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the fritz
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Okay, so it's been over a year and my conscience has nagged me long enough that I finally put in the work to post here as I said I would in May of 2007. Possibly even more sad than this is the fact that only one person (thanks trickytrav) has posted since!

So I'm looking at the original conditions of the challenge (which it looks like only one or two people actually met) and in addition to Jud's original criteria (and the good idea Airship subsequently added), I propose that we add another. How about this? The tricks in each routine have to be completely impromptu. That means no set-ups (unless it is one you have the skill to do on the fly, making the trick impromptu for you). I want to be able to take a borrowed, spectator-shuffled deck and go to work.

With Jud's original criteria (only inexpensive books purchased from Barnes & Noble, Border's, etc. and 2-3 routines of 3 tricks each), Airship's "chapter and verse" idea, and my self-imposed impromptu guidelines, here is what I have come up with.

Routine 1
Just stringing some tricks together would make no sense... a through-line or theme for the routine is necessary to justify performing several tricks in a row. From a presentational standpoint, I asked myself a) "What story am I trying to tell/What am I trying to communicate?" and b) is the premise interesting/entertaining?

The theme for this routine revolves around the idea of the performer having an acute sense of touch which is responsible for the magic that is happening. Perhaps the performer could relate a story about how the sense came about (i.e. the performer was struck by lightning or he/she burned their fingers when they were younger and they developed hypersensitive scar tissue, etc.). I'll leave the why's of your newfound acute sensory abilities up to you! Here are the tricks:

1. "Heavyweight"- New Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 7.
2. "Cardini's Color Discernment"- Scarne on Card Tricks, p. 163
3. "Transposed Thoughts"- New Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 98

The idea here is that you begin demonstrating your abilities by accurately sensing the weights of packets of cards, which seems quite difficult to do reliably (though perhaps still possible given years of practice). Follow this by upping the ante and using your sense of touch to identify colors (the idea being that black cards and red cards differ in weight, however miniscule and virtually undetectable these differences may be). Finally, you get two spectators personally involved by demonstrating your amazing abilities with two selected cards.

Routine 2
Almost everyone has heard of Extra-Sensory Perception and each has his or her own beliefs about the subject. With this routine, your through-line is that you'll be demonstrating the four types of ESP, these being a)Precognition- foreseeing the future, b)Telepathy- reading a person's thoughts, c)Clairvoyance- seeing that which can't be seen, and d)Psychokinesis- moving/manipulating physical objects with the mind. These effects obviously have a mental flavor to them so how you play mentalism is up to you. I personally prefer the tongue-in-cheek approach.

1. Precognition: "Open Prediction"- More Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 9
2. Telepathy: "The Card Revealed"- Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 46
3. Clairvoyance: "Sleight of Mind"- Self-Working Mental Magic, p. 90
4. Pyschokinesis: "The Piano Card Trick"- New Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 58

You can perform these in whatever order you think is the most logical and/or based on strength of the tricks, moving from weakest to strongest to create some type of dramatic build for your audience. I have listed them in no particular order. "Open Prediction" is obviously a prediction. "The Card Revealed" is a great trick where you read the spectator's mind twice... a playing card and a number they've never spoken, written down, etc. (and it doesn't involve the "Clock Trick" methodology either). "Sleight of Mind" involves at least five spectators so if you're only performing for one, then you can eliminate this one and easily use "The Card Revealed" to demonstrate both Telepathy and Clairvoyance at the same time. Finally, "The Piano Card Trick" is a classic and really is a simple transposition of one card, but you can play it as if you are causing the card to dematerialize and rematerialize in a different place (the "even" pile) with the help of everyone's full concentration, hence it is your demonstration of Psychokinesis.

As an alternative, you could also use "Mental Rescue" (More Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 91) or "Braude's Mental Card Trick" (Scarne on Card Tricks, p. 89) in place of "The Card Revealed" for your Telepathy demonstration and "Gemini Twins" (More Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 1) could be used in place of "Open Prediction." "Gemini Twins" could also be used, if you sell it properly, in the Clairvoyance demonstration instead of "Sleight of Mind." Finally, "Attraction Aces" (New Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 87) or "Player Piano" (New Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 60) could also be used as a demonstration of mind-over-matter (Psychokinesis) instead of "The Piano Card Trick."

Routine 3
This carries the same premise as Routine 2, but adds the interesting angle of the spectator doing all of the demonstrations! You could start by discussing how some people have ESP and don't realize it. Most everybody has had an experience where they knew what someone would say before they said it. Or perhaps they've intuitively had some sense of when to avoid something only to later find out something terrible happened at that very moment at that very place that their gut told them to stay away from. Using this presentational angle, here are the tricks:

1. Precognition: "Paradox"- New Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 29
2. Telepathy/Clairvoyance: "Gemini Twins"
3. Pyschokinesis: "Topsy Turvy"- Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 109

"Paradox" is an effect where the spectator "predicts" his own card but it actually turns out to be the card he selected. It's kind of a self-working version of Hamman's "Your Signed Card." "Gemini Twins" makes another appearance here with a different spin. If you say you're going to "remove a few random cards" (don't refer to them as predictions as is traditionally done) and attempt to send a thought to the spectator to stop at the appropriate spot, then this becomes a case of the spectator reading your mind. Or perhaps, the spectator is unaware that he can "see" the cards but the fact that he stopped on the mates of your two removed cards proves his abilities as a Clairvoyant. You justify the use of two cards because the first one "might have been blind luck." Finally, "Topsy Turvy" is an effect where the spectator mysteriously causes his card to turn face up in half of the deck simply by "concentrating on it," then he follows this up by causing your card to turn face up in the other half. Again, it is the mental concentration angle that makes this a demonstration of the spectator performing Psychokinesis.

Alternatively, you could substitute "Cards Can Think" (New Self-Working Card Tricks, p. 123) in place of "Gemini Twins" for your Telepathy demonstration in which the spectator reads the performer's mind. In "Cards Can Think" the performer could say he's thinking of a card and will remove it and place it face down in full view, after which the spectator successfully reads the performer's mind by ending up with cards that match the suit and value of the performer's mentally chosen card.

There you have it... a bit of my thinking on the Self-Working Challenge. I'd love to hear others' takes on this. Obviously these tricks are not exhaustive and I honestly spent very little time looking through Scarne on Card Tricks, any of the Bob Longe books or Magic with Cards by Garcia and Schindler, all of which were inexpensively purchased from Barnes & Noble. Enjoy.
Picard
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That was some nice routining, I enjoyed going through it and I think everyone could benefit from learning and doing any of your described routines.
Unfortunately, I can't from top of my head think of a routine which would fit all the criteria of this topic (I usually mix sleight of hand + semi-automatic or self-working in my routines) but it's once again a nice reminder to take another look at these inexpensive but really great books. I always keep forgetting how many gems they have.
truesoldier
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I know it's been 10 months since Fritz posted his routines, but I have to take my hat off to him. If you read this I want you to know that I found your post very inspiring. I will go through some ideas and put together a routine to post up soon.
the fritz
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Thanks truesoldier.

Those are kind words and I'm glad the post inspired you. To do the original exercise Jud Bond (who started the thread) suggested, with the addition of some of the later criteria as well, takes time... an increasingly difficult luxury to find these days! I may give the exercise another crack when I find the time just to see what else I can come up with, as it was a lot of fun. In the meantime, I'll look forward to seeing your results, truesoldier. Thanks again for the kind words.
Mick Ayres
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Gentlemen,

Since this thread is focused on the possibility of creating an act from self-working material I believe I have some underground material you may find of interest. I conjure professionally with playing cards in parlor settings at an exclusive resort on Hilton Head Island. When I retire one of my acts, I write it up and make it available to the conjuring community as part of the Act-series.

Although I am adept at hand-magic with cards, these particular acts are focused on mentalism. That being said, each show relies upon the use of self-working mysteries performed with playing cards. Each detail is provided, including "transition scripts" that insure the smooth flow of the show from one effect to the next.

Among professional mentalists and magicians from around the world, these books have been extremely well-received.

If you would like to know more, these manuscripts (and other material) can be found here: http://www.mickayreswares.com.

Warm regards,
Mick Ayres
THE FIVE OBLIGATIONS OF CONJURING: Study. Practice. Script. Rehearse. Perform. Drop one and you're done.
Bandon
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Card College Light is a book full over self-working card tricks that are already routined or sequenced for the buyer, so that's one source for someone interested in this, and if there's is a set-up it's either done before the routine or during by the preceding trick, so there's no setting up between tricks, as far as I can remember at least.

Here's a list of the routines and tricks from Card College Light:

Routine 1:
T.N.T. The magician reveals two cards chosen in a way that would seem to make this utterly impossible.
Intuition. Through the power of intuition, two spectators are able to separate the shuffled deck into red and black cards.
The Telephone Trick. The performer's medium is called and is able to discern over the telephone the card freely selected from a shuffled deck.

Routine 2
Thot Echo. Someone selects two cards under the fairest conditions, and the magician succeeds in finding them.
Royal Flush. Ten cards randomly chosen by a spectator are thoroughly shuffled by him and then dealt into two poker hands. The magician's hand is shown to be a royal flush!
The Waiwiki Shuffle. A subconsciously controlled swing of a pendulum reveals to the performer the identity of a chosen card.

Routine 3
Fingertip Sensitivity. The magician guesses the actions a person performs with a packet of cards under the table.
Muscle Reading. Someone chooses any card, then shuffles it thoroughly into the deck. Thanks to the magician's ability to read this person's unconscious muscle impulses, he is able to successfully find the card.
The Lie Detector. Someone notes a card and shuffles it back into the deck. She next takes seven indifferent cards, keeps them hidden and calls their names to the magician; but for one of the indifferent cards she calls the name of the card she selected. Because the magician possesses the sensitivity of a lie detector, he is able, unbelievable as it may seem, to discover the woman's card!

Routine 4
The Circus Card Trick. After the audience has become convinced that the performer has failed to find a selected card, he manages to save the situation in a surprising and amusing way.
The Fingerprint. A freely chosen card is replaced in the deck by the spectator, under the strictest conditions. In spite of this, the magician is able to find the card by means of the “fingerprints” left on it!
Magical Match. The magician twice determines, in an inexplicable manner, the exact number of cards the spectator has cut from the deck.

Routine 5
Cards Never Lie! Someone selects a card and shuffles it back into the deck. The magician asks three questions about the card, and his subject either lies or tells the truth. Nevertheless, the performer is able not only to ascertain the chosen card, but he also immediately produces the other three cards of the same value!
Digital Dexterity. A chosen card is shuffled back into the deck by the person who selected it, and the deck is placed into the magician's pocket. With seemingly unbelievable dexterity, he is able to fish the chosen card out of the deck!
Think Stop! Someone freely selects a card, then shuffles it back into the deck. Nevertheless, the magician is able to find the card through that person's silent thought-command alone.

Routine 6
Card Caper. Two spectators each select a card from a deck that they shuffle themselves. They further shuffle their cards back into the deck. Nevertheless, the magician is able to find both spectators' cards in an astonishing manner.
In the Hands. Someone from the audience shuffles a deck of cards and remembers two of them, which he himself loses back into the deck. In spite of these impossible conditions, the magician is able to locate both noted cards.
Back to the Future. The magician transports himself into the future, memorizes what happens there, returns to the past, and then predicts the occurrence in the present: a confusing story with a clear effect.

Routine 7
Manto. The magician writes a prediction and places it inside the card case, which a spectator guards. An audience member and the performer mix the cards face up into face down, throwing the deck into a chaotic condition. Nonetheless, the prediction states how many cards lie face up and how many of those are black and how many red!
Vernon's Miracle. The magician finds a card selected under the fairest conceivable conditions.
That Is the Question. The magician asks no questions, yet he answers them while guessing and finding a freely and fairly thought-of card.


Card College Lighter is the continuation of the first book, and contains these routines and tricks, not sure if they're routined/sequenced for you though:

Part 1
Voila, Four Aces! Someone selects a card and returns it to the deck. One card mysteriously turns over in the deck and leads directly to the location of the selection. At the end, the four Aces are suddenly produced!
The Australian Fives. Two previously selected cards reappear mysteriously with the aid of the "Australian Fives" and an exotic procedure.
Fully Automatic Aces. The magician demonstrates the difference between coincidence and pure sleight-of-hand. Two Aces are then spectacularly produced by him. An audience member finds the two remaining Aces herself, apparently through sheer coincidence.
Strange Harmony. Someone cuts off any number of cards. Two more people designate two cards from the remainder of the deck. The sum of their two cards is precisely the number of cards cut by the first person.
The Thought-of Card. Someone merely thinks of a card in the deck. The magician proves he can read the person’s thoughts and determines the thought-of card.
Six-Card Poker Played Here. The deck is cut and four people are each dealt six cards. Each of them removes five of his cards, leaving him with just one. When these remaining cards are disclosed, it is discovered that the four participants have successfully found the Aces—apparently without the magician having done a thing.
Risk! Someone shuffles and cuts the deck. She looks at the random card she has shuffled to the top, and then puts it anywhere in the deck. She shuffles and cuts the cards again. This can all happen in a room where the magician is not present! In spite of these incredible conditions, he is able to find the chosen card.

Part 2
The Spectator Does a Trick. An audience member does an inexplicable magic trick: He finds a card previously looked at by the magician.
The Cards Knew. After someone has scrupulously shuffled the deck, the performer divides it into several piles, four of which the helper freely selects by laying the four Aces onto them. It turns out that a number obtained from the cards in the four chosen piles corresponds exactly and without fail to the number of cards in the remaining piles.
Senza Toccare (Look Ma, No Hands)! Someone looks at a card at a freely determined position in a shuffled deck. The magician is able to find this selection without ever looking at the faces of the cards!
The Birthday Card. The magician states he can tell the birthday of someone he doesn't know. Although no one believes him, he proves it in an amusing way.
A Condition of Balance. Someone cuts any number of cards off a shuffled deck and puts them into his pocket. The magician then cuts off a packet and tosses cards onto the table until he holds a number he judges right. The pocketed packet and the magician's are now counted—and both contain the same number of cards!
Mental Three-Card Monte. In the spirit of a three-card monte game, someone selects one of three cards as the winning one. He then mixes them. Although the magician is turned away the entire time, he is able to find the mentally selected card.
10-11-12. The magician makes an open prediction by setting one card to the side, face up. Someone rolls three dice and deals the number of cards indicated by the dice. The last card dealt matches the prediction card!

Part 3
Infantastic. The magician predicts not only the name of a celebrity, but also someone's selected card that is connected to that celebrity.
Subconscious Poker. The magician deals five hands of poker. He points to the middle card of the third hand (for example, the Queen of Spades) and explains that he will control that card to exactly the same position in the next deal. The cards are gathered and dealt again, and the magician keeps his promise. Moreover, he has controlled the other cards to make the Queen part of a royal flush in spades!
PSI Con Carte. Someone freely chooses a card and returns it to the deck while concealing it behind her back, assuring that the magician has no idea where the card is. The deck is returned to its case, and the magician holds the cased deck to his forehead. To the astonishment of the audience, he determines the card. Moreover, he uses his powers to cause the card in the cased deck to turn upside down.
Mr. King's Tapestry. A fascinating story is told of Mr. King, a collector of tapestries. Meanwhile, someone mixes the cards face up and face down. At the end, only four cards are found face up, and they present Mr. King's initials: the four Kings.
The Card Sharp's Triumph. The cards are shuffled face down into face up. Nevertheless, the magician is able, in a fantastic record time of a few milliseconds, to right the cards so that they all lie face down—with the exception of the four Aces!
Double S'Entendre. Without the apparent participation of the magician, two persons find each other's selected card.
Your Fateful Hour. The magician determines not only the identity of a card chosen by someone, but also a time of day (the fateful hour) that was merely thought of by that person.
the fritz
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Amonod,

Thanks for the descriptions. I believe most in this thread may already have those books. I know I do and I enjoy them. That being said, the fun thing about this challenge is to come up with something new with material that is old, relatively speaking, and is easily and inexpensively attainable. Hence the original criteria of the routines being comprised of material from well-known books (Self-Working Card Tricks, Scarne on Card Tricks, etc.) purchased inexpensively from the larger bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc.

Half the fun of the exercise is challenging yourself to be creative with readily available material. Try the exercise and I would love to see what you come up with.

Mick,

Given your penchant for creating self-working material to perform in a professional setting, would you have anything to add here? I would be very interested in seeing some of your results of the originally proposed exercise.

Thanks gentlemen (and ladies if there are any here).
Bandon
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Indeed, I just thought it was worth mentioning since it hadn't been mentioned before
the fritz
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Hello all,

As seems to be customary for me, after over a year I have some more to add to this thread. Maybe it's just this time of year but I always seem to go through my self-working card books once a year and this exercise is a fun one so I'll have some material to post when I get the chance. I don't have my books in front of me right this second but I will post soon.

Then, why post at all right now, you might ask? Two reasons... first, just to bring this thread back to the first page so I don't have to sift through all the pages or search for the thread again when I'm ready to post, and second, to whet appetites and hopefully get fellow card magicians thinking about this exercise again. If anyone has any results to post, please do so! I don't want to monopolize the thread and it's always really cool to see what people come up with.
the fritz
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Okay, so I made another attempt at this and here are my results.

Two routines... first one involves a comic book theme with the magician demonstrating superpowers with a deck of cards. It goes without saying that this should probably be done tongue-in-cheek as if you actually think your audience believes you have superpowers... well... The second routine is a gambling demo in which you demonstrate cheating techniques in action. This can probably be played a little more seriously, but by the end, should also be done with a little humor (read the last routine and you'll see what I mean).

Incidentally, all of these routines have been culled from Scarne on Card Tricks since it was not as well represented in my last attempt at this exercise. Plus it was kind of fun to revisit this classic... one of my all-time favorites. The page numbers given are according to the older Signet version. I have both paperback versions and if yours doesn't match my page number, just refer to your T.O.C. for page number.

Routine 1
1.) Calling the Cards (p. 7)
2.) Travelling Aces (p. 11)
3.) Reverso (p. 41)

With "Calling the Cards" you are demonstrating the power of X-ray vision. If you were Superman and could see through things, this is your version using a deck of cards. "Travelling Aces" would be used to demonstrate your ability to instantaneously travel through time to the past and back to the future, in order to place the aces where they couldn't possibly be. In "Reverso," you are demonstrating superspeed, as no mere mortal can find the selected cards and reverse them in the deck as quickly as you do... with the cards behind your back to boot.

Routine 2
1.) The Poker Face Card Trick (p. 138)
2.) The Mishap Poker Deal (p. 257)
3.) Will Bill Hickock's Hand (p. 295)

In "Poker Face" you are demonstrating the technique of spotting "tells" that professional gamblers use to their advantage in a high-stakes game of poker. I would personally use a different method of discovering the card as there are more deceptive, self-working methods out there in my opinion. Exact method is a discussion for a different thread, however. "The Mishap Poker Deal" is just another write-up of the classic self-working poker deal that I have used so many times to great response. I've discovered the real secret to this trick is how you sell it with your presentation. Here, the presentation revolves around yet another technique used by advantage players... the false deal. This time it gets a little more dangerous because we're talking cheating at the card table. Incidentally, this is the only trick I can think of that can be found in every one of my top three card books of all time (Royal Road to Card Magic, Scarne on Card Tricks, and Harry Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic). The fact that it can be found all three places should tell you something about it's strength. Finally, "Wild Bill Hickock's Hand" can be presented as a technique that is to be used when all else fails. If you can't beat your opponent by spotting his tells, and you can't beat him by cheating, then do what the pros do... call on Wild Bill Hickock's ghost! The story is intriguing as well as good theater, especially as a finale to your gambling technique demonstration.

There you have it. Pick up your copy of Scarne and read the tricks through. I'm especially fond of Routine 2 at the moment. The tricks are good as-is, but can also be tweaked as each sees fit. I hope you all enjoy these results. I hope others will try the exercise as I'm starting to feel a little lonely. I think maybe this will be my last post on this topic for at least a year, maybe forever... who knows. Until next time (maybe), enjoy.
the fritz
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Oh yeah, one more thing...

All tricks are completely impromptu. Regarding "The Mishap Poker Deal," I set that up in the process of looking for the aces. I've never, ever been caught or called out doing this. Probably because nobody knows what to look for and I do a false shuffle after removing the aces.
Harry Lorayne
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"Cheaply obtainable" is key. HL.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
the fritz
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Well Harry,

Your Classic Collection Volumes are about the cheapest deal you can find considering how much is in each volume. I'm glad I have mine and can't wait for volume 3. Hurry up will ya!
Harry Lorayne
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Thanks, Fritz - that, of course, is exactly my point. Please forgive the delays re: The Classic Collection, Vol. 3. It is all written; working on getting the over 500 photos of my hands done, and etc. If you're on my email mailing list, you'll automatically receive an email copy (Attachment) of the full-page ad for the book, when and if available. If you're not on my email mailing list, you can be - just send it to my personal email address listed below this post - the one with the word "earthlink" in it. HARRY L.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
the fritz
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I'm just teasing about the rush, of course... but oh yes, I'm definitely on the email list. Yours are some of the only magic books I buy the second they are released. Nothing but outstanding material and value there and those who don't get them are really missing out, in my opinion. It seems like so many the great magicians of the 20th century are gone and I (along with so many others, I know) am really thankful to have you around-- a guy who not only rubbed shoulders with that generation of great magicians, but who is himself one of those greats.
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