‘All In’: Jack Carpenter gives me a woody

by Wouldn't you like to know?

This one is long overdue (Sorry Terran. From now on, I’ll keep Babycakes on a shorter leash and start feeding him industrial strength laxatives and powdered glass when he’s a bad boy). I’ve been keeping it to myself because I secretly (openly) think (know) you’re all incompetent (fucktarded) and do not deserve ‘the good stuff’ (i.e. anything).

One of the biggest projects released recently has been Jack Carpenter’s latest DVD, ‘All In‘.  Jack is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet, but he will also make your brain want to beat itself to death. That’s how good his magic is. The majority of Jack’s published work revolves around gambling exposes and cheating techniques (both legitimate and pseudo) and all of it is devilishly well-constructed to fool the shit out of everyone, as well as the methods being a little intensive, but still practical to perform. It seems only fitting that this latest DVD venture focuses mainly on gambling style effects and techniques with almost 3 hours worth of content. Also, the fact that Tyler Wilson was involved in this project gave me a semi-chub right off the bat.

Without further ado, let’s see how much of a badass Jack is (Be still, my beating heart)

Disc 1: Routines

RUNNING THE ACES & TABLE BLUFF SHIFT
During a tabled running-cut, the performer is able to cut to the four aces one at a time in a very clean and fair-looking manner. After finding the aces, they are then inserted one at a time back into the deck and left outjogged, the deck spread and then everything is squared up. The performer can then reveal the aces in whatever manner they choose. For this sequence, Jack goes through a series of different moves which should be common knowledge but unfortunately aren’t. I don’t want to tell you what they are because you’re all assholes.  If you can already do a smooth running cut, then the effect will be very easy to pick up, but I would still recommend watching how Jack handles the packets during the running cut, just before the reveal and after the reveal. It’s those little things that make the simplest concept really amazing to watch. For the Table Bluff shift, think of Bob Veeser’s bluff multiple shift, add some awesome and take it to the table. Again, watch Jack for the really fine details in not only how the shift is done but also how he makes use of the table. It’s all of these little nuances combined that make this variation so disarming.

A RANDOM ACT
The performer shuffles the deck and cuts to random points in the pack, alternating between his left and right hands showing the random cards he cut to before tabling them. This is repeated until there are four cards face down on the table. The spectator can now turn those four cards over, and they’re the aces. Again, the ideas utilized in getting into position and performing the effect are fairly standard, but appropriated in such a way that makes the whole effect so disarming. The only issue you mere mortals may have with this effect is that the method calls for both hands to be able to independently perform a certain sleight. Most of the deception from this effect is from the rhythm and casual handling of the deck as you cut to the aces, but if you can’t perform the key move without skipping a beat, you’ll fuck it up and butcher this effect . Worth putting the practice into learning things with your other hand (like jerking it).

451 STACK
A demonstration of riffle stacking with a funny presentation (Click here for Jack performing the effect on his Youtube channel). The performer offers a to demonstrate how he can get 4 aces, stacked in a game of 5 players in just 1 shuffle. As he tries to demonstrate, the aces keep vanishing,  confusing the performer and making him revise the effect to stack only 3 of the aces, then 2 aces and then having to stack the Ace of Spades to himself. The performer makes good by dealing out 5 hands, his own hand receiving the Ace of spades four times. Since this would never fly in a real game, the performer turns his hand into the four Aces. Not only that, but the deck has vanished. The effect is a combination of his ‘ObliterAcetion’ from Stephen Hobbs’ ‘Labyrinth’ magazine and Ernest Earick’s ‘A Hand for Mr. Scarne’ published in Bill Goodwin’s ‘Penumbra‘ magazine, issue 3 (March/April 2003). The method is smart because while you’re performing the vanishing sequence of the aces at the start, you’re setting up for the rest of the effect. Even if you may not like this effect (in which case, please fuck off), there’s a lot to learn if you’re a fan of false deal sequences. If you like this kind of thing, look into Jack’s ‘Riffle & Roll’ sequence from his ‘Expert Gambling Routines‘ DVD. Good shit.

POOR UNCLE JOE
This item was also published in Tom Dobrowolski’s latest lecture notes (available from Tom), ‘Tom and His Merry Men or I Want to be a Spanish Magician When I Grow Up!’. If you’re a fan of oil and water, this name should sound familiar from his ‘OiATER’ manuscript with Jeremiah Zhang, and his ‘In the hands Wild Card‘, plus he’s an awesome guy. Now, most of you may watch this effect and skip over it because it won’t appeal to other magicians, but it’s actually a decent effect. The performer tells the story of poor Uncle Joe who had some bad habits. While playing draw poker, Uncle Joe shows his hand to contain five Kings. One of the Kings is discarded, but the performer still holds five Kings. This is repeated a few times until the hand is shown to contain the five Aces. The effect is essentially the Six card repeat with much better context, and the method is fairly easy, so you can focus more on the presentation. It’s not a show-stopping miracle, but it’s still a nice effect.

HUSTLER’S RIP
If you perform any kind of 3 card monte routine, you’ll appreciate Jack’s offering. Some may feel that part of the routine, where cards vanish and reappear, is more magic related than gambling related. To those people, I say fuck off and go back to shoving sponge balls up your ass. This basis of this effect (and any gambling routine performed to a lay audience) is made to entertain people on the romanticized notion of the cheater. This is not made to be a straight-faced expose, but an expose with some showmanship. Jack’s routine adds in some really nice impossible moments to an already impressive premise, which reinforce how deceptive a hustler can be.

Also, during this routine, Ben Train takes a sip of his drink (Scotch?) and dreamily closes his eyes, listening to Jack talk. Oh envy, thy name is Larry Horayne.

HYBRID STACK
Riffle-stackers, get ready for some awesome shit. Jack brings his own work on riffle stacking to the table, allowing you to stack multiple hands in the course of a few shuffles and cuts. This is not a pseudo-stack, it is 100% balls to the wall real. The combination of techniques and ideas that Jack has put together would probably fly in a real game, if you had the cojones to do it. Don’t believe me? Here’s the man himself performing it

THE ULTIMATE FALSE DEAL
Not to be confused with Jack’s ‘Ultimate False Dealing Demonstration‘ he put out in 2006, this routine is fucking baller. And by that, I mean it’s goddamn amazing and should have earned Jack a medal, or a trophy.. Even a signed Larry Horayne headshot. The performer deals out five hands, demonstrating the use of different false deals to sway the outcome of a game. As this is a problem that Jack has been working constantly, the structure of the method is insanely well thought out, which allows most of the heat from people scrutinising the method to be put where you’re actually not doing anything. You still need to do false deals, so if you have adequate abilities with false deals, you will fall in love with this routine.

PSEUDO HAND-MUCKING
As the name implies, this quickie effect gives the appearance of a super clean hand muck. This reminded me of some things that Justin Higham has written about in his ‘Pseudo Card-Cheating’ booklets. The performer cleanly shows a hand of five indifferent cards, tables them neatly in a pile and then turns them over one at a time, showing them to have turned into a Royal flush. You could also apply this to other routines and use it as a final switch to switch in/out some important cards. Good shit.

Disc 2: Techniques

The second disc focuses on a number of tabled and in the hand switches and moves which can be utilized in the course of any effect you like. The beauty with most of Jack’s creations is that you can go into the switches without a bullshit-ridiculous amount of breaks or anything weird. They’re simple in theory and direct in execution. I’ll give a brief rundown of what the audience sees during the switch, but no nitty-gritty details as these babies are too good to give out for free. Also, there’s some tips on false deals and some non gambling effects Jack has graciously included.

DIRECT SWITCH
The performer shows the four aces and spreads them on the table face down. The aces are picked up one at a time and left outjogged in the deck. The cards are squared into the deck and the aces are on top with no extra movements.

GENERAL UTILITY CONTROL
In this switch, the aces are shown and the deck is then spread face down on the table. The aces are then inserted one at a time into different parts of the spread, the deck is squared and the aces are on top with no extra movements.

MULTIPLE CARD SWITCH & ONE TWO SWITCH
The Multiple Card Switch is pretty much a mini-routine, allowing you to change cards from a packet one at a time in a super easy and very clean manner.  The One Two Switch allows you to switch a four of a kind for another four of a kind in the action of rubbing the packet on your arm or sleeve.

RETENTION SWITCH
A card is outjogged during a hand to hand spread, and the left hand removes it from the spread and turns it over. In the course of this action, the outjogged card has been switched out (Badass).

SPREAD SWITCH
A face down card is outjogged during a hand to hand spread. The remainder of the deck is then reversed around it, leaving it face down and outjogged. During this sequence, the outjogged card has been switched out.

TOSS PALM
While the deck is (literally) tossed from hand to hand, any requisite number of cards are palmed off the bottom. This is a palm using a dynamic from the Erdnase bottom palm technique with a slight change that allows the cards to be palmed in a really disarming moment.

BARSTOOL STEAL
A card is inserted halfway down into the deck and left outjogged. In the act adjusting the outjogged card, it is switched out AND palmed with an indifferent card left outjogged. This is not the same Marlo ‘Misdirection palm’, and it is damn good.

DIAGONAL PALM SHIFT TIPS
A brief discussion on the diagonal palm shift and some tips from Jack and Lance Pierce to cover the move. There’s a brief mention of an older DPS technique which is worth looking into. I also recommend looking into tips on the move by Paul Chosse (published in ‘L.I.N.T’ by John Luka, as well as mentioned throughout his posts on the Cafe. Perfection is pain).

SECOND DEAL & SECOND DEAL TIPS
Jack goes through some tips on second and bottom dealing, sailing the deal, briefs and stud dealing. Even if you’re comfortable with your false deals, there’s still a wealth of knowledge explained in this section. There’s a technique called the ‘Flop second’ which Jack shows which is exceptional. WATCH THIS NOW AND JERK IT, SHIT-LIPS.

IMAGINE
A spectator is asked to take a card, remember it and shuffle it back into the deck. A second spectator is asked to merely think of a card. The performer then tables a card he thinks will match the second spectator’s thought of card. After some biplay, the performer then reveals the first selection reversed in the centre of the deck, and the tabled card to be the second spectator’s thought of card. I enjoyed this, although there are a number of effects you could do with the same method. The biggest point to learn from this effect is the perception of the attempted effect and how it can influence the handling/method and achieve a different outcome.

TOUCH MY HEART
This effect is awesome. Different variations of the two card transposition (sans duplicates) have come up from a number of different people. I think Jack may have showed this to me when I met him, and I lost my shit at how simple yet effective the handling is. The performer brings out the Queen of hearts and the Ace of clubs. The spectator is asked to place their finger on the back of the tabled ace of clubs, and the queen is lost in the middle of the deck.  Then the fun happens (see for yourself). This is an awesome quickie that is perfect for anyone doing walk-around or strolling sets. Love this.

THE VANISHING
This effect is a little weird, but the ending will throw everyone (even magicians) off. The Ace through Four of Spades are tabled and the four Jacks are placed on them one at a time, where the Ace through Four vanish. At the end, the Jacks have changed into the four Aces. Good shit.

FOUR
An effect using the four Jac…. WAIT no the four Aces. And here’s the Jacks. That’s how quick the effect is. The timing is similar to John Bannon’s ‘Interrobang Aces’ from ‘Dear Mr Fantasy‘; while the effect is being laid out, the effect actually happens. In this case, while you’re laying out four piles to lose the Jacks into the deck, they turn out to be the four Aces. On top of each of the laid out piles are the Jacks. It’s a bit of a weird feeling, but it’s damn good.

CARD MATRIX
As the name implies, a matrix style routine using cards. Michael Ammar has a more involved handling with a similar premise in ‘The Magic of Michael Ammar’ (Currently OOP), but I like this one better. It feels closer to one of Dean Dill’s Chink a Chink routines, but done with cards. Also, at the end the cards used (i.e. the Queens) turn into another four of a kind. Good stuff.

So, is the set worth it?

Oh, shit yeah. Jack’s the Man.

Jack’s material is always fucking amazing, and this set did not disappoint. You’re getting almost 3 hours worth of great gambling material, tips and new takes on gambling and card magic techniques from one of the biggest (and best) names in this generation’s card men. If you’re a fan of his, you should probably already have this set. If this DVD is your first exposure to Jack’s work, I recommend getting the fuck up and buying all (and I do mean all) of his work. The set is available at Penguin Magic for $49.95 plus shipping, so hurry the fuck up and buy it.

I’m going back to sleep with my Tony Chang lecture notes and three dozen cans of whipped cream. None of you bitches better wake me up.
(More to come VERY soon)

xoxo,
LH

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