Unlike the Invisible or Svengali Deck, the Stripper Deck can be handled and examined by an audience member, and it can withstand a modest amount of scrutiny without exposing the secret; however, this deck is found in a number of beginners' magic kits, so the secret is well-known, even by non-magicians.
Many of the effects achieved with this deck can also be accomplished with sleight of hand, and it is often regarded by professional magicians that using the Stripper Deck to control a few cards is lazy. However, magicians still use this deck for some tricks where they are controlling too many cards to keep track of individually, for example, half the deck.
The Svengali deck of cards is a specially constructed deck that can be used by magicians to perform various card tricks. The deck and the tricks performed with it is self-working and require almost no skill. Burling Hull claimed to have invented the deck in 1909.
The deck can be dribbled or riffled to create the illusion that the deck is completely ordinary. It can even be shuffled. One basic trick involves a spectator choosing a card from the deck and returning it; the card can appear practically anywhere in the deck, making tricks like the Ambitious card incredibly simple. The final and most stunning trick is when all the cards are suddenly presented as being all the same card as chosen.
The deck alternates between normal cards and shortened cards, and the shortened cards are all of the same number and suit. When the deck is riffled front to back, only the normal cards are visible; when it is riffled back to front, only the shortened cards are visible.
Unfortunately, the conjurer cannot allow an audience member to examine the deck. The use of a Svengali deck can also be detected by its characteristic faster riffle and sound. Finally, because the deck is so venerable and is widely sold in joke and novelty shops, many laymen are familiar with it.
In the classic presentation of this effect, the magician hands the spectator an imaginary, or 'invisible' deck, hence the trick's title. On being handed the deck, the spectator is made to mime the acts of 'removing' the cards from their case; 'shuffling' them; 'spreading' them face-up on the table; freely 'selecting' a card; 'replacing' it face-down among the other face-up cards; and 'returning' the deck to its box.
At this point, either the spectator keeps the imaginary deck while the magician removes the real deck from his pocket, or the spectator hands the imaginary deck to the magician, which suddenly becomes real in the magician's hand. The magician then asks the spectator to name the card he/she selected, removes the deck, face-up, from its box and spreads the cards to show one face-down card. The spectator removes the card to find it is the one he/she named moments earlier.
In the more comedic version of the routine, more focus will be drawn to the part of the effect where the spectator is handling the cards. Often, the magician might criticize the spectator's card-handling abilities, or remind them to take the cards out of the case before trying to shuffle them.
A more serious routine can be performed, which focuses more on the magician's mindreading abilities and the fact that the spectator had a completely free choice of card. The magician could hand the spectator a box of cards to hold, ask them to freely think of, and concentrate on, any card in the deck, and then to name it. The spectator then hands the box back to the magician, and the trick completed as before.
A two-way forcing deck consists of two sets of identical cards, one set comprising the top half of the pack and the other the bottom half. A deck of this nature can be used to force two different cards on two spectators. Similarly, a three-way forcing deck is comprised of three different sets of identical cards.
A 50/50 forcing deck is a deck in which the top half is made up of the same card and the bottom half is composed of indifferent cards. Providing he only shows half of the deck, the magician can fan the cards face-up to supposedly demonstrate that all cards are different. When offered to the spectator for selection, he must ensure that he or she selects a card from the top half.
Some decks are made by making the deck have every other card being one card so the magician can force it on a spectator easily, and so that he can take out other cards that are not one of the forcing cards.
It's worth noting that these decks have fallen out of favor amongst professional magicians, due to an increased suspicion amongst audiences of the use of gimmicked props. As such, they are rarely employed.