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Reader Question: Tricks With Ungimmicked Cards


Reader Nat Naviroj recently e-mailed to me the following question:

I'm a very serious non-gimmick card magician (from what I've read I know you are one as well) and I'm trying to find some more "impressive" non-gimmick card routines.

Currently my best resources come from: 1) Dan and Dave's “Trilogy,” 2) ““Sam the Bellhop"” and Daryl’s “Encycopedia for Sleights.” From your vast knowledge of card tricks and resources, could you suggest some more non-gimmick DVD's I can benefit from? I've mastered most of the basic sleights needed for card tricks in general.

Thank you for writing. I can answer your request in two ways. First, I can discuss some first rate DVDs that teach tricks that use pure playing cards. Second, I can suggest some great effects that you may learn on titles that may or may not teach you some new moves. I’ll try and address both aspects.

Based on the linked write-ups, you can better determine if a single effect that I mention will be worth the purchase of an entire disc. Also, the write-ups will give you an idea of the difficulty, if you’re more interested in challenging material.

The three resources that you name couldn’t be more diverse. Like you, I’m a fan of Dan and Dave’s “Trilogy,” which teaches lots of flashy flourishes and moves but almost no routines. ““Sam the Bellhop",” on the other hand, teaches a few cool moves to support Bill Malone’s excellent effect. Finally, Daryl’s encyclopedia teaches fundamental card moves. You mentioned in your e-mail that you already perform a good ambitious card, which is always a crowd pleaser.

Have you ever considered a multiple card selection routine where several spectators select cards and you find and reveal them in spectacular ways? For this, I like Matthew Wright’s “"The Unusual Suspect"” His “Big Finish” routine will probably provide you with lots of new moves to learn and practice.

If you’ve learned moves from Bill Malone’s “Sam the Bellhop,” you already know a great way to produce four aces. How about following with a “twisting routine?” I like the version taught by Wayne Houchin on his “Art of Magic.” It’s one of two card effects on a five trick disc.

And while we’re talking four aces, you can perform a “McDonald Aces” style routine with no gimmicks with a good Collin’s Aces routine. For this, LL has a “World’s Greatest Magic” DVD that’s dedicated to the routine with material by David Swain, Bill Malone and more.

While there are only five card effects on the disc, I’ve always liked Nathan Gibson’s The Pasteboard Player,” and especially his “NFG” routine, which I occasionally perform. It’s a sleight heavy version that removes the gimmicks that are used in a commercial packet trick. I’m also a big fan of his “Captain Crunch Cut.” If you like challenging card stuff, you will probably enjoy this one.

You might consider an “all backs” routine. My favorite comes from John Carney’s “Chicarnery.” And how about a “Triumph?” There are lots of great routines out there, but my favorite is John Luka’s “Licked At Last” on his “Uncovered (get the book and you’ll learn more tricks for the money.”

While the DVD is not devoted to playing cards, Etienne Pradier’s Professional Repertoire of Etienne Pradier” teaches a killer “card to pocket” routine. If I didn’t already perform such a routine (thanks John George), I would learn Pradier’s version. I can vouch for the power of this effect. If you want to save money, you can purchase this effect as part of a recent issue of “Reel Magic Magazine” for ten bucks.

Finally, if you’ve been studying Dan and Dave’s “Trilogy,” you’ve got a lot of moves and flourishes, so why not make a routine out them? While I’ve never performed it in my professional work, I have put together a routine that combines the “Tivos” and “Cards Across” moves. The routine plays much like an “ambitious card” routine and I use it for practice. If there’s interest, I can write the sequence down and e-mail it to interested parties.

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