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Profile of kermitthefrog
Gordon Bean's new packet trick "Temptation" has been the subject of some tantalizing advertisements in magic magazines. I now have the trick, and would like to offer this preliminary review of it ("preliminary" because I've just performed it a couple of times).

EFFECT. The basic effect is that the performer displays three cards and performs a little routine similar to three-card monte but that he calls "Temptation." The cards are an ace, deuce, and three of spades. The spectator's job is to keep track of the three in the first phase of the routine; then to keep track of the ace in the second phase of the routine; and then to keep track of the two in the last phase of the routine. Each time the spectators try to do this, the card turns out to be somewhere other than where they expect.

Temptation costs $15. It takes a little less than a minute to perform. I would describe its difficulty level as low. There is no sleight of hand required, but it takes some practice to keep the sequences straight and, more importantly, to get them flowing smoothly and without any hesitation or thought on your part. You can see a video of the first two phases at

COMMENTS. I consider this a good trick. It relies on a gaff, of course, which is cleverly designed and used. I suppose all gaffed monte tricks nowadays lie in the long shadow cast by Michael Skinner's Ultimate Three-Card Monte, which I purchased not long ago but which I already can see sets the standard for such effects. In my view, Temptation differs from a performance standpoint in three key ways.

1. First, the first two phases of Temptation occur in the performer's hands, not on the table; the third and last phase, if performed as recommended, involves placing one card under the spectator's lapel, another in the spectator's hand, and a third temporarily in the performer's breast pocket -- with the cards again turning out to be not where the spectator expects. (Still no table -- though a table *could* be used for one of those placements.) Thus the whole thing can be done with performer and spectator(s) standing up. Whether this is an advantage or disadvantage obviously will depend on your performing circumstances.

2. Since all three of the cards involved in the trick are spades, I don't think it packs quite the visual or intuitive wallop that a trick like Skinner's does. When one is working with three spot cards of the same suit, one can't count as reliably on the spectator to remember where the cards are supposed to be; it's all slightly harder to keep straight, which takes some of the power out of the revelations of where the cards actually are. Plus the identity of the card the spectators are supposed to follow keeps changing from one phase of the routine to the next. When you watch the video you may see what I mean. Clearly the effect can be powerful nevertheless; I'm just saying that there is this minor drawback compared to a routine where the spectator is trying to follow the heart or the lady or whatever the clearly odd card is. Some deliberateness and care is required to help the spectator keep straight where the cards are supposed to be.

3. At the end of Temptation the gaff has been ditched and the performer is clean; when the three cards have been turned over for the last time from their different locations, they can be examined. For some performers, of course, this will be irrelevant -- those who don't like to waste time having their props examined, etc. For others it will be a nice advantage. The routine seems inexplicable except through the use of trick cards; enabling the cards to be examined makes it inexplicable, period, so long as the spectators don't pick up on the ditching of the gaff. Again, whether this examinability is a good or indifferent feature will depend on your performing circumstances.

For my part, I love the examinability -- but I am not yet sure how confident one can be that the ditching of the gaff will not be figured out. To me it seems pretty brazen, and one of the people I performed the trick for immediately understood that something like a ditching must have occurred in the last phase. But it may just be that I haven't performed it enough and/or sufficiently mastered the misdirection. I'll look forward to hearing views from others as they work with this.

I like the trick. It suffers slightly from the limitations described above, but it's very clever and packs a lot of deception into a short space.

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Profile of dpe666
Temptation is a great trick! It is FULL of discrepancies, but no one catches them. I use a black art type packet wallet for the ditch of the gaff. Smile
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Darrin Cook
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Profile of Darrin Cook
I recently bought Temptation, and agree with Kermit the Frog (?) on much of his comments.

1) Clarity of effect is the biggest sticking point. I presented the effect as "Follow the Three." I told the audience that most three card monte games have the participant bet on finding the ace, but if someone asks you to find the three, look out, because it's a rip-off. Having the three be red colored would help clarify the effect. (Here again I agree with Kermit the Frog.) A red queen might work really well.

2) I think the ace of clubs should be used. The ace of spades has a large center pip, which means that at certain points you must be careful not to expose the large spade. This potential problem wouldn't exist with an ace of clubs, or --at the least-- it would be reduced.

3) I think the instructions should be clearly divided into phases. As I was learning the routine I tried to go back to the start of phase two or three, but since the instructions were one long string of moves, I found it difficult to find any particular spot. As a result, I kept having to start at the beginning and read through the entire routine.

4) Reset is not automatic, although it only takes seconds. I will be working on this.

5) I'd include some sort of indicator so that the magician knows the gaff is oriented properly at the start of the routine.

Although it may sound like I'm critical of the effect, it played very strongly, and audiences responded well to it. It is an "up" effect that plays at chest level and can be concluded in the spectator's hands, which makes for visible, high-impact routines. The routine requires little skill and fits into your breast pocket. With a little tweaking, I think this effect would play even more strongly, and be indispensable to the walk-around performer.
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Profile of Vendy
Post the video please? Want to see this effect.
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Inner circle
Ridley Park, PA
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Profile of J-Mac
Vendy, there's a link to the videos in the first post.

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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
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Profile of daffydoug
Years later, and I'm still doing Gordan's fine routine.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
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