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Topic: Keeping the Aronson Stack
Message: Posted by: edh (Aug 15, 2007 08:22PM)
Do any of Simon's books make recommendations as to how to keep the stack in order after completing his tricks? Or do you basically have to come up with your own way of keeping the stack in order after completing his tricks?

Thanks for all who reply.

P.S. I haven't saved enough pennies to buy his books yet so if this topic is mentioned in any of his books please pardon me.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 16, 2007 06:01PM)
How to keep it in order... well, that depends on the tricks you choose to do. Some maintain the stack order, some ruin it all and some lose part of the stack. You have to structure the routine so that you do the efects that retain the stack first, then the ones that lose part of it, then one that ruins it all, -one that sacrifices everything for a great finishing effect.

I have only read half of Bound To Please so far, and I don't think there is any universal system discussed for retaining order no matter what. There is a forum thread here which may be relevant: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=201427&forum=205

All is not neccessarily lost when the stack order is gone. There is a weapon which IS discussed in Bound To Please; the deck switch.

Thoughts on retaining/destroying the order is touched upon in Aronson's DVD Sessions With Simon, vol.3 which is newer in date than his writings in Bound To Please. In the DVD, there is an updated version of one of his his poker effects, now named Routine Maintenence. It has additions to it to help maintain the stack.

That being said, I still prefer the poker routine done without retaining the order since I feel the slight difference in presentation of the hands is stronger without having to do it to retain the order.

I have no knowledge yet of what may be in Aronson's later written works. Would like to know that myself.
Message: Posted by: edh (Aug 16, 2007 08:02PM)
So there are effects that retain the order of the stack in BtP.

Does Try the Impossible also have tricks that retain the order of the stack? I would assume so. But you know what happens when you assume: ;)
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 16, 2007 11:07PM)
On 2007-08-16 21:02, edh wrote:

So there are effects that retain the order of the stack in BtP.


I assume there is ;)

I am suddenly uncertain now since I haven't paid much attention to that so far when reading the book. At least on the DVD I mentioned there are tricks that retain the order. I don't think you should put an overly large amount of emphasis on that issue actually.

The most important thing first of all is for a trick to be a great trick. And so far in reading Bound to Please I have not found any effects I myself are interested in performing. Others rave about it tho.

I'll have a second look at the book later. Need to sleep now apparently.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 17, 2007 06:28AM)
BTW, the review for Try The Impossible says (after mentioning a few headliner tricks in detail): "Try The Impossible also contains an all-new, in-depth look at the Aronson Stack, with over 25 new effects that don`t require memorization of the stack and leave the entire deck intact".
Message: Posted by: Ken Abbott (Aug 17, 2007 09:36AM)
Try The Impossible explains in detail how to pick the cards up after a trick to make sure they are in order, as well as having several tricks that retain the order.
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 17, 2007 12:48PM)
I'm now awake. Please disregard everything I said earlier.

Today I brought Bound To Please with me to a café and sat down looking through all the memorized deck effects to acertain which ones retain the stack order and not. I made notes.

And what did I find? Out of 9 tricks using the full stack (about 8 of which any full deck stack order), exactly zero retain the deck order. Not one. So that's that.

Further more, nearly all the tricks therein either use more than one deck or involves more than one spectator.

So now I'll probably buy Try The Impossible and maybe Mnemonica too, in order to hopefully find some effects that play in one focused direction and not to a group of people.

What I said about the DVD still goes. There are several items on it that retain the deck order.
Message: Posted by: John T Cox (Aug 19, 2007 11:02PM)
Try the Impossible has Aces Awry which maintains the deck order. Also the UnDo Influence section describes how to restack the deck with a couple of cuts as you finish the tricks. I just added the Prior Commitment effect to my repertoire this weekend. It is pretty powerful. My wife says it has a great WOW factor! It's nice to Wow your best critic from time to time!
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 20, 2007 07:06AM)
I've ordered Try the Impossible myself. So far most memdeck stuff I have seen has left me somewhat indifferent, but since I have taken the time (and plenty of it) to learn and then drill this stack, I better try to find something to use it for. :)

Prior Commitment is a clever effect, yes. But it's not a stack trick in itself. Does it still retain the deck order? I don't remember.

I saw mention of a list or article here of "regular" tricks that don't mess with the deck order. But I don't think I ever found it. That is something very interesting; to intersperse nonmem effects within the routine to throw people off and to get a wider jump in style from item to item.

I have to go through my notebooks and see if I can use something I already know. Not just of "blind" card effects but of effects that can be adapted into this.
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Aug 20, 2007 10:01AM)
But "Twice as hard" is, and you can keep the stack intact. Besides that "Twice as hard" is the strongest routine of the entire concept. Jan

Posted: Aug 20, 2007 3:16pm
Sorry, Noobini, I mixed up titles; nevertheless "Prior Commitment" does not disturb your stack. Jan
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 20, 2007 03:13PM)
On 2007-08-20 15:16, JanForster wrote:
Sorry, Noobini, I mixed up titles; nevertheless "Prior Commitment" does not disturb your stack. Jan

I'm confused now, Jan. What other trick name did you mix up "Twice as Hard" with? Are we talking about an effect you like in Try The Impossible which maintain the stack order and that we haven't talked about here, or are we talking about Prior Commitment which we both like and which retains the stack order without being a stack dependent trick? :)
Message: Posted by: churken (Aug 20, 2007 05:16PM)

Try the Impossible (as has been said already) has some amazing effects that retain stack order.

Michael Close (who uses the Aronson Stack) has several effects in Workers 5 that retain the stack.

Dennis Loomis has a full book's worth of material on his site for free. Some of it retains stack order, others do not. But it's all free, so check it out.

Richard Osterlind has some of the best material out there involving a stack on his Mind Mysteries DVD's. (Vol. 3 I think, but you should check that before purchase.) His is not the Aronson, but everything on it can be done with the Aronson Stack. All but one of the effects retain the stack order.

Another book that has a great article on mem deck work is the Tangled Web by Eric Meade. Although there are no specific tricks his write up on Dis-Orderly Conduct is incredible and should be read by all serious mem deck workers.

When thinking about retaining the order of a memorized stack, keep in mind what messes it up in the first place. 1. Shuffling 2. Dealing 3. Having cards pulled out of the center of the deck. All of these are able to be overcome. 1. Use a false shuffle 2. When dealing in effects such as a poker demo you have to use the Un-Do principle, but for things like Any Card @ Any Number you can deal the cards face up. This retains the order. Or, if you want to deal face down, you could use an overhand shuffle to reverse the dealt cards. 3. If someone takes a card (or a group of cards) from the center of the deck, catch a little finger break and pass (or double undercut) the cards above the break to the bottom.

There are many effects that retain the order and give you a wide variety of effects. However, there are some that are going to completely mess up your stack, like Aronson's Shuffle Board or Ortiz's Maximum Risk, that should be considered seriously. They will have to be your closer, but are worth the loss of the stack because they are so strong.

I hope this helps you.

Message: Posted by: edh (Aug 20, 2007 05:54PM)
Thanks all for responding to my question. Yes Paul this does help quite a bit.

My concern is that I have recently learned the AS. I did not want to do one trick and have the stack destroyed. It would seem to me a waste of time spent memorizing the AS just to do one trick! A series of card effects keeping the stack in order would be nice to build a routine around.

This is why I wanted to know what was available(as effects/books/DVD's) that would keep the stack in order. Obviously the last trick could destroy the stack.
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Aug 20, 2007 07:02PM)
Sorry Noobini (again), what I meant is: Prior Commitment is one routine of The UnDo Influence concept. It does not need a stacked deck. If you would perform Prior Commitment it would not really destroy your stack, it would be easy to restore your stack. On the other hand using a stack it makes more sense to perform Twice as Hard because it uses a stack, is far stronger (my opinion) and you can easily restore your stack. Jan
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 21, 2007 11:32AM)
Thank you Jan. I have forgotten about the UnDo Influence concept. Prior Commitment is on one of my Aronson DVDs, no. 2 I think, and I remember the effect, but not all of what was said in the explanation to it. I think I need to rewatch that now that I understand a little more about these things.

I'll have a look at Twice As Hard when my ordered book arrives. Great to have a recommendation that I can dive straight into. Thanks.

churken, the problem with many of the Aronson effects is that they involve spectators shuffling cards, which then makes all our own wonderful false shuffles powerless.

In any case, for me at least, having 3 or 4 memorized deck effects in a routine is enough. Destroying the order after that is ok really.
Message: Posted by: churken (Aug 22, 2007 11:19AM)
I agree that Simon Aronson does have effects that destroy the stack because the spectator has to shuffle. Many of these are killer effects and worth considering. But this is a small portion of what's out there. By releasing Try the Impossible even Simon has recognized the benefits of retaining the stack. I also think that many times the artist is "over proving" when they send the deck out to be shuffled. I think that in most card magic it is sufficient for the magican to do the shuffling. In my experience most lay people don't feel they shuffle very well and would prefer not to.

To go off track for a second, I believe that if a spectator asks to examine anything during our performance, we must let them. If someone wants to check out a coin or shuffle the cards and we say no, the magical experience is ruined. In their mind it is now a fake coin or special deck of cards, etc. This is why routining is so important. We must make sure that when we are using a flipper coin, etc. that they will not ask for it. The same in mem deck work. If they ask to shuffle, we have to let them. So you better have a back up plan on how to bring the effect to a positive (albiet different) conclusion.

That said though, sometimes letting the spectator shuffle is running with out being chased.

As a close up worker, I believe it to be very important to learn effects that retain the stack. It is impractical (almost impossible) to destroy the stack during a walk around gig. It's is bad form to be running to your close up case after every set to get a pre-stacked deck of cards to replace the one that was destroyed. Even working a restaurant (which I also do) has very little flexibility if your stack is destroyed. In my experience it is better to judically use effects that destroy the stack. For me (and this is just a personal preference) once my stack is destroyed, I am done doing mem deck work for the night.

I have a three ring binder full of mem-deck effects. Every time I find a new effect that uses a cyclical stack, I copy it and put it in the binder. There are literally hundreds. Obviously most of them did not come from Simon Aronson. Some of them destroy the deck and some don't.

That said I just counted the effects I regularly use in my professional work that rely completely on a mem stack. There are 22 of them. These effectsl have varying themes (i.e. there's not two variations of Any Card At Any Number, etc.) so that they are all perceived as very different. Only two of them destroy the stack. The rest either leave the stack intact, or have an easy fix. In addition, many of my non-stack effects can be done with a stacked deck and leave no more than 3 cards out of place. It is an easy thing to replace 3 cards.

When I arrive at the restaurant or strolling gig, I have two decks. One that's stacked and one that's not. That's all I need. I do effects that allow for spectator shuffling, etc. with the non stacked deck and ring in the stack via a deck switch when needed.

Maybe the arguments of "How many card tricks does one need to know?" is correct. Maybe one does only need 4-5 card tricks in their arsenal. (BTW, I am not singling anyone out here. I have read this view over and over again in many posts. I know that this post might seem to be directed to Noobini based on his post. Noobini, I have read many of your posts and know that you do more than 5 card effect. All of your posts have been well written and thought out. I have nothing but respect for your thoughts and words.) But maybe it is best to do 1 card trick, 1 coin trick and 1 mentalism piece and move on to a new group. Or some other formula like that where there is variety. I don't know, it's different for everyone.

Personally I tend to be heavy on the card side of magic. Probably 50% of what I do during any show involves a deck of cards. So it may be that I am too sensitive about these things. All I am trying to say in this post is that I believe it is important indeed to consider ones options when using a memorized stack. Like anything else in our art, this is a tool. How you use the tool is up to the artist. I have found the memorized stack to be a very effective tool in creating the impressions I wish to impart on my audience. Therefore I have endeavored to learn to use this tool to the best of my ability. I am still learning and feel I have a long way to go.

These are just my thoughts. I could be wrong on all counts.

Message: Posted by: The Amazing Noobini (Aug 22, 2007 12:14PM)
Great post, Paul! Your thoughts on the spectator shuffle is putting things in a new light for me. I believe you are right about everything you say. Thanks!

(Also you have reminded me that I need to find the energy soon to transfer my notes from these small Moleskine Reporter notebooks into a proper binder system which lets me add changes to individual pages and change their order, etc.)
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Aug 24, 2007 04:54PM)
Only time for two quick comments.

First: there are ways to restore order to the deck right in front of the audience. Then you aren't so concerned about losing it.

Second: If you start out with two decks... I suggest you have them BOTH stacked in Aronson order. Now use one and do tricks from the Aronson stack. If/when the deck loses it's order you still have the second deck to fall back on.

Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: edh (Aug 25, 2007 05:45PM)
Here's a thought. I think it would be helpful, at least to me, for people who are beginning work with the AS to have a booklet published that would list effects and the descriptions that would allow the stack to retain its order.

Try the Impossible, as I understand, has some effects in it that retain the order. But as has been mentioned here there are lots of effects that are not in that particular book that could be helpful to us newbies who are getting started with the AS.

Then we/I could choose among them and build a routine utilizing these effects.

I believe that this would be a great resource for the AS.
Message: Posted by: churken (Aug 26, 2007 10:57AM)

As someone who has spent considerable time searching out such effects, I agree that it would be helpful, but probably not practical. Each of these effects is copyrighted by the creator and in order to compile them all in one place the publisher would have to seek out permission from every single source. I doubt that many of them would be interested in such a project.

There are lists here on the Café where people talk about their favorite mem deck routines, but they don't always retain the order. Still, it's a good place to start if you wish to compile a list of great mem deck routines that you can search out.

Also, keep in mind that just because a particular routine destroys the stack as it is currently written up, doesn't mean that you can't re-work it to retain the stack. Or, if that's not possible, you can come up with a similar effect of your own that retains the stack.

Message: Posted by: Nick Pudar (Aug 26, 2007 02:10PM)
I seem to recall a post somewhere on the Café from a year or two ago that actually did list out all the effects that were in print that retained the stack. I'll try to do a search on it.
Message: Posted by: edh (Aug 26, 2007 05:22PM)
Hello Paul and Nick,

Paul, by description of the effect I did not mean the method. I just meant the plot of the effect. A description of what the audience would see. The name, description and a reference as to where it is published. I think this would be a great resource.

Nick, thanks for replying. I also will do a search and see what I can come up with. BTW great stuff on your blog.