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Review of The Trilby Deck by Liam Montier

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Review of The Trilby Deck by Liam Montier

Review of The Trilby Deck by Liam Montier

Traditionally, products that are designed to do a variety of tasks - consider the “all-in-one” screwdriver or kitchen appliance - are usually inferior to a dedicated tool when performing a single task. In the same “all-in-one” vein, the Trilby Deck strives to combine and perform the tasks of two well known gimmicked decks: a svengali and a stripper. However, there’s no “killer trick” that you can perform that effectively takes advantage of this capability, and there’s pretty much nothing that you can’t perform if you possess both a svengali and stripper deck.


Indeed, the possibility of employing the Trilby deck in the function that you want is intriguing and it features brilliant gimmicking. In execution, the Trilby deck does offer some minute advantages over a conventional svengali and effectively works as a stripper deck. But the Trilby needs to be “transitioned” (more discussion on this later), and the “transition” process is not all that much easier than simply switching decks.

As a svengali deck, the Trilby has the advantage of not needing to re-orient the deck before showing the change of cards from indifferent to all key cards. You don’t turn the deck around for a different display, you simply have to shift your grip. With a single move, the indifferent and key cards may be separated to create a “force” deck with the top half consisting of force cards and the bottom indifferent cards. However, by definition, a svengali already acts as a force deck so I don’t see any real advantage here other than that one can allow a “free” selection of a card by spreading the top half of the deck as opposed to the classic svengali force.

The accompanying DVD teaches effects to perform with the Trilby. Many, such as “card at any number,” having a spectator select his card at the top of several piles of cards, transposing a stack of key cards with indifferent cards may be done with a conventional Svengali.

Stripper Deck

As a stripper pack, the Trilby doesn’t need to be handled in the classic “hindu” style. And since the gimmicking is in a different place, the deck will fool those who know what to look for in conventional stripper decks.

Using the stripper functions, the DVD teaches tricks such as cutting to four aces and a so so card to pocket (actually, you’re finding the selected card in the deck that’s in your pocket - if you understand the principles of a stripper deck you’ve already figured this one out). There is an exceptional triumph effect. It’s a version of John Bannon’s 'Play it Straight.' There’s also a stripper version of “Out of This World.”

The ads also tout the Trilby’s ability to work as a color changing pack where a deck apparently changes colors from red to blue and spectators select a card and it’s the only red card in a blue-backed deck. These features could be accomplished with a specially constructed svengali deck, but it’s good to have them here as part of the Trilby.

Transitioning and "Killer Trick"

The Trilby is based on principles similar to those used in conventional svengali and stripper decks but requires it’s own set of sleights to perform spreads, shuffles, lifts and more. Since I’m already comfortable using a regular svengali or stripper, I’m not particularly interested in having to master a new set of moves for pretty much the same functions.

To change between the functions of a svengali and stripper deck, the Trilby must be “transitioned.” In execution, this requires a switch of part of the deck. Of course, a switch of part of the deck is easier than a switch of an entire deck, but if I’m already switching part of a deck, why not switch everything? And unfortunately, there are no specialized routines that are taught on the DVD that take advantage of this feature. You pretty much use the Trilby as a svengali to perform svengali tricks, and then can use the Trilby as a stripper pack to perform stripper tricks.

The DVD is thorough and offers excellent instruction. Liam Montier has done a great job of compiling and teaching the various moves and effects. But in the end, the Trilby Deck is an intriguing oddity that does competently function as two different gimmicked decks. But with no killer effect to take advantage of both features in a single routine, I’m simply inclined to just stay with conventional gimmicked decks (if I use them at all).

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