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Profile of CardShark2004
I'm having trouble with the second deal. I know that it is a very difficult sleight and will take years of practice. I think I have amassed a decent collection of dvds/videos and books on the topic. I have good videos and dvds to watch good demonstrations/exposes of the move. I have some books and pamphlets which describe the move (and a few dvds that instruct, however ive finally realized what some of the veterans are always saying, books give better instruction than dvds).
Anyway I can do an extremely lousy strike deal. I have to lick my thumb (and then I wipe it on my pant leg so that the thumb is a bit moist) then I have no problem with the take. However without licking the thumb I'm doomed. As far as the pushoff, Im just not getting the hang of/ understanding how to feel for and push off two cards.
I know I still have a lot of experimenting to do, I have pretty small hands/short fingers, and should still explore the ideal grip for each type of second. But my main question is will I constantly have to lick my thumb for the strike? In Phantoms at the Card Table, in the notes about Walter Scott's second, it says something like "a glass smooth" or overly dry thumb are a death sentence and you wont be able to do the deal at all. And as far as the pushoff, anyone have any tips on feeling for/ getting the knack for pushing off two cards, cause I'm really having trouble.
Sorry for the novel Smile. Looking forward to the responses.
Paul H
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Profile of Paul H
Hi Cardshark,

For the Strike second, try different pressures with the thumb that rests on the top card. I find a light touch helps here. Scondly, if you need a stickier thumb, I would strongly recommend Skinners Edge Card Creme which is a good moisturiser and lasts longer than alternatives like Sortquik. The issue of thumb licking is generally frowned upon by magicians. However, if you lick your thumb regularly even on ordinary deals for consistency it should fly. I seem to remember this issue was addressed by Jack Carpenter in his book 'Modus Operandi' in his chapter on Cheating. He played poker in the local card rooms and noted that many guys especially the older players tended to lick their thumbs before dealing bacause their hands were dry. He makes the point that magicians are sometimes too perfectionistic about such issues and that the real world can be much more forgiving in all but the most exacting contexts. For an excellent source of learning the strike second, I would srongly recommend Marlo's 'The Cardician' DVD. By the way, I have very dry hands but I am still able to do a deceptive strike second deal when required. Hope this helps.


Paul H
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Thank you Paul.
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Profile of tommy
The No Touch Theory Strike Second is hard to do if your not doing it right, but it is quite easy once you understand it. It does not take years to learn just a few days but you will get better as time goes by. If you have the Marlo DVD he explains the no touch theory strike second quite well also see his book RCT. Start with a large brief and go smaller as you get into it.

Glassy thumb: Have a glass of cold water with ice in and the condensation on the glass will damp the thumb when needed. Glen Bishop gave me that cool tip. Smile

Don't try and learn the second from ECT, is my advice, as it's a crap discription.

I think the push off second is harder to learn. I am not much good at that myself.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Profile of jcards01
Some things to consider. Try and settle on what grip you prefer using. Erdnase, Marlo's Master Grip, The Mechanics Grip, etc. After that, remember that 'grip' means how the cards are held for control and should be considered a noun and not a verb. In other words, a light touch is needed. The more you 'grip' the harder to get the deal down.

Most false deals are illusions. Your audience will assume you are dealing off the top unless you tell them otherwise. Also, in most cases, it is the rhythm that sells the deal. Most deals are caught because you get hung up or changes rhythms when dealing normally then when doing the false deal.
Jimmy 'Cards' Molinari
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Profile of daniel1113
When I was learning the strike second, I noticed that the overall positioning of the fingers on the hand holding the deck played a very important role. I found it very difficult to successfully take the second card if my second, third, and pinky fingers were positioned too high above the edge of the deck, as the second card would get stuck on the forementioned fingers. The same would happen if my first finger was positioned too high above the outer front corner (I use a Marlo grip).

As some of the others guys have mentioned, I think the real key is to select a grip and simply experiment over and over again until you get it. After all, everyone needs to make small adjustments to fit their hands. Also, don't worry about some of the more specific details, such as the size of the brief, until after you develop the motion. You will be well off if your motion is smooth and in sync with your top deal. I hope this helps.
Daniel M. Carrico
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Profile of CardShark2004
Thanks everyone, there is some good stuff on here. Anyone else that has any tips feel free to chime in
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Profile of Unknown419
On 2004-07-30 04:26, Unknown419 wrote:
The Expert At the Card Table 100 Years Later

Doc Holiday on Second Dealing

* Second Deal, The
* Various Techniques
* Which is Best
* Looking at it logically
* Proving my point
* Habit Forming
* My Concluding Observation


Second dealing, as the term indicates, is the process of dealing the second card from the top of the deck, but making it appear as though the top card was taken. This ruse is employed almost exclusively in connection with marked cards. The dealer at this stage need not bother about acquiring skill at blind shuffling, cutting, stocking, or any of the other hundred and one ruses known to the profession.


There are two major types of second deal. In the two-card push-off method, the hustler pushes the top card over the right edge of the deck with his left thumb and takes it with the right hand every time he deals fairly. When he wishes to deal the second card, he pushes the top two-cards over together in perfect alignment. The right fingers come away with the under card of the two while the left thumb pulls the top card back into position on top of the deck.

The alternative technique is called the strike. The top card is drawn off the squared deck by the right thumb without first being pushed over by the left thumb. In dealing the second, the same thing appears to happen. Actually, just as the card is dealt, the top card is pushed over a hair so that a sliver of the outer right corner of the second card is exposed for a split second. It is this surface that the right thumb contracts, enabling it to deal the second card.


There are so many ways of dealing seconds, which one should, the layman use? In my opinion the one that I use. If I was Arthur Buckley I might say "After having carefully studied the various methods published for performing the sleight called "dealing seconds", and having watched a host of experts among the conjuring fraternity attempt it, I make this statement without prejudice. . . I believe that you are receiving a method. . . which is one of the finest pieces of card artistry in the whole range of card conjuring. It is a weapon so excellent that you will rate as a master among the less initiated" etc.

Eddie McGuire might say "There are many methods of dealing seconds, good, bad and indifferent, but there is only one master method, one method so superior to all others that there is no comparison." "The Phantom of the Card Table gave a demonstration of his second-deal. From that moment, the writer never again dealt his "perfect" deal. Yet, "The Phantom of the Card Table" told the writer that the writer's method was the best, outside of his own, that he had ever witnessed."


We can go on and on about which method is the best, and it depends on the person’s hands etc. I think the public should decide which is suitable for you. Why, you might ask. First, is that your life may depend on it. Second, 8 out of 10 people who play cards don't hold the deck in the above-mentioned Mechanic's Grip. Three, how did you hold the deck before you started practicing seconds, bottoms, etc. Fourth, if you are a layman how do you hold the cards at the moment? And fifth, you don't want anybody who may have went to a gambling lecture or who may have read one of these "How to Cheat or How to detect a Card Cheat" books to peep your hold card (figure out that you're a mechanic).


Although all card detectives tell you what to look for, to me Scarne summed it up the best when he said in his book. "Most card sharpers announce the fact that they are mechanics long before they make a crooked move. They do it as soon as they begin to deal. The giveaway is the peculiar manner in which they hold the deck, known as the Mechanic's Grip.

Almost all seconds or bottom dealers, as well as what the trade calls holdout men (cheaters who palm cards), use the Mechanic's Grip on a pack of cards. The cheat holds the deck in either the right or left hand. . . Three fingers are on the edge of the long side of the deck and the index finger at the outer right corner. Some mechanics keep two fingers on the side of the deck and two at the outer corner.

Many professional dealers in gambling houses also hold the deck in this manner but for a different reason: they do it to prevent players from glimpsing the bottom card. But when you spot a player using the Mechanic's Grip in a private friendly game, find yourself another game. The odds are that the player who holds the deck this way is doing so because peeking at the top card, second dealing, bottom dealing and other cheating moves require this grip. The index-finger position at the outer corner of the deck acts as a stop when the cheat is second dealing and peeking and also helps conceal a card when it comes from the bottom of the deck. It is possible that an honest, even innocent, player might ACCIDENTALLY hold the deck this way, but it is highly unlikely because it takes practice to hold the cards in this manner while dealing. The only reason anyone would practice this grip is because he intends to cheat.

I just want to state for the record that I never mentioned that the other various techniques of dealing or grip's were inferior. Mostly all card players don't know anything about cheating techniques and their moves, so the Mechanic's Grip most of the time goes unnoticed. I like the Standard Grip because it's never questioned and to those who are in the know (Card sharks or people who know what to look for), it sends them home with the thought he was just lucky.


I'd like to mention one more thing because it brings back a thought I had when I first started cheating. One night I went to a card game and most of the players was using the Mechanic's Grip. Being new at cheating and unable to detect the move, the first thing I thought was that these guys was card sharks. About ten minutes later another man who was also new to the group, sat in and after seeing a couple of hands dealt (walking deal) said, "What in the hell is going on is everybody here is a card shark" and left the game. Note: This man somewhere knew what grip to look for but couldn't detect if the Second Deal was being done. These men used the grip, but didn't know anything except for one of them. I later became a member and fleeced these guys for about a year and a half until the place closed down.

The only reason I mentioned this is because after proof reading the above paragraph (I want to state for the record. . .) with my wife, I asked her to hold the cards and deal out two hands. I knew she always held the cards in the Standard Grip but to my surprise she dealt out the two hands using the Mechanic's Grip. I guess the habit of watching me practice, just as the other guys must have picked up the habit somewhere is catching on. I asked did the grip feel unusual. She said it was comfortable for her and that she could control the deck better. Then I asked her to use her old grip (The Standard Grip) to deal out two hands. She did and said that it didn't feel right. {Months later after not practicing in front my wife she went back to using the Standard Grip}. I think, but don't quote me on this, that the Mechanic's Grip (although I don't use it when gambling) is becoming the style of today just like the Riffle Shuffle became the style over the Over-Hand.

My Concluding Observation

I believe that the Standard Grip is the best grip to use. Why? One. Most people (layman) use this grip. Two. Because card detectives and people in the know can't spot it. And three, I can Second, Bottom, and Middle Deal without changing my grip.

Although I believe that my technique is the best, and after spotting many card sharks and then cheating them, in the following pages I will describe all the various dealing techniques.

* Second Dealing
* The Strike/Hit Method
* Lesson I, II, III


The Strike/Hit Method

Lesson 1.

1. First, hold pack face down in the left hand, forefinger against or curled around outer end. (Photo. ) If preferred, the tip of forefinger may rest against the right outer corner of bottom card (Photo. ) or you can have the tips of the left fingers flushed against the side of the deck. Photo. . According to which position you use, the base of the thumb is at one side and the three (four) fingertips at the other. The left thumb is extended straight across the outer end, almost meeting the tip of the forefinger at the outer right corner.

2. With the pressure of the thumb downwards on the top card, move the tip of the left thumb down inward, you can pivot the top card with it, forming up to a quarter of an inch space at the outer right corner. There is no real need to cramp or minimize this at the moment, as the left thumb hides the outer edge of the top card as the right thumb lightly strike the exposed corner surface of the second card, drawing it away and dealing it.

3. As the right thumb deals the second card, move the left thumb back to the left and draw the top card squarely back on the pack. With each succeeding Second Deal, the move is repeated and, when the top card is dealt, the left thumb simply draws back without it.

Photo. . Shows the
action: Top card
down inward: right
thumb approaching
to engage corner or
second card.

Photo. . Shows the
Deal: Right thumb
and forefinger draw
out second card.
Left thumb can then
return top card to
position shown in
Photo. .

4. The drawing back or dealing only a single card without dragging others along becomes a problem at times. If this occurs the problem can be lessened by moistening the side of the left thumb and the tip of the right thumb, thus keeping the pressure very light.

Lesson II.

Essentially, the strike second is very simple, yet it calls for the finest coordination. The timing is this:

A. There is a movement of the left wrist during the action of the Second Deal that is very important. This is a forward and backward twist of the wrist. As the cards are dealt successively, one after another off the deck using the "sail technique", there is a continual forward and backward twist of the wrist. As the right thumb approaches to hit the second card, the left wrist twist up causing the card to meet the right thumb . . . while the second card is clearing the deck, it twists back again to normal position.

Note: When starting to practice the second, this twist of the wrist should be very pronounced. As you become more proficient, the twist becomes less pronounced until it is hardly perceptible. This two-way motion helps hide the action of the left thumb and also prevents anyone from noticing any cards that have gone slightly awry.

B. While the swing action is in motion the right hand approaches the deck to deal the second. The right thumb is held in a horizontal position. The right third and fourth fingers are curled into the palm.

C. Just as the right thumb covers the right hand corner of the deck, the left thumb pulls down the top card about a quarter of an inch (the professional 1/64th of an inch). The left thumb does not pull this card straight down, but at an angle.

D. The ball of the right thumb, which is held horizontally not flat, does not push or pull out the second card, but hits it, thus starting it out. Note: The exact spot on the thumb that hits the card is at the side of the thumb where the bone projects slightly, close to the thumb joint. A natural "ball" forms there. (Photo. )

E. The right forefinger comes up to the card, card is grasped between thumb and forefinger of the right hand and diagonally carries second card off the deck.

F. The small angular gap formed by the left thumb pulling the top card slightly down is immediately closed by an upward movement of the left thumb when the right thumb hits the second card.

G. The right third and fourth fingers, which have been curled into the palm, now move out until the first knuckle of the third finger touches the right side of the card.

H. These two fingers now straighten or kick out suddenly against the side of the card causing it to be sailed or spun across the table as the right thumb and second finger release their hold on the card.

Note: The knack of coordinating these movements comes with practice: until the knack is acquired the instructions given in the body of the text should be followed, slowly at first and with increasing rapidity as the technique is understood and facility is acquired.

How to Practice
Exercise I, II, III
Things to Remember
Tells on the Second Deal to avoid


Exercise I

It is very important to practice dealing natural off the deck; that is, dealing off the top card. Dealing the top card and dealing the second must be exactly alike . . .there must be neither change of position nor change of any movement of the hands, down to the smallest detail.

In first learning this method, start dealing the cards natural off the top to get the general movement. Start dealing “natural tops,” then, every now and then deals a second. As you become more proficient, deal a natural, then a second, then a couple of naturals, then a couple of seconds, then a natural, then a second, etc.

Note that when dealing the natural top, the left thumb moves slightly downward out of the way as the right thumb touches the top card of the deck. The left thumb has to move out of the way to make room for the right thumb to hit the top card. In dealing natural, the right thumb hits the top card to start it, just the same as when dealing the second.

As stated above, in dealing natural, the left thumb moves slightly out of the way for the right thumb. There is this slight movement of the left thumb in dealing the second, when the left thumb slightly pulls down the top card to enable the right thumb to hit the second card. Thus, the slight movement of the left thumb is the same dealing natural or seconds.

Exercise II.

Hold the deck faced-up in the left hand. when the left thumb moves the top card down to expose the second card for the Strike, you should not be able to see any portion of the index of the second card. If you can you are pulling back too far. It will be seen that, when one can work with a breach of 1/64th size, the myth that a deceptive second cannot be done with white-bordered cards is exploded. White borders make no difference to the illusion of the Second Deal if it is being done properly.

Exercise III.

Rhythm is the real key to a deceptive Second Deal. This can only be achieved with much practice. What helped me a lot when I was learning was the advice given by Martin Nash in his book (The Professional Card Technique of Martin A. Nash). Practice with the cards face-up, and "Second Deal" every time you see a black card come up. This will enable you to begin dealing Seconds at an instant's notice, and without breaking rhythm.

Get a good even tempo in your mind and deal to it. If this fails try using a metronome. Remember don't change the tempo as you go from dealing normally to dealing Seconds. Keep it constant.


1. Sleights used with an all over back such as "Bee 92" or Bicycle Club cards are more deceptive than cards with a white border - Cards with a white border may be used - but usually those who use it is good.

2. The backward and forward wrist movement is absolutely necessary.

3. The Second Deal is always used in connection with marked cards or the peek.

4. Always sail the cards.

5. Practice without looking at your hands. Once you know what's on top of the deck you don't need to look at it anymore.

6. If the Mechanic's Grip is used, the index-finger position at the outer corner of the deck acts as a stop when you are second dealing.

7. Previously I mentioned that the drawing back or dealing . . .a single card without dragging others along becomes a problem at times. If this occurs the problem can be lessened by moistening the side of the left thumb and the tip of the right thumb. . . This still holds true but it should not be done in a card game. It was mentioned for learning purposes only. This is just one of a few ways that a second-dealer is detected: the fact that he continually wets his right thumb at his lips. If you are a second-dealer and you bring your right thumb up to your lips, you might just as well call out, "I am dealing seconds." There are honest players who do this at times, but I think that it is better not to give the mark(s) any reason to be or get suspicious.

8. A good second-dealer never misses his second. The only way to over come this "miss" is by using the above methods and much practice.

9. During the deal do not exceed your normal speed. By that is meant if your physical makeup is such that you normally move slowly it would arouse suspicion if, during the deal, you should exceed this speed.

10. When using seconds, centers or bottoms avoid the bridge table or any table that is so low as to enable the players across from you to look down directly on top of the deck. There are a few exceptions where the low height of a table is to your advantage such as in One Hand Stud Seconds or One Hand Bottom Deals of the same type.

11. These are the tips. The rest now lies in your hands.

Tells on the Second Deal to avoid. . .

One. Most deuce dealers get by with mediocre skill because the average person simply doesn't know what to look for. One of the tells on the second deal is the thumb action of the hand holding the deck. In pushing off a card, the thumb must, of course, press flat against the top of the deck. After dealing a top card, many second dealers lift the thumb as it returns to push off the next card. However, after dealing a second the thumb must be kept flat as it returns to position, since it is dragging back the actual top card. The tell is the difference between these two motions: the thumb lifting on the return after a top deal but coming back flat against the deck after a second. It is quite easy to spot when you know what to look for. Keep in mind that an expert second dealer will keep his thumb flat against the deck on all his deals for consistency.

Two. Another tip-off to keep in mind is sound. When a Second is dealt, there is always a slight scraping sound. This comes from the top card rubbing against the card underneath as it comes off. Second dealers who have not perfected this technique will often get a discernibly loud sound every time they deal a Second. This is because this card is rubbing against two cards, the one above as well as the one below.

Three. Since some deuce dealers try to cover up their inadequacies of their technique by tilting the front end of the deck upward toward them- selves (so to keep the top card out of the other players' line of vision). Try to avoid this bad habit. Card mechanics label this as neck tying the deck because the front end of the pack is pointed up toward the dealer's necktie below.

Doc why you teaching this?

I'm tired of all the myths and half written documents on the second deal and which is the best. I have seen seconds done in every grip and in the hands of the expert doing it, each was a 10. The guy who does the thumb lifting second and bottom deal taught it to me who the other magician spoke about and it's the best I've ever seen but the only draw back was I wouldn't have been able to punch deal with this technique.

...Also why buy books written by magicians who won't deal a second in a game and don't know the psychology behind the move and when to do it. I'm tired of hearing stupid comments like "A professional might only do one or two seconds in an entire night." That's bull**** The requirement of doing a second deal is based upon what game you're cheating at.

How can you deal 1 or 2 seconds in an entire night and get the lowest hand all the time in playing the game Lowball or Tonk? What are the odds of you playing poker and at the exact time that you have 2 Aces and the other person have 2 pair that there would be a 3rd Ace at the second card that will require you to do a 2nd and you win the big pot. This logic makes no sense to a real hustler; you'd be broke in no time flat applying this sucker's advice.

The person who wrote that quote was either a Sucker or he gave you that Sucker information only to break you at a later time.



CardShark if you check out my Expose of me dealing you will find that I can also do a second deal from this same layman hand grip.
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Profile of CardShark2004
Thanks for reposting those notes Doc, I already have those printed out, ill have to rewatch the vids of you ive got. I thought uve only shown bottom and center, but ill look again.
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Profile of Unknown419
I did only show bottoms and centers but the same hand grip for second dealing is the exact same thing.

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Profile of CardShark2004
Oh ok, ill take another look to see a visual and read back over your notes. Thanks for the help Doc and thanks to everyone else who has posted tips. I appreciate it.
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