Effect: Alpha Cards
Artist: Jesse Feinberg
Retail Price: $20.00 USD
Learning Difficulty: Easy
Notes: This is a gimmick card trick. Some sleight of hand knowledge will be required.
1 Alpha Card Instruction Sheet
2 Alpha Cards
The magician has a card selected from the deck, a Four of Hearts. The magician shuffles the deck and then proclaims that they predicted the card from the start. They reach into their pocket and produce a Four of Spades. It's the wrong card! The magician laughs and hands the card to the spectator to hold. He uses some magic, and the Four of Spades is transformed into the Four of Hearts while in the spectators hands!
A visual color change while in the spectators hands would be an amazing thing if it weren't being done by this piece of crap gimmick! Trust me folks, the basic explanation I just gave of this effect above does more than flatter this steaming pile of magic dung, it out right romanticizes it, courts it, marries it, and then builds a monument to its beauty. I can not tell you in just words how much I can't stand this product. When I opened it, I was greeted by a single page 8.5x11” standard printer paper full of instructions and ideas for this product, and two gimmicked alpha cards. It didn't take the instructions to tell me the color change on the cards isn't mechanical, it's chemical. More specificily, it's heat induced, but that's splitting hairs.
I'm not going to go into the details of forcing cards, or anything like that. You can use what ever method your most comfortable with when doing this trick. You can use a few different methods to cause the change to happen in the cards, I chose the most direct route; the in your hands method. The change takes about 5 seconds to happen, and depending on how warm your hands are, may happen faster if your fingers make contact with the pips. Whats worse is that the change isn't complete. You don't go from a Four of Spades to a Four of Hearts. You instead get this crappy looking Four of Hearts with the faint black outline of a spade interposed over it. Yeah, a real fooler there folks.
The instructions, including two grainy laser printed mass produced pictures, are just about a single page long on average printer paper. The first words on the instructions is “Thank you for Purchasing Alpha Cards!” What it should say is “Thank you for buying this piece of crap magic trick that you'll NEVER use and NEVER get your money back on!” If it were my crap-tacular magic effect I'd thrown in a complementary evil overlord maniacal laugh for good measure, but that's just me. The instructions give you some suggestions on how you could use the cards but it doesn't teach any method other than how to get the color change to take place. The instructions warn against the use of flash paper but honestly, you were screwed the minute you pulled out your wallet so I really don't see what the difference would be. If you ruin the cards or not, it's not likely that you'll want to perform this trick for anyone again. The instructions gives you two plot suggestions as well. A transposition, and a Prediction. I guess if you're edited bent on using this sad excuse for a magic trick, it's nice of Jesse to give you some plot suggestions to get you going.
The effect isn't practical at all. The color change isn't complete no mater what method you use to heat the cards up. A nuke could go off, and you'd still get the same crappy Four of Hearts with the spade outline around the heart. Spectators aren't stupid, especially in this day and age. They're not going to buy a color change of this quality. This screams gimmick and rightfully so. Whats worse is that you pay 20$ USD for this. That comes out to be close to $10 bucks a card, since the instructions obviously are mas produced on a laser printer they can't cost all that much. For $10 bucks I could buy a fancy custom deck of playing cards and perform 100 times more the effects, and with better quality than a single one of these Alpha Cards. edited for the original $20 buck investment I could get a deck of cards, AND go get lunch. Then I could use those cards to entertain everyone at the restaurant after I was done eating.
Over All Opinion:
Horrible product, horrible idea, impractical to perform, a waste of money, and time. This is simply put the worst piece of magic I've ever encountered. Now, to be fair to Jesse, he does suggest a few methods to getting the cards to color change. So in the best interest of a fair review, I've tried several methods to get the cards to change. So far, nothing I've tried gets the cards to completely change to the point where you don't see the spade overlaying the heart. I've tried:
A hot stove
Hot Cup of Coffee
Leaving it sit under my laptop for an hour while it was running.
Letting my 20 lbs cat lay on it for a few hours
Holding it in my hands
Letting my wife hold it in her hands
A hot pad
Green Laser Pointer
When I give my product scores below I am measuring them on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 Being absolute the worst score possible, and 10 being the absolute best, making a score of five average. The four points that I grade upon is Product Quality, Teaching Quality, Performance Practicality and Over all Quality.
Product Quality: 1
I almost never give 1's or 10's on a review. Mostly because I honestly never think a product is that good or that bad that it warrants a 1 or a 10. This product though, is the worst product I have ever seen, and therefor may very well be the exception to my rule.
Teaching Quality: 3
I don't really think there was any “teaching” done for this effect. The instructions gives you plenty of ideas on how to get the color change to happen, as well as two plot suggestions. But that's not going to be enough to redeem this product in my eyes.
Performance Practicality: 1
The effect is not practical at all. Even when the color change has taken effect it's obvious what your using is a gaffed card. No spectator in their right mind would find this amazing, amusing, or even consider it good entertainment.
Over All Quality: 2
It's obvious that this effect is just a cheap and quick way to make a buck off people who don't know any better. Then again, I guess that's why we have reviews like this to warn us of bad products. Jesse I can't fault you for trying to make a buck, but I won't recommend this product to anyone. This product is a Draven Review FAILURE.