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Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks: Cameron Francis Edition
Video Download - Bigblindmedia

I try to keep up with all the offerings from BBM, and this is the latest.. well, maybe not THE latest.. but my latest. I have a special place for self working effects, so I really looked forward to reviewing Cameron's DVD.. Here's the Ad Copy:

The bestselling Ultimate Self Working Card Trick series is the gold standard for sleight-free card tricks... magic that slays audiences and yet requires NO moves to accomplish. The emphasis here is on providing you with KILLER tricks that you just need to concentrate on presenting!

And in this latest installment of the smash hit series renowned pasteboard practitioner Cameron Francis is unleashing his own all-time top 10 (except there is 11!) self-working card tricks. These stellar routines are plucked from Cameron's own extensive repertoire and are pure, unadulterated awesome. Every one of the eleven routines are a beautifully constructed slab of cleverness where Cameron has substituted difficult sleight of hand with ingenious (and sneaky) methods. You'll even fool magicians with lots of this stuff!

Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks: Cameron Francis Edition. Literally NO sleight of hand needed. Get ready to rock!!

Seven of Hearts Trick - A supremely fooling "magician in trouble" effect!

Automatic Poker Triumph - A quirky poker demonstration that'll knock your spectator's brains out of their noggins!

Three Impossible Things - Mind reading, clairvoyance and a prediction all packed into one sizzling hot card effect.

Divided - A completely impromptu, impossibly fair revelation of two selections and a full deck color separation that will leave them gasping for air.

Blackjack Buffet - Poker Player's Picnic from "Royal Road" on steroids!

Counter Intuitive - A magician fooler of an effect where the spectator finds their own card under the most impossible of conditions.

Exhausted - The Tantalizer retooled and re-engineered for maximum efficiency and impact.

Exhausted Aces - Another "Tantalizer" effect with a, (you guessed it), four Ace ending.

Exhausted Mates - More "Tantalizing" madness, this one twisted into an amazing coincidence effect with a killer kicker ending.

Fired Up Triumph - A Triumph effect that looks ridiculously fair... and is also ridiculously easy to do.

Keep, Hide, and Giveaway - A knockout triple prediction card effect based on a fantastic Jay Sankey plot.

My Thoughts:

First.. I'm going to do something I've never done in a past review.. I'm going to directly reference Murphy's Magic. This is how it works: There is a very small group of reviewers, of which I'm proud to be a member, who review effects and DVD's for Murphy's. We are sent a list of new effects monthly, and we pick what we would like to review. Now, for you conspiracy theorists out there, a couple of us frequently compare notes beforehand to make sure we aren't all requesting the same items. We don't want to flood the magic universe with comparable reviews. Despite our due diligence, you'll frequently still see a review of the same item by different reviewers over a period of time. This is actually a good thing. I really don't care what the other reviewers have to say about a product, as THIS is my opinion, and mine alone. Would you rather buy an effect with reviews all over the place, or an effect with everyone agreeing it's a winner?

Fortunately for you.. we all agree this one's a winner. When you can get all of us to agree on something, it's usually something exceptional.

My introduction to card magic was 'Scarne on Card Tricks'. He took standard effects and simplified them so the average magician could perform them without a lifetime of practice. That style has a place in my repertoire because I am a lifelong fan of the KISS principle in marketing.. and life in general. 'Keep It Simple, Stupid...' may sound a tad harsh, but it's true... Don't make something that's inherently simple so difficult or complicated the average guy loses interest after endless practice.. and failures.

The ad copy is both truthful.. and a good description of the effects. I really can't add much to what you've read in previous reviews and I wouldn't consider taking anything away.

Cameron Francis' 'Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks' is a download for magicians. This is not intended for non-magicians who have no knowledge of card magic or for kids. This is for magicians who want to display a level of skill without years of practice. A number of effects are based on classic card tricks that have been modified to make them easy to perform.. Automatic Poker Triumph and Fired Up Triumph are two good examples. Also the Seven Of Hearts Trick, which is a variation of a Paul Gordon trick, Eight Of Diamonds. (published with Paul's blessing)

Some of the effects are straight up any deck effects... and others require a setup of some sort. Three Impossible Things requires a more complex setup, but that's the exception. None of the effects require sleights. Go back and read that again... Actually, some of the sleight do require a false shuffle, (taught), and/or maintaining the top stock if there is a setup involved. I feel like I'm repeating myself, but nothing beyond simple skills are required.. I promise.

Personally, I'll take at least four effects from this download with me, which at my age and with my mind power, is quite the feat. I'm a fan of Royal Road to Card Magic, and I was glad to see homage paid to one of my favorite effects.. Tantalizer. Cameron included Exhausted, Exhausted Aces, and Exhausted Mates, all a simplified version of Tantalizer and something you'll want to make a part of your repertoire. I personally prefer Exhausted Aces, which has a nice kicker-of-an-ending, and Exhausted Mates, which I'd definitely use with a block of blank cards to add a little something something. Also, since I don't have a strong Triumph, (aside from one with a complicated setup) I'll keep Fired Up Triumph close.

Speaking of Triumphs.. Automatic Poker Triumph is another keeper, as it's a mathematical effect based loosely on a Persi Diaconis effect, and if you know Persi.. you know it has to be good. This one will fool magicians.. and it only uses a packet of ten cards. Yes, five cards are pre-set.. but so what.. Buttercup...!

Divided is a truly impromptu effect, but I thought it was going to be a spelling effect and I am not the foremost fan of spelling effects. Don't ask me why... ( ..Truth be known, I did a spelling effect for my magic buddies one night and they made fun of me.. and I developed a complex. Actually, I like Divided a lot.. but don't tell my buddies.) If you like a spelling effect that morphs into a Triumph they never saw coming, this is a great effect for your show and an equally inspiring way to entertain two spectators. Not only that, but the Triumph is set up DURING the trick. thus the impromptu tag.

Blackjack Buffet is not necessarily a magician fooler, but it'll definitely fool the dickens out of a lay audience. This little ditty will make a neophyte believe you're a real card shark.. PS.. a well known online site says: "Card sharp is preferred in British English, while card shark is more common in American, Canadian, and Australian English." Take your pick...

Counter Intuitive, based on a Paul Cumming's effect, features a double prediction, of sorts, that is a true self working effect that doesn't work how you would, as a magician, think it works. This one may well fool the smartest magician in the bunch and will definitely fool your audience.

Fired Up is based on a Simon Black effect and a couple of other effects that preceded Simon's. This is also a Triumph, and is a real visual fooler because it looks like something it isn't. If you practice this a little and learn the moves and how to perform the moves in a steady, rhythmic way.. you'll have something you'll perform regularly, particularly for other magicians. This is good stuff...

The last effect on the DVD is Keep, Hide, Giveaway, which is based on Jay Sankey's Hide, Keep, and Giveaway. This effect is the only effect on the DVD that requires a minor 'sleight', of sorts. Again, nothing complicated.. but a little something is required to make everything work out at the end. This is a prediction effect and requires a minor setup and a pre-written prediction.

The download is filmed in the BigBlindMedia 'studio' and features the usual suspects.. two other well known magicians and a bevy of innocent, likable folks who appeared to wander in off the streets. Sound and video quality are always a pleasant aspect of any BBM production, and run time is almost one hour and forty minutes.

There are a number of self working DVD's out there of late, and it's difficult to produce one that stands out from the rest. I honestly feel Cameron's effort is one of the very best... certainly one of my favorites, and I suspect would be one of your favorites. I am going to definitely recommend Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks to my friends and readers.

$25.00 From dealers who carry the Murphy's Magic line of products..
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Reviewer EndersGame
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This is a great review, well done and thanks for sharing!

Do you know what the original routines that the following tricks were based on:
- Three Impossible Things
- Divided

I also read a claim that one source for some of the tricks is Cameron's earlier video KAPOW (2012), a collaboration with Liam Montier. In a review of that DVD set, one reviewer claims that some of the content from KAPOW was reworked for the "Ultimate Self-Working" DVD. Quote: "There are tricks on here that have been cleaned up and re-named (for the most part) on the disc Ultimate Self-Working Card Tricks, which is a better purchase than this."

Is there any truth to this?

BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame - click here to see all my pictorial reviews: => Magic Reviews <==> Playing Card Reviews <==> Board Game Reviews <==
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Hopefully, someone more familiar with KAPOW will respond. I haven't seen it, so I'll refrain from offering a not-so-intelligent answer. Thanks for the kind thoughts.. I always enjoy and appreciate your reviews..
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