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P4A

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Reply with quote  #1 
Yesterday someone noticed that I was palming his card. Since that doesnt happen very often, I didnt really know how to react. Sometimes people also notice a double lift or so. I really have no idea how to handle a situation like this. What would you do?
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Chi Han

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Reply with quote  #2 
I haven't been caught with a palm yet, but it's a situation I've thought a lot about.  I think I would just fess up and make it look like I intended for them to catch me.  Maybe throw in a line like...'oh my God how did that get there?', then replace the card and palm on the offbeat.

As for a double lift, you could do a second deal or some other method of just taking out the card and showing that it's a single card, then do a top change later to continue on.
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mark lewis

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Practice. And don't stick your thumb out like a fishhook or as if you are trying to thumb a lift when palming. Of course you may not be doing that but it is a common fault and dead giveaway. A lot of people give away their palming by unnatural actions because they feel guilty that the card is in their hands. As for double lifts the solution is to learn a good one. I used to have trouble with that move too until I learned the Vernon method. 

But of course that doesn't answer your question. However, I believe that there are a ton of lines you can use to brush the thing off, get a laugh and continue on as if nothing has happened. Audiences like a lack of perfection anyway-they underestimate you and then you go in for the kill.  You can say things like, "Oh, this trick never works on a Wednesday (or whatever day it is)" or "We all make mistakes. My mother made one" or (and I just made this one up) "I am not as good as David Copperfield you know" Or Dynamo in the UK. 

In other words make a joke of it, treat it as of no importance and just carry on. You can actually turn it into an asset if you are sharp enough. They might like your humanity and then relax their guard and then you can stun them"

If it happened to me I would probably say, "I used to be good. I am getting old"

Don't even worry about it. And don't forget to practice so it doesn't happen again!

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #4 
This question brought in shades of Penn Gillette to me.

Spectator: You have a card in your hand.
Magician: Ha, very good. I was seeing if you were paying attention. You're going to be tough to fool.
"Lose" the card back in the deck and then palm it out again. This time, don't get caught.
And if you do, "Yeah. You're doing great. I wanted to see if you'd catch me two times in a row."

NOW.....thinking about this, it would be good to have an alternate method/approach to what you're going to do next and then you can pretend to palm the card off again while you do your alternative. That leads them down the proverbial garden path giving you an alternate and in the end, it seems like all this was what you planned on happening.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #5 
Two thoughts:

1. Eugene Burger's line - "Well it's back to the drawing board with that one!" This is good when your trick fails to work. In this case I'd use #2 below:

2. Replace the card in Tent Vanish position and use the Penn line from above viz. - "I was checking to see if you were paying attention!" Then do the tent vanish and say, "This thumb is a dead giveaway and you were paying attention... Now the card disappears. Show RH completely empty. Take deck into RH in Biddle as you show left hand and simultaneously one handed top palm card. Pull it from your pants pocket or load it under the guys drink etc.

Mike
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #6 
In addition to the good advice above, did you reconstruct the situation afterwards to figure out how he noticed the card in the first place? Was it your thumb as Mr. Lewis suggested? Were you holding out too long. Was your hand in an awkward position because you felt guilty as was also suggested? Knowing the context would help us offer suggestions that hopefully will prevent future occurrence.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #7 
He felt guilty. I am psychic and know these things.
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark lewis
He felt guilty. I am psychic and know these things.


I've experienced this guilt that you speak of, Mark. People sensed my self-consciousness about a palmed card in my hand and so there were a handful of times when I got caught.

I watched a lecture by Michael Ammar that helped me with this. He spent quite a bit of time teaching us how to let your hand swing naturally to your side after palming a card.

Practice and experience will help you alleviate the guilt that aroused suspicion.

Rudy

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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #9 
I am a svengali pitchman. I would go out of business very quickly if I felt guilty. In fact , I will sometimes exclaim to the public, "It's hard work telling lies all day" 
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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by P4A
Yesterday someone noticed that I was palming his card. Since that doesnt happen very often, I didnt really know how to react. Sometimes people also notice a double lift or so. I really have no idea how to handle a situation like this. What would you do?


I'd like to give you advice, but first I'd like to know the circumstances. Could you tell me under what circumstances this happened? For what purpose were you palming the card?

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #11 
It seems the discussion has broadened to include how not to get caught in the first place, which is obviously really important.  As the old adage goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound cure."

To supplement the excellent suggestions of other members above, I will offer a few tips that are based upon my readings and/or performing experience.

* Don't palm when the "heat" is on, such as right after you've controlled a card.  Relax first - if standing, then drop guilty hand naturally to the side, as Rudy mentioned; if sitting, then table the deck and let go of it and casually grip the edge of the table with both the guilty and clean hands. 

* Never look at your hands at the moment of palming or thereafter. Instead, be looking up at and ideally address a remark or question to a spectator or to the spectators at large.  The smoothest palm in the world needs misdirection.

* Immediately after executing the palm (in fact almost simultaneously), offer the deck to a spectator, for example, for cutting or shuffling, or perhaps to have them count down a thought-of number.

* Pick up a wand, a sharpie a pen, a drink or some other accessible object with the hand that is palming the card (being careful of your angles and not to flash).  It's amazing that they seem to believe your hand is otherwise empty when holding an object and do not suspect there is anything else in your hand but that object.

* Learn how to palm cleanly and effortlessly. Covering the deck with your hand is a tell-tale giveaway. Personally, I do it in smaller steps, i.e., if card is on top of deck, first push it forward an inch, relax and address a remark or question to them, then lever the card up by pushing down on the front of it and it will pop effortlessly and unseen into your hand; if card is on bottom, first push it over to the side about half way, relax and address a remark or question to spectator(s), then complete the palm by pushing the card the rest of the way into your hand, which then comes above the deck and acts as if it is squaring. Regardless of whether you have done a top or bottom palm immediately hand the deck to a spectator.

* From time to time getting caught will be inevitable. Just as there are spectators who automatically believe you've controlled a card to top or bottom, there are those who know about palming and assume you are going to do it.  They will burn your hand and look for it no matter what you say or do.  In such a case, see above suggestions from other members.

*One other thing, palming,even of multiple cards, is always much easier to get way with when it's done before they perceive an effect has even begun as opposed to doing it after a control or when the effect is otherwise in progress. For example, as I have noted here before, I always palm off the 4 aces prior to beginning A Poker Player's Picnic, handing the deck to them to shuffle and cut, and replacing the aces after they return the deck to me. As I do the replacement, I am looking at them and saying, "Now you have shuffled and cut yourself, correct?" All this before the cutting into 4 piles procedure even begins. Now you are set for a miracle...
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P4A

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Reply with quote  #12 
First of all I want to thank you all for the awesome advices so far, they were very helpful! [smile]

Therewith you can imagine the situation;
I showed a trick to one spectator, he was kind of suspicios and payed attention to every cut and move I made. Then he wanted to shuffle the deck so I palmed the card and gave the Deck to him using the palming hand. Now I coud causually show my left hand empty. After he took the deck I dropped the hand and he was like; But I would like to shuffle the complete deck...

I dont think that he saw me palming the card, since I was talking to him and kept eye-contact. And as you mentioned above I actually felt a little guilty. Coud have been the problem.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #13 
I can only recall one time that a spec asked to shuffle. I palmed the selection and no one noticed. However, I could have ended up where you did with a knowledgeable spec aware of palming. 

One antidote is to always peek the selection. Then there's no need to palm.

After the request you could say, "You're card isn't on top or bottom" as you do a double turnover on top, then replace and flip the deck FU to show bottom. Now it's an easy matter to peek that top card. Then shuffle it to center and say, "You probably still don't trust me. Here - you shuffle..."

This way you only peek when you're going to let the spec shuffle.

Alternately, you could routinely force a card with a mark, breather crimp et al and hand the deck to any spec for shuffling. Now you've proven that shuffling by a spec won't matter. Hopefully this heads off any wise guy from wanting to shuffle later. If that happens anyway go into peek mode.

If you hand the deck out for shuffling, you can head off another wise guy scenario viz. the stripper deck by saying "Make sure those cards aren't tricky and miming running your fingers along the long edge." If no one knows what that means, you haven't given anything away. If they do, you're saying "These are normal cards. Check them out."

Since I have hundreds of decks that cost around $1 at Sams and Costco, I always give the deck away if I detect that specs believe that the "magic is in the cards." Also, when you give stuff away, the tips come in more often. People want to reciprocate when you give them things.

Mike




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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
One antidote is to always peek the selection. Then there's no need to palm.

There's an essay in my lecture notes (2004) in which I suggested a systematic approach to avoiding trouble. It was called "ProActive Control" and was something I had been working on since the early 1990's. I hinted at it here.

You should NEVER hold out. Never. The days of palming out the selection and letting them shuffle the deck are dead. I don't even suggest doing this with Four Ace tricks. It probably worked a long time ago, however now audiences have the idea that this is possible. TV, Movies and books have long exposed the idea that Gamblers and Magicians can sneak cards out of the deck.

Here, however, I suspect there may be a problem with technique. I would be glad to help if you'd like-- send me a PM and we'll discuss it!

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P4A

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Youell

There's an essay in my lecture notes (2004) in which I suggested a systematic approach to avoiding trouble. It was called "ProActive Control" and was something I had been working on since the early 1990's. I hinted at it here.

You should NEVER hold out. Never. The days of palming out the selection and letting them shuffle the deck are dead. I don't even suggest doing this with Four Ace tricks. It probably worked a long time ago, however now audiences have the idea that this is possible. TV, Movies and books have long exposed the idea that Gamblers and Magicians can sneak cards out of the deck.


Hey Steve,
thanks for your time. The essay you linked above is quite helpful; I will definitly remember it when I perform in front of suspicios people again [wink]
You mentioned, that palming a card is no longer useful, because the spectators know that there are techniques like palming. But that they know about the ability, doesnt mean that they notice a palmed card. Lets say you start a trick and palm a few cards you want to use later. Then you give the deck to a spectator to shuffle and examine it. I guess most spectators wouldnt even think about the technique, since you only handed them the deck to prove it is normal. Furthermore they believe that the trick has not started yet, so they dont expect that you already did something.
But I agree that you shoudnt palm a card if they ask to shuffle the deck, because then they may be aware of palming. I think that palming is a very effective method when used in the right moment.

Greetings
P4A
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #16 
I don't think Steve is saying that palming is passe or too dangerous. He said, "You should never hold out." If you palm a card and pull it from your pocket or add it to another pile or put it on your forehead etc there's no chance to really get burned. But if you're standing there with a card in palm while the deck is being passed around or shuffled, big trouble may be visiting soon. 

Mike
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #17 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
I don't think Steve is saying that palming is passe or too dangerous. He said, "You should never hold out." If you palm a card and pull it from your pocket or add it to another pile or put it on your forehead etc there's no chance to really get burned. But if you're standing there with a card in palm while the deck is being passed around or shuffled, big trouble may be visiting soon. 

Mike

 

I don't think this is necessarily true. If you have a certain amount of sang-froid and the right mental attitude there is absolutely no reason you can't have a card palmed in your hand for a fairly long period. The trick is not to feel guilty. It is all in the mind. Magic Aly has already stated that he likes to give the deck out for shuffling when he does Poker Player's Picnic. I bet he has never been "burned" yet. Oh, and never have I. 

As for the old technique from the early part of the nineteenth century where the only method of controlling a card available at the time was to do the pass and then give the deck out for shuffling with the card palmed. I think it is a splendid method and one day I might just do it but not using the pass. It is certainly outmoded because of the pace of working nowadays but I feel that I must do it at least once in my life as it does seem terribly convincing. It won't suit me because I work at a fairly fast pace but it is the principle of the thing. 

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Dorian Rhodell

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Reply with quote  #18 
Originally Posted by mark lewis
I don't think this is necessarily true. If you have a certain amount of sang-froid and the right mental attitude there is absolutely no reason you can't have a card palmed in your hand for a fairly long period.

I actually agree with Mark here. I don't do it just for the sake of it, especially if I have other options. One of the benefits of performing enough is that I know what my other options are and when to use them.
However, if I have to hold out, I will.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #19 

Steven. I have often noticed that it is the hot shot technicians who are afraid of sang-froid. They do the moves perfectly but they tend to give the game away because they feel guilty. That is why you will rarely see them do the daring moves that take a bit of nerve. 

Most of the time I palm a card it is not in my hand for very long but there are a few occasions when I HAVE to keep it there for the purpose of the specific trick. And nobody has caught me yet. I can honestly say that I have never been caught palming a card even once in 56 years. I have been caught with other moves on occasion such as double lifts etc; but never ONCE palming. 

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Barry Allen

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Reply with quote  #20 
In my experience (and yes I was caught a few times in my younger days) getting caught out with a card palmed is probably 5% poor technique, and 95% lack of misdirection.
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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dorian Rhodell
I actually agree with Mark here. I don't do it just for the sake of it, especially if I have other options. One of the benefits of performing enough is that I know what my other options are and when to use them. However, if I have to hold out, I will.

In exactly what circumstances would you be out of options and be forced to hold out? [confused]

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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #22 
I agree with Barry here.If you're getting caught palming (taking for granted that your technique is good) then it is most likely a misdirection issue.
Jennings liked to hold out, Steve Draun never holds out.
Im with Draun and Youell and tend not to hold out.
But thats just me. : )
Also, don't get "cozy".
The palming hand shouldn't linger.
There must be motivation.
The hand comes over to the pack briefly to squareit (but make sure the deck isn't already squared- a common error.)
Some of the best writings on techique are by John Carney and some of the best palm theory can be found in Draun's book by Kaufman.
I recommend both highly.
Keep practicing and read everything you can on palming. Light bulbs will continually go off until you master it.
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by P4A

 I dont think that he saw me palming the card, since I was talking to him and kept eye-contact. And as you mentioned above I actually felt a little guilty. Coud have been the problem.


When I read your original post my first thought was: "Did anyone actually spot the card? Or did he/they simply assume you palmed it?"
This sort-of confirms that they thought you'd palmed a card.

Not the same as being spotted.
Laypeople "know" all sorts of things, but mostly they don't. And very often they're simply guessing or saying something for the sake of having something to say.

This being so, it's not necessarily the technique that's problematic. As others have suggested, it's the circumstances, attitude and general demeanour of the performer and spectators that require consideration.
Twas ever thus.

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Paul Hallas

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Reply with quote  #24 
Also consider it could happen to anyone. I recall a well known performer telling me when he visited the Magic Castle he saw a lay visitor telling Larry Jennings he was palming a card. [smile]

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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #25 

One of my strongest tricks and indeed some would say it was my signature trick I hold out TWICE! I have no idea what the problem is with taking your time in these matters. I also hold out at the finish of my ambitious card routine. It is the same finish that Harry uses and is also described in the Royal Road to Card Magic where you produce the card from  your pocket. Sure, I could palm it and head straight to my pocket but I prefer to have a little patience and use the Paul Le Paul acquitment described in his book before going to my pocket. Far stronger that way. But in order to do it you have to hold out. Again the important secret here is not to feel guilty. Too often magicians feel the card burning in their hand and they can't wait to get rid of it. Don't do that. Calm down and take your time. If the trick does not require you to hold out then you have nothing to worry about. However, if it does then do the damn thing, calm down and take your time, and you will have nothing to worry about. 

Incidentally I am not in favour of my good friend Magic Aly's method of palming where you push the card forward. I gave it up a long time ago. I find it rather a clumsy method. I far prefer the method described in The Royal Road to Card Magic. When he states that "from time to time getting caught is inevitable" I suspect the method he uses for palming may be the reason why. Again I have NEVER been caught with the Royal Road method. Not even once. 

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #26 
MARK WROTE: "Incidentally I am not in favour of my good friend Magic Aly's method of palming where you push the card forward. I gave it up a long time ago. I find it rather a clumsy method. I far prefer the method described in The Royal Road to Card Magic. When he states that "from time to time getting caught is inevitable" I suspect the method he uses for palming may be the reason why."

Old chap, you know that generally when you give an opinion, recommendation, and yes, even a criticism, I listen respectfully, because I value the treasure of your knowledge and experience.  I really do look at criticism as an opportunity - to improve.

However, in this instance I think you misconstrued my point.  Not bragging, but I have only been caught palming once in the last 20 years.  When I said that from time to time getting caught is inevitable, my intention was to encourage people who are just starting out and haven't had a whole lot of experience under their belt, and may have gotten caught multiple times.  I don't think everyone (including myself) is as fortunate as you have been in having a 100% success 
rate. But for that I sincerely congratulate you for setting an impeccable standard.

I believe you have emphasized on more than one occasion that moves that work for one performer may be totally inappropriate for another, and one performer may not feel (or look) at all natural using a certain method, while that method may perfectly befit another.  Thus, while I hold the Royal Road in high esteem, that method - the one that works so well for you - never felt right for me.  The method I described however, has worked.  And I would be very hesitant to blame that method for the one time I've been caught in two decades of performing.
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mark lewis

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Reply with quote  #27 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magic-Aly
MARK WROTE: "Incidentally I am not in favour of my good friend Magic Aly's method of palming where you push the card forward. I gave it up a long time ago. I find it rather a clumsy method. I far prefer the method described in The Royal Road to Card Magic. When he states that "from time to time getting caught is inevitable" I suspect the method he uses for palming may be the reason why."

Old chap, you know that generally when you give an opinion, recommendation, and yes, even a criticism, I listen respectfully, because I value the treasure of your knowledge and experience.  I really do look at criticism as an opportunity - to improve.

However, in this instance I think you misconstrued my point.  Not bragging, but I have only been caught palming once in the last 20 years.  When I said that from time to time getting caught is inevitable, my intention was to encourage people who are just starting out and haven't had a whole lot of experience under their belt, and may have gotten caught multiple times.  I don't think everyone (including myself) is as fortunate as you have been in having a 100% success 
rate. But for that I sincerely congratulate you for setting an impeccable standard.

I believe you have emphasized on more than one occasion that moves that work for one performer may be totally inappropriate for another, and one performer may not feel (or look) at all natural using a certain method, while that method may perfectly befit another.  Thus, while I hold the Royal Road in high esteem, that method - the one that works so well for you - never felt right for me.  The method I described however, has worked.  And I would be very hesitant to blame that method for the one time I've been caught in two decades of performing.

 

Jolly good, old chap. I will accept your explanation and in my capacity as a psychic reverend and holy man of the cloth I hereby grant you absolution. 

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #28 
Jolly good show!
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #29 
Just to clarify something. Earlier on this thread, I had written: "Learn how to palm cleanly and effortlessly. Covering the deck with your hand is a tell-tale giveaway. Personally, I do it in smaller steps, i.e., if card is on top of deck, first push it forward an inch, relax and address a remark or question to them, then lever the card up by pushing down on the front of it and it will pop effortlessly and unseen into your hand...."

 I actually misspoke when I said to push it forward an "inch."  You actually only need to push it forward about 1/8th of an inch or so, at most.

The move may or not be right for you; you will only know by trying it out. But again, it is important to employ misdirection at the moment of the move. Avoid looking at your hands and address a question or remark to a spectator(s) while looking at them as you are doing the dirty work.  They will look where you look.
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