^ All I've done here is to combine two classic effects: the live-card mental selection" and a Jacob Daley/Eddie McGuire effect called Poker Face. I feel that each plot strengthens the other.
What the "five-card mental selection" gains is what that plot usually lacks, a strong climax.
What Poher Face gains is added credibility- You're now facing the formidable task of identifying a thought-of card rather than just a selected card. The notion that you could pick out the spectator's card from among all the others in the deck just by reading bis subconscious reactions is so hard to believe that it's easy to believe that you failed.
& For me, the biggest advantage of the presentational theme I use here is that it changes a mental effect into a gambling routine. Of course, this is a purely subjective advantage. If you're a mentalist, it constitutes a disadvantage. However, if, like me, you do a lot of gambling-oriented card work, this presentation may allow you to perform a routine that otherwise might not fit you.
This is one of the appealing things to me about what, for want of a better name, I'll term "gambling work." It's broad enough to encompass a large variety of plots. Of course, this requires some creative thinking in terms of presentations, always keeping in mind the matter of credibility. But, if you think that gambling routines mean nothing but dealing yourself the four aces, you're missing the boat, (Although, for sheer audience impact, dealing yourself the four aces is hard to beat.)
^ Another advantage of the "tells" theme is that it can work in situations where a mind reading presentation might meet resistance, A while back I worked a hospitality suite at a conference of nuclear engineers. A two-per-son mental act had been booked for a banquet show at the same conference. Many people came to the hospitality suite directly from that show. Several observed scornfully that it was ridiculous to expect a group of engineers to believe in mind reading. Yet, these same guys loved Liar's Poher when I performed it a few minutes later.
Having made several references to credibility I want to make it clear that by credible I mean "possible to believe;" 1 don't mean "easy to believe." Many magicians when they do gambling routines are afraid to push the envelope of believability. They feel that the performer's claim must be easy lor the audience to accept. But if it's easy Iot them to believe your demonstration, what's the point of doing it?
"Easy to believe" means boring. The strongest skill demonstrations are those where the spectators find it hard to believe that anyone could do what you claim to be doing, yet feel compelled to believe it because the evidence gives them no choice.
You can sometimes take this still further. Effects like Liars Poker embody what John Bannon has termed the almost-plausible theory. The audience isn't sure what to believe. On the one hand, your claim of identifying cards through subliminal cues seems impossible. On the other hand, if that's not the explanation, there is no explanation. Leaving the spectators caught between these choices is precisely what makes the effect memorable.
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