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Is anyone doing this? I have two friends of mine who are two of the busiest magicians I know that are swearing by this trick. It seems to have been rediscovered or is regaining popularity. I personally have never really liked it, but I'll be doing it at gigs this coming weekend to see the responses that it gets (sort of a social experiment). What are everyone's experiences with this trick?
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What the heck is the 3 ball trick?
Harry Murphy
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In general it is a balls across (hand to hand) trick. It is very much like an in-the-hands-coins-across.

Many magicians putting out videos in the recent past have included a version (Dai Vernon, Bill Malone, Johnny Thompson, Charlie Frye, Bob Sheets, and Also Colombini to name a few).

L&L has a DVD dedicated to the trick as one of their "Worlds Greatest..." volumes. You can see the details here:
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As Harry said, it's a balls across. In EVERY version there is a "moment" that looks a bit fishy and I don't care who is doing it. I've seen Sheets do it live and I've seen Thompson on video...there is always that moment. How is this playing for people that actually do it?
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It doesn't fit my style at all, but Dai Vernon's version is a typical joy to watch. Haven't seen another version that compares.

Eric Henning told me he likes to do the effect impromptu, while strolling at banquets with grapes or nuts or whatever happens to be at hand. I think this is a great idea.
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Wayne Kawamoto
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I tried this effect out for a time at my restaurants after seeing the L&L DVD:

It got good reactions, but my coins across is stronger. Also, I had trouble with the balls rolling off of the tables.

Bob Sheets also teaches a version on his Hospitality DVDs:

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Pete McEwen
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Anyone seen Roth do this? it sells out at all his lectures...
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Roth sells it out because he has ideal conditions sitting down and he really talks up the double steal.

Don't get me wrong, it's very good when he does it. He just has better performing conditions than most.
Rich B.
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Hi Brian.
George Hample is going to be performing the 3 ball trick in the close up show at SAM 4 mini convention this Thursday.

George feels the same way that you do...that there is always a "fishy" move in the routine.

I've have not seen George's version yet...but I understand that he streamlined it.

George always tells me to "cut the fat" in my I expect Georges new 3 ball routine to be very good.

Rich B.
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Profile of organicmagician
This is a great trick. I wasn't familiar with it the first time I saw it performed and I was joyfully burned by it (Johnny Thompson). There is definitely a fishy moment, but it comes early in the transpo sequence, so when they are burning you harder on the last ball, its clean. I think there are some challenges to performing this in a stand-up or strolling situation depending on your variant, but I love to watch and perform this trick.
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I thought I was going to make it out on Thursday night but I don't think I'll be able to now. I've been talking to George about it for about the past 2 months. Him and Jim Straub are swearing by it so I'll be trying it out this weekend.
Pete Biro
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I never felt comfortable doing it and prefer the 2 in the hand 1 in the pocket version. Done it with dice, maybe 40 years ago and recently with Doc Eason's NUTS and BOLT.
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Danny Archer has a great stand-up routine on his Working Alone DVD.
It's a color changing 3 ball routine with a nice kicker ending and no you don't
need a table. It's quite good. He also has the standard 3 ball routine.
See here for performance video of both effects: ( scroll down further to his
"Working Alone video to see the color changing ball routine)
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Alan Munro
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I've been performing a stand-up routine that's similar, with sponge balls, for years. I got it off of a Dick Stoner video. I use an aquarium net to hold the balls.

I don't perform it for strolling gigs. I prefer Sponge Bunnies for that.
Michael Bilkis
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I have had neutral responses and "wow" repsonses to this effect.
Danny Archer
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On 2008-10-14 23:23, davidpaul$ wrote:
He also has the standard 3 ball routine.
See here for performance video of both effects: ( scroll down further to his
"Working Alone video to see the color changing ball routine)

Thanks for the kind words David... here is the link

I don't think it looks fishy at all...
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Nice work Danny.

John rogers of wooden cigar fame also has a routine to check out.
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Scott F. Guinn
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My version is available for $7.50 from my website here:

It's the 5th item down, called "Having a Ball". It's always played very well for me. Having said that, I didn't typically perform it in restaurants, because of the problems with balls rolling around & even when I did, I left out the phase where the props appeared from my mouth--just not appropriate for that venue.

But at home parties and other gigs, it went over beautifully.
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The best 3 balls routines I have seen so far,are:

Michael Gallo's and Greg Webb's routines.To me these routines are a pleasure to watch, and I highly suggest you guys check it out.

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The 3 Ball Trick is also often referred to as "the balls and net."

The odd moment that seems a bit suspicious to many is a H*** C**** P*** type of move that is done predominately in the standup version wherein a net or sheer silk is held at the corners by two spectators. Like most effects, done well, it is beautiful and baffling. Although that specific move can present a problem for many.

If this routine is something you are interested in learning, I would highly recommend L&L Publishing's DVD - “World's Greatest Magic - The Fabulous Three Ball Trick.”

There are many, many other versions of 3 ball routines in print and on video that are also worth checking out:

Frank Garcia - Real Secrets of the 3 Ball Routine

Johnny Thompson DVD set

John Rogers - The Walrus

Danny Archer - 3 Ball Trick

John Luka's - Chromospheres - L.I.N.T Pocket Stuff for Magicians

Ed Marlo - Silver Spheres - Arcade Dreams

Aldo Colombini - Get the Ball Rolling

Gary Ouellet - The Three Ball Routine (Performed to music very slowly.)

Dai Vernon - The Balls In The Net

David Roth - The Fabulous Three Ball Routine

Daryl's version of Silent Mora’s Mystery of the Traveling Marbles is a variant on the theme and certainly merits a look as well. (Fooler Doolers Vol. 1) The original routine done with borrowed hats and marbles can be found in good ol' Tarbell.

This effect is a study in economy of motion and built-in misdirection.
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