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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Gaffed & Funky » » Svengali yet again (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

docguitarman
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I'm a returning amateur after half a century hiatus Smile Just bought a bunch of effects that I had as a youth, one of which was a Svengali Deck with Rider back Bicycles. I thought, yay! much better than Fox Lake from back in the day. Also, I know enough these days not to use the Svengali in ways that brings heat on the deck you are using (i.e. no "hey look" all the cards are now the same ! "Hey Look" now they are all different ! Smile )

Unfortunately the deck I got is terribly cut. No rounded corners, and clearly only one side has been modified so the back border is quite noticeably out of whack, asymmetric. Also the trim is more than 1/16" -- yuck.

In the routines I intend to use I would like the spectator to be able to handle the card. So this deck fails. I need a better deck.

Long story short -- I want a "perfectly" cut deck for the f*e card. I found a Blue Back Official USPCC Bicycle Svengali deck cut by USPCC at one magic vendor. But I can't seem to find any other vendor that carries them. Also I'd like a Red back.

It seems that they are discontinued? Does anyone know if USPCC is still making their official Svengali decks? It seems those are the ones I want, unless there are other professional Svengali decks from other suppliers. Any info would be appreciated.

In the mean time I'll use the one I have for mere practice of routines.
docguitarman
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Oh, forgot to ask. Has anyone here handled the USPCC cut Svengali? How does it rate?
mlippo
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I have no personal experience with 'em, but maybe the Phoenix Svengali is what you're looking for ...
Try and take a look at CardShark's web site

http://www.card-shark.de/index.cfm?lang=en

Hopefully some member here can give you her/his personal experience...

Mark
docguitarman
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Quote:
On Nov 22, 2017, mlippo wrote:
I have no personal experience with 'em, but maybe the Phoenix Svengali is what you're looking for ...
Try and take a look at CardShark's web site

http://www.card-shark.de/index.cfm?lang=en

Hopefully some member here can give you her/his personal experience...

Mark


Thank you Mark! The specs on that deck sound great! And I appreciate your help! I may ultimately make the switch to the Phoenix (esp. when my current Rider backs wear out).
As a hobbyist on a budget that has just bought several other decks with Bicycle Rider backs I'm not sure I want to "change horses" in mid-stream. At least at the moment. I'm at the point in my (re)learning where I want to do deck switches to take the heat off the decks so I can do several different tricks in succession (with trick decks, then some self-working with a regular deck, and then also sleights) to entertain family, friends and neighbors. So I would want all decks to be same brand.

Of course this raises the USPCC policy position on altered Rider backs. A situation I have not completely sorted out. Which is another thread and discussion.
mlippo
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Well, I did switch to Phoenix packs at a certain moment. Quality is definitely better than the Standard Bicycle Rider Back and for me in Italy, I pay less for a Phoenix (3 Euros each) than for a Std Bicycle (3.5 Euros). In USA it's the other way round I suppose.

Besides you can find standard gaffs for Phoenix as well.
However I still buy Bicycles! Two weeks ago I was in Florence and I bought a good bunch of "Seconds" for 2 Euros each, to practice at home (first of 'em is going to the rubbish today!).
And some gaffs I have (which I use very little to be honest) are all in Rider Back.

Anyway, if I were you I would buy what suits me the best and I wouldn't be a stickler about using consistently the same brand of cards. People should care for you and your magic, not for the cards you're using..

Have fun!

Mark
mlippo
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Quote:
On Nov 22, 2017, docguitarman wrote:

As a hobbyist on a budget ...


This is pretty understandable. If you like card magic try not to make my mistake (and many others'): don't fill yourself with gaffs, one-trick DVDs, gimmicks of all kinds and dozens of special packs with which you can only do one trick!

Try and stick to basics:

1. Study, learn and perform the classics first of all. They're classics for a reason, ain't they?
2. Learn as much as possible FASDIU tricks (FASDIU = From Any Shuffled Deck In Use) o tricks which require minimal set up which can be done in front of the spectators
3. Routine your tricks in sets of three and always perform them as little sets
4. Learn and carry with you a few GOOD packet tricks, but do not fill up your drawers (or pockets) with loads of them!
5. In order to be able to do all this buy books!

This is what I am doing at the moment, almost ignoring tricks that do not fall into this list. My goal is to be able to do very good card magic just with a pack of cards, a Sharpie and a few business cards.

I'm 52 and I recently came back to magic after thirty years. Things have changed a lot since I was 20 ..
As a hobbyist I tend to perform for the same people and I cannot afford to carry loads of stuff with me just to show something new (and often not practised/rehearsed enough!).

So I now perform much less and only if I feel ready or in the mood. This means I can stick to my solid repertoire for much longer, polish the routines and minimise the risk of screwing up, which is no tragedy of course (just laugh it off if it happens), but it's better to avoid it happening...

One last thing: blue is my favourite colour and I hate red! Now I've started using red backs just because I've learnt some trick that require spectators signing the back of the card. Another thing to consider when choosing which packs to buy, in my opinion.

Hope this helps

:-)

Mark
docguitarman
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Quote:
On Nov 22, 2017, mlippo wrote:
Quote:
On Nov 22, 2017, docguitarman wrote:

As a hobbyist on a budget ...


This is pretty understandable. If you like card magic try not to make my mistake (and many others'): don't fill yourself with gaffs, one-trick DVDs, gimmicks of all kinds and dozens of special packs with which you can only do one trick!

Try and stick to basics:

1. Study, learn and perform the classics first of all. They're classics for a reason, ain't they?
2. Learn as much as possible FASDIU tricks (FASDIU = From Any Shuffled Deck In Use) o tricks which require minimal set up which can be done in front of the spectators
3. Routine your tricks in sets of three and always perform them as little sets
4. Learn and carry with you a few GOOD packet tricks, but do not fill up your drawers (or pockets) with loads of them!
5. In order to be able to do all this buy books!

This is what I am doing at the moment, almost ignoring tricks that do not fall into this list. My goal is to be able to do very good card magic just with a pack of cards, a Sharpie and a few business cards.

I'm 52 and I recently came back to magic after thirty years. Things have changed a lot since I was 20 ..
As a hobbyist I tend to perform for the same people and I cannot afford to carry loads of stuff with me just to show something new (and often not practised/rehearsed enough!).

So I now perform much less and only if I feel ready or in the mood. This means I can stick to my solid repertoire for much longer, polish the routines and minimise the risk of screwing up, which is no tragedy of course (just laugh it off if it happens), but it's better to avoid it happening...

One last thing: blue is my favourite colour and I hate red! Now I've started using red backs just because I've learnt some trick that require spectators signing the back of the card. Another thing to consider when choosing which packs to buy, in my opinion.

Hope this helps

:-)

Mark


Hi Mark,

Sage advice. We're in synch ! I'm an old guy too (68). My early magic "career" was a few years in the early 1960's Smile Yes, things have really changed a lot since then ! Then I used a few trick decks. I mainly did small acts in parlor type settings -- with a table and a servante so I could ditch and switch decks, starting with a real deck and ending with a normal deck, etc.

This time around I intend to maybe use, at most, one of the trick decks at a time and a normal deck for the rest and maybe also one or two packet tricks with cards apparently taken from that normal deck then copped.

Back in the day I did learn the elementary sleights and a couple of the more advanced ones. I'm picking up more of the advanced sleights this time around.

Yes! Books and more books! Still have a few of my books Smile Mainly the Jean Hugard Dover books. Amazingly, I had a very early copy of Prof. Hoffmann's Modern Magic back when I was teenager! It was given to me by a neighbor after I had performed a couple of tricks for him! I lost that book years ago somehow -- but out of nostalgia got a replacement copy via Abebooks, a lovely early edition in very good condition!

Thanks for your post!

P.S. regarding DVDs these days, just got the Black Friday sales from several vendors -- most of the items are DVDs! The only magic DVDs I have are ones that I got as extra "gifts" for purchasing a given amount from the vendor. Can't see myself buying many if any. unless someone says a particular DVD is a "must have" Smile
mlippo
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Books which did not exist when we were doing magic decades ago and which I feel comfortable recommending you to learn the classics in card magic would be:

- Card College 1 & 2 by Roberto Giobbi (followed by volumes 3 to 5)
- card College Light series by Roberto Giobbi (three books on self working tricks)
- In general anything written by Roberto Giobbi
- Anything written by Michael Close
- SemiAutomatic Card Tricks Series (8 volumes!) by Steave Beam
- Anything written by John Bannon
- Anything written by Juan Tamariz
- The Card Magic of Nick Trost
- Close Up Card Magic by Harry Lorayne (although you may own it already since it was first published in 1962)

If you wish to know what card magic is nowadays watch Utopia & Reloaded by Dani DaOrtiz (8 DVDs in total!). He IS today's card magic.

Books on magic theory which I would recommend to you:
- Strong Magic and Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz
- Scripting Magic by Peter McCabe
- Maximum Entertainment by Ken Weber

Please, let me know how it goes!

Mark
docguitarman
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Thanks Mark!

I appreciate the recommendations! I will check them out.

Phil (my real name )
docguitarman
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I'm still looking for a recommendation on a good professional quality Svengali deck. One where the spectator can handle the card, and one where the cards can be dealt face down without the tell-tale features of a garbage deck.

I have my eye on the USPCC produced Svengali. Also, House of Chuckles has a photo of their in-house Svengali cards that looks like a good cut to my eye.

Any reviews by those with experience of these two would be most appreciated!
Senor Fabuloso
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"When I was young I thought I was clever and could change the world. But now I am wise and instead changed MYSELF." Sudo Nimh

"In our quest to be different, we all wind up pretty much the same." Jakeg
docguitarman
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Quote:
On Dec 12, 2017, Senor Fabuloso wrote:
You can make your own with a corner rounder ... and a paper trimmer...


Thanks for the info. Already have a paper trimmer. The corner rounder can "salvage" the Murphy's Magic Sven I bought and found lacking. But its the same price as just buying a more professionally cut Sven. Can't see myself making my own Sven decks, though -- a lot of decks and then my time too
houseofchuckles
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Tracy
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Tracy here with the House of Chuckles. My normal Svengali decks have a cut of just over a mm it is about 1.25mm on just one side and I re-round the corners. That said I do custom work and I can shave less or more or both sides if you like. www.houseofchuckles.com
docguitarman
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Got my corner rounder today. Works great. Pulled the Murphy Magic Sven out of the box rounded the corners and it looks better, but... I had forgotten, they are trimmed approaching 1/8" . The margins on one side make those cards look like a terribly off center print (from the face and the back !)
markymarkmagicuk
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I understand what you mean about Svengali decks and the short cut cards without rounded corners, it totally ruins the look! I remember buying a Svengali Deck from London's Hamleys toy store back in early 70s, they were made by International Magic, and the quality still surpasses decks from today! They were cut slightly shorter BUT had corners rounded to match the normal 26 cards. I still have a great affection for Svengali as it was an early purchase after seeing it demonstrated, and it totally blew me away. Always remember the demonstrator told the crowd that the special magic deck worked by bending the cards back or forth (it didn't break the illusion of what I'd just seen performed as he didn't go into detail).
But the funniest recollection I have is travelling home on the Underground train, after my purchase, slowly opening the Hamleys paper bag and peeking inside, slipping open the top of the card case while still in the bag, pulling out a single card for half it's length then proceeded to bend the card backwards and forwards and expecting it to change its face!!! lol. How naive was I. A great memory of a day out in London with my late father.
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