BoardGameGeek Reviewer EndersGame
SUMMARY: A flashy impromptu Ace-cutting routine presented as a demonstration of skill with cards
Robert Ramirez has released a number of digital downloads of his card magic, and the first of these is S.U.C.A., a stand up ace-cutting routine. Robert does come with some solid credentials - he performs at the Magic Castle, and he has also appeared on Penn & Teller's "Fool Us", where he did a great routine involving a puppy and the successful predication of a game of Tic-Tac-Toe on his boxers. He's an all round funny guy, with a very bubbly, spontaneous, and entertaining style that is very endearing and full of energy.
S.U.C.A. is the firt of three digital downloads available from Vanishing Inc, each featuring a fun routine from Robert. They're available separately, but also together as a bundle here. S.U.C.A. is an acronym for Stand-Up Cutting Aces, and is an ace-cutting routine that Robert presents as a skilful demonstration with numbers and cards, and an example of how gamblers or card cheats might operate. He uses it at all his impromptu shows (mostly as a closer), and invariably gets positive feedback from spectators who are convinced that he is amazing with numbers and with cards. Well, he is amazing with cards - but not in the way spectators think, because of course it's all sleight of hand! In this review I'll tell you what the effect is, and what you get for your money if you pick up this digital download.
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!
What you get for around $10 is an instant digital download of the video, which demonstrates and teaches the effect. You can play the video via streaming, or download it in *.mp4 format to view on your computer with any video program. The entire video is about 25 minutes long, and is filmed in high quality, and the downloaded file is over 500MB in total size. The video production is excellent all round, with great visuals and sound, just like the other digital downloads from Robert. Where necessary, there are camera close-ups for specific moves, and different angles are used on occasion as well.
The first two minutes features Robert Ramirez performing the effect for the camera, with no spectators. The remaining time features Robert talking to the camera, and explaining the effect carefully. The first ten minutes of this covers the initial card controls, sleights, and deliberately convoluted patter that you need to do in order to set yourself up for the final 30 seconds of madness where you produce the Aces quickly one by one. At this point the Aces are in the position you want them, and now there are four different revelations used to produce them; the rest of the video covers how to do each of these four revelations.
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 like card controls, thumb fans, and more. 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.
As Robert himself admits, this routine a bit of a knucklebuster, but there are only two or three main sleights that you need to practice. Some will be completely new to some magicians, but Robert does teach them, so part of the value of this download is the opportunity to learn some flashy new sleights. Others are standard sleights, or build on familiar sleights like a pressure fan, although you can do a thumb fan instead of a pressure fan if you wish.
The routine basically has two main phases, and in the first phase where you're setting up the cards for the final revelation, you do need to follow Robert's method. For the second phase, you can actually do the revelations in your own style if you prefer. The actual location of the Aces at the point when you enter the final phase of the routine gives you a lot of flexibility - at that point all the controls have put them right where you want them to be. I do like the fact that Robert teaches the flashy revelations that he uses, because they do add to the effect, and this is a great routine for using them.
Be aware that Robert performs his card magic left handed, so you will need to mentally reverse all his moves if you're right handed like I am. Overall, this video is most suited to advanced card handlers, although intermediate magicians can work with the instruction here if they're willing to stretch themselves and want to learn some new sleights.
The idea of the presentation is that it sounds incredibly complicated and difficult in terms of what you are saying. But in terms of what is actually happening it isn't complicated at all, and you're simply doing some sleight of hand to achieve the same result. This style of presentation reminds me somewhat of Sal Piacente, who used it to great effect.
The presentation is really great, because it really does come across as a display of skill, which is strengthened with the patter. Robert even includes a deliberate "mistake" in the routine which makes your presentation more believable, and is an extra convincer that you know the exact location of the Aces in the deck - after all you just called the exact name of an indifferent card that the Ace is besides in the middle of the deck, and produced that very card.
I especially love the third revelation, which involves riffling through the deck and shooting out the Ace. This is a great and flashy revelation you can do in a lot of tricks, and Robert does run through the mechanics of how to do this. A lot of people may have learned flashy sleights like this boomerang style sleight, but don't actually have a routine to go with it. Normally flashy flourishes can take away from the magic, but here they enhance what is being presented as a demonstration of skill. So this is a great routine with a fun plot of a gambling demonstration that works well for a flashy revelation like that. And if you don't already know how to do that, a real strength of this video is that you get to learn it. Even if you never perform the whole routine, this digital download does have real value in the sleights it teaches.
One final strength of this routine is that it works impromptu. It's called SUCA because it is a Stand Up routine, and you don't need a table, and you don't need spectator involvement. You can even do it with a borrowed deck, so it's very impromptu.
Robert Ramirez is a very fun magician to watch and learn from. With SUCA, you not only have opportunity to learn a very flashy and impressive ace-cutting routine that is ideal for impromptu performances, but you also get to learn some flashy sleights, and get a routine in which the patter and presentation helps them strengthen the magic. For just $10, it's a good value download that offers more than just a single routine, and it will inspire you to go out and perform.
- BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame