When Benjamin Earl takes a shuffled deck and cuts to the four Aces, it feels completely authentic -- as if his deft fingers can somehow locate them by touch alone. But here's a secret: he has developed techniques and psychological methods that fake this seemingly impossible feat.
The journey starts by looking at Henry Christ's classic "Fabulous Four Ace" routine and improving it one piece at a time. His noble list of goals for the routine include removing anti-climactic moments and ensuring that the revelations build in progressively stronger and more distinctive ways. He achieves this in spades.
That routine is the springboard for further experimentation. Ben's analysis of the four-Ace effect leads him along many interesting paths, stripping away every unnecessary action. He teaches twelve complete Ace-cutting effects and gambling demonstrations (including a multi-phased routine that requires absolutely no sleight of hand), and provides thorough and thoughtful analysis on their construction.
Ben also teaches a collection of original moves and techniques, focusing on three areas: maintaining a stack while a spectator shuffles the deck, maintaining the stack himself, and producing the Aces. In particular, the Sting Cut and his Real Optical False Shuffle are two moves that introduce the idea of improvisation into the mix.
This is a gorgeous 142-page hardback book, bursting with high-quality photographs. It's as much a book on the theory and construction of card magic, as it is a tome of workable effects and world-class card technique.