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At the Table Live Lecture - John Guastaferro 7/23/2014 Review

Official Review

November 24th, 2014 7:26am
Reviewed by Stuart Philip
This two and a half hour lecture by John Guastaferro is another killer episode of the Murphy’s Magic “At The Table” lecture series hosted by Mike Hankins. The 45 year old Guastaferro teaches and entertains with nothing more than a deck of cards, some rope, finger rings and a straw.

The audio quality for the first fourteen minutes of this lecture is a bit off, until it is adjusted and that is the only negative comment about this worthwhile download. During the course of the lecture, Guastaferro discusses his philosophy about magic, the evolution and improvement of his routines and his interplay with his audiences. Guastaferro performs and explains many tricks and routines which will appeal to performers of varying levels of skill. Guastaferro frequently takes questions from the audience or Hankins’ live internet feed during the course of the lecture and is genuinely interested in the audience and connecting with them as part of his experience in performing. During the course of the lecture, John explains why the words, “creativity”, “simplicity,” and ”artistry” are words that are his guiding principles in magic.

John starts off the lecture by performing his “In the Doghouse” card transposition routine where a spectator’s card switches places with the two Jokers and ends up in the card box. The techniques used during this routine (which can be used with other routines) are clearly explained, including some card switches that are easy and fun to do. Mike frequently stops and asks John to explain his moves which enhances the lecture and makes it more valuable to the viewer. John performs a medley of tricks in a row which keeps adding to the audience’s amazement. He uses various techniques and flourishes during this routine, which makes the entire presentation seem like real magic.

John continues with an amazing unpublished gambling trick in which he has a spectator act as the dealer and indicates that “20” is a lucky number for the trick and he puts down a twenty dollar bill down as a bet on the table. John calls another audience member up and cuts the cards into 3 packets. The spectator, Hankins and Guastaferro each take a pile, cut them and then exchange the piles amongst themselves. Each packet is then freely mixed by the three and placed into one pile. A random “lucky card” is thrown on the table face down and then the deck is riffle shuffled. Guastaferro predicts that spectator will deal a winning blackjack hand, specifically a 20, without busting. The hand is dealt face down and after 5 cards are dealt, Hankins indicates that he drew a 20, the predicted winning blackjack hand. And, of course, John indicates that the lucky card would have given him a “blackjack” and it is revealed to be an Ace. That in of itself is impressive, but then, John asks if the five face-down cards would be a good poker hand. In fact it is a straight and when John turns over the twenty dollar bill, it has prediction written on it that the spectator would receive a straight flush. This is an easy and very impressive trick to perform. One of the techniques explained as a component of this trick is the Charlier Shuffle, which is a very easy and convincing shuffle that keeps the deck in the same order, despite the appearance that it is being completely mixed.

John then performs “Little White Lies” from his book, Seven Wonders, where he takes the four Queens from his wallet and a prediction written on the back of a business card, which he shows and then places face down. The spectator then picks an undisclosed number (only indicating if it is even or odd) and the performer names a number and the spectator counts the cards under the table from top to bottom, based upon those numbers. The spectator then turns one card in the small stack he is holding over and brings the cards to the top of the table. When he spreads the cards, the prediction card is shown to be the face-up card. Then, all of the Queens are shuffled by the performer and when turned over again, they are all blank as well as the prediction card. The effect is amazing. Again, another incredibly impressive and easy card trick. Although not previously explained in his book, John teaches how to perform this trick from a wallet with some very easy and slight alterations to the wallet.

Based upon a live question, Guastaferro, departs from his pre-planned lecture and performs an impressive trick that he had not anticipated he would perform during the lecture, from his e-book RSG. He demonstrates and explains several moves that when put together compose another great card trick.

One of the many moves that Guastaferro demonstrates and teaches is a beautiful flourish, the ballet cut. The ballet cut is a fluid flip and toss of the deck, that is also a false cut.

Guastaferro performs Proximity Peak Control and has several spectators pick cards and then cards are shuffles and mixed throughout and all the cards are located and found. This like everything Guastaferro does is amazingly impressive. The explanation reveals how easy it is to do an amazing effect.
After about an hour and twenty minutes of jammed packed moves and card tricks, John turns to non-card close-up tricks. His first trick is an impromptu trick with a straw, Zen Bend. Zen Bend is a visual straw bend which is easy, quick and fun to perform and can be done within an instant, whenever you have a straw. The next trick is a series of ring and straw tricks that result in the appearance of a ring in a closed fist, the disappearance of a straw and the ring penetrating and jumping from the magician’s palm to the middle of a straw, even if it is being held by spectators on each end. John next performs Clifton’s ring move and is able to vanish a ring off of a string, does a ring transposition with his ring and the spectator’s ring, which appears on his finger, while his ring ends up on the rope. John continues his ring and string routine by making a necklace with a string and making a ring from his pocket jump to the looped ring around his neck.
John then performs “Stress Test” and has the spectator hold a business card sized color changing stress meter. The spectator picks a card when John is dribbling the deck face down on the table. John names the card, incorrectly, and indicates that he is “stressed out” about blowing the trick. The spectator then looks at the stress meter card and the name of his actual card has appeared in writing on the color changing stress meter. During the explanation. John shows his dribble force across a table. He also reveals how to erase sharpie ink with a dry erase marker, which is an interesting tip.
John finishes up the lecture by returning to card tricks, including “Color Blind” in which John buries four of a kind in the deck. The two red cards appear on the top of the deck and are placed down on the table. Then with a quick move, he pulls two cards out of the deck and they are revealed to be the two red cards that he had already placed down on the table. The face down cards are then shown to have transposed with the red cards and are the two matching black cards. He then performs an updated version of his trick “Color Blind” and “Tail Spin”. Guastaferro then performs “Hide and Seek” where the patter explains that the four Jacks will hide and the four Aces will look for the hiding Jacks. The four Aces change places with four Jacks after being handled and displayed by both the performer and spectator.
In the finale, Multi-Mental, Guastaferro has numerous spectators choose and remember a card. He is then able to read each spectator’s mind when they think about their cards, by naming the cards and then producing them in various and impressive ways. John performs this trick using a basic technique and although this is not a complicated trick to perform, it will make you look like a pro.
This lecture is so dense with amazing tricks, moves, routines and techniques that you will need to watch it several times to absorb the mountain of material and information that will no doubt add to your act.
I highly recommend this excellent installment in this great series by Murphy’s Magic.

Available at your favorite Murphy’s Magic dealer

Product info for At the Table Live Lecture - John Guastaferro 7/23/2014

Author: Guastaferro, John
Publisher: Murphys Magic Supplies
Average Rating:  (3)
Retail Price: $24.95
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Manufacturer's Description:

John Guastaferro is a dynamic performer, author and creator. His published works are acclaimed by magicians worldwide, including his Brainstorm DVDs (2003) and book One Degree (2010). In this new lecture, John will cover a broad range of effects, predominately with playing cards, featuring some new material and old favorites. He'll also talk about the creative process and how the one-degree approach can create great impact through small refinements. Learn more about John at



  • In the Doghouse (two Jokers and a selection transpose)
  • Club Daley (a two-phase sandwich effect using two selections) MOVES

  • Ballet Cut (John's versatile in-the-hands false cut/flourish)
  • Proximity Peek Control (learn the identify and position of peeked card) MENTAL
  • Twenty (a commercial blackjack and poker effect with a mental twist)
  • Little White Lies (a fooling packet effect with an ending no one sees coming) NON-CARDS

  • Some fun bits, including unpublished ideas for Ring & StringACES

  • Tailspin (an impromptu twisting effect with some new added touches)
  • Hide & Seek (a very clean pocket interchange effect)CLOSER

  • Multi-Mental (John's signature multiple selection routine)

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