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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #1 
Looking for what I'm calling a "sanity check" for the Faro Shuffle to make sure I'm not training some wrong thing. I've been practicing it for many months and I just cannot reliably do a perfect Faro.

So rather than double down on my practice time, possibly ingraining a wrong assumption or handling, I wanted to get some clarification from the pros. BTW, my descriptions are of a right-hander doing it below.

1 - Is it, in fact, possible for the Faro wizards out there to do a perfect Faro with any deck any time, anywhere? If the answer to this question is "yes," then at least I will know that I need hundreds (at least) of hours more practice and will be working toward a do-able thing.

2 - If you are able to do a perfect Faro any time, anywhere, can it be done with any deck? Or does the deck need to meet certain conditions like a new but decently broken in deck, a treated deck (a la Steven Youell's 4-way buffer on the edges), a certain brand of deck, etc? Currently, I have much more luck with Christian's Phoenix Decks than with Bikes. In fact, I am not sure I've ever been able to do two perfect Faros in a row with regular Bikes. The Elites are better for me. But I have seen Paul Gertner on his videos and on Fool Us do perfect Faros with Bikes every time, which he'd have to in order to perform "Unshuffled." Are these just "normal" Bikes?

3 - Assuming you have the right cards, is there a method (or methods) that can produce the perfect faro, such that if you are not doing certain things, it will never happen? For instance. I've seen people insert just the corner of the right-hand packet at an angle, and then slide the packet down as they weave together. I've also seen folks appear to just push the two packets together, their ends butted against each other flush. And then there is the only way I've been able to do it, which is to bevel the edges of both decks, and start with the right-most corner edge of both packets (so corner-to-corner) and slide down while they weave.

4 - Holding the cards - Is there a right way and wrong way to grip the cards? I am pretty darned certain you need a finger to brace the bottom edges of both packets to keep blocks of cards from mis-aligning. But beyond that, are there certain places along the long edges you should or should not be gripping? I THINK I've noticed that if I grip too close to the tops (where the weave is to take place), the cards might have a harder time separating. But if I hold too far down the sides, they can separate too much? Not sure if I'm imagining this though. I get it right so seldom that true patterns elude me. Oh, and what about the backs of the decks? Need there be certain ways to grip the cards such that the top (right-most) of the right-hand packet has pressure in certain places? I've tried it where my right index finger is extended along the back of the packet. But I've also tried it with my index finger curled and only the tip of my finger on the back of the packet.

I'd really like to be able to do perfect Faro Shuffles all the time. And I'm totally willing to practice for hundreds or thousands of hours on a single sleight (I'm fairly used to this being primarily a coin guy :-P). I just need to make sure I understand what is possible and what is correct (at least not incorrect) before I continue doing tons of practice.

Any words of wisdom from the Faro ninjas out there? Thanks!

Ken 

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Craig Alan

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Reply with quote  #2 

Ken,

I learned an in the hands Faro specifically to perform Gertner's Unshuffled.  I have been doing this for many many years.  The trick requires 8 perfect faro's, 5 to set up and 3 in performance. I can knock all 5 of the setup faros in about 45sec-1min.

Granted this is using a deck that is strictly for faro's and has been "faro trained"  HOWEVER, if deck is cut nice, there is no reason that you can't faro straight out of the box.


Personally, I start with the corners and the pressure is VERY light.  

It would be literally impossible and very time consuming to explain in text, if you would like to have a "Skype Faro" session let me know.  I would be happy to share what I know.

Craig

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks Craig. That sounds great. I appreciate that and would love to do that. I'm relatively wide open, schedule-wise. Whenever is convenient for you would probably work for me.

Cheers!

Ken
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ShaunRobinson

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Reply with quote  #4 
I use the Faro a fair bit as I'm a huge fan of Alex Elmsley's work; these aren't definitive answers, just my experience.

1. Any deck, any time, anywhere? No. Some decks won't faro, they need to be in good condition, no heat warps or excessive crimping. Some cards faro extremely well and some won't faro at all.
2. Any deck or special prep? The decks that do faro don't need any kind of work. Elmsley pioneered the corner buffing technique for the cards he was using, but quality and standards have moved on.
3. Method? I've heard people say that USPCC are cutting decks in such a way now that they can only faro from the bottom up, and not the top down.
4. Grip? There's a variety of ways that the cards can be held (hence table Faro's are possible) but the key to all grips is squared packets, even pressure and as little surface area contact as possible (Dariwn Ortiz tipped this on his Penguin Lecture).

Michael Close is going to be the best source I could recommend to learn it. As with everything, he breaks it down very well.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #5 
Shaun,

Thanks for that. It really helps! 

What source do you recommend for Michale Close on breaking the Faro Shuffle down like you mentioned?

Cheers!

Ken
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ShaunRobinson

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Reply with quote  #6 
https://www.michaelclose.com/products/learn-the-faro-shuffle-download?variant=746458771
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunRobinson
https://www.michaelclose.com/products/learn-the-faro-shuffle-download?variant=746458771


Awesome! Thanks.

Ken
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Mats Kjellstrom

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You can download a free ebook about the Faro Shuffle here:

http://www.lybrary.com/faromania-p-680843.html

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Rudy Tinoco

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Thanks for sharing this, Mats!

Rudy

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #10 
This is the way I do it. Lots of years just taking a deck and just doing it. Tally Ho's faro nice. Shot at work at my desk with my cell phone set on top of a paper stacker and held in place with a tape dispenser.




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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #11 
Thanks for that, Dan! One thing I notice about your video is related to a question I was asking  where to grip along the sides. Your right hand holds much closer to the back of the deck, no grabbing at all on the front half on either side of the RH packet. The left-hand packet is different, though. Your thumb is well toward the back half, but your left pinky is about an inch below the top (by which I mean the end meeting the other packet) of the packet. Very interesting.

Cheers!

Ken
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #12 
Yes Mats. Thanks for that!!

Ken
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShaunRobinson
https://www.michaelclose.com/products/learn-the-faro-shuffle-download?variant=746458771


Just bought that [smile].
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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #14 
Glad that helped. I remember it took a while to work out how to do it. I followed different directions including beveling the cards which I didn't like.

Different decks handle differently depending on how they are cut. I usually faro with the backs towards me.
I think Richard Turner Gold Seals suck if you try to faro like that but if you reverse the deck with the faces towards me, they faro beautifully.
Whenever I get a new type of deck I take it out and see how they faro.

Funny thing is, I don't do much with the faro.

One other problem I have is cutting at exactly 26 unless the trick is set up with a stack where I know what card to break at.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN

One other problem I have is cutting at exactly 26 unless the trick is set up with a stack where I know what card to break at.


The main reason I'm wanting to do this is for memdeck work. So at least I'll know when I've cut properly.


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ShaunRobinson

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN

I think Richard Turner Gold Seals suck if you try to faro like that but if you reverse the deck with the faces towards me, they faro beautifully.


This is due to how the cards are cut. If you take the same deck that doesn't faro well face down and faro it in the opposite direction you usually do (if you start your weave at the top, try starting it at the bottom or vice versa) and you'll notice they do infact faro. When the cards are cut they get a rounded edge depending on which way around they're cut. If you held the card up flat in front of your eyes, face to floor and back to ceiling, under a microscope it would look like the nose of an airplane at the short edges, rounded at the top and flat at the bottom. 


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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #17 
I can only do it with a new deck. And by that i mean once in every ten tries. But i will never give up [smile]
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Magicmason

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
This is the way I do it. Lots of years just taking a deck and just doing it. Tally Ho's faro nice. Shot at work at my desk with my cell phone set on top of a paper stacker and held in place with a tape dispenser.






Dan (Evil Dan) is right.  I find Tally Ho decks to work great for faro.  I butt two ends together... weave a little... and it seems to work. Angled slightly.  For some reason bicycles give me a little more grief when they are new.  And oddly enough they faro backwards better when new.  (That probably does not make much sense)






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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #19 
Not sure if this helps, but it's really a light touch.
I used to try and jam the cards together because that's what it looked like on some examples.
But, it's a light touch and once you get it started, they seem to fall in place.

One thing that will mess me up is if the deck doesn't sit flush on the edges. If the cards are used to the point where there are slight bends or creases, that's just extra space that a card will have to compensate for. And sometimes compensation means skipping a card in the faro.

The way to combat this is to try and hold the cards compressed so that they do lie flat. Don't kill yourself. Crack open a new deck.
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Reply with quote  #20 
Ken -- Hello!  You've been given great advice from the posts above (EVILDAN's demo really captures the smoothness of the shuffle, for sure!).  Like many guys here on the Forum, I leaned to Faro entirely from Harry Lorayne's description of it in Close Up Card Magic (as Stevie Ray pointed out in a post elsewhere on this Forum, Lorayne uses the line "Just when you are ready to give up -- that's when you'll get it.").  I'm certainly no expert at it, but here are a few thoughts humbly offered which might help you....

  • Even the very best cardguys break the shuffle and try it again whenever the cards are not "cooperating" (it can be "finicky").
  • Many routines do NOT require a perfect Faro, only the top 8-16 cards, and sometimes only the upper half of the deck.
  • Although speed is one important goal regarding the shuffle and some guys can Faro extremely fast (note Craig Alan's post, above!), with patter you can sometimes actually draw attention to the careful manner of your shuffle and allow more time during the performance to execute it.
  • Some guys prefer top to bottom, bottom to top, etc.  After awhile it becomes relatively easy to shuffle either way.  Bottom to top is important if you want to table Faro. 
  • A card clip (I prefer those made by Joe Porper) is a great device to maintain and condition a deck of cards -- everyone I know uses one.
  • It makes things easier if the deck has no air between the cards (a quick gentle thumb riffle usually solves this issue).
  • Aiming to break the deck at the half rather than at card 26 seems to make it easier.  By the way, whenever I break the deck, the upper portion always seems a little larger than the lower portion (even though I am working with perfectly even packets); it is all a matter of getting use to whatever perspective works for you.
  • Before attempting the weave, make sure the packets are as square as possible -- this makes a big difference in the success of the shuffle.
  • After watching many guys Faro, it seems to me that the actual grip (although similar) depends on the individual (the term used a lot is "knacky") -- you might try experimenting with the exact forward/backward placement of your fingers to control the degree of tension on the cards. Additionally, the fingers and thumbs should make it impossible for the cards to weave in any direction OTHER than into each other.
  • When things really go well the entire action is very smooth -- it feels like a hot knife cutting through butter rather than forcing cards together (note the "light touch" mentioned by EVILDAN).
  • As already pointed out, sometimes it is just "not in the cards" -- not every deck is Faro-able (at least for me!).
  • Pointed out in Nick Pieri's recent lecture, imperfect Faros can be easily adjusted in certain situations; check it out if you haven't seen it already.
  • Many routines only require one Faro or possibly two; three is fairly rare (at least in my study of card magic).  Although it's nice to be able to Faro eight  consecutive times (returning the deck to its starting order), that would NEVER be a requirement in front of an audience and under pressure.
I know that you are really committed to learning this shuffle -- don't give up (if you are only "doubling" a few cards in the shuffle, success is right around the corner)!  As yo will see from Mats Kjellstrom's incredible list, this shuffle opens the door to hundreds of great routines.  Hope this helps - best wishes -- johnny
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
This is the way I do it. Lots of years just taking a deck and just doing it. Tally Ho's faro nice. Shot at work at my desk with my cell phone set on top of a paper stacker and held in place with a tape dispenser.






Nice, Dan!!

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #22 
Thanks Johnny. Good stuff there. I had a Skype session with Craig Alan earlier today and he showed me his method and gave me some great tips. Thanks Craig! I've also gone through Michael Close's ebook (with videos) today, which also is helping tremendously. 

I'm so grateful to everyone who replied here! You've answered every question I asked in the original thread and I'm ready to dive into getting to the perfect Faro on-demand (with the right deck of course[smile].

Cheers!

Ken

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Mats Kjellstrom

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Reply with quote  #23 

Watch UNSHUFFLED by Paul Gertner:


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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #24 
Yes Mats. This is one of the tricks I hope to learn one day. I have Paul's Penguin lecture, which has Unshuffled on there.

Ken
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #25 
For Unshuffled here's a couple of tips:

1. Go around the edges of each card with a Cascade soap bar, then wipe off the excess soap. Riffle shuffle the deck several times to break it in.

2. To know where to cut for each sequence add a mark to the side of the key cards. There are so many marks on the deck, a few more won't be noticed.

I Faro by resting the cards on my right little finger. I think this is a Derek Dingle idea and might be in the book Richard Kaufman wrote.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #26 
Thanks Bob.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #27 
Update: I opened a new pack of Tally-Hos this afternoon. And tonight I did 8 perfect Faro's in a row! They weren't effortless. And several were false starts where I saw the weave become imperfect and separated the pack. But I did it!

Now comes the work of making it more deliberate and avoiding those initial erroneous weaves. All the assistance here was taken into consideration. And ultimately I used Michael Close's method as my guide.

Thanks again to everyone for all the help!

Ken 
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #28 
And I jut did it again - 8 out faros in a row to bring the deck back to original order. Woohoo!

Ken
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #29 
Nice lah.
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Barrett S

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Reply with quote  #30 
Hi Ken, probably the last thing this post needs is another post.  But...

First congratulations!  There are many methods that are taught by super-excellent folks. Some look different, some feel different.  Most have a common theme.  You'll probably know what I mean. And this is for an in the hands faro.  I'd have mentioned Michael Close's method, but you've seen it.

IMHO you broke the code of many moves.  Just don't give up and ask someone else.  And then practice the right way, whatever way you choose.  

Special message to Michaelblue.  When I was learning this (still learning), I found some interesting facts about cards.  Your post about new decks only brought back some memories. Check your PM please - also feel free to use that upper right key on the keyboard if the PM means nothing...

Thanks and again congrats Ken.  

p.s., thanks to Chi Han for the new colloquialism I now know [smile]


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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmfbls


p.s., thanks to Chi Han for the new colloquialism I now know [smile]



You mean "Nice lah"? I didn't really get it. What did I miss?

But yeah, thanks Chi Han!

Ken
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Barrett S

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Reply with quote  #32 
Hey Ken... nice catch on that one.  Yes.  "lah."  Now that could have been multiple things.  Typo.  Fell asleep on keyboard.  Or a term that I don't know and should.  

This exact same thing happened with another member.   I wrote something and got back "Baller."  

Urban Dictionary (great site, bit blue) to the rescue.  I will give you the pleasure of looking up lah or both if you wish.  Chi Han expanded my vocabulary for sure along with my other pal.

And there is a bit of irony here.  I am VERY old.  Like I was born prior to time starting.  So.  That second one was a bit of a ? for me, because it meant something different back when dinosaurs and I populated the earth.  Could I use it?  Yep.  But it's like when I talk about the silent films I used to go to prior to the automobile being invented.  No one gets it.  

:-)

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #33 
Thanks!

Ken
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #34 
Hahah, lah is a type of exclamation that a lot ofsouth east asian (especially Malaysia or Singapore) add to the end of a sentence.  Think of it as an exclamation mark.  Basically congratulations and good job on getting it!
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi Han Yeo
Hahah, lah is a type of exclamation that a lot ofsouth east asian (especially Malaysia or Singapore) add to the end of a sentence.  Think of it as an exclamation mark.  Basically congratulations and good job on getting it!


Thanks!

Ken
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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #36 
Ken,

Faro... the 'F' word of card magic!

If your motivation is to do mem-deck work, Darwin Ortiz explains a method for getting into Si Stebbins from NDO in "At The Card Table." Steven Youell showed it to me and recommended committing Stebbins order to memory. You always have a key, it contains a four-handed royal flush deal and the spread display will withstand momentary scrutiny.

I recommend using a stopwatch; I have one on my iPhone. Time yourself as you make your way through eight out-faros. If your weave is sketchy, use a false faro and then continue. As you work towards a personal best, try looking away from the action. Nico Pierri has mastered the faro and can do it blind. After all, it really is about 'feel.'

Do take time to examine each beautiful, mathematic spread; memorize the key card split for each 26/26 cut (with faces toward you--KC, AD, 7C, 4D, 9S, 5S, 3S, 2S.

A light touch has been mentioned several times here. If you are having problems with random doubles within the deck, it's likely resulting from a 'death grip' on the packets. Nice and easy does it.

I highly recommend Nico Pierri's Faro Poetry. Nico is back in Buenos Aires today. You can PM him to place your order.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #37 
Stevie Ray - I believe it may be a bit late for that, since I committed myself to the Aronson stack several months ago. It's now so ingrained into my subconscious that there is no "translation" process in my brain. You say 10 of diamonds and I immediately think "32." And vice versa. It took a lot of hard work to get to this stage and my memdeck work has ventured into the intermediate with estimation and multiple card locations, adjustment of imperfect estimated cuts, math applications, etc. So I think it would be unwise for me to try and learn another stack.

Some of the stuff that Michael Close does with the Faro can be replaced with false shuffles. But the effect is definitely better with a couple of honest shuffles. 

And I already have Nico's Faro Poetry[smile]. I bought it from him a few months ago before I realized that it was out of my reach until I became better at doing the Faro, though I'm getting there now, thanks to the help I've gotten here.

Ken
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MagicTK

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Reply with quote  #38 
I've been doing the Faro for about 24 years, and I like to practice various handling such as starting from the top-down, down-up, left hand.  Many newer decks Faro quite nicely, but I have a few brand new ones that have weird cut edges, and won't Faro unless I turn the deck face up.  Or if I do try them face down, it takes a whole lot more work to get them.  I even have an old Aviator deck that still Faro's quite nicely. Some brands just won't at all.  Usually, I start with the top corner of the packet in my right hand and push it on the edge (not corner) of the packet in my left hand.  I also typically use a slight, and very light, sawing motion or sliding motion, but not enough to grind the cards away, if this makes any sense.  I mostly use the Faro for Sharp Shooter by Bob Stencil, so I only need the middle stack perfect Faro'd for my handling.

I also love practicing the Faro without looking at the cards, doing it entirely by feel.  Sometimes just with the cards already cut in half and other times from a full uncut deck, then cut without looking, then Faro without looking, then look at the result.  For me, it has helped me to not focus on what the cards are doing, and they just mesh.  And as mentioned above, many times, you don't need every card perfect, but you need a block of them like just at the top or just middle or just bottom to be perfectly meshed.

Here's a short video of my demonstrating a few handlings of the Faro.  I know these are not all perfect, and the camera isn't maintaining focus, but for 5 minutes of work and low lighting, it's not too bad.  It's an unlisted link, but it should still work.


Side Note:  about 23 years ago, I had seen Paul Gertner at Abbott's in Colon, Mi, and I bought his book and stuff at that time.  I asked if he would write UNSHUFFLED and the card name on the deck, because his writing was neater than mine.  I still have that deck, yes, just regular Bikes.  He is awesome, and I really liked his updated presentation on Fool Us.

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #39 
Thanks MagicTK

Ken
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #40 
Thanks to the help I got here, I've improved my Faro enough to be able to open Nicolas's "Faro Poetry" and start through that. I've had the book for awhile, but wan't good enough with the Faro to put anything in it to use. I'm also going to go back to the Gertner lecture and finally learn Unshuffled[smile].

Thanks again everyone!

Ken
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TheMiracle419

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Reply with quote  #41 
I've only been practicing magic for a few months. The Faro Shuffle has been the most intriguing move thus far and I've struggled. But no longer. The best tutorial I've found is Chris Ramsey's. I rewatched it the other day and grabbed a deck today to try again. After a few janky shuffles, I now find it difficult not to get a perfect shuffle. The cards do it almost automatically now. It's like running over bubble wrap with a forklift: so satisfying. Keep at it, folks. Once it happens, it's almost automatic. Really. I promise.
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #42 
I do a perfect far once out of every 500,000,000 times
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #43 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMiracle419
I've only been practicing magic for a few months. The Faro Shuffle has been the most intriguing move thus far and I've struggled. But no longer. The best tutorial I've found is Chris Ramsey's. I rewatched it the other day and grabbed a deck today to try again. After a few janky shuffles, I now find it difficult not to get a perfect shuffle. The cards do it almost automatically now. It's like running over bubble wrap with a forklift: so satisfying. Keep at it, folks. Once it happens, it's almost automatic. Really. I promise.


The fact that you used the word, “janky” means that we are kindred spirits.
Add the fact that you can do a consistent faro shuffle has won you a place in our Inner Circle.

Welcome to the Magician’s Forum!

Rudy

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TheMiracle419

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Reply with quote  #44 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy Tinoco


The fact that you used the word, “janky” means that we are kindred spirits.
Add the fact that you can do a consistent faro shuffle has won you a place in our Inner Circle.

Welcome to the Magician’s Forum!

Rudy



Wow! I'm honored.

I already wore out the deck I was nailing the perfect shuffle with. They're now more often off by one or 2 cards with other decks. Brand new, traditionally cut decks are the easiest to work with.
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