• Alex Hui

TUTORIAL REVIEW - Woody on Stebbins Vol.1 & 2

Updated: Aug 27



Here is my in-depth review of Woody on Stebbins Vol.1 & 2.


REVIEW PHILOSOPHY


The philosophy is simple: to give you the truth.


When I review a product, I’d like to judge the product per se, but not putting past record or creator’s name/reputation into consideration. I will provide what is not said on the advertisement and details beyond the product itself.


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YOUTUBE REVIEW


If you want to watch the review, here is the YouTube version.



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT


I received the review copies of these downloads for the honest review. As always, I will do my best to give you all the details about the product. It will be brutally honest if it needed to be. So you can rest assure that this review will be unbiased as always. 


WHAT ARE THEY ABOUT? 


These videos are about tricks with Si Stebbins stack. Each volume comes with 3 tricks. 

QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL

Vol 1 lasts about 42 minutes and 57 seconds. Vol 2 is 35 minutes and 40 seconds. 


There are studio performances for live (magician) audiences. The explanation is presented by Woody Aragon with Ben Daggers. There are only 1 camera angle but it is a good medium shot, so everything is crystal clear. 

Length (in minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted): 

Volume 1

  • Divine Inspiration - 3:36

  • Human Liet Detector - 4:27

  • Intuition - 3:26

  • Si Stebbins Secret - 9:49

  • Setup - 2:13

  • History - 1:47

  • Divine Inspiration Exp - 8:35

  • Human Liet Detector Exp- 5:10

  • Intuition Exp - 3:50


Volume 2

  • Performances - 12:33

  • Birthday Card - 8:02

  • Poker Deal - 4:21

  • Book Test - 10:41

In Vol 1, there is an introductory section about the properties, history and setup for Si Stebbins stack. Two techniques to glimpse from Woody’s repertoire are taught. And Woody also explains how to make a cut look like overhand shuffle. These techniques are very practical, and could be used beyond stack work.

As for the setup of the stack, Woody explains a very practical and easy to arrange the whole stack. This doesn’t involve any faro and calculations. This is a gem in the video. 

In the following section, I will try to discuss each trick respectively. 


Vol 1: 


Divine Inspiration


Effect: The performer reveals the card freely selected by the spectator in the fairest manner. The effect is repeated again with everything the same! 


This effect is a very standard application of stack deck. However, Woody’s presentation is nothing similar to standard one. It’s very effective for even magicians who know about stack. 

Woody also teaches a nice subtlety on classic force. This technique can be easily integrated into your repertoire. I personally love this technique because it creates a off-bit which will increase the success rate of forcing a card.

Human Lie Detector


Effect: The spectator randomly selects 3 cards. He read out the card but lie about the identity of any one. The magician is able to tell which card the spectator lies about. 

The effect is pretty strong if done right. The deck is never in magician’s hand and even not in his sight. The card selection process is clever and subtle. 

If I had to name one shortcoming of this effect, it’s about the instant calculation that performer needed to do. You have to understand the stack by heart in order to perform this effect. But it’s not as difficult as it may sound. 

Intuition

Effect: Without looking at the deck, the spectator randomly takes a card and hide it. Without any knowledge about the card, the magician is about to divine the suit and number of the selection in a stunning manner. 

This is my favorite in this volume. The effect is clean, practical, and stunning. There is absolutely no sleight-of-hand, so you can focus on your presentation. 


The response from my wife after seeing this trick is, ‘Isn’t it too amazing?’. The off-hand approach is what makes this trick great. 



Vol 2: 


Birthday Card


Effect: The spectator randomly selects 3 cards. Using the sum of the selections, the spectator deals the cards and arrives at the birthday card with different back.  


This is another semi-automatic card trick. A one-time preparation is required but it is very standard among card magicians. The birthday card can be changed to some other cards for different presentations. 

I like the versatility of this effect. This is also very clean, because initially the odd color back is not visible in the card spread. If you have the right presentation, this effect can be killer. 


Poker Deal

Effect: At anytime of the performance, the performer can deal a Royal Flush to himself. 


This is probably the best effect in this volume. The trick is automatic and can be done anytime. The reset is instant and under the nose of audience. 


Book Test


Effect: The performer borrows several books from audience. 3 cards are selected to arrive a sum, which represents the page selected. The performer can divine the content on a particular sentence on that page. 

While I like the premise of this effect, there are many limitations compared with other book tests. It can be done only at casual performances, and pre-show works have to be done. 

To conclude, the effects are generally very effective and practical. Most material are very do-able, and even advanced magicians may find them practical in actual performances. The best thing about these effects is, most of them do not require the performer to do any calculation. 



DIFFICULTY


Most effects are self-working or semi-automatic.


RESET TIME


Many effects reset in seconds. In fact. effects on both volumes can be done in a single set of performances.

KEY POINTS OF THE PRODUCT


  • All tricks are about Si Stebbins stack

  • Easy to perform

  • Total of 6 tricks on both volume

  • All effects can be done consecutively

  • Magician foolers


FINAL VERDICT


Magic with stack deck is always fascinating but only few magicians adopt stack deck in their acts, either because the hurdle of memorised is high, or it’s difficult to locate high quality resources. 

In many cases, even a magician chose to use stack deck, Si Stebbins stack won’t be the pick because it’s not as stylish as other memorized decks, or there are few impactful effects. 

However, Woody on Stebbins may change what we think about Si Stebbins stack. 


While the materials may not be sophisticated to advanced magicians, most effects are very practical. They don’t look like effects with stack deck, but full utilise the power of the Si Stebbins. 


Honestly, I didn’t use Si Stebbins a lot, but these tutorials have really make me interested in trying more with the stack. Especially the setup taught by Woody make the stack setup much efficient and less tedious. 


At current price of $15.95 for each volume, I think it’s a decent investment. The effects are taught by one of the most prolific stack masters. And it is joy to watch the performance by Woody. 


So you may ask, do I really need these videos? If you want to re-discover the potential of Si Stebbins, and love to have some self-working miracles to fool the smartest audience, I think it’s worth the investment. I am glad that I watched these because I will start using Si Stebbins again. 

Therefore, I will recommend these to any serious card students. If you are about to start leaning stack, this is a very good resource to pick up some stunning effects.  


  • Tutorial Quality: 9/10

  • Effectiveness of Tricks: 9/10

  • Practical: 9/10

  • Creativity: 8/10

  • Cost Performance: 9/10

  • Final Score: 9/10


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Thank you for reading this review.

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