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stuartp

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REVIEW: Alpha = Omega by Woody Aragón - The Vault Series by Murphy's Magic

RATING: 9 out of 10

LINK TO REVIEW: http://straighttalkmagicreviews.com/alphaomega/

FULL REVIEW: Alpha = Omega is a great trick by Woody Aragon and released by Murphy’s Magic as part of its "The Vault" series.  It is self-working and can be done with a borrowed and shuffled deck.  Basically, the spectator selects a card by a certain procedure.  The performer then deals the cards into two piles and tried to guess where the selected card is, but not before repeatedly dealing 51 cards into the spectator’s pile and leaving 1 card in the performer’s pile.  And, of course, the lone card sitting on the table in front of the performer is the performer’s card.

Aragon is an enthusiastic and energy filled performer who has a contagious laugh and a lively performing style.  This is crucial to successfully performing this trick because it takes a few minutes to perform.  This trick has a significant amount of stopping and dealing, which can be boring, but  Aragon sings a song when the dealing is happening.  This can be very funny, depending on what you are singing and it distracts from the fact that this trick takes a few minutes.

The 6 minute download contains only the explanation with Aragon sitting behind a table with a friend.  The 3 minute performance can be seen on the Murphy’s Magic website as the promotional video and there is a brief introduction by Bro Gilbert.

For only $4.95 you get a great trick at http://www.murphysmagic.com from a superb performer that is easy to learn, easy to perform and really freaks people out!

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #2 
Great review!

Omega = Alpha is a version of Tantalizer from Royal Road to Card Magic.   This effect has received a lot of attention from a lot of people, including Lennart Green, Denis Behr, Joshua Jay, and Harry Lorayne, who wrote an extended study called What Are the Odds: A Tantalizer Treatise in Special Effects.  Cameron Francis has just released an eBook called Tantalized with 7 different handlings of the effect.

Woody's version features a selection process that requires no card-handling expertise, which is fine but it makes the trick a bit longer.  Woody gets a laugh by pretending to be falling asleep during this process. 

The main challenge with all Tantalizer effects is that you deal 52 cards, then 26, then 13, then 6, then 3 ... that's 100 cards ... so you need to make this part of the performance entertaining.  Woody sings a song, which fits his bubbly, whimsical persona - but not mine. 

I really like Woody's method for this trick but I have not yet found a presentation that feels right for me.
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #3 
  You neglected to mention that I teach a "handling" which cuts the dealing in half - in What Are The Odds? No big deal; but thought it should be mentioned.
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Paul Hallas

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It it's the effect I think it is, a student of mine (Sam Taplin) many years ago put together a version where at the conclusion the discarded 51 cards were in new deck order.
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chris w

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Hallas
It it's the effect I think it is, a student of mine (Sam Taplin) many years ago put together a version where at the conclusion the discarded 51 cards were in new deck order.


Denis Behr spoke about using the regularity/predictability of the deal in this trick to get into a known order at one of the Essential Magic Conferences. 2012, I think it was.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
  You neglected to mention that I teach a "handling" which cuts the dealing in half - in What Are The Odds? No big deal; but thought it should be mentioned.


Actually, Harry, in his new ebook Tantalized, (as mentioned by Robin), Cameron Francis pays tribute to your effect, from Special Effects, called What Are the Odds, and cites it as inspiration.

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #7 
      That's nice.
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Rudy Tinoco

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
  You neglected to mention that I teach a "handling" which cuts the dealing in half - in What Are The Odds? No big deal; but thought it should be mentioned.


"What are the odds" is a fantastic trick! There's a video of me demonstrating it on Youtube. I'll post the link later.

Rudy

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Mike Powers

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Denis Behr published the set up to end up in new deck order after the Tantalizer. I think it's in vol. 1 of Handcrafted Card Magic. I'll check.

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chris w

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Reply with quote  #10 
Using Behr's equally handy Conjuring Archive, looks like you're right, Mike. Page 43 or thereabouts.
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François Lagrange

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Reply with quote  #11 

The best version of The Tantalizer I know, from a procedural point of view, is described in Steve Beam’s Semi-Automatic Card Tricks Vol. 7: The Tarantulizer by Claude Imperiale. It does not require any set-up unlike the versions based on The Royal Road to Card Magic effect, and which makes the Woody Aragón effect so painfully long for example . And it’s of course very easy to perform.

Two different presentations by CI are further described in SACT 7: Grab It Before They Do and White Christmas. The former is impromptu with a gambling theme and the latter is excellent as the effect finishes with an all blank deck (faces), except for the unforced selection. It’s a very well-constructed effect that has a strong impact.

Check it out, and I believe you're unlikely to ever use the original again in an impromptu situation.

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Harry Lorayne

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   Just curious, Francois, do you know my What Are The Odds version(s)?  Just curious. (At least you say above that it's "the best version you know." Not just "the best." That's why I'm asking if you "know" my version(s)..
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François Lagrange

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Reply with quote  #13 

Harry, I know your version and it’s great as the kicker is very strong. But, I was not comparing your effect per se, but the procedure to bring the selected card last at the end of the dealing process.  

Your version is actually part of my repertoire, but I use Claude’s handling to streamline the handling and setup.

For instance, in some of your versions you have the selection positioned as in the original Tantalizer. Using Claude’s idea, and keeping the ace setup nearly identical to the one described in your first effect, the selection is simply inserted back into the deck and you can go straight into the dealing procedure. All the aces end up on top of the packets, which is actually a nice side-effect. The spectator could even deal the cards himself as there’s no further handling once the selection as been returned to the deck.

Some of the subtleties that you describe to speed up the deal can be used in a more carefree manner.

I know you have a couple of versions where the selection is easy to position, but the handling (as you have to displace (undercut) a few cards etc.) and setup is more involved.

Steve Beam called Claude’s handling the tarantulizer because the "setup" is much faster than the original.

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #14 
      Good; thanks..
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