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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Mastering the Bottom Deal (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Cagliostro
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An open post to JFX, AMcD, Mr. Bones, Bobby Cash, Last Laugh, Tahur, StoneUnhinged, liamwilson, KardSharp89, Jason England, Taylor Haws and any other member I forgot to add who cares to comment.

It has been mentioned on this BB that it takes several years to master a deceptive bottom deal. Granted we are all have different abilities, inherent talent and skill sets...some learn manipulative moves quicker and easier than others. But for those on this BB who have mastered the bottom deal and find it sufficiently deceptive and smooth for demo purposes, here is my question:

Once you had decided to master the bottom deal, and once you have decided on the grip and technique to work on, from that point on how long did it take you to master a bottom deal to a level in which you felt you had mastered it sufficiently well to deceive for demonstration purposes. In other words, happy and confident in your mastery of the bottom deal...its smoothness and deceptiveness. Yes, I know some are never completely satisfied and are always tweaking and trying new methods. But that aside...your initial mastery of the bottom deal to the point you felt you had it. Also, how much time per day or week did you devote to the practice of attaining this mastery?

I'll start it off. I learned my initial bottom deal at 14-15 years age from Erdnase, exactly as written in that book using the left ring finger push-off. That was the only bottom deal I knew so there was no confusion as to which technique to learn.

I used a bridged sized deck of Aviator playing cards, very common for magician use at that time. I worked on it about one hour per day, in between my piano practice. (I never quite understood why my parents considered piano practice more important than learning a bottom deal.) Smile

Once I perfected the bottom card push-off, which was not very difficult, it was pretty much smooth scaling from that point on. At first I dealt very fast to get the move over with, but after a short period of time I found that relaxing the grip and dealing more slowly and smoothly the deal worked much better. And...it was more deceptive.

I would say it took about two-three week to have a pretty good and deceptive bottom deal with the Erdnase grip. I then switched to poker sized Tally Ho cards and found the Erdnase bottom deal to be easier for me with poker sized cards, because of the right hand take between the left ring and middle fingers.

I then switch to the Mechanic's Grip using the technique right out of Card Mastery by Mickey MacDougall, pushing the bottom card off with the left middle finger. At first the middle finger flash was too great for my liking, so I whittled it down to a slight finger motion and sometimes a squeeze. That worked great because I felt that the bottom card had to be loosened or moved to a certain degree, especially as the deck became a little worn or used.

I would say that within 6 -8 weeks I had a very smooth and deceptive bottom deal using the Mechanic's and Erdnase Grip with both poker sized and bridged sized cards. That is my experience with the move...believes what you will. If other say it took them 10 years to learn the move...or are still working on it...well...that is their experience.

(Of course I will add that over the years I mastered other techniques, but quite frankly after the first mastery, other methods were very easy and took almost no time to learn.)

So...I would be interested to hear from those who feel they have mastered the bottom deal well enough for demo purposes...smooth and deceptive. Forget application under fire. That is a different world but of course most don't believe it is. Smile
disgruntledpuffin
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I use a strike method favoured by Artanis, McMillen etc. It took several months to get it to the point it's at now. That said, I'm 29 and I started learning various other deals at around 14. That process surely provided a foundation that smoothed the path toward the deal I do now. I'd never go as far as to say I'd mastered it, but I'm happy with it.

If anyone cares to see:
https://www.instagram.com/p/Bn24yRJB_ya/......x73ysagq
Cagliostro
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@disgruntledpuffin: After several months, that is a very good demo bottom deal. It would probably be more deceptive if you turned the cards face down when dealing, but still it looks very good. Smile
Last Laugh
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I don't at all claim mastery, but:
I'd been noodling about with a few grips and had a very sloppy bottom with massive knuckle flash. After getting some good advice in this forum and repeated watching of Jason Englands bottom deal video, I settled on a mechanics grip with a squeeze out motion. That was the beginning of September. I now have a bottom that I use in performance which I feel is passable. On average, I've been spending 30 mins to an hour a day, most days since then.

It might be worth noting that I am also a life long musician.
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Bobbycash
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Cag,
One of the first books I got that really got me into learning about gambling moves was Gazzo and Britlands release of Phantoms. I got this book when I was say 13 or 14 years old. In it there is a bottom which I tend to go back to every year or so. To learn that bottom deal to a level where I could use it in a magic trick or demo was probably 9 months. Since the I’ve played with many bottom deals, with my main bottom grip deal being a mechanics grip using the loosening action described in “Fast Company”. It might be that I’ve gone down a rabbit hole and I’m just not satisfied with it being good enough, but I definitely haven’t mastered it yet.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Nov 2, 2018, Last Laugh wrote:

After getting some good advice in this forum and repeated watching of Jason Englands bottom deal video, I settled on a mechanics grip with a squeeze out motion. That was the beginning of September. I now have a bottom that I use in performance which I feel is passable. On average, I've been spending 30 mins to an hour a day, most days since then.

It might be worth noting that I am also a life long musician.


Believe it or not, being a musician and I presume playing one or more instruments is a big plus. I think playing the piano was a big plus for me. Mechanics grip with a squeeze out motion is a good technique. Couple of months with daily practice...that will work.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Nov 2, 2018, Bobbycash wrote:

One of the first books I got that really got me into learning about gambling moves was Gazzo and Britlands release of Phantoms. I got this book when I was say 13 or 14 years old. In it there is a bottom which I tend to go back to every year or so. To learn that bottom deal to a level where I could use it in a magic trick or demo was probably 9 months. Since the I've played with many bottom deals, with my main bottom grip deal being a mechanics grip using the loosening action described in "Fast Company". It might be that I've gone down a rabbit hole and I'm just not satisfied with it being good enough, but I definitely haven't mastered it yet.


That is one of the difficulties that people have is too many opinions. The only way to master this move is to have ONE good method, make sure you are doing it correctly and then practice, practice, practice, to the exclusion of all other bottom deals. For some that is hard to do. There is always a new shiny object to distract. But Damien Nieman's technique is pretty good from what I recall. It probably helps to watch a video of someone who is doing it correctly.

Keep on truckin'
Tahur
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Thanks for mentioning me in this post Cagliostro. It took me about four years to master the bottom deal. I practice every chance I have to perfect it and get the muscle memory in the hands and in my subconscious mind. I too started with the push off bottom deal description in the book Artifice, Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table by S.W. Erdnase(also known as expert at the card table). I practiced with the Erdnase grip and then realized its unnatural. I then tried the Artarnis bottom deal booklet. It helped because I remember it came with a audio file that you could listen to. He personally recorded the audio to guide along. Artarnis used a strike bottom deal if I remember correctly. I also tried Ed Marlo's cigar bottom deal on his dvd The Cardician. To make a long story short I ended coming to my conclusion and its my opinion that Richard Turners bottom deal is the best. I learned his Seesaw bottom deal from his dvd Best of the bottoms. He uses a push off deal in mechanics grip. Richard Turner has put in more practice time than anybody I know. I practiced with Bicycle cards then Bee cards now I use Aristocrat cards. Here is a link of a most recent demo https://youtu.be/mMxpKsGIe18
Just excuse some clothing in the background Smile who cares. Anyway hope to hear about the rest of the folks here on the Café and their journey with the Bottom Deal.

Sincerely Tahur
Last Laugh
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Quote:
On Nov 2, 2018, Cagliostro wrote:
But Damien Nieman's technique is pretty good from what I recall. It probably helps to watch a video of someone who is doing it correctly.

Keep on truckin'



I settled on a combination of Jason England and Richard Turner ideas - index finger on the corner of the deck like Richard, downward squeeze like Jason.

Then I got a hold of Damian Nieman's video and its pretty much exactly that same combination.
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liamwilson1125
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Thanks for mentioning me Cag.

Is that really you? This thread has a different tone of voice, but it's very helpful.

Mastery of the bottom deal takes me around 20 years. I first practiced bottom deal with full grip and I took the bottom card out between middle and third finger. Full grip was the only grip I knew back then. It took me around a year to do the move smoothly. With this grip I could do strike bottom.

Same thing with original Erdnase grip. It took me more than 6 months to feel comfortable with the grip and unlocking action. Then 6 months to deal it smoothly.

After 5 years of practicing these 2 grips, I tried 1st modified Erdnase, Gene Maze, Mechanic's grip and Master Grip. Surprisingly it only took me a month to deal smoothly for each of these grips. I also tried Marnase and Dr Elliott grips and they were not successful.

Right now my go-to bottom deal grip is Mechanic's grip with unlocking action that I come up with after years of experimenting and watching many great bottom dealers. It took me around 10 years to deal both smoothly and deceptively with this particular grip.

I have practiced 1 hour daily for the first 10 years, then 3 hours daily.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Nov 2, 2018, Tahur wrote:

...It took me about four years to master the bottom deal. I practice every chance I have to perfect it and get the muscle memory in the hands and in my subconscious mind...


That is an extraordinary amount of time to spend mastering a bottom deal. Unfortunately, as I write this post I cannot access your YouTube video. Maybe tomorrow I will be able to do so.

But this got me to thinking. How could I master a bottom deal, believe it or not, in two months that takes someone else four years to master. While I happen to have skillful hands, I am not exceptional. I am not a prodigy or special. I'm a pretty much a regular guy. What is the difference?

Well the first is I was not swamped with multiple techniques. That is an important factor. I had basically two options. (Keep it simple stupid.) Secondly, and this is important and my post with Last Laugh turned on a light bulb for me, I was a musician. I was practicing the piano for 2-3 hours per day, every day without fail. I was used to practicing musical passages over and over and over again, with variations in touch, in emotion, in speed and tempo, with various nuance, over and over and over again - endlessly. This was normal for me as it is for any serious musician.

So that is the way I tackled the bottom deal. And while I don't want to make light of the skill necessary to master a bottom deal, it is not even close to playing Chopin or Bach or any serious musician composition. In comparison it was simple, very simple. So it was easy for me to put in 1 hour per day to master this move. And that is why I had two methods, the Erdnase and MacDougall methods down in two months.

Hopefully this is helpful. Disciple to practice makes a difference. Having a good method makes a difference. So...that is my story. Hopefully it is helpful for some.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Nov 2, 2018, liamwilson1125 wrote:

...Mastery of the bottom deal takes me around 20 years...

...I have practiced 1 hour daily for the first 10 years, then 3 hours daily...


Very impressive...your imagination that is.

Are you a fiction writer or have you just read too many Harry Potter books?
Cagliostro
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@Tahur: Saw your video. Actually, your actual bottom deal technique is pretty good but too slow, and your hop is a little awkward. However, I would speed up the deal if you can. A little faster and instead of placing the cards one by one on the table, I would try pitching them as you would in a game. Also, don't expose the faces of the dealt cards when dealing.

Additionally, you might want to get a better deck to work with. Can you do the deal with a non-convex deck?
cbharrelson
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I cheat in a demo bottom deaL I USE LEPAUL concept of a simplified bottom deal. For real deal I use strike and squeeze out mechanics grip.
Cagliostro
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@cbharrelson: Yes, but how long did it take you to master a deceptive and viable bottom deal?
cbharrelson
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Several years because I spent a lot of time on bad techniques. When I came across a good technique a couple of years.
JasonEngland
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Cag,

I think the confusion you're having is related to the same issue that I took with you in the thread when I said you were crazy about paper taking longer to master than a difficult sleight.

If "mastery" of paper is being able to read it under fire, in any lighting conditions, without error and with all the distractions of a major casino or high-stakes private game, then why isn't "mastery" of the bottom deal held to the same (very high) standard? You're using the same word but with two vastly different meanings.

If your original argument had been that mastering paper was harder than becoming marginally proficient with gambling moves I probably wouldn't have even said anything.

If you ever hear me refer to anyone that has "mastered" the bottom deal, I'm talking about a very select few individuals that have a good chance of being able to get one past you while you're staring at their hands. I bet you'd agree that achieving this level of skill takes a lot longer than just a few months...for anyone. There may be 2-dozen people in the world that have mastered (in this sense) the bottom deal in my opinion. There might be 100 or so that are very good at it and several hundred that do "okay" bottom deals.

Jason

PS: Something in your large post above that I do agree with: Once you've mastered one version, other variants come quickly, or at least relatively quickly. I don't know if that's a universal experience or not, but I found it applied to me with the bottom deal and continues to apply to me with many other moves.
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Taylor Haws
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After almost a year of practicing the bottom deal, I do not consider myself to have mastered it at all. I think that there is a huge difference between getting down the basic mechanics of a deal and making a bottom deal smooth and deceptive.

this is a bit of a funny story. About two months into my quest to master the bottom deal, I thought I did it pretty good. whenever I did it for myself in the mirror, I didn't spot much difference between my bottom and my top. then I filmed myself bottom dealing and realized that I was terrible. I had terrible knuckle flash, the sound was obscene, and it overall simply looked like I was taking the bottom card. I was simply fooling myself while looking in the mirror. this is a mistake that I have repeated with plenty of other moves.

I consider myself to have come a long way since then, and I consider myself able to perform a somewhat decent bottom deal, but I certainly haven't mastered it.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Nov 5, 2018, JasonEngland wrote:

Cag,

If "mastery" of paper is being able to read it under fire, in any lighting conditions, without error and with all the distractions of a major casino or high-stakes private game, then why isn't "mastery" of the bottom deal held to the same (very high) standard?


Because they are not the same order of utility nor are we comparing like for like. One is real world accomplishment in a casino or card room environment to get the money without getting caught; the other is, at this point in time, is basically make-believe demonstration jugglery. Anyone who has ever been there and gone for the money in a meaningful way already knows this.

Further we really can't compare the learning curve for someone looking to learn a bottom deal for demo or entertainment purposes with someone looking to read top paper (and get the money) in a very tough and professional environment like a casino. It is would be naive to equate the two.

Moreover, in today's world, the use of a cut card in money games plus the additional use of cameras in all professional formats makes the bottom deal little more than an exotic flourish for magicians and demonstrators to discuss and attempt to master. Additionally, the omnipresent use of PLASTIC cards, often bridge-sized, further makes these bottom deal discussions and video demos unrealistic and not a reflection of reality since 99.9% of the time, poker sized paper cards are used for these demos.

The bottom deal was never designed for use in the modern tough conditions of today and is ineffective in current formats.

Quote:
If you ever hear me refer to anyone that has "mastered" the bottom deal, I'm talking about a very select few individuals that have a good chance of being able to get one past you while you're staring at their hands.
I bet you'd agree that achieving this level of skill takes a lot longer than just a few months...for anyone. There may be 2-dozen people in the world that have mastered (in this sense) the bottom deal in my opinion.


No, I don't agree with that at all!

This to me is little more than ad copy puffery designed to intrigue those who are attempting to learn this material and used as an inducement to buy a book, video product or lecture. First of all, it is subjective, anecdotal, objectively unverifiable and basically hearsay or magician/demo/show biz talk. "Two dozen people in the world?" Please, how could anyone objectively know that? It implies knowing and being in contact with all the best bottom dealers on the planet. As I said, it reads like ad copy to promote a product or to bolster a person's reputation as an all-knowing expert. No one I know who has been there would say something like that. To me this is would only be believable to those who have no real-world experience in card table hustling as they have nothing to compare the statement to.

Secondly the objective test I would use, and the test that any pro hustler would use is not how good something looks on video, although that would be consideration as part of the TOTAL criteria being weighed, but only a part. The real test is can you and do you get the money with this. That knocks out all the BS. It takes into consideration a myriad of critical additional factors; not just how good something looks on video with no serious adverse consequence of being caught.

Since you and I look at these things through a different prism, we cannot ever agree since the starting point of our analysis is 100 degrees apart. Being able to get the money is objective criteria. Either you can or you can't in specific instances...and that is verifiable.

Being able to do a bottom deal, even a superb bottom deal so perfectly that only "2 dozen people" on the planet can do it without objectively verifying its efficacy and success in tough money games over time is akin to the concept of the mythical center dealer who beats all "challengers" or the "phantom of the card table" who can never be caught.

It is puffery and insults one's intelligence. It is without objective substantiation and no rational person could possibly agree with the statement as posed. However, it works with those who have never been there since they have nothing to compare it to.

Better we discuss "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin." Smile
JasonEngland
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Cag,

I have no idea why you brought up all that other stuff. This has been (and will continue to be) an argument over your using the word "mastery" in two different ways, and yet trying to somehow draw conclusions from that.

I don't know if you know this or not, but that's an entire category of informal logical fallacy, known as equivocation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation

Had you simply said, "mastering paper is harder than being able to do a half-ass bottom deal" no one would've noticed. But when you use the same word in 2 different ways without clarifying that you're doing so, you get problems. Now that you've clarified your previous fallacy-ridden stance, we no longer disagree.

Jason
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