top of page
  • Writer's pictureMadison Hagler

Confident Deceptions by Jason Ladanye


Confident Deceptions is Jason Ladanye’s first magic book released to the community. It was initially published in 2013. It’s been unavailable for a while, but the good folks at Vanishing Inc have decided to reprint it, making it available to everyone once again.

As with all VI books, the quality is superb, and the format is thoroughly enjoyable. Each routine includes the complete patter at the end and a comment section often filled with additional advice or variations.

The book opens with a Foreword by Darwin Ortiz. An Introduction by Jason Ladanye follows this. Almost every routine in the book uses a pinky count at one point or another, so Jason is kind enough to also provide a full in-depth description of the pinky count (with photos) at the beginning of the book to set you up for success. The book is divided into two sections: Magic Effects and Gambling Effects.


The Quick Change Artist - A card is selected and returned to the deck. Let’s assume it’s the Jack of Diamonds. One at a time, the performer produces the four Aces in a visually stunning way. He seems to think that the spectator selected an Ace. The spectator informs him that his card was a Jack, not an Ace. Without hesitation, the performer changes the four Aces into the four Jacks.

This sleight-heavy routine utilizes a shapeshifter change, an erdnase change, a triple lift, and a palmed card change. It sort of feels like throwing everything at one routine. The changes do an excellent job of setting up for the following change, but to me, this routine feels a bit like it’s being strong-handed for what it is. It’s not necessarily a difficult routine by any stretch; it just feels like a lot is going on.

Lucky Fifty - A card is selected and lost into the deck by the spectator. The performer wagers fifty dollars he can cut to the selection. The performer fails to locate the card and offers the money to the spectator. When the spectator tries to retrieve the money, she realizes that it has changed into the card she selected.

This is another routine with a lot going on for it to be a selected card in envelope in wallet effect. It isn’t even a signed card here. The idea is that a $50 bill turns into the selected card. My only issue with the effect is that nothing is very logical in it. You bring out a wallet and remove a $50 bill and an envelope. You write on the envelope, have the spectator put the money inside, and put the envelope back inside the wallet. A moment later, you bring the envelope back out of the wallet and put the wallet away. I don’t know about you, but to me, there is very little logic in that sequence. I would prefer to show a $50 bill in my wallet and have that turn into the selected card. Adding the envelope just muddies the trick and leaves me wondering, “Why?”

Ladanye’s Ambitious Card - A spectator begins by shuffling the deck and naming any card she wishes. Let’s say she names the Seven of Hearts. The selection is signed by the spectator and shuffled into the deck. The performer proves that no matter where in the deck the Seven is, he can instantly bring it back to the top. To take it a step further, the performer instantly produces all four Sevens at the top of the deck.

This is a seven-phase ambitious card routine with the mates of a freely named card appearing as the penultimate phase. I have to ask myself if the world needs another ambitious card routine, especially one with seven phases. The mates provide an excellent breaking up of the pattern right at the end, and their appearance will undoubtedly come as a surprise. There’s no doubt that the routine is a very clean ambitious card routine; however, I have found myself leaning towards the less is more approach. Where I once would have performed a ten-phase ambitious card routine, I now find I get more impact (and it feels more magical and less like I’m juggling) doing a two-phase ambitious card routine. I have found that is plenty.

Arcane Control - A card is selected and returned to the deck. The spectator shuffles the deck and then buries two Aces face up in different parts of the deck. In one shuffle, the performer traps the selection between the Aces.

This is a great and simple demonstration of your great control over your shuffles. It is effortless to do, and yet it looks like extreme sleight of hand is taking place. Some great throw-offs in the routine include allowing the spectator to shuffle the deck after losing their selection. This is particularly clever because this spectator shuffle sets the deck up for you. This shows how creative Jason is because most magicians would do some time of jog shuffle or maybe a tabled riffle shuffle to get into position, but having the spectator do your dirty work makes the routine play cleaner. It’s very clever and a great demonstration of precise control in a shuffle.

Thought Transference - A thought-of card disappears from a group of cards and appears face up in a deck that a spectator is holding.

You will need a memorized deck or a cyclical stack for this one. This is essentially Jason’s take on the biddle trick. Jason says his goal was to make the trick stronger by having a fair selection process and by building the revelation in such a way to give you three climaxes. The changes are pretty subtle, but I think they improve the trick. The downside is that you will need a full deck stack to perform it exactly as written.

The Set-Up - The performer offers to teach how to do a trick. A card is selected and lost in the deck. The performer instantly finds it. He explains that the cards were separated into reds and blacks, which made it possible to find the selection among its opposite color. The cards are then shuffled to show that when mixed, there’s no way to locate a selection. When the cards are spread a moment later, the red and black separation is restored with the selection among its opposite color.

This is a quick demonstration that is unique and is hard to even put into a category. It’s a magical payoff, but it’s magical in that nothing appears to have happened. So, this is the exact opposite of a magic effect that causes a change. You physically manufacture a change, but nothing has happened. It is truly a very quick routine, but the spectators will enjoy the feeling of learning a trick. I think the issue with this is that the trick they learn is actually stronger than the finale. Sure, the finish will come as a surprise, and they won’t be able to understand it, but I think they will feel like they learned the more impressive trick of the two.

Precision Aces - The performer shuffles four face-up Aces into the deck and, in the process, locates three previously-selected cards.

You must be confident performing three perfect faros for this routine, but the final effect is impressive. There is a lovely display of the four aces genuinely being separate and the selections genuinely being separate (for once, you don’t have to lie, they are all genuinely separate). The replacement is done casually while spreading through the deck, leaving no need to complete any strange moves or displacements. Once everything is replaced and displayed, you go right into the three back-to-back shuffles. You are pretty much doing exactly what you claim to be doing.

The Gathering - A spectator shuffles the deck. Three cards are then selected and very fairly lost in the deck. The performer shuffles the deck once and instantly produces four Aces on top. Trapped among the Aces are the selected cards.

This is a great routine. It is a speedy routine that feels like it is over before it has even started, and that is why the routine is so powerful. There are no visible moves, yet instantly four aces appear with the three selections trapped between them. As with a lot of Jason’s work, you will require a faro shuffle, but this only requires eight cards to be perfectly weaved, so anyone with even a little experience with faros will easily be able to pull this one off.

The Player - The performer causes two selections to change places under stringent conditions.

This is a two-card transposition routine with a torn card. Jason’s presentation is fun and flirty and logically covers why only one of the cards is signed. The presentation is perfect for Jason’s character, but this is definitely one of those presentations that could come off creepy or just plain weird in the wrong hands. If you don’t have the suave lady's man character that Jason does, I would consider changing the presentation slightly. The routine has a quick ambitious card and card-to-pocket sequence leading up to the transposition. These are done casually as you recount a story of what happened one time when you were performing, but they are mainly there to delay the transposition. This routine also has the benefit of being one of the most accessible routines in the book.

The Ultimate Exchange - A spectator selects a card. Let’s assume she picks the King of Spades. The King of Spades is torn up and placed face up in the spectator’s hand. Another card is selected from the deck. Let’s assume the Eight of Hearts. Without any sign of manipulation, the two cards change places. The spectator is now holding a torn Eight of Hearts, and the King of Spades is completely restored. Both cards can be examined.

This is similar to the previous routine, but in Jason’s words, “The presentation for ‘The Player’ is very important and works closely with the method. ‘The Ultimate Exchange’ is more of a shut-up-and-watch trick.” There you have it. This routine is much punchier, getting directly to the point. There are no signed cards here, but you have a very deceptive change of the faceup torn card in a spectator’s hand.

Forging Ahead - The performer moves a spectator’s initials from the face of one card onto the face of another.

This unique effect freshly utilizes the out-to-lunch principle. It is a pleasant routine with lots of charm. I’m sure it will fool everyone, but I don’t know if many people would be willing to set this up and carry it around just for this one quick trick. Jason provides the way he uses it in walk-around, which makes the reset a little faster and more practical, but even still, it uses a small “remainder of an old deck,” and two cards get destroyed every time you perform it.

Through and Through - A card is selected, and returned to the deck. The performer places the deck in the center of the table. One card is produced from under the table, and it proves to be the signed card. He offers to repeat the effect under more impossible conditions. The cards are placed in the case. The cased deck is then placed under the spectator’s hand. This time the spectator pushes down, and the case collapses completely. The entire deck has passed through the table–except for one card. The one card still in the crushed case is the signed selection.

Jason says this is one of the strongest effects he has ever performed. Darwin Ortiz dreamed up the effect in Strong Magic, but he had no method for it. After working on the idea for ten years, Jason finally arrived at this. The method is so simple anyone could do it. It is almost self-working. But the impact you’ll receive will outweigh the work you put into it. I’m sure everyone reading this has performed the saltshaker through table at one point. You know the shock that the spectators experience when you slam your hand down, and the salt shaker is gone. A very similar moment is created here when they crush the case, and all the cards are gone except theirs. I can see why Jason would say this is one of the strongest effects he has performed. Obviously, you will need a table for this, and you must be seated at the table. Honestly, an excellent way to think of the necessary conditions is if you could perform the saltshaker through table trick, you could perform this trick.


It’s all in the Hands - A spectator names any card in the deck. The performer attempts to cause the spectator to cut to her card. The spectator fails. However, a moment later, she is left holding the very card she named.

You will need a memorized deck for this routine. In essence, this is Jason’s way to get any named card to the top of the deck, and an indifferent card switched for it all under the disguise of a cut card being used to indicate where to cut the deck. Jason gives clear examples for every possible scenario and teaches how to restore the deck to memorized order during the routine. This isn’t the strongest trick you could do with a memorized deck, but it would make for a good interlude.

The Big Blind - A spectator shuffles the deck and then deals two hands of Texas Hold ‘em–one for himself and one for the performer. Even though the deck was thoroughly mixed, the performer predicts the flop, turn, and river cards correctly. If that weren’t enough, the spectator manages to deal the performer a strong hand of four Aces.

This is a wonderful demonstration for Texas Hold ‘em poker with a setup easily achieved with one cull through the deck. The effect is mostly about knowing what cards are coming up next in the flop and river, but it has a kicker ending of the performer winning with four aces. It uses a very bold switch and a classic peek to great effect.

The Big Stack - The performer demonstrates how easy it is for a skilled card cheat to stack the deck. In just two shuffles, he deals himself the four Queens. When the other hands are shown, an opponent has beaten him with the four Kings. The performer turns over his hand, which now contains the four Aces.

This is one of my favorite routines in the book. It is a beautiful demonstration of shuffle stacking that can be done from a shuffled deck in use. It has an unexpected kicker ending which will truly bewilder those watching. It requires a couple of perfect faros, but the way Jason has put the entire routine together is nothing short of brilliant, and I am a big fan.

Centerpiece - The four Aces are lost in different parts of the deck. The performer then demonstrates how it’s possible to deal the Aces from the center of the deck. To take it further, he fans the cards and asks a spectator to name any card near the center. Just moments after the spectator sees her card in the center, the performer deals it to himself.

This routine will require a memorized deck and a perfected Greek deal. If you have those two things at your disposal, then the routine will be pretty straightforward. It does appear to be a genuine demonstration of center dealing. Dealing a freely named card as the kicker will impress everyone watching. If you don’t have a Greek deal down, you could easily modify the routine to use a bottom deal, but you’ll lose out on the main selling point of being able to show the top and bottom card along the way.

Bringing Down the House - The performer gives a demonstration of how to count cards. Afterwards, he gives an example of correct shuffling procedures used in casinos. The entire deck is shuffled by the audience, the cards are cut by a spectator, and the top card is burned. When the spectator deals, he receives four suited naturals.

This is another really great routine that has many very fooling elements. Two spectators give the deck genuine riffle shuffles. During the demonstration for counting cards, you are partially setting up for four suited blackjack hands invisibly. Then, while you and several spectators shuffle the deck further, you are cleverly completing the setup. This is such a clever procedure. I am in awe of Jason’s creativity when I look at this routine. It doesn’t seem possible that you could deal with four rounds of blackjack fairly and end up with four perfect, suited blackjack hands, yet that is precisely what happens. Did I mention the spectator chooses where the deal begins by choosing where to cut the deck? Structurally, this is my favorite routine in the book. I don’t think it gets much better than this.

Best for Last - The performer gives an amazing display of skill by locating each rank of hand in poker from lowest to highest.

A full deck setup is required for this, but it is worth it if you like the effect. Jason has a clever idea for ensuring no one suspects a stacked deck, and this idea also allows you to perform the routine as a finale to your set without having to do a deck switch. The routine itself is as easy or as complicated as you want to make it. It has a nice organic and logical build thanks to the increased ranking of the hands for each phase.

Acknowledgments - This ends as all books should, with a list of people to thank.

I am happy this book is available once again because there are some truly unique and powerful routines within the pages.

781 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page