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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Three Shell Game vs Cups and Balls (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Mad Mage
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I'm considering working on a Three Shell routine for strolling and table hopping. I read some great reviews on "Sal Piacente: Street Monte - Three Shell Game DVD" and "Golden Shells by Bob Kohler - DVD" looked interesting. However, I also am considering Gazzo's Street Cups. If you would be so kind as to share your ideas I would greatly appreciate it.

1. Which one get the better reactions Shells or Cups? (Yes, I know it's up to the performance of the magician. I just want opinions.)

2. Which DVD is, in your opinion, better for the Three Shell Game or Cups and Balls?

3. Lastly, which do you like best and why?

Thanks in advance and one of these days I'll get an avatar.
Bill Palmer
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Your questions lack precision and clarity. Please re-state your questions.

I will say this. Neither the three shell game nor the street cups and balls is appropriate for strolling. Both require large working surfaces. You don't have that at a restaurant unless you bring along a table.

The street cups and balls is a very involved routine that requires certain logistical situations.

Get the DVD's and view them both, then you will understand.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Mad Mage
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I think you answered my question already. I thought Cups and Balls would need too much room for restaurants. I don't know why I even mentioned them strolling, you need a surface for both of them. What was I thinking, probably that the shells are more portable. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

I suppose the main question is a matter of personal preference.

So which do you like better? And why?

Each have their merits and I will eventually obtain them both. I think I'll start with the shells. I have a copper chop cup by U-Day and use Danny Tong's routine with good reactions. I'll match it with a combo cup and ball set later.
FunTimeAl
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Hello!

I'd be happy to share what I know about this topic...but it's certainly not all that much. I'm still really new at this myself. Here's my answers in the same order you asked:

1. I like the shells for close-up work as a middle bit in a three effect routine. I like either a chop cup or a set of mini cups for a closer (finale) to a routine.

I would recommend considering either a chop cup routine or perhaps a routine using a set of mini cups if you're really interested in working with multiple cups as a table hopper.

I made this a couples years ago for table hopping with the shell game:

http://i272.photobucket.com/albums/jj193......form.jpg

That routine consisted of a coin bit intro, the shell game for a middle and then chop cup as the finale.

I wouldn't perform it at every table. I usually kept this tray at the end of a row of booths and only grab it if I saw a table that might appreciate the routine.

Otherwise, I'd switch in a different middle bit and leave the tray out altogether.

2. Regarding DVDs. While I am a HUGE fan of Gazzo's work, I don't know how many people out there would be able to get away with his cups and balls act while strolling & table hopping. You may wish to look further into the vast treasure trove of videos and literature out there and find something more readily applicable to the type of work you're interested in.

Perhaps run a search for cups and balls DVD on a magic website with a good search engine like

http://www.stevensmagic.com/
or
http://www.theambitiouscard.com/

For learning to work the shells, Sals DVDs are great as are School for Scoundrels. Bob Kohler is also outstanding. I don't think you'd go wrong with any of these.

As for question #3...I like them both. Nah, I LOVE them both. They are 2 of my favorite effects and are on my heavy rotation list during strolling gigs.

Just as a thought (and please take this as only my opinion), I'd recommend you learn the cups and balls first. Reason being, the cups don't have a history of being a con (maybe they do...but I'm not aware of it). So, as you learn to perform the cups, you are also learning to perform something that is (and has been) intended to entertain rather than hustle.

If you keep that mindset while learning the shell game second, then perhaps your shells routine will maintain a fun, entertaining feel as opposed to an edgy, perhaps offensive, street con. Keeping the shell game "a little street" is the great fun of performing the effect. However, I think it's important to play that part with a great deal of tact if you are table hopping. Again, just my opinion.

I don't know if this post is what you were looking for as a response. As Bill stated, your questions are a bit ambiguous. Hope something in it helped Smile

Chad
Pete Biro
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Strolling? Use a chop cup. Small dtable space, or even in someone's hands. If you can sit cross-legged on the floor do the Rezvani (or Benosn) bowl or the Indian Cups. Just depends on the "scene".
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
andrelimantara
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Yup, mini cup will do great in strolling situation

Doug Brewer also got handling for micro chop cup... which very well suited the strolling situation.... You can find it in Unexpected Visitors vol 2.

Cheers
Andre
"Good performance comes from good practice, Great performance comes from the heart - Andre Limantara"
Eddie Torres
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I perform a 2 cup routine for strolling tables, which works just fine for me. Iff you're going to do something with shells, I'd reccomend you pick up the school for scoundrels shell game DVD, it's got a lot of great info.

Eddie
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sethb
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I agree with Chad that the Cups & Balls is a magic trick, while the Shell Game is a con game (although both depend on sleight of hand). So what you choose may well depend upon your own personality and how you perform.

Although the Shells can certainly be entertaining, I believe it is tougher to entertain with them than with the Cups & Balls, because you don't have the "challenge" situation with the Cups that you do with the Shells. Also, you have a potentially embarrassing situation with the Shells, where hopefully people will always be guessing incorrectly and picking out the wrong shell. That needs to be handled very carefully. Most people enjoy being mystified, hardly anyone enjoys being made to feel dumb.

And as others have noted, a mini chop cup can work well in a strolling situation, using your or the spec's hands to hold the cup. I think Dennis Loomis had a booklet with his routine, which was quite good. SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
Bill Palmer
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My own preference is that which Pete and others have said. I use a chop cup while strolling. There are a couple of advantages with this.

1) It takes very little table space if you use the table. If you work in the spec's hands, it takes none at all.

2) If you have a mini chop cup that you use at table, you can probably adapt the routine for stage performance by using a larger cup. So you don't have to re-learn the routine for the stage.

If you are using the Uday cup, don't buy a Uday combo set -- buy a regular set. The cups should match your chop cup. If you have a dealer nearby, you can check the cups against one another. You may need to polish your chop cup if it has gotten a tad old or beat up.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Josh the Superfluous
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I disagree with the notion that the shell game is just a "con game". Although most presentations that I have seen are so. I have a routine that is very magical (as is my 3 Card Monte, and some presentations of Skinner's Monte). To say that is like saying any trick with a gambling theme, is just a skill demonstration.

I have seen contortionists and puppet shows that have elements of magic. Don't let what has come before limit what you do. Possible, obvious story lines could involve a magician out witting a con man, or a con man being revealed as being a magician. The challenge inherent in a guessing theme can be lessoned by relating how you guessed where the pea was (think Color Monte), or by saying things like "Most people would guess the pea is over here. But with a wave of the hand, the pea goes away (along with their money) and travels over here."

If you are not one to write your own material, or think beyond what has come before, the Chop Cup is a natural choice. I do a micro cup for strolling, but wouldn't do it for more than 4 people at a time. A mini or a standard size is easier to see on a table; and from a short distance, packs a bigger punch. Mini C&Bs just don't do it for me. The scale always seems too small and cluttered. IMHO
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sethb
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Josh, just to clarify -- I'm pretty sure that the Shell Game originated as a con game, and that's what I meant.

But that's not to say it couldn't be presented as a magic trick, and it sounds like this is what you have done. Kudos! SETH
"Watch the Professor!!" -- Al Flosso (1895-1976)
"The better you are, the closer they watch" -- Darwin Ortiz, STRONG MAGIC
magicsantana
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The shell game has several advatages in a in this in this case. 1 they are small 2 there is the romantic aspect to it. 3 the custmer will be engaged in a challenge
Mad Mage
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Great comments by all. Remember they are your opinions and I value them all. Chad I really appreciate the detail of your response and Sethe you made am excellent point. I like Josh's approach to handling the Three Shell game as a magician. Bill... well thanks for your suggestion about using the local magic shop. I think we should support our local suppliers as much as possible. It's kind of difficult when the prices are more than 30% over the internet, but they have overhead as a b&m shop.

What I was looking at was the WOW factor. Carl Andrews has a good routine on "Table Hopping Cups and Balls with Carl Andrews (DVD)" using only two cups. It finishes with sponge balls loaded into the spectator's hand.

There was a great point on the Three Shell Game being a challenge to the spectator with the spectator being leaft feeling dumb. I like the fact this was brought up. Steve Darci made a point of this on The Spongeball Toolkit. When entertaining I think we should create a win-win situation. For example, if you get the shell right, he gets to do the dishes (brothers and sisters), he has to clean his room (kids) or she owes you a kiss (young couples). Of course give the guesser an opportunity to win it back. Still it's a challenge, but it can be fun with the proper presentation.

I normally start a new bit of magic with established routines and then watch others before I write my own.

Thanks again I really appreciate the thoughts and ideas you've shared as well as your time to compose them.
Vlad_77
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Phil Cass has a nice Shell routine on the aptly named "Phil Cass Video".

Since I am not a huge fan of video learning, here are some print suggestions:

In addition, Ralph Read wrote a great booklet in 1938 called The Three Shell Game
Eddie Joseph has extensive lessons and a great routine in the Magic Wand magazine.
Jack Chanin has done extensive work on the shell game
Supershells by Gary Ouellet is a VERY nice routine

For C&B here are a few more suggestions:

Michael Ammar's book on the Cups and Balls is an excellent resource
Laurie Ireland's booklet is excellent
Frank Garcia's "The Very Best of Cups and Balls" is a nice book on the subject
Paul Gertner's "Steel and Silver" contains his ball bearing cups and balls routine. It is also included in the above mentioned Garcia book.
Pallbearer's Review contains a number of excellent Cups and Balls routines
Apocalypse has some interesting stuff
John Mendoza's Cups and Balls
Gary Ouellet's "Two Goblets"
I would be remiss if I did not mention Dai Vernon's impromptu routine out of "Stars of Magic"
Lewis Ganson's "The Art of Close Up Magic contains some cool stuff. Phoa's routine in there is similar to Roy Benson's
David Regal's Cups and Balls and Cups and Balls in "Constant Fooling" v.2 is a riot
Lewis Ganson published Aldo Colombini's routine - as with all of Aldo's stuff, it is well thought out.
The Tarbell Course in Magic of course has everything. Just ask Denny Haney
For a FORMAL set, check out Alex Elmsley's wonderful routine. It is in the Complete Works of Alex Elmsley as well as the DVD "Tahoe Sessions"

I hope some of these resources are at your disposal. They are worth tracking down as they contain a lifetime of study.

Finally, I would suggest delving into the compilations of the great magic periodicals such as The Jinx, The Phoenix, The Sphinx, The Wizard, Hugard's Magic Monthly, Magic Wand, etc. etc. etc. for ideas, moves and routines.

Best,
Vlad
Vlad_77
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Two more I forgot to mention!!

Greater Magic - 'Nuff said
If you like a touch of the "bizarre" R. Shane has a very nice routine in "Pentalogy"

There are more of course, but these two books stared at me and intoned "omit us at your peril"

Best,
Vlad
Bill Palmer
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Ralph Read did not write the Three Shell Game. That was written by Tom Osborne, but for some reason, the publisher refused to put his name on the book. I have the first edition as well as the original typewritten manuscript.

The biggest disadvantages of all of these are:
1) table space. If you take up table space, you are invading the client's space. The Phil Cass routine, which is top notch, takes up more space than most other shell games.
2) the challenge factor. Unless you work your patter correctly, you will inevitably make the spectator feel like an idiot because they can't catch you.

A one cup or two cup routine takes up a considerable amount less of table space.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Pete Biro
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Ken Brooke's Tweezers is a great version of the shell game. (Vanvranken: I have not forgotten you)!!!!!
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
MadUncleAndy
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If you go the Shell Game route and are looking for a DVD, I recommend the School For Scoundrels DVD. In addition to the video presentation, there's quite a bit of good printed material on the DVD in .PDF format.

Also, Denny & Lee's had a sale going recently where you got Bob Sheets' "Absolutely Nuts" routine DVD free with the SFS DVD.
Bill Palmer
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That's a great deal. Both of them are excellent DVD's.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
FunTimeAl
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MadUncleAndy,

Could you provide a link? I looked around and didn't see this deal. Thanks!
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