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TheMetalMagician
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This is probably a useless post without an accompanying video (I do plan to make one and post it soon) but I'll try.

I've been into magic for a little over 18 months. I still struggle with what should be routine moves, for example:

In-hands riffle shuffle
fanning
Sybil Cut
push-through false shuffle
in-the-hands up-the-ladder false shuffle
spring-set flourish
flip-out flourish
double undercut
erdnase change

These are all moves I've been practicing for months (maybe a few hours a month) and I still have to do them rather slowly to get them right, and even when I'm doing them slowly I still occasionally mess them up.

Here are a few moves that I simply can't consistently do at all and have pretty much given them up:
pinky count (yes, I can't even consistenlty do a good pinky count - I can pinky count down to 2 more consistently than higher numbers, but any more than 5, forget it)
the in-the-hands overhand false shuffle (where you run 5 cards, throw the balance on top, pick up the stock from the jog and un-run the 5 cards) - I have to do this one very very very slowly to even hope to get it right, and at that speed it's just dead obvious what I'm doing.
The card spring (where the cards riffle from one hand to another)
splitting the deck in two and fanning the halves at the same time in each hand

I'm not sure why I'm even posting this, I mean I don't have to be Bill Malone or Jeff McBride for people to enjoy watching me do card tricks. I guess I'm just trying to get a realistic evaluation of my talent so that I don't set unattainable expectations for myself.

Feel free to hold off on responding to this until I post a video - it shouldn't take long.
jim ferguson
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There are a few things in your list that you really don't need at all - for example, why do you feel you need a Sybil Cut, split fan, flip out flourish (whatever that is), or even a card spring ?

Also, that's a lot of things to be trying to get down at the same time.

Your time would be better spent working on the fundamentals, like the overhand false shuffle you mention.

There is an old saying that I'm sure you are familiar with - "don't run before you can walk". To be frank, and I say this with the best possible intentions, if you are having trouble with the double undercut and basic shuffling, should you really be attempting Sybil cuts, and two handed fans ?




Jim
JonHackl
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Yeah I agree with Mr. Ferguson. Pare down what you're working on a bit. Also, I find it helpful to work on moves without "working" on them. That is, just when I'm toying with the deck while reading, or in a Zoom meeting, or watching a movie.

For example, I've been doing an in-hands riffle shuffle since I was a kid, because my brothers and I used to play card games a lot. But I couldn't overhand shuffle to say my life when I started in magic as an adult. I don't mean false shuffles and controls. I just couldn't even shuffle that way. Cards would suck onto each other, slide, smack into each other, flip out and fall on the floor. It was pretty annoying.

All I did, though, was gently go through the motions with a deck in my hands while I was focusing on something else. Then one day I realised I was overhand shuffling at a decent pace, without ever having given it much mental energy. From there I built up the usual stock controls, full blind, etc.

I don't know if it would work for you, but maybe? Try to practice a couple things in that casual sort of way, and don't make it something that stresses you out.

What to cut and what to practice seems like an important question. Do you do much magic standing? If not, the in-hands riffle can go. I agree with cutting out flourishes, but my style isn't flourishy. I also don't do colour changes, even Erdnase (I have nothing against them; they're just not my style), but if you want them then the Erdnase change seems like the perfect thing to practice absently while playing with the deck.

If it's the running 5 cards bit that makes the false shuffle challenging for you, then you could absently just run single cards while watching TV. Don't stress if you get two at a time or miss a card or whatever. Just play and see if things get better in time.
"Magic is the only kind of entertainment where 90% of the audience is trying to ruin it for themselves." - Pete Holmes
TheMetalMagician
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Here's a video - I haven't read the 2 responses yet but thanks in advance for what I'm sure is useful advice:

https://youtu.be/7R7JB-S0cJc
TheMetalMagician
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I want to be a walk-around magician, so obviously I like in-the-hands as much as possible.
When I first got into magic I wanted to get into cardistry, hence the moves like the fans and the sybil cut, but now I'm questioning how much cardistry I'll really be able to do.

I try to do the erdnaise by pinky count 2 cards, double lift, change the cards and pinkycount double lift to make it look like it was one card that changed the whole time, but in the video (as you could see) I butchered the pinky count.

The overhand shuffle and running cards is something I've simply never been able to do. I guess I can focus on that because there are a couple tricks I do where it will be useful to be able to false shuffle that way. Any suggested tutorial videos?

I think that addressed everything in the first 2 posts. Thanks.
ssibal
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I watched the video. Based on the footage you just need to concentrate on a move and perfect it before trying to learn another. Keep in mind though that some of those moves that you demonstrated can take months to years to perfect. Also, you are all over the place as far as different types of moves. Maybe you should first figure out what type of card magic you want to do and then focus on those types of moves.
JonHackl
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If you're sure you're not going the cardistry route, then I'd drop that stuff for now, or just pick one flourish to play with for now. And if your goal is walk-around, you might leave tabled shuffles and cuts for now.

In-hands riffle is nice, but OH would be my focus if I were you. You could play with both, of course, but OH controls are very powerful. As for double undercut, it's certainly useful sometimes, but it's not as fooling in most contexts as we'd like a control to be. I think anything you can do with it you can do with an OH shuffle control, and it would be more convincing.

The most important tip I can give is to practice it on the side, so to speak. Don't block out an hour and burn your brain concentrating on it and stressing out. Just play with it while you're walking down the street or reading something. If you drop cards, you drop cards. If you run 2 instead of 1, just keep running. It will come.

When I started in magic (which was not long ago), I was very interested in stacked work. Now I'm interested in FASDIU, borrowed-deck stuff. But I decided early on that I wanted to learn to do a perfect faro shuffle. I was pretty sure it would take me years, so I didn't stress about getting it right. I just tried it. I just played with it while doing something else (lots of Zoom meetings last year, for example).

It didn't take years. It took a few weeks for me to hit the faro reliably. Now I don't use it for anything, but maybe it's a good example. I did something similar with overhand shuffle. I just thought it would take forever to get, so left it aside and just toyed with it. Heck, I still do OH shuffles in-between sets at the gym, because that became a habit for me. I'm not sure how long it took, but one day it just clicked and I could do them.

I don't know about videos to recommend. I hear Aaron Fischer's stuff on the OH shuffle is great. I read a few descriptions, watched a few youtube tutorials, but honestly for me it was just toying with it and not stressing about it that did the trick.
"Magic is the only kind of entertainment where 90% of the audience is trying to ruin it for themselves." - Pete Holmes
NicholasD25
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How did you decide which moves you should practice? Book? DVD? YouTube? I agree with what has already been mentioned. You should probably back up a little and spend some time on the basics: How to hold the deck, how to shuffle cards in the hands and on the table. Cards should be handled gently. Always keep a deck handy. If you’re watching TV, hold the deck in your hand . Get comfortable and familiar with the feel of the cards. The pinky count is a good move to practice when you’re just idling with the cards. As simple as the concept is, it’s not easy. If you persist, you’ll find that you can do five, ten, even fifteen cards. When you can do that, imagine how easy a simple double lift will be. Keep at it.
landmark
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My feeling is you need structure and direction in your learning. From looking at your video, I think you have the requisite dexterity; but you are jumping from one place to another because you don't have a clear plan about what is important in card magic, nor what effects you might want to do.

My suggestions:

(1) Get The Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard and Fred Braue. It's an inexpensive book that goes step by step. Each chapter deals with an important sleight, and then gives you tricks using those sleights. If you follow that program you will advance more quickly than you are now.

https://www.penguinmagic.com/p/573

If you already have the book, then actually work through it from beginning to end. Give the book six months and let us know how you're doing after that.

(2) For now, put aside the cards you're using. Just get some standard Bicycle or Phoenix decks and practice with those. I'm not sure, but I have a feeling you might have dry hands, which can affect the way you handle cards. It would be good to work consistently for the time being with a standard deck. If you do have dry hands, you might try O'Keeffe's or one of the other creams mentioned in many threads here on dry hands.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N3W70JQ/

(3) One thing that takes awhile for someone starting out with an new endeavor is to understand just what the learning curve is. Don't get discouraged; muscle memory in cards or learning a musical instrument takes time. Go slow at first, and then over time you can speed up.
jim ferguson
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I have now watched your video.

To add to my above post. After seeing your video, it may actually be your technique that is tripping you up. You have an odd way of doing some of the moves. For example, the way you split the cards and hold them for the push through shuffle is VERY odd. As is your grip for the erdnase change.

I'm going to take a guess here and say that you aren't learning these from the proper sources - I'm guessing YouTube tutorials ?

When it comes to things like false shuffles (and many sleights), the actual technique is important - so starting with the correct techniques will actually help you progress faster. Starting wrong will have the opposite effect, and actually hinder your progress.

My advice is to get some decent books. Royal Road, as mentioned above is a great place to start. The Mark Wilson book is also excellent, if you don't already have it. I'm not sure if it's just cards you're interested in, but the Wilson book will give you a good introduction to other branches of the craft as well.
While I don't have it myself, I've heard many good things about Harry Loraynes The Magic Book as well.

These books, when studied properly, will give you a far better grounding than any YouTube tutorials.




Jim
Tortuga
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I think Jim F. brings up some great points in all of his posts. One of the things I have noticed over the years is that when someone begins to doubt their abilities it pays to step back and observe how they are going about things. For example, it seems to me that you really aren't comfortable handling cards. Even a basic shuffle. So how on earth would you expect to be able to do advanced sleights? Jim's admonition about trying to run before you walk I think is apropos.

I would advise sitting down with the cards and just getting comfortable holding them, cutting them and shuffling them. Watch some others that know how and try to mimic them. Make sure they are reputable and not fly-by-night youtubers.

Then after you have developed a comfort level in which the cards "feel at home" in your hands, begin to learn some basic sleights. You really only need a few in order to do miracles with cards. Harry Lorayne is known to say all you need is a control, and a force is a control, a double lift and a palm and you can do miracles with a borrowed deck. To that I would add learning a lift shuffle or jog shuffle control. Particularly since you want to perform standing without a table.

Please, please don't feel offended by my characterization of your level of comfort with cards. It is just my observation, nothing more, nothing less. And as I said, I see it pretty often, so you aren't alone by any means. Not everyone grew up playing with cards, so in many instances, people are literally beginning at zero, even in their adult years.
jim ferguson
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Just to add - stop doubting yourself. As they say "Rome wasn't built in a day". Take your time, and concentrate on one or maybe two things at a time. You can be as good as anyone, but it will take time.


Best of luck.



Jim
Pop Haydn
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Don't blame yourself. A few hours a month is not much practice time. You should not expect to make much progress at that rate. If you were learning beginning guitar you would want at least a half hour a day four or five days a week. Sleight of hand is the same. It might take 10,000 hours of practice to get truly good at a difficult sleight. Concentrate on sleights that help create the magic, not the ones that are for showing off. Focus on the sleights you need to do the effects you want to do. Most of the good guys have worked four to eight hours a day to get there.

It takes a long time to get to the point that you enjoy practicing. Once you are there, it quickly becomes an obsession. Don't give up.
MGordonB
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Are lay people really impressed by moves like these?

In the Magic Book, Harry Lorrayne says he doesn’t teach fancy moves because he can’t do them, yet he somehow managed to eke out a 70 year career as a card magician.
davidpaul$
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I lived with a deck of cards in my hands. I also had a deck within reaching distance in my home, bathroom,bedroom,computer room etc., or on my person. When watching T.V., I was and practicing false cuts or pinky counts or whatever. When out to the movies, when a passenger in a car. Classic Passes, springing cards, one handed cuts, and Daryl's Hot Shot Cut as well as a move I thought I would never get, The One Haned Riffle Shuftle, slowly over time became second nature. Key wordS " OVER TIME " Like Pop said above. He should know right?
Have Fun
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davidpaul$
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Quote:
On Feb 16, 2021, MGordonB wrote:
Are lay people really impressed by moves like these?

In the Magic Book, Harry Lorrayne says he doesn’t teach fancy moves because he can’t do them, yet he somehow managed to eke out a 70 year career as a card magician.


I TOTALLY agree here. Although I can execute some fancy moves, I do so sparingly. I tend to handle cards in a way my audience is familiar with. Regular shuffles ( or appears that say, wink wink)
cutting cards, though may be false. I want to handle cards naturally. Makes my magic appear more believable. Imo
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
TheMetalMagician
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Quote:
On Feb 16, 2021, MGordonB wrote:
Are lay people really impressed by moves like these?

In the Magic Book, Harry Lorrayne says he doesn’t teach fancy moves because he can’t do them, yet he somehow managed to eke out a 70 year career as a card magician.


I can only speak for myself, but when I first got into magic, I was absolutely enthralled by Jeff McBride and Anna DeGuzman. I could spend a whole magic show doing nothing but watch either of them manipulate cards.

I played poker for 8 years before I got into magic. When I played at casinos, I would marvel just watching the dealer rainbow spread the cards and move the card from one end to the other. I felt awfully silly when I started practicing it for myself and realized that it's actually not that hard. When I do "shows", I have a key-card trick I do, and I always do the rainbow spread and the card along with a charlier, 3-pak shakur and sybil before I start the trick. Perhaps surprisingly, the card going back and forth along the rainbow spread almost always gets open eyes, an open mouth and "Wow!". The showing-off moves usually get "cool!" but not nearly the reaction of the rainbow.

I personally can't do the card spring (where the cards "shoot" from one hand to the other making "that sound"), and I'm not very good at fans, but when I'm with other magicians who can do them around laypeople, those are DEFINITELY 2 moves that I've seen FREQUENTLY get open mouths and WOWs from laypeople.

EDIT: I'll add Bill Malone to this list. The "flip-out flourish" is the flourish he uses at the beginning of the trick to produce the 4 kings. The trick wouldn't be the same if he just dealt them off the top of the deck IMHO. The "spring set flourish" is how he produces the deuces for the two-dollar tip. Again, I feel like it adds a level of artistry to the trick.

But I'm only one man - everyone's experiences and opinions may vary.
TheMetalMagician
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Other random points:
1. I *am* going to work harder on the overhand shuffle and running cards. There's one trick in particular that I do where it will be VERY useful to be good at both, and I'm sure I'll find others. I'm a member of the local S.A.M. chapter so I'm sure I can get some help from true pros if I want it.
2. I had very little structure or direction in the beginning - I did buy the "how to be a magician" kit from ellusionist, but other than that it really was just watching YouTube, Penn and Teller Fool Us and other magicians and just picking things out and saying, "I want to learn that!".
3. I ordered RRTCM and Mark Wilson(RIP)'s books. I've heard both books recommended several times each, so I figure there's no reason not to give them a try.
4. I do have Expert at the Card Table, but I find it a very difficult book to read and follow. I mean, yeah it has pictures, but with nobody standing there to whom I can say, "Am I holding it right?" I'm finding it challenging to follow.
landmark
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ECT is a great book, but it's not the book for someone who's looking for structure. It's kind of a great big grab bag of sleights, tricks, ideas that is good to dip into for specific items but I think RRTCM is more what you're looking for now.
Bob G
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Lots of great advice, here. I have one more suggestion. See if you can find a good teacher. I tend to be scattered in my learning, and am currently taking a few lessons, via Zoom, from an excellent magician who's also an excellent teacher. (I'd take lessons year round if I could afford it.) There's nothing like having an expert to guide you. I took piano for nine years, and will start again when we've got the Virus-which-must-not-be-named under control. That nine years was enough to give me the independence to keep going on my own during this crazy period. I can't imagine starting piano on my own, and magic is in the same realm of difficulty.


Bob
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