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236 Posts

Profile of gandolf
How many moves do you put into your Ambitious Card routine, and what do you use as your final sleight? Most everyone I have seen lately is going for the "pop up" move.
I use four or five sleights depending on audience reaction. Any more, and I get the feeling the audience thinks I am just showing off, and begins to tune out.
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Profile of therntier
I end with a move that Daryl uses in the middle of his routine. It's the one where you give the spec half of the cards and put the ambitious card in the middle of your half. When the card does not jump to the top of your half, you explain that you have the bottom half of the deck. Spec looks at their top card and smiles. I have been looking for a better closer and don't like the pop up card idea.

As for how many sleights, it all depends on the performance. If they are really amazed after one, sometimes they get bored with anything that follows. I guess what I'm trying to says is that I would do as little as three and as many as they want to see.
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London, UK
250 Posts

Profile of m@t
I only have a short ambitous card routine- it involves;

1) Signed card to top of deck
2) Card lost in deck then shot out of deck using hot shot cut
3) bent card rises to top of deck
4) my finale is the signed card to celing.

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Grand Rapids, MI
90 Posts

Profile of samthemagical
I tape myself and watch. When I am bored, I generally know that the spectators will be at that edge of wanting just a little more.
You know, the 'Do that one... more... time.' If I put my finally as the move just before this moment, it's a killer.
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Profile of mrmagic2002
4or5 moves should do it, then the finale
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A.K.A David Kong
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Profile of redstreak
I do a marlo tilt and it jumps back to the top, then I have them put it in reversed and it jumps to the bottom (the pass), then, depending on how the reactions go, I either end with a bent pop up or do a "one handed pass" then a bent pop up.
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Profile of marko
The bent pop-up move is amazing if the spectators are close enough to see it. From farther away it looks like nothing has happened. I do 3 phases (standard stuff) then have the card appear in a stapled-up paper bag ala Super Sack from AoA.
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
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Profile of TheNightBringer89
Hey m@t, I was wondering, do you really think that card on ceiling is a good ending for a ambitious card routine? I just think after all the ambitous moves the audience knows you can get a card to the top of the pack so when you throw the deck at the ceiling they know its the top card of the deck that's getting stuck. Its kinda hard to put in words, but do you kinda see what im getting at? Anyway that's what Michael Ammar says when he teaches you card on ceiling in his videos. But that's just my opinion so just disregard this if you don't agree, just thought I would offer some advice. Smile
"Dreams are born of imagination, fed upon illusions, and put to death by reality."

It doesn't matter if you're right or wrong,
If you're not like the others then you don't belong.
Jack Bryce
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Edinburgh UK
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Profile of Jack Bryce
My Ambitious Card routine starts when the spectator signs the card that they have taken from the previous trick, I then put it back into the deck via Marlo's tilt bringing it to the top, and then face up via the tilt, bring it to the top again. I then do the card to mouth and then bent card, which pops to the top. I then offer to explain how it gets to the top, which is a red herring as I proceed into a cut down version of David Williamson’s card to pocket and finish with the whole deck in my pocket!

The above may seem like a long routine but its climax after climax each one more baffling than the last one, until the big finish which floors them.

Just recently I was shown a version of Shigeo Futagawa’s card rise at the Blackpool convention, which is just awesome. The card just seems to float to the top, I have been practicing it every day all day since I got shown it and I have tried it out on a few people to awesome reactions so its going straight into my AC routine from now on! Smile

I never forget a face but in your case I will gladly make an exception...Groucho Marx
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Profile of HuronLow
I use a move called 'the twist' which i created. it's pretty visual. I've got pretty good reactions from it. A magician who saw it thought i invented some kinda new pass. People who wanna know more can PM me. =)
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Mark Ennis
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Raleigh, NC
1030 Posts

Profile of Mark Ennis
Darwin Ortiz actually covers this question in his new book "Scams and Fantasies with Cards". For those of you that don't have the book, the answer is 6. Smile
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New York
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Profile of walterh
Darwin has a nice finale in his AC routine using Monkey in the Middle gimmick. It's described in Scam & Fantasies.
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Profile of dragonmagic
My ambitious card routine. I stick with short -then end it with David Williamsons card to pocket. Smile
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Roger Smith
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Profile of rogerfsmith
The idea of using multiple sleights in the abmitious card moves it into a higher realm of magic. I use up to 20 different sleights when doing the trick. But I never do it the same twice. If seated at the start, I often ask for the spectator to name their favorite card. I then riffle shuffle the deck a couple times and cull the named card to the top. I then begin by classic forcing the card on the spectator as I introduce the theme of ambition. I then place the card back into the deck via Marlo's Tilt. Show it on top with my variant of the Dai Vernon double lift, and then bring it to the top once more. I then ask if they want to know how it is done? I carefully and obviously shove the card half way into the deck and then all the way in, but do the Marlo Sixth method of the Side Steal from his Side Steal book. I don't replace the card, but keep in angle palmed as I point to the deck and ask if they can guess how far down it is. When they say half way, I say, "No", it hasn't gone in yet, and I produce the angle palmed card from the air. I then say I'll do it face up. I place the card face up in the center and then do a Marlo Wrist Turn pass (from TOPS) and the card visually appears on top. I turn the card down and in the turning down do what I call the Action Palm which is a variant of the Classic top palm. I then draw the card out of my pocket explaining that everything they have just seen was an illusion and did not really happen. I then toss the deck out for examination.
The above routine it done at a very fast pace and I can testify that audiences are breathless at the end. It truly looks magical! And there is very little of the usual repitition that often makes the ambitious card anti-climatic.
All for now.

The map is not the territory

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San Diego, CA
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Profile of GeorgeSantos
I do no less than 5 repititions to the top but not more than 10.
My routine consists of the usual card going back to the top under impossible conditions..and I switch to the following endings.
Card magically reversing itself in the middle of the deck.
Card magically finds its other mates (check out Lee Asher's Ambitious Explosion).
Card being bent and pops up back to the top (Braue Pop-Up move).
Card magically finds it's way back to the box.
Card is lost in the deck, placed in the box and it penetrates the box.
Card is signed both face and back and is seen to visually go back on top of the deck.
Card is invisibly shot in the air and it lands inside the spectator's pocket.
"David Roth is the greatest coin manipulator in the entire world.."

-Dai Vernon "The Professor"

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Copenhagen, Denmark
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Profile of Vraagaard
Here some advice about routining I learned from performing the AC

I've been doing everything from the full Daryl routine (25 moves) to only a few moves. And here is my experience, if you do more than 6 moves it becomes non-magical. It becomes repetitive and a litle "boring" unless you make it into an entertainment piece and a bit of a comedy piece instead. It looses its magical touch and becomes an entertainment piece. So choose your style. You can make a great entertainment/comedy piece like Daryl's excellent show with several repetitions or get it down slow to a very magical thing with few repetitions/moves.

I wan't to create AC into a magical experience, because getting the card to the top is to me a truely magical experience. I still remember the first time I saw it- wauv. And I want to create that wauv feeling in my audience.

Look at Tommy Wonder, he makes the card come 4 times to the top, each passage more impossible than the prior. And he plays all 4 passages as a very magical thing. He does it slow and builds it up everytime, to make each passage a miracle. Yes, he gets standing ovations - because he presents it as magic. He is in no rush, every passage is a trick/effect/magic in it self.

I've learned a lot from studying Tommy Wonder and Dai Vernon, and now my routine is played in the same fashion as Wonder's. I go 4 times to the top, and end with the signed card folded on a paperclip inside the card box as the ending (ending: Jay Sankeys "paperclipped"). Audience response has never been better, it's the effect that people talks about when I'm done. They love my cup's and balls, but they go away talking about my AC and my rope trick (BTW,I'm only doing close up magic) - and the reason they talk about these 2 tricks is - "they are simply unexplainable, period - its the closest thing to magick they saw. It happend a few inches away from them, and they have no clue - so you see it must be magic then".

They get the same expression in their face, when I vanish a lit cigarette directly in my fist. It's magic. And that's want I want to bring over to them.

Best regards

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1113 Posts

Profile of tmoca
3 times.

1) they see it, not sure what happened
2) they watch closer to see if they can catch you
3) you fool the mess out of them with a suprise ending.


I am hearing 4, 5 no less than 5?!...If I ever do more than 3...and that's too many, please take me out back and shoot me. Any more than that you're just stroking yourself.

Oh look, the card came to the top.........AGAIN...and AGAIN...and AGAIN....zzzzzzzz
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San Francisco
2766 Posts

Profile of Jordini
I usually have about 25,000 phases in my routine. Just kills. Smile
"Illusion is the first of all pleasures."
Oscar Wilde

"If you only knew the hours I spent just thinking about practicing"
-The Amazing Jonathan
Whit Haydn
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Profile of Whit Haydn
I've always felt that you can do the ambitious card three times. After that, the spectators "give up" on catching you, and start to lose interest. Each time after the third needs to be a "come on"--you have to have a reason for them to watch it again. For example: "I'll do it face-up." "I'll let you do it."

In my routine--which I have gotten good reactions to for thirty years--the card is brought to the top five times, and then I go into card in envelope and/or card on ceiling.
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Profile of rannie
Mine is IT rises back to the top 3 times diff. 4th time , which is suppose to be finale, fails bigtime. I try to make it up with a more impossible way. Fails again. It finally ends in my mouth or a balloon.

"If you can't teach an old dog new tricks, trick the old dog to learn."

-Rannie Raymundo-
aka The Boss
aka The Manila Enforcer
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