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Mr. Bones
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Jason, as noted in my post, nowhere does Erdnase say he taught folks for money, which was my response to Arnold's comment above - "Well, as long as idiots pay for it..."

Cag, I've got the same facts everybody else has got, including:

Page 7, point #5 of the (limited edition) Gardner-Smith Correspondence where Gardner recalls his conversation with M.D. Smith - "Andrews (Erdnase) told Smith he was a former card shark who had decided to go straight ...."

There are more.
Maybe you'd be more comfortable with the term "existing evidence" rather than the term "facts"? To accept what Erdnase said at face value would indeed make it a "fact", but perhaps he was lying?
But then again, considering he had no need to impress Smith with anything, why would he bother to lie to Smith about anything at all?

Tough crowd!
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JasonEngland
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Mr. Bones,

Fine. Your full sentence does include that part about "teaching for money" but the first part of the sentence includes a clause about "not giving lessons" (with or without payment). It seems clear from the text that he did do just that. Was he paid to do so? Who knows?

We also aren't sure if he ever made any money on the book or not. It appears he didn't get rich off of sales of the first edition - they were remaindered at half price rather quickly. But since we don't know who he is, we don't know if he received any money from future editions that were in print just a few years later (1905).

Jason
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Cagliostro
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@ Bones: All I asked is if you were privy to "facts" unknown to the rest of us, or unknown to me to be more specific. It was not meant as a challenge because:

To me Erdnase is little more than a "magician" based oddity who was the first to make a significant contribution to sleight of hand manipulation of playing cards 115 plus years ago. As far as I am concerned, that is it! Of course, there are people in the magic/hobbyist/student community who have read and are aware of the more extensive "research" on the subject of Erdnase regarding his identity and other assumed "facts" about him, and I was just inquiring as to what you based your observations on. That's all.

In my opinion, it is almost impossible to make any definitive and factually supportable judgments about Erdnase's personal life, his identity, his real reason for writing the book (other than his possibly tongue in cheek statement that he needed the money), and if he was a magician, demonstrator or card cheat since we lack any specific written records of that era that pertain to him and his book. Everything about him in that regard appears to be anecdotal, assumptive and a romantic desire to make or extrapolate conclusions, cite "information" or "evidence" to a situation where no facts or supportable evidence in that regard exists.

My inquiry was legitimate. I know you are a student of gambling chicanery and I was curious as to why you came to the conclusions you stated.

Incidentally, that doesn't make us a tough crowd. It just makes us "curious." Smile
Mr. Bones
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Re-reading my post Jason, I was indeed messy with my comma Smile
Based on the grammar in the first part of the sentence, you're absolutely correct there is a assumption to be made that I referenced teaching, with or without payment.

Cag, one of the key facts in the entire Erdnase narrative is that Mr. Erdnase sat in a Chicago hotel room, looked M.D. Smith right in the eyes, and told him that he was a "former card shark who had decided to go straight".
M.D. Smith then, years later, looked Martin Gardner in the eyes and told him that Mr. Erdnase (at the time referred to as Andrews at Gardner's prodding) told him exactly that - that Erdnase said point blank that he was a card shark.

Using the KISS principle (always a good idea when evidence is lacking), it would legitimately follow that, as a self-described "card shark", Erdnase would have cheated other players for money at the card table (as per my earlier post).

I know it's another popular theory to hold that Erdnase was a magician, but at no point does he say to anybody "I'm a retired magician" or "I love card tricks and magic" - but he does say "I'm a former card shark".

Those are my basic "facts" Cag, all based on what we know for sure, and with very little subjective editorializing.
For folks who say they just have a "feeling" that Erdnase was a magician, I question the process that got them there, and would ask them to offer anything at all that provides evidence that Erdnase was a magician.

For clarity, and to anticipate a yet untyped response to this post, I personally think Erdnase scooped the magic trick second half of the book from other magic books of the day, this only in an effort to make his book appear as a legitimate bit of publishing, rather than a book on cheating at cards - something which, depending on his geographic location at any given point in time, could get him thrown in jail.

(BTW, kidding about the "tough crowd", I've always enjoyed the very-informed banter here).
Mr. Bones
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AMcD
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@Silver

A former card shark? Really?

Being myself a former amateur card "player" I'm in a very good position for judging him, because, and the constant teasing here proves it, one can expect my environment was lax, permissive. Yet, even if I rarely ran across 4K cameras, herds of German shepherds and big bodyguards, all the places were I played had some regulations, procedures. Not casinos strict security rules, sure, but certainly above what one can read in Erdnase's pamplhet.

Because I'd really like to know where Erdnase could play using his uber-ridiculous cuts and laughable stocking systems. Not to mention his disparagement for the riffle shuffle. Besides, he hardly use the word Faro in his book. It's like someone would write a book about the card table in 2017 without mentioning Texas Hold'Em.

So, a former card shark. Ahem.
Mr. Bones
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I have long thought that you indeed make a strong argument against Erdnase being a gambler Arnold, and based on the question you ask above, which is "where on earth can Erdnase get away with the moves he describes in his book"?
My answer is, I don't know.

This is where we have to diverge from things we do know about Erdnase, and begin to posit things we don't know about Erdnase.
If I was guessing, I would say he would play on a train, with amateurs, and nobody really in charge. His known train-table, and the history of gambling on trains being a lead to this kind of thinking.

As for the lack of reference to Faro, I think Erdnase was intentionally focused on card games without a house dealer, which could tend to exclude Faro. Erdnase focused on games where the players could, in the course of play, get their hands on the deck - for obvious reasons.

But as we have over the years Arnold, we will likely have to agree to disagree on this one Smile
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AMcD
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Hmm, you make an interesting point about the Faro. I'll take it into consideration for the future, thanks.

I agree to disagree with you, but I simply mean that, in all likelihood, Erdnase was probably nothing more than an amateur player, like Scott... or me. Certainly not a pro.

And when I say amateur, I really mean it. Any serious game in 1890-1900 without using the riffle shuffle? Really? I strongly doubt it. Whatever the place, whatever the period, whatever the stakes, the overhand shuffle is always avoided in serious games. Even when I was very young I was given just a few games before being forced to use the riffle shuffle. Even in our games, here, beginners are forced to use it. Sometimes, we allowed them to overhand shuffle for their first night, but there was always someone complaining and shuffling for them. I can't imagine any "serious" game using the overhand shuffle. Everyone knows how easy it is to cheat using the overhand shuffle. Even during pharaohs' time they knew it (calm down, just kidding here). But yes, sure, there is certainly a place, somewhere, where some idiots are playing thousands of $ using the overhand shuffle and not cutting the deck. I know, I know. But it's called an exception, hard to make a career out of it.

Well, of course, I'm talking about the Western world. If I was playing in Asia, I should get lost with the riffle shuffle Smile.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Oct 9, 2017, Mr. Bones wrote:

Cag, one of the key facts in the entire Erdnase narrative is that Mr. Erdnase sat in a Chicago hotel room, looked M.D. Smith right in the eyes, and told him that he was a "former card shark who had decided to go straight".


Thanks Bones. I know you were not there and are just recounting what you have read, but this raises a number of questions.

How does one know this was a card shark? If he were, how does one know he was Erdnase? Because he may have said so under apparent repeated questioning?

How old was this purported Erdnase and in what year did this meeting take place? Does his age and the year of the meeting correspond? Was he able to describe specific portions of the book when asked and was he able to perform the sleights in the book in a professional manner or did they not query him to this degree?

Quote:
M.D. Smith then, years later, looked Martin Gardner in the eyes and told him that Mr. Erdnase (at the time referred to as Andrews at Gardner's prodding) told him exactly that - that Erdnase said point blank that he was a card shark.


He had to be "prodded" to say he was a "card shark," although not necessarily Erdnase? How about if they prodded him to say he was Jesus, or Napoleon, or Cagliostro and what benefit accrued to this individual to make such purported admission? (Monetary, accolades, respect, notoriety, etc.?)

Quote:
Using the KISS principle (always a good idea when evidence is lacking), it would legitimately follow that, as a self-described "card shark", Erdnase would have cheated other players for money at the card table (as per my earlier post).


Bones, I know you are an intelligent man and I don't mean to be disrespectful but you might want to reread your last sentence. Conclusions like this can be 100% logical but if the premise is false or flawed, the resulting conclusions would be totally invalid.

What you say may be 100% true and this gentleman in question may have been Erdnase. Then again, he may have not been Erdnase. He may just have been a card shark or a plumber for that matter. I have not read the exposition of the meeting but quite frankly it is not compelling from this limited exposure. Most importantly, would a self-described card shark possibly lie?

I don't mean to be impolite, but there seems to be a propensity for some magicians, academics and the like to blindly believe the utterances of supposed self-described "cheaters" or card sharks because they "say so' and without serious and qualified questioning. Anyone could be sitting across the table and have claimed to be a card sharp, and if forced or prodded enough even to say he was "Erdnase." The recounting does not provide evidence but simply anecdotal revelations. What "proof" was given aside from such verbal utterances and many assumptions?

I understand that anyone who claims to be a card sharp or "Erdnase" in this instance would have great credibility to some because of the biased and very strong will to believe. ("Wow...this guy is a real card shark and I met and talked with him and breath the same air as he.") The will to believe often suspends rational objective reasoning. Claim to be a cheat and some magicians figuratively become so excited they will believe anything they are told.

No disrespect meant but nothing was presented to justify the conclusions given herein.

Bones, I know you were not present at the meetings and are just recounting what you have read, are discussing same within the limitations of the space given herein and to make an interesting post. However, I respectfully submit what has been recounted so far does not stand up to even slight scrutiny.

Then again, I have not read the original writings you are referring to so because of incomplete information I could be completely wrong. (Although objectively speaking, it is hard to believe that Cagliostro could be even slightly wrong.) Smile

Ugh...you are right...tough crowd! Smile
Mr. Bones
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Cag, no disrespect taken my friend.

Much of what I wrote has been long confirmed, with little or no room for doubt.

Indeed, it was S.W. Erdnase that met M.D. Smith in that hotel room, there is no doubt beyond the fact that anything you didn't see with your own eyes could easily be doubted in history as a lie.
Most folks choose not to approach history like that though.

Erdnase engaged Smith to do the drawings of his hands, for his book. Smith eventually recognized some of his original drawings when Gardner showed him a copy of EATCT - which he hadn't ever seen a copy of before Gardner showed it to him.

Gardner initially prodded M.D. Smith to remember S.W. Erdnase as being Andrews, because that's what Gardner wanted Smith to remember ... but Smith later said repeatedly that he couldn't accept that Erdnase was Andrews, because of the vast difference in their appearances - but Smith had no doubt he met, did drawings for, and accepted a cheque from S.W. Erdnase.

There are a lot of reputable folks who have worked for a long time to establish what we do know about Erdnase, most of which formed the contents of my previous posts. If you choose to doubt the somewhat academic work done to date on Erdnase, most of which is quite solidly confirmed, that doubt is something I can't do much about from my keyboard, and typing passages from my library.

But I will note that, if you haven't read all the documentation on Erdnase that's available (and it's a ton), then you're probably not rendering your doubt with the requisite amount of information that would be required to be comfortable that your doubt is justified.

Indeed, as one who has read pretty much all of the available research on Erdnase, some of your questions simply aren't questions any more, and were answered years, if not decades ago.

I get that some folks just don't like Erdnase, and look for any opportunity to share that dislike. But if any given commenter is unaware of the breadth of the existing research, and the broad acceptance of some of that research, then the doubter would be working at quite a major disadvantage.

And if folks just want to doubt everything known about Erdnase simply because they want to doubt Erdnase, without any solid reason for doing so beyond stating that they weren't there, and therefore couldn't accept anything anybody said as factual, that's beyond me to come up with a snappy answer in response Smile

Anyway, back to Joe Crist.
Mr. Bones
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Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Oct 10, 2017, Mr. Bones wrote:

...There are a lot of reputable folks who have worked for a long time to establish what we do know about Erdnase, most of which formed the contents of my previous posts. If you choose to doubt the somewhat academic work done to date on Erdnase, most of which is quite solidly confirmed, that doubt is something I can't do much about from my keyboard, and typing passages from my library.

But I will note that, if you haven't read all the documentation on Erdnase that's available (and it's a ton), then you're probably not rendering your doubt with the requisite amount of information that would be required to be comfortable that your doubt is justified...

...I get that some folks just don't like Erdnase, and look for any opportunity to share that dislike...


No problem with any of what you say in that regard, Bones. As I said, I have not read anything about the research on Erdnase as I had no real interest in doing so. My response was based upon very limited data regarding the research so I think you have clarified that somewhat for me.

Also, I don't have any reason to dislike Erdnase or have any preconceived notions about him.

I should also add that ignorance and lack of knowledge have never proven to be a hindrance for me. Smile

Quote:
Anyway, back to Joe Crist.


Ah... There you go, changing the subject again.
Cagliostro
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@AMcD: I know you are a very skillful fellow and have mastered just about every difficult card table move imaginable and perform each to perfection.

Doing a Google search and getting detailed information from various International Intelligence Agencies it seems you live a very clean lifestyle, eat only the best organic foods, workout regularly to say in shape and practice 6-8 hours of day with playing cards...sometimes longer. You also like to have a number of scantily clad woman around 24/7 to keep you company.

Evidently you have been following this highly disciplined regimen for the past twenty years or so.

My question is simple. If you continue this enviable lifestyle and strict regimen, how much longer would it take for you to become as good as Erdnase was? Smile
AMcD
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@Cag

Unfortunately, I'm not as skilled as you imagine. I can do a few false shuffles, some decent false deals and I'm not unhappy with my stacking abilities. But I'm afraid that it sums up everything I can do.

I have never practised 6-8 hours a day lol, even when I was younger. I don't believe in heavy practising, I believe in clever training. I think I currently practice 1h or even 1h20min per day. No more.
lagoss
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So it seems that Joe Crist is releasing a version of Erdnase with a Foreword written by himself and 100 or so photos of him demonstrating the moves... no change to the text. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/110......phs-from - $20,000 already pledged (of $5,000).
Peterson
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From the kickstarter bio:

Whispered about among the best card handlers since he was a child. Absolutely NO ONE, past or present, possesses his playing card pedigree.

Jack Chanin to Charlie Miller- "I knew JOE CRIST since he was nine years old, kept chasing him away but he kept coming back- had a lot of guts for a little kid- has the best second deal anyone ever saw- he was also taught card sleights by old-time gamblers."
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Okay, gentlemen, let's see you top this? From the forward of the book:

Quote:
Since he was a child, Mr. Crist has been whispered about amongst the best card handlers, and acknowledged by them as the greatest natural card handler of all time. He is not famous but he is extremely legendary. Very few people have had the opportunity to see him work with the cards. Of those who have, every one has said he is the best they've ever seen. This is the only book he will ever do. Should we reach our campaign goal of $5,000, we will make 300 copies, signed by Joe Crist and Rosa Polin. Once sold, that’s it.


So, Crist was a legend even when he was a child and the best card handlers, every single one of them, only whispered about him in hushed tones. Shades of Walter Scott, Phantom of the Card Table fame. Whispering about someone makes it all more believable and oh so "hush-hush," and "in-the-know."

Don't know anything about Joe Crist, but he probably is very skillful with a deck of cards...so? Ah, I see. It is the mystery and intrigue of it all. The ad copy has to justify the high price. Okay, I get it.

Surprisingly they did not have a foreword by Dan Madison and Crist had to write his own??

All joking aside, for students and hobbyists of Erdnase and card table manipulation it probably is a very good book and perhaps someday will be highly prized especially if further insights into Erdnase and his moves are given within its pages.

Remember, only 300 copies will be produced...ever...although I don't really see why photos of Crist's hands doing the Erdnase moves would be better than the drawings which I thought were quite excellent. But for the Erdnase aficionados who must have everything "Erdnase," it probably is worthwhile and perhaps quite good.

Hmmm...I wonder what Erdnase would think of all this?
popcalinda
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"My first Highline teacher Joe Atanis (I was age 12) had a teacher who was a Kaldarash Gypsy who was a close friend of S.W.Erdanse whose real name was E.S.Andrews. In my Introduction I tell a card story about Andrews that will knock your socks off."
tommy
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The Kaldarash, they are not so bad but the Kuneshti, they would even cheat a gypsy.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Cagliostro
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This post is not meant to detract or criticize Erdnase or any of his legion of admirers. Certainly, EATCT was an extraordinary exposition of card table chicanery by manipulation, and also of card magic in 1902, with many of the moves apparently designed and developed by Erdnase. I don't mean to detract from the book in that regard. Personally, I think that Sharps and Flats more correctly captures the actual practical ploys used by professional card cheats during that era. However, that is not the point I am trying to make here.

Yes, in 1902 the book made a significant contribution to sleight of hand card manipulation but aside from that, it seems that Erdnase and the book have almost achieved what might best be described as a cult following, i.e., "an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers."

While recognizing the contribution he made to the manipulation or playing cards in 1902 as described above, do you think we have gone too far overboard on our admiration of Erdnase and his book, especially if he really were a card cheat to one degree or another.

Quote:
Cult |Define Cult at Dictionary.com
www.dictionary.com/browse/cult

...a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies. ... an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers:... a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person ...


So where am I going wrong on this?
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Nov 12, 2017, lagoss wrote:

So it seems that Joe Crist is releasing a version of Erdnase...$20,000 already pledged (of $5,000).


What? $20,000 pledged but only $5,000 needed? Where does the difference of $15,000 go...The Cagliostro Foundation for Advanced Card Table Philosophical Thought?
AMcD
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One sucker is born every minute. Frankly, paying $200 a book (severely over-uber-mega-outdated) with photos instead of drawings (what David Ben already did a couple of years ago by the way) and a different preface... It goes over my head, as we say.

But if that Joe Crist can make money out of them... good for him after all!
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