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Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks: Ryan Matney Edition by Big Blind Media (2020)

Ryan Matney joins Big Blind Media's popular video series on self-working card magic


I have a real love for self-working card tricks, and I've previously written an article about why you should try self-working card tricks, recommending the merits of this genre of card magic. I've a special interest in the classics, and have covered some of the very best tricks in this genre in two other articles (10 of the Best and 10 More of the Best).

So where can you learn some of the top tricks that this genre of card magic has to offer? On numerous occasions I've made positive recommendations for the excellent series of videos produced by Big Blind Media (BBM), entitled Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks. With great production values and clear teaching, they do a splendid job of covering some of the very best of the best, each with a carefully curated collection of top self-workers. The first of these DVDs was produced in 2012, with Volumes 1-3 coming out in successive years, while Volume 4 was released at the start of 2020.

Building on the success of this series are several other closely-related releases from BBM. The DVD Awesome Self Working Card Tricks (2015) was effectively another member of the series, despite a slightly different title. And in 2019 they released Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks: Cameron Francis Edition, which featured tricks that were exclusively the work of Cameron Francis. Now in 2020 comes a similar collection, featuring tricks from Ryan Matney, and entitled Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks: Ryan Matney Edition (2020).

If you're not familiar with Ryan Matney, then this recommendation from self-worker aficionado John Bannon should get you immediately interested. Bannon wrote the introduction to Matney's book Spoiler Alert, and has also praised his other books with glowing endorsements like this: "I have been a fan of Ryan’s for a while now. [This] is a delightful book full of interesting card magic. If you like refined, semi-automatic methods (like I do) and thoughtful, occasionally quirky presentations (like I do), you will thoroughly enjoy this collection (like I did)." Matney has also received high praise from big names like Max Maven, David Regal, and other students of simple, elegant, and hard-hitting magic like Cameron Francis and John Carey.


Performance Example

Does Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks: Ryan Matney Edition live up to the quality of the rest of the series? To whet your appetite, see the official video trailer, which includes a performance of the trick Pallbearers Aces.



This collection contains a dozen tricks, the accompanying description here being the ad copy for each:
1. Pallbearer’s Aces: The ultimate gambling demonstration, where people will not believe your skill with the cards… and they’d definitely never believe you don’t need any skill to perform this!
2. The Maven / Bannon Triangle Conversion: You and your spectator construct a ‘four-sided triangle’, which inexplicably leads to the four Aces!
3. The Positive Fortune Observation: A commercial masterpiece! A fun ‘reading’ turns out very much in the spectators favour… despite the fact that you had stacked the odds against them!
4. Amara Rises Again: A baffling card revelation where the cards reveal everything themselves, and then top it off with a four-of-a-kind KICKER!
5. Harmony: Show how closely linked your spectators are, as they affix post-it notes onto two randomly selected cards. First, they find each other, and then they turn out to be impossibly connected!
6. Discard Dating: a clever version of the ‘Royal Marriages’ where your spectator turns match-maker, and hooks up all the happy couples!
7. The Synchronicity Theorem: You and the spectator work together to remove two random cards from the deck before the serious stuff begins… and what do you know? They are exactly the two that needed to be picked!
8. The Long Way Home: With more twists than a bag of twizzlers, this will prove that there is no such thing as ‘Free Will’ with the playing cards!
9. Duel Construct: This fooler has the spectator invent a card, and then find it’s exactly the one she has cut to, in advance! This WILL fool them!
10. Vintage Mob Scene: Get everyone involved with this four Ace production. The deck is repeatedly shuffled and cut, and yet everyone ends up producing an Ace from their packet!
11. Positively Fourth Street: A lucky Ace that won you a big poker game just keeps turning up; even when the spectator shuffles and deals!
12. The Psychic Dyslexia Approximation: The revelation of a thought-of card that you genuinely don’t know until the end of the trick. It’ll fool everyone - probably even YOU, as you perform it!



Format: The performances of the tricks are all by Big Blind Media regular Liam Montier. Each is performed to actual spectators, so you immediately get a sense of how each effect comes across when seen first-hand. At this point Liam is very experienced at teaching given his prolific output with Big Blind Media, and if you've seen him on any of their other videos, you already know what to expect.

Difficulty: The material included is true to the concept of self-working, which means that the degree of difficulty is very low. This collection is ideal for people who don't want to put too much energy into learning complex sleight of hand or memorize complicated routines. The methods rely on a number of different principles, but what they have in common is that they are all easy to learn and perform.

Impact: Despite the straight-forward mechanics, the tricks here have the potential to be quite strong. Some are better than others, but overall it's a fairly solid collection. This isn't a compilation of mediocrity, where only two or three tricks are actually worth taking a look at. Instead there's a good range of strong tricks, so you're certain to find material here that you can perform and will want to perform. I'd rate the majority of the tricks here as being at least 8/10.

Presentation: As most of us will know, the secret to a good self-working trick lies largely in its presentation. That's one of the strengths of Ryan Matney's contribution with this video, because the dozen that are included typically have presentations that make the magic interesting and engaging, so that it's fun for both the performer and the spectator. This can of course be adapted to your own style and personality, but you're given some really good ideas to work with.

Production: Like the previous entries in this series from Big Blind Media, the quality of the production is second to none. You get around two hours of footage, with state-of-the-art quality in terms of camera work and sound.

Sources: Ryan Matney is not afraid to build on the work of those who have gone before him. For his source material he draws on work by Ed Marlo, Max Maven, John Bannon, Peter Duffie, Al Leech, Gordon Bean, Mark Elsdon, and others. It's always a sign of maturity when creators aren't afraid to credit their sources, and also show respect for their craft by taking their starting point in earlier work, and building on it.

Series: Unlike most of the earlier entries in the "Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks" series, this isn't really a greatest hits compilation gleaned from various creators. Like the Cameron Francis video from last year, with this title the publisher seems to be trying to capitalize on the strength of their brand and the name of their popular series. In reality this is more just a Ryan Matney collection. But even it's not entirely a natural fit besides the others in the series, it's still a very strong collection of self-working card magic that stands on its own as a worthwhile video for those who enjoy self-working card magic.



If you are completely new to self-working card tricks, then I'd suggest starting with some of the earlier volumes of this series first. I'd especially suggest Volume 1, given the variety of the tricks included there, which are drawn from a range of big name creators like Chad Long, Simon Aronson, Alex Elmsley, Larry Jennings, and others. But this Ryan Matney collection makes its own contribution to the series, given Matney's unique style. It's a fine collection with a good amount of variety and some very strong self-working card magic that should please anyone who likes this kind of card magic.

It would be a mistake to dismiss self-working card magic off-hand as second-rate. In fact, some of the best tricks in the world are self-workers, with Paul Curry's "Out of This World" being a superb example. It's not the method that makes a trick strong, but how it is presented and performed, and that's where Ryan Matney makes an important contribution with his card magic. When accompanied with a good and interesting presentation, and building on a clever method - even if it is relatively straight forward - then self-working card tricks can fool and entertain indeed. And this video does a great job of introducing us to some terrific tricks, and just because there are no sleights, gaffs, or gimmicks to be found, doesn't mean that we're left with sub-par or inferior magic. On the contrary, there's some wonderful and hard-hitting stuff here indeed.

With this latest addition to the already strong line-up of videos that are part of Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks, Big Blind Media has done us a real service by introducing many of us to Ryan Matney and what he has to offer. Like the others in the series, it's perfect for beginners, but will also be appreciated by intermediate card workers who are looking for something that is not difficult to perform, while still being strong on impact. And when combined with the high production values we've come to expect from Big Blind Media, this collection of one dozen tricks from Ryan Matney is not likely to disappoint.


Want to learn more?
Official site: Big Blind Media, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube
Ultimate Self Working Card Trick series: Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, Vol. 4, Cameron Francis Edition, Ryan Matney Edition
Distributor: This video is also available from your favorite Murphy's Magic retailer.

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Thank you for the great review!
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I have Roberto Light and I'm looking for more.

Great review!
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Profile of coach-west
Has anyone heard from Mr. Matney on the status of the End of Times subscription?
I have tried and tried to email him but no response.
I have received Book 1 and Book 2 and one extra book from the subscription.
Just want to know if he intends to keep his promise and fulfill the ones who paid for the End of Times subscription.
He has put out a new book (Dirty Deeds) and a DVD this year but hasn't sent out anything with End of Times subscribers.
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On Nov 2, 2020, coach-west wrote:
Has anyone heard from Mr. Matney on the status of the End of Times subscription?
I have tried and tried to email him but no response.
I have received Book 1 and Book 2 and one extra book from the subscription.
Just want to know if he intends to keep his promise and fulfill the ones who paid for the End of Times subscription.
He has put out a new book (Dirty Deeds) and a DVD this year but hasn't sent out anything with End of Times subscribers.

+1 Not a peep from him to his subscribers who paid. At this point, "Dirty Deeds" should be a free bonus for waiting for the sub to be fulfilled.
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Well, I guess we that subscribed to Ryan's End of Times will not receive the remainder of the issues and extras that he promised that he would deliver.
He should deliver what he promised since we paid $100 and only received two issues.
Any thoughts from anyone else who subscribed? Can anything be done about this?
He will not answer his emails when I send them concerning the subscription. Yet, he one of the contributors on Genii Magazine.
Please Mr. Matney, give us our remaining issues or give us an explanation of what's going on with it!!!!
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