Back when ye olde was up, one of the more popular features was the Annotated Royal Road to Card Magic. I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with it. I was proud of the work, for what it was, and yet I didn’t like the fact that it contained a ton of criticism for RRTCM without much in the way of direct alternatives — there were suggestions for better techniques and such, but that would mean more purchases for the aspiring student.

Recently, I decided to give this project another shot, only this time doing my best to get alternative content from other card magic books out there in the public domain. Surprisingly, the majority of the bigger problems contained in RRTCM are actually addressed in other books that are out there and totally free.

Which brings us to JACK. To make use of this guide, you’ll need the following…

* A copy of Royal Road to Card Magic. You probably already own it. If not, you can probably pick up a very inexpensive copy from a million places.

* A copy of Expert Card Technique. You probably already own it. Again, if not, you can probably pick up a very inexpensive copy from a million places.

* A free account at Lybrary.com to access the Learned Pig Project.

* Access to the Jinx on Ask Alexander.

* This link to the State Library of Victoria, in Australia.

…and that’s it. Those two books combined with those three websites can give you an excellent introduction to card magic, one I’d argue is far better than what’s in Royal Road. Now, that said, the current flagship in card magic education is the excellent duo of the first two volumes of Card College, and I’m not going to pretend that what I’ve compiled here is better across the board than what Giobbi put together. There’s two main reasons for this. First, Roberto Giobbi offers the finest comprehensive instruction in card magic there is right now, and second, since JACK draws from the public domain, there are simply some techniques that aren’t available to draw from, such as the Elmsley Count, the Zarrow Shuffle, and so on. That said, I think there’s some great stuff in JACK, including a couple of things that I think Giobbi overlooked, and the price is far more forgiving for somebody at the true entry level.

At this point, JACK has been completed. For a while I was thinking about submitting this for publication, but in the end, I think the concept of the book is a bit of a hard sell, so I’m just going to be posting it here, section-by-section. I will be leaving out detailed explanations of method, but I will reference where you can get to them, and offer commentary to help round it out.

You can expect the first section to go up soon…