NFW (Gary Freed) A classic packet trick that is still as good as ever Overview I'm a big fan of packet tricks. There's something special about their minimalism and directness. They're typically portable and practical, and a good packet trick can provide quite a punch despite its small size. I first became interested in packet tricks more than ten years ago, and at that time there were some very clear leaders that were the popular choice for the best of the best. If you were asking about magician's favourite packet trick, you'd almost certainly hear these top suggestions: Color Monte (Jim Temple), Twisted Sisters (John Bannon), Ultimate 3 Card Monte (Michael Skinner), B'Wave (Max Maven), Wild Card (Frank Garcia), Twisting the Aces (Dai Vernon). And right among these top notch recommendations would be this one: NFW by Gary Freed, that was first released in 1999 as a packet trick from Elmwood Magic. According to some sources, it was partially inspired by the earlier Jason Alford's "Twixter", which was originally published in Magic Magazine. However the printed instructions of NFW state that it was created independently from Twixter, and that it uses less cards and has less handling. Effect The plot of the original trick is quite simple: a packet of four face-up Jokers is shown. One at a time, the Jokers turn over face-down. Then comes the real kicker: the four cards are turned face-up, and all four Jokers have vanished, and in their place are the four Aces! Here's the original performance demo video of NFW from Penguin Magic, presented by a younger Oz Pearlman: You can also watch the performance demo video from Elmwood Magic here. Contents This trick was one of the very first card tricks every produced by and sold by Penguin Magic, and they are still the main source for it. What you get is a package with the gimmicked cards, and instructions for getting online access to the instructional videos at Penguin Magic. The cards are standard Bicycle quality and design. Not only does this mean that they won't arouse suspicion for being gaffed, but they are also durable. The gimmick provided can wear out after a lot of use, however, but you will find ready solutions in online forums where this is discussed. Instructions The original trick came only with written instructions by Paul Richards on behalf of Elmwood Magic. They teach a "Basic Handling" (which starts with revealing one face-down Joker), and an "Optional Handling" (which adds an extra phase where you first show all four Jokers as face-up), and there's a brief paragraph explaining the Elmsley Count. Buyers of the product today get video tutorials instead. The online video instructions that Penguin Magic provides for NFW has grown over the years, and now you are provided with several different video tutorials, including some new ones from Rick Lax. Altogethere there are three sets of video tutorials you receive access to: 1. Jay Nobelzada tutorials: Firstly there's the original tutorial (3 minutes) which teaches the original handling of NFW, and which comes with a companion tutorial video teaching you how to do the Elmsley Count (3 minutes), both taught by Jay Nobelzada. 2. Nick Locapo tutorials: Then there's a 22 minute tutorial video by Nick Locapo, which teaches both the original version of NFW using the Elmsley Count, and an updated version which presents the trick quite differently, and uses the Flushtration Count and a Buckle Count. 3. Rick Lax tutorials: Finally there's two tutorial videos by Rick Lax, teaching his handling of the trick under the name "No Joke", which uses only the Flushtration Count, and (much like the updated version from Nick Locapo) allows you to do the trick in the spectator's hands. The main instructional video from Rick Lax (Bar Handling) is 13 minutes, while a second instructional video (Coffee Shop Handling) is 5 minutes and has a slightly different handling. Updated Handling So what's the background to the updated handlings taught by Nick Locapo and Rick Lax? Some time after the release of NFW, in 2004 Richard Sanders released a video entitled Super Cards, which included a routine that used virtually the same gaffs as NFW, but a totally different handling and feel. It was entitled "4 Card Crunch", and was later marketed separately in a more polished version as "ACE". You can check out a video clip of a performance demo of one handling of ACE here. Meanwhile in 2014 Penguin Magic had acquired Elmwood Magic, the company that originally distributed NFW. Having thus purchased the rights to the NFW effect and the gimmick, they went on to produce several video tutorials that offered a somewhat similar presentation to ACE, and which focused entirely on the transformation. The first of these was the updated handling by Nick Locapo, which you can see in a performance demo video here. Subsequently in 2015 Rick Lax published an even more smooth handling that used the same gimmick and a similar presentation, which Penguin Magic presented under the new name "No Joke". The result of this updated version feels quite different from the original NFW, because it uses a very different method, and can be done in the spectator's hands. In this version, you simply show the four face-up Jokers, and go right into showing them has changing into the four Aces. Here's a performance demo video showing the "Bar Handling" version of No Joke, as performed by Rick Lax: A slightly revised and more advanced version was taught along with, and was called the "Coffee Shop Handling" - see a performance demo video for that here.