Fully Booked | Here's My Card
By Harapan Ong - Sunday, March 17, 2019
My first experience with Allan Ackerman’s magic was not from a book, but from an instructional DVD. It was a compilation of two of his previous videos, titled “Las Vegas Card Expert” and “Every Move a Move”. That was many years ago when I was just starting out in magic, and what I distinctly remember was finding the material on it being pretty sleight heavy and pretty difficult as well. This should come as no surprise - Allan is renowned for his sleight of hand expertise, having done an instructional video on the “card bible” itself, The Expert At The Card Table.
While I was watching my instructional DVD, I kept hearing Allan make references to one of his books, which he calls “Here’s My Card”. Of course, a teenage Harapan had no clue what that book was about. Therefore, when I found a copy of this book on an online book sale, I leapt at the chance to own a copy of this elusive manuscript.
As you might expect, the material in Here’s My Card tends towards the heavy sleight of hand tricks, which I think will definitely please many of the sleight of hand junkies and “move monkeys”. Get ready for lots of Double Deals and Bottom Palms - there is even a description for Allan’s variation on the One Handed Centre Deal (it already sounds gnarly!). Even the tricks that do not require these difficult sleights tend to be pretty densely packed with various sleights - switches, multiple lifts, passes and so on. Definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Spread throughout this deceptively slim booklet are various descriptions of sleights that Allan has either devised or variated on. Some particular notable ones are:
A Card Pass: Allan’s variation to Marlo’s improvement on the Hofzinser card control (or the Convincing Control). A very useful move that I actually do use regularly.
New Convincing Control: A very interesting variation on the Convincing Control. A card is outjogged from a spread and displayed. The card is never squared or switched out, but when it is pushed back into the deck, the card has been secretly controlled to the bottom of the deck. Sounds impossible? Only Allan can come up with such a crazy control.
Now, that is not to say there aren’t any routines in here that aren’t knuckle-busters. In fact, I think some of these easier routines are actually my favourites! Some highlights for me were:
Quick Coincidence: What a commercial, simple effect. A card is selected and stabbed into the deck at a random position by the spectator. The magician reveals that a previously made prediction is the mate of the selection. The magician then shows that the spectator has stabbed the selection between the other two mates in the deck.
It Happens In The Spectator’s Hands Jacks Sandwich: Not exactly the most imaginative title, but it is definitely a simple, straightforward sandwich effect that I can see playing very well for lay audiences.
Impromptu Ultra Mental: Not an easy routine by any means, but Allan has devised a practical , impromptu version of the classic Invisible Deck Routine. Spectator is asked to freely think of a card in the deck. The magician reverses one card in the deck, which is then shown to be the thought-of-card.
Is there anything I don’t quite like about this booklet? Yes, definitely. I think what this book lacks are descriptions of how each trick is to be presented to an audience. The plots themselves are often variations of standard card plots like Collectors, Sandwiches, Oil and Water and so on, but the descriptions seem to simply focus on explaining sleight after sleight. Hence, I think for someone who is unfamiliar with learning magic from books, the text can be very dry, and the tricks seem like just a series of moves as opposed to having a cohesive presentation.
Nevertheless, don’t be fooled by how thin this book is. There are many other tricks in here (some even using rather esoteric gaffs) that I did not mention, simply because I am not able to acquire these gaffs for review. However, I think what this book does best is describe how good sleight of hand can create some pretty amazing card miracles. Allan’s forte is definitely in this realm of sleight of hand magic, so if your knuckles are aching for some exercise, definitely try to hunt down a copy of Here’s My Card. And even if you can’t find a copy of this book, check out other items by Allan Ackerman and raise your sleight of hand to a whole new level.
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