Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

TWiTCH by Eric Simmatis :: Review

Next on my review list is TWiTCH by Eric Simmatis, sold by Theory11. I’m going to try a different, more streamlined approach to this one as opposed to my Eclipse review. If you like this direction better, like the way I did Eclipse better, or think I should mix it up just drop a comment and let me know.

Theory 11 seems to be on a theme with Twitch and Eclipse. They both look extremely similar, but the handling and methods are very different. Also they both have a lot of the same application abilities.


Method: Eric Simmatis explains how the technique here originated as a sort of flourish he developed. Then his friend sped the move up, making it into a color change. The idea here is pretty clever. I had one of those moments where I thought wow, that really is a new idea. It’s definitely a knacky move but, just as with Eclipse, not too terribly difficult. You’ll just have to get your fingers use to it.

Angles: The best view for this effect is head on. If you have spectators too far to the left or right, this thing will look funky.That being said, you have many ways of maximizing that good angle. Unless you plan on performing in a complete semi-circle these shouldn’t be an issue.

Applications: During the video when Eric showed the “tabled” version of Twitch I actually said, out loud, “Wow that’s cool!” When you toss the card down the move is practically non existent. Also his TNR shown in the preview video is really visual and easy to do once the main move is down.

Difficulty: I touched on this before; the method is not difficult but knacky. Just like with Eclipse, TWiTCH isn’t a knuckle buster but will take some time to train your fingers. Which will be time well spent.


Overall: Twitch is a fun move to practice and has quite a few applications. It’s a legitimate, practical color change as well as an impromptu TNR and a tabled top change. Again, just as with Eclipse, the position you hold the card in is slightly odd. I’m still on the fence about this. But for now, the fun in learning the move and seeing its potentially far outweighs that minuscule issue. When you buy TWiTCH you get a few great moves and an enjoyable move to practice. If you enjoy color changes or simply adding new moves to your repertoire I recommend checking this one out.

Images form Theory11

Posted: April 2nd, 2011
at 11:00am by Robin Carey

Categories: Downloads,Reviews

Comments: 1 comment


One Response to 'TWiTCH by Eric Simmatis :: Review'

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  1. Thanks alot for this Robbin :) i appreciate it :D

    Cameron. Wright

    14 May 11 at 9:32 am



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Eclipse by Eric Jones :: Review

This is my review for Eclipse by Eric Jones, sold over at Theory11. It’ll be my first “effect” review so if you have any questions or would like to know, please leave a comment! This is an extremely versatile move with a quite a few applications. Let’s get into it;


Intro: The intro starts off with Eric talking a little bit about what the move can do. Then he goes into mechanic’s grip. I thought that was a good idea as it would be extremely helpful to a beginner who just picked this up, or someone who holds the cards in a different grip. Next Eric walks you through the grip for Eclipse, the move itself, and everything in between. The teaching is crystal clear and just the right speed to understand everything.

Follow Along: After the introduction there’s a Follow Along section which is really nice. Eric does the move from multiple angles at different speeds so you can see how it works and how it should look from all around. This helps you get a solid idea of what the move looks like. The only thing that I didn’t like about this section was the speed; I’m sure it’s useful for some, but I found myself sitting and waiting for him to move on.

Final Recap: There’s one last recap from straight on so you can see it the way spectators would. After that Eric goes into a few tips and little things to aid in the learning process. This is where the video get’s really good though; he delves into the applications of the moves. It’s a great way to switch out a signed card for an ACR, allowing you to display the card to the audience right before so there’s no suspicion. Lastly, Eric talks about the angles and ways to maximize your good spots.

Eclipse 3

As a Color Change: This is what caught my eye in the preview. Eclipse makes an awesome change. It’s very visual, as you see the card when he raises it up and without any funny moves he brings it back down as a different card. It’s quick and, the most important part, the movements are motivated. You’re raising the card up to blow on the face and then immediately bringing it back into view. Very clean, very cool. Just with the other explanations Eric goes through the move as a change multiple times and from many different angles (including from the front, the spectators view). The teaching is easy to follow as with all of Eric’s stuff.

As a Double Lift: Seeing all this applications makes me wonder where else you could go with this. Eclipse gives you a good method to take back a selection and secretly load a card underneath, putting you in the position of a double before you turn it back over. There aren’t any fishy or odd movements, just the action of displaying the card. The other advantage this has is it doesn’t require a break or get ready. You can just go right into it.

Common Issues: Eric walks through some common pitfalls or blocks to the learning process here. This is where you can really tell Eric has worked with this move extensively. He talks about a lot of things I’ve come across when practicing and made them 100 times easier.

Eclipse 2

Overall: Eclipse is best described as a utility move. When you learn this technique you’re learning a double lift, a top change, a color change, and many other things. The move isn’t difficult per se, but knacky. It’ll take a while to get used to bringing the card in and out of that position but it’s not a hard process. It just takes practice. My only qualm with Eclipse is that it’s an odd position to display the card in. That shouldn’t affect performances though. Eric Jones goes over just a couple ideas but there are many more out there. Plus, for only $6.95, and you get at least three moves? Definitely worth the purchase.

Images from Theory11

Posted: April 1st, 2011
at 12:26pm by Robin Carey

Categories: Downloads,Reviews

Comments: 2 comments


2 Responses to 'Eclipse by Eric Jones :: Review'

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  1. This is an awesome revie, good job. But im really not shore to get Eclipse or Twitch by Eric Simatus, they both look awesome. Could you please post a review on Twitch aswell, that would be really helpfull, cheers. :)

    Cameron. Wright

    1 Apr 11 at 5:24 pm


  2. Sure thing Cameron, check back some time tomorrow and it should be up!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    1 Apr 11 at 5:38 pm



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Paper Cuts by Chris Hestnes & Dan and Dave :: First-Look Review

As you all may or may not know, Papercuts by Chris Hestnes was available for purchase at Magic-Con. I was able to get my hands on a copy, and this is a sort of first-look review for it. It’s available for purchase at For those of you wondering about purchasing it, hopefully this will help you make a decision. I’m not going to “rate” this on difficulty, as that number is completely dependent on the person learning the move, their experience, and how often they practice. As this is my first review of a flourishing DVD, I hope I can give you all the information you’re looking for. If you have any questions about Papercuts or anything of the sort, just ask in a comment and I’ll respond quickly.

UPDATE: Allan Hagen has told us that there are 5 easter eggs hidden away in the Papercuts menu. I reccomend taking the time to find them, they’re pretty interesting.


The DVD has 13 flourishes on it, all creations of Chris Hestnes. It also comes with a booklet in which Chris lists credits and inspiration to each flourish as well as giving a small writing piece about the project. Additionally, there’s a table of contents for the bonus features, and some pictures of the crew & project. The DVD is extremely well produced. The Norwegian backdrop is added eye-candy, the original music score fits the production wonderfully, and the camera work is excellent. Each flourish is show multiple times, from multiple angles, and multiple speeds. At the slowest speed there are two views going, one from the friend as well as an over the shoulder view. This definitely speeds up the learning process. This si a fairly lengthy review, as I say a little bit about each thing. Now, onto the flourishes.

1337: Chris attributes the “name, style, and rhythm of this flourish” to 000.327.0000, a cut by Dan and Dave that can be found on The System. The spinning style of that flourish is definitely evident in this one, and it’s reminiscent of the rotation during the Jones Change. This is a fairly fast looking flourish. I was able to get the moves down during the first watch, but the difficulty lies in its speed. It’s easy to learn the motions but it’ll take a while of practicing to get it up to Chris’ level.


Atomic: A nice little spin/addition to the T.G. deck flip. Atomic is a quick flourish, taking only a little more than a second to complete. A packet is spun of the deck in a Jones Change-esque motion, extended, and tossed up in the air back onto the deck while the executing a T.G Deck Flip in the other hand. It’s difficult to put into words, but looks awesome. This is one of those aerial flourishes were you just need to do it to get it down. You’ll surprise yourself how easy it is to get a handle on, but it’s an impressive looking one.

Bluegarden: In the accompanying book, Chris says that he believes this is the most difficult flourish he’s created, and I’m inclined to agree. Whereas most flourishes have sort of a sybil feel, or a molecule theme, etc. this one has quite a few different styles. The beginning of the cut is like sybil, but then it goes into a horizontal display, some card flares, and an aerial to finish it all of. Learning the moves for this flourish will take some time, as will getting them down smoothly. But the different moves and speed of Bluegarden make it look great.


Bullet Time: This flourish is credited to D&D’s Eko cut on the Trilogy. Bullet Time has a couple of small displays, balanced out with one card flourishes. This helps pace the flourish and gives it a unique, appealing rhythm. It’s not exactly easy to get down, but I wouldn’t call it a knuckle buster either. Chris uses some variations on classic grips that will take a little bit of time to get used to.

California: The first thing that came to mind when watching this one was that it’s a component. California looks like a piece of a bigger flourish to me, but still has the ability to stand alone. It’s like revolution cut meets real time. Again, not neccessarily a difficult one to learn but it will take a substantial amount of practice to get the muscle memory to kick in. The display kind of pops out at you though, a good piece of eye-candy.


Chronographic: Chris said he got the single card grip in the right hand from Dan and Dave’s Preqel video. The influence of Preqel on this flourish is obvious, but at the same time it has it’s own feel. Chris seems to have a talent for taking a small idea or motion as a seed and creating his own flourishes with a distinct image from that seed. Chronographic has a very smooth look to it. The grips are a tad different but shouldn’t be too hard to get used to.

Evergreen: This flourish was originally known as Wings of the Butterfly which, in my opinion, suits it better. The flares and displays give it a “life like” quality. There are a lot of moves in this one but they’re not that complex. It took me about 3 times through the explanation to do the flourish, very slowly, without mistakes. Just like a lot of the other flourishes it looks complex and hard to handle, but in reality isn’t anywhere near that difficult.


Gate 22: In the credits, Chris said himself that this wasn’t the most original flourish ever. That being said, he still put his own feel to it. It flows wonderfully and the moves seem to keep going with little effort. It uses a lot of basic or otherwise widely known moves put together to create a a much better big picture. Learning time for this one really depends on what you already know and have down.

MWrench: I love the Molecule series of cuts, and this one has some sweet molecule action. I’m not going to try and put this cut into words, as there’s a little too much going on. As with the others, this one isn’t inherently difficult. I was able to follow the first walkthrough all the way to the end without any mistakes. Dan and Dave’s style is seen throughout the flourish but, as Chris seems to be able to do so easily, it’s very distinct and has some of his unique moves.


Optimus: This flourish is a direct result of Chris’ desire for a triangle cut. The action before the triangle display flows well, and then the triangle just seems to appear. Definitely a visual one and one that laymen would enjoy seeing. It’s a variation on Chris’ transformer flourish, taught later on the DVD.

Revolver: By far my favorite one on the DVD. The majority of the flourish is done with a single card. It revolves and spins around the deck and extended packets, then is flicked back on the deck via D&D’s flic on Andthensome. Chris also shows two other endings where you spin the card on your watch, or finish by catching an arm spread. It’s simple and elegant looking. Learning it is an odd process but progress comes quickly.


Transformer: The idea behind this was that Chris wanted an original opener and I’d say he achieved his goal. This is a small, smooth looking flourish. I could definitely see myself adding this into one of my own. I really like the small packet drop at the end as it slows down the speed of the flourish for the finale.

Zen: The credits say that Zen is based on the Tornado cut. There’s definitely the tornado style in there, but then Chris rotates and spins that packet around in a different way. A fresh take on this semi-classic flourish, as well as some original stuff before and after.


Overall this DVD is a great production. Allen Hagen did a wonderful job of editing and putting this thing together. The flourishes are shown from as many angles as one would need to learn them and the material itself is fresh and original. Chris has his own style and flow. All of his flourishes showcase his ability to take an existing idea or concept and rework it until it looks completely new. As for the skill level the flourishes are higher than beginner, but you don’t have to have 10+ years of experience just to do them. It’s a nice set of intermediate level work. I strongly suggest anyone interested picks up a copy tomorrow. Also, Dan and Dave have said that the first 100 copies are signed by themselves as well as Chris Hestnes and Allen Hagen. Even better, the first 52 copies sold come with a Jerry’s Nugget playing card that was actually used in the DVD & signed. Check it out and pick up a copy here.

Some images taken from Papercuts DVD

Posted: March 31st, 2011
at 2:58pm by Robin Carey

Categories: DVDs,Flourishing,Magic Con 2011,Reviews

Comments: 12 comments


12 Responses to 'Paper Cuts by Chris Hestnes & Dan and Dave :: First-Look Review'

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  1. What a delightful review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Dan Buck

    31 Mar 11 at 3:37 pm


  2. Are there any other guys (Jordan, Dan, Dave) featured on the DVD? Or maybe there is some bonus footage?

    I’m wondering because there were tons of photos on twitter during the filming with guys including but not limited to Chris being filmed.

    And nice review, mate!


    31 Mar 11 at 3:56 pm


  3. Alexander,
    In the bonus footage there is a production from Allan, a flourish from Dan, A trick from Dave, a production from Erik, and lastly a flourish from Jordan. Some pretty cool stuff actually.
    Those are in the Bonus section as well as a behind the scenes feature about Papercuts, a little “impromptu panel discussion” with Dan, Dave, Chris, and Jordan, promotional videos, viral videos, and a video of Chris doing all of Dan and Dave’s Flourishes.
    Thanks for reading it!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 4:24 pm


  4. Great review Robin! This makes me wanna buy the DVD even more!

    Matt Miltonberger

    31 Mar 11 at 5:18 pm


  5. Hey, I remember Allan saying there would be hidden footage, I could be mistaken but has any one surfaced this?


    31 Mar 11 at 5:27 pm


  6. Thanks Matt! It’s definitely worth it. Pretty cool stuff.

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 5:38 pm


  7. Casey,
    I asked Allan on twitter and he said “There are five hidden easter eggs in the menus on the DVD. Happy hunting! :)

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 6:17 pm


  8. Guys, wow. I’m flattered! Reading the first review of a DVD I participated on is just incredible. I am so glad you liked the material, Robin. I am sorry I missed all you guys at magic-con. This is the first and _LAST_ time I miss that convention. Seriously, I sat home this whole weekend regretting. I hate regretting, so next time I’ll see you there!

    PS. Get used to my style. Soon, there will be a contest.

    Again, thanks for the review.
    Chris H.

    Chris Hestnes

    31 Mar 11 at 9:03 pm


  9. Chris, you deserve it. Your style is so good, and you are a lot more smooth than most flourishes out there, and you also really deserved a project like this to get you known and on the grid.


    31 Mar 11 at 10:43 pm


  10. Are the easter eggs those tricks and flourishes that you described?


    31 Mar 11 at 10:44 pm


  11. Cori,
    Nope. Those tricks and Flourishes are in the Bonus features, under the Guest Submissions section.
    The aster eggs are something else entirely. Well, one of them is sort of a flourish…

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 10:54 pm


  12. Chris,
    Like Cori said, you deserve it 100%. It’s rare to see something fresh in magic, little lone smooth and rhythmic. These flourishes will definitely keep me busy for a while.
    Looking forward to seeing you next year! We’ll get an exclusive interview for posting your first review, right? ;)
    Sweet. Keep us posted with any details about the contest.
    Thanks for taking the time to read it!

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    31 Mar 11 at 10:59 pm



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Magic-Con Cards :: Review

This is a quick review of the Magic-Con playing cards, which were available at Magic Con 2011.

NOTE: These were given out at Magic-Con and available for purchase there. As of right now there are rumors Dan and Dave will sell them on their site, but no confirmation yet.

MC Squared

Feel: The cards feel a lot like a good ol’ deck of Bicycles. People have said that D&D used a different, higher quality finish on these but it’s nothing extremely noticeable. The biggest defining quality when I took them out of the box was the softness. They were flexible right away, just like the first run of Erdnase decks. So they broke in extremelt quickly. From what I saw at Magic-Con and as I continue to play with them, they seem to have a bit longer of a usuable life than bikes. Alex Pandrea shared a few thoughts about his as well.

Ace of Spades

Design: Normally I review the design, Court Cards, Spot Cards, Ace of Spades, and Jokers all seperately. But for this review there’s no point; it’s all standard. The back design is the v4 & v5 Smoke and Mirrors design, but without the D&D logo. And instead of small circles, they’re small, 5 pointed stars. They look like Paper Denim with a darker shade of blue. The backs are pretty simple. I like them, but some of my friends have said “Those look boring” compared to S&M or Tally Ho’s I usually have. The picture cards and spot cards are regular bicycle style. The Ace of Spades is literally just a giant spade. Very basic, just like the backs. There weren’t any Jokers. In place of them were ad cards, one for Genii, one for Magic-Con itself, and a card with a description of Magic-Con. Sort of like a mission statement.

Deck Box

Box: The box follows the simplistic feel of the deck. Big Spade on the front with “Magic-Con 2011 San Diego”, and the back design along with sponsors on the back. I was glad that they actually put the year & location of the conference. It helps give them collectibility.


So here are the ratings:
Feel- 8/10
Design- 7/10
Overall- 7.5/10

If you’re a collector or just like cards, I’d say these are worth getting your hands on. They’re a piece of Magic history in a way and are one of a kind. The feel and design didn’t have the quality of Smoke & Mirrors, but then again I don’t think they were meant to. The deck was an awesome addition to the registration packet this year and a cool keepsake from the conference.

Posted: March 30th, 2011
at 12:53am by Robin Carey

Categories: Cards,Magic Con 2011,Reviews

Comments: No comments


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Theory11 deckONE :: Review Part 1

This is the first part to my review for Theory11′s newest custom cards, deckONE by Homer Liwag. These are going to be my initial thoughts and first impressions; a couple months from now I’ll write the second part. I’ll talk about how the deck feels after it’s fully broken in, how it goes in performances, and my final thoughts on it. deckONE can be purchased at Theory11 or Dan and Dave.

Feel: Theory11 never fails to impress; deckONE continues with the high-quality standard we’ve come to know and love. These cards mix durability and luxury without missing a beat. The finish is the same used on other Theory 11 decks. The fans and spreads come out smooth and even, and the cards have just enough grip as to not slide everywhere. Aerials are surprisingly good for the deck not being broken in. The cards seem thicker than the Sentinels, but not quite as thick as any Ellusionist deck. It’s a happy medium.

Card Backs

Design: I think Homer Liwag accomplished his goal. “”I wanted the back design to appear heavy…” he said. The back design looks like a piece of an intricate, complex machine, following along with the Industrial theme of the cards. The shades of black, gray, and white give the deck an original look, instead of another “black” custom pack. Theory 11 did a nice job of giving the deck a new look without going overboard.

Court Cards

Court Cards: The picture cards go along perfectly with the feel of the deck. Gone are all the gaudy oranges, yellows, and blues. They have been replaced with shades of brown and black, creating a rustic image. The cards have an almost gritty look to them, as if they are worn or worked. Definitely going to catch the eyes of spectators.


Spot cards: It’s always nice to see a more subdued red on playing cards. Just like previous custom decks, all the faces utilize a deeper red on the pips and indexes. This fits with the industrial style of the cards as well. A bright, popping-out red would have definitely clashed. The pips are all sized the same as a regular deck of Bicycles.


Ace of Spades: Hands down my favorite part of the deck. The Ace is split in half right down the middle, with what looks like a large bolt connecting the two sides. The coloring reminds me of concrete or steel. The Ace seems to be a small part of something bigger; a vital piece of the machine running around it. Even the font used for the “U.S. Playing Card Company” text has a straight-lined, factory look about it. The attention to detail on these cards is incredible.


Jokers: Most certainly not the usual style of Jokers. Just like the Ace and the back design, the picture on the jokers looks like a snap shot of the inner workings of some enormous machine. The straight edged font is used here too, and fits in seamlessly. All the little details are what really make this deck. There’s a light color fade out from the edge of the Jokers’ picture out into the white of the card, adding to the worn, factory image.


Box: In my review for the Sentinels, I said something about how good the box looks, but doesn’t actually do anything for the cards. Now I’m not sure if the T11 Staff took that comment personally, but they sure stepped up. This box doesn’t just surround the cards, it’s made to protect them. As soon as you open it, you can feel how thick the sides are and how firm the whole thing is. It’s a beast. The multi-level embossing all over the box is just the icing on the cake. The detailed ridges of the back design feel and look amazing, while the enlarged ace on the front demands attention.

So here are the ratings:
Feel- 8.5/10
Design- 9.5/10
Overall- 9/10

I’ve heard that these cards are going to be a limited production. If that’s the case, I definitely recommended buying a few packs while you still can. The cards have the Theory11 standard of quality, along with a well thought out and designed theme. This is one of the more “orignial” decks we’ve seen lately. And the box is just awesome. The first box that I can actually say keeps my cards safe rather than just holds them. You can buy this deck over at Dan and Dave’s Store or at Theory11. And no matter which place you buy them, you’ll be entered into a cool Holiday Contest.

After a couple weeks I’ll be writing the second piece to this review. It’ll cover feel after the deck has been completely broken in, and I’ll also talk about performance pros and cons, how the cards go with certain card tricks, and anything else that comes to mind.

Posted: December 19th, 2010
at 10:49pm by Robin Carey

Categories: Cards,Reviews

Comments: 3 comments


3 Responses to 'Theory11 deckONE :: Review Part 1'

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  1. Awesome review! Very much appreciated. Thanks for the feedback and glad you enjoy the deck. Homer has a lot of plans for the next edition and we’re already hard at work to push the envelope. Happy Holidays!

    Jonathan Bayme

    19 Dec 10 at 11:01 pm


  2. Thanks JB! My pleasure, the deck is great. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next run.

    Robin Carey

    Robin Carey

    19 Dec 10 at 11:18 pm


  3. So looking forward to V2 tomorrow!


    21 Apr 11 at 3:27 pm



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