So I’ve finished the first draft of JACK. It currently sits at 282 pages, but presumably edits and reformatting might push it closer to 300. I really want to keep the book inexpensive while still allowing for a bit of profitability, so I decided to cut a couple of things. The first is the Magnetized Cards, which I think would be a better fit for a follow-up book with a chapter for offbeat card effects. The second is the following essay I wrote up for the Appendix. While I do like it, I think the blog isn’t a half-bad alternative home for it.

So, here it is…

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Customizing Your Own Shuffle Control

Have you ever wanted to invent your own card sleight? Well, you can! For just three easy payments of $19.95, sent to the address at the bottom of your screen, YOU TOO can etc. etc.

If you’ve come this far, you might find a lot of value in the idea of taking the techniques learned thus far and adjusting them to create a card control that suits you. As such, some random ideas…

Let’s say that you want to control the card to top, and you want to do it using the overhand shuffle control. You could undercut, have the card replaced on the left hand’s packet, run and injog the first card, run a few more, shuffle off, undercut and then toss on top.

Or, you could, for example, undercut, have the card replaced on the left hand’s packet, run three cards, then injog, then shuffle off, then undercut, run three cards, and then toss on top.

Or, you could, for example, substitute the tossing on top for the following action. Pause at that point, as if you’re annoyed with this delicate shuffle that you’re doing, and weave the right hand’s cards into the left hand’s, wiggling and mashing them together, making sure that as you do this, the selection at the top of the right hand’s cards ends up on top.

Or, you could, for example, after controlling the card on top using one of the above, turn the deck face-outwards, and do another milk shuffle, keeping the selection on top, while giving them an eyeful of all the other cards being mixed.

Let’s say you wanted to control the card to the bottom. You could undercut, have the card replaced on the left hand’s packet, quickly use the left thumb to injog that card just as you shuffle off on top of it, undercut at the injog and toss on top.

Or, you could, for example, shuffle off on top instead of tossing on top at the end.

Or, you could, for example, control the selection to the top, then perform the milk shuffle to bring the selection second from the bottom. You could then milk shuffle once more, bringing the selection to the bottom of the right hand’s packet, and then you can stop by placing the right hand’s packet openly on the bottom.

Or, you could, for example, do all that to the final step, but instead of openly placing the packet on the bottom, perform another weave shuffle, this time making sure the selection at the bottom of the right hand’s packet ends up on the bottom.

Or you could do any of the above, and then follow it up with a riffle shuffle.

Let’s say you wanted to false cut the cards. Consider something like the Jay Ose cut. You could change it to four or five packets instead of three. You could change the position of the cards after you cut them off. For example, you could cut off about a fifth of the cards from the top and set them on the table, then cut off equal packets the same way at North, East, West and South, and then assemble the packets thusly — North on East, then both on South, then both on West, and then take those cards in your hand, before noticing that you’ve got some left on the table, so you pick them up and slap them on top.

Or…

I think you can see where I’m going with this. Obviously you don’t want to turn your magic performance into the “Watch Me Shuffle” Show, but if found something like the above that would make it hard for the audience to follow what you’re doing, and if you were able to get it down so that it’s completely second-nature and can be done without thinking, all the while chatting with them about the interesting aspects of the trick to come, suddenly you’re giving off a stronger illusion of the cards being mixed. Hopefully it should be clear that any customizations you make to your technique should be done with the aim of convincing the spectator that the cards are well-mixed, and not merely to fool a couple of people “in the know” who haven’t seen that variation on the jog shuffle before.

Is it a perfect illusion? Tough to say, because even if it’s expertly done, if you really want the spectator to believe that the card’s been shuffled properly into the deck, they’ll need to be the one’s to shuffle.

But this isn’t about that. It’s about personalizing your magic. It’s about adding levels of detail and refinement that, frankly, most other magicians aren’t doing.