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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Rings, strings & things » » Dice Effect (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

RSLancastr
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Salem, Oregon
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First off, I am not a magician, so please pardon my layman's description below:

About thirty years ago I attended a close-up performance at The Magic Castle in Hollywood (is there another?). I do not recall the gentleman's name, but he performed one effect/illusion/trick/whatever which I have always remembered.

He worked on a small round table (maybe three feet in diameter) with a green felt covering. He placed a few (four, I think) dice on the table in a row, slightly spaced apart.

He then took a dice cup and placed it upside down on the table next to the dice.

He took the cup in one hand and started moving it in circular motions, still upside-down, on the table, tilting the cup so that one side of the open end was off the table, still moving the cup in circular motions on the table, getting it closer to the line of dice.

One at a time, he covered the dice with the cup, bringing the cup to a stop after each die was underneath (and out of sight). Then he would continue the circular motions towards the next die.

Once all of the die were under the cup, he made a few more circular motions with the cup before bringing it to a standstill.

He then lifted the cup off of the table, revealing all of the dice were now in one neat stack!

I have no idea if the cup was gaffed, the dice were gaffed, or if they were all straight and it was simply a matter of coordination. It looked like the latter, which leads me to believe it was one of the former.

I assume that the revealing of an illusion's secret is not allowed here, but can someone at least tell me the name of the illusion? Whatever can be told here without violating The Code would be appreciated.

And, are questions like this, from a "civilian," even kosher here?

If not, my apologies.

Thanks,

Robert S. Lancaster
The Burnaby Kid
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St. John's, Canada
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It's called dice stacking. It's generally not considered a magic effect.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
RSLancastr
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Salem, Oregon
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Thanks, Andrew!

I figured it might not be considered such, which is why I referred to it as an
"effect/illusion/trick/whatever."

I will look into it, in hopes it will not require hundreds of hours of practice to master.
S2000magician
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Generally both the cup and the dice are ordinary; it's a display of pure skill.

Such questions are kosher. If the answers are not kosher - some aren't - members will make that clear.

Welcome aboard.
RSLancastr
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Salem, Oregon
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It being "pure skill" might explain why it too the gentleman three or four attempts to acheive it. He said that the table was not steady enough.
Vlad_77
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Hi Robert,

If you learn this, you will be able to do something that is rarely seen. Actually, it tends to be somewhat rare even in magic. Regardless, people will recognize it as something truly out of the ordinary. It is similar to contact juggling (YouTube Michael Moschen to see this) in that while it ISN'T magic, it looks magical.

I will give you a few tips:

The dice you need are casino dice. These differ in that they have SHARP corners, flat faces, and the finish has a bit of a "grip" which helps steady the stack.

The cup should have perfectly straight "walls". There are sets you can buy online. Just do a search on dice stacking. One excellent book that immediately comes to mind is entitled Zack Stacks by Jim Zachary. There are other books, but this one teaches the technique very clearly.

When you practice, it is best to work in a wide open smooth area like a hardwood floor. A carpeted floor with trip the dice. In addition, practicing on the floor will save your back from constantly bending over to pick up the dice that WILL shoot all over the place for a while Smile

There really is NO "secret" involved in terms of a magic secret. However, there IS a knack you will acquire. After you get the stack part mastered, then you go in reverse and unstack the dice one by one. When you place the cup down however, they will STILL be stacked!! Don't you just LOVE physics?

So, I hope the information we have given will encourage you to try your hand at this. When you get the dice stacked for the first time, you WILL laugh Smile

Namaste,
Vlad
RSLancastr
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Salem, Oregon
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Vlad:

Thanks for that!

I plan to join the S.A.M. in the near future, so it would be nice to have at least one trick/skill/whatever in my repertoire, even if it is more of a "skill" than a trick/illusion.

Speaking of "skill" reminds me of this story:

Several years ago, a good friend of mine - a hobbyist magician his whole life - was nervously preparing himself to audition to become a "magician member" of The Magic Castle in Hollywood. The audition would be in front of a panel, mostly made up of professional magicians.

Prior to the audition, he was warned by a member to START his audition with his more impressive/difficult tricks, and NOT to "start small and build."

At the audition he decided to ignore that advice, and started off with his simpler, easier tricks/effects.

After several of these, one of the members of the panel, which had been silent all along, said "Okay, can you show us anything which takes any SKILL?"

Ouch!

He passed the audition.
Jonathan P.
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Another good reference about dice stacking (at least, that's where I started) is Todd Strong's book.

I disagree a little bit regarding the "perfectly straight "walls"" Vlad told about in the previous post. Of course it makes the stack easier, but it also make it obvious regarding the "how it's done". Using a usual "oblique walled" cup requires maybe a little more practice but makes the stack even more impossible in the view of the onlooker I think.

Also, if dice stacking is not magic per se, there are magic effect that are based on dice stacking (you can suddenly make an odd-colored dice appear in the middle of your stack, and s.o.)...

Bye,
Jonathan.
RSLancastr
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Johnathan, thanks for that!

Wow, I need to dig out my dice collection! I have a couple of hundred dice, from ones about a quarter inch tall to ones about six inches tall. various materials, various faces and shapes. I'd like to see someone stack my round dice (basically marbles with the pips painted on)!
TheAmbitiousCard
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Actually the dice can be nice and shiny smooth. no need for grippy dice.
and the cup does not have to have straight sides.

For my cups, the shape of the cup is determined by the height of the cup (how many you want to stack) and the material that the cup is made of.

As an example: here's a cup without straight sides that stacks as good or better than anything else I've ever tried:

http://theambitiouscard.com/aitem.cfm?itemid=28

As others have noted, nothing is gimmicked. It's just a skill. it doesn't take too much time to acquire but does take more time to looks graceful as you do it.
www.theambitiouscard.com Hand Crafted Magic
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taoist
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I'll echoe Johnathon's post about Todd Strong.
Last month I placed an order for 2 sets of dice w/ cups and they arrived promptly. His prices appear to be rock bottom and selection of dice is great. He's been in the business a long time.
Pete Biro
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Dice stacking can be very magical... think of color changing stacks, final loads, predicting top numbers, etc. etc. And a vanish of all the dice.

Spaniard magician "CAMILLO" will fool the pant off you with his routine.

Go on "youtube" and search dice stacking and you will be amazed.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Jonathan P.
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RSLancastr
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Thanks Johnathan, but clicking on that link gives me the following message:

"Sorry, access to this topic is denied."
Pete Biro
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You need 50 posts for access
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
RSLancastr
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That's what I thought, Pete - thanks!
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