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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Russian Criminal Playing Cards (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

stoneunhinged
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Hey Y'all,

I don't hang around here much anymore, so my apologies if everyone already knows about this. But a recently published book (which I have ordered but have not yet looked at) talks about playing cards in Russian prisons and how they were used for advantage play.

Here's a link:

http://fuel-design.com/publishing/russia......g-cards/

Back to lurking,
Jeff
TH10111
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Looks interesting!

Russian prison culture is not something I know much about!
Last Laugh
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Some amazing pictures on the site there!

There was a video posted some time back here in this forum with a Russian ex-con showing off some of his moves. I'm starting to understand a little more how much of a big deal playing cards is those prisons.

I'd love to hear more when you receive the book.
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stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On Oct 16, 2018, TH10111 wrote:
Russian prison culture is not something I know much about!


Russian prison cheating at cards is something probably nobody here knows about. But in the spirit of this forum, I would suggest we all might take an interest. It may not apply to Vegas or your home poker game, but it *is* interesting.

The book arrives tomorrow, and I'll post a review next week.
Last Laugh
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Here's the post with the video I was talking about.
I don't understand what's said, but you definitely see the moves.
Also some good info in the thread.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......orum=188
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Emory Kimbrough
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In Russia, card forces you.
Kimura
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Quote:
On Oct 17, 2018, Emory Kimbrough wrote:
In Russia, card forces you.


:rolleyes:

-
I picked this up also. Came with a replica card, which was kind of neat if you're into that kind of thing. I'm using it as a bookmark. I think they market a deck as well (its not USPCC, if you're one of those dorks who like shelling over cash for pretty cards. Don't expect cardistry quality).

This is from a series of Russian tattoo books, so obviously this is not *just* about cards. It is a tattoo photo book that happens to have a couple of essays. The essays happen to be very good.

I'm interested in stoneunhinged's review, so I'll keep mine short. The essays provide a very good insight into the soviet prison system of the time, and includes some fascinating social content on how the "cardsharp" worked in this environment. The few paragraphs detailing how the cardsharp recruits and trains the next cardsharp is very interesting.

The target audience is of course, not magicians/cheaters/magic-forum-enthusiasts. However, the essays are surprisingly on point. Think Road Hustler, but much shorter (and Soviet). If the social side of card cheating interests you, then add it to the list of the very few books that talk about this. I'd definitely read a full book of this stuff.

The tattoos are pretty wicked too, if you like tattoos. It's impressive work, especially compared to the usual kind of prison tattoo.
Last Laugh
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Here's an interview with one of the guys involved in the creation of the book:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/a3pyq......ng-cards
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Cagliostro
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I wonder if the Russian prisoner full body tattooed appearance had an influence on Daniel Madison and helped him create his contrived "mystique" in some way. After all, he does have that "Gulag" appearance from head to toe.

Does anyone know if this is so? Didn't Madison create his own unique playing cards also?

Hmmm...

Just a thought...but curious.

I only hope that Madison does not decide to do a fully nude magic show so people can read his tattoos and see he is really the best at card table artifice and better than Erdnase. Smile
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On Oct 20, 2018, Kimura wrote:

I'm interested in stoneunhinged's review, so I'll keep mine short. The essays provide a very good insight into the soviet prison system of the time, and includes some fascinating social content on how the "cardsharp" worked in this environment. The few paragraphs detailing how the cardsharp recruits and trains the next cardsharp is very interesting.



I don't really have much to add.

I myself am heavily tattooed, and have the whole series of these books--which is why I was notified by Amazon that a new book was coming out.

More playing cards and essays on Russian hustlers would have been welcome, but the information is a bit thin: as Kimura says, it's just a few pages here and there.

I also bought a deck of playing cards, which I kind of like. Here is a link:

http://fuel-design.com/russian-criminal-......ographs/

Suffice it to say: if you're into tattoos AND playing cards, it's a must buy. If you want to learn about Russian Gulag cheating methods because you're a completist (gotta have everything ever written about card cheating), then buy it. If you want serious, practical advice that you might actually use as a sharp or magician, then you don't need the book. It ain't Vegas, it ain't Atlantic City, it ain't Macau. It's the Gulags.

I might write more after I've read all of the essays. Otherwise, nuff said.
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