I’ll be honest – if I hadn’t been sent a copy of this disk to review, I almost certainly wouldn’t have picked a copy up. I know my limitations as a card man and I will never be disciplined enough to practise for a perfect (or even a halfway average) bottom deal. However, assuming you might have more time or focus than me, let’s proceed…
I love the fact that he is open about the difficulty of the move at the outset of the DVD! Though annoyingly he makes it look so easy! Whichever way you look at it, this is an exhaustive discussion – covering every aspect of the move. We were pleased to see that under his discussion of the type of cards to use whilst learning he recommends Bicycles! He even discusses the condition of your hands and the use of moisturiser with some surprising hints.
The technique itself is broken up into lots of elements (12 DVD segments). I would have liked some different camera angles to help me since I always find it slightly difficult to learn from ‘spectator’s view’. But nevertheless there is a remarkable amount of detail – focus on each finger and what it should be doing. Shade’s explanation is very clear. It is good that he teaches you in a way which sets you up for other moves (seconds, centre’s etc.) that you might want to learn later.
Several different versions of the deal are taught (both one and two-handed) which have applications in different situation. He includes great, practical tips about ways to practise. I appreciated the analysis of the strengths of different types of deal and the contexts in which you might use them.
6 routines utilising the deal are performed and taught. The performances are fairly bare as are the explanations – compared to the explanation of the move these are very light! Most of the tricks really require tables –but it is that kind of a move really. They are mainly older tricks – and he rightly doesn’t claim them as his own but rather his own versions. An enclosed pdf has all the credits. For completeness, here are the effects taught:
Ace of Spades Trick – spectator cuts to the Ace of Spades. As he points out, this is basically a ‘stop’ trick – as are many bottom deal based effects.
4 for 4 – this time the spectator finds 4 of a kind.
Best hand forward – again 4 of a kind (with an extra 4 of a kind kicker), but this time using personal questions to engage the spectator and (by spelling) select the cards. Feels more magical than some of the others and good audience engagement.*
The Mechanic – a silent performance of a gambling demonstration in which the four aces are apparently lost and then dealt out to the magician (or anyone else) as if in a game of cards.
Oopsy – a spectator’s card is lost in the pack and after some ‘unsuccessful attempts’ the final one visibly changes to the right card.
JIC Sandwich – a nice two phase sandwich routine utilising the move.
A ‘Moves’ section details a whole variety of switches, controls and forces which will help with some of the routines. Some of these are quite advanced, but it makes the DVD a very useful resource for learning some great card moves. Slightly annoyingly this is not available via the main menu – you have to take a trip via the chapters menu to get here. You then also discover another extra section (not visible at the main menu level) called ‘More Details’ which has extra thoughts on noise control, rythymn and pace, visualistation tips, the non-embarrassing premature pushoff tip, balancing the movement of both hands and some thoughts on getting into the deal properly. No stone is left unturned.
A 35 page pdf is included with extra notes and details. It has a couple of extra effects and is written in a nicely tongue-in-cheek style.
There is a lovely gentleness and humility to Shade’s explanations which is (in my experience) rare in the magic world. Like any move of this kind, yve got to want to learn it. But if you do (and you can forgive the slightly confusing DVD menu structure), this is an excellent resource!
* the pedant in me was amused that Shade ‘increased the number of possibilities’ in this trick by offering his spectator the choice of either spelling ‘September’ (which was his answer) or using the number ‘9’ for the month…