Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1)

[ Review by Tom Ace August 2005 ]

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Overview

Artist: Fernando Keops
Title: Cheating at Cards (volume 1)
Set: 1-3
Language: English
Length: 2 hours 3 minutes.
Explanation: Yes
Over the shoulder views: No
Close ups: Yes
Release: july 2005
Publisher: L&L Publishing

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Speed

The speed is more than okay. It never gets boring, you only want to see and learn more. The performances are at the right speed, and for his explanations, Fernando makes you sit back and relax.

Speed 4 stars

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Communication Quality

Fernando is form Mexico City. His English sounds exotic but I have no difficulty to understand. I like the sound of his voice which is very friendly. I love these ďprivate sessionsĒ with Fernando on this dvd. To me, he is one of the best and most friendly performers out there.

Communication 5 stars

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Appearance

The camera shots are clear, good angles. His explanations and performances are as clear as you can get.

Appearance 4 stars

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Difficulty of Tricks Taught

These moves that Fernando's teaches you on this dvd will take some practice to master. It is possible that you'll be able to execute some of the moves immediately, but to master them is a whole different thing.

Difficulty 4 stars

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Teaching Quality

Fernandoís teaching style is slower than others Iíve seen. Everything is explained well and because it is a bit slower you have the feeling that he doesnít want to rush things. I like this a lot better than quick explanations. Itís more natural.

Teching 5 stars

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Quantity

There is a lot of material on this dvd. With some other dvdís I feel the need to skip a bit. Not by this one, everything is interesting. You get what you pay for they say, and with this dvd you get even more. All the moves Iíve learned from this dvd are suitable for the routines I use. What I like most is that you also get the explanation of Three Card Monte. Itís a really nice bonus. Length: 2 hours.

Quanity 5 stars

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Price

The price is ok for a dvd. I paid more than most people I guess: 35,- Euro. Normally this is about 30-35 Dollars. It varies a bit. As I said, you get more than you pay for.

Price 4 stars

Fernando Keops - Cheating at Cards (volume 1) Detailed Review

I was intrigued by this man the very first time I saw him. I was surfing on the internet trying to find new material of cheating with cards. And there I found Fernando Keopsí website. Iíve never heard of him but still, I was interested what to find.

Some pictures were on the site with him and Dai Vernon. Also the awards he had gathered through the years. Such passion he has for card magic and much moreÖ for life. I was glad to hear from him that he taped a 3 set dvd. After 6 months of waiting, now the time is near.

Fernando Keops' dvd set includes many things:
volume 1 Cheating at Cards
-Second deal
-Bottom deal
-Center deal
-One hand center deal
-False cut (gamblers cut)
-False cut (pass)
-Hand mucking
-One hand estimation
-Culling & stacking
-Culling & stacking demonstration
-Three card monte

Special bonus section
-appearing aces
-oil and water
-deck separation
Also a volume 2 and 3 but I'd like to discuss volume 1.

When we insert the dvd in our dvd player immediately the main menu appears with a sparkling purple background. We can choose to play the:
-Bonus Material (performance only)
-Closing Credits
-Clips from other L&L dvds
-Listing of other L&L dvds
-Contact us
Since we are here for a clear view of the entire dvd Iíd like to select the ďPlayĒ button.

The intro starts with Fernando Keopsí Cheating at Cards the real work. Then Fernando introduces himself to the audience. (No David and John in this one) Our blonde magician from Mexico City starts performing his routines. I will not describe all of them, but they are really neat. It is fun to watch and Iím sure you will get even more excited then you are already. Her are the chapters form the performance:
-Second deal
-Bottom deal
-Center deal
-One hand center deal
-1st false cut
-2nd false cut
-Hand mucking
-1st estimation
-One hand estimation
-Culling or stacking
-Culling or stacking demonstration
-Three card monte
-the length of the performance is about 25minutes-

After the performance follows the explanation. Fernando explains that he is a bit blind, his of preference of how to hold a deck of cards, which cards he prefers (Beeís) etc. Fernando uses a mechanics grip for all his deals. He also deals right handed, which is no problem for the explanations.

Second deal (strike second) (9min)
Fernando starts with the Second deal. He describes a few different methods. This first method is a strike second deal.

2nd Second deal (double push off method) (3min)
The second method is a double push off second deal.

The Sail: (2,5min)
How to sail your cards over the table, to give it an exotic look.

3rd Second deal (stud method) (3min)
New theory thumb across

Extra fancy second deal (2min)
An exotic way of dealing your second card.

One hand second deal (1,2min.)
A skilled way of dealing the second card with one hand.

One hand second deal with both hands (50sec.)
For those who have spare time.

1st second deal in 60 seconds (2,5min)
A very nice trick to deal seconds with no practice at all.

2nd second deal in 60 seconds (1min)
Another trick how to deal seconds with no practice.

I have no comments on Fernandoís seconds. They are very well executed.

The bottom deal (9min)
Fernando teaches you his bottom deal. He buckles the card with his middle finger. This brings a risk with knuckle flashing. Fernando gives you a hint to keep the top card clear in view for the spectators. This is open and it avoids that they can see the bottom card. He needs to prepare the deck a bit before he is actually going to deal his bottoms. It reminds me of Dai Vernon. He spoke about this. When you are going to deal seconds, bottom, centers and whatever make sure you do not need to ďprepareĒ the cards before youíre going to deal. If you pick a deck up from the table and you deal fair, you do not ďprepareĒ the cards. You deal immediately.

Fernandoís hands are touching each other for at least 4 seconds. That doesnít sound that long, but it can be a give a way. If you look closely, the bottom card is noticeable. The sound of the bottom card is minimal. I watched it again and you clearly see the knuckles. Maybe the camera view is at the wrong side. He has a good bottom deal which is not noticeable when youíre not looking for it. But then again, there are some minor points.

Center deal; (6min 30 sec)
I was curious about this deal, but I also didnít want to expect much of it. He tells you that it is better to master the bottom deal first, then start practicing the center deal. He pushes the center card out with again the middle finger. This is hidden under the top card just like the bottom deal, and covered at the front with the first finger. Itís hard to say something about the center deal because Iíve never seen someone perform this undetected. -4/5-

One hand center deal (3 min 30 sec)
His one hand center deal is quite impressive. It is executed very smoothly. But then again the cards need to be prepared of course. Itís hard to say something about this one as well. The deals are very nice and will fool many people the first time they see it.

1st False cut Ė gamblers cut- (50 sec)
This is an old cut explains Fernando. I can imagine it will fool you when youíre not looking closely at it. Unfortunately, I do not like this cut very much. It is indeed a bold move, and most of the times those are the best. In my opinion there are far better cuts than this one. Still a nice cut, it works best if you look /talk at the people and then execute the cut fast but casually.

2nd False cut Ėpass- (2 min 50 sec)
This is a classic pass which is of course always handy to have on tape. It is nicely explained and it is a cool move. Although I do not like the second hand covering the whole deck. Itís a bit ďnot doneĒ at the gaming tables. Also the deck is lifted at chest height. Iíd rather see a half pass at the edge of the table. Nice pass though.

Hand mucking (7min 40 sec.)
I was quite impressed by Fernandoís hand mucking skills. Itís very visual the way he does it. The explanation is again wonderful. He slowly works you through it. Youíll need a close up pad for this. I tried it without a close up pad but the cards will slip easily away. His second hand mucking move I like most. Here you have a logical action to pick up the cards instead of the one listed above, where you just move your hand over the cards. As I said, Fernando picks up the cards with one hand and the gently throws the switched cards back at the table. Very smooth move.

Estimation (8min 40 sec)
This impressed me most. A spectator says a number between one and 52. For example 15. Fernando almost immediately cuts 15 cards. Fernando says he cheated a little bit. The spectator can now name another number between one and 52! Again Fernando cuts of the exact number of cards. I was surprised that, with Fernandoís explanation I could do it in no time. The effect is still very, very strong. Very impressive, good explanation again. Wonderful.

One hand estimation (1min 30 sec)
A handy way of doing estimation with one hand.

Culling or stacking (9 min 30 sec)
Still I canít perform riffle stacking well. I guess I need to practice a lot more. Fernando does it quite casual and smooth in the performance. He is talking to the audience and having a laugh. He asks the spectator to name a number. He says four. Thatís how many hands will be dealt. He executes two shuffles , every shuffle takes about 3 seconds. Then he asks to the spectator which person will get the winning hand. The spectator can deal the cards himself. Spectator says number three, and the four aces end up at the third hand. His explanation is good, but eventually I understand that itís all about practice practice practice. So , thatís what Iím going to do. Nice explanation. But I like the performance more.
Explanation -3.5/5-

Culling or stacking demonstration. (3 min 20 sec)
Strong effect. Fernando explains he is going to do stack the four aces in one riffle shuffle. (A combination of deals is used, including a second) Very nice trick and explanation.

Three Card Monte (14 minutes)
Ah, The Three card monte, my all time favorite effect. Although I have seen a few dvds and read a lot of books on this subject, itís always interesting to see more of it. Everyone has his own performance and routine so I was still anxious to know how Fernandoís routine was going to be.
He starts good explaining which cards to use. [url=http://www.21ace.com/Bee-Playing-Cards.php]Bee[/url]ís are best, but not necessarily. Also buy two decks of cards, do not use old ones because they can be dirty. He talks about the preparation of the cards, how to bend them softly. Fernando also explains that he is not giving the spectator the chance to guess where the money card is. Because he or she can guess it right. Instead he uses the ďmost people thinkĒ line. I like this better than challenging the spectator which some dvds teach.
Also I like the grip he teaches you. Itís a covered grip. which I find much better than the other grips. This is the best to use. It will take a little longer to master, but once you can do it you can do it all the time for ever and ever. Fernando does a great job teaching this gambling scam. It really is a big bonus because you can learn the whole thing instead of buying a special dvd. His routine is like Dai vernonís , though a bit different. The climax is of course, like every good Three Card Monte routine, the bend corner. This routine Fernando teaches you was taught to him by Dai vernon himself. He also has a nice anecdote of Vernon. Fernando once asked Dai Vernon: professor how do I know if a effect is ready to be presented to the audience? And he said: When youíre sick of the effect, when youíve done the effect so many times that you hate the effect. Thatís when you know youíre ready to perform it to the audience.
If you'd still like to learn more about the Three Card Monte game I highly recommend Darylís dvd: Daryl does the Full Monte. This dvd is by far the best out there. Daryl covers everything you want to know about the effect and much, much more. Itís length is 2.5 hours.

Well, we have come to the end of this review. I hope it was useful to you and that youíre willing to give Fernando a chance. His performance is wonderful and his explanations are top notch. Everything is casual and relaxed. This dvd is above my expectations!

My overall score: 4.5 (out of 5)

What I like:
-Fernandoís interaction with the audience
-His relaxed way of teaching
-His exotic English voice
-His appearance
-Good explanation
-The length of the dvd (2hours)
-The quality of the dvd
-Including Three Card Monte (!)
-First he demonstrates the real move at full speed then he explains it slowly. Often in explanations you get the explanation first at slow speed.

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