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Unshuffling The Faro Shuffle Review

Official Review

January 19th, 2009 11:05pm
Reviewed by David Acer
"I can't tell you how many times I've watched magicians struggling with the Faro Shuffle, and the main problem is, they've spent many hours practicing, but they were practicing it all wrong."
Paul Gertner

Difficult sleights like the Top Change and the Pass have at the end of their steep learning curves hundreds of worthwhile tricks for the real-world performer, but in my opinion, the best (maybe only) reason for a "worker" to learn the Faro Shuffle is Paul Gertner's "Unshuffled." Given the ubiquity of the sleight, this probably bears some explaining, but really all it comes down to is that most tricks using the Faro Shuffle have somewhat mathematical plots and results, which aren't inherently engaging to laymen, while "Unshuffled" is an effect that captures the imagination as it boggles the mind.

Here's what the audience sees - the magician introduces a regular deck and explains that he uses marked cards, but the marks aren't on the backs, they're on the edges. –Normally,” he continues, –you need to be wearing special glasses to see them, but I made the marks on this deck with a black marker so they're clearly visible.” As he says this, he reveals that one side of the deck has an array of vertical black lines on it (not unlike a bar code) - "Right now, the marks are telling me that the deck is thoroughly mixed." He turns the deck face up and spreads it to show that the cards are in a random order - "Here’s another way I can use the marks." He turns the deck face down and has someone choose a card, then replace it in the pack, whereupon he says, "I'm going to lose your card with what I call an 'unshuffle' - it's the opposite of shuffling." Keeping the marked side of the deck facing the audience, he divides it into two equal piles, shuffles the inner end of one half into the outer end of the other, then squares the newly interlaced pack, as the marks on the side converge to reveal the same word written four times, one on top of the other:


The magician says, "As you can see, the deck is slowly becoming unshuffled," then he repeats the procedure, but now the marks coalesce to reveal two slightly larger words, one on top of the other:


The magician says, "Now all the red cards are separated from the black cards." He cuts the deck, then weaves the two halves together once more, but as the marks converge, they become one big word:


The magician states, "When it says unshuffled, the cards are in fact completely unshuffled," then he spreads the deck face up on the table, revealing that it's now in new-deck order (i.e., Ace through King of each suit, repeated four times). Finally, he turns to the assisting spectator and asks, "What was your card? [upon hearing the spectator's reply] Eight of Hearts? That's about 17 cards down. Let me unshuffle one more time..." He springs the deck face down from right hand to left, then squares the deck, as the marks on the side coalesce to reveal the name of the selection:

Eight of Hearts

Lesser happenings have been attributed to Gods, and unlike many sleight-driven card plots (e.g., Ace Assemblies, Triumph, the Ambitious Card), "Unshuffled" can't be duplicated through mechanical (i.e., self-working) means. Beyond that, Mr. Gertner's lessons, tips and guidance on the Faro Shuffle itself are as clear and insightful as one would expect from an exponent of his stature.

In short, "Unshuffling the Faro Shuffle" is an unparalleled resource for learning how to execute a perfect Faro Shuffle, and "Unshuffled" is the best reason I know of to bother.

David Acer

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for Unshuffling The Faro Shuffle

Author: Paul Gertner
Publisher: The Paul Gertner Group
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $40.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Windows Media Video File View Clip

Are you ready to take your close-up magic to the next level? Are you ready to learn the most amazing miracle that can be done with a deck of cards? Then you're ready for this DVD.

The Perfect Faro Teacher

In Unshuffling the Faro Shuffle Paul Gertner gives you a private one on one lesson on how to perform the Holy Grail of card magic “ the Faro Shuffle. His unique handling, fine turned from 40 years of experience and literally millions of card perfectly shuffled, is shared with you step by step in this exclusive teaching DVD.

The Perfect Card Trick

But there's more. Once you have mastered the Faro Shuffle, Paul personally teaches you his classic illusion UNSHUFFLED. This is the effect Paul has used everywhere form national TV appearances to sales meetings with 3000 people to one on one meetings where impressing an important client can close the deal. It's that good!

Anything else is just a card trick.

Includes a Custom Hand Lettered Bicycle Deck for performing UNSHUFFLED!

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