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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All in the cards » » My Best Self-Working Card Tricks by Karl Fulves (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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Given the title, is "My Best Self-Working Card Tricks" (2001) by Karl Fulves a selection of favourite effects from his three earlier books? (Self-Working Card Tricks, 1976; More Self-Working Card Tricks, 1984, Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic, 1995). Or is it a collection of entirely new effects not published in his previous volumes?
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RogerTheShrubber
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I own three Fulves self-working card trick books: Self-working Card Tricks (the 1976 book you mention), Self-working Close-up Card Magic, and the one you mentioned. There are no tricks in common in these books. I used to own More Self-Working Card Tricks as well (lost it, or loaned it and never got it back, I can't remember) and am 90% sure none of the tricks in that book are in the other three, either. As an example, I know Gemini Twins is in More Self-Working Card Tricks and it isn't in the three books I have. And for your benefit I just looked through the other three to make sure all the collections are entirely different.

So if you're worried about buying a book of tricks that are published in the other volumes you mentioned, don't be. I will say this, however: the book you're asking about is the Fulves volume I got the least out of. Too many of the tricks required setups, and there were so many instances of phrasing like "A simple setup does all the work" or similar wording in that book that there's only one trick from that book I perform regularly (the fifth trick in the book, which is called Calculated Cut). Still, the Fulves books are so inexpensive that if you get even one trick out of one of them, you've gotten your money's worth.
EndersGame
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Thanks Roger. "Gemini Twins" is one of my favourite self-working tricks, so it would indeed be odd to leave that one out of a collection containing the "best" card tricks from Karl Fulves. "Calculated Cut" is a nice effect, and "Quick as a Wink" seems to be a favourite for many as well.

I didn't mention it in my original post, but apparently there's also a fifth Karl Fulves book of self-working card magic, entitled "New Self-Working Card Tricks" (2001). It contains 95 card tricks. To give an idea of its contents, the first ten effects in that book are: 1. Silver Trap; 2. Future Vision; 3. Three-Way Match; 4. Lucky Seven; 5. Heavyweight; 6. Double Find; 7. A Card Moves Up; 8. Odd or Even? 9. Lies, All Lies; 10. Mental Math. Oddly enough, this title doesn't seem to be widely available or well known as the other four card trick ones.

Given that "My Best Self-Working Card Tricks" (2001) seems to be inferior to the previous three titles, I wonder which of Karl Fulves' first three books would come most highly recommended, and if someone was just getting one of the three, which would be the most well-rounded collection: Self-Working Card Tricks (1976), More Self-Working Card Tricks (1984), or Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic (1995)?
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RogerTheShrubber
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Hi, Topov -

I had never heard of "New Self-Working Card Tricks" and can't find it on Amazon or eBay, but sure enough it's in Google Books. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

In answer to your question, answering only for myself, I've read all four of the pre-2001 books, used to own all of them (thanks to your thread here I just re-ordered the one I lost track of, BTW), and without hesitation I'd recommend the 1976 book before any of the others - so much so, in fact, that I'd recommend the 1976 book over any TWO others combined, even with Gemini Twins (which I like a lot, too) in the 1984 book.

I remember when I got "My Best Self-Working Card Tricks" and was pretty excited about it given how much I love the 1976 book, and I remember how disappointed I was in it. But that sort of thing does seem to happen with authors of almost any subject or genre if they're prolific enough - sooner or later, they're going to release a relative dog.

Take Bob Longe, for example - his books are the same price range and length of the Fulves books, and his 1992 "World's Greatest Card Tricks" is a tremendous bang for the buck (it has a version of Gemini Twins, it has Out of This World," it has a nice Gemini Twin-like effect combined with the "one ahead" principle, I think the trick is called "Three Card Surprise," I perform it often, learned it from this book, and it goes over just about as well as Gemini Twins does). Then after a few releases, in 2005 he came out with "Mystifying Card Tricks," which I found even more disappointing than "My Best Self-Working Card Tricks." Rare is the card trick book that I can read from front to back without finding either a new trick I'm interested in trying out or an established trick I've already used with success, but "Mystifying Card Tricks" is one of those. it may be just my personal taste, but I really like Longe's other work (it's not Lorayne level or Trost level, but it's always a low-priced great value) and was just blown away at how much I disliked "Mystifying Card Tricks." I consider it the worst card trick collection I've ever purchased.

But that happens everywhere. Almost any author I read regularly on any topic or any fiction genre who has come out with five books or more drops a terrible stinker once in a while. With fiction, Lee Child came out with the wretched "Nothing to Lose," Kyle Mills came out with the putrid "Free Fall," Nelson DeMille came out with the rancid "Wild Fire," Steve Berry came out with the deplorable "The Jefferson Key," etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, and these are authors to whom I can point and say "I really like every other book this guy has ever put out, but wow, did that one book just suck." Don't even get me started on prolific chess authors.

But to sum up, the 1976 Fulves book is, IMHO, the class of the lot.
EndersGame
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Looks like the consensus in this thread is also that the original "Self-Working Card Tricks" (1976) is the best of the bunch:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=110

But in a different thread, Brad Burt says "More Self Working Card Tricks is even better than the first one! When my shop was open it sold better than 3 to 1 over the first!"
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=41

There's also a good thread here where people have posted their favourite tricks from the Karl Fulves books:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=206
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RogerTheShrubber
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First, thank you for the links.

As for the 1984 book outselling the 1976 book 3-1 in Mr. Burt's shop: if I had to guess, I'd say it's because most of Mr. Burt's customers interested in card magic already had the 1976 book during the timeframe he describes. I can't imagine a lot of people who would buy a book entitled "MORE Self-working Card Tricks" without buying or already owning the original, especially when the books are so inexpensive.

That's just a guess, though - for all I know, a bunch of people might have said "Well, this first one has 72 tricks, the second one has 88, their prices are in the same neighbordhood, I'm only going to get one of the two (unlikely as that is among a sales demographic willing to travel to a magic shop) so it's a no-brainer, give me the second one."

There's no right or wrong answer on a matter of taste, but to me the 1976 book is miles ahead of the others by Fulves.

On Amazon, BTW, the 1976 book easily outsells the rest of the Fulves catalog and the stats show the polar opposite of what Mr. Burt experienced. The numbers below, limited to the four books we've been discussing, are as of this writing.

Self-Working Card Tricks:
Rank 87,405
#13 in Magic and Illusion
#17 in Magic
#51 in Card Games

More Self-Working Card Tricks:
Rank 345,659
#83 in Magic and Illusion
#104 in Magic
#180 in Card Games

Self-Working Close-up Magic:
Rank 392,561
#98 in Magic and Illusion
#122 in Magic
#206 in Card Games

My Best Self-Working Card Tricks:
Rank 454,324
#117 in Magic and Illusion
#145 in Magic
#236 in Card Games
EndersGame
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Thanks for sharing those numbers and thoughts Roger, very nicely done.

I'm surprised that Joshua Jay's Amazing Book of Cards is ranked so highly in those amazon.com lists though - it may be popular, but is it really that good?
Best Sellers in Magic & Illusion: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/boo......1_4_last
Best Sellers in Magic Tricks: http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/boo......2_4_last
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RogerTheShrubber
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I have Joshua Jay's Complete Course in Magic (#9 in Magic on Amazon, not far behind Amazing Book of Cards' rank of #7), which includes what he calls "the ten best card tricks of all time." The book is actually a very good value (list price of 20 bucks for a DVD and a book with an absolute boatload of illustrations), all ten of the tricks are good (even if very few would be new to you), so if Amazing Book of Cards is anything like it (I can't remember, I once flipped through it about five years ago), I can see why it would be popular.

Complete Course is flashy, full of color photos (over 500 of them) on big glossy pages and includes lots of side explanations and trivia to go with painstaking explanations of each trick (over 100 effects), and it's anything but dry (something I've heard classic books like Royal Road and Hugard's Encyclopedia of card tricks accused of many times). The patter he gives is contemporary and not corny, unlike the godawful patter you see in a classic like Scarne on Card Tricks. He even adds suggestions for entire routines at the end of the book after you've read all the tricks.

It's up to the individual to judge how Complete Course ranks with classics like Harry Lorayne's The Magic Book and Mark Wilson's Complete Course, but regardless of your stance on that nobody can accuse Jay of overcharging for the book (on Amazon it's only $20 CDN or $17 in the States) or skimping on its contents. It's a TREMENDOUS bang for the buck. Regulars at this board would probably already know at least half the card tricks in his book (as examples, he includes You Do as I Do, Out of This World and an invisible deck routine), but I honestly consider the ones I didn't know to have made the book more than worth the price all by themselves, even though they're so simple to do.

Conversely, look at the table of contents in Amazing Book of Cards - http://www.amazon.com/Joshua-Jays-Amazin......s_4437_7 (the book's Amazon page allows you to peek inside that part of the book) - it doesn't have many tricks at all, and to me the ones which are in the book (one-ahead, Presto Prediction and so on) are actually way less interesting than the ones in Complete Course. The book is full of flourishes, bets (hustles) and stunts, but that stuff wasn't enough to get me to buy it. In other words, if you were looking for tricks only, you're actually better off (IMHO, anyway) with his Complete Course than his Amazing Book. So for me, no, Amazing Book isn't that good, but again, that's just me - I saw it at Borders (now closed, but it was a lot like Chapters in Canada) when it came out, flipped through it and passed on it because I have enough hustles from Simon Lovell's How to Cheat at Everything, and I have less than zero interest in flourishes and stunts.

For someone fairly familiar with a decent number of card trick books like you and I are, if you're only looking for new card tricks you may as well pass on both of them because neither book has a lot of tricks and there isn't much we haven't seen. However, with Complete Course I got my money's worth just with one trick alone - Wagers of Sin. The trick is simplicity itself (basically, just a force), but the entertainment value and the reactions that come with the spectator reading what she (I use "she" because I've only used it on females) signed (you can make a copy of what you need from the book, the document is in it, it's an eerie poem by Max Maven) are priceless. Another trick I had never seen before was Order from Chaos, which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite tricks to do in a bar for the lightly hammered. You get a few beers in someone and do that trick for them, and their reactions will shatter your eardrums.

So, to sum up, if it's only tricks you're looking for you may as well pass on Amazing Book. However, if other aspects of cards interest you, you should consider picking it up - it's inexpensive, and Jay's work is always interesting. The tricks in Complete Course are better and there are a lot of non-card tricks too, and I've already told you what a good value I think it is. Bottom line: if it's got Jay's name on it and the subject matter as advertised on the front cover interests you, buy it. It's possible that he may have a dog of a book in his future like Longe, Fulves and my favorite fiction writers did, but he sure hasn't released one yet.
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I do own Joshua Jay's Complete Course in Magic, and as you say it is very good value, and has very good content. The card tricks included are excellent, and the accompanying DVD is very good. It's a very polished product with a good range of material that's excellent for real beginners and even for intermediate amateurs like me.

I don't own Joshua Jay's Amazing Book of Cards, but from what I've seen online, it seems to be more about card handling than card tricks.
a) The first half of the book seems to includes a lot of basic material like doing spreads, fans, cuts, and shuffles (e.g. riffle, hindu), all of which is suitable for real beginners, but most intermediate amateurs will already be familiar with most of this. Only 9 tricks are included in the "Tricks" chapter, and some of them seem to be quite elementary and common (e.g. 10-20 force, one ahead principle), unlike the quality ones in Complete Course (e.g. Out of this World, Invisible Deck, Ashes on the Arm, Do As I Do) .
b) The second half the book looks more interesting to me, with the hussles and stunts, but it's hard to justify picking it up just for those 80 pages.

The Amazing Book of Cards book is also considerably shorter than the Complete Course book (208 pages vs 278 pages), and the accompanying DVD is shorter too (106 minutes vs 132 minutes). Overall my impression is that the more well rounded content of Magic The Complete Course is more useful to both beginners and amateurs, whereas the Amazing Book of Cards has a more limited audience in being suitable for real beginners only. It's a pity that the Amazing Book of Cards doesn't include a few more better card tricks (unless these are included in the sections dealing with things like the Hindu Shuffle?). If it had included a few more polished card tricks, it would be a more attractive product, because this would potentially increase the size of the market of people interested in it, by not only making it more useful to beginners, but also of interest to amateurs who are moving on from the basics. How fair would that assessment be?
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RogerTheShrubber
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Quote:
On Jun 7, 2016, Topov wrote:

The Amazing Book of Cards book is also considerably shorter than the Complete Course book (208 pages vs 278 pages), and the accompanying DVD is shorter too (106 minutes vs 132 minutes). Overall my impression is that the more well rounded content of Magic The Complete Course is more useful to both beginners and amateurs, whereas the Amazing Book of Cards has a more limited audience in being suitable for real beginners only. It's a pity that the Amazing Book of Cards doesn't include a few more better card tricks (unless these are included in the sections dealing with things like the Hindu Shuffle?). If it had included a few more polished card tricks, it would be a more attractive product, because this would potentially increase the size of the market of people interested in it, by not only making it more useful to beginners, but also of interest to amateurs who are moving on from the basics. How fair would that assessment be?


It's certainly one I agree with. I don't know why the tricks in that book aren't better and more plentiful, but perhaps Joshua Jay didn't want any crossover and has a very limited number of tricks he wants to put in his books. I don't know, but I hope he puts out more books in the future. If I cared about flourishes and hustles I'd have bought Amazing Book like a shot, but I don't, so...I just hope his next book or DVD set has more tricks and less flourish. I'm one of those who just has no use for flourishes, no interest in doing them or even seeing them (unless they're absolutely necessary for a trick like the spread Penn Jillette did in "World's Most Expensive Card Trick"). And, as I said, if I want hustles then Simon Lovell already has me well covered.
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A very enlightening thread for me.

I have 2 of Karl Fulves books. But from the point of how much of it I actually use, I like his first book. Extraordinary value. Simultaneously thought provoking and practical too.
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