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David Thiel
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With the exception of the Invis*ble Deck, I hate card tricks. I really do. I did magic for 20 years and now all I need to see is the word "CARD" in an effect description and I'm already thinking "NEXT." There are a couple of good reasons for this. First -- I am profoundly sick to death of card tricks. I honestly couldn't care less about the number where a certain card will be found, etc. Second -- most card tricks simply aren't good mentalism. (YES I know that's a subjective statement and NO...I'm not trying to open THAT debate again.)

But Bruce Bernstein's brilliant PSI-Deck IS both shut-their-mouth amazing and absolutely perfectly designed three stage mentalism.

In the grand tradition of alerting you to stuff that's-been-out-a-while-but-is-new-to-me-so-I-figure-you-NEED-to-know-about-it...let me tell you why the PSI-Deck has become one of my favorite secret weapons of these past few months. In no particular order:

1) It plays well on a huge stage, close-up or parlor.
2) The system is so diabolically simple that your involvement is limited to remembering to put a rubber band around a pack of cards.
3) It answers every single weakness in the traditional Tossed Out Deck Routines
4) It will get laughs...and gasps

Traditional TOD routines have one significant flaw for me. After the deck's been peeked at by a number of people, the mentalist stands on-stage and recites a number of cards. Those that have seen any of the cards on the list sit down. There are lots of ways to increase the drama...but that's essentially it. I tried to make this work...but I never could. To me, it just felt like a really good card trick that had no place in my mentalism show. (Again: YES I know that's a subjective statement and NO...I'm not trying to open THAT debate again.)

Here's why: the performer can't look at one specific spectator and say "You're visualizing the Seven of Clubs" and the next one "Ace of Diamonds" etc. That bugged me enough that I quit performing TOD and went onto other stuff that didn't annoy me.

About the time I was discovering Bruce Bernstein's classic book entitled Unreal (which you REALLY should have) I saw a product on his site called the "PSI-Deck." Here's the skinny: The deck is fanned. All the cards are different. The mentalist puts a rubber band around the pack and hands it to Spectator Number One who flips through it, glimpses a card and hands it back. THEN the mentalist gives the pack to Spectator Number Two and the process is repeated.

His brow furrows. Sweat from mental effort pours down his face as he looks at Spectator Number One and asks him to visualize the card. The effort....draining his...very...lifeforce. "You saw the Seven of Spades," he mentalist finally announces. Spectator Number One faints away from pure shock.

The mentalist steps over the body and looks at Spectator Number Two. He asks her to visualize her card. She does. More brow furrowing. More sweating. "You saw...the Four of Hearts," announces the mentalist. EMTs rush onstage with a stretcher and an oxygen mask to whisk the surprised-into-unconsciousness Spectator Number Two into a waiting ambulance.

The mentalist looks at Spectator Number Three and smiles reassuringly. "Let's try something different with you," he says. "Let me see if I can possibly influence your choices...choices you don't even know you're making."

"Am I gonna pass out?" asks Spectator Number 3. "Cause I have to go to work in the morning."

"Probably not," the mentalist reassures him. "Would you hold this for me?"

The mentalist passes the spectator a sealed envelope. He fans the cards again and shows the spectator that they are, in fact, all different. He deals them one by one into the spectator's hand face down.

"I want you to listen carefully for that internal voice," says the mentalist as he slowly continues to deal the cards. "The instant you hear it, I want you to say STOP."

Eventually the spectator says "STOP!"

The mentalist pauses. "Do you mean the card in my hand...or the one I just set down? You DO have a free choice."

(I will often insert a waggling left eyebrow at this juncture...just to increase the tension.)

The Spectator points a trembling finger to the card in his hand.

"Are you...quite sure?" asks the mentalist. (Waggle waggle.) "You MAY change your mind if you like."

The spectator can change his mind...or not. (It doesn't matter.) The mentalist displays the card selected by the spectator. It is a Three of Hearts.

"All the cards were different. You could have stopped me at any one of them," the mentalist says. "Is that...correct?" (Half a waggle here...because the poor guy looks like he couldn't possibly take a full one.)

The spectator wipes sweat from his upper lip. His eyes dart from the card in the mentalist's hand to the envelope he is holding.

"Open it," says the mentalist.

A soft moan escapes the spectator, who is slowly shaking his head as he considers the implications. With trembling fingers he opens the envelope. A single card falls out. It's....a THREE OF HEARTS!

Okay, So it's not ALWAYS this dramatic. But that's a fair description of what the spectators and the audience will see. The Psi-Deck really is dead easy to perform and it's designed by one of the world's most brilliant thinkers on mentalism. It's not cheap -- but you're getting an absolute top quality effect that WILL blow the doors off of every audience that has a pulse.

I've used this in hospitality suites and in front of large audiences. It's been done close-up. It's played to teenagers and executives. The PSI-Deck has blown them all away. And all I have to do is put a rubber band around a deck of cards and concentrate on my routine. It's simple...it's powerful and it's direct. It's become one of my favorite things. Don't be put off by the price. How much SHOULD a miracle cost anyway?
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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Stephen Young
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David, I just love the way you write.

I will be checking this out today.
It sounds like it will go well next to my Unreal and Taboo


Steve
Caliban
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Quote:
On 2013-05-17 22:10, David Thiel wrote:
3) It answers every single weakness in the traditional Tossed Out Deck Routines


I'm not sure it answers the biggest weakness of the traditional Tossed Out Deck, which is that someone who is not used to being on public display has to quickly peek at the index of a card in a dark auditorium, so sometimes they will be wrong about which card they saw.

For me, it also sounds like Bruce's routine loses the two main advantages of Tossed Out Deck for a large audience, especially in a theatre.

1) In the classic Tossed Out Deck, the performer never leaves the stage and the participants remain in the audience. On a stage, props that have to be carefully handed to a spectator are less practical than props that can just be tossed into the crowd. I still remember the first time I performed in a theatre where there was an orchestra pit in front of the stage and steps at the sides - and can recall how much more difficult that suddenly made my act, because I had effects where I needed to approach the audience.

2) If you hold up a playing card in a theatre, most of the audience won't be able to see which card it is. Tossed Out Deck works in a theatre because the audience, as a whole, don't need to be able to identify any cards. They just need to see the participants sitting down when you name the cards they are thinking of. As soon as you introduce a prediction card in an envelope, the ending relies on people being able to see that it's the right card.
George Hunter
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David:

You may well become the Magic Café's first Poet Laureate!

George
parmenion
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I agree with Caliban.
The psi deck is better suited for parlor or even close-up as final for two or three table.
On stage, I used to use Cody's tod, the best one for me.
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mastermindreader
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I've used the Psi-Deck for over ten years in parlor-size settings. It is as effective and powerful as David has described. It is not, however, a TOD effect, simply because the pack cannot be "tossed out" into the audience. It is, instead, directly handed to the participants. In Hoy's original the pack is literally tossed into the audience and caught by random spectators.
JanForster
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Bob, you look frightening with your new avatar... good that I know that you are not that dangerous, but please stop walking around in my head... Jan
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mastermindreader
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Actually that's just a photo of the Rev. Dr. Bob presiding over his church's annual card party.

It also illustrates his method for the "Foolproof Think of a Card" effect in which the spectator is forced to come right out and tell you what card he's thinking of.
Mindpro
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Effective!
David Thiel
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I agree. It's a hander. Not a tosser. Point made Bob.

I always pay careful attention to a tough looking hombre holding a gun.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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John C
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Hey David ... never say never. Good thing you didn't hold onto your HATE CARD TRICK philosophy. You may never have had the opportunity to try out The Most Amazing TOD on the PLANET. (heh heh!)

j
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David Thiel
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Well yeah. But I really sincerely DO hate card tricks. My eyes glaze over. I start to drool and mutter. If that doesn't make them go away, I have to wet myself.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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JanForster
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Quote:
On 2013-05-18 13:08, mastermindreader wrote:
It also illustrates his method for the "Foolproof Think of a Card" effect in which the spectator is forced to come right out and tell you what card he's thinking of.

I do something quite similar, my spectator agrees always when I'm telling her which card she is thinking of. She saves her life, I save my show. Perfect win win situation. Until now I never had to fire. Jan
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John C
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Quote:
On 2013-05-18 14:15, David Thiel wrote:
Well yeah. But I really sincerely DO hate card tricks. My eyes glaze over. I start to drool and mutter. If that doesn't make them go away, I have to wet myself.

David


Soooo, do your specs get wet and call in the asylum when you perform the TOD?
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
David Thiel
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Only the really old ones.

By the way...I didn't say I hated cards. Just card tricks. It was the Invisibl* Deck that got me into magic to begin with in the 1980's. I still perform it today.

BUT I don't view either the PSI-Deck or the ID as "card tricks." They're mentalism effects that use cards. This is a pretty big distinction...for me anyway. It also saves significantly on laundry bills.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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Withnail
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Hi David,

PM'd you.
Yet again that oaf has destroyed my day
John C
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Quote:
On 2013-05-18 19:00, David Thiel wrote:
Only the really old ones.

By the way...I didn't say I hated cards. Just card tricks. It was the Invisibl* Deck that got me into magic to begin with in the 1980's. I still perform it today.

BUT I don't view either the PSI-Deck or the ID as "card tricks." They're mentalism effects that use cards. This is a pretty big distinction...for me anyway. It also saves significantly on laundry bills.

David


I'm messin with ya. But really most mentalists use cards as a means to perform an "experiment" not to perform card tricks. So any way cards can be used as colors, numbers, images as a good thing for the mind reader.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
eSamuels
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I've been performing PSI-deck for years, but not as a regular part of a set, as it is best suited to specific performance conditions (parlour, smaller venues).
In the right conditions (avoid more casual environments where someone might be 'comfortable' asking to see the cards, after), it does play beautifully!

Coincidentally, I do not ever perform a TOD. I know that I must be breaching some kind of Mentalism tenet (the same set of rules that require dressing all in black and occasionally touching one's fingertips to the forehead), so call me a rebel!

e
JanForster
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Then I am rebel too... I use my own creations. The good news are that they are translated momentary and will be soon available through library.com. I did not ask for it or offered it, I have been asked and finally I agreed Smile. Jan
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David Thiel
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Here's the flipside: I have done the PSI-Deck on-stage for an audience of 300. It played very well.

The critical thing is to ensure the spectators are miked. When they reveal the card identities, the audience feeds off of their reactions. So, while I agree it's perfectly suited for parlor and even close-up, I think it also plays very well from the stage. At conferences where there are cameras on me, projecting images on screens -- so much the better.

Would it be my first choice for a stage routine? Probably not. All I'm saying is that when I'm doing a series of shows for the same audience (like a grandstand series at a fair) I'm not uncomfortable at all using the PSI-Deck.

David
Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Except bears. Bears will kill you.


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