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Topic: Best Gilbreath Principle Tricks 


I have recently become very interested in this principle, it is strange how people have more trouble understanding this than convergence. Remarkable. Anyway, one of my new favs is 'The angel may shuffle but the devil still deals'. Anybody else have favourite GP tricks? M 


In no particular order: "Aunt Mary's Terrible Secret" by David Williamson (available in a book of the same name) "Best Bet Yet" by Terry LaGerould (From "A Magical Baker's Dozen", available via Lew Brooks) "Please Don't Match" by Terry LaGerould (unpublished)  In this effect, the spectator shuffles the deck, takes out 7 cards, and shuffles them. These cards are torn in half, and then these 14 halves are shuffled together. This halfcard stack is placed into the performer's pocket (examined previously), and he pulls cards from the pocket one by one, betting that he'll never pull out the remaining half of any card that was previously pulled. The performer always wins the bet. 


While I know several effects based on the Gilbreath Principle, and I know it is "a thing of terrifying beauty," I don't precisely know the exact principle itself. Where can I find a write up defining and detailing the Gilbreath Principle? :carrot: 


College Math Journal: Volume 31, Number 3, Pages: 173177 2000 Modeling Mathematics With Playing Cards Martin Gardner If you want some homework! [url=http://faculty1.coloradocollege.edu/~jbredin/old/MA11601/notes/16.pdf]faculty1.coloradocollege.edu[/url] I will look for better explanations...although using coloured balls in tubes is a good way to explain it visually (ask me for details if you like). Are you looking for academic formal analysis or a (mathematically speaking) laymans explanation? Our own Jim Morton has offered to email anyone a PDF on the subject in a previous thread: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=3268&forum=2&38 Which also has some great tricks listed already for this topic, still even though I found that I wanted to start a new thread and hear what people think (maybe someone has changed their mind...or there are new people unaware of the beauty). M 


I am hoping that Phil Goldstein will in fact publish his longawaited book on Gilbreath before I am too old to shuffle a deck of cards. If it is anything like as clear an explanation of Gilbreath as "Redivider" was of Rusduck, all of us like rgranville and me who are still not sure we understand Gilbreath will rejoice. "Redivider" was wonderful  the right mix of theory and effects for a nonmathematical layperson like me. 


But I [i]do[/i] have a mathematical background. I have asked Jim Morton for his writeup. I'm still looking for a precise definition of the principle. :cucumber: 


[quote] I'm still looking for a precise definition of the principle. [/quote] Well, the scientific literature about this principle quote the Linking Ring article by Gilbreath ! :) I found some references about the Gilbreath principle not for any real use, but as a test for inductive theorem prover programs : Gilbreath's principle is at the same time easy to formalize, and nontrivial when you want to convince someone that your prover has "found something" that was "neither written in the rules nor in the prover", I guess. You can find such a reference in : [url=http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/boyer/ftp/nqthm/nqthm1992/examples/basic/alternating.events]www.cs.utexas.edu[/url] which starts with : [quote] A Mechanical Checking of a Theorem About a Card Trick Robert S. Boyer, May 22, 1991 This is a formalization, in the Nqthm logic, of a card trick theorem that de Bruijn taught Huet, Huet taught Moore, and Moore taught me. [/quote] 


[quote] I found some references about the Gilbreath principle not for any real use, but as a test for inductive theorem prover programs : Gilbreath's principle is at the same time easy to formalize, and nontrivial when you want to convince someone that your prover has "found something" that was "neither written in the rules nor in the prover", I guess. [/quote] I think I'm in love. That's my language. Is this your field or do you just visit? M 


One of the best effects I've ever seen was Max Maven's "Mockingbird" effect on his "VideoMind" series. Unbeliveable. It's pert of the L and L series. I remember first seeing it and thinking there had to be a stooge helping him out. 


There are some good tricks using the principle in the excellent Card Conspiracy Volume 1 by Duffie and Robertson. 


"DoubleDown", but of course I am biased. :) The principle really IS a "thing of terrifying beauty..." Bryn 


Nick Trost's "The Lone Stranger." 


Mocking bird by Max Maven. 


For those who like Mockingbird, check out Sal Piacente's "Memory Opener", which uses a similar approach. 


Nick Trost's Odd Man Wins Simon Aronson's Point Spread Jack Shalom 


[quote] On 20050313 11:47, Scott Cram wrote: For those who like Mockingbird, check out Sal Piacente's "Memory Opener", which uses a similar approach. [/quote] I use Sals' memory opener a lot, its a great trick. I also believe Sals' "Paint Poker" uses the principle as well, but I am not certain about that one. Vandy 


Clash of symbols in Thavant  phil goldstein/maven 


Aunt Mary's Terrible Secret by David Williamson Mockingbird by Max Maven. 


LordPH, what do you do the times Mockingbird doesn't work? There seem to be a fairly big chance of it failing... Ooops, I was thinking about The Hawk and now this post can only be edited but not erased. Please ignore. /Tomas 


Aunt Mary's Terrible Secret by David Williamson... I really like this one and the book is so entertaining that it's difficult to put down. You'll also find many, many effects and interesting references in the volumes of "The James File." 


Tomas, I noticed the Hawk doesn't always work (when I tried to prove that it did work!). Does anyone know Max Maven's opinions on the problem? Maybe one is just supposed to play the percentages on this one. However, the chances of failing are quite high as you say. About 25% at a quick guess. As an out, one could use an invisible deck but that's a bit lame. DW 


Sal Piacente's Memory Opener is awesome and can be adapted to fit the performer's style. It can be found on his Expert Card Magic Lecture Notes DVD's. Cody 


Doc, Max told me that he had a fix for it but not what the fix was. As I remember I found a solution myself a couple of years ago. Will try to recover the notes and PM the ideas to you if I find them. /Tomas 


Hi Tomas! Thanks. Since I posted I emailed Max Maven and asked him  mainly because I have a fix involving three spectators. I did come up with some two spectator versions but they were ugly or achievable by simpler means. I'd still be interested to see your solutions. DW 


DW and others that might be interested. This won't make any sense unless you are familiar with Max Maven's clever The Hawk. A fix for The Hawk  Have the two spectators cut the deck repeatedly. Spectator 1 takes the top card and spectator 2 takes the next card. Both are asked to remember the cards. Ask spectator 1 to place his card on top of the deck and cut the deck as directed in "The Hawk", but just before he does, say "Oh wait, you might suspect that I caught a glimpse of the bottom card somehow. Please put the bottom card of the deck away in your pocket." He will pocket the bottom card then cut the deck after which you go through the rest of Max Maven's "The Hawk" to right after the shuffle. Ask spectator 2 to replace his card about a quarter from the bottom of the deck. You are set to complete "The Hawk". After you have gone through the routine and revealed the two selections, you can say "You really made it hard for me by putting that Five of Spades in your pocket!" /Tomas 


... and any tricks with the Gilbreath principle without any playing cards? 


Hi hjelm, Does using ESP cards count? DW 


Tomas, I don't see how this fixes the Hawk. Forget the cutting and taking of two cards we can model the problem by the following. Start with the Hawk set up. Remove say the fifth card from top and put it in a pocket. Now imagine a riffle shuffle that does not disturb the top 6 cards. Such a situation is possible in your method. See the problem? Maybe I'm missing something... DW 


Doc, you are indeed missing something. You can't possibly find a case where what I suggested does not work. I'll try to explain why it works and can't fail since I don't quite see how the situation you describe can be reached from my instructions. By removing the card below the first selection (it's the second selection which is put in the deck much later after the riffle shuffle) AND the card above it (in fact the face card of the deck) we have created a row of three cards of the same orientation in the deck where the middle card is the first spectator's selection. Now, imagine that middle card being of the opposite orientation instead. We'd then have an ordinary deck set up for Gilbreath and that card WILL be paired with a card of the opposite orientation after the shuffle, thanks to Gilbreath. But the selecton in fact has the opposite orientation in this case hence it will be paired with a card with excatly the _same_ orientation so we will indeed find it with the method Max Maven intended in "The Hawk". In short, if Gilbreath works, my solution works. And Gilbreath works. ;) /Tomas 


Sorry, yes indeed I did miss something: The bottom card is removed [b]before[/b] the cut. I get it now. My apologies. My solution uses three spectators and the same idea of having "threeinarow" cards. It should be fairly easy to deduce how to do this! Anyhow, yours is a good solution. I hadn't thought of getting the spectator to remove the bottom card. I did consider palming it off but once you are allowed to touch the deck in such a manner you may as well use a different (nonGilbreath) method to achieve the effect. DW 


Hello, I'm an amateur magician in Argentina, member of the CPI (Club Porteńo de Ilusionismo), a bunch of Magic lovers, meeting once a week here in Buenos Aires. I've been working on Max Maven's "The hawk" and reached an 80 percent of probability of success (20 out of 100 fails...). Has anyone tips or suggestions of a way to get closer to 100? Thanks 


See "A Fix For the Hawk" on the previous page of this thread. /Tomas 


Another vote for Mockingbird by Maven and Pointspread by Aronson. 


Roy Walton has published some great ideas to do with this principle  My favourite would be 'Game Law' from the Second Volume of 'The Complete Walton'. In this effect, the spectator can riffle shuffle the deck TWICE... 


Viejo trolo, dedicate a hacer juegos para tu edad por eso solo alcanzas el 80% HEHEHE el miercoles te veo 


Scott Cram is right: Piacente's MEMORY OPENER absolutely KILLS!!! 


For you Gilbreath fans, you'll find 3 unique effects using his principle in my new hardcover book, Kingdom of the Red. 240 pages (8 1/2 x 11) with over 450 b/w photos + a 95 minute DVD. Check it out by the link near my signature. 


Larry, What percentage of your book concerns cards as this is what I mostly interested in? 


Hi apple123, About 2/3 of the book is cards and the rest, balls, coins, bills, ropes, rings, apparatus you can build, predictions etc. There is very easy stuff, average, and some challenging routines. I don't think you'll be disappointed. Larry 


Thank you Larry. I wish you every success with it. 


Chuck Hickok has a fine demonstration, utilizing the Gilbreath Principle, in his Mentalism Inc, Vol 2 book. The effect, "ForeCloser", has become a personal favorite of mine. C 


The first trick in the book is a killer using the Gilbrerath Principle and more. David 


Mockingbird! Mockingbird! Mockingbird! 


"Psychic Poker" in "Best of jj sanvert" DVD Vol. 4 (LL Publishing)... 


On Miracles for mortals 1 (Geoff williams) you have a great routine called "The omega Bet". 


The early volumes of the 'SemiAutomatic Card Tricks' series by Steve Beam has loads of excellent effects that rely on the Gilbreath principle. You can find his books for sale at http://www.stevebeam.com. Best, Mick 


Green Lite by Lennart Green DVD have some fine card effects based on Gilbreath Principle. And they are all selfworking "killers"! I do The Dragon's Pearl, looks utterly impossible, sure. http://www.mymagic.com/dvd/dvdgreen.htm 


Help me out please. I have effects from Duane Laflin such as "Are all religions the same?" and "Agree with all of Scripture". Is that the Gilbreath Principle ?Rev.Bill 


I'm crazy about Larry's Colors at Montauk Point, and you can't go wrong with David Williamson's Aunt Mary's Terrible Secret. I'm still hoping Max Maven eventually publishes his opus on the principle as he's hinted occasionally. 


Hdragonetta, Thanks for your comments about Alignment of Colors at Montauk Point from Kingdom of the Red. Check out "Chance or Choice" in the February 2009 issue of MAGIC Magazine. It's a 2 1/2 page write up of a new effect of mine in Joshua Jay's column. It uses the Gilbreath Principle to accomplish an impossible prediction. Larry 


Although I haven't yet performed Sal Piacente's Memory Opener can anyone advise how this plays on an audience ? My feeling is surely people will wonder why you can only name the values and not the suits as well. I've tried several ways of coming up with a solution still using the gilbreath principle where you can name suits as well but so far this involves duplicates, getting 2 spectators involved in the shuffling and loses several aspects of the original effect. 


Up The Ante  Brilliant 


Thanks for the vote of confidence, Paul... 


Another vote for Maven's A CLASH OF SYMBOLS from THAVANT. My second vote goes for the UP THE ANTE by Martyn Smith. For a real simple, but impressive application of this principle, check SEVEN CARD DRAW PREDICTION by Nick Trost (in his book THE CARD MAGIC OF NICK TROST). 


In my new book [url=http://www.barnowskymagic.com/bookofdestiny.html]The Book of Destiny[/url], I have several effects using the Gilbreath Principle in different ways. We will be will be shipping this new 362 page hardcover with 2 hour companion DVD October 10. Larry 


Somewhere, in one of my books, I taught a pokerdeal demo based on the Gilbreath principle. I used it a lot. Don't have my books here  someone will have to do the research. HL. 


[quote]On Jan 31, 2011, magicphill wrote: Although I haven't yet performed Sal Piacente's Memory Opener can anyone advise how this plays on an audience ? My feeling is surely people will wonder why you can only name the values and not the suits as well. I've tried several ways of coming up with a solution still using the gilbreath principle where you can name suits as well but so far this involves duplicates, getting 2 spectators involved in the shuffling and loses several aspects of the original effect. [/quote] Hi there. I use a different system rather than the gilbreath to do the memory stunt. You can Adapt Rick Lax's Binary code dealing procedures to different portions of a M D. So it really feels like the spectator decides the order of the cards ( they do) but because of the separation at the end you can very easily name the missing cards with both suit and value. I love Sals routine though. 


This is really good stuff. 


I believe there is routine in Lennart Green Masterfile from Essential Magic Collection that works with this principle. Definitely going to check out Mockingbird by Maven and Aunt Mary's Terrible Secret by David Williamson. This is great. 


I recently got a hold of Paul Curry's World's Beyond, which I've been interested in for some time. Still haven't explored much of it, but when I get a new book I flip thought it and stop at a few pages at random, and this one trick caught my attention. The trick is called "Don't Lie to Me". I liked how it uses the Gilbreath principle. The effect is that you take turns with a spectator looking at the face of a few cards one at a time and can either lie of tell the truth about the identity of the card, while the other person has to identify if it's the truth or not. The spectator will guess right about half the time, while the magician gets it right every time. The description in the book goes through the whole deck and you have to take a tally of right and wrong... I think it takes too long (will get boring) and is error prone. I'm doing it with 20 cards (10 cards each) and taking turns in each guess, while talking about bluffing in poker. Still experimenting with different handling and endings, but if you have the book you may also find it interesting. 


Lybrary has just released my simple guide to the Gilbreath Principle, which includes "two killer routines" (purchaser's unsolicited review). http://www.lybrary.com/understandingandusinggilbreathprinciplep889861.html Mike 


A good start would be the reference math book by Brent Morris. It is a generalization of faro shuffle, a tool needed for analyzing the Gilbreath principle. 


Hello, first of all, sorry for my terrible English. Please, could you help me? It is all about Max Maven's The Hawk. It seems to me that it doesn't work 100 %. Do you have the same experience? Or what is the mistake? It works about 80 % of time, but not always. 


This problem has been addressed on a thread I think in the All in the cards section. If I remember correctly Tomas Blomberg has a solution for this. Sorry I can't provide a link right now. I suggest do a Google search with keywords Maven Hawk Blomberg magic Café. 


[quote]On Feb 19, 2018, adiabaticman wrote: This problem has been addressed on a thread I think in the All in the cards section. If I remember correctly Tomas Blomberg has a solution for this. Sorry I can't provide a link right now. I suggest do a Google search with keywords Maven Hawk Blomberg magic Café. [/quote] Thank you very much. 


Here's Tomas Blomberg's fix: [quote]On May 31, 2006, TomasB wrote: This won't make any sense unless you are familiar with Max Maven's clever The Hawk. A fix for The Hawk  Have the two spectators cut the deck repeatedly. Spectator 1 takes the top card and spectator 2 takes the next card. Both are asked to remember the cards. Ask spectator 1 to place his card on top of the deck and cut the deck as directed in "The Hawk", but just before he does, say "Oh wait, you might suspect that I caught a glimpse of the bottom card somehow. Please put the bottom card of the deck away in your pocket." He will pocket the bottom card then cut the deck after which you go through the rest of Max Maven's "The Hawk" to right after the shuffle. Ask spectator 2 to replace his card about a quarter from the bottom of the deck. You are set to complete "The Hawk". After you have gone through the routine and revealed the two selections, you can say "You really made it hard for me by putting that Five of Spades in your pocket!" Tomas [/quote] 