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hcs
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It is possible that Ernest Hammond in 1919 described a reverse Si Stebbins System first?
Can someone name a source please?
Thank you very much.
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Actually, there is a much older system called "The Mark Twain System," in which you add four instead of three to each card.
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hcs
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Dear Bill,
thank you very much for your quick answer. I know this fact.
I'm searching for first mention of a REVERSE Si Stebbins System. Oldest source I found is Dr. Elliott's Last Legacy, 1923.
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hcs
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Who knows where the term "Mark Twain aka River Boat set-up" comes from?
IMHO "twain" means "2" not 4?
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It's just the name. It doesn't have to make sense.

BTW, do you have a copy of the original Si Stebbins booklet?
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hcs
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I. Si Stebbins: „Si Stebbins’ Card Tricks And The Way They Are Performed“, 1898 - yes, I own a 1900 copy.
II. Si Stebbins: „Legacy to the Magicians”, 1935 - No, I don't have a copy. But I'm still searching.

I finished the history chapter of 2nd revised edition of my German book "Si Stebbins Pro" and I discovered some interesting facts.
So I figured out how Si Stebbins presumable discovered his 3 steps set-up. (and not A. A. Almon)
The book will be published at Lybrary.com first in German.
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If you have access to a digital copy of the back issues of the Linking Ring, you probably should go through those. I remember (very vaguely) an issue of the Linking Ring back during the 1950's that had some important historical information about the Stebbins system. It also had the version of the system that Stebbins (allegedly) actually used. There was some occasional suit-switching involved, if I remember correctly, so when he spread the cards, you didn't see a consistent red-black layout.
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hcs
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Unfortunately there is no access to the journal.
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If you go to Conjuring Arts, you can access all the back issues of the Linking Ring, as well as numerous other periodicals.

I did a search on the Ernest Hammond system. It was published in a book by Hammond, Mole and Medrington, and it is as you describe it. However, a number of magicians remarked that it was nothing more than the Stebbins system worked backwards.

Stebbins was another matter. He sold one system and worked another. One that is mentioned in some of the publications is adding 5 instead of 3. It works perfectly. I can't imagine that Stebbins, himself, did not also try the Hammond system before Hammond did.

I found references in several copies of the Linking Ring that mentioned suit changes in order to disguise the principle. However, I'm waiting for the documents I tagged to get e-mailed to me. I'll give you more information when they arrive.

If you plan to do much serious on-line research, you might consider getting a membership to Conjuring Arts.
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hcs
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Dear Bill,
thank you very much for this information.
I know the existence of Hammond's book "Ernest Hammond: „The magic of to-morrow” (with H.C. Mole and E.C.P. Medrington), Liverpool, 1919".

Next days I will stay my holidays.
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I can not guess that Stebbins used a system 5 ahead.
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Why not?
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IMHO Stebbins used a system 4 ahead not 5. The only stacks with 5 ahead come from Peter Duffie and friends. No one of this stacks is a real 5 system. They are only variants.
A system of 5 simply makes no sense, it is to difficult. Try it.
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I have. It just takes practice.

You say that the ONLY stacks with 5 ahead are from Peter Duffie and friends.

Correction--

THE ONLY STACKS WITH 5 AHEAD THAT YOU ARE AWARE OF are from Peter Duffie and friends. If you don't have access to the Conjuring Arts database, you don't have access to the largest database of magic literature in the English-speaking world.
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hcs
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Of course. ...that I'm aware.
Thank you for correction.
Please note my English is very poor.
(But I wrote IMHO...)

May you name other authors/creators please?
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I will when the database is back on line. The Conjuring Arts/Ask Alexander database is offline right now, and the collections of material I assembled for this particular enquiry are unavailable to me right now.

There was a lot of speculation, though, that Stebbins may have used a 5 ahead system. No system is inherently more difficult than another if you practice with it enough. Bear in mind that Stebbins did a whole act based upon whatever his actual system was.

To illustrate this, I have a friend who completely misunderstood what the "Eight Kings" stack was. She went through a whole series of very strange manipulations to put a complete deck into what she thought was the "Eight Kings" stack. What she had actually memorized was a setup that someone had showed her that would allow her to faro shuffle a deck into the "Eight Kings" stack with one or possibly two shuffles.

She was very proud of her achievement.

She showed this to me. I said, "This isn't the 'eight kings' stack." And then I showed her the stack. Next, I showed her how to get to the stack she had with a series of out faros.

Some people make things very complicated when they don't need to be.
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Ask Alexander is still offline.
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Okay. I finally got the information that I had collected on Ask Alexander. Max Maven wrote a very interesting article on the Si Stebbins system in Aziz and Beyond, which was part of the Ibidem periodical.

There were several other articles in other periodcals as well, including Abra, The Linking Ring, etc. The gist of all of these was that Si Stebbins sold one system, the add three system we are all familiar with, but used another. That one is a matter of conjecture. However, there are a couple of variations on it discussed in these articles. One that seems to be favored is the "add five and change the suit on certain cards" method, which breaks up the red black red black order that basically is a tell.

For Max, all of the variations on these "add a number" stacks are Si Stebbins stacks. After all, he was the one who publicised them. Not only that, he probably experimented with a large number of different stacks. If you use any stack with any frequency, you can become very adept in its use. The difficulty for the beginner in a stack goes completely away with practice.

I keep the Nicola stack in my head all the time, as well as a couple of other cyclical stacks.
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hcs
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I'm back.

I agree to Max that "all of the variations on these "add a number" stacks are Si Stebbins stacks" and ther are still ather kinds of variations I describe in my Gerrman book "Si Stebbins Pro - Si Stebbins abgestaubt und getunt" ("Si Stebbins Pro - Si Stebbins dusted and tuned"). There will be a 2nd expanded and revised edition on Lybrary.com.

I write in my book:
==========
"Stebbins wird, um I'm 4er-System die Anzahl abgehobener Karten berechnen zu können, mit hoher Wahrscheinlichkeit wie folgt vorgegangen sein:

Wenn auf der Bildseite des Spiels QC liegt und die nächste gleichfarbige Karte die dritte Karte von oben – 7C – ist, kann man die Zahl der abgehobenen Karten wie folgt berechnen:

Man zählt in Dreiersprüngen von Q bis zur 7: Q – 2 – 5 – 8 – J – A – 4 – 7.
Die Schrittzahl multipliziert man mit Vier. Es sind sieben Schritte. Sieben mal Vier ergibt 28. Abzüglich der drei Karten auf dem Spiel, ergeben sich I'm 4er System insgesamt 25 Karten, die vom Zuschauer abgehoben wurden.

Das ist ein Indiz dafür, dass Si Stebbins bereits das Abzählen in Dreierschritten gekannt haben dürfte. Es wäre für ihn naheliegend gewesen, diese Schrittweite auf das gesamte Kartensystem zu übertragen und dadurch die Berechnung durch das wegfallende Zählen der Schritte zu vereinfachen! Si Stebbins mag somit zu Recht als Erfinder des gleichnamigen Systems gelten!"
================

In a nutshell:

Si Stebbins showed his act using his own older add-4-system. To do so he calculated in steps of 3 as I checked using an example from SS's book. This leads him to the well known add-3-system.

The add-4-system was the easiest way to solve the calculations in his act. Using an add-5-system this is impossible or much more difficult!
SS sold the add-3-system after his shows to spectators - although spectators could not explain SS's act.
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One thing to remember, no matter what mathematical system you use, with practice, you don't even have to do the calculations. I have a feeling, which I cannot verify by any method whatsoever, that Si basically saw the whole rotation of the deck in his mind and could visualize anything he needed to.

I used the three ahead when I worked at a magic shop during the late 1950's and early 1960's. By the time I had used it for a matter of a few months, the whole deck was like a big circle to me.

You can take the top card and picture its position like the top of the upper spoke of a four spoke wheel. You know then that the card at the position of the second spoke is the same value, but the opposite color. The one at the position of the opposite spoke is the same value, the same color, and the one at the position of the fourth spoke is the same value, opposite color. Or you can visualize these as 12, 3, 6, and 9 on a clock face.

The rest of it is worked from the steps in whichever system you are using, either backwards or forwards.

Remember, different people will have different kinds of facility with these systems. I don't know if you are familiar with Ted Lesley's Mental Mind-ups, which was released in English as Paramiracles. Ted had his own version of Premonition in that book. He called it "Pro-monition." He worked out a mathematical method of calculating which deck had which cards missing from it, that, for him, was easy to do. I couldn't do the math in my head. But Ted had been trained as an accountant and could do incredibly complex math calculations in his head. I used a completely different system that was intuitively obvious to me. Ironically, Ted couldn't see how it worked.

There have been a number of systems that worked with different methods, each of which becomes obvious to the person using it, simply because of practice.
"The Swatter"

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