There is little more useful in card magic than being able to appear to shuffle (or cut) the deck of cards whilst retaining some or all of the cards in their original order. There are many fantastic effects which rely heavily on stacked decks – and a convincing shuffle at the start can turn them into miracles. But so many of these tricks encourage you to ‘use your favourite method…’ What if you don’t have one? Well the False Shuffles and Cuts Project would be a great place to start.
This review isn’t going to drill down into detail on the teaching of all the different moves, but rather restrict itself to an overview of the content. So let’s get started…
There are three sections on the DVD – false shuffles, false cuts, and some tricks which take advantage of them.
Liam helpfully distinguishes between the way these shuffles are taught (and practised) from the context in a live situation. He even gives you some tips on how to practise. Each shuffle is demonstrated and then explained, and they are categorised by type.
Overhand Shuffles – In the UK the overhand shuffle is the most common so these are really valuable. Hunter False Shuffle (found in Tarbell 1), a slight variant (found in Royal Road to Card Magic), and Dan Garret’s Underhand Overhand Shuffle, Blind Shuffle (from Erdnase), Ireland Shuffle (which retains blocks rather than the whole deck), Running Cut Shuffle.
Partial Stock Shuffles (retaining a smaller portion of the deck) – The Lift Shuffle, The Jog Shuffle (tabled and non-tabled variations), Swing-cut shuffle, Bottom Stock Shuffle.
Riffle shuffles – False Riffle Shuffle (retaining top or bottom stock, or both), The Push Through, Triumph Shuffle (Dai Vernon’s classic from Stars of Magic).
General Shuffles – I wondered what these might be – but they included the classic Charlier Shuffle (made for messiness!) and the Up the Ladder false cut (which was new to me) and a further section on practising advice.
Slightly counterintuitively they first teach you some real ones! The Swing Cut, Swivel Cut and Charlier Cut are all taught since elements of these are involved in the false ones which follow. Then comes a plethora of false cuts. There are 15 here – some with quite ridiculous names! We will list them and make only a few comments.
Bobby Bernard’s, Jay Ose, Tarbell 3-Way, Royal Road, Erdnase, Frank Thompson, The Cut (from Royal Road), Owen Packard’s Crane Beak (which also gives you a cheeky top card glimpse), John Bannon’s Fly Trap (very pretty) and Crocodile (which also turns the deck over), Gary Ouellet’s, Lewis Jone’s, David Acer’s Trinary Cut, Mini Sybil (a bit flourishy).
Although the DVD does teach a lot of different cuts, some of them are only quite minor variations. Usefully, some of them are ‘in the hand’ whilst some require the use of a table.
You might think that a false shuffle is a difficult technique, but many of the ones on this DVD will only take a moderate amount of practise. The same is true of the cuts which range from those which are all but self-working to ones which will require a little handling practise.
As ever, Liam’s explanations are clear and concise and some tips on the way which shows that he speaks of what he knows!
As if all these moves weren’t enough, the DVD finishes with 4 tricks performed and explained. The tricks are:
Weigh (from Expert at the Card Table) – you can tell how many cards a spectator is holding just by weighing them in your hand – and then you can identify individual cards; Dai Vernon’s Triumph – the classic effect where a pack mixed face up and face down is instantly righted with the exception of the spectator’s chosen card; John Bannon’s Shock Treatment – two spectator’s cards one of which is only thought of are located in a very surprising way; And Paul Curry’s Think of a Card – another revelation of a merely (?) thought of card. These are all strong classic effects which should be in everyone’s repertoire!
So we think this is a great resource. There were a few cuts and shuffles that were new to us, in addition to all the most important ‘classic’ shuffles and cuts. This little range of DVDs are fast becoming an indispensible resource for any one keen to learn or improve their card magic.
Available direct from Merchant of Magic (many thanks to BBM who kindly supplied the review copy) for £23.50.