Sunday, 14 November 2010

Review : Pack Up Your Cards volume III

Pack Up Your Cards volume III - paul gordon

Available free sticking out a jobby halfway round my U-bend

The third and thankfully final instalment of the pack up your cards series is exponentially worse than the previous two efforts. Rather than a collection of full effects, this book is a series of ideas and incomplete routines thrown in amongst a number of derivative card tricks. If you were buying this after reading the advertising blurb on Paul’s site you would be most annoyed, as this ’incomplete’ nature of the material is not mentioned. It reads a little like someone’s notebook of discarded ideas that someone’s fished out of the bin.

Dazzler Mark One Million

This is a watered down version of John Bannon’s ’Origami Poker’ from ’Dear Mister Fantasy’. the hands off nature of Bannon’s effect has been removed and replaced by several reverse faro procedures. Basically you give a packet of cards a face up/face down mix and then locate a royal flush from the mess. Bannon’s Origami Poker is infinitely superior to this. Incidentally paul only makes a casual reference to the Bannon routine by saying he ’learnt this idea from John Bannon’s book’, in reference to a slop shuffle procedure.

S-D/A/B-G Location

A snappy title for this, the second watered down John Bannon effect. This time, paul has chosen to dilute Bannon’s ’Dead Reckoning’ (again from Dear Mister Fantasy). Here, paul has managed to turn a truly inexplicable, hands off, impossible location into a horribly transparent mathematical monstrosity, with an illogical Henry Christ dealing procedure (to which he cites one of his own books as a source!) tagged on the end. The write up is obviously rushed and you will need to spend some time going over the dealing procedure before you understand what is meant to be going on. Sadly, although he has removed the need for a setup, in so doing, he has also removed the part of Bannon’s trick which makes it WORK as a magical effect.


This is an obvious way to handle Stewart James’ ’Mirror Skill’. This is just a brief paragraph highlighting an idea, so if you don’t know James’ original effect (which is itself awful) this will be of no use to you. However, if you DO know the original you will already have worked this bit of business out for yourself!

C-L Ideas

’Chad Long has an excellent effect in Paul Harris’s Art of Astonishment called A Shuffling Lesson. It’s a really good laymen trick. I’m not going to explain the trick (I can’t, it’s not mine)’ hahahahahahahahahahahah! HHahAHHAahHAHA HHH!H!HHAHAHAHH HAHHAHAHhahah HAHAHH!H!HAHHAh ahahahahh....

Sorry, I’m ok now. I apologise for that outburst. This is the same as ’A Shuffling Lesson’ but you switch the dealing around so the spectator gets the aces instead of you. Again, just a brief paragraph or two highlighting the idea.

More Ideas for Phil

Cute idea if you are working at a wedding or whatever. Instead of calling the card ’Phil’, you give it the spectators name. Of course, you do need to make up 26 Phil decks and it only works with a bank of 26 names, or 4 assuming you don’t want to carry 26 decks around with you!

Dream Away

This is a poor version of Ortiz’s ’Dream Card’ from At The Card Table. It uses a horrible palm load and palm change.


An idea that lets you reset for Marlo’s ’Mental Topper’ by giving the deck 5 faro’s and openly displacing 9 cards. Pretty useless if you don’t do Marlo’s Mental Topper. This is the sort of thing that should be included in a footnote of a magazine.

PG on MMT 2

Again, useless if you don’t know Marlo’s Mental Topper. And if you DO know it, you won't be using this idea, as it’s weaker than the original.

Aces Up

’This handling has been in my mind for years. It’s really a Robert Walker handling’. Yes, yes it is. So why include it here?

My Shining Hour

Interesting force idea using the clock trick. If you like the clock trick, you’ll probably use this. However, I’ve yet to meet anyone who likes the clock trick so...

The Curse of Scotland

This is nothing more than a dig at Jerry Sadowitz, which is strange considering most of paul’s previously published work which (much like my own) contains masses of tweaked and un-tweaked Sadowitz routines. After spending two pages explaining the history behind the nine of diamonds/curse of Scotland reference (which he’s cribbed from an encyclopaedia) he spends a paragraph explaining a simple speller effect which references Jerry Sadowitz as being the ’curse of Scotland’. Does he really use this in his ’Professional working repertoire’? I don’t think so somehow.

Cards In General

Verbatim Persi Diaconis’ ’Les Cartes Diaconis’ from Vernon’s ’Ultimate Card secrets’. No variation that I can see...

The Stench Of Turpentine

paul tells us this routine ’combines my own Dimishing? Not Likely! (Protean Card Magic, 1997) and J.C. Wagner’s Even More Four On The Floor from Full Metal Jacket.’ Basically he’s just tagged on a diminished lift sequence to the end of the Wagner effect which itself is a gaff less variation of Roy Walton’s ’Rainbow Cascade’ without the rainbow finish. What’s the point? And Incidentally his Diminishing? Not Likely! (Protean Card Magic, 1997) is as old as the hills and I believe was first done by Marlo decades ago.

Not A Miracle, But Handy!

Most definitely not a miracle. He’s got that right. This is a four ace revelation which uses several reverse faros and several down/under deals. A laborious process which is so boring, the revelation comes more as a relief than a surprise!

HL Aces

A horrible mock estimation routine based on an equally horrible Harry Lorayne effect of the same nature. The idea behind this is difficult to grasp, takes forever and is totally non-magical so much so that you will leave your spectators in confusion rather than amazement. Then, for no real reason you reveal the four aces. Which again, comes more as a relief than a surprise. All the spectators will remember here is that you revealed the four aces, so the horrible estimation at the start is totally redundant. Like most Harry Lorayne routines, this is essentially two disparate effects mashed together which leaves you with a total mess.

Your Card is Right Here

A speller using a straddle faro. I’m losing the will to live...

Discrepant Aces

The last trick! Thank god for that. My eyes are starting to bleed here, someone call me an ambulance (You’re an ambulance! - A.Punter).. hahahahahahHAHHAHaha.. As I said, losing the will and all that. Another Chinese whispers Lorayne variation. A do-as-I-do with a four ace revelation at the end (surprise).

The worst of the whole bunch, this booklet is spectacularly bad in so many ways. After reading these three books I think it would be a good idea if mister gordon did ’pack up his cards’ and fucked right off! No offence...


At 20 April 2011 00:30 , Blogger El Mystico said...

You say Diminishing Not Likely is as old as the hills and probably done by Marlo...I've not been able to find anything earlier that is as clear.
I agree that most of Paul's stuff is derivative and poor. but I think diminishing Not Likely may actually be a useful contribution to magic.

At 20 April 2011 10:42 , Blogger Bong said...

I'll try and find the reference for you. It might take a while though!

At 19 February 2012 09:07 , Blogger El Mystico said...

I found it: its in The Unexpected Card Book. Malone has it on Malone meets Marlo, in 'Needed a Title'. Gordon'd genius was to make it a 'take a card' trick.

At 6 March 2012 11:38 , Blogger Bong said...

Thanks for that, knew I saw it somewhere. Good find!

At 6 March 2012 11:43 , Blogger Bong said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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