Trick Review: Stand Up Monte by Garrett Thomas

For the first time on this blog I’m going to do a trick review. Based on feedback I may write more reviews if people are interested. I’ll only review products that I’ve actually used in performance.

This is a review for Garrett Thomas’ Stand Up Monte. Here’s the promotional text for the product:

In The Hands Wildcard Effect that makes sense to real-world audiences. Garrett Thomas’ Stand Up Monte includes eight or more transpositions or transformations.

Draw them in with an intriguing story about games, gambling, scams, hustlers and cons.Then add the strength of magic that happens in the spectators hands, combined with the visual power of the classic Wildcard effect. This easy to do routine happens All In The Hands, yours and the spectators, No Table Required. Best of all, it automatically resets.Truly Audience Tested. This routine has been used professionally by Garrett for the last 15 years with over 15,000 performances! This effect has been an underground favorite with many of the top working magicians today. All necessary tools provided.

Here’s a clip of me performing the effect:

This is a very technical routine that requires a lot of practice to remember the right sequences for each phase of the routine. Throughout the routine it’s easy to get yourself mixed up, so you’ll need to practice it until you can keep track of everything without thinking about it. When I was first learning the routine I spent about 5 hours watching the video over and over with the cards in hand, and another week or so practicing the routine everyday to memorize the sequence. Once you’ve created a script it becomes easier to remember the moves since you have the script to remind you what comes next.

I’ve been performing this for a few months now and I’ve never had anyone even come close to suspecting the correct method. The magic is so strong in this routine that the spectators don’t stand a chance of solving it – which puts you in a great position to really play with the audience and have fun rather than worrying about the deceptiveness of the effect. The routine is inherently entertaining because the magic that’s happening is so unexpected each time. The routine starts off slowly but by the end three cards change right in the palm of their hands. The natural theatrical build of this effect is a huge plus. Online there seems to be some debate if the routine was actually a three card monte routine, or a wild card routine. I believe it’s a distinction that doesn’t make a difference unless you’re already performing similar effects in your set.

My biggest complaint about the instructional DVD is that Garrett is so fluent with the handling that he does things without consciously being aware of it such as small rearrangements of the cards. Because of this you can’t just listen to him as he speaks but you really need to watch closely as well which made me rewind over and over again. Also he covers different ways of dealing with each phase which is a bit confusing when you’re initially trying to learn the routine. However, with that said, after you learn the routine it means you’ve got all the tools to tweak and adjust the routine to suit your performance.

On the DVD and in the official trailer you’ll see it presented as a gambling demonstration. I’ve found that most of my audiences aren’t familiar with the three card monte game, so instead I frame it as a simple game of find the lady. At it’s core the routine is a simple “game” that the audience can easily understand and get invested in.

With my professional close-up repertoire the biggest struggle is finding effects that don’t disturb my pocket management for the other effects I perform. This entire routine fits into my outside breast jacket pocket that I wasn’t using. Also, if I’m performing it outside the context of a paid gig I’ll use my left pocket which works just as well. Another practical advantage of this routine is that everything is in the hands. There’s no need to use a table so it makes it practical to perform in many different types of environments. Plus the reset can be done in two seconds while walking to the next group making it practical for any worker. Finally, the props will wear out over time so eventually they’ll need to be replaced. However, with proper care they should last you a very long time. There are also refill packs available.

I’d have to say that this is the strongest piece of magic I’ve added into my repertoire in the past couple years. I except this routine to stay in my working set for a very long time. If you like what you read you can find the routine available from your favorite magic dealer. Highly recommended.

Here’s the offical trailer: