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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Phantom at the Card Table PDF at Trickshop (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Last Laugh
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Cagliostro
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Eddie McGuire wrote the original manuscript back in the 1930s I believe, describing Walter Scott's Second, Bottom and Punch deals. The original manuscript sold for about $50 back then, which is probably $150 - $200 in today's dollars. Years later, Gambler's Book Club published the original manuscript in book form (this PDF is a copy of the GBC booklet), and included Scott's Top Card Peek, his Slick Ace formula which he sent to Dai Vernon and some stories of Scott's exploits.

The second deal, punch deal and bottom deals are excellent and use a "dead" thumb or "strike" technique for the deals. There is a lot of hype about Scott and his demonstration fooling some of the top magicians of the era at Al Baker's house and his "beating all comers." The demo was a setup to fool some of the magicians present and I have written about it elsewhere on this forum. Those who are interested can do a search on this BB.

This is a valuable booklet and certainly an important acquisition for anyone who is interested in these type moves. This booklet is not the same as Gazzo's Phantoms of the Card Table, in which Phantoms is plural.

I still have an actual copy of the GBC booklet. This is a worthwhile purchase.
Cagliostro
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The Secret of the Palmettos by Jeff Busby is currently available on Amazon. It has a chapter on the Scott demo in front of Max Holden, Cardini and other notable magicians of the era at Al Baker's house and is a worthwhile read. It goes over the setup of the Scott demo to fool Holden and some of the other magicians present, who was involved and what they arranged as well as some interesting information on edgework on the Palmetto card and its unique characteristics.
Mr. Bones
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Busby's Palmetto book has been a placeholder on Amazon for years, but has always been listed as "unavailable".

As Cag notes above, it's a good read for those interested in the subject matter.
Busby may have been a mad man later in life, but he was an excellent writer in his prime.
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Last Laugh
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Bummer - hearing the Scott story from both perspectives sounds really interesting
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Shadow Art
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Thank you for the link, OP.
licker98
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I wish I had seen this sooner! Thanks very much for the link.
Cagliostro
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As a point of interest and writing from memory, the bottom deal described by McGuire in the original Phantom book (singular) is different from the bottom deal describe by Gazzo in his Phantoms book (plural). Perhaps Scott changed his bottom deal in later years or it was just another way he dealt bottoms.

The original Scott bottom deal used a straddle grip combined with a dead thumb technique (as describe by McGuire). The bottom deal described by Gazzo did not use a straddle grip. Rather it used a grip which Marlo subsequently named the Master Grip in Second, Centers, Bottoms. In that grip the left forefinger is at the upper right-hand corner of the deck. This grip was not original with Marlo or Scott as it was originally described in Expert Card Technique and Ireland's Lessons in Dishonesty.

It is my understanding that Scott made his living as a traveling musician and was not a professional card hustler, although in addition he may have hustled from time to time using his punch deal as well as possibly a light (shiner) and presumably a Slick Ace technique. He became somewhat of legend among magicians after his blindfold deal at Al Baker's house, attended some magic conventions and did his demos there. However, in later years his legend faded somewhat.

I have no doubt Scott's punch deal was superb. He used it in the five-card draw poker deal demo at Al Baker's house, as Hold'em was not played during that era. Because of the difficulty of catching an Ace or King and then dealing a second without any break in the rhythm, and to ensure that an Ace of King would be available on the next round of the deal, Scott used some ploys to augment his punch deal.

In order to get advance notice that an Ace or King was coming up, he used edge work on the cards (presumably what hustlers call scratch), and used an all-over back design like Bee cards. Knowing when a punched card is coming up on the deal before you reach that card is a big help in making the deal smooth and fast. Additionally, the allover back design makes the deal visually more deceptive.

He could also stop the deal after each round to ascertain if a punched card was coming up on the next round. (Keep in mind a total of five cards have to be dealt to each player.) If no Ace or King would be coming up on the next round, he would have one of the magicians shuffle the cards, (apparently to make sure they were well mixed at random and no chicanery was involved), but actually to redistribute the Aces and Kings and make sure one of those cards would be coming up on the next round. He would use this ploy to greatly ensure he would receive a five-card combination of Aces and Kings in his hand.

Since he could peek downward through his blindfold, he could see the edgework on the cards without the magicians present being aware he was doing so.

He could also hold the cards in his hand and say, "there is an Ace four cards from the top and a King four cards from the bottom" and so on simply by reading the edgework.

Scott was from a bygone era but I am sure he was extremely skillful with the punch, second and bottom deals he performed. However, because he was a traveling musician, because he associated with many magicians and gained his reputation among them and not among professional hustlers, I would say he probably was an amateur hustler at best, that is if he hustled at all.

In his later years, as more and more magician became aware of him and what his moves and gaffs were, he no doubt became primarily more of a magician/demonstrator at that point than a gambler.

In today's gambling world, his moves and methods would be somewhat dated and limited, nevertheless he no doubt was a very skillful guy with the moves he employed.
tommy
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Scott used a master grip and the straddle occasionally when the cards got sticky as I recall from the books and our discussions with Gazzo here. Does anybody know if Gazzo's videos of Scott were ever published?
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Bobbycash
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Tommy,
From memory (and mind you it isn’t as good as it used to be) I heard Gazzo in a podcast say he was looking for a distributor for it. He wanted to do an instructional as while he felt he couldn’t do the deal he felt he was still able to teach it.
tommy
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It is a long time ago now but as I recall somebody borrowed the films and without permission put up a few clips on a blog.
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

Tommy
Kimura
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This is off-topic, but the photograph of the blindfolded Walter Scott (seen in the Description on page linked above) is one of my all-time favourites. It's in Revelation as well.

I don't think there's a more interesting photo in magic - if anyone knows where I might find a high resolution version of the image, I would love to see it.
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