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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » The Undetectible Zarrow Shuffle (20 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Cagliostro
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I should clarify the very important distinction between observing something peripherally and critically when it comes to the Zarrow, and to magic and card table artifice in general.

Specifically concerning the Zarrow Shuffle, most people will observe it on a peripheral basis. That is the feeling, or uncritical or casual observation that the deck is being shuffled. For deceptive purposes, this shuffling is usually part of something else occurring simultaneously. For example, in a demo magic trick the performer is using patter to describe what is occurring or about to occur and at the same time casually Zarrow shuffling the cards. The shuffle itself is not the focal point, it is an "aside" and perhaps a small or perhaps psychologically insignificant part as to what is occurring or about to happen.

This same principle applies to magic tricks in general and to card hustling and scamming also. Many things are occurring, and the "gaffing" move or procedure is only a part and possibly an unimportant or insignificant part of the whole. Therefore, the vast majority of people will observe that element on a peripheral, casual or non-critical level, or perhaps not observe it at all.

However, a critical observer, especially a suspicious critical observer, will also experience everything in totality but also carefully observe specific elements, like how well the deck is actually being shuffled. This type person will not be deceived by the Zarrow. He may not know what a Zarrow Shuffle is, but he will at least realize something is not quite right with the shuffle. If he is somewhat knowledgeable and/or has seen some exposes on TV, on YouTube or is generally suspicious and careful when playing cards, he will know or at least suspect the shuffle is false, or perhaps somewhat "strange" or at least not entirely legitimate.

For the Zarrow to be at all deceptive when doing magic or demo tricks, this principle must be present to give the greatest probability of success with the move. In a fast action card game for serious money, for the Zarrow to have the greatest chance of success I would suggest that an accomplish light a fire in the other end of the room while the shuffle is being used.

I would say that lighting a fire in the other end of the room is similar to blindfolding the deck. Both techniques are equally deceptive and represent the epitome of clever card table chicanery. Smile
Mr. Bones
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I guess in the final analysis, our friend C.R.D. Sharper certainly wouldn't use a Zarrow Shuffle to control a small slug of cards ... what with the concept of a full deck false shuffle largely a magicians conceit, and not something our crooked friend would lose sleep over trying to figure out.
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Quote:
On Jul 7, 2018, Cagliostro wrote:

While I value the suggestion, I am not going to "pony up" to get the DVD. Smile


I helped produce the DVD. I have 700 of them in my closet downstairs. Send me your address and I'll drop you one.

As far as false shuffles like the Zarrow fooling serious card players. Is a game with pots of $30K, 40K or 60K "serious" enough for you? I personally sat in the room while Rod dealt games at that level in 2010. He used his tabled faro (ala Sharps and Flats), strip outs and the occasional Zarrow to set briefs. No one said a word. He crushed the game including demolishing a main event bracelet winner.

Cag, you have some weird issue with equating big money with knowledgeable players. When are you going to accept the fact that that concept DIED about 15 years ago with the poker boom and the rise of the internet poker scene? We have an ENTIRE generation of phenomenal poker players (who've played 100 times the hands that Doyle Brunson has played in his life) but that who have never seen a false shuffle in real life. These players are playing for very serious money, I assure you. But they can't spot cheating moves based solely on their dollar amounts. You simply CANNOT, I repeat, CANNOT equate big money and poker knowledge with cheating knowledge. The internet poker boom destroyed that idea.

Players may or may not be able to spot cheating moves, but it has NOTHING to do with the dollar amounts being wagered. I'm a $1-2 HE player at best, but good luck getting a false shuffle by me. Meanwhile those Internet whiz-kids that showed up in S. California on Dec 29th, 2010 with $100K each in brown grocery sacks went home unhappy.

You know a lot about gambling and cheating, but on this issue your knowledge is past its expiration date. You're perpetuating a myth. Stop it.

Jason
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cbharrelson
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I love the zarrow. I really do have an indetectable zarrow. I gave up the stripout shyffles some time ago.
Cagliostro
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On Jul 9, 2018, cbharrelson wrote:
I love the zarrow. I really do have an indetectable zarrow. I gave up the stripout shyffles some time ago.


Is that why you have two broken arms? Smile
Cagliostro
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On Jul 9, 2018, JasonEngland wrote:

As far as false shuffles like the Zarrow fooling serious card players. Is a game with pots of $30K, 40K or 60K "serious" enough for you? I personally sat in the room while Rod dealt games at that level in 2010. He used his tabled faro (ala Sharps and Flats), strip outs and the occasional Zarrow to set briefs. No one said a word. He crushed the game including demolishing a main event bracelet winner.


Yes, those are good sized games and yes I have also used these techniques years ago. This was when private big money games were prevalent. I have often used the techniques described, among others, even an occasional Zarrow to set in a brief. Butt shuffles, both tabled and against the table techniques (called faros by magicians) and strip out shuffles, when properly executed and cleverly employed usually stand on their own. One has to be pretty knowledgeable to nail this when done capably but from time to time someone will nail what happening, no matter how well executed. Usually they are smart enough not challenge or say anything immediately but will quietly get you aside and ask for their money back. No fuss, no muss. You just give them their money back and shake their hand. But these games I'm referring to were not card room games but private games, sometimes with a center dealer and sometimes not.

By the way, when setting in a brief in one of several ways, I have used one "Zarrow" as part of a larger sequence of shuffling but had much more cover than the standard Zarrow when I did so...actually covered from all angles. It was an "aside" as part of a sequence and using grift sense critically important in these instances. However, my comments on the Zarrow, as usually murdered by card enthusiasts, remains unchanged.

Quote:
Cag, you have some weird issue with equating big money with knowledgeable players.


Perhaps I was not quite clear on this. Of course, one can encounter knowledgeable players in any game, but...when you get into big money cash games in a casino or card room format, percentage wise you tend to encounter better players as a group and percentage wise tend to more likely run up against a "sharper" player. You will also encounter players who are not knowledgeable, in fact some can be complete chumps but that does not change the main premise. In fact, you only need one sharp player in a game to cause trouble, even if everyone else is a chump. But when I talk about big money games keep in mind I am also referring to casino games - against surveillance. Also far as actual standard card moves go, the moves we talk about on this BB, for the most part are little used nowadays in big money games on a professional level. I thought I was clear on that and stand by that statement.

I also question how much experience one can glean by playing in games with $1 - $2 blinds. I don't know any pro who would try to beat a game like that and doubt one would encounter 'professional' cheating there. However, good paper and/or PROFESSIONALLY executed collusion, by very good players, in big cash games is what I am referring to. So, maybe Jason can't be fooled by that but sadly I have...and more than once I might add, before I eventually caught on.

I should also add that impressing or fooling someone with a card move in singularity or fooling someone with a gambling demo which incorporates some magic chicanery as part of a routine to entertain, is not the same as getting the money without detection in a game. It is not even close.

Quote:
You know a lot about gambling and cheating, but on this issue your knowledge is past its expiration date. You're perpetuating a myth. Stop it.


Hopefully the above comments clarified my terminology this issue somewhat.
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Thanks for the clarification, but I still think your thinking is behind the times.

Line up a 10,000 poker players with bankrolls north of $250,000 and I'd be willing to bet that the majority of them made their bankrolls online and NOT in brick and mortar card rooms. Thus, in this day and age serious money players are actually LESS likely to have been exposed to advanced sleight-of-hand, not more likely. (The same could be said of paper and electronics I guess.)

Your blanket statements (clarification that you're speaking mainly of casino games acknowledged) that more money = an increased likelihood of being able to detect cheating was absolutely true in just about all cases 15+ years ago. Those higher stakes games were where we found the most experienced players and ALL of that experience had to come from live play.

These days it just isn't true.

Jason
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Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Jul 9, 2018, JasonEngland wrote:

Line up 10,000 poker players with bankrolls north of $250,000 and I'd be willing to bet that the majority of them made their bankrolls online and NOT in brick and mortar card rooms. Thus, in this day and age serious money players are actually LESS likely to have been exposed to advanced sleight-of-hand, not more likely...


Your point is well taken and many, possibly even most play online. I don't know. However, there are brick and mortar poker rooms all over the US, so I think the statistics, comparing one with the other would be difficult to obtain.

For example, I occasionally play on the WSOP site in the US. This site is owned by Caesar's World, was originally only available to Nevada residents and recently added players from Delaware and New Jersey to the mix. No one but current verifiable residents of NV, DE and NJ are allowed to play legally online in the US. Residents from the other 47 States cannot legally do so. Quite frankly the activity on these three WSOP sites combined is not very good. (Of course, residents from other countries can play on non - US sites in different locations outside the US, and there may be more action on those sites, but I can't comment on that.)

The online games available to US residents on the combined 3 WSOP sites in the US really have less than desirable action in my opinion.

The cash games are mostly small-time games. Right now, at 1:13 PST Tues. July 9 2018 the largest cash game available is 25-50 cent blinds NLHE. This is follows by lesser games down to 1-2 cents NLHE games. So, we are not seeing much big action here. Of course, tournaments are considerably larger with buy ins from 0$ (freerolls) up to say $500 in general. (The first prize in this particular tourney is $17,000. Not bad.) Also, cash games can be much bigger depending on the day and time of day.

The point is, these players and many more in order to play in bigger cash games, either now or later, have to go to brick and mortar facilities. Look at all the side games during the WSOP. And while most players would not notice if an elephant walked across the table, percentage wise there are enough that recognize common moves and therein lies the rub. Hustling in today's world is not as easy as it used to be.

I think the licensed B&M facilities, which all have surveillance probably do a fairly good job, but not a great job, of protecting their games. However, the format of these games and video surveillance, limit a certain amount of sleight of hand chicanery. It simply is not applicable anymore.

Playing the casino table games against hi-tech security. That requires a different level of capability and the common methods generally just don't apply, that is if you don't want to get caught and arrested.

Usually old-time sleight of hand for the most part is obsolete or doesn’t apply in large part to the games being played on any professional level.

So maybe I am behind the times, maybe not. Either way it really does not matter to me much anymore.

WHY?

I already got mine!!! Smile
cbharrelson
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My friend cag my arms aren,t broken. I also play online poker very well too. original name of texas holdem was holdem and !@#$** .
cbharrelson
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Jason my friend you keep up the good work. you are doing a lot to preserve an art form.
Thomas Gilroy
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On Mar 9, 2018, CharliePA wrote:
Quote:
On Mar 21, 2017, Thomas Gilroy wrote:

I don't think that you could focus the attention of an observer on a Zarrow shuffle and reasonably expect that they would not notice what is happening. However, in the context of magic performance, with suitable misdirection, I think the move has merit. In that context, it is the presentation or patter that is deceptive, not the move.

I think the move can go unseen, but I don't think it is invisible. In this respect, I think it's similar to a classic pass. When attention is drawn to the move, I think the move is obvious. A move can have value to card magic and not be deceptive.


How can a thread can be started in such statement?
Very few moves or techniques are "deceptive" when isolated. Palms, top changes, most false shuffles...
A magician is NEEDED to add something to it and make them really deceptive: like timing, misdirection, etcetera.

Gentlemen, I've seen magicians staring at a spread 25 card packet made of 5 sets of the same 5 cards and NOT noticing it, just because the "frame". I was fooled also, of course.
We SEE a zarrow because we are EXPECTING a zarrow. And that's why sometimes the most simple principle fools magicians. Because our mind is already on what we THINK it's going to happen.

OK, this is The gambling spot, but I needed to say this.


Maybe I failed to articulate my meaning clearly. I'll try again.

The majority of moves, when isolated are not particular deceptive, and require misdirection to go unnoticed, even with the best possible handling. Again, for the majority of moves, I don't feel you can focus attention of a lay observer on the move and expect that they would not notice what is happening. Some moves are specifically problematic. That doesn't mean those moves can't be valuable, or that I don't recognize their merit.

I'd wager that ugly moves have gone unnoticed in games, and I know that ugly moves go unnoticed by magic performance all the time.

Other sleights more closely resemble fair movements and are thus more deceptive in and of themselves, and when performed competently, I believe you could focus a lay observers attention on the move and still deceive them. There are a few, specific handlings of select moves that are so deceptive in and of themselves that I genuinely believe you could focus the attention of a trained observer on the move and the move itself can still be deceptive. Consider Richard Turner's sweep second deal for example. The front push-off second deal is deceptive move in and of itself, and when he performs his specific method, the move is nearly invisible without a slow-motion camera. I've seen push-off double lifts performed with similar expert method and performance also.

Other movements are completely fair, but some prior knowledge makes the outcome predictable and repeatable. For example, if a few cards on the top or bottom of a deck are known, an RRSR sequence ending with a one-handed cut can be performed that ensures those cards will not appear in the next hand, as maximum of 26 cards is dealt in a round of Hold'em (9x2 hole cards + 5 community cards + 3 burn cards). That's a significant advantage to anybody who actually plays. Try it, it's shockingly easy. There's no difficulty in making this look deceptive, there are no moves being done. All you have to do is maintain your usual demeanor and it will fly.

I feel that the Zarrow has problems at a fundamental level. Expert method and exceptional performance, as in the case of Steve Reynolds' Z, minimize the severity of those problems and increase the deceptiveness of the move itself. Jason has mentioned that Steve can perform the move so well that he is sometimes unable to determine whether the shuffle was true or false, and I believe him. Even then, I still believe that the push-through is inherently a more deceptive move than the Z; a similar level of deceptiveness can be achieved with a wider variety of handlings and less expert performance.

As for only seeing a Zarrow because I expect a Zarrow, well this is just factually not how it was for me. The first time I ever saw a Triumph effect, I noticed the Zarrow, even though I didn't know what it was called at the time. The effect specifically directs attention to the act of shuffling face up cards into face down cards, that is, it specifically draws attention to the Zarrow. The Zarrow was performed well and the effect was presented expertly, and I was able to reverse engineer the shuffle and the effect in minutes. If Steve Reynolds' Z was the Zarrow I had seen then, maybe it would have flown right past me. I believe that any competently push-through with a card transfer would have stumped me.
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Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Sep 3, 2018, Taylor Haws wrote:
Brad Tobin makes the Zarrow shuffle look pretty darn good.


Yes, he does a much better job than most with this shuffle. He uses continuous shuffles and eliminates the "slip-cut" action which in my opinion is one of the glaring problems with the Zarrow. The shuffle looks fast and natural and he has given some though and practice in its execution.

However, the video is shot from a very favorable position, i.e., up close and looking down at an angle. I analyze these moves in the context of how they would look at other angles across a card table. Dropping the camera down a little to see the move "head on" so to speak and further back would accentuate the Zarrow shuffles weaknesses much more IMO.

However, he does a nice job with the shuffle and no doubt in a demo and magic trick context it would work well. That is the context it was designed for.

In a gambling scenario, if can be used occasionally and in specific instances but overall for card table use, there are better false shuffle. Also, it is rare to have to control the entire deck in a gambling situation.
Taylor Haws
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Here's a video of the same guy doing the push through. I agree that it's more visually deceptive, but I think that the zarrow shuffle is a more "interesting" false shuffle, which is why magicians like it so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlBS03PIj7E

my personal favorite false shuffle is the False Rosetta Shuffle. I had to go back and watch the shuffle at least ten times before I figured it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyjvdbGVOls

being a magician, I have no idea how good it would be in a gambling scenario. my guess is that it would work in loose games without any procedure, but I have no experience in that field.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Sep 3, 2018, Taylor Haws wrote:

Here's a video of the same guy doing the push through. I agree that it's more visually deceptive, but I think that the Zarrow shuffle is a more "interesting" false shuffle, which is why magicians like it so much.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlBS03PIj7E

my personal favorite false shuffle is the False Rosetta Shuffle. I had to go back and watch the shuffle at least ten times before I figured it out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyjvdbGVOls


He is a skillful guy and does nice work. The push-through looks very good.

I think magicians like the Zarrow so much because it is easy for them to learn. Not necessarily easy to do well, but easy to master well enough to use for their purposes.

The False Rosetta Shuffle. Never saw that one before and not too hard to figure out if you know it is false to begin with. Cute though. I liked it. LOL
Last Laugh
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The spread half way through really adds to the deceptiveness of the Rosetta shuffle. I believe it was created by Lennart Green, btw.

Thanks for sharing those videos, the guy is really good.
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Taylor Haws
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If anyone thinks that the zarrow shuffle cannot be invisible and undetectable, I recommend that you check out the following video by Jack Carpenter where he shows you how to do a PERFECT zarrow shuffle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUkUsuQ4GN4
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Lol, yeah absolutely undiscernable
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Cagliostro
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With the kind of cover Carpenter uses, why mess with the Zarrow. Just pop in a cooler instead.
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I hadn't heard of Brad Tobin before. I think the Zarrow he demonstrates is excellent. I'm sure it would have fooled me had it been the first Zarrow I'd seen.

I don't think he's actually riffling the corners together at all before he sets the step. That would eliminate the need for to undo the weave, and I think it's a totally valid handling. I also appreciate that his shuffle uses a covered "riffle" and a more open square up, which is more inline with card table procedure.

Incidentally, I recently bought Steve Forte's Poker Protection, and reading through the section on false shuffles and his section on the Zarrow specifically, I can see that the move has greater utility in cheating than I had acknowledged. I had seen the Zarrow as being a useful method for preserving a large slug when riffle stacking, or when setting a brief for the final one handed cut. However, if all players at the table are working with the dealer to take off bad beat jackpot, the Zarrow would be useful there too. To any overhead camera, the shuffle would look legitimate, and the players would be acting as blockers against floor staff. This also reminds me of use of the Sky shuffle that Jason England discussed on one of his online lectures.

The card rooms I've played in haven't had bad beat jackpots, so I hadn't really considered these scenarios.
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