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Topic: STACKED by Uday and Chris Dearman - Review (text and video)
Message: Posted by: Gavin.Wong (Jun 30, 2020 12:05AM)
Hey guys! I did a in-depth review of Stacked.

The link to the review video is [url]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yns1NRcF6mU[/url].

However, if you prefer to read about it, here's the full transcript from the same review video (note that you will miss out on the clips, graphics, etc. that I provide in the video itself):



Stacked Review

Hey guys, Gavin here. Today I am going to be doing a full review of "Stacked" by Uday Jadugar and Chris Dearman! This product is currently up for pre-order for $30 from both Vanishing Magic Inc and Murphy's Magic with a ship date of June 29th, 2020. I was lucky enough to receive it earlier than the advertised ship date and have decided to post this review for those of you deciding whether to purchase it or not. If you're interested or want to know more, the links to purchase "Stacked" are in the video description down below. In this review, we will look at the performance videos, the effect, the method, and take a look at what's provided with your purchase. I'll also discuss the versatility of the gimmick, the difficulty level, and finally give it a final rating out of 10 along with my recommendation on whether you should purchase "Stacked" or not. Finally, please know that this is NOT a paid review and this is my honest opinion. With that in mind, let's get right into the performance videos.

The Performance

<insert trailer performance videos>

So that's a quick look at what the trick looks like based on the trailer.


Now that you know what it's supposed to look like, let's see if I can replicate that with only a few days practice.

<insert my performance videos>

Not bad if you keep in mind I've only played around with this for a couple of days. I'd say the trailer is an accurate depiction of what it would look like in person.

The Effect

Now let's briefly discuss the effect. You riffle through the cards, are able to name a card the spectator is merely thinking of and then change the whole deck into a fat stack of cash! Now, the "think of a card" part of the trick is not new or unique so I'm not really going to focus on that. I will mention though that the naming of the card they see is not 100% foolproof. This wasn't really addressed on the product page so I do want to point that out. You will not get it right 100% of the time. Now, that might be a dealbreaker to some but for me, it doesn't really matter - either way you are going to move onto the transformation regardless if you get their card right or not. Getting the thought-of card correct is just an added bonus. The main focus of the trick here is the changing of cards to cash. Now, I could be wrong but as far as I know this, this is the only full deck to cash transformation out there. There are other cash transformation tricks like Flash Cash, Extreme Burn, Prophet, and others but there are no other full deck to cash transformations to my knowledge. Add onto the fact that you can cleanly show both sides of each bill makes this a super visual effect. Another thing I want to point out is that you cannot hand anything out for examination with the gimmick as is. There are some things you can add to the performance to allow you to hand out bills for examination and I'll discuss that a bit later.

The Gimmick (and what else is included)

Alright, now this is the moment you've all been waiting for! We will now dive right into examining the gimmick and to see what comes included with your purchase. This is what arrived in a padded envelope. We have a white box that reads "Stacked by Uday Jadugar & Chris Dearman. Designed, Engineered & Manufactured by Uday Jadugar based on an effect by Christopher Dearman". We then have these stacks of 100 dollar bills and here in the corner, it reads "Made in India". Once you open this up, you get your fully assembled gimmick, ready to perform. Also in the box is a piece of paper with a link to the Murphy's Magic website and a password to access the downloadable video. We'll discuss the video in a minute.

Let's first take a look at the gimmick itself. The gimmick is well made and should last a longtime assuming you take reasonable care of it - you know, you aren't simply throwing it into the bottom of a backpack or carelessly tossing it around when it's not in its box, or you aren't spelling water on it. It comes ready to perform as is and here's a close-up of it. So, I want to point out that while these bills aren't exact replicas of real bills, they are pretty darn close. The bills and gimmick is not examinable so people shouldn't be holding it, trying to look at every little detail anyways. The bills look good enough that specators will initially think these are real bills. If spectators are looking at the bills close enough, the first thing they will probably notice is the red writing down the middle of both the front and back of each bill. On the very top bill and some of the $100 bills, the red writing goes just past half way and it reads "For Magic Tric". Hopefully you guys can see that. On all of the other bills, front and back, it reads "FOR MAGIC TRICK USE" from top of the bill all the way to the bottom. That's the most noticeable thing that pops out right away. There are also some misspellings on the bills for legal reasons. Examples of this are that the spelling of "Dollars" is spelled "DALLARS". If you look super close, you'll also notice that in the corner that reads "The United States of America", the "C' in America is replaced with an "O". The two stamps on the bill itself are also mirror images of what they are actually supposed to look like. On the top left, it also reads "Federal Reverse Note" instead of "Federal Reserve Note". At this point, I feel like I'm nitpicking at every little thing. These tiny details are not really noticeable unless you are reading it super close but I doubt people will even notice these things since they aren't looking at them in detail or even holding the bills.

Moving onto the material. The face of each bill is made from paper so it feels and looks legit. Only thing to note here is that each bill looks like a crisp, brand new bill so that might look suspicious to some. The back of each bill, however, is made out of this glossy card stock that might reflect light a bit. In direct sunlight or artificial light, it might give off a sheen that gives away that it's not paper. You guys can even see the shine in the trailer video if you look close enough. In my opinion, the things that people will notice first are the red vertical writing or the shine and stiffness of the cardstock on the back of each bill.

Again, I think these are pretty small details that folks won't really notice. As soon as the transformation happens, spectators will be in awe initially, right? You're spreading through the bills, you're flipping back and forth, showing the front and back and all that movement really helps to hide these things. Once that shock wears off then they might want to examine the bills more closely and that's when they might notice something is off.

Let's take a quick look at the deck of cards before the transformation happens. Here's what the cards look like. Regular bicycle font on the front of the cards and Bicycle Maiden back design. Now the front of the card is the other side of the card stock that we talked about earlier and you can see riffling through this, it behaves and looks like a legit deck of cards. It has a stiffness and bounce that we expect from a regular deck. The Maiden back design is the back of the paper material from the front of the bill and doesn't need to look all that legit. Just an added convincer when you are riffling through the cards to see the back of each card as well.

Now, I read some comments online that some folks are concerned about the edges being square and not rounded like a real deck of cards. See here an example. While others seemed to be concerned about this, I think it's a nonfactor. When you're showing the cards, you are explaining to the spectator that they will need to think of a card they see while you riffle through the deck. This immediately should cause them to focus on remembering a card rather than focusing on the edges of the cards or what a normal deck looks like. I don't think laymen will notice it and it wasn't something I initially noticed when I watched the trailer.

Another thing I do want to point out here is that the gimmick itself has to be fairly neat and together in order to perform flawlessly. If the bills aren't perfectly squared up, you might flash during the performance.

You can, if you really wanted to, use real bills instead of this paper and card stock that comes with the gimmick. However, it's going to be very costly since you'll have to use real bills for both the front and back of each bill in the gimmick.

For reset, it's almost instant. It will only take you a few seconds away from spectators to reset it.

In summary of the gimmick, it's well made and looks great for getting big reactions. Some small minor things that might draw attention later on but shouldn't be a big deal.

Moving on to the instructional video that comes with your purchase. The video is a whopping 63 minutes long. I was expecting a 15-20 minute video tops so I was surprised to see a run time of just over 63 minutes. This video includes an overview of the gimmick, how it works, the principle behind it, the handling of the gimmick, how to maintain it, some additional ideas to play around with using the gimmick, and troubleshooting. A majority of the video itself is around handling and how to perform with the gimmick. The instructional part of the video is very detailed and moves at a pretty slow pace. For me, I felt like it did move a little too slow at times but I'd rather have an instructional video that's too slow rather than too fast. It's a good problem to have. A significant chunk of the video is dedicated just to performing using the tuck box as shown in the trailer. This takes up a large portion of the video because of two reasons:
1) You have to do some arts & crafts in order to use a tuck box as shown in the trailer video. The video goes over exactly what modifications are required and how to do it yourself at home.
2) The handling in the performance with the tuck box has a lot of little nuances and complexities involved so a good deal of time is spent going over these subtleties, your angles, what could go wrong, etc.

Now let's go back to the first point. Notice how big the gimmick is. It doesn't fold up or get any smaller. Here's it compared to a regular tuck box. Now it wasn't apparent to me in the trailer but this simply doesn't fit in a normal tuck box. In the trailer, the performer seemingly pulls the deck from a closed tuck box. Now yes, you can do this and it is covered in the instructional video but you do have to modify the tuck box. In addition to that, using the modified tuck box seems to add some nuances and "moving parts" if you will, that I mentioned earlier. I'm not a fan of this particular method with the modified tuck box because it adds additional things that I need to consciously be aware of and focus on instead of just performing.

Infact, just from playing around with the gimmick, I personally found it easier to perform this with a regular non-modified tuck box. Now obviously I can't show a closed box and can't do the pulling the deck out of a closed box portion of the trick but for me, that's not a big deal. Going into the trick as is just like this seems to make the performance significantly easier. In addition to that, it actually helps a lot with the angles because you simply won't flash with the gimmick tucked away in a regular tuck box.

Angles

Speaking of angles, let's talk about performance angles. This is where I was the most disappointed with the gimmick. Before the transformation happens, angles are simply not good - it is very angle sensitive. If you're doing it in the hands, with no box, you only have about 30-45 degrees of performing angle without worrying about flashing the back of the gimmick. You also have to worry about tilting the gimmick too high or too low or else you will flash. Another thing you have to worry about is introducing the gimmick itself. You can't just bring it out like you would a normal deck of cards because of the size of the gimmick. You have to introduce it carefully keeping in mind where your audience is. Now doing the performance with the modified tuck case as taught in the video has similar angle issues - very limited range. Very disappointing.

Going back on what I mentioned earlier, the best way I found to perform this is with the regular, un-modified tuck box. Even though you lose the ability to pull the deck from a closed box, this allows you to be a bit more careless with it and you get pretty good coverage from all around. Only thing with this is that you have to introduce a deck that's seemingly already half-pulled out of the box which might look suspicious to some. Again, this is my personal preference but others may stick with the in-the-hands performance or the modified tuck box performance as shown in the instructional video.

Now, up until now I've only talked about angles before the transformation happens. So once the transformation happens, you are all set and can cleanly show the bills from pretty much any angle. After the transformation happens, your angles would pretty much be 360 degrees surrounded. Introducing the gimmick and performing the riffle part of the trick, it's very angle sensitive again, estimating around 30-45 degrees in front of you without worrying about flashing. Because of the angles and the awkwardness that can come from introducing the gimmick, I think this is a trick better catered for social media rather than performing live. This here is the biggest drawback of the whole trick for me.

Difficulty

Alright so what's the difficulty of this trick? In the product description on Murphy's Magic, it says the trick is "super easy to perform". However, if you scroll up, it lists the difficulty as "Intermediate". OK, that's kind of confusing. Me personally, I would say it's more towards the Easy difficulty since the gimmick pretty much does all the work for you. I can see where some practice is needed on watching the angles, introducing the gimmick without flashing, and perhaps the DIY part if you're going with the modified tuck box. I can also see how some audience management is needed since you might have some people want to grab the bills out of your hand after the transformation. So the gimmick is super easy to use, but the difficult part is just watching the angles and audience management.

Versatility

Let's talk about the versatility of the trick and gimmick. I love a good utility move or utility tool that can be applied across multiple tricks and routines with tons of different uses. While the principal behind this specific gimmick has many uses for different tricks, the "Stacked" gimmick itself is unfortunately a one-trick pony. With this you are only able to do the riffle and the cash transformation. Unfortunately, you can't use the deck for performing regular card tricks and then decide when to do the cash transformation. Once you introduce the gimmick, you're going to do this one trick and that's it. Now the instructional video does cover how to introduce the gimmick to your audience and how you could technically use it as a deck switch to bring out a whole other deck after you perform this trick. So there's that.

As I mentioned earlier, the video also goes over how you could add in a few real bills and can hand those out for examination. Even if you're adding that additional layer to the performance, it's still a one-trick pony at the end of the day. Now, given the size of the gimmick and the fact that the gimmick does have to be perfectly squared up before performing, this isn't something I recommend carrying around with you while strolling or table hopping. There's just way too many limitations with angles, the awkward introduction of the gimmick itself, and the pocket space needed for it. Again, more reasons why I think this is better suited for social media.

In Summary (rating and recommendation)

Ok guys we finally made it to the end. In summary the positives are:
- It's a Hyper-visual illusion that is sure to get big reactions.
- The Gimmick is ready to perform out of the box, well made and looks convincing.
- The Gimmick is self-working and easy to use.
- It is the Only full deck to cash transformation as far as I know therefore making it a unique effect
- It comes with a very detailed instructional video

And my negatives are:
- Angle sensitivity. It's way too angle sensitive unless you're going with the un-modified tuck box performance.
- It's a bit Awkward to introduce the gimmick itself without flashing
- Gimmick must be perfectly aligned when performing
- And finally, It's a One-trick pony and takes up a good chunk of pocket space

So taking all of this into account, I give this a 7 out of 10. It's not a great trick but the self-working gimmick is easy to use and will get you big reactions assuming you can look past the angle sensitivities and somewhat awkward handling. My final recommendation on this product is to PASS on purchasing it. If you already own Flash cash, extreme burn, prophet, or other similar cash transformation tricks, what you already have is better than "Stacked" in my opinion. The limited performance angles and space this one-trick gimmick takes up is too much of a deal breaker for me. However, if you don't own other cash transformation tricks or if you have a specific need for a full deck-to-cash transformation in your repertoire, then you should give "Stacked" a closer look.

And with that, my review of "Stacked" is complete. I hope you guys found this video informational and useful. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. Also let me know what other cash transformation tricks you guys are currently using and what you think of them. If you haven't done so already, please like and subscribe and hope to see you guys next time!