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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #1 
Does anyone do this excellent trick - "Card College" (the trick, not the book by Giobbi) - from Matt Baker's The Buena Vista Shuffle Club?

It's a fantastic trick - maybe the best memdeck trick I've done. But I wonder how you handle a potential question about an inconsistency in how cards are dealt down?

For the first phase, you count/deal the cards face-down. Then for the second phase, you deal them face-up. And for the next part of this phase, you have the spec deal face-up again.

So from the spec's point of view, we deal the cards face-down the first time, and then for some reason, specify to deal them face up the next 2 times.

How do you explain this if asked why?
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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #2 
Just out of curiosity, how many people have asked you to clarify the dealing process after you've shown them the effect?

If it becomes a focus for spectators then perhaps your "patter" could give a rationale as to why the cards are dealt differently throughout the routine. 

Not being familiar with the trick, it's difficult to pinpoint a good suggestion for your potential spectator issue. 


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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #3 
I haven't done it for live humans yet, having just got the book a few weeks ago. But I always try to imagine myself as the spec. Perhaps it would be really rare, but I can definitely see someone asking "why?" when the patter specifies that they deal face-up when the first time I dealt face-down. It could be that if you don't make a big deal about it the first time when you deal down (which is face-down), that they won't think much of it when you DO specify later to do it face-up (when they are counting/dealing). 

The plot of the trick is that at "Card College" you progress through harder and harder feats, earning a bachelor's degree for one level (first phase), a master's degree for a harder thing (2nd phase) and doing the hardest thing of all (naming all the cards that they put inside the box earlier) is a PHD. So I suppose you could say something like, this level is insanely difficult with the cards face up as I'm sure you'll agree. It would be impossible with the cards face-down. Or something like that.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #4 
I just watched a video on Matt's site doing this trick. And he deals face-down all 3 times! So he must've had the same concerns I did about the trick, to have changed he method so significantly. I've sent him an email to ask about this. I'll post here when I hear back.
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mbakermagic

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Reply with quote  #5 

Hi Ken,

First of all, I'm glad you like the routine! And it's a great question you're asking. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

I perform the routine in two different ways nowadays, in part because of the issue you're raising and in part because I think it's a little more deceptive to do all the dealing face-down. (Of course, the routine is constructed in a way that it's hopefully quite deceptive either way!)

One way is to do all three rounds of dealing face-down. For this, I use a marked deck. In a parlor setting, I'll often take the additional step of putting on a blindfold during the second "blind estimation" phase (and then peek down my nose at the marks). This is my preferred handling in a parlor setting nowadays. However, there are a few small caveats: (1) In low lighting I'm sometimes unable to see the marks, since my eyesight isn't what it used to be. (2) Using a blindfold doesn't really work in a close-up environment, whereas the trick itself is quite good for both close-up and parlor. (3) I don't always have a marked and stacked deck on me.

For these reasons, I will often do the routine without a marked deck as well, and then the method requires that the dealing in phase 2 be done face-up. To be honest, I don't think this is a big deal at all BECAUSE OF THE PRESENTATION, but perhaps I didn't emphasize the key point enough in the book itself (so I'll do it now). What makes this work is that while spectators *might* be temporarily wondering why the dealing is being done face-up, you soon "explain" it by saying that for the PhD you'll use another technique you learned at Card College: extreme memorization. And you point out that since you've seen the faces of all the cards outside the box, by using extreme memorization you should be able to figure out all the cards *in* the box as well. At this point the spectators will hopefully think -- if they had any questions at all about it before -- oh, that's why he was dealing face-up.

I totally get what you're saying, and I wrestled with the same questions myself, but in my experience the routine really works well. I've never had a spectator ask about this point and I've never had a non-magician tell me they think they know how the routine works.

Cheers,
   Matt

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Ken,

I just went through the "Card College" routine. I had seen Matt perform it in the Penguin lecture but hadn't actually read the routine in the book. It's very strong and not too difficult. Great combination! 

I didn't get the feeling that the FU/FD dealing was discrepant. Dealing face down the first time is necessary in that it reverses the order of the packet. The spec then immediately shuffles the two FD half-decks together. I think that not seeing the faces strengthens the feeling that you can't know anything about the order of the cards. 

Clearly you have to have a spread of FU cards for the 2nd and 3rd phases. Dealing FD and then turning them FU is one way. But why not just deal them FU in the first place? It's really the fact that the cards are FU that might weaken the effect rather than the fact that they're dealt a certain way. In other words I don't think it matters whether you deal FD and the spread FU or just deal FU in the first place. Either way, you're looking at faces.

The good news is that looking at faces seems to have nothing to do with knowing how many cards the spec has in her pocket. And, naming all the cards in the box is the real killer and comes at the proper moment theatrically i.e. at the end. 

It's amazing how much info you get about a shuffled deck and the size of various packets by just looking at a spread of cards. Very freakin' clever!!

Mike
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #7 
Wow, the man himself! Thanks Matt!! And thanks Mike as well for your insight.
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thank you so much for stopping by to answer Ken‘s question, Matt!

I have to say that I am a huge fan of your work and your book is full of gems.

I’ve never been much of a coin guy, but your “quantum matrix” is one of my new favorites to perform. The pattern is so creative and fits the effect perfectly. I’m now a fan of quantum mechanics :)

Rudy

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domihari

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Reply with quote  #9 
I love this routine too, the best I learned in 2019 by far ! I love Mike Powers book also very much and you should all consider it too, great great stuff in those two best buys ! I do the Card College routine with a marked deck too but Mike is right and all phases could be done face up.
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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #10 
Since you have to reverse the order in the first deal/count, how could you do that one face-up?
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mbakermagic

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Reply with quote  #11 
Ken is right: the counting in phase 1 has to be done face-down because of the method.
I always do phase 1 dealing the cards face-down, and the rest of the counting is either face-down (if I have marked cards) or face-up (otherwise).
As I mentioned earlier, the presentation is designed to help cover the "discrepancy" in the latter case and I've never personally found it to be a problem.
But if mixing face-down and face-up counts bothers you, then using a marked deck is a good solution.

   Matt
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #12 
Awesome that you're replying here, Matt!

As many know -- I'm strictly a hobbyist and my son-in-law is my largest audience... so he's seen me do lots of stuff.

When I did "Card College" for him... he sat back and didn't say anything for a bit then said "that's the best trick I've ever seen you do"

'Nuff said -- I love that effect, and have mentioned it here at TMF once before.

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KenTheriot

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Reply with quote  #13 
Yes, just the very premise of memdeck magic is a step or two above. There isn't a single magician in my area who would even consider doing what it takes to really memorize a stack so they can do these wonders. So I'm not surprised, Dave, that your son-in-law was impressed. Then I read this trick in Matt's book and it seemed like a notch or two above the already wondrous world of memorized deck magic. I have not yet done human trials with it :-). But I plan to in March at a festival for a medieval group I'm in (Society for Creative Anachronism - SCA). I'll report back on how it went! 
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