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Maddened
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Review of "Second Thoughts on the Second Deal" by Shade

Product
2 X DVDs
First DVD runs about 1 hr 05 mins
Second DVD runs about 1 hr 35 mins
Selectable scenes and chapters including menu screen.
Works on all computer systems and DVD players (region-free).
Performer and instructor - Shade
DVD edited and produced by Baha Video Productions

Intro
Firstly this is an advance review, so I want to thank Shade for giving me a first peek of the dvd. The review will be divided into two sections pertaining to content and the dvd itself (production qualities) respectively, so as not to confuse the two. The second is one of those fables of magic and cardsharping that everyone who has spent two weeks working card magic or read Erdnase knows of and immediately hopes to master. There are many instructions out there for learning the second deal, but ALL handle the subject fleetingly. I recently heard from someone on the SMC forum saying how Simon Lovell's instructions on mastering the second deal involves the following: Showing how to execute the deal; and then telling you to keep doing it till you get it. Sure, sounds great, if only it's overhand shuffling we're talking about here.

From the get-go, it's obvious this DVD set is not for beginners. Firstly, it's a study on one and only one sleight: the second deal. Secondly, it includes 5 effects that are meant to be presented as a routine. Too many instructional DVDs out there shows you effect after effect after effect without a link between them and without any kind of structure in the performance. Here, the DVD set gives you a whole routine mainly based on the second deal, mixing both magical presentations to gambling demonstrations. Which means that upon mastery of the second deal, one is already able to perform an entire 30 minute routine of effects. Good for those who seek to routine their magic, but not as ideal for those who just want to learn a few quick effects for that dinner with friends or for a party. Suffice it to say that all the effects are tablework unless you intend to perform magic on the palms of your spectators all lined-up to form a kind of table for you to work on.

Content
Second dealing, coming from someone who has spent quite a many hour in the middle of the night holding a pack of cards and cursing aloud each time I make a mistake, is something that requires lots of practice and thought. It's not a sleight one executes on the whim because it is requires skill in technique, presentation, and misdirection. For instance, how do you ensure you deal only one card when you do a strike second? Trust me, that is the first problem you will encounter when you practice. Where do your hands go when you deal? Should they both move or should your left hand (hand holding the pack) remain stationary? What about the push-off second? How can I ensure a successful push-off every time? And why is it that there are so few effects using the second deal? How useful is it exactly?

The DVD set's main purpose is to answer that last question. Most card magicians don't bother with the second deal, considering it a gambling move, or that it's rewards do not match up to the amount of practice required. This attitude also explains why there has been scant discussion and instruction on the second deal beyond the basics of how to execute one. So to answer the nay-sayers, the first DVD is an hour long performance and explanation of 5 effects:
Ace of Spades Trick
The Fastest Card
Gwen's Choice
The Crossing
The Slayer

As mentioned, they are supposed to be presented as a routine, but by themselves, they are fairly powerful stuff. The Slayer is aptly named because the effects combines locating a chosen card, a Triumph presentation, a small gambling demonstration, and a colour separation all in one. It would have been called The Devastator if everything didn't come together into one smooth and elegant presentation. I must admit that this effect is my favourite in the whole disc.

The explanations are done by Shade alone, without the help of assistants, and are thorough enough for anyone to understand. It goes into details like angles to watch for, suggested patter, variations of presentation, and shows crucial stages of each effect a couple of times so that you don't have to rewind the DVD if you missed it the first time. It does assume that the learner has a fair amount of magic and card skill. For instance, on the Zarrow shuffle, Shade's advice is, "If you don't know the Zarrow shuffle, then....... check out Herb Zarrow's DVD or Expert Card Magic." So no point watching this DVD and hoping to be able to do the effects on the same day. It's going to take some work, so get cracking.

The real gold is in the second disc (appropriately enough for a treatise on the second deal). It is one and a half hours of nothing but teaching on the second deal. From the types of decks to use, to the different grips, discussions about surface tension and how to ensure the cards don't stick, to advice on the tells to avoid and how to control noise. Tips on how to practice to get the best results in minimal t time was extremely helpful. In short, it covers everything you can think of. Shade is wonderful, wonderful teacher and seems to know exactly what to zoom in on to make the sleight work so you don't have to fiddle around with the deck by yourself to discover these helpful pointers. Everything is explained clearly and I had absolutely no problems following what he is talking about.

This is Shade's first DVD shoot and at parts it shows as it's clear Shade is much more comfortable communicating with the participants/helpers than he is talking the camera. But the instructions are painstakingly clear and important points are repeated for emphasis. The participants are luckily not distracting and on the second disc, they ask some good questions that people new to the sleight would no doubt have on their minds.

Production quality
The video image is great, with lots of close-ups so you get to see how the sleight is executed and used in different situations, and the camera work is generally good. The only problem is the sound. Firstly, you would be inclined to lower the volume because the menu music is blaring at top volume, only to find that the actual instructional parts are very soft. While Shade's words and volume is good and clear, the two participants/audience can hardly be heard half the time. This isn't so much of a problem for the first disc but for the second disc, where the teaching is in a format of a coaching session cum Q&A (similar to Bob Chua's DVD), sometimes the participants asks some questions that you really have strain your ears to hear.

To add to the problem, the background music tends to drown out the conversation sometimes. While it's not so loud as to become distracting, it sometimes makes certain parts hard to hear. I found that by watching and listening to the disc with earphones helped tremendously as the sound capture is actually very clear and unmuffled, just soft.

Some of the cuts from the wide angle view to the close-up view of the cards and Shade's hands were a bit jarring but these won't be a concern for the student learning from the disc as the close-ups are there to illustrate a fine point in handling or to show exactly how to execute the sleight properly.

The DVD plays well and there were no problems with skipping chapters and navigating the various sections. No jumps and skips or lags were experienced.

Conclusion
While not a lavish production, the DVD is definitive on the second deal. It's content is unmatched in terms of clarity of instruction and attention to detail compared to the DVDs that I've watched. There may be some reservations that these two DVDs are on just one sleight, but all such concerns will be quelled the moment one watches the first disc and sees how Shade really works the second deal and converts it from a sleight to a powerful and effective tool for card magic. Enrico made some helpful comments on how the second deal used as a change, a DL, a false count and others. So by learning the second deal, you're actually able to use it to perform several other sleights as well.

I really loved the format of the second disc as it feels more like a round table discussion and study of the sleight than just a normal "do this and then do that and then do this and then do it until you get it". Because of the Q&A, many details were covered and surprising tips and pointers were given which would otherwise not be touched on if it were just a normal instruction. And you can actually see the helpers learn the sleight as the session goes along and see how from never having done the sleight before to being able to do a push-off properly.

I highly recommend this to all card magicians, especially those interested in gambling routines. Not for the beginner but this DVD is testament to how a studious and concentrated study of just one sleight can produce fantastic effects and a wonderfully useful sleight. Just one caution: Never practice this in front of the lay people, and never EVER EVER expose the second deal as a kind of gambling move. It's too useful and powerful a sleight to be exposed as a method of card cheating. I really hope Shade plans on producing more DVDs of such studies on sleights in the same format. They're definitely what every serious card worker needs and probably ever going to need.

Purchase details
Currently the DVD is still in post-production (at the point of writing) but check Shade's site at http://www.cardshark.sg or email him at shade@cardshark.sg as he plans to release this very soon.

There is a thread on the Singapore Magic Circle forums that contains more reviews. http://forums.singaporemagiccircle.com/i......y8355765

Check it out. I'm posting this here because I think it's really good stuff and would be very useful to a lot of people. Thanks guys!
Maddened
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I would just like to add that in the above review, I said that the effects are tablework only.

This is not true.

Shade emailed me and pointed out that all except the last two effects can be done in the hand, walkaround, without a table. The last two require displays, so they are the only ones on the DVD that do require a table.
IanKendall
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Not to distract from what appears to be a worthwhile product, I have to point out that not _all_ videos on the second deal cover the information 'fleetingly'...

Take care, Ian
Maddened
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Yes thanks. I meant to say that the ones that I have come across. Thanks for noting that!
IanKendall
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Maddened
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Hi Ian, thanks for the links. Didn't realise that you have a video out yourself! I know it's probably not my place, but since you posted your video products in this thread, I hope you don't mind some feedback.

Firstly, on one of the vids you have on your site (showing you dealing seconds) I thought it was very obvious when you were dealing seconds because of the sound of the cards coming off the deck. There is a distinctively different sound when it's a second and when it's a top. Something to watch out for I suppose.

Also your bottom is fairly obvious because of your left-hand fingers opening up noticably.

And on the close up of the second, I was surprised to see that your brief was fairly large! It may not be so noticable on the video, but the frame rate was poor, so it might have obscured the fact that your brief could actually be smaller.

Perhaps I'm nitpicking, but again your deals were not consistent: the action for the top and the actions for the second and bottom were very noticably different. The rhythm was also patchy and is quite a giveaway I felt.

Here's a link to a trailer from the DVD I've reviewed http://cardshark.sg/secthoughts/

Admittedly there isn't a lot in the trailer, but there is a lot of attention given to the things I've mentioned above about consistency of action, rhythm, sound (noise) amongst others. I'm not out to flame, but just giving my opinion based on what I see. Others can judge for themselves.

Thanks,
Brian
in flames
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Quote:
On 2008-11-24 05:01, IanKendall wrote:
Not to distract from what appears to be a worthwhile product, I have to point out that not _all_ videos on the second deal cover the information 'fleetingly'...

Take care, Ian

Agreed.

Personally, I found Martin Nash teaches it better than any release thus far. I believe Vol.5 of his Award Winning Magic Of Martin A. Nash.
IanKendall
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Hi Brian,

I wasn't trying to plug my CD - but I felt it slightly irksome that you emphasised that ALL other teaching sources glossed over the second deal.

As for my clips - I think those reviews link to an old page with old clips. I don't claim to be the best dealer, and my CD is aimed squarely at magicians and not people looking for things to use while cheating. My second deal brief is larger than a hair - I have a reason for that which is explained (and I don't feel the need to expound upon it here).

Good luck with your DVD.

Take care, Ian
iamslow
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Hey shade, I hope the preview on your site isn't what you are teaching either, because I could see things a mile away as well.... Now as far as second dealing, if done at a busy card table, noise doesn't matter... now if this dvd is like many others for magic purposes only, then its not made for the more common purpose of dealing seconds and then I guess it serves its purpose...
"Everyone is tough till they get punched in the face" Mike Tyson
Maddened
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In case anyone is mistaken, the DVD is not by me. I was asked for a review and what I posted was my review.

There are bound to be lots of opinions on what's good and what's not, what's useful, what's perfect, and what's enough to be practical. Like I said earlier, I leave it to others to judge for themselves.

Ian, I apologise for making a hasty and misleading comment about all other material. There was no intention to put down your material, and my comment probably shows how there are still things for me to discover. No one can know everything, and at the time of making the comment in the reivew, I felt that I had seen all there was out there (and I have seen a lot). Evidently I was mistaken.

I hope this thread is not going to degenerate into a mud-slinging match. Obviously, from the exchange thus far, it shows that when it comes to sleights and their uses and the degree of mastery and perfection of it is subjective. Like yourself, iamslow, you may feel that the noise isn't a factor. But if it's for a gambling expose or demonstration where the card handler is the only talking, then noise might be a concern. Or not. It depends on individual views.

What I am trying to say is that the DVDs I've reviewed attempted to cover all these angles so the perfectionist can actually attempt perfection through the material and instruction in the DVDs. My comments on Ian's material are just that - my comments and my views.

No one has to say that I'm right, but that means no one has to say that you're right either. In my magic, I try to aim for as high a level of mastery as possible. It's not always attainable, but I try. Consequently, I do view other performers and performances based on my own standards for myself. If Vernon were alive, and could see my colour changes, he'll probably dismiss me. But for my purposes, I feel that I have invested a lot of time into my colour changes, and I perform them well enough for my own high levels of demand.

But that doesn't make Vernon wrong. Or make me right. Cheers.
natfxf
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I have not yet bought Shade's DVD, but I can tell you that the DVD made by Ian Kendall was recently the only one with which you can really learn the second deal, as I did: and I can tell you I have watched many DVD on this subject! The other way to learn the second deal, with many details, is Simon Lovell's book (which is better than his DVD).
in flames
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I agree, Ian's second deal instruction is good. I didn't like his bottom deal though.

Do we get to learn Shades 30 second grip preparation for the second?

kidding!
Jlowhy
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Hi all, having viewed Shade's DVD, I'll like to point out certain aspects that may differentiate it from other learning sources.

Shade goes much further than only teaching how to deal a second. He covers various applications on how one can apply second deal technique to magic to achieve greater economy of motion in a trick's structure. In essence, Shade demonstrates how the second deal can be a powerful utility move in magic, beyond just being used for gambling demonstrations.

Beyond the second deal, Shade also shares a few other moves unrelated to second deals for use in the effects. For example, he teaches a single/multiple card table control which is a definite keeper for table workers.

Lastly, the effects in the DVD are presented as one entire act that flows from one to the other with each utilising the second deal in a different manner. The effects build from one to another eventually ending with a color separation. The ending totally slays laymen (hence the name of the trick, The Slayer). From the very start, the cards have been shuffled by the spectator and along the way, spectators see the cards being mixed via dealing and shuffling. For laymen, the ending is inconceivable. The act is routined in a manner to get from a shuffled deck to reach the end seamlessly and Shade covers how this can be accomplished. The entire act itself I feel is worthy of study.

The act itself would probably take quite some time getting down due to its technically demanding nature. I reckon I'm going to have to take quite some long time to get it down. Nonetheless, the tricks are strong by themselves to be used and applied until one gains sufficient technical competency and familiarity with the tricks to use them as an entire act.

Hope this helps to differentiate the DVD from existing sources.

Cheers,
Jon
in flames
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Thanks for the review Jon.
theshade
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Hi guys,

Thanks for the reviews - Maddened and Jon. And thanks for the interest to those who have emailed me. I hope I have addressed some of your queries.

I'm sure this piece of work is far from perfect; and I sure don't mean to step on any toes in the process. It's just my own way of consolidating my own learning at this stage in life. I appreciate all feedback. Smile

Quote:
Do we get to learn Shades 30 second grip preparation for the second?

:)LOL. Actually it takes about 25.45 seconds - 1 second to get the cards off the table, 9 to screw it into your dealing hand; 10 seconds to prepare for the deal - mental excercises to condition - or fool - your brain into thinking you are actually dealing tops; and finally, 5.45 seconds to screw it up at the instant of the take.

Anyway, do email me directly if you have any queries with regard to the content of the discs (or if you need an ugly date - though I am pretty expensive). I'll be happy to address them.
theshade
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Hi guys,

Thanks for the queries and the interested emails.

Some people have requested for a closer look at the deal as the actual trailer on my website was cut to reduce exposure and prevent curious buyers. So I put together a sample clip of the strike second as detailed in the DVD.

This isn't off the DVD - it's just a quickie (took about the better half of 10 minutes with my handycam and Windows Movie Maker) as a sort of demo. It was raining outside, so the lighting's not too great, but it's still clear enough.

A Closer Look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58MtVxh-Sg8

I'd be happy address any questions you might have; just email me.
theshade
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For those who have purchased the "SECOND THOUGHTS" DVD, do register your DVD at the following address for access to the vault's additional content (this will be ready before the end of March 09).

You will be sent a username and password for access to the vault.

http://cardshark.sg/secthoughts/reg

I have added the following:

First Contact
An indifferent card is used to create the illusion of a spectator's selection. The illusion is shaken off and the indifferent card is shown to have reverted to its original condition. Then the magician demonstrates how he could locate the selection using the indifferent card through sleight of hand.

Splitting Hairs
A single card is split into two - and they happen to be the selections by 2 different spectators.

Royal Duplex
An almost instant transposition of two selections across a given space.

A Tribute to Elmsley
Elmsley's famous Diamonds routine!

Duping the Dukes:
A poker stacking demonstration that culminates in an 8 handed double duking stack.

All in there are now 10 effects that go with the DVD
(including the original 5)

As always, do drop me a message/email me if you have any enquiries. Smile

And thanks for the support!
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