Robert Ramirez is hilarious. His performance style immediately won me over, with a very brash, bold, and energetic approach. This magician from Mexico has a style that is very natural, spontaneous, and enormous fun, and that makes watching his videos entertaining as well as educational. You might have heard of him before, because he has appeared on Penn & Teller's "Fool Us", where did a great routine involving a puppy and the successful predication of a game of Tic-Tac-Toe on his boxers. The Robert Ramirez Bundle contains digital downloads of three fun routines: S.U.C.A. (Stand-Up Cutting Aces), Boxed Lunch, and Four Ahead.
EFFECT #1: S.U.C.A. (Stand-Up Cutting Aces)
This effect is presented as a demonstration of skill with cards, and a demonstration of how gamblers might cheat with cards. The four Aces are shown and placed in different parts of the deck: apparently in these precise positions - the 6th, 16th, 26th and 36th cards exactly. Robert's patter then introduces all kinds of mumbo jumbo about "false shuffling", "breaks", and more, and now apparently the Aces are in positions 16, 26, 32, and 41 - exactly where he needs them to be. Then he cuts to and produces all four Aces one at a time, in a very quick display of apparent skill, with four increasingly flashy revelations. An outstanding display of skill that never fails to leave spectators amazed!
EFFECT #2: BOXED LUNCH
First Robert introduces the two red Aces as the two slices of his delicious Wonder bread, which get placed in the deck box (aka Robert's Teenage Mutant Ninja Lunch Box from elementary school). A spectator selects and signs a random card which represents the horrible meat put between the sandwiches, while the two black Aces are introduced as two slices of disgusting Whole-grain bread. In the first phase, the two black slices (Aces) are jabbed into the fridge (the deck) and emerge with the gross meat (signed card) between them. In the second phase, the gross meat (signed card) is jammed into the fridge (deck), and mysteriously again appears between the two black slices (Aces) - which were on the table all along. In the third phase, when the gross meat (signed card) is placed in the deck again, it surprisingly turns up between the two white slices (red Aces) that are inside the lunch box (card box)! As an extra twist, the deck box now also has a Nutri-grain bar inside as well! It's a great story, and there are several real magical surprises along the way.
EFFECT #3: FOUR AHEAD
Four queens are removed from a deck and displayed. Then two cards are chosen by spectators, one face up and its identity known to everyone, while the other is a face down mystery card. The face-up card is placed in between the queens, and is shown to have vanished. But that's just the start of the magic, because now a real miracle happens! The mystery card is turned face up - and it turns out to actually be the four queens. And what about the pile with the four queens? They're gone, and all that's there instead is the spectator's initially chosen card which has previously vanished! Wow, a double surprise!
For $30 you get an instant digital download of all three videos, which demonstrate and teache the above three effects. You can play these videos via streaming, or download them to view on your computer with any video program. Each video is around 20-30 minutes long, and about 500-800MB in size. The video production is high quality and excellent all round, with great visuals and sound. Where necessary there are camera close-ups for specific moves, and different angles are used on occasion as well. Great job all round.
Robert has a very energetic performance style that is natural and spontaneous, and that's how his explanation is as well. He comes across as a very pleasant and enormously fun guy to be around, so watching him explain things is never going to be boring. At times he moves fairly quickly, because he does assume a working knowledge with cards, and the intended audience is especially the card worker who is very familiar with the fundamentals of card magic. Where a difficult or new sleight is used, he does stop to explain it, and also to refer to the original source where you can find a more detailed explanation about it. Some might find these explanations too brief, but experienced card handlers shouldn't have any problem with it. I also love Robert's enthusiasm. It's really obvious that he enjoys his magic, and he really makes it fun. And it's infectious - you can't help but be excited about the effect he is demonstrating, have fun with all the moves, and want to go out and perform it.
While it is not complicated routines, these are also not easy to perform, and at a minimum you need to have an intermediate to advanced ability in card magic. Moves like ascanio spreads, false counts, elmsley counts, palms, and more are mentioned very quickly, and it's assumed that you can work with sleights like these and more. There's even a move or two that Robert has come up with himself. So most magicians will find themselves needing to work on one or two aspects of each routine, although those experienced with card magic should not have too much difficulty in mastering these tricks.
All three routines are excellent. S.U.C.A. is presented as an impressive display of skill, which is strengthened with the patter, to make it apppear you know the exact location of the Aces in the deck. I especially love the third and fourth revelations, which involve the Aces shooting out. One final strength of this routine is that it works impromptu.
Boxed Lunch is well thought out and has some real surprises for spectators. The plot that Robert has used is very unique and entertaining, although you certainly don't have to use his patter, and can come up with your own. Every last detail has been thought through carefully to make it work as best as possible. This video also includes a Bonus sandwich effect which gives an alternative approach to use.
Four Ahead is perhaps my favourite of the three - I love the idea of an asymmetrical transposition, especially when it is produced so suddenly and unexpectedly as it is here.
Robert Ramirez is a very fun magician to watch and learn from. With these three routines you have opportunity to learn a very flashy and impressive ace-cutting routine that is ideal for impromptu performances, a sandwich routine with a great story-line, and an asymmetrical transposition that is a very fun and visual routine with plenty of surprises. These are great openers and closers, as Robert himself uses them. With this bundle, not only will you be entertained, but you'll also be inspired to go out and perform.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame