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Gaukelwerk with Cards

reviewed by Larry Travis (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 01 March, 2021)

Gaukelwerk with CardsThis is an excellent ebook. It would be an understatement to say that it's easily worth the price! Gaukelwerk with Playing Cards is aptly subtitled, “Clocking the Deck and Other Gems.” Let's talk about clocking the deck, and then the other gems.

As a relative newcomer to card magic, I learned only fairly recently about clocking when I read Tap A Lack by Paul Cummins and Diplopia by Paul Vigil. Later I read another method in Power Plays by Mike Powers. There are, of course, other sources and methods, and Dr. Solka provides a brief history and helpful list of resources in Gaukelwerk. At the time of this review, I have not yet investigated those other sources.

For those with ears to hear (eyes to read?), a common method of clocking involves casting out 10s in your first pass through the deck to determine the missing card's value, and then often dealing with ambiguous results in your second pass through the deck to determine the suit. The method in Power Plays eliminates the ambiguities, and seems excellent to me. But my brain does not want to cooperate! I'm sure with plenty of practice I could get accustomed to it.

However, the Mingau Location in Gaukelwerk is the one I will focus on learning. It also eliminates ambiguous results on the first pass, and it comes more naturally to me. I am very happy to have learned it!

The other main method of clocking the deck in this ebook is Dr. Solka's own Solka Location. This is truly excellent. Rather than seeking to eliminate ambiguity in the results of the first pass in order to speed up the second, the Solka Location takes the opposite approach. It accepts greater ambiguity to resolve in the second pass, in exchange for what should be, with practice and experience, a lightning-fast first pass. For those with eyes to read, the first pass involves no casting out, only modifying your running total by 1 or 2 at a time, and being able to ignore a larger number of cards.

I really think the Solka Location should be extremely powerful, if you already know the colour of the missing card (as you often do in clocking scenarios, e.g., Tap A Lack and Diplopia). But the number of ambiguities would become, it seems to me, prohibitively cumbersome if clocking a whole deck to identify a missing card of unknown colour. This is the main reason I have opted to learn Mingau instead. Nevertheless, both methods are great and I enjoyed learning about the Solka Method and the thinking behind it. If your intention is to clock only for a known colour, or if you are willing and able to learn more than one method of clocking, then I strongly recommend the Solka Location.

There is a third clocking method in the ebook, the Wasshuber Method, and also some variations and extra hints for the two main methods. You might say there is a fourth method in the section entitled “Cues for the Professional.”

What “Other Gems” are there in Gaukelwerk? There are two culls and two false shuffles. The Mingau Cull and Landmark Cull are not versatile culls, but have the specific goal of ordering the deck in alternating colours. Personally, I enjoyed toying with these but probably will not be adopting them. I could be wrong, but I think even with lots of practice to build up speed and fluidity, these culls might not withstand much “heat.” This is absolutely no problem if your performance context and style permits, and Dr. Solka briefly lists some tactics for disguising the culls. That is to say, I don't believe these culls are bad; they're just not ideal for my personal style and performance context.

The two false shuffles are really given as a single shuffle, the Hans False Shuffle, and a variation on it, the Barry Ray alternative handling. I don't think it gives away too much to say that the Hans utilises a Hindu grip, and the Ray a Biddle grip.

Initially, I thought I would not use either. However, the more I play with the Barry Ray variant, the more I like it, and I've added it to my toolkit. The Hans False Shuffle (either version) is not what might be called an “explicit” false shuffle. If, hypothetically, you called attention to the shuffle in performance by saying, “Behold, I shall now mix the deck thoroughly!”, then you will have cued the spectator to watch and he might well notice that the cards aren't truly mixed.

It's debatable whether you should do such a thing with any false shuffle! However, the beauty of the Hans False Shuffle is that it is an “implicit” shuffle. You in fact seem to be cutting through the deck only to display a few card faces, showing they are random. In the process, you give the impression that you are mixing the deck even further as you go. Done smoothly and casually, it's quite a convincer. And if a spectator did notice the cards weren't being mixed, there's no harm done, because you haven't even claimed you were mixing them.

I have not had much opportunity yet to test it on live spectators. However, the ones to whom I have shown it are my usual guinea pigs for new tricks and techniques. They are very sharp, very observant, and have come to learn a fair bit about the things I get up to with a deck of cards. In other words, I have grown confident that anything that fools them will fool the average spectator. I found that for all of them, just showing the top card, executing the Ray version of Hans without comment, and doing nothing else, left them surprised when I showed the same card still on top (let alone the entire deck still in the same order).

Gaukelwerk with Playing Cards by Hans-Christian Solka is an excellent ebook and one of my favourite magic purchases. I have two techniques, the Hans False Shuffle (Barry Ray handling) and the Mingau Location, which are going straight into my toolkit for card magic. I think other readers might benefit enormously from the Solka Location and the other gems in the book. Regardless of what I've chosen to use, I found all the content of the ebook interesting and enjoyable to read.

On a personal note, Dr. Solka has also succeeded in giving this reader a fondness for his teacher, “Schorsch.” A young Hans-Christian bribed Herr Mingau with cigars to learn card techniques, and now the experienced Hans-Christian honours him in Gaukelwerk with Playing Cards. On another personal note, Dr. Solka encourages readers to contact him with feedback, and when I did he replied promptly and thoughtfully, which I appreciate dearly.

It's too late to make a long review short. But you would do well to add this ebook to your library!

The Jastrow Illusion in Magic

reviewed by Horst Paffen
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 28 February, 2021)

The Jastrow Illusion in MagicAn interesting overview of an equally interesting topic. However, Johann Joseph Oppel (1815-1894), mentioned on page 4, was not a psychologist, but a versatile man. He was mainly a pedagogue, physicist, and dialect researcher. He is considered the founder of scientific research into the Frankfurt (Main) dialect in Germany.

Thrilling Magic

reviewed by Will Tingle
Rating: ★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 26 February, 2021)

Thrilling MagicMany of the methods in this book are wrong; some of which are outright dangerous.

Real Linked

reviewed by Bobby George (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Thursday 11 February, 2021)

Real LinkedI am interested in linking card effect and try to learn it whenever possible so I have some basic idea of how things are done because I used to perform linking card effect like Paul Harris immaculate connection and One card link by Sixten Beme both are good effects. So when I came to this effect I was a little skeptical about this I thought what more this person could do but I was wrong this man is a genius.


Spectator could take any card No force Can sign card Can inspect before linking and after unlink Can be given out as a souvenir after unlinking the card.

You have to prepare the gimmick ahead of time but I don't consider this a negative it is only 5 to 10 minutes of preparation and easy to make.


The only negative I found is sometimes the hand goes out of frame but not always this might be because he is using a fixed cam and nobody is assisting him in taking the video. In my opinion, this is a really good purchase.

Celebrity Poker

reviewed by Jon Dabach (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 19 January, 2021)

Celebrity PokerGreat routine! Very easy and some good comedic bits in there. In truth it's more akin to mental epic than confabulation. Nothing really new here just good techniques and methods from other put together in quite a commercial routine.

Virtual Add a Number

reviewed by David Burmeister (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 17 January, 2021)

Virtual Add a NumberThis was gifted to me from UNME. It is an easy routine that is designed for entertaining the BELIEVERS and NON BELIEVERS. The nice thing is that you have an add a number effect that can be done under ANY situations. VIRTUAL SITUATIONS or REAL PROGRAM SITUATIONS. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST. I recommend this very highly.


reviewed by David Burmeister (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 17 January, 2021)

LifecraftThis Ebook was gifted to me from UNME. It is a lighthearted mentalism effect that will bring joy to the spectator in spite of all the COVID VIRUS in this world. It is not hard to do and is worth the cost. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST.

Propless Pin Pricks

reviewed by David Burmeister (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 10 January, 2021)

Propless Pin PricksThis is another nice propless effect from THE UNKNOWN MENTALIST. I believe that you need to have a commanding personality to pull this off. The idea for this has been around in various forms for many years. This is a somewhat updated version. I need to think about how I'm going to present this before I use it myself. Having said all this I recommend that you buy this. The material gives you a LOT of ways to present the various effects so the price is very little for what you get. Well done UNKNOWN MENTALIST.

15 Exciting Minutes with a Borrowed Deck

reviewed by David Martin (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 09 January, 2021)

15 Exciting Minutes with a Borrowed DeckOne thing I've learned studying our craft for the last 33 years is that if you wish to discover something "new" to study, one must look to the past.

I just purchased this gem of a book yesterday and already I am compelled to shout as loud as I can that the title of this book does not lie. I have already slightly tweaked the methods used in a few of these gems and I will also develop my own presentations for these until I'm ready to perform this act from start to finish for family and friends.

I know doing so will provide my audiences with a sense that perhaps there are some things in this universe and life that we aren't meant to comprehend or understand and that's great and very beautiful. All of this with a pack of cards that may be borrowed.

Highly recommended!

Gozinta Boxes Revisited

reviewed by Kim Lee
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 29 December, 2020)

Gozinta Boxes RevisitedYour boxes have important distinctive features for misdirection. The lettering "Big", "Medium", and "Small" was nice in your triple box video. But your solid black looks solid and "ordinary" too.

The medium box adds misdirection as you place it on the table, so the audience does not notice how the small box comes out.

But your asymmetry is especially interesting, because the big black box goes completely inside the small transparent box in identical orientation! The big black box is literally strictly smaller in every dimension!

Obviously, you cannot fit each box symmetrically into the other. There must be something fishy. You cleverly designed the boxes so that a small discrepancy appears at the beginning, when the audience is not suspicious. They just see an ordinary box! The only "dirty work" is unpacking the box. At the end, you cleanly and symmetrically nest the large box inside, fully closed. It is a nice touch.

Cathy Shadows: Doing It For Real

reviewed by David Martin (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 27 December, 2020)

Cathy Shadows: Doing It For RealFor a small sum of money you are getting a short and quickly read PDF. Even though it's a quick read, the advice that "Cathy Shadows" gives is really great if one wants to learn some mental exercises to do some classic plots in mentalism for real. My only advice to a student of the esotric arts before purchasing this is to keep a very open mind while studying these exercises. At the very least you'll learn how to make a mentalism routine or single effect more theatrically compelling through simple means.

Ellisdons Catalog

reviewed by Derek Millward (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 13 December, 2020)

Ellisdons CatalogExcellent item and very fast download. I've been trying to locate a copy of Ellisdons catalogue for years as I remember how much fun and excitement I had when I was a young boy reading their adds on the backs of comics. This catalogue download is very clear and will print out well and I'm really looking forward to seeing it in print form. The price of $4.00 is great value and I received the download within a couple of minutes of paying for it in the UK. Thank you very much for offering this service, I really appreciate it and all the best from the UK.

Spirit Slate

reviewed by Joe Libby (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 29 November, 2020)

Spirit SlateThis is an unusual and startling slate effect. It's a natural for seances, but it can also be effective for all kinds of performances. You can find everything you need for a few dollars at your craft store and grocery store. Recommended!


reviewed by Jean-Baptiste Prevost (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Tuesday 17 November, 2020)

Hypno-TrixNothing new for those who already know the subject, some things that today are ridiculous and for the's cute.

Mental Foursome

reviewed by Michael Cook
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Saturday 31 October, 2020)

Mental FoursomeI bought this pdf just for the first effect. It states that when the cards are spread face up that the spectator selects a card. Not true! The performer selects the face up card. Had I known that I wouldn’t have purchased this. Having said that the other three effects are pretty good.

Scripted #33: Ring and Rope

reviewed by Karsten Meyerhoff (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Monday 26 October, 2020)

Scripted #33: Ring and RopeI have fiddled with the Ring&Rope-concept for quite a while, but it never made it into my repertoire as I couldn't find a story that I thought was interesting enough for the audience and that fit my style. So, I was pleasantly surprised to find a routine that comes with 'a killer script' by the author of 'How to write a script' - or so the ad goes. Ordinary, examinable props, nothing to bring in or out, simple, clear moves: That ticked all the boxes for me.

I will have to say that personally I am rather disappointed. Without giving too much away, I will say that the script is of the type: 'I once saw a magician do this ... and then this ... and then this ...'. Sure, it comes with: 'That's what got me hooked on magic as a child.' and that does add an emotional layer, but I am sorry: That's not a 'killer script' in my book. The story doesn't justify the props at all: The ring is a ring and the rope is a rope. It doesn't give meaning to the threading and unthreading of the rope: It just happens. Yes, it is interesting to read in the script where the author got the moves and the other inspirations from and how he made them 'his own', but that still doesn't make for a killer script. I am stressing all this, since the scripting is presented as the unique selling point of the routine.

Having said that: It is a nice routine that does everything else it claims to do and to be. The props are simple and examinable (at any time), no additional gimmicks are necessary, nothing has to be rung in or out and the moves are simple and clear for both, the magician and the audience. There is no endless fiddling with the rope or the ring, no handing stuff from one hand to the other and back again. The moves flow nicely into one another giving the routine a good flow and a clear structure and the angles are really good on this one. The routine is short and sweet, too: Many Ring&Rope-routines are too long for my taste, so that's another plus.

I wish I could give this two marks: For the script and for the routine as such, because that way I could say that I like the handling and the 'technical' aspects of the routine, but don't care much for the script - which is emphasized so much in the ad.

Hints and Tips 2

reviewed by Ferry Gerats (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 09 October, 2020)

Hints and Tips 2These are clearly tips from a performer who has got lots of experience under his belt. There are commercial tips, performing tips and tips on the handling and maintenance of props. It is amazing that he offers more than 20 tips all for free!

P.S. For the card guys, he describes a way to make a slick card.


reviewed by Enrico Varella
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 07 October, 2020)

Paradoxes[I am a colleague of Paul and have received this ebook free of charge.]

This book is slightly different from most of Paul's books. Then again, it is not. There is a paradox. Firstly, this book is punctuated with many funny and brain-shifting visuals that showcase optical illusions. These reinforce the idea of the book's title. Secondly, the three effects demonstrate the notion of how an object can 'seemingly' be in two places at one time. Thirdly, as familiar as some of these plots appear to be, they have a slight 'twist' to them - twisted, perhaps. And, a twisted perception of reality can be magical for your audience. Enjoy these 'paradoxes'!


reviewed by Roy Eidem
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 04 October, 2020)

Paradoxes[I am a colleague of Paul and have received this ebook free of charge.]

If you’re not familiar with Paul’s work, now is a good time to jump in. He is a true, in the trenches, full-time performer who knows what sells & entertains in the real world. For highly commercial pleasing, magic I highly recommend you check out his other works too.

Legacy: Yin Yang Pot

reviewed by Joe Libby (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 02 October, 2020)

Legacy: Yin Yang PotThis is a well-thought-out and easy version of the "Think-a-Drink" or "Any Drink Called For" plot. While I figured out what this was from watching the demo, I'm glad I purchased the ebook since it describes some touches that help to make the routine deceptive.

Sidebar: Brick mentions one place to buy the necessary prop, but I bought it from Grand Illusions in the UK.

This is recommended for anyone looking for a "Think-a-Drink" routine that isn't going to cost a small fortune!


reviewed by Rick Carruth
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Wednesday 30 September, 2020)

Paradoxes[I am a colleague of Paul and have received this ebook free of charge.]

Paradoxes, by Paul A. Lelekis, is another great example of what a great magician with magical writing abilities can accomplish. Paradoxes features three effects with varying levels of skill. Although none are true knuckle-busters, they are something the intermediate card guy will appreciate. The advanced beginner can watch the included videos and perform these effects after a little practice. Unlike the typical pick-a-card effects, Paul uses his included videos to teach you how to confound your spectator by making them see something they don't actually see... they only think they see you perform moves you don't actually do. Cards are there.. and then they aren't. Cards are in a packet.. and then they are back in the deck. Cards are in the deck.. and then they're face down on the table. Not your typical stuff. Paradoxes is something a little different from Paul. And if you're ready for something different.. Paradoxes is IT...


reviewed by Christopher Weber
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 27 September, 2020)

Paradoxes[I am a colleague of Paul and have received this ebook free of charge.]

What better time than now to learn some great new card magic? Paradoxes by Paul Lelekis fits the bill for sure! This e-book opens with a short definition of what a paradox is and some very cool and some very funny and clever examples to whet your appetite for what’s to come. This includes a drawing by one of my favorite artists, E. C. Escher. Paul is known for his clear and concise instructions with numerous tips and subtleties to help enhance your performance. This book is no exception. Within the three card effects contained here, you’ll find many bits of sound advice to help you not only “sell” the effect but to make these and all of your magic more entertaining. Four demonstration videos plus a link to others are included to aid you with some of the more advanced sleights. Paul is a master at finding sleights that streamline effects and are easier to perform and yet take nothing away from the effect. In many cases, his choice of sleights actually makes the effects better by letting you keep your mind on your audience and the fun and entertainment that these effects will bring to them and to you! These three card effects are all beautifully constructed gems and have a very logical flow to them. The storylines lend themselves to plenty of great patter possibilities in addition to Paul’s recommendations. I would recommend doing what I did for example with Revenge of the Knerds and A “Dill”-Y of A Paradox and that is read through the entire effect, then go back with deck in hand and work through slowly, a segment at a time. You’ll find that in no time the fluidity will come alive and you’ll be settling in with these little masterpieces of magic! Enjoy the ride!!

Best Sellers

reviewed by Tim Brown (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 25 September, 2020)

Best SellersTom Sellers is sooo underrated!!! His ingenuity and proliferation of ideas into effects makes him one of my most favorite magician/creators! You should have seen the look on my face when viewing some material by Ali Bongo and Rachel Colombini to find out that they were using material that Tom Sellers came up with. His ideas are that good! Plus, I love DIY! I get giddy re-reading his material because of the diagrams that accompany the text, my hands can't wait to get started making up some new miracles that really do work and look amazing. If you can find any of his material, I'm sure there'll be something for you to enjoy, I always do.

Dancing with the Cards

reviewed by Paul Lelekis
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Friday 04 September, 2020)

Dancing with the CardsWonderful array of easy-to-do card magic that is artfully "choreographed"...and will make you laugh! Dance like nobody's's great misdirection!

Eddie's Dumbfounders with Cards

reviewed by Sarin Suriyakoon (confirmed purchase)
Rating: ★★★★★ (Date Added: Sunday 30 August, 2020)

Eddie's Dumbfounders with CardsThese are the fooler and innovative. Some of them can be done over the phone, blindfolded, and all of them (except one you need a bit of work) can be done with borrowed deck. Most of them can be presented as mentalism.

Displaying 308 to 332 (of 1632 reviews)
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