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We're back for an in-depth look at the fourth and final disc in the Reloaded series. This one finds Dani exploring Semi-Automatic routines and select, personal Favorites. Below are descriptions of each effect along with my observations and opinions.


Oil And Water

A multi phase oil and water with 6 cards results in a surprising climax wherein all 6 cards are shown to have the same color.


Does the world need another oil and water? Probably not. But if we are going to continue seeing a never-ending parade of variations on this theme, then may they resemble this routine for its clarity, ease of execution, and kicker ending. As a magician watching this performance for the first time, you will no doubt be suspicious of the count Dani repeatedly performs during the un-mixing. It's a clean display, yet you'll pride yourself on being a step ahead of the audience. Then the finale will come, and your smile will disappear as you realize that you’re every bit as dumbfounded as the clearly-delighted spectators. Guess I've got another oil and water to learn.

Spectator Oil and Water

The magician temporarily passes his magical powers to a spectator. Both magician and spectator take a packet of 8 cards divided equally into red and black. Despite performing the same mixing procedures, the magician's card wind up mixed but the spectator's have indeed separated into red and black.


I've already spoken positively about the first oil and water on this set, so what are the odds that this disc will contain a second great version of the plot? High, apparently. Dani has constructed a disarmingly engaging version of the oil and water effect where a spectator unwittingly performs the dirty work right under their own nose. And it doesn't get more "automatic" than the 'spectator doing the work'. Like many of Dani's better effects, there is a "no way this will work" quality to the performance that magnifies the impact of the climax. I can see a lot of performers adding this as a bonus phase to their existing oil and water work.

One Second Miracle

A spectator is given the pack and fairly isolates one card in the center without glimpsing it. A second spectator holds a different deck in his shirt pocket, and is given a free choice to remove any card from his deck. Somehow, the card he removes from the pack is seen to be the same card that was isolated by the first spectator.


This is a delightful piece of magic that I'll probably never perform. Two deck routines tend not be my thing and this is no exception. However, this is a sneaky, deceptive routine that frankly reminds me of one of Mark Calabrese's best effects with his DVS gimmick. This version requires nothing than 2 regular decks. As he's done elsewhere on this set (and previously on Utopia) Dani unearths a so-old-it's new idea straight out of Hofzinser to produce this miraculous coincidence. That technique alone may be the real discovery here for the imaginative performer.

Lazy Spectator

A card is selected fairly from a shuffled deck and returned. The magician explains that this spectator is now imbued with a mysterious magical power. Only he, and not the magician, can find his selection. To demonstrate, the magician cuts the deck to a card - it is not the selection. That card's value is used as an indicator to count further into the pack, but the resulting card is also not the selection. A random spectator cuts the deck but he also fails to locate the card. Yet when the original spectator cuts the deck and counts down the number indicated by his cut, he succeeds in finding his selection - exactly as the performer predicted.


This is based on classic Al Koran effect, The Lazy Magician. I applaud Dani for creating a compelling alternate handling to a classic effect but I don't really see myself performing this. This version has a more sophisticated audience management component, and frankly, I feel that the effect is less clear than the original effect, or Lorrayne variant. This is the first of several effects on this dics that show a tendency towards convoluted plots. This piece ultimately works as magical entertainment, but I don't imagine many people adopting it in their work.

Back in Time

The magician announces that he will combine two of his favorite magical plots, 'Card At Any Number' and 'Torn and Restored'. A spectator is asked to think of a number and secretly count out that number of cards from the deck. A second spectator is asked to take a card, which is returned to the magician and torn to pieces. After vanishing the pieces, the magician explains that the card has not actually disappeared so much as moved back in time. The first spectator announces his mentally selected number for the first time. That number is counted down in the deck whereupon the selected card is found fully restored.


This is an effect where the thinking behind the method is more impressive to me than the actual effect itself. Dani has created a marriage of two different plots, and while the performance certainly succeeds as theatre, practically speaking, I feel this is a case where the total may be slightly less than the sum of its parts. All that said, there are some gems to be found in the explanation, including a very clever method for vanishing the torn pieces of a playing card credited to Spanish magician Luis Hernandez Trueba.

Card in Box

Prompted to call out a number between 1-10, a spectator says 7. He is then given a pad and pen and instructed to write down the numbers 1-10. A second spectator cuts the deck into 10 approximately equal piles. The top card of each pile is removed, noted and added sequentially to the list. The deck is then reconstructed at the spectator's direction. The audience is reminded that 7 was the originally selection. The name of the seventh card on the list is requested by the performer. "King of Spades". The performer is given 3 chances to find the selection, but he succeeds only in producing its mates. The magician now shows that the King of Spades is not in the pack at all, but is cleanly produced from inside the card box that has been in view the whole time. A spectator could remove the card.


For an effect that is as hard to summarize as it is, it's a rather entertaining piece of magic that is quite clear in context. I mentioned earlier that Dani shows a tendency towards complicated plots on this disc, and this effect is another example of that trend. This is, after all, just a card to box. But Dani's unspoken fascination, in my opinion, is methods for physically forcing cards that aren't in the deck. once again is exploring how to force a card that isn't in the deck. That seems to be a recurring theme in this set. And like the earlier instances, this version relies on a devilishly simple method to accomplish what looks like an absolute miracle. Also true to form, Dani is essentially combining two far-flung plots (card to box/four-card-production) into one freewheeling routine that seems to belie the magician's control of the cards.

Spectators Find The Aces

A number is called out from the audience and dealt from the top of the deck. A spectator calls stop during a deal. A third spectator cuts a packet from the talon. Despite the fairness of the above proceedings, the magician is left with 4 tabled piles, and each contains an ace on top.


This is a wonderful piece of magic. Perhaps it was simply the return to conceptually simple magic that had me swooning, but I really like this method. There are definitely versions of Spectator Cuts to Aces that are faster, perhaps some that are more deceptive, but few if any that are more entertaining. There is a light, natural rhythm to the proceedings that makes everything seem perfectly fair. The technique is within reach of average card handlers, and I see myself combining this method with the double turnover handling that Dani demonstrated in Disc 2 to show random spot cards on top of the piles before snapping and producing the 4 aces.

Card at Number

The deck is cut in two and a card is taken by a spectator from the first half. A second spectator is invited to touch any two adjacent cards in his half. The value of those cards is added together to equal 9. The first spectator counts 9 cards from the top of his half. The last card is his selection.


This is a lightweight, but highly appealing version of Card at Any Number without the overwrought dramatics. While simple in execution, it relies on a pretty extensive set-up. The good news for those that have learned, and use, Dani's stack, is that the set up is rather easy to get into from there. I believe there may be ways to modify this slightly to work with Stebbins, so that might be worth exploring for some of you as well. Folks looking for an impromptu approach to this trick may want to jump to the last trick on the set, Hofzinser's Eighth Problem. It'n s not exactly the same effect, but it has a card-at-position presentation that's far easier to get into than either of the 2 versions taught here.


A spectator grabs a small pile of cards from the deck, which is ribbon spread on the table. The cards are shuffled and counted revealing 10 cards in total. The magician, whose hands are clearly empty immediately reaches forward into the deck and slides 4 cards toward himself from random parts of the spread. They're the four 10's.


Bravo, one of my favorite tricks on the set. Another homage to Hofzinser, this trick actually reminds me of the very first effect from Utopia: Numerical Match. Whereas that effect required two 4 of a kinds, and 2 force to create the illusion of numerical sympathy, this effect hits the same impossible theme with a set-up that I find more flexible. This effect also boasts an off-beat, surprising revelation, that will gut punch your audience. It's questionable to me that this should be classified as semi-automatic, but in truth most card workers with moderate skill should be able to perform this.


Taped Travelers

The 4 aces are signed while a spectator is invited to seal off the magician's left pants pocket with duct tape. Despite being replaced to 4 clearly separate places in the deck, the magician is able to produce them immediately from 4 different pockets, including the final one which is removed from inside the taped pocket by the spectator.


This is a fun travelers routine which is relatively sleight-heavy as far as Dani's routines go. I would still say that this is within reach of moderately advanced card handlers, but we’ve clearly left the semi-automatic world by this point. With some scripting and audience management, the use of the duct tape could be eliminated though it does lend an extra layer of impossibility to the proceedings. As a side note, one of the highlights of the whole set occurs during the performance of this piece when Dani does his Lennart Green imitation. Given the genuine howls of laughter from the audience, I'd say either that there were lots of magicians in the audience ranks, or that Lennart is really, really popular in Portugal.

Card in Bottle

A signed playing card appears inside a sealed mini water bottle.


Dani explains that this is a highly contextual piece that he would ordinarily not perform this effect in a formal show. I can see why. Basically the way to understand this performance is that Dani is teaching you a method, with blocking, for loading a card into a plastic water bottle. Ordinarily, he tells us, he would load the bottle over the course of a night so that he could go straight to the finale at the right moment. Because Dani doesn't have the luxury of showing us this type of real-world sequence, he has created an entirely improvised routine that acts as misdirection for the load. And as much as I have always believed that Dani could jazz his way out of any situation, it's possible that this set of circumstances required one blue note too many. Ignore this routine, it's a convoluted mess. The value here is the load and the idea for producing the card. Personally, I feel this should have been a bonus item, as it's not quite up to the performance standard of the other tricks on the set.

Red and Black Transpo

After showing the cards are separated into red and black, the magician causes the two piles of cards to change places twice in increasingly visual manners. The second time also sees a selection mysteriously leave its pile to join the other half.


I first saw Dani perform the first phase on Fat Brothers 2. It was one of my favorite effects on that set, and so it is here again. I was pleased to see Dani's new phase and so you can understand my disappointment that, either by intention or design (it's really not clear which), the second phase isn't taught. That aside, I still love the core effect and I plan to include it as a follow up to my full deck oil and water performances.

Cards Across

A 2 phase cards-across where a packet that starts with 10 cards, grows first by 3 cards, and then one more. The 14th card also happens to be a mentally selected playing card chosen earlier in the routine.


Dani's tabled false count here is taught in the explanation (though not shown in performance) and it is killer. The rest of the routine is certainly entertaining enough, and if you don't have a cards across routine in your repertoire at present, this one may fit the bill. However, if you already have a go-to routine already, like say Las Vegas Leaper by Paul Harris, it's doubtful to me that you'll replace that one with this. Still, that count really is something...

Out of this Suit

An Out of This World effect with approximately half the card being accurately separated by a spectator into red and black through a series of 2 card red/black divinations. As a climax, the spectator is seen to have sussed out all of the cards, in order, from a single suit which matches an earlier selection.


This is a fun, easy-to-do routine which reminded me of some of my favorite Trost effects. Dani's routine has the added bonus of a perfect numerical sequence at the conclusion. Two methods are taught, one that could be performed with a borrowed deck but which alters the ending, and the other which requires some secret helpers, but which produces a stronger climax. While I enjoyed this effect and, naturally Dani's performance, I don't see myself adding this version of the Curry classic into my repertoire. Not only do I think there are more powerful versions of this effect to be found elsewhere (including in Trost), but I think that Dani has stronger effects on this same set that use similar, or even less sophisticated stacks (e.g. Exactly 10 Cards, CTD Coincidence). Don't let my bias dissuade you however - this is a mystifying showpiece that will appeal to some of you, and as always, Dani's thoughts on presentation and expectation in the context of this routine have value for every performer.


3 selected cards match 3 previously removed predictions, despite spectator direction throughout the proceedings. A brief universal card plot unfolds wherein the 3 selections appear to take on the identity, one at a time, of the 3 mates to the prediction cards. Along the way the cards lose their faces, gain them back, and finish as an examinable 4 of a kind.


This is Dani's homage to Spanish magician Jose "Pepe" Carroll. The demands on technique and set-up are all modest, though you do need to be seated to perform this the way Dani does. There is an awful lot of magic happening with a small number of cards here, and the fact that the ending is clean is a great selling point. Of particular interest to me is that I haven't seen that many Universal plots where the universal cards take on the identity of the mates of the X cards. Worth studying.

Hofzinser's Eighth Problem

A spectator cuts a small packet of cards from the deck and counts them to the table. The number matches the value of two prediction cards the magician removed at the beginning. A second phase is offered where even the magicians prediction cards are selected by the audience, yet they match in value the number of cards freely cut from the deck.


I admit to being a sucker for number-themed tricks, and this one certainly tickled my fancy. It actually reminds in methodology of Sybil: The Trick, one of the few, rarely-performed pieces from Chris Kenner's Out of Control. Dani's effect eliminates the flourishy theatrics but preserves the clarity and even manages to wring out a winning second phase. Overall, a nice mix of technique, psychology and construction and that is within reach of average card handlers.


What to say about this disc? If you've read this far than you know that I value most of this material pretty highly. That said, there are a few routines sprinkled throughout this disc that are Frankenstein affairs. I guess you can't have hits all the time, but Dani has spoiled us into thinking that like some magical Midas, everything he touches will turn into gold. Well, turns out the man is human, but *** is he good.

Practically speaking, there are at least 5-6 pieces on this set that will work their way into my repertoire. When we add that to the effects on the other 3 discs, I would say that I could easily see myself learning and performing 10 or more routines. And that's to say nothing of the massively valuable teaching on this 4 disc set, which alone would be technically worth the price. And of course, there are bonus features which I have not addressed in any of my reviews, including the always informative and entertaining interview segments, and even a bonus hour of instruction on lapping for those that register their DVD purchase online. So do I need to ultimately answer the question of whether this set is worth the money? Good. Is this set as good as Utopia? No, don't be ridiculous. But this is still an awesome set of magic that you will cherish. Dani fans have no choice but to start saving their pennies.

I do want to make one final note, and that is that the worst part of my experience in making these 4 extensive reviews, has been the process of using the editing tools of The Magic Café. I spent many hours going through and editing my reviews simply to make apostrophes and quotation marks, which had been created in google docs, compatible with this site. And because there is no "draft" capability, I lost work on multiple occasions that required timely rewrites. I don't say this simply to gripe, but only to point out that if reviews are useful to the community (which I naturally think they are) than it would behoove this site to give us tools to make that easier, rather than harder. As it currently stands, I cannot see myself choosing to engage in such a long, engaging review process on this site until some basic technologies are modernized for the 21st century.
Tim Cavendish
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Your reviews are much appreciated!

You can tell Google Docs to turn off Smart Quotes:
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Inner circle
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Thank you, these are all incredible reviews. I wish the magazines would go into as much you have gone into here. The obvious time you spent on them is really appreciated.
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Thank you for the review !!!
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