Roberto Giobbi's Card College Volume 3
Published and Distributed by Hermetic Press Inc.
Reviewed by Anthony Owen

Card College Vol. 3 by Roberto Giobbi is the third in the four volume set now being published in the English language by Stephen Minch's Hermetic Press (Vols. 1 and 2 were published in 1996). This volume continues the progressive course which mirrors the format used in the classic Hugard and Braue Royal Road to Card Magic of teaching a bunch of related techniques and sleights followed by a selection of routines utilising them. I like this approach a lot. Personally I've always found that I learn such techniques much better when they are within the context and structure of a routine or effect.

In the 300 plus pages of this hard backed volume are chapters on Assorted Techniques and Refinements, Techniques with Breaks, Steps and Injogs, Card Controls Part 2, The Double Lift Part 3, False Display Counts Part 3, Riffle Shuffle Techniques Part 2, The Multiple Shift, The Faro Shuffle, Advanced Palming Techniques, Colour Changes and The Side Steal and Diagonal Palm Shift. I guess that, in terms of the technical level of material covered, this book could be considered on a par with Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique. 

At first glance it would seem impossible to put together a comprehensive modern day equivalent to Hugard and Braue's classic texts considering the amount of material which has been developed in the creative explosion in card magic since their publication. However, Giobbi is ideally qualified because - in addition to his experience as an acclaimed FISM winning professional sleight of hand performer - he is multi-lingual and widely read, resulting in an extensive knowledge and understanding of the various 'schools' of card magic. 

As Max Maven wrote recently in his introduction to The Book "every art form benefits from intercultural exchange" and Giobbi is in the rare position to further that exchange in card magic, acting here as our multi-cultural guide showcasing techniques and material (much of it being published in English for the first time) from France's Bernard Bilis, Daniel Rhod and Richard Vollmer, Italy's Vanni Bossi and Spain's Ascanio and Tamariz. Plus there is stuff here from English language masters like Ed Marlo, Larry Jennings, Dai Vernon, Paul Harris, Steve Freeman, Peter Kane, Alex Elmsley, Roy Walton and Gordon Bruce. But, as Giobbi says in his introduction, this is "more than a compilation".

Unlike many books on technical sleight of hand card magic - some of which might as well be in a foreign language to me! - this is clearly written (translated from the German by Richard Hatch) and has plenty of clear illustrations (by Roberto's wife, Barbara). The Check Points which follow each item provide insightful suggestions to make learning smoother and often provide psychology, misdirection and theory to help strengthen the material in performance. And, for me, it is the high quality of performance material which is the highlight of this book. Giobbi obviously has a love for the simplicity and clarity of the classics of the art - elements sometimes forgotten in today's desperation for 'commercial' material - and has entertaining versions here of Hofzinser's Remember and Forget, Harris' Reset, Lyn Searle's Cannibal Cards, Vernon's Triumph and Paul Curry's Open Prediction, which, like all the performance material in this series, have been heightened by delightful 

Along with the first two volumes this is a must for any beginners or any magicians wanting to fill a few of the gaps in their knowledge of the modern card magic arsenal and learn some terrific entertaining card routines.

(Reprinted from The Magic Circular, the house magazine of The Magic Circle, with permission of Editor, Anthony Owen.)


Anthony Owen August 2000