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magic_rev_bob
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Hi everyone My names is Robert and I have been doing magic now for a few years, but this where I get to ask a dumb question or dumb because I should know the answer. I have been watching some guys do billiard magic and I need to know are those balls they use real billiard balls or something different. The reason why I ask is I have some pool balls but they seem heavy to do magic tricks with. If they are different types of balls could you please tell me what they are and where to get them?

Thanks everyone for you help on this as I would like to start doing this as well.

Robert
SmithMagicMan
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Some basic pool ball / billiard ball magic that is good but simple, is Craig Pettys Pool Ball Miracles

You get gimmicks in there as well which are good, and it's not too much money(:
Noel M
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Typically when the term billiard ball is used in magic it is not referring to a ball found on a pool table. The balls used for magic are from one to two inches in diameter typically and are made of wood, plastic or silicone and maybe some other materials that don't come to mind right now. They tend to be much lighter that pool table balls. The effect is called, Multiplying Billiard Balls, and are available from just about any magic dealer. These days the most popular balls are made of silicone and the brand name is Fakini. They are in comparison to plastic and wood balls expensive but many performers think they are the best. One of the best resources on DVD for billiard ball magic is by Levent.
volto
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Robert - there's no easy answer. If you saw billiard balls appearing from nowhere then disappearing, then you were probably watching someone with a "multiplying billiard balls" set, which can be bought at any magic dealer. You can even get a version of in most children's magic sets. The effect can involve quite a lot of sleight of hand, so even if you're familiar with how the 'basic' gimmicked version is done, in the hands of someone well practiced it can still be a total mystery. You don't necessarily need to use the extra 'something' normally supplied with these sets, but the effect is generally improved if you do. That said, there are lots of effects with pool/billiard sized balls, that involve balls of all shapes, sizes and materials.

If you look in old magic books, there are lots of effects using actual ivory billiard balls. The balls came in various sizes (1 3/4" was a good common size). The idea behind this is that a billiard ball was a common object; people would be familiar with how heavy, large and solid they were, so it's amazing when one just disappears, or appears somewhere, or when a magician pulls a seemingly limitless quantity of them from a hat. Anyhow, at some point some enterprising magician hit on the 'improvement' of using wooden balls, painted with lacquer and made to resemble billiard balls. Wooden balls still 'clack' together like real billiards but they're much lighter, so this was in some ways an improvement (although the balls could no longer be handed to the audience). Then, a further 'improvement' was made - rubber or silicone balls, which are easy to grip and which don't clack when they touch each other. These balls are slightly easier to handle (although they're terrible if you have sweaty hands) but they don't resemble actual billiard balls at all. Some are even luminous green, a color that you'll struggle to find on a billiard table. So, as far as the audience is concerned, you're now doing a trick with some rubber balls - which is fine, but they're now so far removed from the original object - an ivory billiard ball - as to make calling the effect "multiplying billiard balls" an even more shocking lie than we usually tell.

In terms of learning the 'multiplying billiard balls' effect, there are lots of ways to go, depending on who you are as a performer, the conditions you're planning on performing under, and your budget. Some alternative sets of balls are:

Vernet Multiplying Balls - These are plastic, you can get them in a large variety of colors. They have a 'spiky' finish that make them easy to hold. They're reasonably priced, normally come with a simple routine, and look reasonably good from 'stage' distance. They are very, very different to real ivory billiard balls. Real balls don't have spikes, for a start. Smile

Plastic Multiplying Balls (Uday, Adams, Royal) - Not very good quality, but it's still possible to do the effect with them. I'd steer clear. Plastic balls can be very slippery, so they're not only bad in terms of the practicalities of the effect, they also look cheap and again, look, sound and feel nothing like real billiards.

Fakini silicone balls - these seem to be a very popular professional choice. They're generally held to be "the best" for the effect. The balls are high quality and very durable. They aren't real billiards, but if you get them in the right colors, and don't mind them not sounding like real balls, they're an excellent choice. Expensive, but if you're serious about the effect, well worth it.

Other silicone balls - Variable quality. Buy with caution.

Collector's workshop deluxe wooden billiards - Excellent quality wooden set. On a par with Fakinis for price. These are lacquered hardwood, very 'grippy' even when your hands are sweaty. They clack together nicely. I prefer these to Fakinis, but that's purely because of the style of magic I perform (mostly impromptu and close-up). They're slightly glittery, which again makes them look a little different to real billiards.

Other wooden balls - Can be very cheap. Sometimes excellent, but buy with caution.

And finally, an often ignored alternative - use real billiards! It's easy to find a set of 1 3/4" (or whatever) real "snooker" balls, that will have either 10 or 15 red balls in it, along with various balls of other colors. Using a few simple moves (and possibly a few easily made gimmicks) you can create some excellent magic, with the real thing. These are generally around $40-$50 a set, for a full set of 15 reds, and a white (cue ball), yellow, green, brown, blue, pink and black. These are great if you're going to put the ball in the spectator's hand at some point. They can be quite slippery, so handling them takes practice. Or if you prefer something more American, a set of real pool balls. I'd recommend 1 3/4" because they're big enough to be visible, but small enough to be easily concealed. Other folks here will probably disagree. Obviously if you're using real balls, you can't use the 'extra something' that you get in the multiplying billiard sets. This may be a serious handicap, depending on what you're doing.

In terms of learning materials,

The Amateur Magician's Handbook (Henry Hay) has various excellent moves and routines, and the best general advice for magicians in print.
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic is another excellent first step in this area.
The Tarbell Course (especially vol 2) has a lot of material on ball magic.
Professor Hoffmann's Modern Magic has a lot of interesting older material.
Sleight Of Hand, by Edwin Sacks, is an excellent older book covering material in this general area.
The "Routined Manipulation" series by Lewis Ganson is possibly the best written reference.

Most are available at reasonable rates second-hand from Amazon or other online booksellers, and most can also be bought in ebook form from various places. Lybrary.com is an excellent, reputable source for magic ebooks. Be warned that there's a collector's market in magic books, so you might see some older editions at greatly inflated prices. If it's just the material you're after, shop around and you can find a bargain.

In terms of DVDs, as recommended above, the best resource of all for this effect is probably Levent's "Ultimate Guide To The Billiard Balls" 3 DVD set.

Sorry if this is too much information. I'm an amateur but I do a lot of billiard stuff. I like it because it's generally pretty surprising as an impromptu thing, especially with real balls. Even a single ball appearing 'out of nowhere' can get an amazing reaction.
bbarefoot
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I have a golfing routine that includes a multiplying billiard ball routine using the golf balls. They seem to be overlooked cause they can be inexpensive, but they are great if you want to just check out the routine without getting too invested.

If you are looking for another good book for a routine, The Magic of Alan Wakeling has a great routine in it.

Bradley
Foxlute
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Quote:
On 2011-11-05 16:52, magic_rev_bob wrote:
Hi everyone My names is Robert and I have been doing magic now for a few years, but this where I get to ask a dumb question or dumb because I should know the answer. I have been watching some guys do billiard magic and I need to know are those balls they use real billiard balls or something different. The reason why I ask is I have some pool balls but they seem heavy to do magic tricks with. If they are different types of balls could you please tell me what they are and where to get them?

Thanks everyone for you help on this as I would like to start doing this as well.

Robert


Just to add one thing to the excellent replies - as well as Fakini, there's another brand of silicone balls called Mirage. They are manufactured in Korea but are widely available in red, green, white and luminous from dealers here in the UK priced in the £65 to £70 region. I'm not sure what country you are in so they may not be so easily available to you. I have a set in white and they handle quite nicely even for a crass amateur like me.
novestro
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What about Silver Stream pro? Anybody here with experience?
Topper2
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The multiplying billiard balls effect was originally done with solid balls and no fake. Then someone came up with the idea of doing the trick with 3 balls and a fake, this was known as the Excelsior ball trick, but these days we simply call it the multiplying billiard balls.

Pesonally I prefer light weight wooden balls because they clack together proving solidity, though this can cause problems with some sleights as they can 'talk' (ie palmed balls clicking together and giving the game away!). For good 'grip' though the modern silicone balls are better. Very light plastic balls may be easy to handle but their lack of weight is a hindrance with certain sleights.

The best starting point for learning from books is Lewis Ganson's Routined Manipulations, as it has both moves and routines, but for learning a wide selection of sleights the two best books by a wide margin are Gibson's Complete Book of Close-up Magic (which, despite its title, has very little close-up magic in and is mostly manipulation) and Gaultier's Magic Without Apparatus. These are books of sleights such as vanishes, productions, colour changes and aquitments (i.e. apparently showing hands empty while concealing a palmed ball). Other books tend to specialise in routines rather than a selection of sleights; though both Henry Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook and Hugard's Modern Magic Manual have good billiard ball sections with some sleights not found elsewhere.

Burling Hull's books on billiard ball manipulation I found to be disappointing compared with the above titles. Other older books like Tarbell, Hoffmann and Sacks I also find to be a disappointing source of material.

Books like Wakeling and Geoffrey Buckingham's 'It's easier than you think' specialise in particular routines rather than a selection of sleights.
thomasR
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The Bond Lee balls are pretty nice and not crazy $$$.

I like being able to bounce the balls on the stage. Would like to get a quality wood set one day just to practice with them and see how some of the moves vary.
Josh Riel
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Fakini isn't making balls now I believe.
Bond Lee's balls can be got though Sterlini
http://www.sterlinimagic.com/bond-lee-s-......1-7.html
2" sets are available as well.

But you can get a set of cheap ones through any magic store.

Don't buy them just to learn the "secret" though.
You'll be disappointed, and still won't know how a proficient magician does it.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
funsway
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old things in new ways - new things in old ways
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Quote:
On Nov 7, 2011, bbarefoot wrote:
I have a golfing routine that includes a multiplying billiard ball routine using the golf balls. They seem to be overlooked cause they can be inexpensive, but they are great if you want to just check out the routine without getting too invested.

If you are looking for another good book for a routine, The Magic of Alan Wakeling has a great routine in it.

Bradley


There are some interesting sleights and stratagems possible by using a ball and shell like a coin/shell. You can get either one ahead or one behind with great results.
The golfball combo makes sense for a routine. I'd be interested in swapping routines with you also.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
funsway
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In general I would like to add - the techniques and sleights of old billiard ball routines (Stanton) provide tools that can be applied to many objects like tangerine or walnuts.

My entire set of Sway Methods (over 80 sleights and moves) evolved from being able to show both hands empty while concealing a ball. Took 60 years of playing around, though.

Some I use in C&B or single cup routine as aquitments or a change up of expectations. It is nice to be able to show a hand actually empty instead of relying on inference.

For example, ball dropped from right hand into left that closes. Right and moves away completely empty. Left hand ball later found to have vanished and actually back in right hand.
No fake transfer - rather an asynchronous false transfer based on stuff learned in early Genii volumes by Stanton. He did not do this - just planted the seed of creativity.

Please do not limit yourself to set of multiplying balls or any "what comes in the box" instructions (or DVD today)
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
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