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Topic: Svengali deck
Message: Posted by: gink103 (Apr 13, 2006 04:40PM)
Does any professional sleight of hand magician actually use this peice of garbage. I went to a magic shop a couple weeks ago to get some double backed cards. The owner talked me into buying a stripper deck and Svengali deck and said all working magicians use them. Oh he also got me to get the dvd with the decks too lol. All I can say is that they are worthless garbage. These decks atleast from my point of view are for kids that don't wanna learn magic and just want to show their friends. The tricks on the dvd were soooooo horrible I wanted to slap they magician on them.

Worthless garbage. Any comments?
Message: Posted by: Larry Davidson (Apr 13, 2006 04:48PM)
Yes, my comment is that you're wrong.

I perform professionally, I use sleight of hand for many effects, and I use a [i]Svengali Deck[/i] for a couple of effects.

A [i]Svengali Deck[/i] is a tool, it's not an effect. Some of the effects that can be used with this particular tool are poor, and others are brilliant.

Larry
Message: Posted by: T. Joseph O'Malley (Apr 13, 2006 04:49PM)
It's a tool. It's all in how & why you use it.

If handled properly with good presentation, you can do some pretty fantastic things with a Svengali that don't tip the fact that you're using a gaffed deck in any way. You can floor laypeople with one of these.

If handled poorly with bad presentation, yeah, it looks like a crappy junky kid's toy.

The following isn't my preference, but do you want to fool a magician? Use one of these in a way they don't expect.
Message: Posted by: mortonch (Apr 13, 2006 05:05PM)
They have their place in card magic. Learn how to incorporate them into a routine and have fun with them!
Message: Posted by: Matt Malinas (Apr 13, 2006 11:50PM)
The Svengali deck is anything BUT a piece of garbage.
I love this deck !it's easy to create miracles with this amazing tool.
play around with it and come up with your own stuff.
you could also the encyclopedia of card tricks which has a Svengali deck section.
I guess all I am saying is give it a shot. it's a great tool and you shouldn't overlook it especially now that you own it.

-Matt
Message: Posted by: Hideo Kato (Apr 14, 2006 12:01AM)
For whom can't perform a trick right, anything can be a garbage.

Hideo Kato
Message: Posted by: abc (Apr 14, 2006 12:05AM)
Let me first say that I agree with you on the point that not all working magicians use the decks you mentioned but then many times for good reason. I use a Cassandra deck in my show and therefor do not use a Svengali but I cannot really say more as this is a public forum.
I have used a stripper deck but there just isn't place in the show any more.
My point though is that if you learn how to handle these decks and do good effects with them you will handle decks like a cassandra deck with much more ease. Thanks to Svengali and Doc Hillford.
Message: Posted by: FredNarlo (Apr 14, 2006 01:51AM)
I do not perform professionally and also do not use a Svengali in any of routines...but I must say IT IS NOT A PIECE OF GARBAGE!

Look at what you can do with it. Laymen get FRIED with it and it is one of the best tools in the way of gaffed decks ever invented!

It is easy to knock it becasue we know the secret, not much sleigh of hand involved and its been around a long time. But that doesn't make its impact on an audience any less. My buddy owns a magic store and I woudl be willing to bet 25%-35% of his sales are gaffed decks and the customers alwasy come back for more.

The ONLY bad thing I can say about the Svengali is that it has been around so long that many laymen are famiiar with it or the cards that are "shaved" (Stripper Deck). Besides that, they are GREAT!
Message: Posted by: John Pezzullo (Apr 14, 2006 02:33AM)
Jim Steinmeyer has published some interesting Svengali Deck 'stuff':

http://www.jimsteinmeyer.com/creations/articles.html

See March 1999 and May 1999.
Message: Posted by: Marco S. (Apr 14, 2006 05:02AM)
Sorry, but if you say these decks are garbage, then I wonder how long you have been doing magic. 5 days? 2 hours? There are great tricks to do with these decks. You are like a lot of other beginners here. They don`t know how to handle the decks and then they infer that these are garbage, etc. What a shame.
Message: Posted by: joseph (Apr 14, 2006 05:16AM)
It also makes a great forcing deck...I like it.... :) ..
Message: Posted by: Reis O'Brien (Apr 14, 2006 07:29AM)
You can not underestimate the power of either of these decks. As a few said above, the decks are tools for you to accomplish some amazing feats of magic. I think that perhaps you are just not seeing the potential. They are far from "garbage".
Message: Posted by: HiraseMagic (Apr 14, 2006 09:29AM)
It is, of course, not a piece of garbage. I do believe there are too many people (not performing magic regularly) who know the existence of Svengali deck which make it a bit difficult to perform properly and magically.
Message: Posted by: Matt Pulsar (Apr 14, 2006 09:30AM)
One man's garbage is another man's treasure!

So I wonder why you posted the initial post. Are you looking to find out what better things you can do with these tools? Are you trying to find negative comraderie? I also wonder how you ended up with double backed cards without having played around with a Svengali or stripper. I have feeling this is another case of a person going to shops on the internet to find out how David whoever did some card thing, trying things out from there with downloads (or Kazaa, it is sad how many people download these things and then post them on for there for free) and then finally making it to a shop. I see this kind of thing all the time.

My advice is to go back to that magic shop and buy The Royal Road to Card Magic, and the Tarbell Course, and spend some time with those. If you view these texts as guidebooks, then you will know the things you may want to purchase at the shop, based on the effects you want to use. You also save money this way.

It is better to know why you want to purchase a Svengali or Stripper Deck before you make the purchase.
Message: Posted by: silverking (Apr 14, 2006 10:08AM)
The Stripper and the Svengali are two amazing tools, but alas, they're just tools.

Most people, and I'm guessing you, aren't working with the deck before rendering an opinion on it.

With a Svengali you should be able to do the following basic Svengali moves without disturbing the set up of the deck:

1) A convincing double lift
2) A riffle shuffle
3) An overhand shuffle
4) A fan showing no force cards
5) A Svengali "drop" from a foot above the table showing no force cards

When you can do all of the above flawlessly, and if you still think the deck isn't up to your standards, then by all means put it on the shelf and move on.

Remember though, in the right hands a properly prepared Svengali deck can absolutely KILL!!
Message: Posted by: AnneTGravity (Apr 14, 2006 01:07PM)
Because of my job, I have to perform card tricks with a Svengali and a Stripper deck. It's what they sell so, I have to use them. But, even if I didn't have to, I would still use them.

The Svengali deck has such a great effect. It's one of the few card tricks that I've that "wows" both children and adults. It's simple and easily understood by all. We get a lot of non-english speaking tourists and with the Svengali I don't have to say a single word while performing the routine and the spectator's reaction is the same as if I had done my usual patter...nothing's lost. How many card tricks can you pull that off with?

The Stripper deck, I like it because... and I'm not sure if this is bravery or stupidity on my part (a fine line betwixt them)...I can put the deck in the spectator's hands to shuffle, cut, etc. and still find their card.
True, it's a great tool for beginners, you get to impress your friends. It's a confidence builder. It should not be used to the exclusion of learning sleights.

Like everyone else has said, they're only tools. You can choose to use them or not. And, being that they are only tools, they're only as effective as your ability to use them.
Message: Posted by: fbnc (Apr 14, 2006 01:15PM)
These decks are great tools, You can get a lot of entertainment
out of a stripper deck, and you don't need a pocket full of dollar bills.
Message: Posted by: taller8 (Apr 14, 2006 01:24PM)
I have a heck of a time doing a double with a Svengali deck. I'm so used to a normal deck that the difference in the cards make the '2 as 1' more difficult to maintain.

I love using the Svengali after a deck switch and of course, never show "all cards the same". A rookie mistake.
Message: Posted by: weapon (Apr 14, 2006 03:38PM)
I have fooled pro magicians with a Svengali deck.. only real worker pm me if you want the method
Message: Posted by: Cody Fisher (Apr 14, 2006 06:36PM)
You have to know how to use it. You can't just walk up to someone with a Svengali deck and do effects. You have to incorporate it into a routine. Personally, I always like to end with examinable things. However, I am actually a bit offended when you say that the Svengali is a piece of garbage. I have no idea how long you have been doing magic, from your post I would guess not very long, but I do magic in close-up situations all the time, sometimes for pay sometimes not, but I have found it a great addition to my routine and absolutely amazing to laymen when used right. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I hope for your sake that you are able to work with it and realize the great oppurtnities it will present.

Good Luck,

Cody
Message: Posted by: Craig Kyle (Apr 14, 2006 06:50PM)
I believe that dave hawkins pro english magciian uses one as my sister seen him

http://www.david-hawkins.co.uk
Message: Posted by: Suave Dan (Apr 14, 2006 09:35PM)
I've found the Svengali Deck to be a useful tool.
Message: Posted by: Hideo Kato (Apr 15, 2006 06:05AM)
[quote]On 2006-04-14 14:24, taller8 wrote:
I love using the Svengali after a deck switch and of course, never show "all cards the same". A rookie mistake.[/quote]
I still do the rokie mistake. I believe that part is the most delicious part of the food. I start Svengali deck performance with taking out the deck from pocket saying "This is a very special cards and a very special thing will happen". If you tell it is a special deck at first, spectators can't suspect it a special deck as you already admitted.

Hideo Kato
Message: Posted by: Cody Fisher (Apr 15, 2006 06:55AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-15 07:05, Hideo Kato wrote:
If you tell it is a special deck at first, spectators can't suspect it a special deck as you already admitted.

I think that if you say it is a special deck from the start, they will want to inspect it more and wonder, "Wow, if that deck is special, I wonder what it is made up of." I think that the whole performance of using a Svengali deck is better if it is understood that it is a regular deck and then starts doing all the amazing things.

Hideo Kato
[/quote]
Message: Posted by: Hideo Kato (Apr 15, 2006 07:50AM)
I sold more than 50,000 Svengali Decks at Tokyo Disneyland magic shop with that patter and know it works. But it might depend on personal showmanship.

Hideo Kato

P.S.
My name must be between two paragraphs.
Message: Posted by: Erdnase27 (Apr 15, 2006 08:25AM)
Its also cool to cop 26 cards from a normal deck and then do a perfect faro with 26 Svengali cards.. it appears liek ur just shuffling but ur makin a Svengali deck on the moment :) try it., hope you like the idea
Message: Posted by: TannerJade (Apr 15, 2006 09:25AM)
Cool idea!

Mr. Don Driver uses this as a pitching item, as I am sure you know! It is a great little deck that I enjoy having, even though I do not use gimmick decks so often...

--Tanner
Message: Posted by: jcigam (Apr 15, 2006 09:46AM)
A friend of mine won our local close-up contest doing a Svengali pitch (can't remember which one it was) it was very entertaining.

Another guy in the club fried the lot of us performing a triumph routine with a Stripper deck.

I personally don't use them but like Mr. Davidson said (not a direct quote) they are tools. If I ever need one of these particular tools I won't hesitate to use one.

Jered S.
Message: Posted by: Patrick Differ (Apr 15, 2006 04:20PM)
Not garbage, never were, never will be.
The Svengali will absolutely crush the unsuspecting. That includes you.
The Stripper is still, card for card, one of the strongest decks in the world to use.
Just because everyone in the world might know [i]how[/i] they're made, that doesn't mean they know [i]when[/i] they are being used.
Message: Posted by: almazer (Apr 17, 2006 06:34PM)
I have to say that with Svengali deck you can do miracles!!! I use it more than three years and if you perform in a right way nobody can suspects me. I love this deck!
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Apr 18, 2006 07:58AM)
I love the Svengali deck...they have made me a living for 30 years and still do.
Don
Message: Posted by: gink103 (Apr 26, 2006 04:13PM)
Wow its been a whiles since I checked this post. And I guess since the overwhelmign view is taht these decks are good I must be wrong. I am somewhat new to magic, (1.5 years.). The thing to stripper decks is that there isn't much you can do with it that I cant already do. Locate a card and get it to the top(wow). I just pinky break and do a super clean, super fast pass. Ive seen the triumph routine with a stripper deck and it by no means meets up to any of the 3 I do. All I'm saying is that I havent seen anything great you can do with a stripper deck that I can't already do with a normal deck. It may be harder but I already know the hard moves. The Svengali Deck is soo well known to laymen that I wouldn't use it in my table hopping. Even if only 1 in 20 says "oh I got one of those decks from the magic shop when I was little." But then again I don't know of any good tricks to do with a Svengali. could someone give me a description of a solid routine with a Svengali and it may change my mind.
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 4, 2006 06:58AM)
Don Driver sells a DVD with his complete Svengali Pitch routine, look [url=http://www.dondriver.tk]HERE[/url].

If you buy it and watch it, you will see that there are plenty of things you can do with a Svengali Deck that can't be accomplished with a regular deck. However, that's not the point, as many others have noted. The trick is to learn to shuffle and handle a Svengali Deck just like a normal deck, so that so one suspects you're using it. Then you blow them away with it. For many good Svengali handling tips, see Mark Lewis' booklet, "The Long and Short of It," look [url=http://www.marklewisentertainment.com]HERE[/url] or [url=http://www.misdirections.com/bookk.htm]HERE[/url]. SETH
Message: Posted by: Kenn Capman (May 4, 2006 07:30AM)
If you take the time to learn a good deck switch (provided you're using a matching Svengali Deck after having used a freely handled 'fair' deck), you can absolutely slay magicians with it.

If you don't want to perform for magicians, that's OK. Switching out the deck slays laymen as well.

Don't discount or reject this item based on an initial impression.

As many have said on here, 'it's a tool.'
Message: Posted by: RickyD (May 4, 2006 09:23AM)
I own both a Svengali and a Stripper deck, and while I use them from time to time, they're not a part of my standard shows. I very seriously doubt that "all working magicians use them".

As has been stated before, they're tools, and they have their place. However, the tricks I do with them are totally different than what your average Joe does with a Svengali ...

Toy around with it and see what you can come up with. You might like it, or you might just stick it on your shelf and never touch it again. Either way, it's not whether the decks in question are garbage, but whether they fit your style and can be worked into your routine.
Message: Posted by: Bill Rubie (May 4, 2006 10:42AM)
If you use Bicycle back cards the laymen will not know. It's that simple. Do an effect where the spectator can handle cards. Use a deck switch to get the Svengali. I have used this on other magicians and it works.

If you use decks that are unusual backed. It will always raise suspicion.
Message: Posted by: fccfp (May 4, 2006 01:35PM)
The Svengali deck is most certainly NOT garbage. All above are correct when they said, like so many other props, including regular decks, it is a tool to be used. I have pitched Svengali decks at flea markets and street fairs for years. It is a very salable item.

That said, I always have a Svengali deck with me when table hopping or doing close up. I will often have two decks so that the selected card changes from table to table. As long as you don't run the deck "all the same" and handle it well, no one will ever suspect. There are times, however, when I canít resist turning the entire deck to their card. The look on the spectatorís face is priceless.

I recommend Don Driver's video on pitching the deck. Mark Lewis' booklet, "The Long and Short of It" will teach you things you never thought you could do with a Svengali deck including ribbon spreads and fans. I personally like the Svengali better than the mirage deck. But that is a personal preference. A good friend of mine swears by the mirage deck and even gave me a couple of them a while back to convince me of its superiority. I still like the Svengali.

Deck switches: I put it in my left pocket and take it out of my right. As long as something happens in between no one will pay attention. I have been doing this for years. Imagine my surprise when Aldo Columbini demonstrated the "deck switch" in his lecture. I guess I am in good company.

Like anything else, to do it well the Svengali deck requires practice. That is the difference between an amateur and a pro. A pro will hone his craft and constantly strive to perfect it. An amateur will have it out of the box for five minutes and run off to show someone a trick. Like the TT & silk, the Svengali deck has been exposed and over-exposed in the past. However, they are both wonderful tools and will fool even those that think they know.
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 5, 2006 07:35AM)
I think it's also worth noting that while a Svengali Deck may not be the greatest magic trick in the world [OK, so it's only the second best trick in the world(!)], it can and has served as a good introduction to magic for millions of people.

Plenty of kids who started with a Svengali Deck were then motivated to hit the public library or the Internet and start exploring the world of magic. In this respect, the Svengali Deck has also served as a good "magic ambassador" for many years. And as overdone as it may be, there will always be a new generation of kids for whom it is unfamiliar and a new experience -- and that's good news for us Svengali pitchmen! SETH
Message: Posted by: Tony S (May 5, 2006 10:54AM)
As many others have already stated, the Svengali deck is a great tool. It's only garbage in the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use it. Using it to simply force a card opens up a world of possibilities.
Message: Posted by: honus (May 12, 2006 11:10AM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-26 17:13, gink103 wrote:But then again I don't know of any good tricks to do with a Svengali. could someone give me a description of a solid routine with a Svengali and it may change my mind.
[/quote]

No-sleight Card Stab. Riffle-force (or just let them cut, if you have somebody who you have noticed always cuts by the ends). Shuffle. Wrap the pack in paper. Have them stab with a letter opener. Presto, they have literally "cut" to their card. Clean, fast, immediate reset, a freakin' miracle, and nobody ever suspects TV Magic Cards!
Message: Posted by: irossall (May 12, 2006 01:30PM)
I suspect that gink103 must have had a demo of the decks and was fooled by them or else gink103 would not have made the purchase.
About the only thing I use a Svengali for is the rising card effect which only some Magician's are even aware that a Svengali is being used.
A stripper deck is good for doing a force or keeping control of a card but you still need to learn how to do these with a regular deck as well.
I believe gink103 that as you grow with Magic and become more Knowledgeable you will change your mind about the "Garbage" that you believe these tools to be.
Iven :patty:
Message: Posted by: Aguas (May 13, 2006 12:05AM)
You should be happy that you got those decks... But remember that just by themselves they are not effects or tricks, they merelya tool.. maybe the effects you've seen using this tools were not very strong but there are some gems out there... Doing triumph with a stripper deck is just amazing.
Message: Posted by: Gasman (May 13, 2006 06:33AM)
I've seen some great sleight of hand pros ring in a Svengali deck and kill a group of fellow magicians. There are some great routines using a Svengali that never even look like the typical Svengali effect...just think outside the box a bit.
Message: Posted by: johnnymystic (May 13, 2006 09:01PM)
I have used and played with the Svengali deck for years...I've heard all this
bru ha-ha and such over selling 'em.

A few weeks ago I was in the local Dollar Tree and picked up several decks. Today I was at a local event and sold them all for $10...money I got to keep that is!

So to my thinking...

The Svengali Deck is the best gimmicked deck in the friggen world!!!!

I got tah get me more of these puppies!

johnny
Message: Posted by: johnnymystic (May 14, 2006 10:57AM)
In my last post I mmentioned I sold the Svengali dacks for $10...thats each for $10.

johnny
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (May 14, 2006 04:03PM)
[quote]
On 2006-04-13 17:40, gink103 wrote:
Does any professional sleight of hand magician actually use this peice of garbage. I went to a magic shop a couple weeks ago to get some double backed cards. The owner talked me into buying a stripper deck and Svengali deck and said all working magicians use them. Oh he also got me to get the dvd with the decks too lol. All I can say is that they are worthless garbage. These decks atleast from my point of view are for kids that don't wanna learn magic and just want to show their friends. The tricks on the dvd were soooooo horrible I wanted to slap they magician on them.

Worthless garbage. Any comments?
[/quote]

As mentioned in many posts-I too use this as a tool maybe once in a stage show!-works fine when use in longer routines but very quickly-shuffle the deck get spec to name his birthdate etc-count down to that card!!-In all the years I use this over 20 now!! -I have never shown all the cards the same as there is no need for routines I use

On the street I do a pitch to attract crowds & the Svengali works so well-Again I do not show all the cards the same- I have a set routine of 3 effects using this deck combined for some good entertainment-makes you look like a real pro & creates a good laugh with spectators!-Then I move on

Cheers
Message: Posted by: Rennie (May 14, 2006 08:20PM)
Here is a super effect I got out of Encyclopedia of Card Magic for the Svengali Deck. I will just tell you the routine, if you own a Svengali Deck you will understand.

Riffle the deck for the spectators "free" selection of a card, tell them to remember the card, you now cut the deck a number of times to "lose" their card. Hand the deck to the spectator and ask them to deal two piles of cards face down one at a time on the table. After they have completed this you have them "freely" select either pile. have them turn the pile they selected face up and to look for their card, their selection is not in this pile. Now have the spectator name a number between 1 - 26, have them pick up the other pile and count face down to their freely selected number. Guess what, when the card is turned face up it is their card..Now that would sell for a lot of money if advertised like that, well you own it if you have a Svengali Deck..ASnd the trick is not GARBAGE..
Rennie
Message: Posted by: Aguas (May 14, 2006 08:50PM)
Woudln't it be a bit dangerous having the spectator handling the deck ?

Good effect tho.
Message: Posted by: johnnymystic (May 14, 2006 09:00PM)
Letting a spec handle a Sven deck? Yeah, it is abit dangerous, however a seasoned pro would know 'who' to hand the deck to.

johnny
Message: Posted by: Rennie (May 14, 2006 11:11PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-14 21:50, Aguas wrote:
Woudln't it be a bit dangerous having the spectator handling the deck ?

Good effect tho.
[/quote]
Not really, they keep the deck face down and do what they are told. The only time it is face up it is the indiffent card pile. Trust me and try it...
Message: Posted by: foolsnobody (May 15, 2006 12:22AM)
I read a great trick using a Svengali deck a few years ago but I can't remember what it was or where I read it. All I recall is that the cards were not alternated short-long. It was set up differently, I think all the longer mixed cards on top of all the short all the same cards, or vice versa. If anyone knows the effect please PM me, I'm going nuts.
Message: Posted by: Rennie (May 15, 2006 12:28AM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-15 01:22, foolsnobody wrote:
I'm going nuts.
[/quote]
Welcome to the world of magic. You have to be a little nutty to really enjoy this wonderful hobby of ours. Of course I would not have it any other way..
Rennie
Message: Posted by: Vater Araignee (May 17, 2006 12:27PM)
Here is an idea:
Lose a lot of mobility in your hands like I did, but refuse to give up magic.
You will find gaffed decks to be miraculous and I'm not just talking about the effect you can perform but the fact that working with them may help bring back the mobility without the need of those mind numbing physical therapy exorcises. (I'm not suggesting you don't do the exorcises)
I would also say that a person that snubs gaffed deck for doing it by pure sights typically falls into the intermediate stage of magic and has something to prove.
Now that's not to say all anti-gaff performers are that way but I have noticed it to be a general rule.
Message: Posted by: cybersmudge1393 (May 21, 2006 08:49PM)
I love both decks. In fact I had always had an interest in magic. But as I got older and married Ithought well iguess this is kids stuff. Then took the family on vacation to vegas. We went into a magic shop and these two decks blew me away, also everyone in the shop. It got great reactions. I now continue to work these decks in and still get great reactions. They have a place in what we do. Thanks to all for the valuable info on this site.
Message: Posted by: fccfp (May 22, 2006 02:33PM)
[quote]On 2006-05-14 21:20, Rennie wrote:
Here is a super effect I got out of Encyclopedia of Card Magic for the Svengali Deck. I will just tell you the routine, if you own a Svengali Deck you will understand.

Riffle the deck for the spectators "free" selection of a card, tell them to remember the card, you now cut the deck a number of times to "lose" their card. Hand the deck to the spectator and ask them to deal two piles of cards face down one at a time on the table. After they have completed this you have them "freely" select either pile. have them turn the pile they selected face up and to look for their card, their selection is not in this pile. Now have the spectator name a number between 1 - 26, have them pick up the other pile and count face down to their freely selected number. Guess what, when the card is turned face up it is their card. Now that would sell for a lot of money if advertised like that, well you own it if you have a Svengali Deck.And the trick is not GARBAGE..Rennie[/quote]

Rennie, That is a powerful effect if handled properly. I know of several routines that involve separating the long and short. I tend to avoid them because when you are all done you are stuck reassembling the deck. I can do it pretty quickly putting the key card packet on top of the long card packet and pulling off two at a time. Even so, it does take time to reset and looks funny if you are doing it between tables.

I guess you could use it as "the killer closer" in a longer close-up show. It has been my experience, limited though it is, that when working close-up you are either going to the next table/group or there is an new group coming over to you. Either way, it's tough to say "just a moment while I get ready".

BTW: Am I the only one that has an occasional error in the stack show up when using the deck for long periods of time? Invariably, at some point when using the deck repeatedly, I will end up w/two odd cards together and two key cards together. I tend to think of it terms of the key card getting misplaced and it is fairly easy and quick to fix. It can be embarrassing when you show an odd card when the key card is supposed to be there. Has never been a real problem. I simply glance at the deck, and if the next card is a key card turn it over as if I meant for that to happen.
Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (May 22, 2006 03:25PM)
I won a contest at large magic convention using a Svengali Deck. They are an extremely useful tool for performing miracles including selected card at any number. Ted Lesley used it in a modified Milt Kort effect that Ted titled "Svengali on the Phone Lines" which got great response from many magicians at a World Magic Seminar when he lectured on it. A tool is only as good as an operator. A lathe is probably a piece of garbage to you unless you work with wood a lot, and unless you have any screws to tighten, even a screwdriver is useless to you.

It is a funny thing but many magic tricks that were passed over by so many magicians (usually it is the ones that always have to try the latest effects and since they are more focused on method that impact they tend to pass over the ones that they already know) including classics like the "coin in nested boxes" (usually sold by Adams), "coin in bottle", "dime and penny", "coin thru rubber", "antigravico", "braiwave" are the ones that were done by David Baline, someone who knew the impact these "simple" effects had and used them to the best of his abilities. All the tricks are classics for a reason and should never be overlooked.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: Vandy Grift (May 22, 2006 03:48PM)
The deck is almost 100 years old and still in use. That should tell you something.
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 22, 2006 05:34PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-22 15:33, fccfp wrote: Am I the only one that has an occasional error in the stack show up when using the deck for long periods of time? Invariably, at some point when using the deck repeatedly, I will end up w/two odd cards together and two key cards together. I tend to think of it terms of the key card getting misplaced and it is fairly easy and quick to fix. It can be embarrassing when you show an odd card when the key card is supposed to be there. Has never been a real problem. I simply glance at the deck, and if the next card is a key card turn it over as if I meant for that to happen. [/quote]

No, I'm pretty sure you're not the only one this happens to! Occasionally things will get out of order during a trick because of a bad shuffle or whatever, but as you said, you learn quickly to "pass over" the bad spot and avoid the problem. And in a quiet moment, it only takes a few seconds to straighten things out.

When I'm pitching Svengalis, I always keep two decks ready to go. That way, if one deck gets messed up, I can just say that the cards are getting sticky and I'll use a fresh deck. Also, using two decks lets me alternate key cards evry so often anyway, so the tricks look a bit more legitimate when different cards are picked. SETH
Message: Posted by: airship (May 22, 2006 06:52PM)
BTW, you can build a nifty two-way forcing deck using just the short cards from TWO Svengalis. Or a three-way using three decks. When the long cards have gotten a little scummy, you can scrap them and salvage the shorts to use for all-the-same packet tricks. (Actually I never throw away cards - use them to practice torn card tricks.) Just a little extra versatility from this useful little gimmick.
Message: Posted by: fccfp (May 23, 2006 05:27PM)
Seth you are correct. I always have several decks ready to go when pitching. I will even place a key card form one of the decks under a rock under the vendor accross the ways table. I only do this when I have a pretty big crowd cause it has to be reset when there is a break in the action. But I gotta tell you, if you can't sell a bunch of decks after that revelation, give it up. :)
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 24, 2006 06:51AM)
Very cute idea!

The ironic thing I've noticed is that even people who already own or know about Svengali decks seem unable to exploit the deck's potential. While it's true that the deck's range is somewhat limited, you can still do some amazing things with it, if you just use your noodle a little bit.

I have had several folks tell me they already owned a set of "Magic Cards," but bought another deck from me anyway after watching my pitch! They always say, "I didn't know you could do THAT with this deck!" So I must be doing something right! SETH
Message: Posted by: Memory-Jah (May 24, 2006 08:40AM)
I don't like it either. a very large anmount of laymen knows a Svengali deck. so I have never used it and will never use it. on a party one layman asked me if it is a Svengali deck. I was really shocked, never knew that it is so common. you can buy it even atsome non magic stores. even a friend from israel warned me about the Svengali nd that it is well known amongst non magicians...
I agree that there are some great tricks are possible, but this isn'*t worth the risk. get a brainwave, invisble, or mental photography deck and you are set to rock.
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (May 25, 2006 10:13AM)
Memory-Jah funny you run into so many layman knowing what a Svengali deck is overthere in Germany.

I "pitch" them every year at several big state fairs here in the U.S.and go back to the same fair year after after year as well as some big flea markets.When David Walker and I are not out together pitching he's out by himself pitching most every week end.Sethb and others that have bought my DVD to learn the pitch are out working as well.

I've been at it for over 25 years,David Walker has been at it since 1947.

Now I can't speak for all the other pitchman,but I can count on one hand the amount of layman that had seen the deck and knew what it was.

Do you think there is a reason that you run into this over there and no one seems to here in the U.S. ?

Don
Message: Posted by: sethb (May 25, 2006 11:37AM)
Some Svengali thoughts --

No question there are some people, perhaps even a fair number of people, who know what a Svengali Deck is. But there are many more people who don't know, and there are still more people being born every day. So, like Don Driver, I'm not worried that Svengali pitchmen are going to run out of potential buyers anytime soon.

Beyond that, if you don't TELL someone that you're using a Svengali Deck, then they won't know -- IF you have the skill to handle the deck properly and naturally, and can do a good deck switch to boot.

In addition to pitching the Svengali deck, I also demo and sell the small plastic Royal "Cups & Balls" sets. These sets have been available in toy stores for years, and are a staple in many children's magic sets. You can find instructions for performing the Cups & Balls in almost every beginner's magic book in any public library. The trick itself is hundreds, if not thousands, of years old.

In my experience, none of these factors have hindered my demos or sales of C/B sets; most folks think they are really neat. And I'm sure it's not just my wonderful personality(!); the trick is a classic, has survived for centuries, and will very likely continue to do so, with or without my help. I think the same is true of the Svengali Deck, which is now over 100 years old.

Yes, it's true you can do many more things with a regular deck of cards and a few sleights. But as a good introduction to magic in general, and as a forcing deck or occasional special card gaff, I think the Svengali Deck is hard to beat. SETH
Message: Posted by: Memory-Jah (May 26, 2006 07:13PM)
[quote]
On 2006-05-25 11:13, DonDriver wrote:
Memory-Jah funny you run into so many layman knowing what a Svengali deck is overthere in Germany.

I "pitch" them every year at several big state fairs here in the U.S.and go back to the same fair year after after year as well as some big flea markets.When David Walker and I are not out together pitching he's out by himself pitching most every week end.Sethb and others that have bought my DVD to learn the pitch are out working as well.

I've been at it for over 25 years,David Walker has been at it since 1947.

Now I can't speak for all the other pitchman,but I can count on one hand the amount of layman that had seen the deck and knew what it was.

Do you think there is a reason that you run into this over there and no one seems to here in the U.S. ?

Don
[/quote]

yeah it is probably the country's fault -.-

maybe you want to have a look here. interest fact about the poplarity of Svengali cards eh? however it is how it is: Svengali is way to much known (at least for me)

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=162152&forum=203&16

have fun
Message: Posted by: jlibby (May 27, 2006 10:35PM)
Patrick Page has a cool routine on one of his videos utilizing a Mirage Deck. Really, if you don't want to use a gimmicked deck, don't. But do NOT call the Svengali deck garbage. It is a CLASSIC!

See ya!
Joe L.
San Antonio, TX
Message: Posted by: genemccarthy (Oct 30, 2006 11:07PM)
One thing few do with the Svengali deck is shuffle them. A regular shuffle. It's a magician fooler on the opening if a plain shuffle is executed.

Not a riffle shuffle but a regular shuffle.
Message: Posted by: John Gerard (Oct 31, 2006 12:23AM)
Larry Davidson has a killer effect that utilizes a Svengali on his scripted insanity DVD set.

I also use it to force one card for my cardtoon 2 deck. No one has ever questioned it.
Message: Posted by: Phil J. (Oct 31, 2006 07:50AM)
Too many of you seem worried about laymen recognising the Svengali deck. If handled correctly no one should ever suspect that you're using a gaffed deck. Of course if you perform the "rookie routine" showing all the cards the same then you're increasing the odds of someone recognising the deck.
Message: Posted by: Graydini (Oct 31, 2006 11:01PM)
I just want to give my shout out to the Svengali, it is defiantly a good tool. Itís good for beginners to Pro alike. It takes a poor craftsmen to blame his tools. Itís all about your ability to sell an effect as amazing not about the effect selling you. Everyone here can agree that knowing a few or even many effects wonít make you a magician. Anyone can do a trick, but it takes a magician to do magic. You may be able to do a perfect pass, DL, etcÖ but if youíre not entertaining there isnít any effect you can do to change that; however if you are entertaining you can do the simplest trick there is and make it truly amazing.
When I got back into magic, after gaining ample knowledge of slight-of-hard card magic, I went on a school retreat (vocational age group was mostly mid 20s); and what did I do? I came up with a routine and a mysterious persona and showed it to almost everyone there. Maybe one or two people asked me if I had a Magic deck. I used a $1 fantasma deck that is bridge sized and has a weird design on the back, and people would come up to me and ask to see that 7 of diamonds trick. The point is even when some people knew what I was going to do or how it was done I was entertaining. Would I do that with the same deck and key card? No, but I wonít give up using a Svengali even though I can do a lot of the same effects without one. I just make sure that when I do my Svengali routine it will be entertaining for the people Iím performing for.

Hereís the routine I did at retreat, but just remember itís your attitude that sells the effect; I was trying to imitate Blain as my routine was a response to the question What do you think about that David Blain guy?

Routine:
I want you to put your finger on any card (dribble the cards face down but let them see the faces as you explain this, then dribble so they can actually do put finger in.)
Please look at the card you put your finger on (separate cards above their finger from the rest so they can look at their card)
Now put it back (at this point you should have half the cards in one hand and half in the other, they are to put it back right where they got it from. DO NOT CLOSE THE DECK, keep both hand far apart from each other) Watch you see your card here (push their card up with your thumb so they can see its still on top in your right hand)
Look as it jumps through the air invisibly and lands in this hand(while you say this shake your hands, then extend your left hand like you caught it) and then jumps back to this hand(do same as before, and then show them their card is still on top)
What you donít believe me? Look it jumps through the air and lands right here (this time show them the top of the left hand packet; which, unless you have your deck screwed up, is their card) now watch Iím going to leave it in view until the last minute (put the deck together with their card on top. Do this face up and keep their card sticking out, then as fairly as possible square the deck in this position. Now snap your fingers) did you see that? When I snapped my fingers instantly your card jumped 32 cards making it 10th from the bottom, right about here(now cut about ľ the of the face up cards, revealing their card)( This part will work more than others suggest, but you do need to read your own audience to know if this is appropriate for THEM) hold out your hand(take the hand of a spectator and cover the face of the pack) now I want you all to concentrate on your card, imagine that a few cards, say one from every suit, change to your card (look like your doing something psychically ) Did you feel that?(take the cards and riffle through like you want to see what happened before they do, and then look surprised) Wow I think you have stronger imaginations than I thought, look.(Dribble the cards face up, if youíve done this with the right persona for the RIGHT AUDIENCE, people will be going nuts now wait until their shock is keyed down a bit) of course I cant leave them like this(hold the deck with both hands or make a magical gesture and act like this is taking a great deal of effort. Then cut the deck to one indifferent card and dribble face down but let them see the faces as you do. ) now wait a minute, look tell me if you see your card(now slowly dribble the cards face down, but at eye level. Repeat until the spectator says no) This whole thing has been a mind trick, your card was never in that deck, I just made you think it was. Look in my pocket(hold open your jacket and let them reach in and take out one of the key cards; which was indeed there the whole time.) thatís been there the whole day! END

That was what I used to do, now I start out by giving them an ďemptyĒ card box and it ends up there across the table when THEY open it.

God Bless,
-Grayden
Message: Posted by: SeaDawg (Nov 1, 2006 04:56AM)
Before throwing any trick, effect or method out as "Garbage" or way overworked, the use of the right tool for the right job can absolutely slay an audience.

The big brother of the Svengali is the Mirage, which can in certain circumstancs open up even more doors. I recently used a Mirage combined with another powerful visual and stunning effect that so blew away the audience, no one even questioned the cards.

And remember, pitching Svengali's to layman is not even close to performing for magi's... again apples and oranges...
Message: Posted by: DonDriver (Nov 1, 2006 06:56AM)
SeaDawg,
I'll quote you here:
"And remember, pitching Svengali's to layman is not even close to performing for magi's... again apples and oranges..."

This is so true and not many magicians get it,unless of course your out pitching Svengali's.

Thank you for that.
Later,Don
Message: Posted by: SeaDawg (Nov 1, 2006 02:15PM)
Don, I beleive that it is incumbent on all developing magi's to learn to pitch or busk. Both of these activities require you to be on constantly. If you are off, you starve... Harsh but true.

Doing a paid gig is so differnet than pitching or busking. I cannot even begin to compare, nor shall I attempt it. And for those who look down their noses at the venerable old Svengali, let me share this...

At our last magic club meeting we had a university journalism student attend to do an article. She asked everybody when they got intersted in magic and I told her of my cherished Christmas present of "Magic cards" in the 70's with the 7 of hearts as the key card. Two other senior in age members started to laff.. and when I queried them "They both had the 7 of hearts key also."

Fond memories and a great start...
Message: Posted by: johnnyboy (Feb 1, 2007 03:30AM)
Hi I agree with a lot of the points raised with the Svengali deck, all I know is that the NU WAY Svengali adds a new dimension to this pack and if you have not used it you should , with it you can cut to a force or cut to a different card, whats different is that you do not need to turn it over to achieve this option.. All the normal riffles and cuts can be done with it ,it adds much to the huge range of effects possible
Message: Posted by: robert bianchi (Feb 25, 2007 08:50AM)
Svengali presentational ideas abound.

After going through a full routine, and thereby showing the spec by example of how I drop the cards during the preformance, I convince them that I can transfer the power to find the card, so that they can do it. I have already asked them to give me a number and count down to that number to reveal their card.

I hold their one hand, place the deck in their hands, and ask them to slowly drop the cards onto the table in a neat pile, as I was doing, but not to wait until the end, because that is too easy. When they start to drop add a little distraction/misdirection and tell them to stop dropping the cards when "it feels right, but not to concentrate too hard."

They freak out when they stop dropping, and I recover the deck from them and go to the pile on the table and show they stopped at "their" card. Also, subtly convinces them deck not gaffed, as they were actually handling it.

I can get 10 mins out of a Svengali routine, if I have more than 1 spec participating. So many ideas. How about having 2 specs confer with one another each privatly picking a number and then adding those numbers to arrive at a total, so long as it is less than 52. Reveal the card with the combined number. Then cut deck and ask each individually what was their number before combining. Count down and there is the card again. Do same with number other spec gives you.
Message: Posted by: korttihai_82 (Mar 4, 2007 12:53PM)
[quote]
No-sleight Card Stab. Riffle-force (or just let them cut, if you have somebody who you have noticed always cuts by the ends). Shuffle. Wrap the pack in paper. Have them stab with a letter opener. Presto, they have literally "cut" to their card. Clean, fast, immediate reset, a freakin' miracle, and nobody ever suspects TV Magic Cards!
[/quote]

Excatly what Don Alan, one of the greatest close-up magicians of last decade did with the deck. His routine was seen on Magic Ranch tv serie and I consider myself to have very good knowledge on card magic and over 10 years of experience and yet still Alans routine is one of thebest pieces of card magic I have ever seen.
Message: Posted by: drkptrs1975 (Mar 4, 2007 06:41PM)
Svengali Deck, is a great deck, if you can perform it well, it can be an miracle deck.
Message: Posted by: docguitarman (Dec 12, 2019 03:53PM)
I agree the Sven deck is a great deck, as many have already pointed out. The rule is don't use it to show all are different, pick a card, you name it and then show all the cards are the same as the picked card! That is the dead give away. Always riffle shuffle the deck also! As already said, the Sven should be used in stealth mode -- the effect should not betray that it is a Sven. Many good effect already mentioned. I like the card stab, and the rising card. I use the Sven for "the perfect stop trick" and also "the spectator finds his card" (cut the deck into several packets and have spec pick any packet to find his card on top -- show that all the other top cards are different.

A more recent effect using a modified Sven is Devin Knight's "Svengali Fooler," which you can read about on Lybrary.com

https://www.lybrary.com/the-svengali-fooler-p-893431.html

Magical regards,
Phil
Message: Posted by: countrymaven (Dec 21, 2019 09:35AM)
I like the Sven, but its country brother, the Mene Tekel is my deck of choice. They can have free choice of any c. and you have instant access to its mate.
Message: Posted by: padre rich (Jan 6, 2020 11:52PM)
Dribble force.excellent, convincing way to have a card selected...best way to do the ranch bird card selection...forget magic and take up golf...
Message: Posted by: monkeycat (Jan 10, 2020 03:57PM)
With regard to the Svengali deck I do have a certain familiarity with it. Furthermore this seems to be a good place to announce that a most worthy e-book on the subject can be seen on lybrary.com
It seems that it just went up there today. Here it is:
https://www.lybrary.com/the-long-and-the-short-of-it-p-923527.html

I do know the author personally and can confirm that he is a genius of the first magnitude in matters such as this.

Of course I have noticed on this forum various people weeping and wailing that they prefer printed copies and that e-books are the end of civilisation as we know it so if you are among them you can pay a little more and obtain that here:

https://www.marklewisentertainment.com/html/longandshort.html
Message: Posted by: Brent McLeod (Apr 14, 2020 04:34PM)
I heard Charles Gauci, well known international mentalist performer say at a lecture he uses Svengali at Corporate events worldwide with huge success..
Message: Posted by: furmanmatt (May 7, 2020 09:11PM)
Lol, just read some of this thread. I just put out a performance video with the Svengali deck. It is an UNBELIEVABLE trick. Drop the mic.

https://youtu.be/WqIEcG6FRGo
Message: Posted by: docguitarman (May 7, 2020 09:31PM)
[quote]On May 7, 2020, furmanmatt wrote:
Lol, just read some of this thread. I just put out a performance video with the Svengali deck. It is an UNBELIEVABLE trick. Drop the mic.

https://youtu.be/WqIEcG6FRGo [/quote]

All good, except, as I said above, I don't like showing "all" the cards the same. IMO, it diminishes your ambitious card moves (which I like in your performance, BTW), and signals "it's a Svengali deck." Until then the deck is in "stealth" mode.
Message: Posted by: ejohn (May 7, 2020 11:22PM)
Liam Montierís ADJECTIVE is a lovely effect accomplished with a altered Sven deck.
Message: Posted by: garymey (Aug 15, 2020 02:38PM)
Does anyone know of a vampire-themed Svengali deck?

I have a routine that requires cards with a heart in the middle (Ace, 3,5,9)to be easily forced. Svengali works best because wherever the volunteer stops me I have both the card above and below pulled out to be placed in a card frame but I do not show the heart card until after the stake has gone through the cards and glass with the stake withdrawn.
Message: Posted by: hypnoman1 (Aug 16, 2020 01:32PM)
[quote]On Apr 14, 2020, Brent McLeod wrote:
I heard Charles Gauci, well known international mentalist performer say at a lecture he uses Svengali at Corporate events worldwide with huge success.. [/quote]

I think that he has taught a routine with Svengali on one of his old videos
Message: Posted by: docguitarman (Aug 17, 2020 07:52PM)
Liam Montier also has available an ACAAN using a reverse Svengali deck. He credits David Britland's description of the effect by way of a link. Check it out.

https://www.kaymarmagic.com/products/reverse-svengali-deck

Magical Regards,
Phil
Message: Posted by: jack_shields (Aug 20, 2020 05:53AM)
I love using a Sven deck, and although basic it can be used to great effect if handled correctly.

It would be good to hear about some unique uses...