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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ebooks, PDF's or Downloads » » Another Review of 'Up the Ante' by Martyn Smith (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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BarryFernelius
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I didn't know whether I should have posted this in the existing thread or not. I went ahead and started a new thread. Sorry about any confusion!

Title: Up the Ante
Author: Martyn Smith
Medium: pdf file
Publisher: Merchant of Magic (www.magicshop.co.uk)
Cost: Varies according to the exchange rate (I paid $15.86)

Up the Ante, by Martyn Smith, is one of those rare things in magic: a showpiece that plays even better than its creator promises. If you've read the dealer's ad, you might have dismissed this effect because it just seems to be too good to be true. If that's the case, you might want to give it another look. Up the Ante looks impossible, is easy to do, and elicits strong responses from audiences.

The effect is a betting game. The spectators cut, shuffle, and deal the cards, in the fairest manner possible. The magician bets that the first pair of cards dealt will be a red/black pair. But that's just the beginning. There are a succession of bets that 'up the ante.' Many pairs in a row match the magician's prediction, and the effect ends with the spectator dealing a group of thirteen cards that has one card of each value, from Ace to King. This last feat is then repeated for the finale!

For a formal close-up or parlor show, this effect is a real showpiece. The presentation that Martyn describes has the potential for lots of audience interaction and involvement. It's easy to understand, and should play well for a many different types of audiences. This effect is also a great one to perform for a group of your friends in a more informal setting.

Martyn Smith's instructions are well-written. You'll have no difficulty learning this effect if you follow Martyn's directions carefully. Most of what is offered for sale to the magic community doesn't include good advice about how to get into the effect and how to get out of the effect. Martyn has done some good thinking about these problems. He provides helpful advice about the types of tricks that could be performed as a lead-in to Up the Ante.

It's good to understand the constraints associated with this effect. If you don't do a good job describing the impossibility of the effect, Up the Ante will not be as strong as you'd like it to be. You also need to make sure that you really sell the initial conditions. This isn't a good effect for strolling performers; it requires too much time and table space. You probably won't want to try to perform this with a beat-up borrowed deck. You won't be able to instantly repeat this effect.

The presentation that Martyn describes is very strong, but its interaction style doesn't fit my personality at all. The idea behind Up the Ante is adaptable to many different types of presentations. I've created one that fits me very well. Several of my more creative magician friends have done the same. Unfortunately, Martyn's instructions don't have any suggestions about how you might adapt his effect. I hope that in the future, Martyn will add a few alternate presentations for Up the Ante to his manuscript. (Or, perhaps he could make this a separate offering to those who've already purchased the effect.)

These are minor complaints. I give my highest recommendation to Up the Ante, particularly for those creative magicians who can write presentations to make this effect a unique showpiece.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
captainsmiffy
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Thanks, Barry, for those words in a very balanced review. The presentation suits my personality quite well and I have a blast with this down-route; what I have always said is that this routine is just crying to be taken somewhere (as in differing presentations as it really does lend itself to adaptation) as you have, indeed, taken it, with your alternate presentation. Good luck with the lecture BTW!

I really think, and actively encourage people to take this and to build upon it; you don't need me to do that, just try! There are several presentations in the offing from some very active people here on this Café (Vlad, Panlives, Ustaad etc) and Dominic, from the merchant of magic, (who had faith in the original) has recently publicly stated here on these forums that he would be interested in expanding the document with alternate presentations and that this would be available to all and sundry and would be given to those who had purchased the original from him. Thank you, Dominic!

Thanks again, Barry! Appreciate you taking the time and trouble to write about my work.

Best,

Martyn
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
BarryFernelius
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OK, I'll tip my hand. I've created an alternate presentation for Up the Ante that has gotten some great reactions from my test audiences. I'm very excited about this effect. I'm going to be performing Up the Ante at Jeff McBride's Magic and Meaning conference later this month in Las Vegas.

Once I've polished my new presentation a bit, I'd be happy to contribute it to an expansion ebook. I'll let all of you know what the folks at the conference have to say about Up the Ante.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
panlives
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Quote:
On 2010-10-08 09:44, BarryFernelius wrote:
OK, I'll tip my hand. I've created an alternate presentation for Up the Ante that has gotten some great reactions from my test audiences. I'm very excited about this effect. I'm going to be performing Up the Ante at Jeff McBride's Magic and Meaning conference later this month in Las Vegas.

Once I've polished my new presentation a bit, I'd be happy to contribute it to an expansion ebook. I'll let all of you know what the folks at the conference have to say about Up the Ante.


So nice to read such a cogent and honest review of my favourite routine of the year!

Now that you’ve tipped, I for one await the outcome!

In between life and other things, I have been working on several of my own “Up the Ante” presentations, complete with scripts, body language, versions for close-up, parlour and stage.

I proposed calling the expansion e-book either “Upping the Ante” or “Raising the Ante: A treatise on performing 'Up the Ante.'” - and I think the brilliant Captain approved.
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
guitarmagic
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Outstanding effect . . . no pipe dream to the ad copy.
Why is it that on one side of the world a person looks at a picture of the Grand Canyon and says, "it looks so real." At the same time on the other side of the world a person looks at the Grand Canyon and says, "it looks like a picture."
BarryFernelius
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I've returned from the Magic and Meaning conference. I spent quite a bit of time with Robert Neale. This is what I've found out.

1. The method behind Up the Ante is nearly identical to that found in Robert E. Neale's "The Probability Pack" found in Life, Death and Other Card Tricks. (This book is currently out-of-print.) Martyn has added one nicety to the procedure that's used prior to the riffle shuffle, but otherwise the procedure is identical.

2. Bob Neale doesn't know Martyn and Martyn doesn't know about Bob Neale or his work. I'm 100% certain that Martyn did not set out to rip off Bob Neale; this is clearly a case of independent invention.

3. In my opinion, Martyn's presentation is more interesting than the one that Bob Neale put in print.

4. Bob Neale, Jeff McBride and many others at the conference liked my original presentation for the effect.

Martyn should consider an alteration to his manuscript so that it would acknowledge Neale's effect. I'd still be interested in contributing to an expansion booklet.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
panlives
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This issue came up in reference to Lennart Green’s “The Dragon's Pearl.”

Martyn apparently communicated with Mr. Green, who evaluated UTA and agreed it was convergent, independent invention.

Everyone involved has been totally transparent, up-front and honest and no feathers have been ruffled.

The Green performance is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-pGKQB_Qeg
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
BarryFernelius
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When did Lennart Green create "The Dragon's Pearl?" There's a good change that Neale's work may have been created even earlier.

I'm fairly sure that Martyn hasn't communicated with Mr. Neale yet.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
panlives
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I am not on the inside on this one.

What I related about Lennart Green is posted openly in the Café.

Martyn will have to weigh in with his view on the Neale effect.

What I can say after having posted numerously about Up the Ante, and after corresponding occasionally in private messages with Martyn, is that he is a straight shooter. He simply does not appear to have any guile in these matters.

Ask him the question and I am sure you will get a good, honest reply.
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
captainsmiffy
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Gentlemen,

Thank you for above posts (and thank you, Panlives, for the character reference). I was totally unaware of Mr Neales work when Up The Ante was released. As has previously been discussed here on the Café, I was also unaware of Mr Greens work with the Dragons Pearl as well. (As soon as I was made aware then I contacted Mr Green, who thought that there were sufficient differences that production should continue). I guess it now begs the question as to who, amongst Mr Neale and Mr Green, got there first?!

I can only assert that my work was/is totally original thought within the context of what I knew, magically, at the time. I had not heard nor seen of either of the other 2 presentations and I certainly would not dream of taking somebody elses ideas. Indeed, I was, and still am, very proud of what I came up with and it certainly has opened a lot of eyes out there. It is just so frustrating trying to get something that is truly unique - somebody always seems to pre-date you in this game!!

I will now attempt to contact Mr Neale to try to sort things out with him in the same fashion as was done with Mr Green.

Disappointedley,

Martyn
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
captainsmiffy
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Barry kindly sent me the Neale routine; first impressions on reading it through is that yes, the underlying methodology is the same but that the Up The Ante routine significantly cuts out a lot of unecessary handling at the beginning to the point that the deck may be handed over as it is unboxed. Indeed I usually do so with the words "there, that is the last time that I wish to handle the deck". The Neale Probability Pack routine involves a charlier shuffle, injogging and spreading the deck face up etc. I personally think that streamlining the routine via Up The Ante is rather beneficial to the overall effect. Would welcome others thoughts.

Best,

Martyn
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
panlives
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Quote:
On 2010-10-27 07:49, captainsmiffy wrote:
Barry kindly sent me the Neale routine; first impressions on reading it through is that yes, the underlying methodology is the same but that the Up The Ante routine significantly cuts out a lot of unecessary handling at the beginning to the point that the deck may be handed over as it is unboxed. Indeed I usually do so with the words "there, that is the last time that I wish to handle the deck". The Neale Probability Pack routine involves a charlier shuffle, injogging and spreading the deck face up etc. I personally think that streamlining the routine via Up The Ante is rather beneficial to the overall effect. Would welcome others thoughts.

Best,

Martyn


Martyn,

If the Neale effect requires a Charlier shuffle, injogging and additional handling, it seems like there is already enough of a distinction and any inference otherwise is moot.

The Lennart Green issue has already been covered by you in a completely fair and transparent manner.

Up the Ante may contain certain elements or principles that predated its creation but in magic as in life, “there is nothing new under the sun.”

Up the Ante has a super-clean handling that the other effects cited are missing.

You claim to have created Up the Ante with no foreknowledge of the others. I for one believe you, without hesitation or reservation.

It is worth noting that creativity has often been defined as taking existing elements and reassembling them in new ways, never before imagined. Even taking into account the Green and Neale effects, Up the Ante certainly qualifies as an original routine based (albeit unknowingly) on a pre-existing premise.

Hey – the Universe has a finite number of constituent elements. Within that very limited number, you get Redwood Trees, Blowfish, Zebra, Mushrooms, Aardvarks, Beetles and Hairless Primates. These diverse things are not made of distinctly new elements, just the same elements recombined to produce startlingly “original” life-forms.

Martyn, in my mind, you have nothing whatsoever to be disappointed about.

Up the Ante is a gem and has found a secure place in the hallowed annals of magic history.

Enjoy it!
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
captainsmiffy
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Thank you, Panlives, for those kind words. The creation process has certainly been an emotional rollercoaster of highs and lows....one moment you are on cloud nine feeling very pleased indeed that somebody likes the work and then the next responding to a discrete enquiry of "hey, isn't this similar to such and such an effect?" - then finding a little hope; "yeah, but he does it like this and I have eliminated that from my routine.....so mine is different.." etc etc!! I guess that, at the end of the day, I am happy with what I have done and others continue to enjoy it so I guess that the job has met with some success.
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
captainsmiffy
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Can anybody help me in getting in touch with Mr Neale?
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
BarryFernelius
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Martyn,

I'll send you Bob Neale's email tonight or tomorrow.

-Barry
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
Mr. Mystoffelees
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I am so in concert with panlives' comments that I am wondering if I have another identity! Kudos to smiffy and to UTA. It is great! If those who came before wish to have my attention, where are you? Otherwise, why not allow the idea to continue????????
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
captainsmiffy
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Thanks, Barry, for the contact details. I have written this evening to Mr Neale and await a response. Will be away in Africa for the next few days and possibly out of internet contact until thursday.

Great to hear form you, Mr Mystoffelees/panlives! Glad that you are enjoying the effect. I will have fun myself with it in Africa these next few days; guaranteed!!
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
panlives
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Quote:
On 2010-11-06 19:55, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
I am so in concert with panlives' comments that I am wondering if I have another identity! Kudos to smiffy and to UTA. It is great! If those who came before wish to have my attention, where are you? Otherwise, why not allow the idea to continue????????


Hi Mr. Mystoffelees,

You may wish to see some of the recent postings here:

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......start=60
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.
BarryFernelius
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For what it's worth, when I showed Bob Neale my presentation for "Up the Ante" in Jeff McBride's Magic and Meaning conference last month, Bob like Martyn's handling for the initial mixing better than his own. (I've also added a few minor touches to the procedure based on a few suggestions by Juan Tamariz, but that's what we're supposed to do, right?)

I'm sure that Martyn and Bob Neale will settle any minor differences amicably. Both of these guys are real gentlemen.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
captainsmiffy
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I believe that we are both happy, Barry and you are right; he does prefer my handling so am rather pleased! I will arrange to credit Mr Neale in the download version of Up The Ante appropriately. As you know, Barry, there is a move afoot to get an Up The Ante compendium going with all sorts of different presentations and ideas and I hope that we might include your presentation as well as Bobs if he is amenable...?

Cheers

Martyn
Have you tried 'Up The Ante' yet?? The ultimate gambling demo....a self-working wonder! See the reviews here on the cafe.
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