What's the point of four ace productions for magicians?

Dec 5, 2015
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25
Recently I was going through my morning ritual of moves and effects/routines and realized something. We as magicians are people that induce a false sense of reality where the boundary of what is possible and not possible are non-existent. Then we do something like a for ace production which at a glance is impressive but at it’s very core not a magical effect but a feat of skill. What is the point of doing them when it’s not a magical effect. To clarify I don’t mean like a production from the pocket or some impossible location, but from the deck.

In the beginning I thought going up to people and producing the four aces justified why people should pay attention for a few moments; however, the more I began to look back on my past performances I realized that I didn’t know why I produced four aces. I was just doing it for the fact that I needed something fast to catch people's attention.

I know that this topic is a bit weird/not that important but I think it's a interesting topic.

What are your thoughts on the subject?
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,754
2,860
I think you're very close to a very important realization - the difference between "impossible" and "magical".

The way most magicians do a four ace production? Pointless eye candy. Sadly, most magic on the market fits into the same category. It's fun to look at, "just entertainment", but ultimately means nothing.
 
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Jun 3, 2020
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I don't want to misquote but I was reading Strong Magic by Darwin Ortiz not long ago and he has similar comparisons. Magic vs feats Skill and so on. He also talks about 4 Of A Kind and Royal Flush productions. What I got out of his thoughts on the subject were that spectators needed a preface for the trick. Often times they'll say, "I'd hate to play cards with you!" during a pick a card trick even though it has nothing to do with card games. but the spectator's thoughts are those along the lines of card games, that's their frame of reference. In card games, odds are odds and you can only wish you could beat the odds and when someone is able to manipulate that, it's like a true form of magic with a meaning.
Personally I didn't fully agree with this part of the book (or at least my interpretation of it). Everyone has been cheated against at cards and it's not a very magical moment. My 12 year old cousin would cheat and I don't look up to him as a master card manipulator lol. Also I think poker tricks get boring after 1 or 2 times because they all end the same. With that said, there are some Ace productions that blew me away even recently.
 
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Nov 12, 2016
1,160
1,616
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Hey Siri, what is the definition Cardistry?
Siri:
[W]hich at a glance is impressive but at it’s very core not a magical effect but a feat of skill

Hear me out and Don't Jay Sankey me. I believe cardistry in its own artform can be extremely fun and entertaining, however combing magic and cardistry is a minefield territory, and you must draw a clear line between magic, cardistry, and flourishing during a performance.

All this being said I am known to be VERY BAD AT THIS. One of my most watched "tricks" is essentially a glorified 4 Ace production I made for reddit
 
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DavidL11229

Elite Member
Jul 25, 2015
454
224
Seattle
For me the short answer is Aces are best so I am proving I can produce any card at any time by doing this. The difference between a magic effect and a display of skill in this situation is presentation. Beyond that I don't think the spectator needs much of a reason other than "it's a magic effect." I find trying to justify the effect can muddle things.

Having said that, it's a good question to explore in magic theory and taking it into consideration will help your effects and presentations. Darwin Ortiz mentioned above is a great place to start. Strong Magic and also Designing Miracles. There is also Ascanio and others.

https://www.theory11.com/forums/threads/best-theory-books.54563/

Others will disagree with some things. They might be right.
 
Jun 18, 2019
546
291
17
West Bengal, India
I know that this topic is a bit weird/not that important but I think it's a interesting topic.
It is. Which is why I am not reading any of the previous posts before I write this reply, because I don't want to be biased in what I say (I will read them afterwards however, since this is a fascinating topic to dive into!).


Recently I was going through my morning ritual of moves and effects/routines and realized something. We as magicians are people that induce a false sense of reality where the boundary of what is possible and not possible are non-existent. Then we do something like a for ace production which at a glance is impressive but at it’s very core not a magical effect but a feat of skill. What is the point of doing them when it’s not a magical effect. To clarify I don’t mean like a production from the pocket or some impossible location, but from the deck.

In the beginning I thought going up to people and producing the four aces justified why people should pay attention for a few moments; however, the more I began to look back on my past performances I realized that I didn’t know why I produced four aces. I was just doing it for the fact that I needed something fast to catch people's attention.
A very practical statement we should get out of our way is:-

We do it because it's easy.

And it really is. There are loads of methods all over magic literature, loads of personalisation can be applied to it, loads of presentation ideas and also, it just fits into what laymen think of as 'magic'. Ace productions and other such effects are also easy in the sense that we don't have to THINK about how to make it magical. Also, nobody can really just pull out 4 cards and have them be the 4 aces (insane coincidences aside) but we can. Hence we did the impossible. Hence we are magicians in a loose sense of the word.

There. No complications.

HOWEVER, let us look at the issue a bit deeper:-

First off, people are smart. So a lot of the things we think are truly magical... aren't. Even an amazing mentalism routine can be explained with ''high-tech machines in their ears which makes light bend around it so it's invisible". Though it is nonsensical, essentially we have realised that there are really no limits to what humans CAN achieve. So true magic is very difficult to do.

Secondly, I believe that presentation is what makes something magic. I've seen clips of Marcus Eddie do the crazy man's handcuffs and it looks like real MAGIC. When Brian Brushwood or Michael Ammar do it I think it's a fun little trick, a bit gag-like (nothing against either of them. Tricks have their own high place). If I imagine Chris Ramsay doing it, and I didn't know the method, for some reason I'd think that there's something up with the rubber bands themselves. If Daniel Madison did it and I didn't know how it was done, I'd think there's some very mad sleight of hand involved (possibly involving a lightning switch of rubber bands and some help from the Illuminati). If Zach King did it and I didn't know the method, I'd think it's camera tricks and leave it at that.

Similarly, whether an ace production looks like real magic or not depends very, very heavily on your presentation of it and your general magic-persona.

Thirdly and lastly, if magic genuinely were real, we wouldn't be doing ANYTHING we do right now. Think of any fictional universe where magic is real, example- Harry Potter universe.

What is the point of the series? What's the climax?

The magic? No. Things vanishing or flying? No.

The fact that Harry can levitate objects or Hermione can brew potions to make clones isn't what's important. What's important is how it has been used. The FINAL CLIMAX is Harry defeating Voldemort. The fact that Harry can do magic is just a vehicle in achieving that climax or the destination. The PURPOSE of the series isn't that we can use a wand to blast things, rather that good always trumps evil, an age-old purpose of stories.

A lot of magicians imply that sleights, misdirection, gimmicks, gaffs, everything is just a vehicle to achieve the destination--> Magic.

I, as far as I've been exposed to magic till date, think a bit differently.

I think magic itself, is the vehicle. The sleights, misdirection, gimmicks and gaffs are the seats, the radio, and other components inside the vehicle. The destination is a purpose or a story.

Hence, the ace production is not a destination so as you correctly pointed out, it is not magic, and I don't think it is meant to be. Magicians shouldn't do the ace production. They should USE the ace production, DO magic and REACH climax to CONVEY an idea.
 
Mar 15, 2018
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boardgamegeek.com
In isolation, producing a four Ace production is incomplete.

However it can be a great way to prove your credentials as a bona fide magician very quickly, so that your audience is disarmed and won't try to figure out the secret of the routine that follows.

It also works well when routined immediately afterwards with an Ace Assembly trick, and can be a good lead-in to that.
 
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Sep 20, 2009
446
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I think people do them just because they are a "classic" that someone reads and performers, does it have a point "Magically".. no? it seems skill-based unless you start adding magical elements, what if someone said their favorite card and you produced three of them and the third one was in your pocket/envelope/impossible location etc what if they just thought of a card and you produced all four of them, I mean we can go off... but then is it a four ace production
 
Sep 29, 2018
10
0
I can say when I was a child watching Ricky Jay’s “52 Assistants” when he does his four Ace production it was quite the sight. But a lot of that has to do with where and when he did it, Ricky Jay was a master performer.
 
Jul 26, 2016
561
776
To most people, the aces, especially as a quartet, are iconic symbols of power. A quick flashy production of the 4 aces is a great attention-getter that immediately differentiates you from their uncle Harold or whomever, that bored them with seemingly endless pick-a-card tricks at gatherings, only to be underwhelmed when their card was finally and predictably "found."

Years ago, I was performing strolling magic at a party at an exclusive club in Palm Beach, Florida, USA. I approached a distinguished-looking gentleman, introduced myself, and asked him to pick a card. He said, "I've seen that one," and walked away. It mattered not that I intended to blow his mind with Triumph. I never got there. After that humbling experience, I never approached anyone like that again, and I made it a point to establish myself, within a few seconds, as someone worth watching.

A nice follow-up to the 4-ace production, is Dr. Daly's Last Trick. In my presentation, I tell them of an old magician's legend. I say that according to the legend, when someone makes a wish and something magical happens, it is a sign that the wish is destined to come true. I ask them to rub the (apparently) black aces they are holding face-down in their hands, and to close their eyes and silently make a wish. When I ask them to look at the cards they are holding, they see they have changed into the red aces. It's a lovely, magical moment.

Stories captivate people, and IMO the best stories are the real-time ones in which the spectators have a personal or emotional investment, and are the leading characters.
 
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trikuxabi

Elite Member
Aug 14, 2010
413
10
For me, it depends on the effect that I will do next. If it's a "standalone" effect with just the aces (waving the aces, for example), I do like producing the aces in a magical way. If the next effect involves the rest of the deck, I usually just take the aces out, I feel like producing them might create the illusion that the deck is stacked. It's a personal thing, though!
 
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