Fully Booked - A New Angle

By Harapan Ong - Sunday, March 3, 2019

What do you think of when I say the words, “Stripper Deck”?

Are you thinking of that deck that you left in your drawer of magic junk? That gimmicked deck that you played with when you were a kid, but has since given up for normal decks of cards?

I mean, why bother with a Stripper Deck when you already know ten versions of Triumph that can be done with a normal deck of cards?

When Ryan told me (a few years ago) that he and Michael Feldman were writing a book on the Stripper deck, I was definitely intrigued. I love the idea of someone taking something as well known and understood as a Stripper Deck, and showing the world that in it lies so much untapped potential that no one has even begun to consider. The Stripper Deck is such a ubiquitous item in everyone has in their magic prop collection, and yet it is often relegated as something for kids to play with, or a gimmicked deck to do a simple Triumph effect, or maybe just to locate the four Aces in a shuffled deck.

Well, Ryan and Michael are here to prove you wrong. A New Angle is like the ultimate guide for everyone who is interested in some of the most original and hard-hitting effects with the Stripper Deck. In it are twenty three different moves, effects and routines with the Stripper Deck, and don’t worry - they aren’t twenty three versions of Triumph! The plots are wide and varied, and they often use the Stripper Deck in novel ways that you wouldn’t even have dreamed of. There are ways to use Stripper Decks as a devious riffle peek device, colour changing decks and even a really simple but smart Collectors effect that is almost self working.

Now, when I say that this is book is the ultimate guide for the Stripper Deck, I am not just referring to the tricks. What I really appreciate is that Ryan and Michael have very kindly provided a great, detailed breakdown of everything you need to know about the Stripper Deck at the start of the book. They describe important details like the different types of Stripper Decks (yes, there are different ways of cutting the cards!), the pros and cons of different depths of the cuts, and even tips on how to strip the cards effectively. There is also a fantastic section on how to cut your own Stripper decks, in which Ryan and Michael explains the different methods and equipment needed to make your own Stripper decks. Some of these may seem like basic knowledge, but I actually found myself surprised with how much I was learning about the Stripper deck that I didn’t know about previously. This section is at the very start of the book, and I highly recommend anyone interested in the Stripper Deck to check this section out.

Now, some of the highlights for me were:

Shuffleupagus: Easily the most incredible trick in the book. The Stripper deck is most related to Triumph effects because it allows you to strip out face up and face down cards (or more generally, two groups of cards oriented in different directions). Shuffleupagus is not a Triumph routine, but the result is surprising because it is basically just a simple application of the “strip-out” principle of any Stripper deck, but it allows a deck shuffled by two different spectators to not only separate by colour, but end in NEW DECK ORDER. Following along with the deck in hand will definitely fool you the first time you try it.

Collect Yourself: A really fun Collectors effect that you can do with a Stripper deck. Three cards are selected and lost, the four Aces visually appear on top of the deck, before having the three selections appear between them. The Stripper deck allows some very nice displays that would otherwise be very difficult with a normal deck.

The Hallucinogenic Shuffle: Another incredible routine in the book. It takes the standard Triumph effect you might expect with a Stripper Deck and makes it a surreal routine, in which the spectator gradually sees face up cards appear randomly in the deck as you shuffle it.

Ode to Rusduck: There is quite a nice section of the book dedicated to work on using the Stripper Deck in conjunction with the Stay Stack principle. This item, Ode to Rusduck, is just one of the items that I particularly enjoy using. It is simple, but simple ideas are often welcome to variation and are ripe with opportunity to add on and improve. I’ve taken the basic concept behind this and added a finale to it, as shown in the video. Take note: the card is truly freely selected at the beginning!

Now, I know what some of you are already thinking: “Yeah it’s cool, but… I don’t want to carry a Stripper Deck around with me! When will I ever get to do these tricks, anyway?” To that, I will firstly say that yes, I can understand and sympathize with that sentiment. I personally don’t carry a Stripper Deck with me everyday, and although I am sure the authors do so on a regular basis, I don’t do these tricks every day. However, here are my two counterpoints:

  1. Unlike other gimmicked decks, like the Svengali Deck or the Invisible Deck, the Stripper Deck can actually function like a normal deck for almost any other trick you have in your repertoire. Which means that the Stripper Deck is more like a secret weapon, waiting for the right moment to be unleashed on your unwitting spectators. Therefore, any of the tricks in the book can easily slip into your working repertoire, if you choose to do so.

  2. Even if you feel somewhat uncomfortable with using a Stripper Deck for everyday use, I still think that this book is a fantastic reference book for a very common gimmicked deck. It is definitely a book that should be on the shelf of anyone interested in card magic, because there are routines in here that I definitely consider to be great routines to be done in a formal card performance, where you can bring out a Stripper Deck for the show. So, even if you don’t use the Stripper Deck on a regular basis, save it (and the tricks in this book) for those special occasions where you need to really blow everyone away.

A New Angle is currently already in its second printing. The production quality on this book is just gorgeous, and I highly recommend that you check out Ryan and Michael’s work in their book. Grab a copy now before it goes back out of print!

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