Mark Elsdon has a knack for putting out simple yet direct mental magic, and Guaranteed Jackpot is no exception to this. Here’s what the audience sees: an audience member shuffles up a deck of number cards as freely as is possible; you then deal off as many cards as they like into six piles and the six cards selected match your lottery slip which has been in full view throughout.

mark elsdon - guaranteed jackpot - reviewThis is a great little effect. Technically it is very easy to do and Mark’s teaching makes everything clear. You are supplied with everything you need – which includes a lottery ticket holder, a nice deck of number cards (of which more anon) and a special gimmick to facilitate the effect. There’s also a link to an online instructional video. In contrast to our last reviewed item (Cold Case) this is a mere 20 minutes long – but it explains everything you need to know.

The cards are printed on a nice quality stock and handle well. The backs are also cleverly marked which, though not needed for this effect, would have many other applications. The website says a pdf is coming soon which explains some of these ideas and how the marking system works – but it was fairly easy to spot when you knew there was something there. There are also a couple of extra cards which may have uses in other effects.

The teaching is clear – but I would also recommend paying careful attention to the performance section – and learning from Mark how to draw in and engage the audience. The appeal of a trick like this is the presentation – the lottery tends to evoke strong feelings either for or against so you are half way to engaging your audience without really trying.

I should say, if you are the sort of magician that is primarily interested in finding the latest, greatest method, there is nothing shockingly new here. In fact, having opened the packet and seen the gimmick, I was able to suss the method simply by watching the performance. But method is nothing. And the gimmick works well and is justified/hidden in plain sight.

Although Mark describes how he apparently performs this for multiple tables with different results, to my mind that wouldn’t be too practical in many working situations. But that doesn’t matter since I would be tempted to save this for a one-hit performance in an evening – perhaps for a special guest. Especially since (as he recommends) you really should give away the ‘winning ticket’ to your spectator.

Guaranteed Jackpot is simple to perform, engaging premise, powerful effect. What’s not to like? In fact, the result is almost too strong. Well worth a look – especially with the extra possibilities the number deck will open up for you. It feels a fraction over-priced for what you get, but with that one small reservation is it highly recommended.

Available direct from Merchant of Magic for £41.50 (at the time of writing).

Review copy kindly provided by Murphys Magic to whom dealer enquiries should be directed.

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