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The Magic Memories (142)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Quick greetings from Magialdia; Great photo memory from the “Concilio de Dúrcal”.

These are The Magic Memories 142, gone online Sunday, September 17th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Quick Greetings From Magialdia

As you are reading this I’m still in Spain, more precisely at the Magialdia convention in Vitoria.

Today, Sunday, is the last day of the three-week festival, and also marks the end of the convention which lasts four days, Thursday through Sunday.

The closing event is a big show that takes place in the historical plaza of Vitoria, a truly magnificent location.

Closing Show on Plaza España, Vitoria

More in a future The Magic Memories.

Memories of Sessions in the South of Spain

The photos below are courtesy Miguel Puga, aka Mago Migue.

I knew Migue as a very young and talented chap, always eager to learn and naturally ambitious.

Today, in his native Spain, he’s a star, organizer of magic conventions, author, etc. A good way to get to know him and his magic is through the video series Allegro by Luis de Matos. Or see here:, and to learn more about his convention see here (Instagram @magomigue).

The photos were taken when Juan Tamariz spent two summers at the home of Migue’s mother, in Dúrcal, near Granada (home of the famous Alhambra, worth traveling to), were week after week famous and not-yet-so-famous magic aficionados were invited to share jamón and magic and friendship, quite an extraordinary Trinity of Life 🙂

In the two photos below you can see Juan Tamariz, Rafael Benatar, Miguel Puga and myself “in action”.

RG, Rafael Benatar, Juan Tamariz, Mago Migue in Durcal, Spain
… in action

So, this was a short one, due to my absence, but I look forward to our next meeting on Sunday, September 24th, when I’ll have more to report from my travels and magical adventures.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (141)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Greetings from Spain with a few photo memories.

These are The Magic Memories 141, gone online Sunday, September 10th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Greetings From Spain

This Sunday and the next The Magic Memories will only be short ones as I am traveling in Spain.

The first week I’ll spend in the company of Juan Tamariz at his home near Cadiz, as I’ve done in the past thirty years plus.

These traditional visits abruptly stopped during the Pandemic Years (three lost years!), but I am now  very much looking forward to fully immerse into Juan’s friendship and magical genius.

I will freely admit that my magical life has had many and different influences, but I can truthfully say that none has been as strong and long-lasting as that of Juan Tamariz.

… leading the Magic Way (ca. 1990)

I am so thankful that my life has been influenced by real people and real events, as opposed to today’s generation where many seem to be influenced by, well, “influencers”, on YouTube, Instagram, Tik Tok, & co.

The photo below taken in the summer of 2014 shows Juan and me conversing at our favorite restaurant in Cadiz, “El Faro”.

“la sobremesa”, the after-dinner conversation

The photo was taken past midnight, as is typical of Spain, were dinner starts ca. 10 pm, and we are celebrating what the Spaniards call “la sobremesa”, literally translated “the over-the-table”, meaning the conversation that takes place after you finished a meal – this can last over an hour, and may be accompanied by coffee/tea, brandy, cigars, or even playing cards and other instruments 🙂

Although I might opt for Asian cuisine (Chinese, Japanese, Thai etc.) if I was forced to choose the best in the world (hopefully I’ll never have to), I find Spanish, Italian and French style multi-course dinners more apt to celebrate friendship, magic and life.

When it came to eating, Ascanio used to tell us youngsters at the table, who would have cards in hands as we were eating, “There are more important things in life than magic!”

He was referring to what Juan later taught me, namely that as you are served a course and eating it, you should talk about what you are eating, exchange opinions about it, tell about similar dishes you might have had, thus amplifying the pleasure of eating, because by speaking about it you become aware of what you are doing, fine-tuning the senses to enhance the experience.

Living by this credo has way more implications than just enjoying a meal, it is a lesson for life, as it teaches you to concentrate on the moment, thus enjoying it more, and if you enjoy something, you are a happier person, and you can share this with others.

This is what ideally happens when we are performing what Vernon called “artistic magic”: We are celebrating in an act of communion our passion through the art of magic, its instruments, effects and presentations, in order to make our audience experience the emotion of wonder in an aesthetically pleasing, original and unique way.

Juan and I agree, that during such moments we should neither do nor discuss magic, well, as a rule, that has exceptions (like always!).

HOWEVER, as soon as the course is finished, and the table has been cleared, and the chef is preparing the next course, well, then is the moment to connect back to magic; we occasionally might then even have the cards in hands.

When the next course is served, we start all over again. And at the end we spend some time at the “sobremesa”. Watch the short video clip below, taken at “Charles” in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, and see how many you recognize – quite a table, I would say 🙂

Escorial (Charoles) 30 OCT 2010

After that we get back home, it is then usually around 1 am, and we continue our hands-on session (that started around 6 pm), and continue until the first of us “cracks”, that’s of course me, at around 6 am, when I go to bed, and the Maestro continues, in a conversation with the angels and muses only geniuses have access to, way into the morning…

The second week I will be in Vitoria, the capital of Alava (think Rioja wines…), at my favorite convention, Magialdia (I have reported about earlier editions in The Magic Memories of 2021 and 2022).

Magialdia 2014: Etcheverry, RG, Suarez, Cachadiña, Tena – preparing for group lecture about the magic of Ascanio

I will give an account of it in an upcoming The Magic Memories.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (140)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Addenda to “Applause Card”; Addenda to PATEO; Comments on Don Alan’s Professional Advice; The missing link (“The Ross Sisters”).

These are The Magic Memories 140, gone online Sunday, September 3rd, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Addenda to “Applause Card”

Mario Bove, from Brescia, Italy – the “Italian Card Expert” – wrote in and commented on last week’s post, specifically on one of the ten ways of revealing a chosen card I discussed, “Applause Card”, which I attributed to Dutch magician Marconick (see HERE).

Bove points out that Gerald Kosky had published precisely this same effect titled “Applause Card Disclosure” in Genii, vol. 29, no. 5, January 1965, p. 266. Thank you, Mario!

If you care to have a look at my short essay “Monkey Scale” in Sharing Secrets (p. 78), you might agree that the idea is not so high on that monkey scale, so, it is very well possible that the idea occurred to Kosky and Marconick independently. Especially if you consider the fact that neither one invented the effect of a card turning over apparently by itself on top of the deck (they came up with a method and presentation), but that this effect dates back even longer than Marlos’ “Acrobatic Card”, which was my first association, and the method – a folding card – is already described in Tricks With Cards by Professor Hoffmann in 1889.

Anyway, it’s a neat trick 🙂

… applause for your card!

Addenda to PATEO

Last week’s brief discussion of Roy Baker’s PATEO Force brought in several comments, and I’m glad so many seemed to like it – if you missed it, look it up HERE as the multi-layer technical construction of the trick makes for a really deceptive use of an otherwise not-so-strong principle.

My good friend Kéli Quertinmont from Nanterre, France, wrote in to say:

Regarding the PATEO force, thanks for sharing Roy Baker’s routine.
My preferred routine with this principle can be found in Michael WEBER’s book LIFESAVERS, p. 75, “The Laying-on of Hands”.

Weber has some clever psychological twists – a brilliant mind already at a young age – but above all a lovely way of meaningfully stage the elimination process, by saying that you will now use a similar process as when two brothers have to share a piece of pie: One cuts the pie, the other selects which piece to take. The book, however, is out of print and expensive to get, but you can find it on

In his message Kéli also included a link to a TV magic show in Norway where you can see a very young Michael Weber (he’s not using PATEO here, but the Magician’s Choice) and Max Maven 🙂 Although the host speaks Norwegian, Weber and Maven perform in English for your enjoyment – click HERE.

Comments on Don Alan’s Professional Advice

Today’s The Magic Memories are inspired by the last chapter in Jon Racherbaumer’s book about the life and magic of Don Alan, In a Class by Himself – The Legacy of Don Alan , L&L Publishing, USA 2000. It is still available, e.g., from Penguin Magic. When I went to Penguin’s homepage, I noticed the book has one single review by a customer (at least it was a five-star review). It deeply saddens me to see that some crap tricks (please forgive the expression), some of which even make it to being nominated “Trick of the Year”, get dozens of positive reviews, whereas a brilliant book like this one lead a miserable existence. Help!

For my younger readers I’ll explain that Don Alan (1926-1999) was regarded by many as being the close-up man of his generation. The Internet is full with texts and videos about Alan and his work for all those who are interested to learn more. For a start try Magicpedia HERE, and it will take you to any direction you choose to take.

When reading Alan’s advice please remember that he had his heyday in the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies of the past century. Still, he touches on questions that are as valid today as they were half a century ago – my comments try to take this into consideration.


1. List all the steps of a trick’s method, then underline and itemize every boring and banal action from a spectator’s point of view.

RG: Write a script, in two columns, what you do and what you say, and apply Alan’s advice to both columns, because what you say can be equally unneccessary and boring as what you do. It all boils down to the advice Jay Marshall used to give to almost everyone who asked, “Cut, cut, cut!”

2. All tricks must play to women.

RG: This advice comes from Alan’s experience from more than fifty years ago. Many things have changed how women perceive themselves and are perceived. From my personal experience I can say that women have been my best and my worst auciences.

The way an individual reacts, be it a man or a woman or any combination of it, depends largely on the situation the individual finds him- or herself, and also on the company. I always make it a point in my professional bookings to ask about the context of the event (is it a cultural, a private, or a business event), the type of audience (age, social status, language etc.)

In his Genii-column “The Vernon Touch” Dai Vernon even said several times that women don’t like card tricks. However, this is only true if it doesn’t have an emotional appeal, and this applies regardless of what the Instrument is used.

3. Write out all your utterances (patter) that goes along with the action steps. When it is possible and relevant, convert declarative und descriptive statements into questions. In particularly dull parts, interject short Jokes or amusing lines.

RG: See point 1). Generally speaking, tricks with lots of procedural handling should be eliminated. There are exceptions, e.g., when you are performing for felllow magicians, or for a group with specific interests, such as card players etc.

If procedures are necessary, such as dealing five hands of Poker, practice to deal swiftly, pause for a moment after having dealt the first round, look up, make an amusing remark; fascinate the audience at all times with content appealing to them ly. intellectually or emotionally.

4. Figure out where and how you can humanly interact with spectators during an effect. The most interesting aspect of any presentation usually concerns the audience. They are the “show.”

RG: A performance is about creating an act of communication between the artist and the audience, by means of the artist’s instruments and his discipline. In our case, as the performers of wonder, acting in a live situation, we must at all time be able to connect with our audience, and to keep

5. Determine how many spectators you want to involve in each presentation, then connect the dots in terms of interacting with them, playing off of them, and playing them off each other.

RG: Make sure that if you ask spectators to help they really get something meaningful to do. Avoid patronizing them, e.g., saying, “Oh, you did that very well.” That is how you talk to a five-year-old child, not an adult. Interacting with audience members is much easier when performing sitting down at the table, as Alan did, than if you perform in a parlor situation, where the spectator often needs to be brought up. The latter requires an additional set of skills.

6. Use a stop-watch to clock—time the duration of each presentation. If it runs longer than four minutes, figure out how to cut the “fat.” Make every second count.

RG: See 1.) I remember how Gene Anderson, in the pre-video aera, used to audio-tape his performances, and afterwards critically listening to them. Nowadays a good ploy is to ask someone to record your performance with a mobile phone. Both audio and video are also an excellent way of archiving your material, so you can go back to it years later.

7. Figure out which parts slow down a given trick, then figure out ways to eliminate this “drag.”

RG: Refer to 1.) Best strategy is to cut the “drag”, but if it is necessary for the trick to work, stage it properly, make it interesting and emotionally appealing.

8. List the number of unexpected moments or surprises. Every trick should have at least two surprises.

RG: See 9.)

9. List the number of magical moments where something puzzling or baffling occurs.

RG: This point and the preceding relate to 1.), i.e., use a variety of intellectual and emotional moments that keep the audience interested. However, make sure that dramatic unity is maintained, i.e., that those bits have something to do thematically with the main plot of the trick, and don’t use too many, as this would spoil the effect. Try to understand the essence of the trick, its effect, and then use only that many “extras” to enhance the effect, do not bury it under a heap of ketch-up (or mustard, or mayonnaise, or cheese, as is typically done in fast food “restaurants”).

10. Never perform two card-trick presentations in a row and never begin with a card trick.

RG: If two or three card tricks lead into each other in a coherent way and have dramatic unity, why not?

As for beginning with a card trick, and as exposed in my Stand-up Card Magic, I agree that almost all card tricks are conceptional rather than visual and should therefore be used after you’ve connected with the audinece and the ice is broken. However, there are a few things you can do with cards to open, such as “Six Card Repeat” for parlor, or “Micro-Macro”, a quick production of the Aces to lead into another visual Ace trick, such as “Twisting the Aces”, to then end with a strong Ace-piece, such as “Travelers”, or an “Ace Assembly”.

11. Use props that look ordinary or are recognizable as being common-place.

RG: Anything that looks as if it could be bought by anybody in a toy shop (Tenyo trick) should be avoided, unless you have a very good way of staging it. Generally, the quality and look of the instruments and props you are using, should match your “CI & CD”. However, there are exceptions here, too. I am sure Juan Tamariz has never spent a thought on this, and still he is one of the most successful pros on stage and in close-up. But: “Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi.”

12. If the prop can be examined, leave it on the table after using it… as long as it is not in the way. Invite female spectators to hold, touch, and examine things. Engage male spectators to do anything that requires analysis and thinking—not because they do it better than females, but because it makes them feel relevant and important.

RG: If the prop left on the table entices them to handle it, make it part of the performance and allow enough time for it, but not as much as to break your planned timing. As Rubinstein said, “Virtuosity is when the musician masters his instrument, not vice-versa.” This is also true for mastering an audience.

13. Eliminate all hazards during the performance of a trick.

RG: Denis Behr once reminded me of a line I used in my first Penguin Live Lecture. “A professional does not take risks, he takes breaks.” That’s the idea.

14. Have two of everything.

RG: See The Magic Memories 69.

15. When it comes to Murphy’s Law, consider Murphy an optimist. Gimmick everything. (It is easier to force a corner—short card than to Classic Force a regular card.) It frees your thinking.

RG: Advice born out of hundreds (thousands?) of performances, and any working performer will agree… (However, since cards are my specialty, I’d stick to sleight-of-hands, unless the special card or deck really makes a big difference.)

16. When performing in a public place where other entertainers are also performing, go out of your way to speak to them. They are your allies.

RG: If you are performing as part of a larhger production, it is essential to coordinate your performance with the work of the others. Nowadays, in a professional surrounding, there is a person who manages all this. I always call the client several days before thumb show

17. Maintain momentum at all cost. Keep rolling. Don’t wait for laughter to completely die down. Begin your next presentation while the audience is still reacting to your last trick.

RG: There is a delicate balance between letting the audience react to an effect in the “Pause of Assimilation”, as Ascanio called it (Sharing Secrets, “Pause”, p. 82), and rushing to the next trick.

Even worse: Depending on the performing situation and the dynamics of an audience, this can be differ, even though you are performing exactly the same trick. Sensibility for communicative issues and a long performing experience are required.

If you lack this, because you are just starting out, you can compensate this with true enthusiasm and sincerity; do not be pretentious, and do not act like a smart aleck, and the audience will forgive (almost) everything.

18. Be spontaneous. When you can’t, fake it.

RG: … or as Groucho Marx used to say, “The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.”

A communication strategy I have found makes a stock line or one you have learned seem spontaneous, is to deliver it by looking at one single person, rather than saying it out into the audience. (This is not juts a “tip”, like some would have it, this is the expression of an attitude and leads into a much bigger subject.)

19. Use easy sleights, but figure out the best time to execute them. Never look at your hands during the execution and, if possible, ask a spectator a question at the crucial moment.

RG: It’s all there, just do it. One thing: The question asked needs to perfectly fit the context, otherwise it will be recognized as a ploy (see Sharing Secrets, “Clouding Question”, p. 30). You may think this is obvious, but I can assure you I have seen more than one performer who used a presentation and misdirective questions that had absolutely nothing to do with the theme of the trick…

20. If a deck is prearranged for certain tricks, always put a known keycard at the face (bottom). This “tips” that the deck is ready to go and is fully “wired.”

RG: Lennart Green gave me this dodge years ago, and I put it in Secret Agenda (see “December 15 – A Special-Deck Mnemonic”).

21. The ratio of laughter to bafflement should be 6 to 1.

RG: This is easy to misinterpret, but on closer examination makes perfect sense: Most very good tricks have one climax, and that’s the moment of “bafflement”, meaning the moment the audience experiences the emotion of wonder, astonishment. But on t he way to reach it, there might be several humorous situations that provoke laughter, obviously depending on your performance style.

In any case one should follow Dai Vernon’s advice, only to use comedy that arises from the situation, as opposed to extraneous lines put on top of the trick just to get one more laugh. Also, remember what Juan Tamariz says in his The Magic Rainbow (“Magic and Comedy”, pp. 414): “Laughter is very dangerous for magic, artistically speaking. The main reason is that it can reduce the magical impact of the effect by causing a steep drop in dramatic tension, which prevents the audience from feeling astonishment and a sensation of the impossible…”

22. Every trick must be able to be seen by at least 30 people.

RG:  In the first two chapters of Stand-up Card Magic I go to great lengths to explain the importance of setting up the audience so that everyone can see well. The same considerations apply to formal close-up, which is what Alan is talking about here.

That’s all, folks!

A thoroughly entertained audience

The Missing Link

As a little amusing bonus I leave you with a bit of nostalgia with The Ross Sisters. Never heard of them? Well, you should be surprised and amused (watch until the end).

To watch the short video CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (139)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Addenda to Revelations and Productions; Another Look at PATEO; Lengthy explanations; The missing link – table cloth.

These are The Magic Memories 139, gone online Sunday, August 27th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Addenda to Revelations and Productions

In last week’s blog I discussed quick revelations and productions of chosen cards. Michele Isenburg from Milan, Italy, wrote in and took my advice to heart to take one book from his library and look it through with focus on quick revelations. Here is what Michele came up with:

From my library, I took out  a copy of Deck-Sterity by Harry Lorayne (Robbins E-Z Magic, 2nd edition), who is quite famous for his “quickies” 😊.

Here a list of some of his effects where a card or more cards are revealed in a magical way:

  1. The Flip over locator (page 20). As Harry writes, this is a cute quickie to reveal 3 selected cards
  2. New-Fangled Color Change (page 35). More a color change but can be used to reveal a selected card
  3. Outrageous revelation (Page 40). Quite bold, I haven’t tried in front of lay audience
  4. Trampoline (page 138). A flourish to reveal a  selected card
  5. Flying Aces (page 140). Also this is a flourish type of revelation for one or more cards

Nice to go back to the classics and rediscover some good effects.

Another Look at PATEO

As a youngster I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Roy Baker (1921 – 2006) at an early British magic convention through Fred Castle (1909 – 1997), who kindly introduced me to him. I never saw Baker perform, but read several of his publications, and he certainly had some excellent ideas. He might be best known for a forcing method called PATEO.

The PATEO Force (Point At Two Eliminate One) is a simple, straightforward and versatile sure-fire force, which can be learned by anyone, and works particularly well for a limited number of objects.

Application Examples:

  • On the face of blank cards are the logos of soccer teams: “You decide which team wins/loses.”
  • Bob Neale’s “Soul Survivor” (Magic and Meaning, p. 133). 7 cards: 6 court cards, 1 Ace of Spades (the Plague).
  • Wine bottles in brown paper bags – spectator chooses wine that fits course served. Other bottles could be revealed as being vinegar bottles, or one white wine and the rest red wines, etc. (Kostya Kimlat).

The original description is in Miller, Hugh, Baker’s Bonanza (Unique 1969, Supreme 1972), “Name Your Card”, p. 38.

cover of Hugh Miller’s “Baker’s Bonanza” (1969)

Too many performers, especially beginners, fall in love with PATEO because it is so simple and easy, and that’s precisely the problem: The weakness of the method, if used on its own – that’s how many use it – is that some spectators are able to reconstruct it once the effect occurs. If you don’t believe this, you are fooling yourself. (Generally speaking, any linear procedure that leads to a prediction is problematic.)

Still, the method is indeed elegant and tempting. The solution of its deceptive use is to combine it with other principles.

Look at Baker’s original way of using the force in the attached PDF. As far as I could find out, the book is out of print, but obtainable as an e-book from, so I took the liberty of extracting just the description of this one trick for your perusal (CLICK HERE).

Notice the context into which the PATEO Force is put, combining several methods of apparently random selection – this makes for good deception.

A few comments, if I may: To speed up the dealing of the seven packets, you could quickly reverse count the top seven cards into the right hand, set the packet on the table, and then say you’ll speed this up, and now simply push over small packets of cards, placing another six packets on the table – there are now a total of seven packets on the table. Proceed as per the Baker routine.

As for how to manage and handle the PATEO: Notice the use of the two hands each placed above a packet (good!).

Instead of the lengthy spelling procedure, the Down-under Deal could be used, “It’s not this one, maybe this one, this one not for sure, that might be the one, this one is out, not so sure about this one… etc..

Lengthy Explanations

A while ago I received the following email from Don Gruenweller:

“I am just getting started with card magic. I have purchased a few other videos, but yours are by far and away the best. I appreciate all the extra little bits of advice about what to do and what not to do that you add along with your explanation of the main feature of each segment.”

The price to pay is that my texts are lengthy, and the video explanations, too.

Occasionally, this has been criticized.

“Folks, details are by far the most important thing!” (MagiFest 2014 photo Marshall Cyrlin)

This reminds me: While in Rome (see The Magic Memories  117) my friend Luca d’Agostini, who attended both my Masterclass on “Deck Switches” and my lecture on the next day,  made a remark that humbled me, and I admit it reframed a doubt I had about my detailed explanations.

He said, “Your detailed explanations make us see and understand the beauty hidden beneath the surface of a performance piece, and thus allow us to deeply appreciate how ingenious and subtle such a pieces is.”

I admit that this touched me and made me think.

I thought of a guided tour in an art museum: If you look at a painting you might intuitively like it, but when an expert tells you the whats and whys of it, by putting the work in a historical and cultural context, maybe even giving biographical information about the painter, discussing technical details, then the appreciation gains an entirely new dimension.

And yes, this is what I have been trying to do with magic technique, tricks and theories, but I never looked at it that way. So, thank you to Don and Luca.

One more thing, if I may, namely the question: Are long texts or short ones better?

My answer: After now exactly fifty years in magic – I started at age fourteen – I believe that a good mix is best, in various proportions, depending on your learning style and on what phase you are in your growth (magic and life).

Let’s just look at trick explanations: I have no doubt that lengthy texts, such as those by Ascanio, Tamariz, or mine, will open doors and windows to areas you didn’t even imagine existed. If the text then details those areas, you will learn poylvalent concepts that will help you improve your whole magic, not just teach you a specific trick.

Such texts are of immense importance as they teach you the essence of magic.

On the other hand, short texts allow you to quickly obtain information, accumulate ideas, and more often than not can trigger ideas of your own (Secret Agenda and Hidden Agenda are “trigger books”). This brings to mind what André Gide, French Nobel Prize in literature, once said, “I like the unfinished, as I can still complete it.”

Good examples of mostly “unfinished” explanations can be found in Frank Garcia’s Million Dollar Card Secrets and Super Subtle Card Miracles, as well as in The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks.  The latter is an excellent example of this genre, as not only are the descriptions terse, to say the least, there are also quite a bit of not-so-good tricks, and you have to dive for pearls. Open a note in your notebook and make a list of this type of book – how many can you list?

The Missing Link – The Table Cloth

To end today’s magical peregrination here is something that will surprise you, and maybe make you smile – CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (138)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Revelation and Production of Selected Cards (10 methods); Ultimate wisdom (Charlie Brown).

These are The Magic Memories 138, gone online Sunday, August 20th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Revelation and Production of Selected Cards

In one of my my private notebooks I have a huge list of “quick ways to produce a selected card” after it has been controlled. In magic this type of trick is referred to as a “Quicky”, or “Quick Trick”. Wonder if this is still “politically correct”…

… and here is your card! (publicity photo, ca. 1985)

Following is a selection of ten items from my list, some explained briefly, some only referenced, so you will have to hunt for them.

As you will see, some are just interesting ways of turning over and displaying a card, others are clearly a quick effect to reveal a previously selected card, that has apparently been lost in the deck.

I hope you will like them, and also, I hope that they might trigger further ideas in your mind when you read and try to imagine how they look and how you might be using them in a trick you already do, or one you are going to come up with yourself. That’s the idea.

A Quicky is also the type of trick that comes in handy when you miss a Classic Force and you want to do a short trick with the wrongly selected card, before coming back to the trick originally planned.

An excellent ploy if your Classic Force just failed, is to immediately try to force the force-card to a second spectator, by saying, “And you also take a card, please.” And if you fail again, address a third spectator. But now, without missing a beat, you virtually “give” him the card from the hand-spread, “And another one for you – hold this face down, please… I’ll be with you in a minute.” Do this with self-confidence and panache, and you will be surprised at how well your audacity will be rewarded.

Now do a “Quicky” with the first two cards, and then the piece you planned using the force card held by the third spectator. This is just one practical use of a Quicky… (What would be other uses? Make a list!)

As you can see, having a small repertoire of quick tricks to perform at your fingertips is far more than just being able to entertain with some “eye candy”. (Definition of “eye candy”: People or things that are attractive to look at but are not interesting in other ways.)

Here is the list:

  1. Eddie Fechter Turnover. Deck is face down in Dealing Position. Top card is bent lengthwise, left forefinger inserted at outer end under «bubble» – when pressure is released, top card flips over face up into awaiting right hand. Top card can be pushed forward to facilitate the move; outer right corner is seized between forefinger and middle finger – when left thumb releases pressure, forefinger is stretched out, making the card fly away.
  2. Applause Card (Marconick). Selection is on top of deck, which rests on the table face down in Riffle Shuffle Position. Card is bent lengthwise concavely, so there is a tiny gap between the card and the remainder of the deck – visible only at the inner side. Say that the card will manifest itself, if it is applauded. Start the applause yourself, and when the audience has joined in, lower both hands resting them with their sides on the table, about 50 cm apart and behind the deck. Rapidly join the hands, producing one more «applause clap» – the air will make the selection flip face up on the table in front of the deck.(Flip Hallema comments: I think I have first seen it demonstrated by Marconick in a lecture by him, probably in the late sixties, early seventies. It suited his performing style as well: visual, direct. Maybe he published it too in Henk Vermeyden’s TRIKS magazine, in that period. I’ll have to look it up, but that will take time.I have used this effect very often as a climax to my acrobatic cards routine where a set of ace to five do their antics in the deck. The last of the cards, the five, is gone (it is already crimp-prepared secretly on top of a tabled four card packet).  I look up and say ‘Comedown you little bastard!’ Then I do the clap and immediately look down : the card jumps off the packet as if it had fallen from heaven like an asteroid.)
  3. D’Amico Style Revelation. Selection is on top. Show an x-card on top by means of a Double Lift. When the double is again face down, snap the fingers, do the d’Amico One-handed Double Lift with only the top card. Immediately the right hand takes the card and snaps it with the face toward the audience, holding it next to the face.
  4. LePaul’s Rapid One-hand Deal. Deck is held face down in Semi-straddle Position. Left thumb pulls/bends top card back towards little finger, which protrudes over the deck’s inner end. When thumb pressure is released, the top card shoots forward and lands face up on the table (p. 87 in The Card Magic of LePaul).
  5. Palm-rub Production. Selection is palmed in the right hand, which then starts to gently rub the open left palm. The left hand is turned inward and back-up, taking the palmed card with it, and then the left thumb pushes the card «through the fist», magically producing it (Daryl in his DVD Encyclopedia of Card Sleights).
  6. A Quick Sandwich, Pardon, Cocktail. The two sandwich cards are placed faces toward the audience in a tumbler, which is then swooshed over the remaining cards ribbon-spread on the table. Shake the cards inside the tumbler for effect, cocktail-style, and then slowly dump them out of the glass on the table, revealing that a face down card has now arrived between the two sandwich-cards: this is their selection!Alternative Effect. Instead of the selection appearing, a Joker can previously be shown between the sandwich cards, which now transforms into their selection. Or use the «Phantom Card» approach, not showing the sandwiched card at the beginning. (To switch out the sandwiched Joker for the selection you might want to use “The Kosky Switch” from CC4, p. 951. Or see the video Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction, “Lesson 42 – Sandwich Techniques”, at 08:14, for several other methods which are not in the book.)
  7. The Jumping Card Revelation. Selection is on top. Deck is held face down in Dealing Position. Turn the hand so the underside of the deck faces the audience. In this movement, the fingers of the left hand glide the top card backwards for about 1 cm. With the right middle finger snap the protruding card’s inner end – this will cause the glided (injogged) card to apparently jump out of the center of the deck into the air, where it is caught by the right hands and displayed (Fischer, Ottokar, Täuschungen mit Karten, «Der Kartensprung», p. 12).
  8. Balducci/Christ-Force Multiple Production. Four-of-a-kind, e.g., Aces, are on top of face down deck. Using the Balducci/Christ Force procedure, done four times consecutively, end up with four face-up packets and one face-down card next to it – the four cards are the four Aces.
  9. Gymnastic Aces. This can be found in The Card Magic of LePaul and is still one of the prettiest, most visual and magical productions of four-of-a-kind. Naturally, it can also be used to attractively produce one or several selected cards that have been controlled to the top.
  10. The Master Grip. The selection is grabbed out of the deck, which is ribbon-spread on the table as it is turned face up (Card College 3, or video Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction, “Lesson 25 – Breaks, Steps, Jogs”).

And should I really have to tell you that several “Quickies” put together will form a “Multiple Revelation Routine”?

Last, but not least, let me recommend two publications that are devoted entirely to Revelations of selected cards, most of them falling into the category of “Quick Tricks”; this will keep you busy for as long as you want:

  • Thompson, J.G. JR., The Living End (1972), also available as an e-book from
  • Marlo, Edward, Marlo’s Discoveries (USA 1946)
Thompson Jr.’s The Living End

If you enjoy or would like to try your hand at some “research work”, take any book on card magic from your library, and then make a list of all the tricks therein where one or more cards are magically revealed.

Pay special attention to “Quickies”. Similar to practicing, such an occupation will yield many satisfactory returns and be immensly joyful. Try this as an alternative to spending time on the Internet or on Social Media…

Ultimate Wisdom

There is a cartoon where Charlie Brown and Snoopy are sitting on a pier, looking out into the sea. “Some day, we will all die, Snoopy”, says Charlie. And Snoopy replies, “True, but on all the other days, we will not.” CLICK HERE to see the cartoon (which I cannot reproduce here for copyright reasons).

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (137)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Giobbi in Japanese; Chunk up, chunk sideways, chunk down; Missing Link – Trick Shots.

These are The Magic Memories 137, gone online Sunday, August 13th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Giobbi in Japanese

Just had a lovely visit by Shigeru Tashiro, President of the Nippon Magic Foundation, and its director Sorm Manh.

Doctor Tashiro is a respected plastic surgeon with his own clinic in Japan, but he’s also a tireless benefactor of magic.

Among other noteworthy achievements he has brought Ascanio’s books to the Japanese magic community, as he has a special interest in the conceptual and theoretical aspects of magic. He just published Burger’s and Neal’s Magic and Meaning,  and is now about to translate Sharing Secrets, which should appear within the next six months or so.

Manh, Barbara, RG, Shigeru in the little library of the Giobbi home

I look very much forward to this, as I already have my five Card College books, as well as the Light Trilogy and Stand-up Card Magic out in Japanese, and am told they have all been well received.

Chunk up, Chunk Sideways, Chunk Down

Since we are talking “theory”, here is a concept I occasionally discuss in my lectures and workshops, and if my memory serves me right, I have not yet mentioned it in The Magic Memories.

I will first define it, then give several examples of how to apply it in practice.

The concept, which is really a practical procedure of studying magic, is about recognizing that something is a principle rather than just an individual item, giving it a name, defining it, and then setting it in place within a larger context (terminology and taxonomy). I call this first action chunking up.

Finding another example to apply the concept to is chunking sideways.

And coming up with the details of handling in this other example is chunking down.

Following are a few examples, where I first tell you where and how I identified the concept, and then how I proceded.

No Hands Ma!

In a private session I had with the late Ken Krenzel in New York years ago, he suggested to put the deck on the table when performing «Cavorting Aces», rather than keeping it in the hands, as taught in Stars of Magic, where Jacob Daley’s original version is published.

Thinking about this a little later, I recognized that this was not simply a good idea to apply to this specific trick, but a downright concept, a principle that once recognized and understood could be used in many other situations to dramatically improve a trick.

This was the first step of chunking up. Part of this was to find a good name for that concept, ideally one that was intuitive, so if it was used, even someone who didn’t know its definition could guess what it meant.

So, I named it «No-hands-ma Strategy», a term found in the Urban Dictionary of English. You can read more about it in Sharing Secrets, as it is one of “The 52 Most Important and Practical Strategies in Magic” described there.

Next comes the chunk sideways: Where else could the strategy be used? How about in a phase of the “Ambitious Card”? If you ponder the matter for a little time, you will be able to make a long list – it’s really an easy exercice even a beginner can do, as it works particularly well with so-called “self-working card tricks”, but as you will soon recognize, it will satisfy even the high standards of an expert.

The chunk down will then consist in coming up with the specific handling.

In our example of the Ambitious Card you would show the “ambitious” card by means of a Double Lift, turn the double again face down on top of the deck, place the deck on the table (this is the “No-hands-ma Strategy”), insert the top card into the center of deck, still with the deck on the table, square the deck (on the table!), snap, and finally show the top card has come back. All of this is done with the deck resting on the table rather than holding it in the hands, as you would normally do.

By trying and understanding this one example, you have done the first step of instilling a “theory”. Now apply it to a few other situations, and you will have mastered the concept and be able to apply it regularly in many things you do.

And next time when you see someone else performing a trick, you will catch yourself thinking, “Why doesn’t she use the ‘No-hands-ma Strategy’, as it would greatly improve her trick!”

The No-switch Deck Switch

A reader once asked Dai Vernon in his «The Vernon Touch» column in Genii magazine how a professional justifies putting a deck away and taking another one to perform the next trick.

When I read that I was filled with an instant burst of joy, as it immediately hit me that this is a category of its own in the subject of switching decks.

As part of the chunk up I named it «The No-switch-deck-switch»), and it became the fourth element in a four-part taxonomy of deck switches (see The Art of Switching Decks , pp. 127).

As the chunk sideways phase try to find situations where the putting away of one deck and introducing a new deck would make sense. In The Art of Switching Decks I give a dozen examples, one of them is giving the deck you just used away to the assisting spectator, and then use a sealed new deck for the next performance piece.

The chunk down phase now deals with the specifics of how to do this in detail, e.g., pointing out that the deck you are giving away has a guarantee Joker, so if he uses the cards in his next game of Poker and loses, he should complain with the playing card company (tongue-in-cheek).

Now do a trick using another instrument, only to later come back to cards, but since you gave the deck away, you need another deck. Take out the sealed deck, which has of course been prepared according to the requirements of the trick about to be performed (p. 21/22 in The Art of Switching Decks tells you how to imperceptibly open a sealed deck, tamper with it, and then reseal it so that no-one will be the wiser). As an additional proof that you are using a bona fide deck, show the sales ticket from the shop you bought the deck.

A third and last example:

The Knife Force

A knife is used to force a card (e.g., Ganson, Dai Vernon’s Inner Secrets of Card Magic – on p. 22 you can see a photo of the action) .

Chunk up: An extraneous object other than the deck itself is used.

Chunk sideways: What other objects could be used? A Joker, the guarantee card, a credit card, a bill from a bundle of bills, a pencil…

Chunk down: What would be a reason that makes sense for using that particular item? How should it be handled?

As an example see Vanni Bossi’s “The Card in the Wallet” in Card College 4, also found in an updated version in “Lesson 35: Forces – Part 3” of the Card College 3&4 – Personal Instruction video course.

OK, I simply can’t resist giving you a few more examples, as the subject is so fascinating, don’t you think so?

But I will be brief, as by now you have grasped the idea… provided you are still with me 🙂

Overhand Shuffle

Look at an Overhand Shuffle.

Chunk up: The deck is being shuffled by shifting the position of five to seven packets.

Chunk sideways: What other shuffles or actions (!) are there that use the same, or similar, topological characteristics? How about: Hindu Shuffle, Running Cut, cutting packets to the table, dealing packets to the table one on top of the other…

Chunk down: How can techniques normally associated with an Overhand Shuffle be applied to these other shuffles & actions (stock controls, glimpses, key card placements, culling & stacking, estimation etc.)?

Do this in every direction.

Take off the Coat Switch

I read that Arnold de Biere (1876 – 1934) switched an examined egg bag for the prepared egg bag as he took off his coat.

Chunk up: This is a switching principle.

Chunk sideways: Apply to other instruments, such as die, coin purse, deck of cards.

Chunk down: How would it work for a deck of cards? Does the coat need to be prepared in a particular way? Why do you take off the coat? Where do you put the coat once you have taken it off?

Handkerchief Glimpse

in Karl Fulves’s Self-working Card Magic I read that the bottom card can be glimpsed when you take the deck out of the case, a very good, practical and safe method in itself (once you’ve taken out the deck, do a few false shuffles and false cuts to retain the glimpsed card in position, or bring it to the top, or to another specific position).

Chunk up: A deck (or any other object) stored in some kind of container, when extracted allows to glimpse the bottom card (or something else be done with it…).

Chunk sideways: Apply to other instruments, such as die, coin purse, deck of cards.

Chunk down:

  • Handkerchief: The transparency allows to glimpse the bottom card of the wrapped deck.
  • Plexiglass Card Case: Place deck in a plexiglas card case.
  • Envelope: Place deck in an envelope that has a window cut out, or that is transparent (most without a lining are transparent).


in Royal Road to Card Magic the authors Hugard & Braue mention an «Overhand Shuffle Practice Routine» – this is a concept I called “Magic Katas” (chunk up phase).

I realized this was like «Studies» in music or «Katas» in martial arts and could be applied to every instrument in magic, such as ropes, coins, cups & balls, rings… (chunk sideways).

Now chunk down: Develop a «Rope Knot Kata» linking various ways of making knots with a rope into a sequence with the aim of remembering them, and of course practicing them at the same time!

For a practical example see “How to Study Magic – Card Katas”, p. 107 in Sharing Secrets. Also see Ask Roberto, p. 220.

The Missing Link

Under this heading I will occasionally propose one unusual web-link, which you’ll hopefully find inspiring, and if nothing else simply amusing.

Today’s clip is about “trick shots”, however, not from the pool table, but from real life.

If you showed this on your Smartphone or Tablet (a brief extract, of course), you could use it to prologue a performance piece with it.

Which one?

That’s for you to find – in Hidden Agenda I called this “Presentational Problems”, i.e., I give you a presentational idea, and you find a trick in your repertoire that up to now did not have a proper presentation and now, well, it has 🙂

Also see the entry “Film Clip Prologue” for February 20 in my Hidden Agenda. To any performer who uses this idea, this alone is worth many times the proverbial price of the book.

To see the clip CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (136)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Addendum to El mundo mágico de Tamariz; Roth Remembers… (anecdote); Deck Switch Sitting Down; Charles T. Jordan; Answer to Roth Remembers.

These are The Magic Memories 136, gone online Sunday, August 6th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

Addendum to El mundo mágico de Tamariz

The Magic Memories 135 with a clip of Juan Tamariz doing a juggling routine instead of magic, brought in a few lovely comments.

“El mundo magico de Tamariz” – The book

My dear friend Roland Heuer, from Stuttgart, Germany, who is the only one to send in a “thank you” and a few comments for every The Magic Memories (no exception up to now!), points out that all videos of Tamariz’s El mundo mágico de Tamariz are available on YouTube. Remember that these are videos that accompanied publications and magic sets directed at a lay audience and that were sold at stationary stores in Spain, so the material is directed to laypeople.

Here are the links:

Roth Remembers…

In a video clip on the homepage of CARC, David Roth relates a discussion he had with Larry Jennings about what category of effect it is when in Dai Vernon’s Cups & Balles the wand is introduced into the cup to show that the inside is deeper than the outside.

To watch and hear the anecdote, plus the amusing punchline, CLICK HERE.

… after Roth lecture in Basel, DEC 2010

Now, what category do you think does this effect belong to?

Do “a little think” before checking my answer at the end of these The Magic Memories.

A little help: in Sharing Secrets, chapter “The Lists”, paragraph “List of Phenomena”, p. 142/143, it is item 23 🙂

Deck Switch Sitting Down

Recently someone made a comment on the Penguin webshop in reference to my book The Art of Switching Decks , which read:

“Unfortunately he did not go over any switch that you can do while sitting down.”

(This is not true, as there are two…).

I found the comment amusing and interesting, simply because most of the switches described in the book can be done standing up, with or without jacket, and of course also while seated, or easily adapted to when you are seated, you just have to apply a minimum of thinking…

The question reflects an attitude typical of those who are more interested in methods than effects.

Why on earth would you want to do a deck switch seated (unless you’re a dishonest card player…), very probably having to use your lap, or a topit, or having to conceal the deck in a hand that might be too small, when you can elegantly use a performance piece, or a ruse, or take advantage of an off-beat moment, to switch a deck imperceptibly and without risk whatsoever (these are the decks switches described in The Art of Switching Decks, not the ones a sane real-world performer would never use…).

Lest I forget…

And yes, for those who asked, Penguin just reprinted The Art of Switching Decks for the third time, so we are in our fourth printing, which is quite extraordinary for any magic book, let alone for a magic book on such a specialized subject (if my publishers informed me correctly we talk about a first printing of 2’000, and then 1’000 for each reprint).

The book used to contain a physical DVD with my lecture on the subject at the Genii Convention; this has now been replaced by a link, which allows you to download the MP4-file directly to your device for easy viewing and storing.

The Art of Switching Decks


Remember to save downloads that are  important to you on an external hard disc, USB-stick and/or cloud service! Even if a site tells you that a download-link will never expire, well, the homepage’s owner may die, the company go out of business, etc., briefly: Any homepage may go down at any moment. So, SAVE the downloads dear to you!

Charles T. Jordan

Charles T. Jordan (1888 – 1944) was one of the brightest minds in magic; he came up with many ingenious, deceptive and practical ideas, and there is quite a bit of his output out there, most in print.

His work is worth being studied even by the younger generation, but obviously you’ll have to “use your head”, as Dai Vernon, the Professor, used to say, because you’ll have to interpret and adapt, but that’s the fun, and it is were you can practice creativity.

Remember: To be creative doesn’t mean you must be an inventor of things, for that is “first degree of creativity”; it is as meritorious to dwell on the “second degree of creativity”, which is personal interpretation, and adaptation to modern times.

If you’re not familiar with Jordan’s work,  you might want to try Charles Jordan’s Best Card Tricks by Karl Fulves, which appeared in the Dover series of paperback reprints; these are very well printed and bound publications at a very affordable price. You can find it, and many other titles by Fulves and other authors, at your favorite dealer, or at Amazon (I use Amazon only as a last resort, for I want to support the magic shops, not bring more money to someone who is already a billionaire…).

Jordan’s Best Card Tricks

However, the reason I mention all this, is that CARC, “The Conjuring Arts Research Center”, regularly offers free downloads to anyone who is interested. This week it is a series of hard to find small publications of Jordan’s.

Here is what the description on the CARC webshop reads:

This collection brings together all five booklets from the “Ten New Tricks” series that the enigmatic genius Charles Jordan published in 1920. It includes baffling impromptu card material, as well as a range of novel effects using ropes, coins, poker chips and even an umbrella. Brilliant magic from one of the most creative thinkers in the history of the art.

The Complete “Ten Tricks Series” is a fully searchable PDF that combines Ten New Impromptu Card Tricks, Ten New Sleight of Hand Card Tricks, Ten New Miscellaneous Tricks, Ten New Prepared Card Tricks and Ten New Pocket Tricks.

To get to the CARC Webshop and download the Jordan booklets for free CLICK HERE.

You might also consider becoming a member of CARC and get their superb publication Gibecière twice a year (you’ll find more information on their site).

Answer to Roth Remembers

Welcome back:-)

Did you find an answer to the question?

Here is the one I would have given to David if he had asked me:  It is a Topological Illusion, and in the same category as Lubor Fiedler’s “Gozinta Box”, or Terry Roger’s “Stargate”, or Roy Walton’s “Card Warp” or Paul Harris’s “Immaculate Connection”, to name just a few.

Do you agree?

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (135)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Masterclass in Luxemburg & how to instill concepts; Spanish National Convention in Valladolid; Burned Card Ruse (Injog Shuffle With Burn)

These are The Magic Memories 135, gone online Sunday, July 30th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

I promised a few tales from my past travels, Luxembourg and Valladolid (Spain). The “Hintertuxer Zaubertage” in Tirol-Austria will have to wait until next week, as I decided to throw in a little magical idea at the end you might enjoy trying.

So, here we go!


Luxembourg, officially called Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, with its ca. 650’000 inhabitants, is one of the micro states, and in spite of being one of the least populated countries in Europe, it is also the one with the highest population growth rate – sounds like a magic trick.

city of Luxembourg in Luxembourg

My hosts Christina Nyman and Martin Saunders set up a one-day Masterclass for a dozen plus people coming from three countries, Luxembourg, France and Belgium.

The location was a lovely and very convenient cultural center which cultural institutions, such as a magic club is, get for free! Add to this that public transportation in Luxembourg is free – that’s to me a civilized country 🙂

The Masterclass had four topics: Stand-up Card Magic, self-working card tricks, how to find your own presentations, and Card Controls.

morning session on “Stand-up Card Magic”

Normally, any one of these topics can fill one or two days, here I managed to perform, talk and train on four subjects! And this also included several hands-on-sessions, as well as a final Q & A.

hands-on session on “Card Controls”


I find these full-day events for a restricted group the second best way of learning magic.

The best way, in my professional experience of several decades now, is without doubt the one-to-one coaching, ideally taking place live, or online.

What is frustrating to me as a teacher is that although I manage to explain complex concepts in simple words and illustrate them with several examples, and although everyone nods their head, writes down the ideas, when it comes to performing most do it wrong, meaning that they did not get it.

Several years ago I did a two-day Masterclass precisely on the same subject, Stand-up Card Magic, to a group of about twenty people. Everyone seemed to understand and enjoy the sessions. Then, in the evening, most of them performed. And you know what: almost everyone did the exact same mistakes I lectured and trained them on in the morning and afternoon. I was shocked. Why did they not get it? It must have been my mistake in the sense that I did not let them do enough exercises, but talked and performed myself too much. Maybe.

You see, the ultimate challenge for a teacher of magic, or any other subject for that matter, is not the selection and the presentation of the material to be taught – as if that wasn’t difficult enough (!) – no, it is the question: How does the student instill the teaching received.

Here is what I think is arguably the most important chapter from Sharing Secrets, just one page, read it carefully, as there is the whole secret of successful learning:

how to practice and instill magic knowledge

Please, do yourself a favor: If you don’t have Sharing Secrets get it (from me, Penguin Magic, or any dealer) – I promise you’ll like it. If you don’t, you can write to me, keep the book, and I’ll reimburse you in downloads of at least the same value (you could also send it back and I’ll reimburse you in full, but the shipping is just too costly).

Masterclass Luxembourg, July 2023

Thank you, Christina and Martin for having me, I had a great time!

Martin, RG, Christina over Luxembourg’s “lower city”

PS: Christina and Martin are also historians and collectors, and their beautiful house in the residential area of Luxembourg City is filled to the roof with art and other curiosa related to magic.

under original poster one of Barbara’s “Orimotos”


Back from Luxembourg I had only one day to unpack and repack, for then I went off to six days Valladolid, where the Spanish National Convention took place. Except for delays in the travel schedule due to a missed airplane connection (I will not travel again with Air Europe), and the heat, all the rest was well worth the journey and stay.

Fernando Arribas and his team did everything right that needs to be done right when you organize a convention. As a novum you could even register for the convention upon arrival at the hotel (it took less than 2 minutes!), a hotel, which was two minutes on foot, right opposite the convention center, both of which air-conditioned – you cannot ask for more.

The convention deserves a full report, and a good one at that, which I won’t be able to give. Well, just a few things 🙂

The city of Valladolid is truly magnificent and worth visiting. Although we had a change to go to the historical center every day, I wish I had stayed an extra day to enjoy the architectural and historical richness of this impressive city.

CLICK HERE for a 12-second video clip of the Plaza Mayor of Valladolid.

The galas, close-up and stage, were all very good, and I don’t say this easily.

One more thing I need to tell you: On our first evening we went to a restaurant that offered a tapas menu. Now, in Spain, tapas is not considered a proper meal, as tourists believe, but it is simply a means to have a glass of wine with friends and meaningfully bridge the time between the end of the work day and dinner, which in Spain starts not before 9:30 pm.

However, this restaurant had received several awards for best and most original tapas, so they sell a tapas menu which even locals regard worthy of being considered a “real meal”. Anyway, the menu was a complete illusion show, in the sense that every dish looked like something else than it actually was (see The Magic Memories 127, “Playing With Food”).

In the photo below you can see one of the starters that looks like a Cuban cigar (Cohiba!), but really was a reconstructed sardine, very much à la façon of molecular cuisine, and the glasses that are supposed to take rum to go with a cigar (what else?), in reality contained an extract of tomato juice. We had seven courses like that, one crazier than the other, but I spare you the rest 🙂 For more see Los Zagales.

sardines and tomato juice

As for the magic the program was excellent, but I spent the best moments sessioning with some of Spain’s top talents, and believe me, there is a lot!

In one of the stage galas a non-magic act got possibly the greatest response; it was Cayetano Lledó, a speed painter, as he calls himself, who in about five minutes created a gigantic portrait of Juan Tamariz on a canvas set on stage. The painting was then exhibited in the hall and all participants would sign it on the back for the Maestro to have it as a souvenir – what a great idea.

Juan Tamariz by Cayetano Lledó

I should also mention the close-up and stage competition, with a total of about three dozen participants, most of a good level, and a few even world-class. Many complained that there were too many “mentalists”, but I won’t comment on that, because when it comes to mentalism I’m like a vegetarian in a Steak House…

I spent quite a bit of magic and gastronomy time with my buddies José Ángel Suarez, of Magialdia fame, and Paul Wilson, of overall-fame 🙂 Paul tells me that his documentary on Tamariz is nearing completion, and you should hear from him through Kickstarter soon (I’ll let you know through this blog as soon as Paul sends news).

Besides the high magic quality, what really sets apart a Spanish convention from others is that they give you enough time to meet old friends and make new ones. As an example they put the evening galas on at 7 pm, so that when it finishes by 9 pm you have the rest of the evening to meet lots of people at the restaurants and the bars downtown. In practically all other conventions I’ve been to you have to skip one or two events to have time for a decent dinner or lunch.

a typical session with magic, food and wine… and great conversations

And it is late at night, in the most beautiful surroundings that camaraderie, magic and inspiring drinks form the height of the day.

conclusion of the day on the historical plaza

So, if you plan on a vacation in Spain, try to organize it around a magic convention, and you’ll leave as a happier person (and maybe a more inspired magician, too).

final gala with award ceremony

Burned Card Ruse (Injog Shuffle With Burn)

In order to close today’s The Magic Memories, here is an idea the cardicians among you should like.

It is a ruse to be used at the end of an Injog Shuffle that controls the top or bottom stock.

For top stock

Start an Overhand Shuffle, chopping off at least the packet to be controlled, run one card on top of the stock, injog the next cad (or block of cards), and then shuffle off. Let the deck slide in Dealing Position, obtain a break under the injogged card, cut half of the cards above the break to the table, cut at the break, and eventually drop the third packet on top. This is an Intelligent Shuffle (Sharing Secrets, “Intelligent Movements”, p. 54). Pick up the deck and bury the top and bottom card in the center of the deck, explaining that this is done in professional card play and is called “burning a card”, just in case someone caught an accidental glimpse of the top or bottom card.

The above can be beautifully combined with “Teschner’s Top-stock Control”, from Secret Agenda, p. 65. I leave it to you to look it up and find the (simple) combination of the two ideas; this should throw off even the seasoned expert…

For bottom stock

Start an Overhand Shuffle, shuffling until a little more than the bottom stock to be preserved remains in your right hand. Injog the next card, and then throw the rest on top. Let the deck slide in Dealing Position, obtain a break under the injogged card, cut the cards above the break to the table, cut half of the remaining cards on top, and eventually drop the last packet on top. This is an Intelligent Shuffle. Pick up the deck and bury the top and bottom card in the center of the deck, explaining that this is done in professional card play and is called “burning a card”.

I do not exclude that someone else has thought of this before, as it seems fairly obvious, however, I have never seen anyone using it…

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (134)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: a video clip of Juan Tamariz juggling from El mundo magico de Tamariz

These are The Magic Memories 134, gone online Sunday, July 23rd, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

El mundo magico de Tamariz

Tamariz playing his magical violin

At the beginning of the Nineties Juan Tamariz was asked by “Ediciones del Prado”, a Madrid based publisher, to create a multi-lesson course of magic that would be sold over a longer period serially to the public.

The complete work, consisting of all sorts of tricks, techniques, theories, anecdotes, history and a large etcetera is certainly one of the greatest and most original contributions to the literary genre of “magic for non-magicians”.

The complete file of the series titled El mundo magico de Tamariz is now a sought-after collectors item, and if you can get one you should consider yourself extremely fortunate – on a recent asking even the Maestro himself doesn’t have a file!

Part of the project was a massive magic box that also contained two (!) VHS videos and a full-sized book of 270 pages.

During the pandemic years I have looked through all of this material again, and it is a gold-mine of ideas of all sorts that even the most seasoned professional can profit from.

“El mundo magico de Tamariz” – The book

On one of the videos Tamariz performs several of the routines, mostly very simple but still effective (if done by him!), and at the end there is a most unusual juggling routine he does and which will surprise and enchant you – I’m sure that even as a connoisseur of Tamariz’s magic you did not expect that.

To enjoy the video clip CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi

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The Magic Memories (133)

Hello everyone!

Today’s topics are: Another trick problem.

These are The Magic Memories 133, gone online Sunday, July 16th, 2023, at 0:07h sharp.

All The Magic Memories from 2021, 2022, including the Magic Advent Calendar from 2020, can be found HERE.

I’m back from Luxemburg and Valladolid, but for the past few days have already been in the Austrian Alps, far behind Innsbruck, in the beautiful Zillertal, performing and teaching magic at the Adler Inn in Hintertux at the Hintertuxer Zaubertage – will tell you more upon my return in The Magic Memories 134.

Below is a souvenir photo from a past edition (2017) – you can see me in the action of teaching “Dice and Aces” from Sharing Secrets (p. 91).

Hintertux 2017 – Workshop with happy customers

Meanwhile, here is something for you to ponder…

Yet Another Trick Problem

When I was in my teens, one of the magical pleasures was to read the ads in the magic magazines, and to then try to find out how it could be done. Anyone from the pre-Internet era knows what I mean 🙂

Here is an ad from an old magazine (can’t remember which one…) which I found in one of my notebooks, with an interesting double-effect.

Can you find a practical method?

  1. One using tricks cards, as the advertised version suggests…
  2. …  and another with a regulation deck?

To get to the challenge, CLICK HERE.

Wish you all an excellent week!

Roberto Giobbi