Review: Unshuffled Kicker by Paul Gertner

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: John Teo”][vc_column_text]Paul Gertner created “Unshuffling The Faro Shuffle” some 30 years ago and it has quickly become a classic in card magic because it is a novelty to find a message inked on the edges of the cards, and then by shuffling the cards, the original message changes into a different one. It is unthinkable to be able to improve upon this already wonderful creation.

Perhaps, the motivation to fool Penn and Teller in their show “Fool Us” had led Paul to come out with a kicker to his original routine. He performed this improved version in “Fool Us” and caught Penn and Teller by surprise and indeed fooled them.

In effect, a deck of cards is shown mixed up. The performer explains that each card is identified by a marking along its thin edge. When assembled together, the markings along the edge of the deck of cards form a meaningless pattern. A card is selected and lost in the deck. The deck is shuffled, but the performer calls it anti-shuffling or “unshuffling”! Strangely, the markings on the edge of the deck rearrange to form 4 identical rows of the word UNSHUFFLED. One more mxing of the cards, like a riffle shuffle, and the markings on the edge become 2 rows of the word UNSHUFFLED. One final shuffle and the marking becomes one large word UNSHUFFLED! To prove that the entire deck has been “unshuffled”, the deck is spread face upwards to show that every card is now nicely arranged as in a new deck order! However, the identitiy of the selected card has yet to be revealed. One more shuffle and the message on the edge now rearranges to spell the name of the selected card! This impossible looking routine must have been either accomplished using very advanced card techniques, or, it is indeed done by unexplainable magic! This is the original effect of “Unshuffling The Faro Shuffle” by Paul Gertner.

The Paul Gertner’s “kicker” is to perform yet another “unshuffle” and the entire deck is shown to now consist of all red cards gathered together in one half of the deck while the black cards are together in the other half. The deck is squared up and the message on the edge now slowly morphs into PENN & TELLER, an unexpected kicker! Of course, this kicker message can be customised to whatever message you wish. It can be the name of a second selected card, or even HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

You receive a very well produced instructional DVD with an easily manoeuverable menu, and a precision made gimmick for the “kicker” ending. Unlike his first effect “Unshuffling The Faro Shuffle”, this does not come with the ready-made deck. You are taught how to construct this deck in the DVD. Paul is a very good teacher and everything is explained in a well organised and easy to understand manner. The kicker gimmick is ingeniously conceived and well-made. It enables a blurred message on the edge of the deck to slowly morph into your kicker message. You are taught how to customise this gimmick to suit the brand of poker-sized deck that you are using. You are also shown how to properly ink your kicker message on this gaff and how to maintain the gimmick so that it will give you prolonged use.

2 methods are taught on how to use this kicker device. One is used in conjunction with your card box – this is the easy method. The second method is the one used by Paul for “Fool Us”. This requires some DIY on your close-up pad.

Reading the effect, it becomes clear that you need to do several perfect Faro shuffles. Paul covers this very well in the DVD.

For those who are not confident in doing perfect Faro shuffles, Paul teaches a “no Faro” version which is also quite effective. You do not have the UNSHUFFLED message on the deck, but the inked markings on the edges of the cards magically morph into the name of the selected card! In other words, you have only one transformation of the haphazard markings to the revelation of the selected card. The selected card is then found inside the empty card box. This part of the effect is not found in the original routine. Then, as a bonus, if you wish to have it, the deck unshuffles itself into new deck order except for the missing selected card! The entire deck can then be examined.

Many performer will want to practise and perfect their Faro shuffle in order to do Paul Gertner’s original effect as he performed it for Penn & Teller. Whichever version you choose, you will want to include “Unshuffled Kicker” in your performing repertoire.

Magic is our passion but we are not a magic shop ? You can purchase this here!

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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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