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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #1 
This is a continuation of another topic that got derailed
I was NOT the one asking the question, but the OP's question was:

How many Sleights and which ones should you learn?

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mark lewis

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You need a balance. I have always known that it is foolish to use skill in a trick beyond the bounds of necessity. If you don't need it and easier methods are available which achieve the same ends deceptively then do it that way. I have seen some incredible technicians that couldn't entertain if their lives depended on it. They have spent so much time developing their technical expertise that they neglect the most important part of the equation which of course is the presentation. If you have the personality of a dial tone then it doesn't really matter how many sleights you know.

You can get by as an excellent card magician with only five moves or so. Chan Canasta only knew one! And yet 90 percent of his work was with cards!

On the other hand it is a good thing to know a fair bit of sleight of hand. It can get you out of trouble in awkward situations and it helps you with  your creativity when  you want to alter a trick to suit  yourself better. In general the more you know the better but it is not essential and can even be detrimental if you are not careful. One great thing it gives you is a metaphysical benefit which is hard to put into words. Even if you never use much of it you will find it gives you an aura of authority to your work and  the audience somehow senses this on a metaphysical level.

In my opinion a GOOD magician would be better off getting the basics of magic. Like a musician learning the scales. Get those few essential sleights so you can do them inside out and backwards. Then work on the PRESENTATION. What you are going to say with the tricks. That is FAR more important than the trick itself and don't listen to anyone who tells you different. Once you have that mastered (and it will take a long time) then you can fiddle about with sleights and novel diversions to your hearts content.

In the end YOU are the magic not your sleights or your tricks. YOU! First, last and foremost. YOU!  A good magician does not present magic. He presents HIMSELF doing magic!

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Jake07712

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Reply with quote  #3 
I always thought that slights were useless unless you needed it for a specific routine. When using your own deck, you could probably eliminate a good number of the most common ones by learning to use a corner short.
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #4 
This is clearly a question perhaps better answered by people with actual experience.  From my perspective though, I want to learn every sleight, whether I use it in a trick or not, I like sleights.  I practice far more sleights than I use, and have probably forgotten more than I know.  EVERY SLEIGHT!  (Except the Anti-Faro.  That's a doozy....I'll probably start learning before the end of the year though.  It looks like so much fun.)
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #5 
   I think I recently posted about this somewhere on this forum - perhaps that's the one that's been deleted. Anyway, I've written it many times in many books  over the decades. You  can do impromptu card miracles with only three basics - a good control (a force can be considered a control) and good double lift/turnover and a good palm. In an early book, when I mentioned this, I included an example using just those three maneuvers, called Strange Voyage. I use it to this day, as do others all over the world.

    You can go Screencardguy's way - but in my opinion - what a waste that is and would be.  In the Foreword of my book, THE MAGIC BOOK, I wrote that one of the things I want to accomplish here is to save you the decades that I wasted learning/practicing card sleights THAT I NEVER USED! 

     Doesn't it make complete sense to spend your time learning/practicing sleights that you tend to/want to/have to use in an effect/routine that you want to perform? (One of things I've noticed over the years is that quite a few card guys who tell me that they practice sleights that they really never use in performances do the sleight that they DO use in performances - badly!)
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Unfinished Sentenc

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Reply with quote  #6 
For me, I only learn sleights that I know which I would really use. I would have rather learn more about the other aspects of magic - presentation, routining, etc. - than to learn sleights that I know that I won't use much, or not use at all. When I started learning magic, I also wanted to learn all the sleights that I read about. There's nothing wrong with that IMO but after a year of learning as much as I can, I realized that I needed to slow down a bit and focus more on the fundamentals first. 

As Mr. Lorayne stated, just knowing a good control (including force), a good double lift/turnover and a good palm would enable you to perform a large number of powerful effects. 

In addition to the above-mentioned three sleights, some of the most important sleights  (for me) are:

False shuffles and cuts
Faro
False counts (Elmsley, etc.)
Top Change

I suppose that Bruce Lee's quote may be applicable here somewhat.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Nonetheless, it's also important to learn more sleights and variations since knowing more techniques can help you to create your own effects. 

The challenge here is to find the balance...

 

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #7 
My answer: Only as many as needed and no fewer.

I agree with Harry's theory of three basic sleights and Mark's admonition to focus on presentation. Far too many magic hobbyists appear clueless that without the ability to tell a story and create an interesting context, the tricks can become mere puzzles. Rather than "How'd you do that?!", I would prefer to hear, "That was fun! Do you know any more?!"

Remember: sleights are, by definition, invisible; your presentation, showmanship, and story are where the real magic lies!
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
   I think I recently posted about this somewhere on this forum - perhaps that's the one that's been deleted. Anyway, I've written it many times in many books  over the decades. You  can do impromptu card miracles with only three basics - a good control (a force can be considered a control) and good double lift/turnover and a good palm. In an early book, when I mentioned this, I included an example using just those three maneuvers, called Strange Voyage. I use it to this day, as do others all over the world.

    You can go Screencardguy's way - but in my opinion - what a waste that is and would be.  In the Foreword of my book, THE MAGIC BOOK, I wrote that one of the things I want to accomplish here is to save you the decades that I wasted learning/practicing card sleights THAT I NEVER USED! 

     Doesn't it make complete sense to spend your time learning/practicing sleights that you tend to/want to/have to use in an effect/routine that you want to perform? (One of things I've noticed over the years is that quite a few card guys who tell me that they practice sleights that they really never use in performances do the sleight that they DO use in performances - badly!)


I can't agree more with Harry's points, but I still won't be changing my ways!  I'll definitely be the first to admit that pretty much all my sleights are done badly, but I'm working on it!  Having plenty of sleights is just fun for me.  I guess if I were a professional entertainer things might be different, but self-enjoyment of magic is a big part of what keeps me going, and while that includes entertaining people, it also includes challenging myself and learning new things.  Plus who knows, one day all those moves might come in handy!  I've spent a lot of time practicing the HaLo cut, and don't have any routines for it.  But it came in handy one time when I needed to improvise a 4 card production.  I probably should read the Magic Book though, everyone speaks highly of it.  Can I just say, that Rim Shots was an absolute life changer for me.  I got the Classic Collection Volume 2, and while Reputation Makers and AfterTthoughts were fantastic, Rim Shots has been an absolute wonder.  I think I've read and re-read sections of that book at least every other day since I've gotten it.  I don't think I've consulted a book more since Expert at the Card Table.  I'm pretty sure though that I won't be using 90% of what's in it (I actually use more from Jaw Droppers, which I haven't even finished!), but it is definitely an enjoyable read!
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScreenguardGuy
I've spent a lot of time practicing the HaLo cut, and don't have any routines for it.  But it came in handy one time when I needed to improvise a 4 card production.  I probably should read the Magic Book though, everyone speaks highly of it. 


Hi Screenguardguy! I hope that you're doing well!

Since you spent the time working on Harry's Halo Cut, I would highly recommend that you at least try "Halo Aces", "Halo Aces Royal" and "One-Eyed Jack Sandwich". These are just three fantastic tricks that use this move. There are a lot more in the books that you mentioned that on your shelf.

I couldn't find a video of Halo Aces Royal. But here is Halo Aces...


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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #10 
     Please, don't misunderstand. I'm not saying that you shouldn't learn other, many other if you like, sleights. What I'm saying is for "newbies" basically. Learn those three basics, perform, learn to handle an audience (of one or twelve), which happens pretty automatically as you perform. And, if you're like most, you'll learn new sleights - THAT YOU'LL USE - as time goes by. I mean, I don't have to tell you, at least I hope not, that although there are many things I don't bother with, 'cause I have to particular use for them - like passes, second/bottom deals, top changes, panoramic shifts, etc - I sure as h*ll use many others that I've learned from others or devised over time.

     Need I mention Elmsley Count, Double Cut, Braue Secret Reversal and Secret Add-On, Jordan Count, Ultra Move, HaLo Cut, The Lorayne Spin, The Lorayne Force, Spread Control, Angle Spread, Universal Reversal, Super Peek, Perfect Faros (which I rarely use now 'cause I work only with borrowed decks - check out JAW DROPPERS!), Hindu Shuffle, Sweet 4-Card Change, different double turnover variations, Illogical Double Lift, To Catch An Ace #5, The Scoop Change, Status-Quo Shuffle, Non-Faro Faro, and on and on. Point is - these are things I've USED over the years, and still use.  Anyway...
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #11 
Harry is right. I would read what he says most carefully.  In the long run you will be a far better card magician and get more reaction from laymen if you do what he says.  Both he and I can do many different sleights but that is not what we focused on when we learned magic. All those moves came along for the ride and hopped on our train for the journey. Concentrate on ENTERTAINING THE PEOPLE and the moves will arrive automatically as you progress in magic.
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Charlie

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Reply with quote  #12 
What I've been spending my time on recently, outside of sleights used in the tricks I'm learning, are things that I guess would be considered basic card handling. I wasn't really putting in a lot of practice on sleights which were easy to grasp, but essential in almost every card effect and as a result I was nervous in front of spectators. Getting a break, transferring the break, stepping the deck, card control shuffles and cuts.  Glimpses/peeks. Forcing cards ( I try to force every card I have selected), double turnover/lifts, palming cards. False counts like the elmsley and jordan, Paul Harris version of the Carlyle count.  Adding and subtracting cards from packets.

I'm sure there should be more to my list but I want to be very comfortable with those things because they are used all the time. I also love practicing top changes

I've learned a lot of other sleights but practice them in context of the tricks I'm using.

 
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #13 
  What tricks depend on the Carlyle Count - whatever that is? Guess I'm out of the loop.
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Charlie

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
  What tricks depend on the Carlyle Count - whatever that is? Guess I'm out of the loop.


It's not used very often I suppose. I use it for the last phase of las vegas leaper, which is a cards across trick but it seems like ti could be a good utility false count as well. Maybe not.
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudy Tinoco
Hi Screenguardguy! I hope that you're doing well! Since you spent the time working on Harry's Halo Cut, I would highly recommend that you at least try "Halo Aces", "Halo Aces Royal" and "One-Eyed Jack Sandwich". These are just three fantastic tricks that use this move. There are a lot more in the books that you mentioned that on your shelf. I couldn't find a video of Halo Aces Royal. But here is Halo Aces...


Hahah, these are great routines!  I practice a number of the ones in Rim Shots and Jaw Droppers that use it, but they're not really material that I'm doing at this point in my life for other people.  I'll perform them for myself!  But other people I've started to be more discerning with my effects.  I only want to do tricks that I think are good for me.

I have 2 simple criteria for choosing whether I want to perform a trick for others.  First I want to be able to do the trick to a standard where I'm comfortable with it.  Comfortable with the patter, the moves, and even (in those rare cases) with getting it wrong.  I want to make sure that if I do a trick no one will catch me, and if they do I have ways of getting out.  Secondly I want it to be a trick that I can present as me.  I think I've made one exception, and that's Sam the Bellhop, which I perform slightly differently, but very much like Bill Malone, but that has special significance.  At this point in my life, I just don't feel very 'me' doing some material.  I've spent hours learning ring through rope stuff for instance.  It's one of the most fun routines I know, and I very rarely perform it for other people even though I get good reactions.  I feel like when I do it I turn into a Gregory Wilson imitator, even if I try writing out different patter, I feel like the rhythms aren't there yet.  One day I hope to have developed my character and self as a performer well enough to showcase some of my material, but not quite yet I think....

P.S.  I also don't want to give anyone the impression that I'm some kind of move maverick who knows a thousand moves or something.  I'm fairly sure my routine of 'working moves' and 'non-working moves' would be less than most people would learn from a standard magic kit!  It's just that most of my 'working moves' are very few.  For routines I perform, I think there's only maybe about 8 real card moves (Double lift, zarrow shuffle, colour change, palm, a few more....) that I actually perform, and there's maybe another 10-12 card moves that I'll practice that I don't use (like the Glide, Top Change, etc...real standard moves, it's just that I don't use most of them).
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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #16 
I look to study sleights essential to the effect at hand. More importantly, I study sleights within the context of actions required for a given routine. The cadence of thought, script, blocking and misdirection must combine to fit with the subterfuge. This rule of practice helps me improve all aspects of performance. Choreographing the whole lot not only hones the timing and execution of secret moves, it also prompts pinpointed creative problem solving. 

With the hope of strengthening my performance, I search for and study resources, new and old, to support the goal of discovering a superior approach--with an emphasis on natural motions and visual fireworks. The usual outcome of this pursuit is the replacement of a beloved and well-practiced knuckle-breaking sleight with something far more sensible.


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MatthewOlsen

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Reply with quote  #17 
I use a variety of moves depending on the trick and I've learned many more difficult moves that I enjoy, a couple of which I have started to add to my routines because I am comfortable that I have gotten them down, including a second deal and the one hand bottom palm. 

That being said, there are basic things that need to be learned from the beginning because they are used in tons of routines.  Specialized sleights are good to learn mainly if you have a routine that you like that depend on the move. 
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luvisi

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Reply with quote  #18 
I was 13 when I first met Steven Youell, and 14 when we started hanging out.  This was more years ago than I care to remember.

One of the things that he tried to drill into me was the importance of mastering what he called "utility sleights," sleights with many applications.  He spoke of the "pain to glory ratio," which is to say, how much work you put in compared to how much magic it allows you to perform.

When I showed him Three Card Monte, he asked me "How many tricks can you do with that move?"  "One," I replied.  He pointed out that several other moves would, for the same amount of practice, allow me to do many, many more tricks.

That said, I never gave up Three Card Monte, and it's still one of my favorite tricks to this day.

So I'd say that you should default to working on widely applicable sleights, and pay attention to how much magic a sleight enables compared to how much work it is, but if you really love a trick or a particular move, don't feel bad about spending time on it.

Also, how much you love a trick will impact how it is perceived.  Henry Hay says that pick a card tricks will generally work well for you until you get bored of them, because your enthusiasm will keep the audience interested.  However, once you get bored of them, your audiences will as well.  Fortunately, I've never gotten bored of pick a card tricks!

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Slowdini

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Reply with quote  #19 
How bout dat Clip Shift?...
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Buffalo McKinley

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Reply with quote  #20 
Thanks for all the great advice!

Most people in this thread recommend learning sleights for tricks that they would like to master.

I assumed it would be better to learn some of the more challenging and common sleights, so I would have the flexibility to perform a number of card tricks.

Anyway, there are so many card tricks out there.  Most are impressive.  Can someone recommend some of the more impressive tricks that I should look at that will help me develop my skills?

I'm fine with more challenging routines.

I had a guitar instructor who would teach songs that would advance my skills.

Does a similar approach apply to card magic?

Thanks!
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #21 

I’ve gotten by with a double lift, double turnover, double undercut, some false shuffles (overhand, riffle and Hindu), LePaul card control, two false cuts, multiple shift, a few different forces, the Biddle move, Elmsley Count, Jordan Count, and the occasional palm. 

Currently working on the Top Change, and re-learning the Ascanio Spread (which I had forgotten how to do).

As you can see, none of these sleights are knuckle-busters.  But for me, that’s more than enough to amaze people with. 


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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #22 
I stick with my previous answer: As many as necessary and not one more. John Bannon's Destination Zero is chock full of tricks requiring zero sleights. Some of them are excellent. Take The Four-Sided Triangle, for example. 

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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffalo McKinley
Thanks for all the great advice!



Anyway, there are so many card tricks out there.  Most are impressive.  Can someone recommend some of the more impressive tricks that I should look at that will help me develop my skills?

I'm fine with more challenging routines.

I had a guitar instructor who would teach songs that would advance my skills.

Does a similar approach apply to card magic?

Thanks!


Tricks are just tricks.  They are not impressive, nor are they impressive.  What makes the trick is the performance.  A good performance is a good performance.   Find tricks you personally like to watch and learn those.

Actually it is just like a musical instrument if you play a few notes well, in the correct order with the right feeling you can bring the house down.  On the other side you can be technically the best in the world, but if your playing is lifeless and boring...who the heck wants to listen?

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Kingman

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Reply with quote  #24 
A question that can only be answered personally. I think that is the key thing to remember. I cannot imagine that too many of us will agree 100% on which sleights. I agree with the top three mentioned and these as well that someone posted early on:
False shuffles and cuts
Faro
False counts (Elmsley, etc.)
Top Change

and maybe add the Mexican turn over. Otherwise, all I can say is that I learn what I need to do an effect. I saw the mention of Bannon's Destination Zero and I can say from experience that it is very strong material and takes zero sleights, hence the name. So how many do you have to learn? Maybe none.


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