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DVD Review: Incredible Self-Working Card Tricks Vol 5

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DVD Review: Incredible Self-Working Card Tricks Vol 5
Now with a fifth volume, Michael Maxwell offers another set of "self-working card tricks" that require no sleight-of-hand or skill with cards. This DVD is good for beginners and comes with some decent effects and a couple of no-sleight variations on card classics.


I tend to dislike many self-working card tricks because of their use of piles; cutting sequences; stacked decks; suspicious-looking counts and general round-about procedures. Many effects also require the magician to place a pack of cards out of sight-behind the back-to perform the dirty work, a technique that I abhor.

There’s no replacement for good sleight-of-hand and solid card handling skills. But with entertaining presentations, some of the self-working effects here have potential. And Maxwell has compiled good tricks with clever and easy methods.

The strongest trick, “Stolen Cards” is an entertaining effect that uses a colorful deck consisting of cards from 52 different decks-all of the backs are different. Two different cards are pulled from the deck and placed by spectators in different parts of the deck. When the cards are brought back out with the cards immediately next to them, it is shown that the backs and fronts completely match. And the rest of the deck is shown to be of different backs and different values.

This one is easy, strong and disarming. But I’m not sure why Maxwell is explaining a marketed effect here. Spectators should simply purchase the trick as it’s not practical to make your own deck.


In “Hummer of a Trick,” a portion of the deck is cut and given to the magician. The magician shuffles cards face-up and face-down, and allows spectators to shuffle the pack as they wish. The magician takes the mixed up pack and places it under the table and breaks it into two sections. When the two sections are examined, the magician shows that each has the exact same number of face-up cards. This one is esoteric and I hate the action of placing cards underneath the table.

Something of a mini “Out of the This World” is “Hummer's Revealed Mystery.” A portion of the deck is cut and given to a spectator. The spectator is asked to place the pack under the table or behind his back and continually turn over two cards and cut the deck. The pack is handed to the magician who correctly predicts how many cards are face-up in the pack. And the red cards are shown to be face-up and the black cards face-down.

The second phase of “Hummer's Revealed Mystery” is basically a “Triumph” routine where a deck is shuffled with face-up and face-down cards, and a selected card is laster found. Like the prior “Hummer” effect, I dislike all of the sneaky action that takes place out of sight.

Follow the Leader

In the intriguing “Follow the Leader,” the magician removes eight black cards and eight red cards and removes one black card and one red card from these packs to acts as “leaders.” Despite moving the leader cards around in various way, apparently switching piles, the card that is drawn from the red or black pile always matches. This one is very good and along with “Stolen Cards,” among the best effects.

In “Flight of the Knave & Queen,” the twelve court cards are taken from the deck. The magician counts 12 cards, and after a bit of tomfoolery, claims that two cards were made invisible and put into the main deck. At the end, the spectator counts ten cards instead of 12 and two court cards are indeed found in the deck. This is a great effect, but the method, which relies on miscounting is bold. Beginners may get nervous trying to pull this one off.

In a similar vein, “Cards Across” is a non-sleight variation of the classic effect where cards magically travel from one pile to another. The magician show a packet of cards that consists of 12 court cards and 12 black spot cards. One spectator counts 12 spot cards and sits on them. The magician counts the 12 court cards and gives them to a second spectator to sit on. In the end, two cards are shown to have flown from one pack to the other.

This one relies on the same bold count that is used in “Flight of the Knave & Queen.” For simple cards across, I prefer the method by Andrew Normansell (titled “Economy Flight”) which is just as easy and more direct.

In “Mind Mirror,” a spectator is asked to count several cards onto the table and then look at the card. The spectator then puts the card back, shuffles the deck and cuts it. The magician looks through the deck and find the card or reveals it in an interesting way. This one is a no-sleight card control.

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