Book Review: “Anthology” by Daniel Madison

Playing Cards are a staple of my repertoire when someone says to “show me something.” The guy I think has the best handle on how to use playing cards is Daniel Madison, and his book “Anthology” will give any reader enough to digest for some time.  If you want to learn sleight of hand from a mad genius, I’d suggest “Anthology” as the first and foremost choice for you.

“Anthology” lays bare countless effects by Daniel Madison, including the genesis of one of my favorite card deceptions, “Angle Z.” The “Identity” and “The Advocate” (one gimmick I never leave the house without) are two more tools contained in this book that you’ll find yourself using quickly.

There’s also sleight of hand moves.  Madison has some of the best hands in the card handler game, and “Anthology” will teach you quite a few of Madison’s better sleights.  The big ones he’s currently using you’ll probably need to purchase one of his DVDs or downloads to really get, but you’ll rock the next networking event you take a deck of cards to when you have “Anthology” and take some time to really look into the full scope of Madison’s effects.

There’s a few of Madison’s effects in this collection you’ll need to prepare gaffes or gimmicks with.  They don’t take that much time to put together, and you’ll come up with some very powerful, visual close up using a deck of playing cards when you do.  All of the gimmicks are explained in creation with a step-by-step approach and well worth your time.

Another cautionary note is when Madison describes a sleight he uses a certain system to point out all the fingers used in executing the move.  “Finger One” and “Finger Two” are the index and middle fingers on a hand, for example.  You will learn this system quickly if you just pay attention to his frame of describing a sleight’s inner workings.

Perhaps the best aspect of “Anthology” is most of the effects can be performed with a borrowed deck of playing cards and a little practice.  You can wow someone when they call you out and say “You’re just able to do that because you have your own deck.”  Anthology will give you the ability to know with confidence that you can knock someone’s socks off when you go out in public to do just about anything.

One tip I’ll give you from “Anthology.” If you want to really build up your confidence, go to a market area or street corner and just perform a few of the effects for various passer by for free.  It’ll wow them if they bite, you can usually leave your business card with the spectator, and it serves as a great marketing tool for you.  In addition, if the sleights go a little out of whack, you’ll be able to come up with some way of getting out of a mess providing you just work with a little alternative or two.

The last point I’ll give you for Daniel Madison’s “Anthology” is learning and working some of these effects will add to your confidence because they’re really advanced.  When you can pull off some of the difficult to most advanced sleights Madison lays bare for you in this collection you’ll really feel like you can conquer just about any problem.  Of the books and effects I’ve seen, this is 5 out of 5 stars.  It’s a must read.

Purchase a copy of “Anthology.”  It’s worth the investment.

Learn about the “Wrongless Approach.”

Review: Theory 11 “Union” Playing Cards

I’m a big fan of playing cards, because I have a love of the deceptive arts that centers around using a pack of playing cards to do sleight of hand.  This comes from a time when I almost died and spent a year trying to regain the use of smaller muscles in my hands.  There’s countless varieties of playing cards, and I usually destroy about a deck a week doing certain moves over and over.  It’s a sort of thing where I just do sleights while I think about something.  Today we’re going to look at the “Union” series of playing cards by Theory 11.


The “Union” design is pretty nifty from the start.  You get an image on the front of the box with the American Flag, a sword, and some sprigs of ivy.  The words “Liberty” and “Bravery” are at the top and bottom of the box.  The back of the box is the back of the playing card, which has two eagles, more U.S. themed imagery, and a “U.”  The box sides announce the deck’s history; produced and distributed by Theory 11 but made by the United States Playing Card Company.  The tuck has a broken chain, ivy sprigs, and the words “Live Free.”


The individual suit cards are rather minimalist in the pip designs.  Where the art shines is in the court cards.  You’ll see various stages of “American” life in the Jacks, Kings, and Queens in the deck.  The only Ace with some impressive imagery is the Ace of Spades, which has an American Flag theme to the spade and an eagle design.


Gaffed cards in the deck are rare; the only specialty marking this as a premium level deck is the double backer, which you’ll find in just about any high-end deck of cards.  You’ll also get an ad card for Theory 11 and two Jokers.

Handling the cards from the box is pretty smooth.  They’re going to feel better than any standard deck of Bicycles out of the gate.  With about two days’ intensive handling they’re going to start breaking down on you, which is a problem I have with Theory 11’s card stock.  It seems like this is a universal thing with just about any Theory 11 deck.  As usual, preferences for card handlers will vary.  The edges are good enough to do a solid Faro Shuffle from just about the original state without any major breaking in.  Side steals, bottom deals, just about any of the major moves I have to pull off when working with a deck are a dream when you handle these cards.  That’s a great sign for someone like me who does a large amount of work with playing cards in a routine.

The disclaimer is that the feel of the cards is just too good to keep for a solid length of time.  They don’t feel like they’re very sturdy or well made, and I can’t get past that.  Other decks, like the Kings Series, just tend to work better for me.  I’ll still rate the Union Series a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars for their workability.

You can buy them by clicking through to the link below. Happy Handling!
Collectible Playing Cards