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The Casino High Roller Deck User Manual by Bob Farmer

The Casino High Roller Deck User Manual by Bob Farmer

Review by Michael Close

Bob Farmer is on fire these days, producing interesting, clever, real-world material with remarkable frequency. Bob’s latest offering is the Casino High Roller Deck, produced in collaboration with Slimcardco, a Canadian card-manufacturing company based in Quebec. The easiest way for you to understand what you’re getting with the Casino High Roller Deck is to simply quote Bob from the Introduction to the instruction manual:

“I met the guys at Slimcardco at the 2022 FISM in Quebec City, Canada. We exchanged some correspondence later in the summer and then they sent me a box of the best gaffed decks I have ever seen…In the box was one deck that stood out [a Rainbow casino deck]…I was familiar with Rainbow decks, but I had never seen one with casino cards. I did a little research and found a couple of Rainbow deck tricks but they were, to be frank, lame, very lame.

 “This started me thinking about some effects that would be enhanced with casino cards, specifically, a deck of rainbow casino cards. However, the usual rainbow deck was fifty-two cards with fifty-two different backs. That arrangement put too many restrictions on the kind of tricks I was thinking of pursuing. I thought a deck that looked rainbow but that had built-in groups of cards that could be used for specific effects would yield better results. As well, there were other effects that could be done that did not rely on those groups.

 “The Casino High Roller Deck was the result.”

For your fifty-five dollars, you receive a deck of cards and a downloadable, 173-page PDF that explains the myriad possibilities with the deck. The deck is of high quality, with fifty-two cards plus two Jokers and a blank-faced card. I was able to do a bottom-to-top faro shuffle right out of the box; it took only a short time to get the deck comfortably broken in.

When you receive your Casino High Roller Deck, your first instinct is going to be to play around with it – shuffling it, etc. Don’t do this. The deck arrives in a specific order; you need to understand how the deck is arranged, and, in particular, you need to understand the logic behind the arrangement and how that arrangement relates to the specific cards in your particular deck.

Let me clarify this. First of all, this is not a rainbow deck in which every card has a different back design. Bob has designed four built-in routines that can be performed sequentially, and that utilize all fifty-two cards plus a Joker. However, in order to provide these decks at a reasonable cost, they were assembled from card backs already in the Slimcardco inventory. What this means is the card backs you receive may or may not be exactly the back designs Bob mentions in his write-up of the routines. You want to make note of the exact cards in your deck and how those cards relate to the routines.

Here’s what I did. On pages 3-5 of the PDF, Bob explains how the deck is stacked to perform the four built-in routines (The Casino Prediction, Blackjack OOTW, Red Card Brainwave, and Three Card Monte). I made notes about which card backs in my deck corresponded to which effect. (You could do this by printing out pages 3-5 and marking on them, or, as I did, using the editing functions of Adobe Reader to highlight each effect title and add a note of which backs that effect used.) In this way, you’ll be able to easily restore the deck to its stacked order. This will be particularly useful if you don’t use the deck for a while. Don’t forget to do this.

Let’s talk about these built-in routines. Each of these effects has a theme: the spectator has powers that, until the performance, he never suspected he had. He is able to read the magician’s mind (Casino Prediction), blindly separate the high-value cards from the low-value cards (Blackjack OOTW), and pick the right card even though the odds are 7 to1 against that happening (Red Card Brainwave). As Bob writes, “Gambling demonstrations are much more interesting and intriguing to an audience when the spectator is the star, not the magician.”

In The Casino Prediction, the spectator is able to receive a telepathic thought from the magician and correctly guess which casino the magician had predicted. This routine has its roots in the familiar “Fred” deck, with the added bonus that in Bob’s routine only one deck is required. There is a two-way out involved; Bob suggests using a Himber wallet or a two-way envelope for this purpose, but if you have a copy of my ebook The Paradigm Shift Volume 1, I suggest using Bob’s Two-rigami prop, which is a single sheet of paper.

Blackjack OOTW is based on Nick Trost’s Ultimate Even Money Improved, an Out of this World handling. In this effect, which is very clever and convincing, the spectator separates the high cards in Blackjack from the low cards without looking at the faces. Although in the instructions, Bob discusses “ten-value” cards, the Ace (which has a value of one or eleven) is considered a high card. I mention this because your deck may have an Ace as one of the high cards (mine did); this should be mentioned to the spectators when you perform this.

Red Card Brainwave is based on Trost’s Eight-card Brainwave. Bob has added a prediction and a handling that does not use the Olram Subtlety. Casino Monte can be used as an encore. During a game of “Find the Ace,” three cards go through a variety of transformations. This routine requires a modicum of card handling ability; if you find it’s too much for you, the three cards can also be used for a Color Monte routine.

I’m sure magicians will appreciate having what essentially is a full card-act built into an arrangement of fifty-two cards. Because the deck is novel (with its variety of casino cards), it can be logically introduced even after tricks that use a standard deck.

Had Bob stopped there, you’d probably feel you got value for your money, but in typical Farmer fashion, Bob doesn’t stop there. Because this is a full, ungaffed deck, you can use it for other gambling-related tricks. Bob gives you 120 pages of such effects from a variety of creators and they are all worth trying. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point you toward Bob’s The Casino Inspector routine. Using just low-level sleight of hand (and a prearranged deck), you produce a demonstration of otherworldly card-handling ability. I have a small amount of work on this routine, which I published in The Paradigm Shift Volume 1.

The PDF concludes with valuable information on some useful moves, including false shuffles and false cuts.

As always, Bob Farmer has provided a ton of value for the money. None of the routines in the full-deck-stack act is difficult, but you will have to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the procedures. And the large “Other Routines” section will give you some great effects to add to your repertoire. If you do card magic and enjoy gambling-related tricks, you won’t go wrong with The Casino High Roller Deck. I recommend it.

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