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Review of “The Cooler” by Christian Engblom

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Review of “The Cooler” by Christian Engblom

"The Cooler" by Christian Engblom

Murphy's Magic
It’s rare to come across a phenomenal and truly innovative, breakthrough new product that’s a game changer - this one for card tricks. TKO 2.0 met this criteria (please click here to read my review) and Christian Engblom's new "The Cooler" offers a brilliant and subtle deck switch that is practical, workable and almost imperceptible. It will be a valuable tool for pros and it opens lots of possibilities for beginners who would have never considered attempting such a feat.

Great for "Blizzard"

I have sometimes performed Dean Dill’s “Blizzard,” a fantastic crowd pleaser where a freely named card is discovered to be the only real card in a blank deck. And “The Cooler” is a natural to support it. Of course, you can use “The Cooler” to allow a mixed deck to instantly turn into one in “new deck” order and ring in stacked and memorized decks. There’s application in poker and gambling effects and even ringing in gaffed cards or entire decks of gimmicked or trick cards.

In execution, you simply rest the deck of cards on top of the card box. Lift the box and cards and the switch seamlessly occurs. It’s smooth and while you’ll still want some misdirection to support you, even a spectator looking directly at the switch and burning your hands will probably not see it.

As the ads state, the switch happens in plain sight, is self-contained in the card box, and may be executed while standing or sitting. And it doesn’t matter what you’re wearing as you won’t need a jacket or sleeves. While the in-the-hands switch is good, I think the table switch is stronger and more natural. The switch itself is not difficult to learn and perform but will take practice.

The Gimmick

The gimmick is well made and sturdy and should last a long time, probably for as long as a magician wants to use it. Just treat it well. “The Cooler” is practical for walk around. Reset is fast but you’ll want to do this out of site of spectators.

Before you can use the gimmick, there’s some necessary work to adapt it to your card box. It can be used with any poker-size deck which will more than likely allow you to adapt it with your favorite deck. For the process, you’ll need two card boxes that you will destroy. The effort is minimal and fairly fast and you should be able to accomplish the necessary work in less than half an hour. The only tools you’ll need are scissors and double-stick tape. Over time, you may need to redo the work with the card box, but the gimmick itself should be reusable.

The accompanying DVD offers good instructions and explanations. It also teaches a couple of great tricks that employ the gimmick.

Making the Switch

Over the years, I’ve personally relied on two deck switches. One is a jacket based switch that I learned from Shawn McCree’s “Mix ‘n Mingle” DVD (click here to read my review) that supported a great Himber effect. If I recall correctly, McCree credited it to Max Maven and I’ve seen a similar switch taught by Shawn Farquhar. (Since McCree’s effect is one where one switches a box of cards for another box, “The Cooler” won’t support this effect. )

The second switch I’ve relied on is a table-based gimmick that is fairly well known. (I have performed “Blizzard” using this gimmick.) I do have one issue with the way that Engblom describes the down sides of using this gimmick. I have used it numerous times and have never been caught, and my handling is different and more efficient than that described by Engblom on the DVD. However, this doesn’t not detract from the strength of his “Cooler.”

Game Changer

Deck switches do take some guts and confidence to execute. Among those that I’ve seen and used, I think “The Cooler” has the potential to be the smoothest and most flexible. Again, you’ll want some misdirection, but done right, most spectators, even those burning your hands, probably won’t see it.

In all, this game changer is good, really good, and it offers lots of possibilities for card workers.

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