Review: Ultimatum Deck by Steve Brownley and Alakazam Magic

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: John Teo” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Abril%20Fatface%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The Ultimatum Deck is an utility deck that allows you to perform some strong magic.

It is simple in concept and in construction, and is easy to use.  This clever deck is the brainchild of Steve Brownley.  He first marketed this deck through Russell Hall of Magick Enterprises.  Peter Nardi of Alakazam Magic now bought over this right to manufacture and sell the Ultimatum Deck.

You receive the Ultimatum Deck inside a larger square cardboard box.  Alakazam Magic has stopped shipping physical instructional DVDs with the products they sell.  Purchasers are given a password from which they can either download or watch the streaming video instructions from the internet.  This will cut down manufacturing and shipping costs.  This explains why you receive the deck in an oversized box – the box was originally designed to contain the instructional DVD.

Steve teaches 4 routines with his Ultimatum Deck.

  • Three Choice Cuts – 3 spectators choose a card each and then the chosen cards are lost in the deck.  A fourth spectator cuts the deck into 3 separate piles.  The top card of each pile turns out to be the 3 selected cards respectively.
  • Double ACAAN – 2 cards are chosen and then lost in the deck.  2 spectators are asked to give a number each between 1 to 52.  The deck is spread on the table.  The cards are counted to the 2 named numbers, and the 2 chosen cards are found there.
  • Ultimate Stop – a spectator stops the performer at any point as the latter deals cards on the table.  The card stopped at turns out to be the selected card of another spectator.
  • Luck & Intuition – 2 cards are selected and then lost in the deck.  The first card is found as the first spectator cuts the deck at any point.  The second card is found as the second spectator throws an indifferent card randomly into the deck as the cards are dribbled onto the table.

As a bonus, the original 1 hour video instructions put up by Magick Enterprises is also included.  In it, Steve Brownley, together with Andrew Normansell and Adam Bell discuss the 4 routines plus some other handlings and applications of the Ultimatum Deck.  An interesting effect is Double Spectator Stab, where 2 cards are chosen and lost in the deck.  A third spectator thrusts an indifferent card into the deck and finds the 2 chosen cards, one on each side of the card.  Other applications include An Odd Card Prediction, Spectator Location, Multiple Selection Plus, Chosen Card To Pocket, No-Pick Prediction and others.

My favourite routines are Three Choice Cuts and Double Spectator Stab, because in each effect, the magic happens in a spectator’s hands.

It does not make sense to perform more than one routine to the same audience at any one time.  So you have to be contended to perform only one of the many routines using the Ultimatum Deck to the same audience, unless you wish to secretly change decks.

You also need to manage the spectators somewhat when they choose their cards from this deck.  There is no discussion on what would happen if a spectator goes wild, especially when this person has a little too much drink, and insists on picking a card from all over the deck.  With appropriate audience management, the possibility of landing in such a predicament is quite remote.

The Ultimatum Deck is an easy utility deck to understand and use.  Once you understand the construction of the deck, you can find other applications for the Deck, effects that can be quite mind boggling.

[usr 8]

Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available from all reputable Murphy’s Magic dealers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]55764-full[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]


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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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