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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi, I have been working on the zarrow for a while now and I received some of the best tips from the download at Vanishinginc by Doug Edwards. It is still a work in progress, but I received some tips from a friend and he mentioned not to exaggerate the bend so much. Does anyone else have any tips? 


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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #2 
Looks very smooth! I fein a bit of tension when pushing the Zarrowed halves together.

Steve Reynolds has dedicated quite a lot of work to this shuffle in "Beyond the Z."

SteveReynoldsMagic.com


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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #3 
Is it indistiguishable from your normal riffle? I need to see your normal riffle. If it is then it's perfect.

Note I don't say 'identical' but 'indistinguishable'.

G
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #4 
I know that it's still a work in progress, but it looks like you're getting there!

Thanks for sharing.

Rudy

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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks for the comments. I will have to look into the Steve Reynolds material. The Zarrow is super deceiving if done right. The Doug Edwards video opened my eyes to that. I didn't even really think about comparing it to my regular riffle shuffle and it is pretty close. 

One of the more meditative things to practice is shuffles. 

Thanks again! 

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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #6 
I would like to make a suggestion. If you're looking for evaluation, IMO it would be better to just record
the shuffle and nothing else. No music. No fancy cuts. Just the shuffle. I did notice that you have one
or two bumps and there's a problem with the disengagement. DO NOT lift the packets from the tabel
when you disengage and try to use a weave that is not as deep as you're using.

But I'll tell you this-- the Zarrow is a move that few people really know how to do well.
Gary Plants has some excellent work on it. And, of course, the Herb Zarrow DVD.

I haven't done a Zarrow for a while and now you've got my curiosity up. Maybe I'll get out the webcam.
I probably should have checked to see if I could still do it before I added my two cents. Ah well!  [wink]

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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth
Is it indistiguishable from your normal riffle? I need to see your normal riffle. If it is then it's perfect. Note I don't say 'identical' but 'indistinguishable'.

That is an excellent distinction and one that is seldom made (but should be). It reminds me of something that might be of value.

When trying to match a false move to a real move, most make fairly large changes to the false move. I think it's better to make smaller changes to both until they are indistinguishable. In other words, get them to meet in the middle. I found this invaluable in terms of false shuffles.

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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #8 
OK I maintain the right to take this down if I decide later that it sucks.
If anyone sees a glaring flaw, please let me know. That qualifies as "sucks".


This isn't a full deck false shuffle, it's used to maintain a color separation.
I use if to perform Two Shuffles Harry from Brother John Hamman;
The Vegas Shuffle by Darwin Ortiz and The Ultimate Cardshark by Darwin Ortiz.


Notice that little triangle when I'm pushing the two "halves" together?
That's there because I repeatedly saw that in my regular shuffle for some
reason. So I angled the packets more and had a closer match. It should
be a bit smaller, but I haven't done this for a few years.


Make the packet in the right hand smaller than the one on the right.
This helps reduce the gap and when you disengage, it will collapse
so it's easier to complete.


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Jeremy Salow

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevie Ray


Steve Reynolds has dedicated quite a lot of work to this shuffle in "Beyond the Z."

SteveReynoldsMagic.com




This can not be said enough. Steve Reynolds has arguable to best work on the Zarrow. Learning his techniques was a revelation, and changed for the best both my zarrow and my normal riffle shuffle.
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StevePR104

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Reply with quote  #10 
Steve's work is stellar, of that there's no doubt.  Have you considered Gary Plants'?
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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Salow
Steve Reynolds has arguable to best work on the Zarrow.

Better than Herb Zarrow? [wink] As has been mentioned, Gary Plants has great work as well-- Can you tell us what differentiates the three? I ask because I don't know about Steve's work but would love to hear about it. Can you compare/contrast for us?

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #12 
Steven Youell Wrote (regarding his video of a Zarrow shuffle):

"OK I maintain the right to take this down if I decide later that it sucks.
If anyone sees a glaring flaw, please let me know. That qualifies as 'sucks'".

I can't imagine anything I've ever seen that is so far out of the realm of "sucking."  I'm just flat out jealous.  Ever so gently said, I think the OP could learn a lot and improve the look of his Zarrow-in-progress by studying this video, paying particular attention to the fact that there is no obvious slip cut (in fact, it is indiscernible), and the halves of the deck do not appear to be raised above the table at any time. Just immaculate.


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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #13 
Ok Steven's Zarrow fooled me. Damn. One of the things I have been struggling with is the slip cut portion. Now, in Steven's video I can't see any slip cut, but the frame rate is also a bit low. I am filming on a Canon T6i, so the way I am doing the slip cut now is relatively obvious. Any tips on getting the slip to be more invisible? It is something I have struggled with for a while. 

I hate to admit I don't have any of Zarrow's works. There are a ton of things I want to add to my library, just have had a rough few years financially, so sometimes a $10 download is easier to consider, which is why I picked up Edwards download. I will have to save up and get some of the Reynolds material as well. 

@Steven Youell, I appreciate the comments. The video was for instagram so that was why the music was there. I will take all of that into consideration. I have a poor habit of practicing table items without a mirror or camera so once I started filming I actually had to change a lot of things that I had gotten use to doing. 

Thanks again everyone.

-Ben 

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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #14 
Just to calm everyone down: there was no slip cut in the video because I'm using the
Zarrow to maintain a Color Separation, not a full deck false shuffle. I apologize--
I thought the when I mentioned that in my previous post people would know that
use doesn't require a slip cut.

Originally I said it was part of a Derek Dingle Two Shuffle sequence, but now I'm
doubting myself and since I don't have any books, I can't check. I modified my
post above to reflect that. Someone want to check out the Dingle Sequence and
let me know if it uses a Slip Cut?


I learned the Zarrow for three reasons: So I could do Two Shuffles Harry by Brother John Hamman;
The Ultimate Card Shark by Darwin Ortiz; and The Vegas Shuffle by Darwin Ortiz. Those three tricks
were, for me, well worth the time to learn the Zarrow. But none of them used the Zarrow with a
slip cut.


So yes-- it was a Zarrow Shuffle, but not the version people thought it was. My goal here was
to demonstrate some points I was making, not hoodwink my friends! Apologies to all who
thought they were going blind! [biggrin]

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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #15 
I would have gone with it!!! haha, still very convincing. Ok, just checked: It is called " Three Shuffle Zarrow Sequence" and it is on page 137 of The Complete Works of Derek Dingle.  I will be looking closer at this tonight. My favorite coins across is from this book, but this little sequence escaped me. Thanks again Steven! 
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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #16 
When Doug Edwards first put his Zarrow out as a download a friend and I started discussing it.  We agreed that the backjog that showed up looked a little off, at least by the way we both riffled normally.  I forgot who's lecture it was years ago, but he stressed any shuffle or deal you use should look like your straight deal or shuffle. 
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Reply with quote  #17 
Looks great Ben.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #18 
No need for a slip cut. To wit:

Top cut to the right. Zarrow R under, say, 3 cards on left but hold break between the R cards above the L cards. Undercut at the break i.e. take the cards below the break to the R. Now Zarrow under 3 again and again hold the break. Cut at the break. Done.

Two shuffles and a cut. Looks very good. Also in first shuffle, the top card is buried as it should be, say, in a poker game.

Marlo called this "Shank shuffle with a block transfer." Marlo's distinction was that if you did a slip cut, it was a Zarrow. If not, it was a Shank with a block transfer. I'd say that in each case it's a "Zarrow action" i.e. stripping out and pushing under some cards, in this case 3 cards.

M
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #19 
Also alternatively have a BC (bc) on the bottom. Cut top half to left, Zarrow right into left. Square up. Cut at BC, cut top half to left. Zarrow right into left. Should be done.

I note this is less practical or impromptu as Mike's above.

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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
No need for a slip cut. To wit:

Top cut to the right. Zarrow R under, say, 3 cards on left but hold break between the R cards above the L cards. Undercut at the break i.e. take the cards below the break to the R. Now Zarrow under 3 again and again hold the break. Cut at the break. Done.

Two shuffles and a cut. Looks very good. Also in first shuffle, the top card is buried as it should be, say, in a poker game.

Marlo called this "Shank shuffle with a block transfer." Marlo's distinction was that if you did a slip cut, it was a Zarrow. If not, it was a Shank with a block transfer. I'd say that in each case it's a "Zarrow action" i.e. stripping out and pushing under some cards, in this case 3 cards.

M


What you described is close to the method from "Three Shuffle Zarrow Sequence." And Garreth's method also works. 

Interesting about the different sleight names. 

Does anyone else feel like the slip is not very noticeable to laymen? I think maybe they would wonder why the magician cut like that, but I don't think it gives them enough breadcrumbs to figure out the entire sleight. 

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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Youell

That is an excellent distinction and one that is seldom made (but should be). It reminds me of something that might be of value.

When trying to match a false move to a real move, most make fairly large changes to the false move. I think it's better to make smaller changes to both until they are indistinguishable. In other words, get them to meet in the middle. I found this invaluable in terms of false shuffles.



Steven your Zarrow is incredible. So smooth and open. The perfect example of a sleight being invisible (as per that other thread). I doubt there would be a hint of a shadow of suspicion by anyone.  

Mine has fingers all over the front hiding a multitude of sins.

Steven do you think there is merit in reverse engineering our genuine moves eg deals, shuffles, cuts etc to resemble our falsies? I've certainly tried to do this as I continue to try to develop a good second deal.

Gareth
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #22 
Steven, that looks friggin amazing!
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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #23 
Ben Morris-Rains Wrote: "Does anyone else feel like the slip is not very noticeable to laymen? I think maybe they would wonder why the magician cut like that, but I don't think it gives them enough breadcrumbs to figure out the entire sleight."

In my opinion, the actual slip itself is not that noticeable.  It is the way that the index fingers are placed on top of the deck in preparation for the slip cut that is kind of tell-tale and/or might arouse suspicion if someone is really watching the hands. Below I have shared a link to a video of Bill Malone (undoubtedly one of the top card men of our time) doing the Zarrow shuffle in the course of a live performance of his signature routine, Sam the Bellhop. You will note that even Bill's index fingers assume that unnatural position on the top of the deck right before the slip cut.

That being said, I do not believe that in most cases a layman would question the validity of the shuffle (either verbally or in his/her mind).  After all, there is a huge variance in the ways people riffle shuffles the cards. Other than serious card players and magicians, very few people even do a classic table riffle shuffle, let alone a neat-looking one.  So in the average layman's mind, there is not a conception of how a table riffle shuffle "should" look.  

Furthermore, as in any sleight, misdirection is very useful, if not outright essential.  Notice how Bill is keeping up lively banter as he is handling the cards, looking at the spectators, and interacting with them.  The old magical adage is true - they look where you look - so I would highly recommend practicing, rehearsing and performing this move (and virtually all others) without looking at your hands.  That's more difficult to do at first but well worth it.  It is extremely advantageous to be able to look at a spectator and say something and/or deliver a line as you are looking at them as you are executing this or any sleight (e.g. palming). Saying something to a spectator, or to the entire group, adds another layer of misdirection - I guess you could say audible misdirection, because when they are listening to your words their minds are not operating on all analytical cylinders.  It's very difficult for people to concentrate on more than one thing a it a time.  Thus, if you are not looking at your hands, looking at them, and also saying a line, or even better yet asking a question, you will have fortified yourself with strong multi-layered misdirection. If you can make them laugh, then all the better; then, they are even less likely to be able to concentrate.  

I would also counsel against doing the shuffle twice or more in a row.  Bill does, but Sam the Bellhop (particularly Bill's performance of it) is unique. What makes Bill's Sam the Bellhop routine especially astonishing to laymen, and the defining hallmark of his performance, is a seemingly never-ending series of shuffles and cuts.  Of course, he is far more likely to get away with this than most magicians because he works fast, with deadly precision, and the patter is almost non-stop. In most situations, however, the shuffle followed by a false cut should suffice.  To a spectator, you have shuffled and there is therefore no need for overkill.

But yes, an experienced card player or a magician will spot the slip cut, or at least note that you "did something" that wasn't kosher. As for the overwhelming majority of spectators - no worries at all...


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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #24 
Great post. Malone's skills are undeniable, personally, never been a fan of him as a performer, but as a technician he is definitely one of the best. 

And yes, I agree that simple visual or auditory misdirection will take the heat off the sleight, even if you do so only when the slip is happening. This of course applies to everything else involving sleight of hand, but revalent nonetheless. 

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Magic-Aly

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Reply with quote  #25 
Thanks!  You handle the cards quite neatly, and your Zarrow is already at a point where it will fool laymen, especially with well-timed misdirection.  I am sure there are quite a few magicians who would be happy to be able to do it as well as you are doing it right now. And I would bet it's only going to get better...
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Ben Morris-Rains

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Reply with quote  #26 
Little update.

I've been working on the Zarrow using Steve Reynolds tips since his lecture here. I immediately purchased Z. Not at all perfect yet but I think it looks and feels more natural than the method I was using before. He totally changed how I shuffle. I still have to watch Steve Youell's lecture and see if I can implement some of his tips as well.
Most likely tomorrow during the blizzard.


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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth
Steven do you think there is merit in reverse engineering our genuine moves eg deals, shuffles, cuts etc to resemble our falsies? I've certainly tried to do this as I continue to try to develop a good second deal.

Sorry I missed this, Gareth!

Many will advocate that you should make your false shuffle look like your real shuffle, but I've found it's easier (in most cases) to make smaller changes to both until they look identical. In this way, it'll happen faster with minimal changes to both. Less work and better results, IMO.

Now I didn't mention this in the lecture so it may seem like I take the first position described above. However I got really lucky with the Zarrow because as I was mastering it, it simply started to look like my real shuffle. So in this case, not a lot of change was needed for either one.

In terms of False Deals, I am not an expert. But I would tend to learn Marlo's master grip. He has specific exercises on dealing tops specifically so your seconds will match. Additionally, the grip allows you to deal bottoms and seconds from the same grip. This is in Revolutionary Card Magic or you can get an old copy of the pamphlet Seconds Centers and Bottoms.

Some of the best seconds and bottoms I've ever seen are done by Andru Luvisi, a member of this forum. He suggests Bill Simon's Effective Card Magic to learn to deal seconds. Simon has an entire series of step-by-step exercises that will lead you to a good second deal.

I'm hoping Andru will jump in here as he IS a REAL EXPERT.

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #28 
       I just saw this thread - brought back some pleasant memories. Bro. John Hamman's Two Shuffles Harry appeared in the very first year of Apocalypse - cover item of the August, 1978 issue.

        What's interesting is that I teach it  there using the Zarrow Shuffle which is how Bro. John showed it to me. But - for some years afterward I always performed and taught the routine at my lectures, but I did not use the Zarrow Shuffle. I used some of the shuffles I taught in RIM SHOTS (and in that section of LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION, Vol. 2).

         When I mentioned that to Bro. John - told him I didn't use the Zarrow because I felt I didn't do it well enough - he said, "Hey, as long as you're fooling people." Which I was - including magicians at every lecture I did.

         Now, Herb Zarrow was a pretty close friend - used to see him, and his wife, Phyllis, quite often. He did some accounting work for me. A couple of his items are in the first volume of BEST OF FRIENDS. Anyway, again, when I did Two Shuffles Harry for him without using his shuffle - he loved it.

        And - I taught one of Doug Edwards's handlings of the Zarrow Shuffle in Vol. 3 of BEST OF FRIENDS. I taught another, different, handling of his elsewhere - but darned if I can think of where at the moment.

        Anyway - you gotta' start reading the good stuff, folks!!!
 
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Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
       I just saw this thread - brought back some pleasant memories. Bro. John Hamman's Two Shuffles Harry appeared in the very first year of Apocalypse - cover item of the August, 1978 issue.

        What's interesting is that I teach it  there using the Zarrow Shuffle which is how Bro. John showed it to me. But - for some years afterward I always performed and taught the routine at my lectures, but I did not use the Zarrow Shuffle. I used some of the shuffles I taught in RIM SHOTS (and in that section of LORAYNE: THE CLASSIC COLLECTION, Vol. 2).

         When I mentioned that to Bro. John - told him I didn't use the Zarrow because I felt I didn't do it well enough - he said, "Hey, as long as you're fooling people." Which I was - including magicians at every lecture I did.

         Now, Herb Zarrow was a pretty close friend - used to see him, and his wife, Phyllis, quite often. He did some accounting work for me. A couple of his items are in the first volume of BEST OF FRIENDS. Anyway, again, when I did Two Shuffles Harry for him without using his shuffle - he loved it.

        And - I taught one of Doug Edwards's handlings of the Zarrow Shuffle in Vol. 3 of BEST OF FRIENDS. I taught another, different, handling of his elsewhere - but darned if I can think of where at the moment.

        Anyway - you gotta' start reading the good stuff, folks!!!
 


The Easy Zarrow Shuffle in Apocalypse vol 14? I don't own it, but that's the reference given here:

http://geniimagazine.com/magicpedia/Zarrow_Shuffle

vol 14, no 2, pg 1892
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #30 
  That's the one --- and it does make the shuffle much easier to do.
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Vlad_77

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Reply with quote  #31 
John Luka has some nice thoughts on the Zarrow in his book L.I.N.T.
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Reply with quote  #32 
I'm embarrassed to be referenced in a thread on the Zarrow.  I just can't do it to my satisfaction.  I've studied Steven's work, Ganson's writings, Gary Plantz's book and video, Herb Zarrow's video, Luka's write up, Darwin Ortiz's writings and videos, etc.  No matter what cover I use, or how smoothly I do it, it just never looks right.

My wife tells me that even when it's deceptive, it looks like I suddenly forget how to handle cards for a few seconds, which appears jarring.  Gary Plantz's handling has come the closest of anything I've tried, but it still doesn't quite do it for me.

My Triumph shuffle, my pull through, and my strip out all pass the wife test, so I've just resigned myself to getting by without the Zarrow.

In actual performance, I generally use a triumph shuffle.  Yes, it's cozy for a split second, but I can do it quickly, smoothly, and without hesitation in the riffle, square up, or strip out.  I like to think that my comfort with the move makes up, to some extent, for its shortcomings.

As for changing the real to match the fake, my personal philosophy is "sure, but not by too much."  After all, you don't want the action to look suspicious all the time!

My favorite story about matching the real to the fake is about Ching Ling Foo, from page 123 of Henry Hay's Cyclopedia of Magic:
Quote:
His passion for detail carried him to great lengths.  For instance, the goldfish bowls he produced were originally hidden between his knees under his flowing mandarin gown.  This required him to walk on the stage with the pompous, straddling gait not uncommon among prosperous Chinese.  Never, indoors or out, day or night, did he walk with any other stride.  It might have exposed his fish-bowl trick.


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #33 
I agree about the Zarrow. It almost always seems a little contrived somehow. There's a tell for most practitioners. Gary Plants' handling is excellent, though. I roomed with Gary a while back. It was before the book or video came out. He shuffled about 15 times in a row. There were Zarrows, Oeink's and normal shuffles and I literally could not tell the difference. Really!

I think there's a video of Gary doing this with Blues music playing somewhere.. check it out.

In many ways a push through or strip out look more normal to me. 

Mike


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Reply with quote  #34 
Gary is running a limited time offer where if you order his DVD you receive a copy of the booklet he produced as part of your order. Gary's work is second to none, it first describes all the problems with the typical Zarrow shuffle you see done by others (all exhibited in the initial video post) and how he goes about eliminating them all. I prefer Gary's shuffle over Steve's, not to mention Steve's explanation is difficult to get through.

Here's the video Mike referenced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqNRcYumAFo
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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #35 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BottomDeal
I prefer Gary's shuffle over Steve's, not to mention Steve's explanation is difficult to get through.
Steve Reynolds or Steven Youell? If it's me, please let me know so I can do better.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #36 
I think he's referring to Steve Reynolds. But BottomDeal should speak for himself.

My only use of false shuffles is for full deck control. When a slip cut is added before Z, for me it's an ouch moment. I think I outlined the solution in a previous post. But that solution does add a wrinkle viz. you have to hold a break between the halves and shuffle twice.

I think Steve Y showed this in his last lecture. Then you get a full deck control.

Also, I want to see the shuffle from a "seated across the table" angle. That exposes the dirty work a lot more. The video of Gary referenced above is good, but I was thinking of a different one. I'll see if I can find it.

Mike
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Stevie Ray Christian

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Reply with quote  #37 
Hmmm... I was sitting two feet away from Steven Youell during his last lecture. I found his explanation and approach to be crystal clear. He emphasized the goal of melding the look of the false shuffle with the genuine--and the mechanical aspects of his Zarrow were easy to implement.

I took Ben's advice in post #1 a few months ago and studied the Doug Edward's video. Doug has a technique that easily camouflages the gap. After reading Harry's post above I checked out Doug's Z-E Shuffle from Best of Friends III. How did I miss this! What a diabolically convincing and Zarowesque way to maintain a half deck poker stack. The "good stuff" packs a whallop!

I Zarrow in every performance where I can use a table. I can't claim to have mastered it. I make sure to use patter and eye contact to take heat off the action and--as I might have mentioned in an earlier post--I feign tension as I "coalesce" the packets.

I Zarrowed in two performances this week and the audience reaction once again confirmed... whatever I'm doing is sufficient. I don't say this to boast--again, my shuffle is light years from mastery. It does leave me wondering if this is one of those dirty moves that we magicians fuss over unnecessarily.

I was taught the work by a master, moments after seeing Triumph for the first time. This particular teacher always stressed the importance of natural movement. As a result, I always had faith in the sleight and treat the moment with casual indifference. 

Steven Youell advocates the same action and attitude. I have taken his approach and applied it to the goal of making my Zarrow and my push-through indistinguishable from one another--ditto for my legit tabled riffle.

Incidentally, Jason Ladanye's instruction on the push-through (from his confident deceptions DVD set) is tremendously helpful. Perhaps he'll share his take with us on May 6.
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BottomDeal

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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Youell
Steve Reynolds or Steven Youell? If it's me, please let me know so I can do better.


Please accept my apologies for the lack of clarity; Reynolds' explanation is difficult to get through. I have never seen your explanation, but your performance video was excellent.
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Jeremy Salow

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Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BottomDeal


Please accept my apologies for the lack of clarity; Reynolds' explanation is difficult to get through. I have never seen your explanation, but your performance video was excellent.


Do you own Z? If so I don't understand how it can be seen as a difficult explanation. At least it seemed to me pretty well taught and straight forward. Or are you reading it from a text? I have still yet to see any better zarrow.
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #40 
The way to make your false shuffles look like your regular shuffles is to never use a regular shuffle. That's what I do. False shuffle even if it isn't required. 
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BottomDeal

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Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremy Salow


Do you own Z? If so I don't understand how it can be seen as a difficult explanation. At least it seemed to me pretty well taught and straight forward. Or are you reading it from a text? I have still yet to see any better zarrow.


Yes, at least I did. I consider myself a Marlophile like Mr Reynolds, so I've bought most of his products. It is difficult in it's pace and overly detailed explanation. 
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #42 

Advisory Notice: Long Posts, Especially Mine Can be Injurious To Health and Sanity.

I started learning the Zarrow Shuffle from Phoenix magazine. I bought a "bumper bundle" of assorted magazines courtesy of a private seller in Abra. Several of them were the Phoenix.

I continued learning it when about a year later, I acquired a copy of "Dai Vernon’s More Inner Secrets Of Card Magic, written by Lewis Ganson, published by Harry Stanley at Unique Magic.

I’m still learning it and mostly enjoy reading "new" tweaks and twists. And on it goes. Like most, I’ve lost count of the number variations I’ve bumped into and trekked through. Has anyone ever had the stamina to toil through Marlo’s prodigious output. I tried but retired exhausted and in need of medical attention. And the Shank Shuffle, drove me up the wall.

A schoolboy at the time I got to Phoenix, I had no contact with magicians, and didn’t for several years, so I never saw anyone do a Zarrow. There was next to no magic on TV and hardly any close-up stuff, so if anybody did do the Zarrow, I never noticed it. When I did encounter magicians, few did anything resembling false riffle shuffles, but times change and before long "everybody" was doing the Zarrow.

One of the best Zarrow shufflers I’ve ever seen was Fred Robinson, and I had more than a few discussions with him about it. As Mike Powers noted, there’s usually a tell and even Fred had a tell. Thing is it was only a tell to me, and presumably other magicians familiar with the Zarrow. And I suspect that’s the reason we spot the tell—any tell in fact. Or, as I prefer, we recognise it, rather than spot it. That said, we usually spot it after repeated viewings.

When I did any sort of riffle shuffle for my school pals, they watched like hawks. They knew I was up to something because they knew me and anyway I was doing a trick. But they were also intrigued by the table riffle shuffle. The only place we’d ever seen it was at the cinema. Usually in the saloon in Western films. I varied between regular and Zarrow and nobody commented. And it wasn’t because they were too polite. Completely the reverse.

That said, it’s hard to disagree with Bob Farmer, and I don’t. If you only use one shuffle, in this case the Zarrow, observers have nothing to compare it with. I’m more than content with my false overhand shuffle, for example, but I frequently use a false shuffle instinctively whether it’s required or not.

To echo Stevie Ray Christian , for me, if what you’re "doing is sufficient" and it works you have mastered it. Magicians can point out "flaws" as they think they see them—and do! But that’s because they recognise the thing. Or think they do. And their way of doing is better anyhow. And if it isn’t they’ll always reference a nearby Steve or some other master.

Notwithstanding all this folderol, I also agree with Stevie Ray Christian that it is a move "that we magicians fuss over unnecessarily." Wanting to get it right, however we interpret that, is one thing, but there comes a time when the search for the best/perfect method turns into obsession. And that’s not healthy.

As for fussing, well fussing without fighting is the fun of it. Well, a big part of it. Isn’t it? 

 

Note to anyone with any Genii magazines lying around in the dust cupboard. See if you can find the February 2008 issue. There’s a (big ) extract there from the Zarrow book. It covers the history of the move and Zarrow’s own techniques. 

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SReynolds

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Reply with quote  #43 
Lot's of great info here. I'll have to take some time to read them all and add anything that is relevant.

Thinking about the speed you usually work and where your audience is in relation to the shuffle makes choosing a technique(s) practical.

Do you shuffle with precision or more loosey-goosey?

I have a moderate handling speed, but depending on the presentation I'll use one of the above.

There's much info out there and I'd track it all down.

Just for the record: The Z DVD is much more than just the Zarrow Shuffle.

What I'm teaching is the fundamentals of shuffling in general and how this foundation can lead not only to a deceptive false square up for the Z Shuffle, but you can also apply any of the numerous false shuffle strategies (which are all explained in the second book: Beyond the Z).

I went through all the relevant and available handlings when I was a lad and found that Marlo's technique was far superior and in many ways it still is.

That was my model.

The Tip-up Cover (though Zarrow disliked this approach) was one off-shoot handling that Harry mentioned somewhere above from Rim-Shots. I had much fun with this. It's a "when in doubt" cover and it can lead to a few interesting techniques of its own.

Steve

 

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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #44 
Here's another Zarrow tip I came up with. Previously, to do a complete deck false shuffle with a Zarrow the procedure was as follows: imagine the deck as  sections A, B, C from the top down.

B is pulled out from the center. A break is held between A and C. B is Zarrowed under A. 

The problem with this is twofold: first, pulling a section out of the center looks funny; second, the top card is not shuffled into the deck.

Here's my solution:

1. Cut the top half to the right.

2. Zarrow into the left half, ensuring that the top half goes under a block.

3. As you square, angle the center block so you can push it through and out to the left.

4. Pull this block out (the original top half) and slap it on top.

This looks like you shuffled the deck and then cut it. It's a combination of a Zarrow and a push through--but it's easy because you're pusing through one block of cards.
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