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MatthewSims
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So it's getting time to buy my first "good" set of shells. I'm torn between the Bottom Ridge and La Maggiores Organics.

Does anyone own the Organics yet? I see that they just came out for 2014, so they are still pretty new.

Also, the Bottom Ridge shells state that they are the only shells that can move the pea around in any direction. However, I would think that that would be based more on the quality and design of the pea, rather than the shell. I know using the cheap rubber pea that came with my first set, it will pop out if you try to move it around.

Any help is much appreciated.

Matthew
Glenn Morphew
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Matthew,

I can't speak much about the new La Maggiores Organics because I don't own them. I believe the La Maggiores are a larger set of shells than many, so the size of your hands/fingers may be a consideration to keep in mind. I do know that the La Maggiores are a quality set of shells though.

The design of the Bottom Ridge shells have the first performance innovation in shell design in many decades. They allow you to do things you can't do with any other shell. They are a beautifully made set of shells, as are all of Al's sets. They work with both Al's peas and the peas sold by School for Scoundrels. They may or may not work with the cheap pellet of sponge you get with an old Adams set but why would you even consider using something like that as your pea?

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Glenn
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shellgame-al
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Bottom Ridge:
The pea staying inside the shell when moved in all directions is not from the quality and design of the pea. It is the design of the shell having the bottom ridge on the shell. This makes it a fair shell game till you decide to make it an unfair game. You are never forced to take the pea, but you are able to take the pea anytime you want.

Also, thank you Glenn for your comments.

Al
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MatthewSims
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Thank you both for the help. Just to clarify since I'm kinda still a novice in this area...with using all other sets of shells except the bottom ridge, don't you have to take the pea out of a shell in order to move the shell around?

I know that's the case with the set of shells I currently have now. No matter what surface area you're on, no matter what direction you move in, the pea will always pop out. Thus, you have to steal the pea before you ever even begin moving the shells.
shellgame-al
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You are correct.
All other shells you have to take the pea when the shell is move around. I think many forget the meaning of what a con game actually means.
It is a confidence game. What brings the confidence to play the game is the shill's if using the standard type shells. The fact is magicians don't use shill's.

Con Game: Slang A confidence game. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English,

Shill: Slang a confidence trickster's assistant, a person who poses as an ordinary customer, gambler, etc., in order to entice others to participate.

The added Bottom Ridge makes it a true con-shell on its own, without the use of added shill's to the game. Why is this?
Because the bottom ridge makes it a fair game till you make it unfair. A con game is not a con game till the player has the confidence to play.
With the bottom ridge shells there are no clues or rules and nothing to hide that brings confidence to play.

The shuffling of the shells can be extended without having to take the pea in the hand or have to keep reloading and stealing it on every movement of the shell.

This can bring the confidence to follow the correct shell that has the pea by lifting shells during the shuffle, to show the pea or the shells that don't have the pea.
This not only gets them to follow the shell you want them to follow, but cuts the steal and loading of the pea down to one time without having to hide the pea in the hand.
This brings less chance of them seeing it, as you can pick the right time to execute everything.

If you want to perform a more magical display the ridge can also hold a load in the shell when held up off the surface that will appear to be empty before placing the shell over the pea and give them a big surprise when the shell is lifted.

Hope this gives you a better understanding on what the Bottom Ridge shells can do.

Al
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MatthewSims
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Al, you're such a stand up guy. Thanks for all the thorough explanations. You've sold me . I'm placing my order now for a vintage set.

Will report back once I've played with them for a while.

Matthew
Glenn Morphew
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When your shells arrive Matthew, you're going to be a happy camper.

Glenn
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silverking
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A good shell operator doesn't need anything other than a standard set of quality shells, and a pea.

Don't fall victim to thinking that something like a "ridge" on the bottom of the shell is going to make you a great top and ball man.
It won't.

If in doubt as to the beauty of a normal shell and pea routine as performed by a magician, see Harry Anderson's legendary routine - sans any ridges or gimmicks.

The obvious downside I've found, is that the ridge on the bottom of these shells tips even the lamest lame to the fact that the shells are gimmicked.
You don't need to be an engineer to note upon seeing the ridge that a pea would sit in the shell if desired. It's terribly obvious.

There's no such worry with a normal set of shells, as there's no obvious gimmick to be found.
Stealing and loading the pea is what it's all about, be it a hustle or a magic trick.
MatthewSims
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Silver king, there nothing wrong with innovating a new idea. Its certainly not required to have the bottom ridge to perform, everyone knows this. It just adds a nice feature.
MatthewSims
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I do however agree with you that the ridge is by no means going to make you a good operator. Only practice will do that.

I think I'm honestly going to order the La Maggiore Organics as well and compare the two. I really like the aesthetic look of the Organics.

Also, if you look at a real set of walnuts, you will find a ridge, so it's not suspicious as you may think.

Here's my question, does anyone ever actually even look at or see the bottom of the shell? I know there are certain moves that naturally show the bottom of the shell when executing that particular move, but I think your over concern of the ridge might not be necessary.

Now while I'm by no means an expert at the shells, in fact (as I've stated) I'm a complete novice you might say, I wouldn't call these shells gimmicked. It's just the way they are designed. I would classify a magnetic shell as a gimmick.

In any case, as I said, I will report back once I've become familiar with them.

Matthew
silverking
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The shells with a bottom ridge purport to solve a problem that doesn't exist in reality. They are, in effect, designed to allow the unskilled magician to mimic the experienced top and ball man.

"Yes", you should be able to turn the shell over in the process of showing the pea isn't "there". Again, see Harry Anderson for the sheer beauty of a classic shell routine, and the invisibility of a clip-steal.
Learn to load and steal with utter confidence and there's absolutely nothing you can accomplish with a set of normal walnut shells and a sponge pea.

You can define "gimmick" however you see fit to. But don't confuse an invisible magnet with a highly visible ridge on the bottom of a shell.

A quick note about "con-games" and attempts to redefine the phrase. Unless the spec has real money from their own pocket on the table ready to lose, it's never a con-game - it's always a magic trick.

You can make it resemble a con-game only by presenting it as a demo, with the actual tools used in the street today - which would be a plastic bottle top, or as a historical presentation of the same with a classic shell.

For the real work on the subject, with ultra-deep research on the shell-game as a short con and for the magician, get the two DVD's offered by School for Scoundrels. There's nothing of equal on the market (in fact there's nothing even close).
In fact, I'd base every decision I made in regards to learning the top and ball on the material presented in these two DVD's.
I'd also get Bob's 3 Shell Boot Camp right off the bat, and practice the exercises contained within religiously until I could do them in my sleep.

Personally, I'd rather chew my own arm off rather than present such a deeply historical short-con as something totally dependent on a gimmicked prop.
MatthewSims
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Silverking, thanks for the recommendation on the DVDS. I keep hearing that these two are the best of the best. I'm not really keen on presenting this as a magic trick either. As you said, I feel that it undermines the effect greatly to produce a solid shell or similar kicker for a finale, but that's just my opinion. I aim at presenting this as a demonstration of historical sleight of hand at its finest.

Can't wait to get started.

Silverking, what are your favorite shells?
silverking
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I use the Deacon Dan shells (real nuts, handmade by Tom Bartlett) for demos and the SFS Colorado Silver shells for my own enjoyment.

My first set was the SFS Street Shells. I wish I still had them actually.

I've not to date had the chance to try the La Maggiore shells.
shellgame-al
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Practice and timing makes a great shell operator. Also good showmanship can help a lot.

With the Bottom Ridge design shell it will keep the soft pea in the shell at all times until you decide to take it. As this is just the opposite of be a gimmick.
It actually takes away the gimmick which is the soft pea, to make it a fair game. You can change to an unfair game with fewer moves and less chances of seeing anything


With the standard shells the soft pea is the big gimmick
This is why the player is never allowed to touch anything.


I believe most modern magicians today would be more confident in using a new 21st century shell without all the Clues & Rules. As I sell both type shells.
The standard type shells called the “True Walnut Shells”. This shell has no bottom ridge and is a high quality shell.

The Bottom Ridge type shells out sell it by 50 to 1. These numbers tell me what is really wanted today.

Anyone that knows anything about the shell game knows the real gimmick is the soft pea. I would think you would have to agree with this.

Why the bottom ridge is not a gimmick. Because it takes away the soft pea gimmick to act like a ungimmicked pea by stay in the shell.


Harry Anderson didn't have this choice when he started out with the shell game.

People work with what they have at the time. He is a very good magician that displays the game with good entertainment.

Matthew, thank you for the shell order and think you will love the Vintage Bottom Ridge shells. Read the reviews from actual users and you will see why the design works for them. They are being used all around the world for the magician or con.

Silverking; you have a right to your opinions, but I don't share them.

I base my opinions on facts on what I have used. I have used both and I am not saying everyone has the same needs. Just stating what the shells can do or can't do and then it is up for them to choose what they want.

Al
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Glenn Morphew
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Silverking,

I'm guessing you might be under the same false assumption I was about the Bottom Ridge shells regarding how they actually work. I wrongly assumed the pea somehow would sit on top of the ridge allowing you to pick up the shell and keep the pea hidden in the shell. This is not the case at all. In fact it's impossible to set a pea on the ridge of the shell and lift the shell off the table without the pea staying on the table... and I'm talking even if you placed the pea on the ridge by hand.

Although the Bottom Ridge shells may appear suspicious to shell workers compared to all the other shells out there, I promise you this... if you gave a standard set of any manufacturer's shells and peas as well as a set of the Bottom Ridge shells to a layman, they will pretty quickly figure out the secret to the game with the standard shells but would most likely NEVER figure out how the game works with the Bottom Ridge shells. It's counter intuitive I know, but I swear it's true. If anything, laymen would make the same false assumptions I initially made about the bottom ridge shells but they can examine everything "till the cows come home" and they will remain none the wiser.

Because traditional shells need working peas to work, is the reason why SFS for example includes 2 non working peas in their sets. That way you can switch in a non working pea and let laymen play with your shells without fear of them discovering the secret of the game.

What the bottom ridge design actually does, believe it or not, is makes regular working peas act like they are non working "hard" peas, yet they allow the operator the ability to transform the non working peas into working peas the instant you want them to... undetectably.

To be honest, I never would have believed it myself if I didn't see it with my own eyes... but it's true.

I hope this helps demystify some of the mystery of the bottom ridge shells.

Glenn
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silverking
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Al and Glenn....Horses for Courses of course.
(I understand the functionality of the bottom ridge shell, I've worked with a set).

Personally, I've never needed the pea to do anything other than what it does when used with a classic set of shells.

Important too that folks understand it's real workers like "Gambling Sam from Vietnam" who represent the pinnacle of the game, and how to play it "for real".
Magicians may not realize it unless they've seen the SFS DVD footage of Gambling Sam, but this is what they're emulating with the top and ball.

The standard clip-steals and hold-outs render the need to have the pea move with the shell totally moot, although I accept that those who don't want to put in the work on sleights might appreciate the gimmick.

To consider the bottom ridge shells as superior or desirable, one must first accept the poetic conceit that there's something flawed in the use of a soft pea and a classic shell.
I don't accept that premise, therefore I see anything proposing to "fix" a nonexistent problem as merely a distraction.

There is a history to this short-con which I prefer to pay homage to.
I understand not everybody shares this thinking, and that there are those who would (and do) choose to use items other than natural looking shells, and using non-traditional gimmicks rather than the historical sleights.
shellgame-al
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Silverkings

All I have to say is keep doing what you’re doing. This just helps the Bottom Ridge Shells to standout with more amazement, without the repeating history lesson.
If you seen one, you seen all.
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Dave V
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I'm with silverking. I've used both (and then some) and if you're doing a "magic" routine the Bottom Ridge shells work. But, so do all the others.

If you're out there to "get the money" there's no way in &^%$ that I'd let anyone touch my shells, let alone play with them to see whether the pea moves or not. It's a mind game between you and the player. They know down deep you're doing something shady and they think they can outwit you. That's the beauty of knowing the "real" moves. Once they think they have things figured out, you pull something different on them, keeping one step ahead of the game. No shells, ridged or otherwise can help you there.

My best "good" set is the one I made myself out of real walnut shells.
No trees were killed in the making of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.
shellgame-al
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If that works for you that is the way you should do it. But to say the bottom ridge shells are rigged or are a gimmick shell, this is totally wrong. The Bottom Ridge shell has no gimmicks. Can be presented the same way and can do everything the classic shell can do and more.

You don't have to show anything or let them touch anything. They can be presented any way you want. This is what makes them so good, you are able to set any rules you want or change the rules if need be.

I like the freedom to do what I want to do at any time. Not force to do it a set way or have to hide the secrets. I would love to gamble for real money with you, one on one with your classic shells. Because I would know what you have to do before you do it. Then play me with the BRS shells.
You will never know when I take the pea; because I am never force to take it, which it would only be a guesting game for you.

I agree with you if you are playing for money there are rules about touching things and also agree it is a mind game. But it is not just a mind game with you and the player; it is also with what really makes the con, which is the crew or shills which brings the con, not the shells when playing for money.
The classic shells are not designed to bring confidence for the mark to play the game on their own,

So you can pretend all you want or fantasize all you want as a magician, it’s not the same. It is a magic trick anyway you look at it, if a magician is displaying it for entertainment. Most real shell workers that play for money don't even use the walnut shells.

But I have sold the BRS to the real shell workers and they did like the design. The Grifter cups were the ones they liked the best with the ridge.

I grew up around these type people and even had family members. So I have seen all of this first hand.
I decided to go another way of bringing entertainment, not stealing other people’s money and I don't think there are many here that do play for money. I think there are many that have the fantasy, but most likely will always be a magician, displaying a magic trick. You are comparing apples to oranges!

Most of my customers are magicians and I can tell how they are being used, because I know both ways they are being used. I had one customer that bought 12 sets of the 3 disk Monte, all of the same type, with the white dot. This is pretty easy to see this is a large crew working different locations. But this is rare.

Sleight of hand is the area I have studied the most. To say you need to do more moves to do something is just crazy..

The Bottom Ridge design was design with build in outs if you need them. The only outs for the classic shells are like Glenn mentioned is switching in a hard pea. This does not even work; because you now have sound from the pea hitting the hard shell wall. With the BRS the soft pea can be justified so they won’t hear where the pea is in the shell and still appear to be a fair game. The beauty of the BRS is it is always a fair game till you decide to change it. Bringing confidence to play the game is what a con game is.

Like I said, you should present it the way you want too. But no one has given any facts on anything that the BRS can’t do. It is a fact that the BRS can do much more in the right hands if they want to.

I make both type shells, so it isn’t like I only have one to supply. I just think the customers should hear
what the features are and real facts are on both. They can choose the shell set that works the best for them and present them the way they choose.

The final line is the Bottom Ridge shells come without the clues & rulers from the past and are a 21st century design shell.
Manufacture of 3 Shell Game Sets & 3 Disk Monte Sets
3shells.com and magicswindles.com
silverking
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To be clear, I'll simply reflect on a comment I made above.

I wrote above: "To consider the bottom ridge shells as superior or desirable, one must first accept the poetic conceit that there's something flawed in the use of a soft pea and a classic shell.
I don't accept that premise, so I see anything proposing to "fix" a nonexistent problem as merely a distraction.
"

The clarity, as offered in my first line above is that I'm not selling anything except a comment....and that goes for the cost of reading it.
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