I recently ended up with about two dozen decks of bicycle cards that are the old stock of Cincinnati made playing cards! I just started using one of the packs of cards as my “pocket deck” at the fair I’m performing at. This is the deck that’s always in my pocket when I’m around the fair, and if someone recognizes me as a magician, it’s the pack I’ll use to show them an impromptu card trick. It’s not the pack I use when I perform, for that I use the normal bikes that are currently available. I just throw away the deck after each show.
What’s great about these cards old stock cards is that they way they are cut, they faro really easily. Anyone starting out right now that was trying to learn to faro shuffle with the new stock cards is going to have a hell of a time!
There’s a lot of physical differences between the new stock and the old stock. One that just hit me is the finish is a little bit different. I wonder if you put an old stock into a deck of new stock cards if it would work as a slick card? Or if not a slick card, some other sort of subtle locator? Unfortunately I don’t have a normal deck with me right now, so I can’t try it out for a few days.
I’m not a “card snob”, however it’s amazing how much easier it is to use a good deck of cards for pretty much any sleight of hand.
Here’s a little four ace production I thought of a few nights ago.
I have a feeling the book Principa by Harapan Ong led to this, it feels like several of the ace productions in that book.
The work is pretty simple, you need the four aces on top of the deck. They alternate face down and face up, with the uppermost ace face down.
Take the deck and slip cut two cards (a face down and face up ace) off the top of the deck on the lower have. Do a faro shuffle, it only needs to be a perfect faro for the first four cards and leave the cards outjogged (don’t complete the shuffle).
Your left index finger pops the top card off the top forward half and the thumb on your other hand does the same with the top card of the inner half. When you do that the four aces will be face up.
It’s it the best, or most practical four ace production? Probably not. Was it fun to play with? yes
At night when I’m hanging out with the family watching TV, usually I’m dinking around with a deck of cards. Frequently I’m working on a fancy cut, I try to be able to do a little bit of the cardistry so the kids at magic conventions think I’m less of a dinosaur. Sometimes I work on new card sleights, or just try to keep the rust off of old ones.
The last week or so I’ve been playing with the side steal. It’s a move I’ve done for a long time and can do it, but I don’t do it exceptionally. When I do it in a live performance, it’s an attitude thing, versus a technique thing. Usually when I do it, I use Scotty York‘s method for the side jog, which automatically side jogs the card.
Sometimes I do the proper side steal technique where you push the card into a squared deck, steal the card and either palm it, or move it to the top. I’ve been working on my technique to get it into full palm using proper technique the last week. It’s starting to look a lot better, I still have a studder between the side jog and full palm. I’m working to smooth that out. It’ll take time…
In yesterday’s blog post I wrote about a four ace production that I saw on social media and why it wasn’t good. This morning I’m going into my social media and found a four ace production from about a year ago. If I remember correctly this is from Principia by Harapan Ong.
Here’s why the is a better trick that the one that I shared yesterday:
I’m talking, it fills the dead space a bit better
No procedural shuffling
You get an ace production right away
The final ace production is magical and puts an punctuation on the trick
Is the ace trick that I did the best? No, however it’s way better than the one that I shared yesterday. Think about what you’re sharing before you put it out there.
This morning a buddy of mine sent me a video of a magician doing a card trick and wanted to know my thoughts on it. The thing that stood out to me, and is something that I should have realized before is that most of us are doing card tricks for social media incorrectly.
Many videos of just the hands have them coming down from the top of the screen, or are from the spectators point of view showing more of the magician. If you are doing any card tricks that require you to spread the cards, the indexes are upside down.
If you are someone that frequently handles cards, it’s pretty easy to tell what is what. However, most people are not. If you asked someone to memorize a card and they saw it upside down there’s a great chance they will struggle with it. It’s also visually unappealing to look at. Here’s my suggestion, use a left handed deck of cards.
This cards spread this was a so much easier to identify for someone that’s not familiar with cards. If you don’t spread the cards, like in an ambitious card routine then it’s not really a issue.
One of the books that I’m reading right now is Principia by Harapan Ong. It’s a card magic book, and while I’m only about 50 pages into it, I think it’s a really good, modern card magic book. One of the books selling points is that there is internet video of Harapan doing all of … Continue reading “Newly Acquired Taste in Card Tricks”
One of the books that I’m reading right now is Principia by Harapan Ong. It’s a card magic book, and while I’m only about 50 pages into it, I think it’s a really good, modern card magic book. One of the books selling points is that there is internet video of Harapan doing all of the material in the book. Unfortunately I’m in a position where I don’t have internet access fast enough to stream video, so I haven’t watched them.
One thing that surprised me was there was an “elevator” card trick that I actually liked. I think I was introduced to the elevator plot when I was a teenager reading the big Alex Elmsley books. I never really liked the plot simply because there always seemed to be either too much process or too much proving. The Michalevator routine in the book doesn’t have much process and doesn’t over prove…and I like it.
I don’t know if I’ll ever actually use Harapan’s elevator trick in an actual show or not, but it’s been fun to play with. I’ve said it before, but it’s important to still play with magic. That’s how we learn, through play.
Right now I’m learning a fair amount of things that are pretty much new to me. By new, I mean they are things that I don’t really have a solid base skill in. Learning is fun, however there are taking some work. The first thing I’m learning to do is a “zombie” style floating effect. … Continue reading “Keep Learning…”
Right now I’m learning a fair amount of things that are pretty much new to me. By new, I mean they are things that I don’t really have a solid base skill in. Learning is fun, however there are taking some work.
The first thing I’m learning to do is a “zombie” style floating effect. I’ve played with this principle when I was in highschool, so while it’s not 100% new to me, I really don’t have much experience in it. I’m learning a lot, and Tommy Wonder writing on it and Al Schneider’s books are a lot of help. This is a trick I’ve always wanted to do, and I recently came up with my angle on the trick which makes it semi unique to me.
The next thing I’m working on is a fancy cut (cardistry). I was around when the whole cardistry thing started to boom, but only learned one cut. I’ve wanted to learn some cool cuts for a while, but never really knew where to start. Now that I’ve watched a tutorial, I think it’s fairly easy to be taught. For the most part they have a few base moves that your cut is built off of. If you know the base for your cut already, it’s easy to learn. I need to practice my base!
The final thing I’m working on is learning to rip a deck of cards in half. This being purely a strength thing, is something that will probably take me a year or more to be able to do. I was hanging out with a buddy that’s a “strongman” and he gave me some pointers. Right now I’m able to rip 17 cards and every sunday I add a card to what I’m trying to rip! I anticipate there will be some weeks where I’ll add a card and will stall out for a week or two, so the goal is to be able to rip a deck in 2020.
What are you learning?
Learning new things, whether the go into the show or not will keep you from becoming a dinosaur!
Last night I put together an impromptu meet up for magicians and it was a lot of fun. There are a lot of magicians I know that say that they “don’t hang out with magicians“. If you choose to do that, that’s fine, and usually the reason they say they don’t is something stupid like … Continue reading “The Value of a Magic Jam…”
Last night I put together an impromptu meet up for magicians and it was a lot of fun. There are a lot of magicians I know that say that they “don’t hang out with magicians“. If you choose to do that, that’s fine, and usually the reason they say they don’t is something stupid like not wanting their material stolen. I’ve found that 90% of the people who are worried about their material being stolen, are the people who really shouldn’t worry about it.
When you get together with other magicians there is a lot of learning that can happen. It’s the “jamming” aspect of it that’s the greatest value. You see someone do something and you play off of it. Will the majority of stuff that comes out of these every see a real audience? Probably not. Flexing your creative muscles will help you out!
Here’s some video from last night:
Some interesting things happened, and most of all you are building a community of magicians!
Many older magicians look down their noses at cardistry because it’s “not a trick”. It’s not really a trick, it’s a type of object manipulation, like contact juggling. Honestly there’s nothing wrong with being able to do a fancy cut or two. In the early days of cardistry I learned to do some fancy cuts, … Continue reading “Learning Cardistry…”
Many older magicians look down their noses at cardistry because it’s “not a trick”. It’s not really a trick, it’s a type of object manipulation, like contact juggling. Honestly there’s nothing wrong with being able to do a fancy cut or two. In the early days of cardistry I learned to do some fancy cuts, but haven’t learned to do any new cuts in 15+ years.
I don’t want to become a dinosaur with my skills, so I’m learning a couple of cuts. Here’s the tutorial for the cuts I’m working on:
Why do I think it’s important to know a couple of fancy cuts? Simple, when I talk to young magicians after shows, they all do them. I want to show them that I do have “modern” skill. The next generation of magicians will all know how to do these.
I think as a magician you need to keep up with the kids and don’t let your skills atrophy.
A couple of nights ago I was hanging out with a couple of magicians and one of them asked if the rumor about Bicycle Cards that are sold are Costco was true. If you don’t know, the rumor is that the Bicycle Cards there are “seconds” and not as good as ones you’d buy elsewhere. … Continue reading “I Practice With Good Tools…”
A couple of nights ago I was hanging out with a couple of magicians and one of them asked if the rumor about Bicycle Cards that are sold are Costco was true. If you don’t know, the rumor is that the Bicycle Cards there are “seconds” and not as good as ones you’d buy elsewhere.
I think that the cards at Costco are the same ones you’d get elsewhere. I also think that Bicycle’s standard card has become junk over the last 15 or so years. I use them, but I only use them at gigs because a deck of cards at a gig lasts me about an hour. After an hour the deck is missing so many cards it’s not usable.
After a Bicycle deck is broken in, I don’t think they handle well. So personally I buy higher quality cards for my own non-show use. I find that I practice more frequently using better decks of cards. Here’s the current deck I’m using:
I know that 90% of the “higher quality” cards are printed at the USPCC, however I’m pretty sure they are not printed on the standard stock. Having better tools that last longer gets me to practice more. I’m learning moves I’ll never use, but it sure is fun!