Down Under Deals by Andrew Wimhurst
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii January, 1999)
THE AUTHOR is an Australian cardician who specializes in gambling-related material. Briefly stated, if you're a fan of the kind of material performed and published by the likes of Jack Carpenter and Darwin Ortiz, then you will certainly enjoy this booklet and find material of interest within its pages.
The nineteen entries consist of tricks both direct and more elaborate, along with work on several sleights and techniques, including the author's Fan Control (which elaborates upon a finessed combination of the Elias Multiple Shift with an angle-jog control of Dai Vernon's), a one-shuffle riffle stack of the four aces in five hands, a Fan Peek, the Greek Deal, a set-up for a false shuffle, and some sound work on the Center Deal.
There is nothing easy here, but while the themes are classic the work is thoughtful and clever. Tricks and routines include a version of Marlo's "Estimation Aces" in which the spectator cuts to several of the aces himself and some interesting work on "impromptu" (once the spade run is culled, that is) Bridge deals. The manuscript's penultimate entry is a version of Darwin Ortiz' "Ultimate Card Shark," a certain candidate for one of the all-time finest gambling routines ever devised. The author has developed a way to go from new-deck order to the necessary set-up for the Ortiz routine, achieved by routining a series of brief demonstrations, mostly of a catalog of false deals, rather than an awkward and over-handled solution of displacements, cuts, and/or shuffles. Having said that, I'm not certain why this is necessary; when I have used this routine in the past I always switched in the deck.
One relevant note: By and large the author seems to have done a fine job of crediting his material. However, in this particular routine he offhandedly describes an idea for presenting the multiple climaxes of this routine that is used by David Mallek in his work; Mr. Mallek insists that the fact that I originally suggested this idea to him be a matter of public record, but more importantly, this is a part of Mr. Mallek's performance that is not only unnecessarily mentioned (as he would not want others using it) but is also then tossed aside with an inadequate description that fails to do justice to Mr. Mallek's extremely effective performance. The important caution: Authors should be as respectful of such performance details as they are of technical origins. That said, this set of lecture notes is well produced, having obviously been carefully written and accompanied by quite good illustrative photographs; all in all a very nice piece of work that gambling demo enthusiasts with substantial technical skills will unquestionably enjoy.