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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Fast Jack Farrell Penguin Lecture Info (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Tom Gaudette
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Since those here have a passionate interest in crooked gambling, please refer to the the link below for a 3 plus hour lecture on the subject by Fast Jack Farrell. The testimonial by Steve Forte says it all.

This lecture covers the various techniques and psychology used by Fast Jack in rough and tumble games, the underground casinos which he ran in NYC and legitimate casinos for over 50 years. What makes this lecture unique are the discussions of how the moves are used and many anecdotes are included as illustration. As you will see, Jack's dice work and knowledge is second to none.

Jack's thoughts on natural sleight of hand execution can be applied to sleight of hand magic. As Jack is fond of saying, he handles things like a sucker.

http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/7992
SimonCard
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I think I'm gonna get this one.
dapo24
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I'm buying it for sure <3
SimonCard
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Did anyone see this yet? I bought it but haven't got a chance to watch it yet. I don't bother to watch it on time since it's not real live lecture anymore.
jjsanvert
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I got it. I think it is great.
JJS
slim23
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Hey!

I think the lecture is great with a lot of interesting stuff! Some techniques are from a time gone by as the procedures for poker has changed over the years but I think you can get a quick of Jack's idea and way of thinking. He is 80 years old and he can still handle a deck of cards! His crimp move and the fact he puts the deck to cut right in front of the guy is such a awesome tip! That's what I mean by a guy that was thinking outside of the box. His knowledge of dice is unsurpassed and he still has the chops. I asked me him after the lecture if he had practised his coolers because I thought they looked smooth on tv and he said he never practises anymore. I guess it's become second nature to him. I am telling you guys, it is a must and I think anyone interested in cheats and hustling in gambling has to watch.

Of course, I have to say my opinion may be biased because I am the one that made the belly strippers for his Gin demo. Jack has shared a lot of stories with me and has helped me with my business (and still does) so I consider him a mentor and a friend. But make an opinion for yourself and check it out. I doubt you will be disappointed.

Cheers,

Slim
jjsanvert
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I fully agree. The 3 (yes, THREE) coolers are great, the dice work is great, the tailoring lecture is great, the memories are great.
If you only had one Penguin Live to get, look no further - this is it.
JJS
Cagliostro
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Did get chance to see the lecture and in a couple of days when I get back to town and have a chance to write a little I will make some comments. Since I was "active" during that era, I can directly related to much of what Farrell describes although he was more "rough and tumble," which was quite dangerous and I was involved with casino and private game country club crowd type hustling.

But will make some comments since I can directly relate to much of what he does and knew some of the people.

Would be interested if others who have seen this lecture would add some input even if they feel they are pretty green to all of this. I can't believe only three people commented on this so far.
Peterson
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Well, I saw the lecture and I felt green, that is the reason why I held back my opinion.

My thoughts:

1. First of all, in order to soften some critique that will come, I want to note, that the guy is obviously the real deal and the lecture is worth every penny.

2. There are a lot of things that are debated on this forum and are considered foolish by some and Jack himself shows some of those things. For example:
*) Running singles when stacking in the hands
*) Exposing half of the deck when setting up the crimp
I would like to hear more comments on this from folks who are more educated on this stuff.

3. Obviously jack is a dice expert and the main focus of the lecture is dice. Jack shows his go to dice switch and talks about different stories that help the viewer to understand the ideology and the problems that can be aroused when switching dice. Jack shares his solutions in overcoming those problems and that in itself is neat.

4. I might be wrong, but Jack mentions something on punch, and he says that it is pretty bad method and can be easily felt by others, and that is the reason to avoid it. I would like someone to elaborate on that statement, because there is a huge chunk of history, which positions punch as something more valuable than Jack's comment.

In addition to cards, most of the time when I was looking at Jack, I thought that he would screw up his stack or shuffle, because of the way he handled cards, and to my surprise it was not the case.

In sum - obviously great lecture and should be viewed by all who visit the Gambling spot.
CoffeeBeans
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I enjoyed it immensely as well! I'm definitely too green to comment in any depth, but what I found best about the lecture was the stories.

This isn't a lecture teaching moves, it's just exposing them, and giving you an idea of how they used to be used under fire.
Gary Plants
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I'm anxious to hear your thoughts Cag.
camron
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I watched the lecture and picked up some tips, in particular the psychology behind his poker stack and having a sucker cut at the crimp.

I didn't come to the lecture just looking for moves. The stories kept me captivated, I could've listened to hours more.

Another thing I took away is age doesn't men anything. Jack was smooth as hell and had me watching some of the techniques over and over.


Peterson, in an actual game the half deck crimp would probably not be as pronounced. I've seen a method or two in various books that are similar to Jack's idea.

In the case of punched cards, he mentioned using them to identify cards in the shoe. The method he explained is cleaner/sufficient than having to feel for information.
I'm pretty sure he said the peg could be seen and that's why he used the other method.

I would also like to thank Gary Plants for helping arrange this interview/lecture.... You've done and continue to do a lot for the community. Thank you Gary.


Justin
Gary Plants
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Thanks Justin. I'm very happy to hear that you enjoyed the video and thanks for the kind words.
chappy
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If you have not yet seen it, I hope I can offer a few reasons that you should.

Over the years I’ve seen plenty of debate about what works and what doesn’t, what’s important and what isn’t, but often opinions are too heavily influenced or too quickly dismissed by personal experience of very specific conditions. Farrell is a living example of what it takes to be a successful ...er...operator!

Magician, Tom Gaudette accompanies John “Fast Jack” Farrell, his purpose as John puts it to activate his memory. Tom provides prompts throughout the lecture, including at the very beginning where Farrell explains that much of the work he is sharing is no longer in use today, and he provides a few examples as to why. Tom does a great job of helping extract extra details within John’s descriptions. Tom also mentions that thanks are owed to Gary Plants for his part in making this happen, so thank you Gary.

Folks here know that moves are only a small part of a successful play in any gambling scenario, but there is a reason that much of the material available on gambling techniques focuses on individual moves rather than on the big picture of how everything comes together: because it is much easier to describe one small aspect than exactly how the whole thing works.

For those seeking an insight into how all of the separate parts come together you’ll need to study this lecture over and over to piece everything together in the right order.

For astute viewers though, this lecture contains a TON of information in great detail. I think that this IS a teaching lecture. Along with his book, the work is all there for anyone to extract.

Here's a very small snippet of what it covers: Farrell describes the basic mechanics of a run-up with a few interesting examples of its application, moving through overhand techniques in Poker and Hold’em, through Gin and other games including a faro run-up technique, and some bits on false shuffles and cuts, hops, crimps, and so forth. After some info on using strippers, he moves onto cold decks, then dice where he goes into a lot of detail including tailoring of his custom suits, aprons, magnet holdouts, surface preparation, running private games, using the stick/cane, and along the way shares not only choreography of moves but also of entire plays albeit sometimes in a roundabout way, along with some great stories. I quite like the fact it’s not always put together in an order that those without prior knowledge would easily understand, and that some work is necessary. For example, if you look at the run-up near the start, you'll see how he goes straight into the “move” rather than the surrounding context and necessary set-up required to use the play successfully. This is because Farrell shares the information in a way that makes sense to him, and also because he is essentially lecturing biographically, by beginning with the first thing he was taught. While he skips huge chunks of information sometimes during his explanations, he does eventually divulge almost everything across many small and almost incidental remarks throughout the lecture while covering a range of topics. If it seems like he finishes on a topic before explaining important parts, he generally covers other relevant information at a later point in the lecture. If you’re looking for information on how the cards made their way to the bottom in the first place for a run-up you’ll find details at 11:30, 12:20, 12:55, 20:45. How about when to actually do the move in the context of what is happening during a game, see 12:31, 1:34:56. What about the different roles each crew member plays, see 33:50, 134:30, 135:10, 135:40. Beating the cut, (15:10), signalling (11:50, 35:02, 43:30), bypassing anti-cheating precautions (19:45, 32:00, 139:52), cleaning up (136:15), the importance of being natural, reading people and of avoiding suspicion (23:25, 54:28, 57:38, 142:30) and so forth.
This is the pattern of the lecture, but all of the information is there.

Of course John goes on to cover essential things such as the importance of knowing how to play well legitimately, when and why to use cards with work, distraction techniques, who set up the games and dozens of other things, which as I said, provide most of the whole picture, provided you take time to put it all together in the right order. Farrell often tips only one or two examples of a concept or gambit, or explains examples that only pertain to specific conditions but a lot can be taken by taking those small parts and putting them together or applying them to other conditions.

John Farrell is around eighty years old. If you were to focus on his technical handling too closely, well.... you would certainly learn a few things, but you might miss the more important things that clearly illustrate why he was such a successful operator for fifty years.

I thoroughly enjoyed the format, his stories and the wealth of detailed information that you simply won’t find anywhere else.

Thank you John "Fast Jack" Farrell.
fastjack711
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I am overwhelmed and humbled by the gracious comments from you people. I make no excuses for how I made a living for over fifty years but to be honest, I loved every minute of it, but ,to be truthful , if I had a choice I would not repeat it. Having said that and having lived in the shadows of a sub-culture for over fifty five years where getting a pat on the back, hearing the words of ,job well done or hearing or receiving any form of accolades was non-existent,it is foreign to me receiving your kind words .As my journey of life is in the home stretch I am amazed by the caliber of people that I have met ,especially the people that embrace the craft and art of magic.
At anytime, I am open for your questions and will answer each question with sincerity and truthfulness. Thanking you all once again for your gracious comments.
PITCH TILL YOU WIN,
fast jack
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@fastjack711
Dear Mr. Farrell. Welcome to the forum. I really appreciate that you are willing to share your stories and techniques. Thank you.
MVFAN
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Welcome Fast Jack,
One question. You mentioned in your YouTube video about a movie script being written about your life. How is that progressing?
Thank you for your Penguin lecture and book. Both "Double George".
fastjack711
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MVFAN,
The script is written , the only issue is the investors- your a fast learner with that ,double george,,, thanks for your interest,,
Bobbycash
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It was a great lecture, I ended up ordering the book after it.
IanKendall
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I'm working my way through it. So far, resisting the urge to jump forward to the dice work Smile
Cagliostro
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It was interesting to see an old-timer like Jack explain the gaffs he used and his stories from a time gone by. As mentioned by Jack, casino gambling, which is almost omnipresent nowadays, has replaced many of the type games he worked; still he provided a wealth of information to many who have no experience or knowledge of those times or how card and dice cheating was and is actually done under fire. Magic tricks and magician "gambling" demos are not the same as this.

Since I came from the same era, all I can say is times have changed greatly - in fact it is almost unimaginable. Back in the day, "capable" guys (people who actually could get the money), would not tip or give the right time of day to anyone unless that person was also capable or part of the scuffling community. If you were a legit guy, a working stiff or anyone who was not a hustler, you were fair game and just another chump to be taken off and that included magicians and card tricksters, no disrespect meant. In fact, some hustlers specialized in taking off other hustlers and half smarts or making a "cross-play" on anyone with larceny.

While I certainly can't speak for Jack, I would surmise if he were not 80 years old and "retired," if he were still physically and mentally able to do rough and tumble hustling, and the type opportunities he flourished in were still available, I doubt he would be tipping his mitt to anyone in the magician/demo community or doing a lecture like this. No disrespect meant to him or anyone on this board by saying this but that is just my opinion. It seems like much of the bygone day stories, "moves" and techniques have moved into the realm of the "gambling" demonstrator and magician field.

His comments that casino gambling has changed things are spot on and the clam bakes and Vegas nights hustling are relics of the past. Also, rough and tumble hustling is a world of its own and not the only way to hustle. As Jack says, you have to start out young to do rough and tumble hustling because as you get older, you just can't switch over to that form of hustling if you have not done it before. You can't take the occasional fights/beatings, risks and so forth and you have wisely lost some of the wildness, daring and "heart" necessary for that type hustling. Plus, paying "tribute" money to mob guys, like the Patriarka crime family was a fact of life, at least according to a couple of cheats I met from the Providence, RI area. It was dangerous stuff and pretty much was an accepted way of life back then.

Casino hustling, beating big games with doctors, lawyers, business men and the like is somewhat different from much of the hustling Jack discussed. In fact, you often have to have a good or legitimate "front" and 'credentials" and sometimes be part of a well to do social group to play with these type people, at least in private games.

One thing I respect about Jack is he is not apologetic about his past or what he did. He was part of a certain environment and he did what he had to do to survive and make a good living. No nonsense or sickening recriminations here. Hustlers really don't look at the morality of cheating people. They know they are stealing, most know it is ethically "wrong" but hey, that is what they do...a guy has to get out and "earn" and make a living, doesn't he? End of story. Some cheaters refer to each other, tongue in cheek, as thieves when talking among themselves, and let's face it, most people really can't make the money successful hustlers make by working 9 to 5 as a working stiff. Plus for many the excitement of stealing and taking off the chumps, including casinos, is almost as good as sex, or in some cases, perhaps even better.

I would also think that getting the respect and accolades for his ability is a new experience for him and probably a "trip" in and of itself. However, he is giving the broad picture, an expose so to speak, and only indirectly alluding to the grift sense, complexity and "feel" involved - reading the players and the situation, knowing what to use, the where, when, and why, in addition to the how (or moves), which is really too subtle to convey although these are some of the most important aspects to successful play. That takes experience under fire, really can't be conveyed very well to non-hustlers and is mostly unimportant to most watching this lecture. They just want to see the moves and hear the stories, which is fair enough, so they can bandy around what they have learned and convey their "knowledge" to their friends and associates while perhaps doing some magic tricks and demos. Since they don't hustle themselves, secrecy is not important to them.

Although most of these moves and methods are passe in today's casino gambling world and relate to a different era, they are not dead number gaffs and still can be used in spots, especially in private games. So while this lecture is delightful, informative and an eye opener to 99%+ of the people who watch it i.e., the magician, expose, hobbyist crowd and the like, I have to honestly say that seeing some of these things being exposed like this to non-hustlers makes me cringe and does bother and irritate me somewhat. Maybe it is my "keep your mouth shut" Bronx upbringing or my many years around this stuff that is coming to the fore...or perhaps there are some things you just can't change personality wise as you get older.

This is not meant as a criticism to anyone on this board or involved with the productions of this lecture, or about the subject matter, but simply as an observation. It is a sign of the times in the new information age.

That being said, it seems like things have changed greatly but...oh my god...have they really changed that much?

Well of course, in some circle they haven't, especially for those who are actively working and using different or more "current" methods to "win' at gambling, especially in casino play.

So while I don't think Jack has tipped this information out of the goodness of his heart or to generate good Karma throughout the universe, still most on this board owe him heartfelt thanks for wising them up to a certain degree and showing them things they never would have dreamed of.

Finally, here is a case where I begrudgingly quote the sophistry of Erdnase in his preface to The Expert at the Card Table since I could not have said it better: ...It may demonstrate to the tyro that he cannot beat a man at his own game, and it may enable the skilled in deception to take a post-graduate course in the highest and most artistic branches of his vocation. But it will not make the innocent vicious, or transform the pastime player into a professional; or make the fool wise, or curtail the annual crop of suckers; but whatever the result may be, if it sells it will accomplish the primary motive of the author as he need the money. (or whatever that motive may be).

So if the book sells well, and I hope it does and if they make a successful movie out of it, and I hope they do, we wish all the best to Jack and that he does extremely well financially on this.

Good luck...although guys like Jack usually make their own luck.
fastjack711
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Thanks again for all the gracious comments. I would like to address two issues that I noticed that some people think they are in the know about a guy like me,First, I hustled with and was friends with most all the full time and best scuffs in America and Europe and I would venture to say that there were maybe a hundred at most that were ,what I call pure 100% hustlers . The rest were weekend guys , part time hustlers ,fakers and what we would refer to as ,10 MILE HUSTLERS. As far as anyone of the real hustlers being upset, their only beef is that they are not here to be my partner .
The other issue that I noticed is a few of you are confused with the term , " ROUGH AND TUMBLE". The times when I use the term is to describe the venue and the event and not the hustler, examples would be bachelor parties, military going away parties ,clambakes ,outings ,etc ,etc. Probably in most cases it would be blue collar, labor unions, iron workers, hunting clubs, liquor dealer affairs etc and the booze was flowing. Most of these affairs were staged in halls that were affordable ,such as, VFW, AM VETS, AMERICAN LEGION, moose club, elks club,etc. As we all know, we are products of our environment. Now.you the reader can see that the things I mention could easily be a recipe for a good old DONNYBROOK, add in the gambling where only the strangers ,being the hustlers would win , this is the rough and tumble and the saying is not used to describe the ability or venue of a hustler.
Myself and my hustling compatriots were not fussy where we displayed our craft, whether it was shooting dice in the bathroom floor of a VFW or playing bar dice with Cary Grant," unbeknown to Cary that
he was my partner, along with my dear friend Hank Parker(95) and still living. at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, whether it was ROUGH AND TUMBLE or A CHANDELIER JOINT a true seasoned, hard boiled scuff cares less about the venue , but ,when he says $2,000 open while shooting dice and gets faded- NOW THAT IS IMPRESSIVE.
Artie Fufkin
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I picked up your book quite a while ago Jack, and have enjoyed reading it such that I'm on my third time through it as I type this.

The Penguin video was the most enjoyable "watch" I've had in a long while.

Those folks who associate themselves (myself included) primarily with the history and general study of hustling with cards and dice would be very hard pressed to find any footage as enjoyable and detailed as you shared with us in the Penguin video.

Thanks Jack ... for taking the time to offer some real insight into a world of cards and dice that few have had the chance to come to know!
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