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Watchmaker
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On the School for Scoundrels Forum I posted a quasi-review of this book and wanted to add a copy here for anyone who make The Magic Café their home base.

Recently I saw Mr. Woerde's book Patterns For the Three Shell Game mentioned in this [SFS] forum but could not find a review for it. I went ahead and got the book and thought I'd put up a little information for anyone else who was interested. The book came from The Netherlands and it took Five days to arrive from when I ordered it directly from Mr. Woerde (I live in New York State).

The book is self published and printed on 8 1/4 X 11 1/4 which is a bit of an odd size. It's a text book but is best described as a work book, which is exactly what I was looking for. Besides the introduction and explanation of how to read the drawings there really are two main parts of the book; Patterns that are fair and patterns that are unfair. There is also a page about combinations and a quick reference guide in the back.

When I got the book I spent an hour a day for the first two days then a half hour a day for the rest of the week. By the end of that time I had all the patterns committed to memory, so about five and a half hours for 22 patterns. Each pattern has a description of it at the top of the page, down one side has step by step instructions and down the other has excellent, easy to understand illustrations. There is enough room to jot down notes but it really isn't necessary, although I did have a lot to write when it came to putting combinations together but I did that at the end of the book. One of the very best things I got out of the book was the fact that at the end of each pattern I know where the spectator thinks the pea is. Which for me is a big plus. I want to know if the person is following along or guessing and I can tell by seeing which shell they looking at when I'm done.

In my head there are two ways to play the Three Shell Game. The first is a more of a demonstration, like the ones you learn on the School For Scoundrels DVDs. Those moves make you laugh because they just seem impossible to the audience. Like for instance when they make a joke about playing "the one shell game", the first time you see that it knocks your socks off because it's just not possible. When people see that they are wondering how he did that. The other way it's played is how a street guy does it, shells flying all over the place. You don't think magic trick there (they don't want you to), you are focused on following that shell. The spectator thinks they just have to be quicker than you are to win. The patterns in this book are sort of a best of both worlds, a cross between the two. They are a quick mix of the shells, kind of a two or three short mix. Enough so it looks like you are really giving it a good go, but short enough for the person to think it was easy to follow, especially if done slow.

I've practiced it both with two hands and one handed so I can be proficient in both, the system lends itself wonderfully to either. I will admit that some of the patterns require a left hand steal and load which at first was very awkward for me. It's coming along but no where near good enough that I would use those particular moves in front of anyone. But doing them all one handed is not problem at all.

After I learned all the patterns and had figured out the logic behind them (some patterns are repeated or mirror images) I had my own ideas on how to put them together. For example using a fair pattern, giving a quick peek to let them think they are following along, right into an unfair pattern. Some seem to me to go better with others but if you really got into it you could start off with the pea anywhere you wanted, end up with the pea anywhere you wanted and have the spectator think it's under any of the three. Again, that's the part that always screwed me, I usually forgot where I started after a couple mixes because I'm thinking about the pea not the shell (Doesn't Chef Anton tell you to do exactly that? Of course he doesn't mean it to confuse me . . . or does he !?).

The last thing I want to bring up is the quick guide in the back. If you follow his system the guide I think would be great, for me on the other hand I have to not look at it. The reason is because I have this horrible habit of sort of counting cadence in my head when I'm learning. I've tried so hard to not do that because one of the best weapons you can have when you're playing the game is your mouth. Not just patter but talking to someone when they are trying to focus as hard as they can on following that stupid pea. I'm not talking about blatantly trying to screw someone up, like jerks do by yelling out different numbers when you are counting something, I'm talking about innocent talk like asking someone a quick question "we started under the middle right?" anything to make them think later 'that's what screwed me up, I just have to watch closer this time'. So anyway, my habit has always been the counting in my head, to get away from that I tried my best not to learn it thinking in terms of steps but rather as a whole. I use my own shorthand for each pattern so I don't look at the quick guide to help me, I use my own notes for that.

All in all, the book has provided me a great foundation playing the shell game "straight". I don't think I would ever want to go back to mixing them the way I used to without knowing exactly what the spectator is thinking when doing an impromptu game.

Hope this helps out to anyone who can't decide if this is the book for them. It sure was for me.

Respectfully,

Phil
mota
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What is the price and contact information?
Watchmaker
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Mota,

I hesitate to say the price because when I originally read about the book it was 15 euros (PayPal converts it for you) and that post was quite old. When I wrote him it was 20, which is something like 28 bucks. I don't want to say for sure though since it may be different, and I'm not positive if mine came to that because of shipping. He just wrote me back and gave me a price.

He also gave me some tips on practicing and working the shell game.

One thing I will say is that I really felt I got my moneys worth. I don't want to seem like I'm hyping the thing but I can't recommend it enough for anyone working one pea.

He has a web site but I can't remember it right now. When I wrote to him I sent him an email to this address:

post@peterwoerde.nl

Hope this helps Mota.
spcarlson
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Legendary Creations

from Merlin to Marilyn

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Peter Woerde
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Thank you for the very nice review of my booklet Watchmaker.

The price of the booklet is 15 euro's. Shipping to outside Europe is 5.70 euro's. If you feel safer buying trough Ebay: you can buy the booklet here: http://cgi.ebay.nl/Patterns-for-the-Thre......6.c0.m14
Shipping within Europe is 3.68 euro's, there should be an option available in this add to change the shipping cost if you are in Europe.
Of course you can also contact me directly through emailing me or sending me a pm.

Peter
Tom Bartlett
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Are these moves for use with a hard pea that always stays under the same shell?
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
Peter Woerde
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No, they are moves in which the pea is stolen from underneath the shell. But you can of course use the fair patterns with the hard pea.
Tom Bartlett
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I guess I would have to see them used in a DVD, to understand how using memorized patterns would be important.
Our friends don't have to agree with me about everything and some that I hold very dear don't have to agree about anything, except where we are going to meet them for dinner.
Watchmaker
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For me the benefit of using a memorized pattern is knowing exactly where the pea is supposed to be. It's actually odd but where the pea actually ends up is really of no concern because you can stick it anywhere. If you loose track of the shell it's supposed to be in you have a one in three chance of putting it there by accident. While I'm talking and looking around it's just one less thing to think about.

I don't want to have to think about it, I want to just know. If I whip them around in a certain pattern for instance I want to know that the spectator thinks it's in the one shell when it's actually in another. If they don't bet the the the one they are looking at right away I know they might just be guessing. Or if I see them locked onto the correct one (the one I want them to) I can show the second empty shell making it a 50/50, if they haven't bet by then they will for sure now. It's a huge advantage knowing what he is thinking. With someone like me it's just easier to have it down instead of winging it. If your style is moving the shell around A LOT and just confusing the heck out of someone then I wouldn't want to remember fifty moves but I like as few as possible without it looking like a magic trick.

I may have been a little confusing but it boils down to an advantage for you and I'll take anything I can get.
jakeg
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Before I order the book I am curious about the difference between the "Patterns" book and the routines shown in Tom Osbourne's book.
Watchmaker
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Routines are what I consider a magical demonstration. Like the ones you find in the SFS DVDs. They have a beginning, middle and end and all flow together. There are patterns in there to learn as well, but it's the whole routine that makes it nice. I guess it's the difference between showing someone a demonstration where they can participate and playing a game where their actions determine where you go next.

Mr. Osborne's book which is the standard that all Three Shell books are measured calls them routines but they are actually patterns. In that book he divides the surface up into nine squares then tells you move 5 to 2 and steal the pea. Move 4 to 8 , etc. . . I would say those are actually patterns to use since there is really no order to use them in. They are for working the game, not putting on a show. The first part of that book is a must read if you're doing the Shell Game. Patterns For The Three Shell Game does not have any information on technique, it is assumed you already know the ins and outs of the game.

The patterns are along the same lines as you would find in the Osborne book, but in my opinion much cleaner. It's nice when the patterns you use seem very similar to each other to the spectator, that way he thinks he can beat you. The other advantage of the book is it has almost any possible situation as far as how you begin and how you end. You could use these patterns just like you could use Osborne's, I think of patterns as the foundation by which you play the game. By using "fair" patterns you are doing the same thing Osborne does when he talks about some of the sucker moves.

Speaking of sucker moves, except for the patterns where the pea ends up where it "should" be there are no sucker moves, which you must have to be proficient. I have taken the patterns, about 14 of which I love, and built around that. The order they go in and other moves (like in Osborne's) all depends on the spectator. Unlike a demonstration, the game is more fluid.

This my be a stupid analogy but it may be like music style. A good musician can play different styles but there is one that fits them best, where they are most comfortable and where they play the best. There are many variations within that style and things which make each musician unique. These patterns are sort of a style of play. You would be able to tell a person playing using Osborne's book just as you would be able to tell someone using this book. Both are great but they are different. How about the people who use the Heart and Hook moves? That is even another style. Patterns can also be thought of as scales, everything you play is based on them, so they might not be that great by themselves but you have to know them to be able to be good. You use the patterns to start with and add on from there.

The worst of all is the people you see on internet videos that know one or two moves. They have that herky-jerky way they move the shells. I'm sure they fool some of their friends but it's not very entertaining, and you certainly wouldn't want to be playing for money like that.

Osborne warns not to move the shells around fast. That's the way you see some Street Operators do it. There is something not very professional (probably shouldn't use that word) about it. People don't want to bet unless they think they can figure you out. Let them try. Playing the game right is almost an art.

If you know the Osborne patterns and they work for you that's great and I'd keep using them. If you're curious, or Osborne's patterns don't seem to fit your style then give this book a try.
jakeg
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Peter: Thank you for the explanation. I guess that I'll give the book a try.
Peter Woerde
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I noticed that the link I gave isn't correct anymore. If anyone's interested the booklet, just send me a pm.

Peter
jakeg
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Yesterday, I received the Patterns Book that I ordered from Peter. I only took about a week to get here from the Netherlands, and was sent out the same day as my order went in.
Although I haven't had the time to work with it, the amount of work that Peter put into this is obvious. It's well organized, and gives the operator a large variety of moves so that the shells can be repeated to the same audience.
It was a good buy.
Watchmaker
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If you think it's nice now, wait until you have most of them down and you're flying through them and making up routines that just flow from one to the next.
doug brewer
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Are the instructions in English?
Peter Woerde
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Thank you jageg and Watchmaker for the nice comments.

Doug, the instructions are in English. They are also accompanied with very clear illustrations, so even non-english speaking people should be able to learn the patterns that are in the booklet.
Kjellstrom
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A slow motion Shell Game with a special ending:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjrmG5wJFOc
Watchmaker
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It's soooooo slow that it's suspicious. It made me fixated on zeroing in on catching a move that I wasn't paying attention to the shells, very sneaky. Then when I didn't see any 'move' I realized I had been duped.

It gives the spectator so much time to watch that they think they are sure to spot something and their guard is let down.

Probably shouldn't get too far off topic, but I noticed you keep the shells pretty tight. Is there any advantage of them so close together? Of course it could only be pulled off going that slow.
Peter Woerde
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I now also have an English site where you can order the booklet: http://www.thegrifter.eu.
Go to Other/Merchandise and choose Products for Magicians (password in lower case).

I just translated my regular website, so if you see any spelling errors, feel free to let me know.
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