Some Things With Cards by John Holt

Read exclusive online reviews of products and discuss them.
Tom Frame
Posts: 1084
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Del Ray
Location: San Francisco

Some Things With Cards by John Holt

Postby Tom Frame » August 31st, 2011, 3:20 pm

Some Things With Cards (ebook) by John Holt 7 / $11.50
17 pages, 14 photos
Available at:

John Holt is back with his latest collection of close-up material. The authors writing is still rough around the edges, but there are fewer typographical errors and the language endures fewer traumas.

The photos are clear and helpful and I wish that there were more of them.

Mr. Holt credits recent inspirational sources, but he doesnt provide references to primary works.

Fourbearers: The performer displays the four face up Kings atop the face down deck. He cuts off the top quarter of the deck and tables it. Three cards are freely selected and lost in the deck. The performer cuts the deck and tables a card face down, claiming that it is one of the selections. He executes this procedure two more times.

The performer turns over the purported selections, but they are not the chosen cards. He spreads the previously tabled King packet to reveal the selections sandwiched between the Kings.

This is Mr. Holts handling of Roy Waltons classic The Collectors (Abra, 1969). Oh dear.

If a person wants to cut off the top quarter of the deck and table it, they, uh, cut off the top quarter of the deck and table it. They dont cut the top quarter of the deck into their left hand, then side-jog that packet beneath the deck, and then table the packet.

Unfortunately that is the unnatural manner in which Mr. Holt executes that simple task.

In lieu of that method, he offers a needlessly technically demanding alternative handling.

The business of cutting to and tabling the incorrect cards is supposed to serve as a feint to relax the participants attention in preparation for executing the final bit of dirty work.

But after witnessing the odd manner in which the performer merely cut off a packet of cards, I fear that the participants will be burning him intently when the dirty work occurs.

Superior methods exist. I dont like it.

Bold Fourbearers: In this alternative method, the good news is that Mr. Holt eliminates that bizarre handling of the top quarter of the deck. After displaying the Kings atop the deck, he tables them in a face up packet.

The bad news is that unless your participants are watching your performance from directly overhead, perhaps perched on a Cherry Picker, I fear that they will notice that the King packet doesnt look like a packet. I still dont like it.

Fight!: A participant freely selects a card which is lost in the deck. The performer cases the deck and tables it. He correctly divines the chosen card.

He picks up the cased deck with his empty left hand and tosses it into the air. He catches the deck in his right hand. His left hand holds a single card. It is the selection.

The author employs well known methods to produce this solid, effective routine. It wont fool the codgers at the magic club, but lay folk will eat it up. I like it.

Slippery Sandwich: The performer displays the red Aces on top of the deck. Two participants freely select and sign cards which are lost in the deck. The performer turns the Aces face up and removes them from the deck. The second participants selection appears between the Aces. The performer tables the selection face down.

He removes a face down card from his pocket. It is the second participants selection. The first participant turns over the face down tabled selection and discovers her card.

While there is nothing new here in terms of effect, Mr. Holt offers a novel application of methods by Troy Hooser and Bernard Bilis. The author is going straight to hell for misspelling Bilis.

The effect also features a cool, non traditional loading technique. However, Mr. Holts description of the method is inadequate and confusing. He needs to rewrite this section and provide more detail. The method deserves better treatment. I like it.

Psychic Mystery Cardof Death: The performer introduces an odd-back card with this effects appellation written on its back. He places the card face down on top of the deck. A participant freely selects a card which is lost in the deck. The performer transfers the odd-back card to the top of the deck. He turns it face up, revealing the selected card. The selection is returned to the deck.

The performer spreads the deck face up and a card is freely touched. The performer tables this selection face down, revealing that it is the odd-back card. He buries the odd-back in the deck.

The participant freely names any card. She spreads the deck face down on the table. The performer suggests how amazing it would be if her card was on the face of the odd-back card. The participant turns over the odd-back card and discovers that its face now bears all 52 cards.

Mr. Holt offers his handling of Frank Everharts Chicago Opener, the popular offspring of Al Leechs Hot Card Trick No. 1 (1950). His handling is well constructed and his presentation is fun. I like it.

The Worlds Greatest Card Vanish: A participant freely selects a card. The performer places her card onto the face of the deck and supports it while she signs it. The performer lifts her card off the face of the deck, turns the deck face down and deposits her card face down on top of the deck. He places her face down selection between her hands and claims that he will cause it to vanish.

The participant opens her hands and discovers that the face of the card is blank, except for some cartoon-like lines depicting a disappearance. The performer produces the selected card from his pocket or wallet or colon or he doesnt produce it at all.

You can figure out the method by reading my description. Im not suggesting that Mr. Holt is a neophyte, but this type of pedestrian effect is often created by novices moments after they learn a certain fundamental technique. Hell, I created this effect when I was 14, and it was already long in the tooth and weary. I dont like it.

One Hand Top Palming: The author describes a method of executing a one hand top palm immediately after displaying the deck in a very fair, open manner. Im no scholar of the one hand top palm, but this handling is new to me. It will take practice to execute the technique smoothly and successfully, but the result is an effective, guileless display. I like it.

P.D.S. Transposition (Bonus Effect): The performer borrows a nickel and a quarter. A participant freely selects the quarter. The performer places it in his left trouser pocket. He picks up the nickel and tosses it into the air. He catches it and reveals it to be the quarter. He removes the nickel from his otherwise empty trouser pocket.

The author builds upon Gregory Wilsons Pitch and Ditch technique from his Off the Cuff DVD to produce this quick, cool effect. This handling will require considerable practice and a good aim in order to execute it with confidence. I like it.

"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

User avatar
Richard Kaufman
Posts: 25640
Joined: July 18th, 2001, 12:00 pm
Favorite Magician: Theodore DeLand
Location: Washington DC

Re: Some Things With Cards by John Holt

Postby Richard Kaufman » August 31st, 2011, 5:08 pm

I realize this is said tongue in cheek ("The author is going straight to hell for misspelling Bilis"), but it still seems a bit strong!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine

Return to “Light from the Lamp ONLINE.”