McDonald’s Aces and a Bonus – Paul A Lelekis – A Review

McDonald’s Aces and a Bonus – Paul A Lelekis – A Review

McDonald’s Aces and a Bonus – Paul A Lelekis – A Review
Rick Carruth

I recently got the opportunity to review Paul’s 56th ebook, a masterwork on McDonald’s Aces. This is part of the intro from Paul:

“This is my 56th e-book of magic (including a few physical books), and I’m proud of the amount of excellent magic that I have accumulated after decades of being a very busy performer.

I am very proud to present these two fantastic effects…one is an ‘exercise’ of apparent great manipulative skill and the second one is an example of unbelievable ESP ability.

These are NOT just tricks…and should NOT be treated as such. They are masterful presentations (dependent upon the performer), that also require some finesses, patter, conviction, and story-telling ability.

People believe what they want to believe. And I, for one, am NOT going to assume that my spectators don’t believe!”

My Thoughts:

First, a little something about ‘McDonald’.. and his story, courtesy of Paul…

“This routine was attributed to Mac McDonald (John W. “Mac” McDonald), who was born in Mississippi in 1907 and died circa 1981. Mac was a magic pitchman and only had one hand…and was considered an amazing magician, much like the great René Lavand.

Mac lost his hand as a 10 year old boy while working in a saw-mill in Alabama, in 1917. He moved to California in the 1920s as a young man and became a successful diamond broker forming “McDonald’s Diamond Exchange”.

However when the Depression hit, his diamond business “went under” and Mac became a magician and was quite successful, performing for royalty, and even President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, twice.”

McDonald’s Aces, in one form or another, has been popularized by a multitude of performers.. including Ricky Jay and Dai Vernon. Paul’s version, although it uses a unique collection of sleights, sticks close to the original performance.

Four Aces are shown, and then dealt to the table to create four future piles of cards. One of the Aces, generally the Ace of Spades, is dealt close to the performer and later becomes the pile in which the magic happens. Three more indifferent cards are dealt, face down, onto each of the Aces .. forming the four stacks.

After due patter, each pile is picked up, the Ace inserted into the middle of the pile, and, like magic, the piles are each shown front and back… and the Aces have vanished. To bring the effect to a climatic end.. the final pile, the Ace of Spade pile, is revealed to contain all four Aces.

Now, Paul’s is a much better effect than it reads in my quick recap. You can easily make McDonald’s Aces a centerpiece of your set with Paul’s handling. I don’t want to scare anyone off when I say he uses several sleights to achieve the magic, because Paul includes videos of each of the sleights to give you a deep dive of the techniques.

Paul teaches each of the following:
Benzais Spin-Out Move
C. Miller’s Up-the-Ladder Cut
Hollingworth Multiple Shift
LePaul’s Invisible Turnover Pass
Vernon Strip-Out Addition
Veeser Switch
-plus- Two False Shuffles

Each move is used by Paul in his performance, but not all moves are necessary in your performance. He gives you work-arounds if you don’t want to use his suggestions.

At the end of the day, this is a really good study of how a very skilled card guy would perform this classic of card magic. Paul’s writing is always complete and nothing is left out. Plus, I’m sure you can write Paul if you have a question, and he will be glad to help you over the hump.

As is customary in many versions of McDonald’s Aces, you will need three gaffed cards, which you can get from magic dealers or make yourself.. in the event you don’t already have them – You need three double-facers with Aces on one side and indifferent cards on the back. Heck.. you can even glue two cards together to make yourself a working prototype.. and practice till you get the real thing..

Included in this 20 page PDF is FREAK OUT, a mental magic effect that allows the magician to surprise the spectator by knowing the identity of their card without looking at or touching the deck. The spectator does all the hard work and the magi takes all the credit.

The spectator cuts the pack.. the spectator looks at the card cut to… the spectator shuffles the packet.. and the magician, after a bit of patter aimed at making the spectator a believer in magic, reveals the identity of her card. The patter is important, and the lack of handling is important. Paul will explain it all…

Anyone who can perform a false shuffle..(taught via another video by Paul) can perform Freak Out. I would say McDonald’s Aces is more on the advanced beginner to intermediate level. Paul also provides a treatise on JACKS and their history, since he uses Jacks instead of Aces to perform McDonald’s Aces.. Can you still call it McDonald’s Aces if you use Jacks? Ask Paul…

As I mentioned, this is a 20 page PDF, along with multiple videos (8 MP4s), for $8.00 .. Available through and Murphy’s Magic.

Obituary: Roy Walton, much-loved Card Magician

Obituary: Roy Walton, much-loved Card Magician

By Jerry Sadowitz for The Herald..
There is such perfection in some work that anything falling short of that benchmark stands out as a glaring fault. Such was the card magic of Roy Image result for roy walton magicWalton, who has died at 87 after a brief battle with cancer. His creative output was the gold standard, matched by a quite phenomenal technical skill, knowledge and understanding of the subject. A typical Roy Walton trick is so perfect that to alter it in any way usually diminishes its impact.
He contributed his first published trick, ABC, in the Phoenix magic magazine in 1949, and after contributing to other magazines such as The Pentagram and The Pallbearer’s Review (two issues of which were devoted entirely to his magic), he published his first book, The Devil’s Playthings, in 1969. It became an instant classic, as did his commercially released tricks such as Card Warp, and Cascade, which have never been off the market and have featured in the shows of many leading magicians throughout the world.  Read more..
Mono – Xero Playing Cards by Luke Wadey. A Review

Mono – Xero Playing Cards by Luke Wadey. A Review

Mono – Xero Playing Cards by Luke Wadey. A Review

Welcome to round two of the popular Mono series of playing cards. This is the Ad Copy:

The latest deck in the Mono collection, exploring the use of a single color palette and combining patterns and gradients to achieve a dynamic and unique deck of cards.

Mono – Xero picks up from distinctive theme set by Mono – X, using a bold 2-way back design combined with side details on the card faces to allow for cardists to flourish and magicians to excel in their routines. The deck uses a variety of line thicknesses with negative space and gradients to maintain the recognisable theme is carried through from the distinctive card back where a ‘O’ is created, all the way through the custom pips and court cards. The deck uses a blue theme throughout, still with clear distinction between the suits.

-Manufactured by Cartamundi
-New slim-line stock with B9 finish
-Fully custom 56 card deck, including a double backer card
-Custom tuck, designed to partner with Mono – Xero R
-One time print run, only 2500 decks produced

Be sure to grab both Mono – Xero and Mono – Xero R, their bold designs are a true show-stopper and be a part of design with community in mind. Together, we are Xero.

My Thoughts:

When I first opened Mono Xero I wasn’t overly impressed. The lack of multi-colors made the cards seem a little stale.. until I began to handle them. They cam alive, and now I’m a fan. I actually received Mono X, the first of the series, and Mono Xero, the newest addition, at the same time.. so I wasn’t familiar with the X cards. Had I been, the Xero cards would have been received with anticipation.

I don’t want to repeat the ad copy verbatim.. but I’ll offer my personal observation nonetheless. The X and the Xero are both created with a single color. The X is black and lighter black, almost a charcoal.. and the Xero cards are available in two different designs – One a differing gradient of dark blue and the other a gradient of what they call red, but what I call maroon. Maybe it’s just me…

Each deck, X and Xero, relies on a series of lines to create the design of the card. The lines vary in thickness and width apart to create a design… A stylized X on the X cards and a Zero on the Xero cards. Some of the lines extend onto the side of the card, giving the deck a very unique look. Although the backs are two way, reversing a card doesn’t change the design on the sides… a smart move by London designer Luke Wadey.

The cards are printed by Cardimundi. Although very popular in Europe, Cardimundi has always felt rather stiff to me.. because of my life-long use of Bicycles. Xero is printed on a new slim-line stock that makes the deck somewhat thinner and a pure pleasure to shuffle and faro.. not to mention flourish. I could perform perfect faro’s with Xero after three or four shuffles. Compare that to fifty or more shuffles with a standard deck of Bikes..

I’m going to let a couple of pics fill in the gaps. Seeing X and Xero is, as they say, better than a thousand words. These cards are both limited to a one time run of 2500 decks.. so it would be wise to purchase several before time runs out. If you are a card flourisher, you’ll love both the feel and the design of Xero. I know I did….

$12.00 Available at Murphy’s Magic and dealers who carry their line..

Review by Rick Carruth for the Magic Roadshow

SINIS – Playing Cards – A Review

SINIS – Playing Cards – A Review

SINIS – Playing Cards – A Review

SINIS is a new addition to the collector card market. Designed by Marc Ventosa and  created by Cardinates.. here’s the Ad Copy:

BREAK FREE from mainstream custom playing card designs with SINIS Playing Cards.

With modern base-line art reflected throughout the deck, EVERY detail of SINIS Playing Cards was considered to create an original and authentic artistic expression.

The custom Court cards mirror the square block theme on the tuck. The Aces reflect the explicit typograph approach.

Together, the striking balance between thin and thick objects is an intriguing surprise for the collector, cardist and magician when viewing or fanning the deck.

Even the name itself, SINIS, is a Palindrome integrated into the card artwork.

Highlighted on the backs, the name SINIS is completely symmetrical (rotational and front-to-back), breaking the traditional two-way design –while maintaining the feel of symmetry.

Available in Turquoise or Raspberry and Black on Bee stock, both are a tasty treat.

Custom seal
Custom designed Court cards, Jokers and Aces
2 gaff cards included
Bee stock
Printed by US Playing Card Company
Designed by Marc Ventosa
Created by Cardinates

My Thoughts:

SINIS is a new entry in the collector card market. Although designed as an artistic endeavor, they are printed on Bee card stock to increase handling.

There is a custom designed factor to almost all the cards. The court cards are definitely different, with the face not covering the entire surface of the card, but a smaller, square area. I think this is a method to capture the ‘museum’ feel of the image, as it resembles a painting mounted on a wall.. I could be wrong.. but that’s my notion.

The Aces are adorned with the word ‘Ace’ and the suit of each Ace spelled out in the middle of the card. This is a very unique look.

The cards are available in two colors: Turquoise Blue, and Raspberry and Black. Each is a matt finish that eliminates any reflective surfaces. The back of the tuck box and the back of each card are identical.. each with the word..’SINIS’ printed from top to bottom. The combination of the turquoise and blue as well as the raspberry and black, makes the backs of all cards two-way.

The name SINIS is, as the ad copy explains, a palindrome… reading the same both ways. You can tell there is an overall effort to wrap all the cards into a symmetric little world of their own.. and I think they have succeeded very well.

As a collector card, they are definitely one of the better cards available, and as a card capable of being used for magic or gaming.. the Bee stock assures it will handle as well as virtually any card. Needless to say, I am VERY partial to Bee stock.. and I am very partial to SINIS cards as an addition to my collection.

$12.00 Available from Murphy’s Magic and dealers who carry their line..

Review by Rick Carruth for The Magic Roadshow..