Review: CREDiTKA (Artifex)

Mar 15, 2018
CREDiTKA (Artifex)

An impossible card trick miracle with a credit card


The first time I saw a demonstration of CREDiTKA, it was in a video by Chris Ramsay showcasing some of the best tricks from the annual Blackpool Magic Convention in 2020. He featured some great magic from Nazr Kayamov and his Ukrainian pals, including this effect, and I was just blown away and immediately intrigued by the beauty of the final revelation with the credit card.

Basically what this promises is an ACAAN style routine, combined with a random number selected from a credit card by a spectator. This is used not only to reveal their selected card at that chosen number, but ends with the name of the chosen card actually embossed in the credit card.



You pull out a credit card, and your spectator remembers a random digit from the number on the card. In addition, your spectator is given random card from a deck to remember. Now when you deal down to the random number they selected earlier, their chosen card is at that number. Now comes the real twist - the spectator has been holding your credit card all along, but the credit card never had numbers for them to choose from. When they check it again, instead of the credit card number, the embossing now shows the actual name of their selected card.

Here's the official trailer video, which includes some performance clips:



What you get is the credit card(s) you'll need to pull off this small miracle, and a link to a password-protected site from Murphy's Magic where you can download the instructional video.

I was very impressed with the quality of the credit card. It certainly is a quality item that looks like the genuine article, and you probably could take it into a store and pass it off as an actual card issued by a bank. A small hologram sticker is provided separately that you can apply to the back of the card, to make it even more realistic. The force card imprinted on the credit card may vary - mine was the Jack of Clubs.

As is the case with a lot of magic these days, instead of getting written instructions you'll need to use the video instructions provided online. It's a 13 minute video, which starts with the 2 minute trailer. The rest of the video features Nazr Kayamov, who is the brainchild behind this effect, explaining the trick with one of his buddies.



Nazr explains how to set up the card, then runs through how you pull off the switch you need to do early on in the routine. For the card section of the trick, he teaches two forces most of you will already know, and then how to reveal the selected card at the chosen number. The final couple of minutes of the video talk about the final reveal, where you show the credit card to have changed. He also shows some of the earlier versions of the card; the version on the market is clearly one that has had the benefit of a lot of testing and is the best of several prototypes.

The teaching is the weakest part of this product. Nazr seems to assume we already know how to do everything, and pretty much starts the instructional video by saying that there's nothing to teach, because it's that easy and you already know how to do the trick. If you don't already know the forces that are taught, you certainly don't want to rely purely on the instruction provided here to learn them. The same is true for the next part of the card trick, where you reveal their card at the chosen number.

This isn't a fatal flaw, because a basic knowledge of card handling will hold you in good stand. It's true that this is pretty elementary stuff for anybody who has an intermediate knowledge in card magic. If you know how to force a card and control a card in a shuffled deck, you can just use your own favourite methods for accomplishing the effect that is taught here. But I do feel that an opportunity was missed here to walk through the finer points of really presenting this well to make it truly magical. Some alternative handlings and presentations would also have made sense to include.



You will need to pull off a switch with the credit card at one point, and I found the instruction on this point a little rushed. Admittedly, in a performance situation there's no real heat from your spectator, because they simply have no reason to think any monkey business is happening here. So there's actually quite a bit of margin for error, and you're not really at risk of being caught or suspected, even if your moves are a little awkward. If you prefer, you can easily use a Himber or Z-fold wallet as an alternative to the method taught.

The card part of the routine requires an intermediate ability with playing cards, and I wouldn't recommend it for beginners. I suppose you could use the single credit card for a simple revelation after a straight-forward force, but that would weaken the overall effect. This will definitely be strongest if you build things up by first showing a regular credit card, and having that change magically, plus have a decent card effect in between.

The tutorial gives you a basic idea for the card routine, but to some extent you're left on your own to provide this with extra polish. For the intermediate card handler this will pose no problem, and you can easily use your own handlings for this. In the performance shown to Chris Ramsay at Blackpool, the card turned up in the ACAAN part of the routine was the wrong card, and yet the effect still had a strong payoff. This alternative handling isn't shown in the tutorial, but it makes the handling much simpler, using the classic magician-has-failed plot while still having the same punch at the end. Craig Petty in his review also suggests a better presentation with the prop using the Prophesy Move. Certainliy there's a lot of flexibility in the ways you can use this.



The power of this trick really lies in the excellent props. We all know that credit cards are permanently imprinted, so how can a card you previously examined and have held in your own hand have changed? And how can it match the playing card you selected randomly? And how did this show up up at at the number you also chose randomly? It's all too impossible, and it's especially that final revelation that brings together that series of revelations to make your spectator's head explode.

The idea of using a credit card for a revelation isn't new. But what this effect brings to the table is that the credit card changes between the beginning and the end of the trick. And it doesn't at look gimmicked, and the fact that you're getting your spectator to choose a random number from the card at the outset helps sell the idea that it's real. The credit card is fully examinable at the end, adding to the impossible feel.

The card you get is very realistic and well-made, and it's really this prop and idea that you're buying, and I think it's well worth it given the impact. The promotional video describes it as a "layman killer", and that's an apt description. I don't know that this would fool too many magicians, because it's not super hard to reverse engineer if you have an intermediate knowledge of card magic. But it is enough to blow away your average spectator, and leave them speechless. And isn't that what magic is all about?


Want to learn more? See CREDiTKA, which is available from Murphy's Magic retailers.

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