Archive for February, 2014

FOUR POINTS: Question shows our customers have minds for magic

Friday, February 28th, 2014

We have the best customers in magic, and we love it when they prove it.

Tailing off of Ollie Mealing’s brilliant post about the next level after being a move-monkey, we were curious about what moves caused obsessive practice and pursuit among magicians, So we turned to our Facebook page, one of the largest magic-related groups on the social networking site, and asked them the following:

What move, sleight or effect has consumed more of your attention and practice, or driven you to attempt mastery?

We were expecting a lot of difficult, knuckle-buster type of moves to be listed. Greek Deal, Praxis Change, Perfect Riffle Shuffle, that kind of thing. That’s what we see on other modern magic forums and pages, after all — a bunch of people bragging about what they say they can do. But out of more than 120 comments, our Facebook fans picked out fairly basic, utility, not-flashy-at-all sleights. Even better were some of the justifications for picking those sleights. The comments they left behind pointed out four clear things to us:


The sleight that got mentioned the most was the pass — the very definition of an invisible sleight. One of the most functional sleights for magicians ever created, the pass used to be the primary move taught to aspiring card workers. Erdnase later corrected that notion in “Expert at the Card Table,” but the main reason that people learn the pass is for what it offers: A fast way to control a card. Because the pass is the sleight that got the most attention, that tells us you’re thinking not about the move itself, but what you can do with it. This comment best described that attitude:

Isaac Jason Petrie Simple the double lift. It is the one I have to use the most.


The pass and double lift came in at No. 1 and 2, respectively. No. 3 was the bottom deal. And those three moves were the only ones to get double-digit mentions (27, 18 and 11 mentions). And think of the versatility of all three of those moves. The pass and double lift open up an entire world of card magic, and the bottom deal is the one move Erdnase called the most valuable for the table. That tells us you that the things you want to master are the things you need, not the things you want. You’re thinking of function. The attitude is best described here:

Robbie Yeadon French Drop – not the move, but things to do with it!


Those top three aren’t exactly easy moves. The basics can be picked up, but mastering the subtleties and intricacies takes time and practice. But the mastery of those moves reveals its value. And because each of those moves are more utilities instead of displays, That tells us you’re thinking about impressing your spectators, not mastering a flashy move that looks good only on YouTube. That tells us you agree with Ollie and are putting that philosophy into practice.

Dylan Dunnington Gamblers Cop for sure. It’s such a versatile move and creates amazing effects used properly.


Out of more than 120 comments, there was no spam, vulgarity, flame wars, trolls or other typical immaturity that we see on other Facebook pages. There were even a couple of good snarky comments that made us laugh. We’ll let you find those on your own.


FOUR POINTS is a regular feature that celebrates magicians’ favorite number by highlighting four critical bits of importance, awesomeness or otherwise. Send your suggestions to

Ollie Mealing: Move-monkey is a good goal, but this one is better

Monday, February 24th, 2014

We all wear the badge “move-monkey” with pride. Ollie Mealing is definitely one, as evidenced by his work with Control. But if you’ve seen his YouTube videos, his effects are about so much more than doing a move. This is the thought process that helps Ollie create real magic.

I love chasing a new move, generally the more profound it is, the more interested I am in pursuing it – possibly because it leads to a greater sense of achievement or perhaps the idea of an unpredictable journey is too seductive to shake off. Regardless of the challenge, I find it to be a thrilling experience from the start – the discovery, the development, the accomplishment & the resultant new addition to your arsenal as well as new lessons learnt along the way.

Through this addictively satisfying process, it’s no wonder that so many of us consider ourselves as ‘move-monkeys’. While I think this title is beneficial, we should place focus towards becoming it’s older, wiser accomplice – an ‘effect-monkey’.



INSIDE THE CARDS: Ace of Spades has a long history of being top card

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

Most playing cards look the same from deck to deck. But the Ace of Spades is different. Aside from the backs and jokers, the Ace of Spades is usually the only card to feature a unique artistic design, depending on the printer of the deck. Some are simple as a paint sample, others are as ornate as a stained glass window.

Our custom decks of playing cards feature some of the most iconic recognizable aces in playing cards today. Our designs for aces quickly expanded into themes that encompassed entire decks, and that trend caught on like wildfire — today, collectors frown on new decks that feature only a custom ace.

We’re proud to be part of playing card history. But it raises the question: How did the Ace of Spades get to be so different?


Ollie Mealing: First impression carries loads of impact for your performances

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

photo credit Benji Taylor

The real work isn’t only in the sleights. It’s in your scripts, your presentation, your demeanor — everything. Ollie Mealing, the creator of Control and Recoil, knows this firsthand. The experience he’s built through performing for corporate clients and working with Derren Brown has given him a sharp focus on all of those points. In this post, Ollie looks at the first impression, the moment that happens long before you get a chance to do a single trick. (photo credit Benji Taylor)

I believe to best achieve an aim, you must consider every contributing step. The subject of expectation is a prime example. By considering the path and process a thought takes, we can intervene along the way and plant tactical seeds to encourage the desired expectation.

With that in mind, those first few precious seconds between performer and audience have always interested me. Upon first glance they’re trivial, forgotten moments, but upon closer examination they provide a foundation for either success or failure — by instilling an impression and consequently an expectation.

To understand how to influence an expectation to our greatest advantage, we first need to understand which factors contribute towards building an impression, of which there’s many. Inherently all these factors fall under appearance — the way you’re dressed, your body language, facial expression, hygiene, the way you talk, the words you use, if/how you shake their hand, if you’re holding anything — in fact anything sensible serves to form a mental image in the audiences mind. Understanding the messages (or subtext) these factors carry allows you to modify each one to ensure you are perceived as you both wish and require — not every situation will warrant the the same impression.


SUITABLE FOR FRAMING: Artist gives court cards modern looks

Friday, February 7th, 2014

Tomas Hlavaty appreciated how Daniel Madison altered the faces of Rounders and Dealers to include his friends. But the clothes they all wore seemed outdated and out of character.

So he changed the cards to give them modern looks.

“I like the fact that Daniel put himself and his close friends into the design of the deck,” Tomas said. “I was thinking, how would he look on a card with his apperance closer to reality. And that’s how it all began.”

Tomas, 24, of Bratislava, Slovakia, is well prepared to do that. Working as a graphic designer, he has been an artist since an early age, and is a Deviant Art member with a large portfolio. That means he knew instantly how he would alter a card to match current appearances with all the details that inspire him on modern cards.

A King of Diamonds from a Dealers deck features an updated DM, complete with hair sans crown, V-neck and chest tattoo. And that was one of the first he did: A portrait of Laura London on the Queen of Clubs features a necklace and a full showing of her red hair. And a Jack of Spades features Gianni Vox with an Iron Man chest plate (a nod to G’s Tony Stark look).