Self-working card tricks are mostly based on mathematical principles – this usually involves a lot of counting and movements of cards.  This slows down the pace of card tricks and makes them procedural, and causes them to lose their magical impact.

Except for a couple of tricks where counting is part of the effect, Ryan Schlutz is able to conceal the counting procedure used.  As a result, his effects are all quite direct and to the audience, the magician is simply able to perform miracles!

Gimmicks are also used to eliminate sleight-of-hand.  They are used in some of the effects here, but they are so subtle that they are undetectable by the audience.

When sleights are not used, the performer has to manage both the deck as well as his audience.  In the performances, you can see that Ryan is a master of this.  Instead of the usual spreading of cards for the spectator to pick one, Ryan allows the spectator to take out a chunk of cards anywhere from the deck, and from that packet of cards, to pick one card.  The spectator then loses the chosen card in another random packet of cards.  The spectator appears to be doing everything with the performer hardly touching the deck of cards, yet, the magician is able to divine the chosen card.

Altogether, 7 effects are taught in the DVD:

1)    Knocked Subconscious – a card is chosen and cleanly lost in a random packet of cards, yet the performer is able to divine the chosen card without even looking at the faces of the cards.

2)    Four Shadowed – a card is randomly chosen by a spectator and the magician is able to locate its 3 other mates in a truly magical way.

3)    Deconstructed Construction – a spectator randomly takes a packet of cards.  The number of cards in this packet indicates the value of a playing card, and the spectator next simply thinks of a suit.  Without any clue, the performer is able to divine the thought-of playing card.

4)    Degree Of Board-Dom – this is a cute version of Aronson’s Shuffled Board that uses a small packet of cards and that allows a spectator to make real choices, yet the performer is able to tell how many cards are finally turned over.

5)    It Cuts Deep – a devious way of using the cut-deeper force.  Three cards are chosen randomly by the spectator and the performer can name each of them easily.

6)    Methodical – this is a 3-phase find-the-card effect using only a small packet of cards, and each phase appears to be more impossible than the last.

7)    1492 – a chosen card is truly lost in a deck of cards that is shuffled many times by the spectator – yet the performer is able to pick up the chosen card just by feel alone.

 

In all these effects, the performer hardly touches the deck – yet he is able to find the chosen card each time.  Even hardcore sleight-of-hand card tricks do not look this impossible!  (5/5 stars rating)