By Jack Carpenter
Intermediate and advanced card enthusiasts who would rather let their fingers do the talking should make a beeline to this new collection of card routines from Jack Carpenter. In the words of the author, The Expert's Portfolio No. 1 is "a treatise addressing some of the most popular card plots; with the express intent of providing the most efficient and diabolically deceptive methods available to date." This is a lofty goal, and a difficult one to achieve. But I think that Jack has come close; there is some excellent material here, and if you've got the chops to handle the technical requirements you'll probably find a few routines that you'll want to add to your repertoire.
The book is divided into two sections: Card Magic, featuring six routines and two very visual card changes; and The Expert's Turn to Deal, featuring five really fine gambling routines and Jack's method for stacking cards using an overhand shuffle.
My favorite routines in the Card Magic section were: "A Dance for the Devious," in which four queens vanish one-at-a-time and then make a flash reappearance; "Steppin' Out with Molly," an extremely commercial Three Card Monte routine with some great magical surprises; and "A Potent Presage," in which the spectator finds the mates of three predicted cards, followed by an unbelievable kicker. The most amazing thing about this routine is that it is completely sleight-free. It will also fool anybody - magician or layman.
The first four routines in the second section of the book form a logical and theatrically strong sequence of gambling effects. They are thematically related in that (apparently) a single riffle shuffle is used to bring about the desired result. In "The Sweep Control," the deck is given one shuffle and is rapidly and gracefully cut into four piles. There is an ace on the bottom of each pile. This is followed by "Riffle 'n' Roll" in which the deck is reassembled, given one shuffle, and the aces are stacked to fall to the dealer in a five handed game. The deck is again reassembled, the aces are dropped on top, and the deck is given one shuffle. This time the aces have been stacked to fall to the dealer in a 10 handed poker game. This routine is titled "Nine Angry Men." Finally, the kings and queens are removed and dropped on top of the deck. The deck is given one shuffle and is dealt out for a six-handed game. Player one gets the queens, player two gets the kings, but the dealer wins with four aces. Remember, this is done with one shuffle. These four effects performed in sequence would produce an enormous effect on an audience of laymen or magicians. The tricks are not easy (you will need some false dealing skills), but the results are way out of proportion to the work involved.
This is a really fine book. The routines require card handling ability, but are not overwhelmingly difficult. Jack's creative style is similar to that of Darwin Ortiz and Jim Swain. If you have enjoyed the books from those gentlemen, then you'll love The Expert's Portfolio No. 1.
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