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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All in the cards » » The most eminent magicians use self-workers. (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

EndersGame
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Here's a great quote from The Royal Road to Card Magic about including good self-working card tricks in your repertoire:

"The art of interspersing these self-workers with tricks that call for skill is an important principle of card magic. The most eminent magicians use self-workers; but they use only the good ones, never those which call for endless dealing of cards or obvious mathematical principles. Some of the good self-workers are gems of subtlety and misdirection. Some of them depend on faults of observation on the part of the spectators; many depend on the inability of most people to understand properly what is being done."

Just because something is a self-worker doesn't mean it should be dismissed. Here's what the same book has to say about the classic self-working card trick "Do As I Do", which some of us might consider to be an old and tired trick, to the point that we overlook how good it can actually be when well presented:

"There are some tricks which stand head and shoulder above others. The trick now to be described has without doubt surprised and puzzled more people than any other trick conceived in the past two decades. It has everything a good trick should have - a good plot, ease of execution, and a terrific impact on those who see it. We have mentioned that the wise magician never reveals his methods to the curious, and in describing this trick we reiterate this counsel, for, once you have told how simple the trick is, you have lost the use of a superb feat of card magic."

I've put together a list of what I consider to be among the top self-working card tricks, and there are certainly some gems there, worthy of considering. Paul Curry's "Out of This World" is probably in the #1 spot, but there are plenty of great ones out there.
Koolmagic114
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I personally love self working card tricks. I don't use them exclusively, but I would first maybe do a couple / few tricks which require some sleights. Then when I fee they are watching me more closely or burning me. I would then throw in something self working to give them nothing to see and hoping they would relax their guard a bit.
Eddy

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Co-Creator of "TAGZ" / "Iced Over" / " TelePad" / "Penigma"
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Alan Munro
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I use a version of Gemini Twins (Fulves) with a kicker added, as well as EZ Oil & Water (Kranzo). These get the reactions!
ALEXANDRE
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As a mentalist and psychic entertainer who performs with playing cards, self working, impromptu, ridiculously easy routines is the way to go for me. That way I can focus on presentation and not worry about sleight of hand or any of the excessively tricky stuff.

If you look in my signature you'll see that pretty much everything I've created and put out to the community fits the bill, most recently Life and Zen, Psychics Are Simply Individuals, Wendy Woo's Remote Viewing Experiment (both versions, V2 in Wendy Woo's Black Swan), As Above So Below in "Connectivity" and on and on.

There are powerful routines out there in the self working category but I believe they have to be presented properly, and if you can add an additional layer of mystery, even better! Of course some of the effects you already perform don't need this extra layer of mystery because they're darn good enough as they are!

Most often I'm not performing for magicians, I perform for laymen, but I perform for magicians often enough, even so, when some know the method (not all), they still enjoy the ride because of the presentation.

And like I said, if you can add an additional layer of mystery to some of the self working effects out there, even better!
dismany
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Quote:
On Mar 5, 2022, ALEXANDRE wrote:
As a mentalist and psychic entertainer who performs with playing cards, self working, impromptu, ridiculously easy routines is the way to go for me. That way I can focus on presentation and not worry about sleight of hand or any of the excessively tricky stuff.

If you look in my signature you'll see that pretty much everything I've created and put out to the community fits the bill, most recently Life and Zen, Psychics Are Simply Individuals, Wendy Woo's Remote Viewing Experiment (both versions, V2 in Wendy Woo's Black Swan), As Above So Below in "Connectivity" and on and on.

There are powerful routines out there in the self working category but I believe they have to be presented properly, and if you can add an additional layer of mystery, even better! Of course some of the effects you already perform don't need this extra layer of mystery because they're darn good enough as they are!

Most often I'm not performing for magicians, I perform for laymen, but I perform for magicians often enough, even so, when some know the method (not all), they still enjoy the ride because of the presentation.

And like I said, if you can add an additional layer of mystery to some of the self working effects out there, even better!


I'm not so sure that self working tricks are necessarily easier than the more hand sleight heavy skills. Self working tricks in my opinion, often require more mental skill such as memory and math etc., and can definitely go very very wrong if I forget even a small part of the procedure. For years I've preferred sleights over the more subtle work of key cards for instance, and am just now beginning to go in that direction, with my wife suffering my consistent mistakes while practicing so called self working magic. It's all subjective to what one is comfortable with. I'm more comfortable with a ghost count than with remembering the order of procedures in a demonstration.
Just my two cents. Currently studying The James File.

Yuriy
EndersGame
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Quote:
On Mar 14, 2022, dismany wrote:
I'm not so sure that self working tricks are necessarily easier than the more hand sleight heavy skills. Self working tricks in my opinion, often require more mental skill such as memory and math etc., and can definitely go very very wrong if I forget even a small part of the procedure.

This is a good point, Yuriy, and a great contribution to the discussion.
Old_Codger_2
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I'm another big fan of self-workers. Assuming we buy into the principle that any sleight we do should be invisible, then from a layman's perspective there is just as much magic / skill in a self-worker as a knuckle-buster. It's the presentation / effect that is important. You've created a great list. A couple of others that I enjoy are The Blue Phantom (Fulves' Self Working Card Tricks, in which he credits it to Roy Walton) and "It's Impossible!" (from Harry Lorayne's The Magic Book). You mention Do As I Do is considered by some to be old and tired, again I think it's important to separate laymen from magicians. We might see it everywhere, but people who don't spend their time on magic sites and channels may well have never seen it.

Derek
EndersGame
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Quote:
On Mar 15, 2022, Old_Codger_2 wrote:
Assuming we buy into the principle that any sleight we do should be invisible, then from a layman's perspective there is just as much magic / skill in a self-worker as a knuckle-buster. It's the presentation / effect that is important.

Well said Derek! That's a really great point, and worth repeating.

Good comments about Do As I Do as well. You're right that we need to view this from the perspective of the layman watching the trick, and not our perspective as magicians. Solid insights, and thanks for sharing them.
martonikus
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Do as I do is a legitimately good trick but it does require a setup. I'm in the camp that most "self-working" tricks either are not really self-working, or require procedures that are tedious and/or hard to justify - which makes them hard to follow and they risk becoming very boring very quickly. As compared with color-changes and other sleight-of-hand effects that are easy to follow and look more like actual magic. It's true that audiences don't pay for methods, but for effects. However, IMO the harder methods usually produce better effects.
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