Now, some deck switch approaches might work here. Juan Tamariz had a neat idea for ringing in a deck —  force the 3 of clubs (or whatever) and turn around while they show the card to everybody (justified by standard operating procedure of making sure the magician can‘t see the card) and then ring in the stacked deck that‘s missing the 3 of clubs on top. Reveal the 3 of clubs, and then move into the stack work. Something like this could conceivably work with grabbing a small arrangement. I‘d probably want to force several cards to make a bigger deal out of the moment (turning your back on the audience is a fairly memorable moment that requires, in my opinion, a suitably impressive trick to match it), make sure that ringing it in was totally expedient, and probably motivate a trip to the pocket by putting the card box away or something. I also wouldn‘t do this (I don‘t think) with an arrangement larger than a half-dozen cards. The real benefit to this sort of strategy is that the spectator can shuffle to their heart‘s content, but that means making sure that a spectator doesn‘t notice that the deck is missing a few cards. Good spectator selection might help, but I don‘t necessarily know if it‘s worth taking that risk. And, if you‘re not going to let them shuffle, you might as well just go with ―1″ above. ―3″ strikes me as lame. I can‘t imagine doing any sort of open arrangement of cards and then doing an effect which relies on them. Now, I‘ve gone through the deck and culled, but to me

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there‘s a huge difference between being seen to be picking out and reordering specific cards, and  being seen going through the deck to make sure there aren‘t any jokers, and apparently doing nothing else. A cull will have the potential disadvantage of not ending up with the culled cards in a correct order, though. In any case, yeah, I‘m sure it probably flies b y most people, but it strikes me as terribly inartistic. If you‘re trying to do something like an on-the-spot arrangement of the four aces or whatnot, a cull is definitely the way to go. ―4″, on the other hand, reads much better to me. I think this would definitely fly, assuming that you‘re doing a trick where you‘re apparently uncertain of what‘s going on, and then moving into the next trick gracefully — or perhaps even having another trick in between them that doesn‘t alter your arrangement. If I ever relied upon rearrangements, I‘d probably do this. One potential application for this could be forcing a card, letting them shuffle, and then acting as though you forgot that they weren‘t suppose to shuffle, before moving into the Biddle Trick, doing the arrangement while picking through several cards which are necessary to set up the Biddle Vanish anyway. One additional thing that isn‘t mentioned in the book but that I alluded to previously, was the idea of doing a deck switch. It‘s a much bolder strategy than just ringing in a few cards, but the rewards are such that a great many magicians have put the effort into finding wa ys to do it. The deck switch is a whole topic unto itself, though, and I‘m not conversant in all the techniques available out there, so you‘ll unfortunate have to research that one on your own. Finally, that last point in the chapter is wo rth stressing, that of doing a thorough-looking false shuffle once the arrangement‘s in place. If I were going to go the ―1″ routine, I think that‘d be one of the first things I‘d do immediately after pulling the cards out.

“The Selective Touch” This reads lame to me, and seeing Daryl perform it on his Revelations DVD series didn‘t help. This is one of those tricks that would be at the bottom of the list of things I‘d want to do if I had real magic powers. The only way I could see this playing well is if it were a follow-up to a trick where you found their selection by touch from your pocket, only to offer to do it again, but apparently screwing up and forgetting to have that card replaced into the deck, at which point it would make sense that you could come up with such a ludicrous way of finding their card. Also, there‘s no way I‘d want to know what the card is before going fishing for the other cards necessary to identify it. Instead, if I was going to say that my sense of touch is so sensitive that I know which card is where, I‘d start that bit by saying, ―Well, it‘s easy! All I have to do is go through all fifty-one cards and figure out which one is missing. Now, I‘m thinking that I got the suit right, because I only counted twelve. If I‘m right, the suit of this card matches your card. For the first time, what was your suit?‖ ―Diamonds.‖ Turn over the card you fished out to show it‘s a diamond. Proceed similarly to get the index value.

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“A Future in Cards”  Not really too keen on the scope of effect here. On his Easy to Master Miracles series, Richard Osterlind talks about being able to give the impression of showing a large fan of cards when really only five or six are visible —  something like that I think would be far better here. I also don‘t like the idea of you actually seeing the cards ahead of time that you‘re going to ask them to think of. If I was going to do this trick, I‘d open with a known prearrangemen t, shuffle or cut it into the middle, force that spot, and then let them think of any card they wanted from a fan. Of course, if I was aiming high, I‘d dump this trick altogether and instead start looking into something with a memorized deck.

“Jacks Wild” While I‘m sure the discrepancy flies for many, it strikes me as unnecessarily risky. I don‘t k now how highly this rates when compared to a proper gambling demonstration since those routines are not really my thing, but my impression is that if you‘re going to go this route, there are better routines than this. A Poker Puzzle, earlier in the book, strikes me as stronger. That said,  presentationally there might be some potential in the idea of dealing the three Jacks a couple of times (only to yourself, rather than to them), so that you win a couple of heads-up games, explaining that you‘ve been working on dealing yourself a three Jacks whenever you wanted, and then, after the reversal, dealing them an incredibly strong hand that should beat Three Jacks, only to reveal that you‘ve dealt yourself the Four Aces (or whatever). Now, as with an y magician-wins-spectator-loses presentation, you‘re taking a risk that they won‘t hate you afterwards, but plenty of performers have found ways to pu ll that off.

“Think Stop” Yeah, I don‘t buy the magic behind this effect at all. Either the magician is really counting down from 21 and saying the number he‘d counted to when the spectator said ―Stop‖, or else that‘s a  bunch of nonsense to justify the magician naming whatever number he‘d planned on anyway. I‘m thinking that since the spectators can never v erify the legitimacy of the claim, it‘s too easy to assume the latter. If you‘re going to work with this arrangement, I‘d jump straight ahead to…

“Deal Away” Denis Behr‘s archive lists this as a variation of the Lazy Man‘s C ard Trick, which is itself a wellregarded trick. This one doesn‘t strike me as that bad — it‘s certainly less transparent than ―Think Stop‖, and I believe Ed Marlo had something extremely similar to this in h is own work. To me, the real key is trying to get to a position where the spectator doesn‘t have to do a whole massive load of dealing, as well as trying to justify why the selected card shows up after one card rather than the first three (or whatever) that they d ealt to. I‘d probably want to design the  presentation so that it seems like they‘re dealing down for no apparent reason, and then (upon finding a club, and then dealing down that amount) saying ―Are you getting bored of this yet?‖ hoping to elicit a ―Kinda.‖ response, and then just asking what their card is, and getting them to turn over the next one.

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“The Educated Cards” I‘m going to guess that you‘re sick and tired of me spouting the old adage that one of the weakest ways to reveal a card is within the deck. Well, I‘m going to spout it again. There‘s a slight difference with the previous trick in that with ―Deal Away‖ you can really play up the amount of card handling that the spectator is doing, but with this particular trick you‘re doing all the work. At the very least, after shuffling, talk them through a false cut (such as the Jay Ose cut), and then let them deal by themselves. Or else, learn a better trick. I do like the placement  procedure, but the payoff doesn‘t do anything for me. As for the initial setup procedure, which  places the cards at the necessary points in the deck, I‘m baffled by it. Presumably it‘s there to that you can just arrange the four cards you need on top of the deck and then openly get them into place, but if you‘re going to have to move those cards around, you might as well have just slotted them in at the necessary spots. Alternately, the actual shuffle they reference (the Faro) could help you do this, and at the very least it can look like you‘ve shuffled the cards properly ahead of it. There just doesn‘t seem to be a need to do it —  better to just have the arrangement already and head into the effect. The range forcing procedure is nice, but magicians have put it to  better use (Eugene Burger, in ―Exploring Magical Presentations‖, has a very good trick that uses the idea).

“Reds and Blacks” The divided deck principle is worth knowing, and this application of it might be good enough,  but there are more deceptive ways to go about it than just having half the deck red and the other half black. Now, if there is one advantage to having a separation like that, it‘s that it‘s a decent lead in to other, stronger tricks (such as some han dlings for Out of this World), but if the aim is  just to be able to pull off this specific trick, then you could learn a better system for dividing the deck into two halves so that you can spread the cards out face-up ahead of time to show what looks to be a properly mixed deck. After all, if the magician asks you to take a card from one half of the deck and put it into the other half, it seems to suggest that there‘s some fundamental difference between the two halves, and there‘s little more obvious than a separation of blacks and reds. Daryl, in his Encyclopedia of Card Sleights, offers some good ideas for a divided deck, and there are several resources that teach the Ireland Shuffle, which is a great shuffle for this setup. You might also want to consider just having them freely take any card they want from the spread (making sure to only spread over the top half) and replacing it anywhere they want into the spread (making sure that you‘re now offering them only the lower half) —  something like this could work well for the various ―pulse readin g‖ tricks in the book. After that, they can cut as much as they want and there‘s no problem. It‘s a nice memory that the y can shuffle their packet as much as they like, but the trade-off (that of treating the two halves as being conspicuously separate entities) isn‘t worth it to me. You might also want to consider learning Juan Tamariz‘s ―Neither Blind Nor Stupid‖, which is a trick of this same general class of effect, but with two selections instead of one, justification for

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every step of the effect, and a presentation that really stresses the fairness and makes the reveal seem that much more impossible. The end state is also worth considering.

General Thoughts on this Chapter Bleah. Go learn Si Stebbins and Eight Kings, or else memorize a deck that looks like it‘s been shuffled, and then master a false shuffle and cut, and you‘ll have access to material which is a hell of a lot better than what‘s here. This definitely ranks up there with the False Shuffles and Cuts chapter as being one of the most disappointing in the book —  I made some recommendations in that other chapter‘s annotations that you might want to look into. Consider what arrangements allow you to do: you can deal any poker hand you want; you can let them take a free choice of any card, shuffle it back into the deck, and you‘ll still know what it is; you can ask them to name any card, and instantly it‘ll be on top of the deck, at any number down in the deck, at your fingertips, at their fingertips, inside your pocket or hat, etc.; you c an have multiple cards change into a four-of-a-kind instantly; you can tell an entire story based on the cards that keep turning up; and so on… These are feats far more m ysterious (and less trivial) than what‘s in this chapter, and they‘re not all that hard, either. Well, the on e where the named card instantaneously jumps where you want it to will take some work, but there are still great effects attainable while you build up your skills to that level. Grrr…. Anyhow, next up, Routining.

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Chapter 19, Routines This is a fascinating topic for me, since this is one of those things that many magicians have found their own approaches to. That said, while there are a lot of potential models, they‘re not exactly easy to hunt down. Later on I‘m going to be listing the ones I‘ve gleaned from various  places in our literature, but for now, let‘s see what Royal Road has to say about it. Some of what‘s in here is going to be interesting for several reasons. First, when routining, it‘s not usually about choosing all the strongest tricks in there and packing them into your show —  rather, you usually aim for escalation, and that can mean that you‘ll want to actually open somewhat noticeably weaker than how you close. Second (and this follows from the first), the key component is often not so much about the tricks but how they relate to each other, so even though ―A Tipsy Trick‖ and ―Do As I Do‖ might both be good tricks, it might also be awkward to have them in the same set. Third, this is one of the few resources on routining that focuses specifically on cards. In any case, keep in mind that my opinions here are strictly those of a critic not having seen somebody competent perform these routines as described.

“Routining Card Tricks” Decent enough advice to start with. I dislike ―Topsy Turvy Cards‖ as a rule — it‘s probably safe to say that if you open with it, you‘ll get that escalation dynamic which is great in a show, but that‘s only because the trick is pretty weak to begin with that it‘s almost impossible to follow with something worse. ―Now You See It‖, because of the apparent magician-failure, does have a nice middle-routine element to it, but I think you‘ve got to open stronger. Darwin Ortiz talks about prestige as a concept in Strong Magic, and one of the really important things you‘ve got to do as a magician is establish prestige immediately, particularly if you‘re new to performing for  people. Starting with a weak trick and then moving into a magician-in-trouble trick is going to be a hard sell. I‘ve complained about ―Obliging Aces‖ before — I don‘t think it establishes exactly what the authors suggest, which is that you‘re supremely skilled with cards. That said, the use of ―Now You See It‖ to arrange the setup is a smart idea. ―Do As I Do‖ isn‘t a bad trick, but at this  point we‘re now mixing card tricks of various genres together — we‘ve got a couple of magic effects, apparently one skill- based effect, and then now we‘re moving into mentalism. This sort of thing is usually indicative of sloppy routining, and it will take a great deal of effort for the  performer to find some other way to add consistency throughout the routines, perhaps through character. ―Card To Pocket‖ was another routine I wasn‘t very fond of, and now has us jumping  back towards another magic effect. ―Three Cards Across‖ is considered by many who perform it to be a very strong magic trick —  Bill Malone named his version (not too different effect-wise from this one) as one of the three strongest tricks h e does. If you buy that, then closing with it seems like a good idea.

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Good advice generally to close the section. Frankly, though, I think this set of routines is weak. The only thing it seems to have going for it is escalation. Otherwise, the t ypes of card tricks are all over the place and the individual effects themselves aren‘t all that great.

“A Table Routine” As I stated earlier, I didn‘t really think much of ―A Poker Player‘s Picnic‖ — I‘d look into a different ―Spectator Cuts To The Aces‖ plot. However, going from that into ―A Poker Puzzle‖ isn‘t bad — the two tricks are related in theme, and it‘s not difficult to flow from one into the other. I‘d go with some of the improvements that have been made on ―A Poker Puzzle‖ so that you end with a Royal Flush, which should be too difficult to set up for since ―A Poker Player‘s Picnic‖ (as well as a variety of other tricks of th e same type) generally don‘t alter the deck all that much, enough that you should be able to have easy access to the Royal Flush cards after the opener. Ending with ―Good Luck Card‖ is a nice choice, since again we‘re talking about a gambling-related theme that ends with a nice punch. Overall, a much better example of good routining than what was in the first section. The tricks have thematic consistency, but there‘s also variety and escalation. The routine is also nice  because it‘s brief and efficient. In the long run, if you‘re looking to try to do tricks of the skill based or gambling-related type, this is a good model — I wouldn‘t blame you if you wanted to tinker with this a bit to introduce slightly stronger versions of each o f the tricks, but it‘s still a good set.

“A Rollicking Routine” ―Rapid Transit‖ is a nice way to open a card set. It‘s a quick and strong effect that doesn‘t involve anybody picking a card (if you don‘t want). ―The Piano Trick‖ is an interesting choice for the next effect — I wouldn‘t do it because I think it‘s silly, but it does continue to establish the idea of cards mysteriously moving about. En ding on a multiple-selection trick is a good idea, it combines all the requisite pick-a-card tricks into one, and having ―Leapfrog‖ followed by ―A Vested Interest‖ allows for escalation on two levels, both within the two-card discovery phase and for the set as a whole. Now, there are better multiple card controls than the sequence suggested by the authors here, but controlling multiple cards is a slightly advanced topic. This is another good set. I wouldn‘t want to do ―The Piano Trick‖, myself, and I might be tempted to up the ante from having two selections to having three (or more? ). If you‘ve got your card control skills down, you could throw ―Pinkie Does It‖ as the first revelation, ―Leapfrog‖ as the second, and end with ―A Vested Interest‖ (or some other card-to-pocket type of trick). Still, there‘s escalation and a lot of traditional card ma gic in here.

“Card Discovery Routine” Opening with flourishes might make sense for those who need to establish their skill — that‘s an artistic choice best left up to the individual magician. I‘d say it fits here, though. ―A Tipsy Trick‖ is a very strong trick —  perhaps even too strong, since it‘s hard to find tricks that will top it. The

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control method for the next three selections using the lift shuffle is interesting to me — I‘d  probably want to make sure that the spectator got to say ―stop‖ wherever they wanted to replace the card, but that should be feasible either with this method, or a modified v ersion of it. Again, we‘ve got another multiple-selection and revelation sequence. ―Double S peller‖ seems like a good trick to me, but it‘s also a bit long, and following it up with the short-and-sweet ―Pinkie Does It‖ creates a weird sort of issue with pacing — I‘d personally want to open the sequence a  bit faster, perhaps with a simpler version of the card speller variety. The suggested revelation for ―A Smart Finish‖ seems interesting, and having that big mess of cards on the floor with the named selection being left behind does seem to have ―closer‖ written all over it. In any case, another decent set of routines. They do offer some ideas for what to do in case you run into some trouble with the multiple selection trick —  that sort of thing can be a lifetime of study, so while the advice here might be useful, it‘s by no means the last word on the subject.

“Razzle-Dazzle Routine” ―The Sevens‖ isn‘t a bad trick, although as an opener for this particular set, it seems like an awkward transition to go from that into some of the other suggested tricks. ―Righting a Wrong‖ is also a pretty good trick, and based on the way the rest of the section unfolds, the idea is that the cards are getting out of hand. ―The Acrobatic Aces‖ is a trick from the second Flourishes chapter, and I‘m not entirely sure I like it as compared to, say, Dr. Daley‘s ―Cavorting Aces‖, in which the Red Aces (placed on the top and bottom) change places with the Black Aces (placed together in the center), followed by several repeats. ―Top Change Byplay‖ is another interesting choice here — I like the fact that it‘s being used to transition between different effects, but I‘m not so sure I like having something like this in the same set as ―Righting a Wrong‖, since both are ―pick a card‖ tricks with the same sort of theatrical dynamic to them, even if the magic isn‘t identical. The arbitrary use of a colour-chan ge immediately preceding it is also interesting — it‘s a sort of random magical occurrence, and while such effects can be effective in making it seem like magic is happening all the time, it‘s not something like Cards To Mouth (Bill Malone‘s signature flourish) where there‘s no risk that spectators might miss it. Ending with the Ambitious Card does seem like a good move, although as I stated in that chapter, there are far better constructions out there. All-in-all, some interesting (yeah, I know I‘ve used that word a bit too much) ideas. If you look into Tommy Wonder‘s writing on ―Failureffects‖ (basically, magician-in-trouble plots), then you‘ll find that he cautions against their overuse. That said, the idea of being a magician who‘s having some trouble controlling the cards could be compelling if played right. I‘d alter the tricks somewhat — open with ―Fours of a Kind‖ (or perhaps a superior ―Matching the Cards‖ handling), then move into ―Cavorting Aces‖ (with whatever four of a kind was produced in the  previous trick), then move into ―Righting a Wrong‖, and then keep control of the ―wrong‖ card, ask them not to select that card again, before doing ―Top Change Byplay‖ where you‘re

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consistently forcing the ―wrong‖ card on them ov er and over. Finally, I‘d end with the Ambitious Card (again, probably with that same ―wrong‖ card).

General Thoughts on this Chapter While obviously only real-world testing of these sets of routines will dictate just how effective they work together, I do think there‘s some good ideas here. The first one did nothing for me, but the next four had some good ideas. I think a student could do a lot worse than study these examples. Here are some other models that you might find interesting. Taken from the o ld Ye Olde… Ich Bin Ein Auflister: Ordering a Set or Act Assuming you‘ve progressed from magic effect to magic trick to magic routine successfully, the final step in figuring out the dynamics of your act is to start figuring out how those routines fit together. There‘s a lot of different thought in how to go about this, and it‘s one of the more fascinating areas of magic theory that‘s still in development. There are going to be some similarities between these patterns (they pretty much all recommend closing with your strongest routines) but they‘ve got some different ideas about the route to get there.  Nelms‘s Upward Slope: As described in Nelms‘s Magic and Showmanship, this idea is fairly straightforward. Take all your routines, figure out the order from weakest to strongest, and that‘s your set. The idea is to create a constant building pattern, leading up to the peak moment, which is your climax. The graph isn‘t really a straight line, it does allow for slight dips that naturally occur after key moments, but otherwise the overall trend is of gradual build. On the surface it‘s self-evidently logical… do you want to start with your strongest effect and gradually get weaker and weaker? That said, are there any other patterns one could adopt? Tarbell/Osterlind Shifting Dynamics: Osterlind credits Tarbell with this idea for structuring an act. The idea isn‘t to rank routines in terms of strength, but instead to sort out routines according to their internal dynamics. Specifically, you open strong, then move into an intimate routine, then do something with a lot of razzle dazzle, then move into something thought-provoking, before ending with the effect you want them to remember you by. Billy McComb Structure: Billy McComb made the intriguing suggestion that an audience can only handle one really strong piece of magic in a show. If this is true, then it opens up new  possibilities — if you‘ve been responsible and read your Darwin Ortiz and taken it to heart, you start thinking about how to turn every magic trick into strong, baffling magic, but is it po ssible that you can really only do it for just one routine? What do you do with everything else in your act leading up to that routine? Very interesting artistic oppor tunities in this one, since you‘re not restricted to a specific quality of magic.

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Pyramid: This is like Nelms‘s Upward Slope, but is slightly more nuanced. Nelms‘s Upward Slope doesn‘t make any distinction about the sort of routines you use, or the powers you‘re claiming as a supposed magician. The Pyramid Structure, on the other hand, is all about building conviction in your ability. You start with the plausible, and grow to the more and more implausible until you reach your desired endpoint, either the extremely implausible to the outright impossible. (I got this from Tyler Erickson, he credits Jamey Ian Swiss and Chuck Hickok) Jazzing: Might as well include this one. Basically, you do tricks one after another. This would be a casual thing for a casual performer. Probably not feasible in most professional situations, but if you‘ve got a wide enough repertoire and you can infuse people with the joy of watching you fly  by the seat of your pants… Dai Vernon did talk about how a good enough understand of card  principles can allow you to make card tricks up on the spot —  an obvious statement, perhaps, but there‘s an interesting idea at the core, there, that one of magic‘s great figures is saying it‘s okay to do a bunch of card tricks that you‘re making up on the spot. Read up on Texture below to look into one of the great potential risks of this sort of thing. One of the great ad vantages to this is that it can create a sort of organic show that might not be available in a more structured environment. If you‘ve got a vision in mind, then interruptions or challenges of any kind might be your enemy  —  in Magic Ranch, Tommy Wonder used a double-faced revelation of the small card within the  plastic egg, for no reason other than he didn‘t want there to be anything distracting from the appearance of the selected card, including having the card land face-down on the spectator‘s hand. No reason to do with ―magic‖ handling at all. If, on the other hand, you want to tap into the energy that can come from impromptu performances, then jazzing can allow you to create a feeling of life that everyone is convinced is tied directly to this specific moment. If there were real magicians walking amongst us, wouldn‘t we want to see if they could do what we wanted them to do, right on the spot? Wouldn‘t it be exciting if they could meet our demands as we made them? Darwin Ortiz makes an interesting point that you can create the feel o f an impromptu moment without actually being impromptu. Read up on your Strong Magic to get more about that. Inverted Pyramid: Also described as ―Every trick‘s a closer.‖ If you‘re working tables at a restaurant, you don‘t always have the luxury of being able to put together a set of pre-determined length that has the dynamics of one of the aforementioned sets, which aim to have a proper climactic moment at the closer. Since dinner can come at any time, it might make sense to treat every routine as if it‘s the closer. Shouldn‘t every routine be as strong as possible? Not necessarily, if you‘re a fan of one of the other dynamics that has more of a build to it. Wonder‘s Table-to-Table Progressive Story: Another great idea for people working tables. It stands to reason that people sitting at adjacent tab les might notice if you do similar tricks at nearby tables and at theirs. A little thought will show that this situation presents trouble,

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 particularly for those who don‘t want to get busted by people who pay too much attention. Wonder had a great idea for his Wild Card presentation. Basically, you go to o ne table and change the chosen Five of Clubs into the Jack of Diamonds. Then, you go to the next table and change all the Jack of Diamonds cards into the Nine of Spades. Then you go to the next table and change all the Nine of Spades into the Queen of Hearts. Basically, anybody who‘s paying too much attention actually gets a richer experience from following you around — there‘s the story inherent in the routine itself, but also a progressive story of watching the same routine being  performed from one audience to the next, since the set of cards that just got changed seems to change into a completely new set. Eugene Burger uses this same idea in a different way. He has a magical appearance of messages from the spirit world, and the magical appearance is one effect. The second effect is when the message is opened up and people get to read what their message is. By having all the messages different, all of a sudden the experience for somebody watching the routines being performed successively for different audiences is enriched because of the new organic situations caused by audiences reacting to contrasting magical messages from the spirit world. It‘s quite ingenious. These next two are less about ordering the set and more about the selections made to fit the set. Texture: Another important idea put forward by Eugen e Burger. This is the sort of thing that creates problems by its absence. Watch Daryl in his Card Revelations series… card trick after card trick after card trick. You can sense the growing ennui in the audience as he keeps finding that card, and it‘s only when he starts giving them some presentational variety that they come  back to life. When he grabs the deck, keeps it to himself, and does a simple Four Ace Discovery, the feeling of everybody suddenly coming back to attention is palpable. Is the problem with Daryl himself? Not really. He‘s just being his regular entertaining self in this series, but the lack of routine variety — one that surely doesn‘t exist in his regular shows —  makes for a less entertaining set. Functionality: This one is another overall guiding principle that I‘m going to credit to Tyler Erickson via Laurent Van Trigt. It‘s similar to texture in that you wan t to choose routines that complement each other, rather than create redundancy, but this one takes things from a sort of more pragmatic standpoint. What this means, simply enough, is identifying the function of a routine. This one can help you evaluate the place a routine might have in your set. Let‘s say that you have an effect in which you produce a ball magically, and then pull out a silk, and then  proceed to do a penetration, followed by a vanish, a reproduction, and then another vanish, all in about a minute and a half. Such a routine would be very good for attracting attention quickly, and to allow people to come into the routine at any point and still see magic before the climax. This sort of routine however, might not adequatel y convey character or allow for much audience interaction. That‘s fine. Other routines can serve that function. Other possible functions? Convey character, create drama, give credit to an audience member, get applause, build prestige, support

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a key claim to power, etc. Obviously a routine can serve different functions, but it‘d be difficult for a routine to serve every function. Obviously not all of these ideas are possible for every venue. Some lend themselves better to strolling venues, while others are better for rigid sets.  ———–  Some other ideas you might find interesting… R. Paul Wilson‘s Connection-Building: In a discussion on three-fly in a thread o n the Magic Pebble, Wilson identified that a set can take on the dynamic of gradually building a connection with the audience. According to Wilson, the opener should involve little-to-no audience  participation, so that the magician basically starts with a routine that basically proves to the audience that he‘s worthy of attention, and then proceeds to build a connection with the audience and draws them into the performer more. Three -fly was an interesting case study in that regard, since it‘s basically a shut-up-and-watch trick, which Wilson thinks is a suitable way to open,  before progressing into effects that are more interactive. However, if you‘ve managed to build the connection, moving into three-fly (or something similar) would be a mistake since it‘d be  breaking the connection. Dan Harlan‘s Triple Trilogy: In his Packs Small/Plays Big DVD series, Dan Harlan outlined h is idea for an act structure, which involves three groups of three routines. The opening section is a warm up, where the magician and audience learn about each other, and the three routines have respective functions: set a first impression, get acquainted, and then get to the point and wrap up. The second section involves the performer displaying his versatility and skill (as a performer, not necessarily doing skill-based effects), and those three routines involve doing something different or unique, then visual and quick, then displaying dexterity, skill and/or something classic. The third section is for creating positive memories, and those routines start with doing something relaxed (possibly a lead-in to the next effects), then moving into a Showstopper/Blockbuster type of routine, and then ending with something that will create a lasting impression upon the audience. You‘ll want to look into his DVD series to see the sorts of routines he slots into each one, which is a worthwhile study on its own. Roy Benson‘s 4 Parter: This was described in the Roy Benson By Starlight book, although I should point out that this is from my notes after having read the book last in Minnesota. The idea is to have four parts, although they‘re not all equal. First, you establish yourself as a magician (some brief opener that lets them be passive); second, you have a routine that builds a connection  between you and the audience, lets them get to know you; third, you present your strongest mystery; and fourth, you present your big send off. I‘m actually very, very partial to this as a  base outline as it solves a few problems. Strong mysteries don‘t always elicit big applause —  they can, but not always, as people might have their reactions divided between ―Yay!‖ and

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―WTF?‖. The function of the last piece should be to get you a strong ―Yay!‖ reaction, and every now and then that happens best with something that gets people‘s emotions engaged, builds tension and energy, and then offers a single identifiable ―Ta-da!‖ moment to release that energy. Mysteries often benefit from focus and simplicity, but that can also dampe n the tone (again, not always, but it can). What‘s more, strong mysteries frequently benefit from having somebod y up on stage to verify that things are fair, but a lot of people, when they close, don‘t want to be sharing the stage. Really, what this sort of thing encourages is the idea of finding a routine that feels like a closer. That ought to give you enough to digest for a while. Next up, the platform tricks.

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Chapter 20, Platform Tricks In this final chapter, we get to one of the reasons why I think Royal Road, if studied thoroughly, is much more than just a beginner‘s text. Frankly, if you could master some of the stuff in here, you‘d be in the upper echelon of modern card magicians. Some of these plots are up there with the things Ricky Jay and Michael Vincent are doing, and we could always use more stage card magic to choose from just so everybody isn‘t doing the Invisible Deck. Again, I don‘t do these tricks, so I‘m critiquing them from the point of view of how I imagine they‘d play out.

“Conus Ace Trick” This is pretty good. I like the fact that the magician establishes a certain amount of ability with the four aces before upping the ante to having them travel to the inner pocket of the assistant‘s  jacket when it‘s been buttoned up. Such jackets are not as commonplace in casualwear as they might have been a long time ago, so it might be somewhat problematic to perform in that regard. That said, I like the opportunity for byplay and the three-act structure of the thing, prior to the apparent climax. Three things here that I think are drawbacks —  first, the authors could have  been clearer about the outs necessary for getting the other aces into position just in case the spectator doesn‘t say ―Two on the top and two on the bottom‖; second, if you‘ve put a crimp into a packet of cards so that the crimp is visible from a distance, taking those c rimps out without getting detected isn‘t exactly a trivial task (this specific feature of the cards is what makes the famous pop-up card climax in the Ambitious Card routine possible); third, the amount of misdirection needed to get rid of the indifferent card (after the aces are shown to have vanished from under the spectator‘s hands) would need to be massive —  I could see it working, but even dumping the aces on the face of the deck would allow you to accomplish pretty much exactly the same thing without having to worry about getting caught on an unnecessary acquitment of the indifferent card. Also, I‘d probably try to find a w ay to ditch the aces in the pocket whilst fetching the card box, or something like that. Still, the feints in the middle are fun, and that climax ought to be a good one. If one could get past the problems mentioned earlier (and which I might be over-paranoid about) then this would be a really strong card routine. One thought on taking the crimp out of the aces… one could turn the deck over and do a strong  pressure fan (bunching the aces up at the top so that they‘re not visible) and show it to the assistant, saying ―…and please verify that there aren‘t an y other Aces here.‖ (or something like that, perhaps less bold?). This would fit the way th e trick is going presentationally while getting the bend out of the aces.

“Ladies’ Looking Glass” I‘m genuinely torn on this one. I do multiple-selection routines all the time when I work, and I‘m  pretty much biased towards a plot wherein the cards are revealed in increasingly impressive ways, rather than doing the same thing over and over. For this sort of trick to work, I believe that the movelessness of it has to be played up incredibly high —  handling would have to get reduced to just about nothing, since I feel that the spectators could disregard the possibility of duplicates

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and instead just think you just somehow controlled their actual selections to the top and bottom, which is a fair suspicion given what we‘re capabl e of doing. As such, when you‘re there and  palming off and setting the duplicates, it seems really risky to me. Also, I think it‘s unreasonable and unnecessary to ask spectators to remember more than one card.  Now, that said, the visual of the magician having the deck sit on an open palm, and just sort of shaking the cards lightly, and then making a card that the spectator is convinced is in the middle rise to the top, seems quite magical to me. I‘d almost want to have the hand rotate so that the cards are going back and forth and not up and down, as if you were holding a bowl of water and swirling it about. Also, plucking two cards out of th e air in the manner described is a nice climax  — I think it‘s cleaner from a proper palm, so I‘d go that route, but the climax is still a nice one. So… yeah, dunno what to think. I believe if one were to do this sort of trick after having done some really impressive stuff with sleight of hand already, and the y were able to get the handling down so that it looked really, really clean, it could be a nice trick.

“Everywhere and Nowhere”  Now THIS is an interesting trick. Created long ago by the venerable Mr. Hofzinser, many modern card magicians try to show this trick as a classic of card magic. Below are Michael Vincent and Tommy Wonder doing it, and if you go hunting you might be able to find Ricky Jay‘s take on it. CLICK FOR MICHAEL VINCENT VIDEO CLICK FOR TOMMY WONDER VIDEO On the surface, this seems like it should be a very strong trick, but to be honest, there‘s something almost unsatisfying about it to me. If you‘ve got the power to make several indifferent cards or an entire deck of cards change into a selection, that sort of renders the whole pick-a-card thing as a mundane exercise, doesn‘t it? What‘s more, Roberto Giobbi mentioned that the only really satisfying way of doing this trick is to use du plicates… and yet, if you let them catch onto the fact that you‘re using duplicates, there‘s not a whole lot of magic going on, is there? For a while I was obsessed with trying to find a fulfilling way of d oing this trick, but I ended up dropping it for other plots. I think there‘s something telling about the fact that just about every trick from Ricky Jay‘s 52 Assistants show is easily found except for this one. And, on a Magic Cafe thread, Michael Vincent had the following to say about it: ―It has taken me 100s of  performances to come to the realisation that the high point of this effect is the first revelation. After that, the effect goes down hill and nothing you do will rescue the effect from that point on.‖

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 Now, I do think that this particular approach in Royal Road has a lot going for it, since it almost takes the trickster‘s way out. I think that lowering their expectations, so that they believe that you‘re using many duplicate cards, only to show that you‘ve been fair all along, can actually create a strangely compelling paradox in the minds of a spectator — assuming you‘re offering compelling proof that the cards are gone, it‘s as though you‘re capable of real magic powers, but you‘re downplaying the hell out of them, rather than putting them on display. The idea is essentially this — you want the audience to feel like it‘s catching you in the midst of trickery, only to then turn the tables on them. This means that it‘s not enough to just do the trick… you‘ve got to be the sort of performer who‘s happ y to get into a cat-and-mouse game with the spectators, to let the atmosphere reek of trickery, only to then have that fog clear to reveal the magic. You also, in my opinion, need to make proper use of the duplicates. The spectators have to come to the suspicion that you have duplicates, but I don‘t think they‘re allowed to actually see two cards at once. So, for instance, you‘ve got the magician holding a card in one hand, and there‘s another card on the table. The magician flashes the eight of spades, and then gestures towards the next card. The eight of spades is tabled face-down. The other card is turned over and it is shown to be the eight of spades. Once all attention goes towards the original card, it has to be turned over to show it‘s now some indifferent card. It has to be that clean and that open (with no extra contact with the cards to suggest a switch was possible) so that the only possible explan ation is that you‘ve got duplicates, at which point you show that there aren‘t any other eight of spades anywhere. Many modern magicians have tried to make the ―Everywhere‖ part of ―Everywhere and Nowhere‖ obvious, and I think that‘s a mistake. The magic shouldn‘t be that you‘ve made several cards (or the entire deck) become the eight of spades, but rather that the eight of spades can appear where it needs to be. In my opinion, that‘s a subtle, but important, difference. As such, while the plot and the moves aren‘t all that complicated, I think th is is an extr emely advanced trick from the point of view of showmanship. It‘s almost like it‘s Hofzinser‘s version of Fermat‘s Last Theorem, a puzzle put forth to plague and confound future upper -echelon card magicians who really want to make their marks as artists. So, yeah, do this one at your own risk. Otherwise, though, I think Ro yal Road‘s approach is fine construction-wise, although I‘d want to tweak the script at the end. To what, exactly, I have no idea…

“Egyptian Pocket” A Vancouver magician by the name of Travis Bernhardt named this trick as the one from the  book he‘d really like to see someone do, and I (having overlooked it the first time) went back to re-read it and immediately was forced to agree. The basic description of it is really compelling… Four cards are chosen by spectators, returned to the deck, which is shuffled and then placed into the spectator‘s pocket. The spectator is told to rea ch in and just grab a card. He does so, and succeeds in finding three of them, but cannot find the fourth. The deck is removed, and the

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spectator blows on his pocket, finding the fourth card there. The magician then points out that the spectator blew too hard, and all of a sudden he starts pulling out fistfulls of cards —  from the text, ―an avalanche of cards‖ —  out of the various pockets. This will require some fairly bold work on the part of the performer to pull off, but the trick just reads great. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you‘re an intrepid soul), nobod y‘s doing this trick, so we don‘t have any footage of it, but I imagine that if somebody did it and performed it well, he‘d become an instant sensation in the magic community.

“Cards to the Pocket” This is a classic plot, and I‘m going to have to defer to Hugard and Braue that this is a workable construction for it. I do know that the approach for the last card — the usual Achilles‘ Heel for this trick — actually looks great if it‘s done well (the aforementioned Mr. Bernhardt do es this quite capably). It‘s an interesting approach to try t o get the audience to remember the identity of the cards — this can sort of lead them somewhat astray so that they‘ll be unprepared for the first move, which gets you very far ahead, but the count later on to show five cards as seven risks somebody noticing that the same card has been shown multiple times. I wonder if it‘s necessary to do the count faces-out, but the suggested body-turning strategy seems like it should both work and be very disarming. The handling for the fifth card‘s voyage is bold, a lthough considering the whole damn trick is bold, it should have strong climax potential (as the authors suggest). The rest of the trick reads well, and that final card steal does look great if it‘s well executed (certainly much better than I originally thought it would from reading it, and frankly, I think it‘s at least as good as —  if not superior to — other ideas you‘ll find).  Now, I‘m a coward, so I‘d probably want to use fewer cards, and probably do something more akin to Paul Potassy‘s approach, where you‘re using a bit more subterfuge to make the cards  jump to various pockets, but I think this trick has a lot going for it. You get way ahead early, you‘ve got a nice mid-routine moment, and the final card‘s vanish can look great.

“Enlarging and Diminishing Cards” I think the authors are on the right track about using this sort of trick as part of a larger routine of the ―Cards Up The Sleeve‖ variety. A performer would need to really leve rage his presentational ability in order to make sure that it‘s not obvious that the card fans have anything to do with the method. The authors suggest that Robert-Houdin used it as a follow-up to ―Cards Up The Sleeve‖ —  I think that would require careful routining in order to get the most out of that moment where an entire fan of cards is pulled out. Having watched John Carney do the trick, with large messes of cards coming out, and cards sometimes getting stuck, all in the hope of trying to find the one card the spectator selected (which ends up being the only card that doesn‘t travel up the sleeve), I‘m partial to that presentation of the trick, and I‘m not quite sure how this would fit in. I‘ll have to defer to the opinions of others on this one.

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“Three Cards Across” For the life of me, I‘ve never understood u nderstood why people like this trick, but many magicians magicians swear  by it —  it —  again,  again, Bill Malone called it one of the three strongest things he does with cards, and his version isn‘t all that different from this one. Malone‘s version has some advanta ges in that the deck seems to be out of play, and the packet travels from one group of ten to another group of ten, both of which are being bei ng sat on by spectators, but even this more basic form of it has been endorsed. The one thing that I think is wrong with this trick‘s construction is that the Three of Clubs (or whatever) is selected before the magician last touches the packet that the spectator counts out. Ideally, you don‘t want them to remember that you touched it at all, a ll, but I think an added level lev el of mystery is to have that Three chosen (rather than just named) after the spectator cov ers their pile of counted cards. It‘s worth mentioning that Bill Malone also be lieves that the card needs to be selected after the packets are all counted and tucked away. Otherwise, I do like the way that the trick is constructed. If you like it as well, I‘d recommend looking into Bill Malone‘s version, as well as Paul Harris‘s Las Vegas Leaper, which is highlyhighlyregarded in the card magic community. Others also swear by ―Zen‘s Ultimate Cards Across‖, which is in JG Thompson‘s My Best, and which has some interesting features to it which I‘ll let you discover on your own.

“Everybody’s Card” I & II A single card apparently changes into four (version I) or three (version II) selections. The authors suggest that the major difference between I and II is that I is meant for larger audiences, and II for more intimate audiences, but one feature that I think is strikingly different between the two is the idea of the selected cards c ards being tabled in I, but returned to the deck in II. After all, if the first selection is replaced in the deck, it only makes sense that the second spectator could have taken the same card as the first spectator, in which case pretending that magic was responsible for changing one into the other is weak. In version I, though, the spectators see the selections being  placed on the table, making it seem impossible for each person to have selected the others‘ card. In any case, it‘s hard to know kno w what to think is exactly going on with these tricks. On the one hand, it would seem that actually actuall y having a single card selected change chan ge into four other selections would be the way to go, but in order for the magic ma gic to be legitimate, I think the dual-reality dual -reality ploy that the authors have described doesn‘t work —  everybody  everybody there would need to be a witness to the change. Perhaps the playfulness p layfulness in the selection procedure that the authors de scribe could be leveraged somehow, so that there‘s something inherently interesting in a tricky character  producing such an apparently compelling mystery, but it would seem to me that in order to truly get the most out watching this trick, the audi ence at large can‘t be left out ou t of it. That said, actually having a single card change into four selections (in a manner that everybody could verify) would be a hard sell if you were holding a deck in the hand, because even if the switches

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were extremely clean and/or visual, the deck d eck itself is present as a logical source for the switchedin cards to arrive from, and as a destination for the switched-out cards to go to. Perhaps if there were a way to change a single card into three or four selections barehanded and with the deck absent, and with the final card being verified as a non-gimmicked card, we could have something a lot more magical. Or, perhaps I just don‘t understand understand the psychology of this trick. One thing that‘s worth pointing out is that the use of the classic force makes the whole selection  procedure quick and efficient —  efficient — that‘s that‘s one of the positive side-effects side-effects of that technique. I couldn‘t imagine getting getting into position using a different force without a lot of histrionics.

General Thoughts on this Chapter Good stage card tricks aren‘t easy to come by, and once one shows up and is proven good, it  becomes pretty much ubiquitous. Go to a bunch of stage shows that have card magic in them, and you‘ll find a lot of similarities —  things  things like Six Card Repeat, the Invisible Deck, Cardiographic, Homing Card Plus, and Tossed Out Deck are everywhere. As such, any time you can find something with a deck of cards that plays plays big, you‘ve got to cherish it… and probably keep your mouth shut about it as well. As such, in addition to the ones in this chapter (some of which strike me as very good), some other old-school stage tricks that you might want to look into are Cards Up The Sleeve (Erdnase has a decent-enough decent-enough version, although I think John Carney‘s work on it is great), a MultipleMultipleSelection-Revelation trick (which will require you to determine a wa y to keep control of several cards, as well as determine a set order of revealing them which increases in impact), the Rising Cards (one of those great old plots that are difficult to present, I suspect, because people don ‘t know how to prove that you‘re not working with gimmicked apparatus), and perhaps something like Malini‘s Malini‘s Card Stab (where several cards are found via stabbing them with a knife whilst the magician is blindfolded). Card to Ceiling is also worth c hecking out if you‘ve got control over o ver the venue. If you don‘t mind performing something a little less epic than what‘s described here, I‘d also definitely recommend looking into ―The Changing Card‖ from the Top Change chapter. If you want to go the Mentalism route, you probably should look into Par-Optic Vision (described in Annemann‘s Practical Mental Magic), Richard Osterlind‘s Radar Deck, and  perhaps some of the various ―Card Calling‖ routines out there (I personally like like Bob Cassidy‘s). Of course, this is just from my own research —  research —  I  I have no doubt dou bt that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of great ones that I‘ve missed. missed.

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Conclusion And there you have it. Lord, I‘m tired. Digging deeper into this book in order to write up the Annotations has forced me to come to terms with some serious flaws in this book. Still, the relatively low cost of the bo ok, combined with the fact that there are some classics of magic in there, makes it a worthwhile purchase. It could use a revision, but since that sort of thing isn‘t going to happen anytime soon, at the very least a companion study guide would be helpful.  ———— -

Recommended Study Guide First, establish general card handling ability. * Learn every technique in the Overhand Shuffle section, including the full deck overhand shuffle. Go research the Si Stebbins or Eight Kings stack. Never leave home without your cards in this stack. * Learn every technique in i n the Riffle Shuffle section, and then jump to the Flourishes Chapter in order to learn the Waterfall Finish. Figure out if you want to be a close-up card magician, a stage card magician, a mentalist, or a gambling demonstrator.

“Close-up Card Magician’s Guide” * Glide. Use the improved technique from Vernon and/or work with a Biddle Bidd le Grip. Learn ―Design For Laughter‖. * Reverses. Study the technique if you like, but learn ―A Tipsy Trick‖ T rick‖ immediately. When you can interact with your spectator and reliably reliabl y get their eyes off the deck whenever when ever you want, learn ―Double Reverse‖. * Key Card. Learn something better than the Cut Replacement. Try to figure out if you can get the Sliding Key Card to work. If so, great. If not, learn the Hofzinser Cull. Actually, start learning the cull anyway. * Force. Learn the Cut Force F orce (Crosscut Force), the Sliding Key Force, and the Riffle Break Force. If you‘re feeling adventurous, learn the Classic Force. Figure out funny ways of revealing their selection. If you can‘t think of any, an y, go google ―Magician‘s Insurance Policy‖ for ideas. * Take a break from studying new techniques, and refine presentations on e verything so far. You should be able to control a selection, switch cards, and force a selection. You should also be able

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to have them take any card in the deck and you‘ll know it immediately. If you can cull, then you can also force a card, let them shuffle, and upon taking it back, spread through the deck to show what a mess they made of it (and also getting control of the forced card and bringing it into  position). Consider learning: ―Pinkie Does It‖, ―Leapfrog‖, ―Gray‘s Speller‖, and ―Poker Puzzle‖ as described in the ―Gambling Demonstrator‘s Guide‖. Go out and perform some of this stuff. At least one of those tricks should fit you. Con sider that there are professional magicians (and yes, some of them are good) who have worked paid gigs doing some of the above. * Start practicing the Palm, the Pass, and the Double Lift. Don‘t take an y of these moves live yet,  just start working on them until you can get them down reliably. Consider the old adage that the amateur practices a move until he successfully pulls it off, and a professional practices a move until he never fails to pull it off. As you‘re getting better at that… * Top Change. Learn the normal technique, and then learn ―The Changing Card‖. This is a good trick, and it‘s worth your while to get a presentation for it. * Palm. Learn all the techniques. Get Carney‘s ―On Palming‖ DVD and learn the method for small packet work. When you can never fail to pull it off, develop a simple Card To Pocket  presentation as described in the annotations chapter, and then start looking into various Card-ToImpossible-Locations. (Ignore the ―Card In Pocket‖ trick). Also consider trying to learn a colour change (if you bought Carney‘s DVD, there are a couple on there you might like). Finally, take a look at ―Three Cards Across‖. * Double Lift. Learn the technique. When you can never fail to pull it off, learn ―Rapid Transit‖ first so that you can make sure you can do it live (you might be more nervous than you realize), and then after that, start learning a proper ―Ambitious Card‖ Routine. Now, revisit any old trick (such as ―Pinkie Does It‖) and consider how you can shuffle the card into place, but then also show that it‘s not on top or on the bottom, implying it is somewhere in the middle. If your palm is down, learn ―I‘ve Got A Surprise For You ‖. Also, get your hands on ―Easy to Master Card Miracles 1″, which will teach you another great trick using this move, and a bunch of other stuff. If you‘ve done everything else thus far in the book, you should be ready for ―Fours of a Kind‖, or perhaps a better version of that general plot, such as Dai Vernon‘s ―Matching the Cards‖. * Pass. After you‘ve been working with this for a year, start looking into what it c an do for you. If nothing else, it should fit nicely into an Ambitious Card routine. * Once you can pass, double-lift, top-change and palm, practice Tyler Erickson‘s Wheel of Pain. Have a card selected and returned. Pass. Double-lift to show it‘s not on top. Snap your fingers, show the change. Look confused as you top-change. Say that you could have sworn that they took a different card (flash it, and then return it into the deck, palming off the top card (aka

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Marlo‘s Misdirection Palm) because the card they selected was in your pocket the entire time, and produce their card from the pocket. That‘s three hits of magic in 15 seconds. Rinse and Repeat. * Consider research into methods of controlling multiple cards. I‘m partial to the cull, b ut if you‘re able to make the Lift Shuffles look good, or if you discover some o f the techniques I talk about in the annotations of that chapter, you‘ve got other options. Start looking into impressive ways to reveal a bunch of cards in succession. * Finally, consider that there are some techniques in card magic that aren‘t covered at all here. The Side Steal, the Crimp, the Tilt, the Cull, and the Elmsley Count are five good ones to start with —  the Elmsley Count alone will open you up to a whole new world of small packet magic (that might be somewhat difficult to escape from). * Take another break. If you can do the above, then you have a solid repertoire of card magic, and if you can execute and present even three of the above tricks well, you‘ll be at the level of a  professional. Go learn a coin trick. * To go further, study the DVDs of guys like Bill Malone, Michael Ammar, Daryl, etc. Also, simply due to sheer volume and quality, look up Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo.

“Stage Card Magician’s Guide” * Follow the path of the close-up card magician, but you should focus on tricks that play big in lieu of those that play small. Figure out if flourishes fit your performing persona. Look into the chapter on Stage Tricks (as well as some of the tricks named in the Annotations) and see which of them would work for you. * Study the work of guys like Ricky Jay, Michael Vincent, etc.

“Mentalist’s Card Guide” * Buy Tony Corinda‘s 13 Steps to Mentalism. Do it now. * Pull out your deck in Si Stebbins. Have them select an y card that they wish. Here‘s the  pretense — you‘re trying to build a mental connection with the person you‘re with. Get them to concentrate on their card, and then name the colour and then figure out if it‘s a picture card or a number card. Stop there, because you‘re having trouble. Get the card back, cut a few times, and repeat. This time, you‘re really close to the card, but you can‘t tell the exact suit, or you‘re of f by one number. Do it a third time, and then get it perfectly. Do it once more, and then get it just a bit faster. Excellent. Put the cards away and mov e into a completely different routine, such as something from Corinda.

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* Key Card. ―Do As I Do‖. The other tricks in this chapter are slightly thick on the challenge, but you should be able to present something like ―Non-Poker Voice‖ capably (you might want to change up the presentation somewhat so that it‘s less card-game related, unless you can make that motif fit your character). * Force. You can now predict the future. If you can execute the Sliding Key Force, then now you can have them touch any card that they want, including letting them change their mind, and it‘ll still be the same as the one you had printed in a newspaper classified ad that morning. * Study the blindfold technique in ―Justice Card Trick‖. Have a card selected and shuffle it to the sixth spot. Get a knife and then blindfold yourself. Spread the cards out o ver the table in a haphazard way, keeping track of the sixth card from the top. Stab that card. Get them to name it, display. (Advanced homework: totally free selection, or more than one selection, or they can shuffle afterwards, or all three…?) * Look into advanced stack work from Aronson, Tamariz, and Osterlind. Learn a superior full deck false shuffle, such as Lennart Green‘s Joker S huffle. * Throughout all the above, continue to define and refine your character. What are you capable of? What are you not capable of? Can you do the same thing multiple ways? Can you do the same thing in increasingly fair ways? Can you duplicate the basic feats above using something other than cards? * Study the work of mentalists who make use of cards. Osterlind, Maven, Cassidy, etc. ―Gambling Demonstrator‘s Guide‖ * You might want to consider learning everything in the Close-up Card Magician‘s guide. * Now consider that a lot of that stuff is going to have zero relation to what happens in gambling situations. Top Changes, Double Lifts, Glides, etc. won‘t be of any help to you. At this point, you‘re going to want to look into false dealing (top and bottom, perhaps Greek, probably not Center), and false shuffling (particularly riffle shuffling, refer to the relevant annotations). You‘ll also want to pay particular attention to the situation that gamblers find themselves in —  sitting at a table, dealing with a regular deck of cards, trying to get the best hand. * Get your Ed Marlo and study a decent ―Spectator Cuts to the Aces‖ handling. Also, lear n a quick and flashy production of the Four Aces (or whatever four-of-a-kind you wish). * Learn a decent gambling demonstration. In the Annotations on the Overhand Shuffle (part 2), I described a workable trick wherein, after you d o some quick demonstrations of false shuffling,

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the spectator then shuffles the deck (you obviously can‘t be trusted), and after demonstrating how you can second deal and bottom deal, you then hand them the deck and they deal themselves a royal flush. It‘s not easy, but it‘s a solid piece. * Consider trying to round out your repertoire with things that are gambling-related but don‘t involve card games, such as the shell game, three card monte, and dice throwing. Also (and I think this is an underused concept) look into presentations where you‘re trying to read tells off your assistants — something like ―Non-Poker Voice‖ is a good idea. * Study the work of guys like Darwin Ortiz, Martin Nash, Steve Forte, etc. R. Paul Wilson and Steve Draun have some robust gambling-related material that you might consider, and Rick y Jay‘s gambling demonstration in his 52 Assistants act is well worth checking out.  ———— Assuming that you picked up Royal Road because it was inexpensive and a classic, then you might want to consider similar books. Expert Card Technique, by the same authors, contains many refinements, variations and improvements upon techniques tau ght in Royal Road, as well as a whole host more methods and tricks. S.W. Erdnase‘s Expert at the Card Table, J.G. Thompson‘s My Best, T. Nelson Downs‘s Art of Magic, Arthur Buckley‘s Card Control, and the various books of Self-Working tricks by Karl Fulves will offer more card material than you‘ll know what to do with. The more modern (and inevitably the more expensive) resources will require some research on your part. I could start dropping names of books and DVDs that are worth looking into, but it‘d be massive, extremely biased, and not cheap. Royal Road was highly focused on teaching you tricks that you should be able to do with a regular, even a borrowed, deck of cards. There are a few exceptions to this, but for the most part, if you learn the tricks in the book, you‘ll be ready to do magic on a moment‘s notice. If you get so good with it that you‘re sure you‘ll never need to work with a gimmicked deck… then consider looking at gimmicked decks. The Invisible Deck, or a Svengali, or a forcing deck, or even a deck with a single card pencil-dotted, can be incredible weapons, and if they‘re convinced you don‘t need such gimmicks (because you‘ve proven as much already), then you‘re one more step ahead of the audience. A stacked deck is essentially an unfair prop to be using on the audience, and we know how powerful that can be… right? And while it might have sounded like I was joking before about learning a coin trick, I wasn‘t. Coin magic, and in fact any form of small object manipulation including (especially) the cups and balls, will teach you tons of great lessons that you can bring back into card magic. Routine construction, timing, misdirection, etc. are concepts that are worth a great deal of study. I know I‘ve ragged on a lot of individual tricks in Royal Road, but one thing that even those tricks I‘m not fond of have going for them is thematic unity with other tricks in the boo k. Consider the trick where you‘re pulling named c ards from your pocket… If this sort of thing is

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