One of my books, the success of which surprised me most, is The Art of Switching Decks – A Guide for the Beginner and the Expert – it is now in its third printing, and has appeared in English, Spanish, Italian and French, with other languages in preparation. Neither me nor my publisher, at the time Hermetic Press now Penguin Magic, had expected this. Meanwhile, I have received lots of feedback from readers and found myself plenty more, so I could write another volume, or fill the next 50 installments of these The Magic Memories with deck switches. But fear not, I won’t 🙂 , well, I might give away one of two more, if some of you insist…
A personal comment, if I may: Besides the content, I believe that the structure of the book is of great use to the discriminating reader, as it exemplifies how a single subject can be approached by first creating a taxonomy, and then trying to identify the problems specific to each category. This allows for a systematic and at the same time free-flowing creative process, which results in practical solutions, in this case feasible deck switches.
One of the categories I was most pleased with was what I dubbed the “No-switch-deck-switches” (pp. 127), i.e. procedures which would naturally motivate putting a deck in use aside, and then taking another (cold) deck. The simplicity of the concept is inverse proportional to its use in real-life performing. How this came to be is a typical example of a “Butterfly Effect”: a small event yields a far more important consequence. It started with a question someone asked Dai Vernon in his column, which made me aware that this is a category, which then started a first list, mentioned in one of my Genii columns, later expanded in Secret Agenda and Hidden Agenda (SEP 28), and eventually grew into a full-fledged chapter in The Art of Switching Decks.
Anyway, here are two more ideas.
The Out-of-necessity Deck Switch: After any trick that leaves the deck unusable, there is a good reason – out of necessity – to use a new one. Such tricks can be Card Stabbing, where all the cards are spilled on the floor, or a trick where all cards turn blank, or after the Razor Deck Trick, where all the cards end up cut-up. Try this for a stand-up situation: Control a selection and palm it. As a spectator shuffles the balance, you have plenty of time and cover to get the card in back-palm. Take the deck back and holding it with the hand concealing the selection in End Grip, spring the cards in the air. As the cards are falling, reach into the card shower with the obviously empty hand and produce the back-palmed card. Do a non-card trick, or tell an anecdote, then offer to perform another card miracle. Obviously, the cards being spilled all over, you produce a “new” deck..
Miniature Deck Switch … and Jumbo Deck: This was triggered by reading an idea by Fred Braue in his column «Roundabout” in Hugard’s Magic Monthly (1946), where he wrote: “Why not make up the Brainwave Deck in the small half-size cards. Explain that they were given you by Dr. Rhine of Duke University for ESP testing. For close-upping, eliminates a pack switch . . .” As you can see, this short comment already contains the concept of the “No-switch-deck-switch”, long before Vernon’s column! As a general idea, introduce a miniature deck, which is an intriguing thing to a lay audience anyway, and then perform any type of adequate trick with it. Meanwhile you put the deck in use in its case and in your pocket, from where you later extract apparently the same deck, but of course… As an analogous idea use a Jumbo Deck, maybe explaining this has been invented to make sure there is no sleight of hand involved in the proceedings. Different, but exactly the same 🙂
PS: If you don’t have the book and would like to order a copy before it goes out of print again, get it directly from Penguin Magic (free shipping worldwide), or if you want to support the author (me!) order it from my webshop (CLICK HERE). In the English edition the book comes with a free DVD that has my two-hour lecture on the subject recorded at the Genii 75th Anniversary Convention, Orlando, Florida, October 4–6, 2012.