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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Caught using a marked deck? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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gnosis
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Have you ever been caught using a marked deck? What happened? How did you react?

If you've never been caught but do use a marked deck, do you have any outs in case you ever do get caught?

(Note that my question regards getting caught while performing magic tricks, not gambling).
Darth_Prime
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I use a marked deck literally every day. I've never been caught once, as of right now I use Daniel Madison's Blood Marking System.

the thing is, most lay people don't know what a "mark" is, they assume it's going to stand out or something, so even when they inspect my cards they never notice it, because it is tiny. I guess if they ran over every single little detail they would come to a conclusion, but no one ever has
pepka
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Simple, I don't use them.
MickeyPainless
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Neither do I!

MMc
Darth_Prime
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If I could Obliged as to why your not fond of a marked deck?
gnosis
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I've searched back through the forum, and there are a fair number of people here who use marked decks (often in conjunction with memorized stacks). However, I've never heard any of them say they've been caught by spectators, which is why I've started this thread.

I'm thinking of making my own marked deck (maybe with just an extra-fine sharpie on a bicycle deck to start with), and maybe using something like the Farmchas system from Kirk Charles' "Marked for Life".

Unfortunately, even those markings seem really way too obvious for me. If two or more cards are lying side by side, and there are a bunch of specs burning the cards, then I'm afraid one of them might see something. So I want to be prepared with some sort of out in case they do.

I've considered juicing the decks, instead of using a sharpie, but don't really like having to mark a large fraction of the card, as I'd like to be able to see the marks when the deck is fanned and only a relatively small corner of any given card is showing. I'm also kind of afraid of the specs seeing the juice work.

But, anyway... I don't mean to steer this thread away to card marking techniques... There's already a large amount of information on that subject. I'd rather hear some war stories about getting caught with a marked deck (if anyone's brave enough to admit it), and how to best dig oneself out of that hole... just in case...
Vlad_77
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Quote:
On 2010-06-15 01:31, gnosis wrote:
I've searched back through the forum, and there are a fair number of people here who use marked decks (often in conjunction with memorized stacks). However, I've never heard any of them say they've been caught by spectators, which is why I've started this thread.

I'm thinking of making my own marked deck (maybe with just an extra-fine sharpie on a bicycle deck to start with), and maybe using something like the Farmchas system from Kirk Charles' "Marked for Life".

Unfortunately, even those markings seem really way too obvious for me. If two or more cards are lying side by side, and there are a bunch of specs burning the cards, then I'm afraid one of them might see something. So I want to be prepared with some sort of out in case they do.

I've considered juicing the decks, instead of using a sharpie, but don't really like having to mark a large fraction of the card, as I'd like to be able to see the marks when the deck is fanned and only a relatively small corner of any given card is showing. I'm also kind of afraid of the specs seeing the juice work.

But, anyway... I don't mean to steer this thread away to card marking techniques... There's already a large amount of information on that subject. I'd rather hear some war stories about getting caught with a marked deck (if anyone's brave enough to admit it), and how to best dig oneself out of that hole... just in case...


Gnosis,

You are running when you are not being chased. There are a number of very subtle methods that, while appearing obvious to you, will be completely hidden. I prefer Ted Lesley's system although Boris Wild's approach allows for some cleaner handlings.

Really, the only way for a spectator to detect "paper" is by "going to the movies." I will leave it up to you find out what that means to avoid exposure here. That being said, I have performed with Lesley's system and I have NEVER been caught. If you think you are working for some wise ones, do a few effects with an unmarked pack,then ring in the other in the course of a card effect - I highly recommend Aronson's Bait and Switch.

If you do decide to try Ted Lesley's approach, you will be worried that it is so obvious. It isn't Smile

It is good to analyze a given method, but, when you create scenarios that rarely exist, you are missing out on amazing possibilities. Certain sleights like the J*** C***** seem so obvious, yet, they work beautifully.

Don't be afraid of paper, Gnosis.

Ahimsa,
Vlad

PS: I am guessing that this thread will be moved to a different part of the Café, so don't be alarmed. Smile

PPS: A properly juiced deck does NOT have large markings. Forget what you saw in the movie Shade. That was done for the camera.

PPPS: There should be NO reason that the audience should be scrutinizing the cards so closely. There are a myriad reasons why if you pause and think about it. PM me if you wish to discuss further.
Card-Shark
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Eric deCamps got a Phoenix Deck weeks ago at the FFFF from a friend of mine. We had a chat a few days ago and we talked about the deck. During the chat I found out that he got the marked SUM deck without noticing it. So there were 2 markings on the back, he really played around with the cards and NEVER saw anything suspicious on them.

Very funny, but true. Don´t run if you are not chased.
There is one limitation: when I started doing magic all my friends seeing my development expected that I would use "tricks" to accomplish the magic, so they really touched and examined every little piece they could just to see how I cheated. It got less until they stopped examining, as I got better and got used to spectator management. Back then I would have feared using a marked deck, today I see no problem in it at all.
Expert in playing card production for magicians.

The Person Who Says It cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt The Person Doing It!
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gnosis
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Thank you for all the wonderful advice. But I still wonder: what would you do and say if you ever were caught? Are there any graceful ways out?
Tom Wolf
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Going along with "caught", some years ago a person brought me a deck to see if it was "marked", or not.
This was while we had gambling in Newport, Ky., I studied if for a short while and had to laugh "inside" because it was one of My marked decks that I had made for others to cheat/steal from their "friends".
I had to say that I could not find any markings.

Tom Wolf
The magic director and performer at the Rincon Gaucho supper club in Mexico City,

We opened the first and only close-up room for magic in Mexico with Wolf Ruvinskis.
have several new coin vanishes and routines to share shortly just as soon as I can find someone to film them for me.


Now living in Harrison, Ohio
Card-Shark
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Do at least some tricks with the deck that cannot be explained using the markings.
Expert in playing card production for magicians.

The Person Who Says It cannot Be Done Should Not Interrupt The Person Doing It!
Chinese Proverb
Steven Keyl
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Gnosis, what you should be more concerned with is how you handle the question "Are these cards marked?". That is what will happen long before someone picks up the pack and scrutinizes the backs for a marking.

Anyone who is any good with card tricks will invariably hear that question whether or not the cards are marked. Whether or not you're using marked cards your answer should be consistent. I will usually say:

"In all honesty, marked cards do in fact exist but they are prohibitively expensive so are typically only used by professional gamblers and people that can afford to spend $50 on a deck of cards. This deck I bought from Costco for under $1 because I'm simply not rich enough to spend that kind of money on a deck of cards. In fact, when I'm done you can keep this deck."

Then, if you are using a marked deck, do a deck switch before you finish. In any event, give the deck of cards to the questioner and they can examine them to their heart's content.
Steven Keyl - The Human Whisperer!

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"If you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause, and reflect." --Mark Twain
Leo-Kim
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Quote:
On 2010-06-15 11:15, Steven Keyl wrote:
Then, if you are using a marked deck, do a deck switch before you finish. In any event, give the deck of cards to the questioner and they can examine them to their heart's content.

This is a good stratagem. If you have marked the deck yourself (Wild, Lesley et al)you can use tricks where you destroy a card (card warp etc) Laypeople wouldn't dream of someone destroying something as valuable as a marked deck. It's easy to replenish the deck when needed.

Mikael Johansson
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The Burnaby Kid
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Quote:
On 2010-06-15 07:16, gnosis wrote:
Thank you for all the wonderful advice. But I still wonder: what would you do and say if you ever were caught? Are there any graceful ways out?


If your magic relies upon marked cards, then if they discover the marks, it's akin to them discovering the invisible thread when you do a close-up levitation that needs it. You're screwed. I'm guessing that the better you think your comeback is, the more it's just going to highlight the fact that you were busted.

The suggestion that you learn tricks that don't need marked cards is a good one. You could conceivably try to use the marking as a pseudo-explanation for how the magic's done, only to flip it on them. Something like Clyde Carny's/Dai Vernon's Fingerprint Card Trick could be changed so that it's markings rather than fingerprints that make the magic happen. You could even take it to the next level so that rather than having an indifferent card change into their selection, you could have the correct card that they just saw go onto the table suddenly appear in your pocket, in your hat, etc. This might not work if the markings are conspicuously parallel to the card on the face, such as an "8" in the design for an Eight of Hearts.

You could try to pass off responsibility of the marked cards on somebody else. Perhaps you borrowed the deck from a magician buddy -- this will be a hollow explanation if you're using magic that seems to take advantage of the card markings. You'll want to have an "out" for something like this (refer to the previous trick). If you give the impression that you borrowed the cards from somebody, you could even "discover" the marks yourself if you think people are getting wise to them (perhaps somebody was using marked cards in the pub in order to cheat their friends?). Again, moving into a trick where marked cards don't apparently help you is the way to go.

Personally, I think the best way of dealing with this sort of problem is preventative.

You could change the marking system so that there's a level of plausible deniability when it comes to marking. In Expert Card Technique there's a system offered for marking cards that's really just a bunch of bumps and bends -- they're not going to be as easy to notice, and it'll take a great deal of time to decode them. Such bumps could be explained away as natural wear and tear on the cards that've built up over months of use -- ironically, in all likelihood, you'll need to replace such decks quite frequently since the actual natural wear and tear on the cards risks messing up your marking system.

Look into your Juan Tamariz and start studying cancelling methods. The idea behind this is that you want to come up with an effect that uses multiple methods, each of which have strong points that counter the other methods' weak points. So, for instance, you do a trick in such a way that you couldn't possibly take advantage of marked cards (because you're really not), and then later on you use the markings to your advantage. If you absolutely must use a marked deck, then this is the way to go, since researching on this front will allow you to do basically figure out how to recreate tricks that are possible with a marked deck, while offering proofs that you couldn't possibly be using a marked deck.

In fact, you could take it to the next level and just get rid of the marked deck entirely. I know that's not exactly an answer to your question, but the only way to make sure that you can never get busted for having a marked deck is to make sure you're not using a marked deck.
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Jay Mahon
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Switch the deck.
If you have 1 card that they are looking at that is marked then switch it for a normal deck it only appears as a small scratch or what have you.

J
Dennis Loomis
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I think that you are most likely to be caught if you have not worked sufficiently with your marked deck. If someone sees you studying the back of a card... it's pretty clear that "readers" are being used. Think carefully about when and how you are going to read the marks. You need to have a reason to look at the cards built into your routine. For example, in restaurant work, you might have the spectator put his selected card down on the table. Then, so that you can't mess with it, you put a salt shaker or an ashtray or something on top of the card. As you position that object it's natural to look BRIEFLY at the card to see what you're doing. train your eyes to go directly to the mark.

Another old strategy is to have the card tabled and have the spectator put a thumb print on the back of the card. You show him what to do, which is your first chance to read the card, and then when he does it, everyone watches him and so do you, but you're reading the mark if you haven't gotten it yet.

Or, spread the cards for a selection and have the spectator touch a card. As he does so, you glance down and say: are you happy with that card, or would you like to change your mind?

A marked deck is a tool... and like all tools practice is required to read it well.

Dennis Loomis
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<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
The great Gumbini
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Using marked cards or using a thumb tip the rule is the same---practice, practice and practice. Dennis you are 100 percent correct in how to best handle and READ the marked card. No better place for misdirection than this. For the most part an accusation of you using a marked deck is like saying you are a cheat and people will very seldom say this---even if they believe you may be using one. I was told once that someone felt I used a marked deck---so I handed them my cards and they could not find any markings because I did not use a marked deck for that effect. I say that to bring to light that some people will NATURALLY believe you are using a marked deck anyway. I say use it but wisely and sparingly. Also use it only at the beginning of your card effects if possible. Like an effect itself it's best to END as clean as possible.


Good magic to all,


Eric
iluzjonista
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I've never been caught with marked deck. Many times my friends just grabbed my decks and doesn't find anythink. If you don't know what to looking for there is almost impossible to figure it out.
Alan Munro
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Quote:
On 2010-06-15 11:15, Steven Keyl wrote:
"In all honesty, marked cards do in fact exist but they are prohibitively expensive so are typically only used by professional gamblers and people that can afford to spend $50 on a deck of cards. This deck I bought from Costco for under $1 because I'm simply not rich enough to spend that kind of money on a deck of cards. In fact, when I'm done you can keep this deck."

Then, if you are using a marked deck, do a deck switch before you finish. In any event, give the deck of cards to the questioner and they can examine them to their heart's content.

The more you explain, the less an audience will believe you. Just hand them the deck. If switching the deck, you'd better be VERY good at it. It's hard to get away, once they start chasing you.

I don't use marks simply because I have other ways to do the same thing.
gdw
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Quote:
On 2010-06-15 07:16, gnosis wrote:
Thank you for all the wonderful advice. But I still wonder: what would you do and say if you ever were caught? Are there any graceful ways out?

I've only been "caught" once when I was younger and still pretty early in my magic learnings.

Luckily it was a less familiar back design, and I had just started doing something with it, so had not done more than one or two tricks.
I was actually able to turn it around into an expose and convinced them that I was actually going to expose the markings, and proceeded to bring out another deck of mine that was not marked. I had gone over the riffle test as part of the expose as "cheating protection" so I could have them examine the new deck, and then proceeded to show them how I don't use marked cards.

This obviously won't work in all situations.
My best advice would be to either find a marking system that simply will withstand scrutiny, make sure you eliminate anything that could possibly imply you were using readers, or, simply don't use a marked deck.
It's amazing, people will criticize you for "biting the hand that feeds you," while they're busy praising the hand that beats them.

"You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

I won't forget you Robert.
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