Packets Tricks

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Thomas Van Aken » 11/05/01 06:59 AM

Hi everyone,
Here is (I hope) a new topics on this forum:
How did you introduce (physically and verbally) your packet tricks in a formal close up situation, especially if you move from full deck tricks to a packet trick.
I think that it is necessary to make a distinction between tricks using cards who are expected to be found in an ordinary deck (like the one used in Mike Skinner monte) and tricks using cards who are not (like Wild Card for example).
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Postby Philippe Noël » 11/05/01 10:11 AM

Dear Thomas,
Simply explain to the spectators why you don't use the deck.
For the wild cards for example, tell them you need cards that are all alike. So you can not use cards from a normal deck because they are all different!
Hope it helps.

Philippe Nol
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Postby walkinoats » 11/05/01 12:37 PM

I peform Mcdonalds aces as a packet trick. I say that I was given these cards by a gambler, after the routine is over, they usually are blown away and won't discover the double facers, even after they pick them up. This is the patter from Frank Gracia's manuscript.

Except for Mc Donalds aces, I don't use packet tricks. The reason is because I feel that laymen will figure out that you are using extra or trick cards.
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Postby Gerald Deutsch » 11/06/01 08:07 PM

Walkinoats feels "that laymen will figure out that you are using extra or trick cards" if you do a packet trick.

It's my feeling that when you do a packet trick the cards should usually be handed out at the end. There are several excellent packet tricks where the cards can be given out at the end of the routine.
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Postby Geno Munari » 11/07/01 06:06 AM

I hold the theory that the spectator does not want to touch the cards or examine when doing "packet tricks". It seems to me that they (the spectators) accept the fact that you are doing an effect with just a few cards. It is reasonable to them that by having just a few cards makes the effect more believable and harder than having a full pack.

This is just my theory....

I also think that the spectator has no inclination to suspect gaffed cards. It is not in their understanding of card tricks for a gaffed card to exist.

I do a "You do as I do" effect wherein everyone has four cards. This introduction of a smaller packet in their hands segues right into other packet effects.
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Postby The Grate Amazmo » 11/09/01 09:45 PM

Just come up with a logical reason for using a packet of cards. This is easy if you are doing Three Card Monte. I keep a few packet tricks in my wallet and bring them out when needed (usually after I've gone through my A, B, C & D material). Here are a few introductory lines

"Have you ever seen marked cards? One of these cards has a secret mark on it."

"Do you relieve in ESP."

"Want to see a naked picture of your wife?" Only kidding

To put it simply, just motivate the introduction of the packet.
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Postby Guest » 11/09/01 10:27 PM

I regularly perform Louis Falanga's
"Virginia City Shuffle" which is a packet trick that can be examined at the end if need be. After some other card effects, and in the right setting, I bring it up by saying "Sometimes people think I use trick cards. Well, I don't. Usually. But I do have some here in this special wallet. Would like to see them?" Then I present the effect as a story about a time in which I went to a magic shop and the magician there was trying to sell me these special cards. It works great for a couple of reasons. First, cards can be examined at the end and are technically not "gaffed cards" anyway. Second, there are usually no other suspicions later when using my regular deck. Later during another trick, the spectator's mind is saying,"Well, that ws amazing! And he's not using trick cards, because he showed us the trick cards earlier." It also promotes an attitude of honesty and genuineness. They think you are sharing a special secret with them.
The old "it must be trick cards" solution is probably used as often as the "it goes up his sleeve" solution. By emphasizing it during one effect, it subtely discounts the trick card theory with a regular deck later.
I am not sure who said it, but I heard that if you are doing sleight of hand and they think the cards are gaffed, you are doing your job. And If you are using gaffs but they give you credit for doing great sleight of hand you are also doing you job.
This certainly depends on your character, presentation, and goal in performing.


Postby Jeff Haas » 11/10/01 01:08 AM

My experience doing close up leads me to the following...

If you start performing for a group of people who have never seen you before, and haven't heard you're coming (i.e., you have no status) the first thing they think of is that your card tricks are accomplished by either a "trick deck" of some sort, or else they are very simple tricks, like the ones Uncle Ed always hauls out at Thanksgiving.

(You know Uncle Ed...the guy you don't want to invite to a party that has any alcohol at it; the guy whose prior behavior convinces you to buy a lot of liability insurance for your wedding...)

The other thing you have to work against is the wonderful perception of magicians all those "World's Greatest Magic" specials left on the public, with their interchangeable casino acts.

So, you have a bit of an uphill battle. And I've learned the best way to fight it is to use a regular deck of cards for several different effects. After a few tricks, it begins to dawn on the skeptics that you really are gooooood! This is because they probably have never seen anyone do closeup magic competently.

Once you get them to that point, then you can bring out a packet trick, and as long as it's justified, it's smooth sailing.


P.S. The only time I've had a different reaction was shortly after "Ricky Jay and his 52 Assistants" had been on HBO. A couple of people took the attitude of, "Oh, that's nice, but you should've seen this guy on TV..."
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Postby Pete McCabe » 11/10/01 11:20 PM

In "The Secrets of Brother John Hamman", which I just acquired, ace scribe Richard Kaufman details Bro. John's idea of making up an entire deck of packet tricks. So you take out the deck, and remove the cards you need for the first trick, put them back and remove the cards you need for the second, etc. It helps if you have incredible gaffed card tricks like Bro. John.

The book describes an extremely simple deck switch which can be done while returning a packet of cards to the deck, allowing you to finish clean.
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