If we were to separate the JACK into “beginner”, “intermediate” and “advanced” sections, this might be considered the last of the beginner sections. That may seem a bit weird considering full deck false shuffles are usually considered a more advanced topic.
The reasoning behind this is that the next sleights coming up require more in terms of misdirection and timing than the ones up to this point have. These are all overhand false shuffles, and while they’ll require practice to look good, they’re not that much more advanced than stuff learned in Chapter 1. In fact, Chapter 1 actually has its own full deck false shuffle in there already (the G.W. Hunter Shuffle), so I’m taking a chance and saying that if you can do that one, you can probably do these as well. What’s more, it’s worth knowing what you can do with the techniques once you have them down, which is why the tricks in this chapter will focus very strongly on stacks. How strong are stacks? In Mnemonica, after describing a basic revelation effect that needs nothing more than a stack and a false shuffle, Juan Tamariz wrote the following…
My advice at this point would be to read no further, to throw this book away and to start practicing, thinking and working out your patter, subtleties and presentation for this miraculous routine.
I realize that, as I feared, you haven’t paid any attention and are still reading.
It’s up to you.
I side with Tamariz on this one. What’s more, if you keep in mind that you can get the level of strength of effect that Tamariz is talking about using nothing more than Si Stebbins with a G.W. Hunter Shuffle, it seems like a no-brainer to include it here.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the only person with no brain is your humble bloggist.
4.1 The Optical Shuffle
From Chapter 10 of Royal Road, this is a shuffle that nicely mirrors how some ordinary folks handle cards.
4.2 The Fourth Method
Horrid title, sorry about that, but it’s the one Erdnase gave it in The Expert at the Card Table (go to lybrary.com’s TLPP page to view it, going to the latter part of the book entitled “Blind Shuffles Retaining Entire Order”). I love this shuffle, personally. If you do as well, and decide it’s going to be your go-to shuffle for the rest of your magic career, look into Lennart Green’s work on the Joker Shuffle, which has some great added refinements to the technique.
4.3 Charlier Shuffle
From Chapter 10 of Royal Road, this is a weird one. In the same section where Erdnase teaches his fourth method, he points out this method as being something worth avoiding, whereas Hugard and Braue see it as a nice way to handle cards. I personally side with Erdnase on this issue except in the specific context of shuffling a small packet of cards, in which case I side with Daryl, who says it looks nice. I’m leaving it here for your own discretion.
4.4 The False Cut
Also from Royal Road, Chapter 10. Two are taught here. Both work. There’s actually a more straightforward version by Jay Ose of the second cut’s approach, but it doesn’t exist in the public domain. A little sleuthing on your part might be required to hunt it down. That said, the one taught is functional enough.
4.5 The System
Rough title. The “system” in question is the Si Stebbins system, which is taught in Si Stebbins Card Tricks (lybrary.com). This where the real meat of the strategy comes into play. A lot of people already know about the Si Stebbins system, but a well-done false shuffle prior to having the card selected can wipe all that out of their mind. More in a sec…
4.6 Tricks with the Prearranged Deck
From Erdnase in the Card Tricks section (lybrary.com), this breaks down the Eight Kings stack, which is a nice step up from Si Stebbins in that the relationship between the cards isn’t so bold. However, that may be a moot point if you’re not going to show the faces of the cards anyway.
Might as well tackle that part here. Should you show the faces of the cards? This is hard to say. Different effects are going to raise different suspicions, and if you’re in love with a trick that uses a stacked deck, but also raises suspicion of a stacked deck, then it’s possible that you’ll want to adopt a proper mem-deck. If you don’t know what a mem-deck is, it’s a deck of cards (ideally, one that looks shuffled when spread face-up) where you memorize the position of all 52 cards. Yeah, that sounds like a tall order, but we’re talking about a situation here where you’ve found a trick that you want to do for the rest of your life, and if you’re lucky enough to have come upon that particular trick, going the extra mile is probably worth it. That said, you might also find that your routine does nothing to raise that suspicion, in which case doing a face-up spread might be over-proving, and perhaps even running when you aren’t being chased.
(A close runner-up to this is Richard Osterlind’s Breakthrough Card System, which uses a cyclical stack that happens to look mixed-up to the untrained eye. You lose some potential advantages to not knowing the exact position of all 52 cards in the deck, though, and if you want to learn more about this, google Simon Aronson Memories Are Made Of This, find the relevant part of his website, answer the easy password question, download the PDF, and read the introduction on the topic, perhaps the best one could ask for considering that it’s free.)
4.7 “Dual Sympathy”
This is an Annemann Trick from the Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (lybrary.com).
4.8 “Psychic Card Test”
Another Annemann Trick from the Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (lybrary.com).
4.9 “Shark Food”
A trick by Lorne Deblois in Lu Brent’s Exclusive Card Mysteries (search State Library Victoria for this title). A version of this is in The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks but it lacks crediting.
4.10 “Si Stebbins Up the Sleeve”
A trick by John Goodrum in You’d Be Surprised (also in State Library Victoria by John Goodrum and Robert Parrish.
The previous four tricks ought to give you an idea of some of the things you can do with a stacked deck. If they read dry, imagine the trick being performed. For instance, here’s the fourth one… a spectator takes any card as they are spread behind the performer’s back, the performer puts the cards away without looking at them, and with just a bit of concentration, he names the spectator’s card. If you want to use cards and make yourself look like a mind-reader, it’s hard to beat that. Truly understanding this will open your eyes to a lot of the nonsense tricks that exist in Royal Road with lots of dealing and cutting and counting and which clumsily claim to give an audience an impression of you being a mind-reader. If you’re aiming high, you realize that a real mind-reader would have you take any card under fair conditions, and then tell you what the card is. Well, now you’ve got some ways to actually do this.
4.11 “Par-Optic Vision”
From Annemann’s Practical Mental Magic (lybrary.com, I’m going to stop linking these now because (a) you should have them bookmarked in your browser, and (b) I’m lazy). This one is really, really nice. That said, I don’t want to give short shrift to regular revelations of a single card, so don’t ignore the other four taught prior to this one.
4.12 Vernon’s “Poker Demonstration”
From the Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (lybrary.com) this is a highly-regarded poker deal. It goes a bit further than just dealing out 5 hands and showing you ended up with the four aces or a royal flush or whatever. There’s a real ongoing story that you can get out of this — not in the sense of you being a narrator and telling a story, but rather giving the audience an experience that they will be able to tell as a story themselves later on.
4.13 Namreh’s “Adventures of Diamond Jack”
Another one from the Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (lybrary.com), this shows another possible application of the strategy. At this point, knowing the methods involved, it may seem obvious to you, but if you go on Youtube and look up other people doing full-deck storytelling, you can see how well this sort of thing can play to regular folks.
Hopefully you can see how strong the stuff here is. There’s a fair amount of set-up that’s required, but keep in mind what the audience sees. The cards are shuffled, and any card is freely selected by the spectator, and the magician can find it or name it. The cards aren’t marked, and in fact, the spectator can replace the card themselves wherever they like and shuffle the deck as much as they want. This is good stuff. In fact, with a bit of thinking you might see how this particular approach could be used for some of the tricks in Chapter 3, and while the core technique in that chapter is more easily set-up (since you only really need to know one specific card), if you’re in a position to be prepared ahead of time, there are some really strong effects that you can do here using the strategies in this chapter.
In any case, that’s it for the “beginner’s section”. Coming up soon, proper card sleights.