TODAY is the launch of my brand new project 'Any Shuffled Deck, Self Working Impromptu Miracles' and it fills a gap in the market that I saw a year or two back - great self working tricks that you can do, starting with a shuffled deck.
I thought it might be interesting to give you guys a bit more information on the tricks featured on the project, so here goes...
1. Interstellar OOTW
Out of This World really is one of the very best card tricks ever. It transcends the word ‘trick’ and, in my experience, genuinely leaves people in a shocked state. The Paul Curry version, with the full deck stack, was the only version for me. So, the question became ‘How do I do THAT version, anytime, and anywhere?’ Luckily the answer was bold and simple - like me! :D There’s a couple of lovely subtleties too, that you can add to other versions, but for me, this is the definitive OOTW routine.
Of all the tricks on the project, this one has probably fooled the most magicians, and once the trailer went live, I got half a dozen messages from card guys literally saying how badly it burned them. That hasn’t happened to me before (aside from Spell-O-Matic) so that was nice, and particularly gratifying knowing that they’d been fooled by something so simple. I think the presentation plays a big role too - the Roy Walton gags really lower the expectation of anything magical, so when you nail the selection, it hits hard. And then the mates turn up, and it’s like a One-Two punch.
3. Gemini Location
While this won’t fool magicians, you’d be hard pressed to find a better commercial card routine. The method is ancient, and so utterly deceptive, but usually it’s used pretty plainly. What holds this all together is the presentation, which is logical, topical and builds up, starting from only just probably plausible all the way up to ‘NO WAY!’ You can also perform it to three people, so it feels like a full on ‘piece’ from a show - not bad for an impromptu self-worker.
4. Silly Questions
I always think that one of the most under explored areas of magic is texture. That is, not every trick you do can be super crazy impossible, otherwise there is no comparison. A good act (even an impromptu one) should have different elements. Lighter moments, serious moments, maybe humour, quick tricks, longer routines and showstoppers. This is definitely a quick trick, and it gives you a great opportunity for comedy and to really tell the audience about yourself as well. The basic effect is that you ask them silly questions, and how they answer whittles down the possibilities until you are left with just one card, which is theirs. Standard plot, but it’s commercial, fast and funny, and great for adding a bit of texture between other, different tricks.
5. Wheel of Fortune
This came about from a Martin Gardner mathematical force that was so simple, it was only borderline deceptive - I had a couple of spectators backtrack it pretty quickly. So, I ended up completely overhauling it - using a fortune telling presentation to justify the counting, working it from a borrowed shuffled deck, and adding in a second prediction, so you end up predicting their past and future. Now, the principle is so well disguised, it’s become one of my go-to tricks.
6. Jack’s Poker
Being able to just produce a thought-of card is a dream effect, and magicians have lots of work arounds. This one was totally new to me, and with Jack Tighe we sat down and worked it into a fast, direct routine. From a shuffled deck, a spectator gets a poker hand, and thinks any card that would make their hand better. Their hand goes back into the deck, and they cut it. And then it’s all over - they have literally cut right to their thought of card! Impossible, slick and smooth, the method is just as good as the effect in this one.
7. Salto Triumph
This uses the old ‘Do As I Do’ routine from Walter Gibson as a starting point, but makes it a bit more impressive, whilst eliminating one ‘moment’ that was in the original. Here, both you and the spectator choose cards, lose them in each others half of the deck, and then the halves are shuffled together, one face up and one face down. A magic gesture later, and the cards all correct themselves, except for the two selections. Magicians tend to overlook Do As I Do plots, but they are classic for a reason - they are powerful because your spectator is so involved, and so these style of tricks shouldn’t be ignored.
8. Last To Turn Up
This is my take on an old automatic card location that a spectator can do themselves. While there is a fair bit of procedure, it’s worthwhile because the spectator chooses, loses and finds their own selection, all without you touching ANYTHING! It also plays great for couples - have the guy choose the card, and the girl lose the selection and then find it again. A great one for informal situations to again add a bit of texture, and make the spectator the magician.
9. Invisible Dice
A favourite tactic of mine is to use geeky presentations to lower peoples expectations, before hitting them with a really strong bit of magic. Here, some silliness with an invisible dice will get people involved and chuckling, and then suddenly, BOOM! You nail a thought of card that you couldn’t possibly have known (and genuinely didn’t!) It uses a simplified Vernon idea, and if it fits your personality, will become a go-to trick.
10. One Over The Eight
What I like about this one is that there is just so much emphasis on all the wrong things, that everyone totally misses the simple method. Three people shuffle, choose random two digit numbers and deal down to them all, taking them to one card that nobody could have known in advance - and it matches a single prediction that was in full view. More of a show piece, as you need three spectators and some space for dealing, but it’s a real fooler, and fits nicely into any sort of mentalism act or routine.