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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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I joined this forum six months ago today, just a few days after I decided to learn magic. I had done some magic as as kid, but had let it go with other interests and lack of resources in my little town in Missouri. Damage to my spine has left my choice of hobbies limited, but magic has been an interesting diversion.

It hardly seems like six months, really. I suppose that is because I am enjoying myself. My family and friends, the frequent victims of my desire to show someone what I have learned, might have a different opinion. I'm pretty sure that they all dread to hear the words, "Hey, guess what?  I've learned a new trick!" 

I cannot say I have practiced everyday, life just doesn't cooperate at times, but I think I average at least five days a week where I put in a couple of hours of practice, although not always at one time. I keep a deck of cards with me at all times and I practice my passes or double lifts whenever I get at least five minutes free. The first thing I had to do was learn to riffle shuffle and do a bridge. I really haven't played cards much, so I really had to start at the basics and I can do those now with no problem, although I haven't done the "no table" riffle shuffle yet. 

The gang here at The Magician Forums has been instrumental in helping me along with all the great advice and encouragement. I want to thank everyone, especially RJ who frequently responds to my posts, but everyone else as well. I wish I could contribute more meaningfully to the discussions, but a lot of things people talk about are way over my skill level and I don't have the experience yet, so I keep my mouth shut, mostly, and try to absorb the knowledge and wisdom presented here on these forums.

I am going to post a list below of what I have been working on. If you see that something is missing that should be there, please let me know what it is. Constructive criticism is always appreciated by me , as are the people I have met here on The Magician's Forum.

Best to all,
Sam




My list of moves with cards so far is:

Classic Pass
Covered Pass
Spread Pass
Herman Pass
Top Change
Double Lift
Triple
Snap Change

And I have two flourishes, a Pinky Flick and fingertip spin. These fit into a deck color change, a transposition, a ambitious card, Oil and Water, a prediction, and ACAN tricks I know.

I think I do pretty well at these, except for the Herman Pass, I still get caught with that one. I am going to have to add in more misdirection when I do that one. The Pinky flick is also still a work in progress.

I am currently working on learning the Elmsley count for a Twisting the Aces trick. I am also working on a four card/coin matrix trick, but both of these are still in the rough stages.

Speaking of coins, I have a simple coins across trick I can do fairly well, but needs some polishing. I have a decent French Drop and am working on my retention vanishes and a few weeks ago I rolled up some paper towels and grabbed some paper cups and started learning a cups and balls routine. I am going to order a beginners set of cups next payday.
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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #2 

Well, you’ve certainly been busy. I found the list exhausting!  [smile][smile][smile]

It’s fun to work on sleights, but it can be a bit soul destroying if you don’t have a routine or two to surround the moves. Even if you "only" do things for personal pleasure, rather than for other folk, it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

"Twisting The Aces" is always a winner and the Elmsley Count will stand you in good stead forever.

Keep on choogling and I look forward to the next interim "report". 

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #3 
Sam, what town are you in if I may ask? I'm in the St. Louis area myself. Your list of sleights is good. If you can master just those you can do great things. I would think at some point you might want to add the Zarrow shuffle to the list. Steve Reynolds, who recently lectured here is a great resource.

Glad I've been of help. My main motivation is to add to discussions, stimulate thought and help people past sticking points. It is never too late to take up magic, as you have found. As you grow, hopefully your friends and family will ask for you to perform! I'm sure they will.
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Harry Lorayne

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    You might even benefit from some of the books I've written JUST FOR YOU!!
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luigimar

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Reply with quote  #5 
Sam, I've been into magic for more than 30 years and I don't do any "passes" so if you can do those you listed proficiently, then you won't be afraid of easier things, like an Elmsley count (which you are already practicing), a Jordan count, a Hamman count, the faro shuffle (a bit more difficult). 

You may also want to learn different ways to reveal a chosen card. Daryl has a set of 5 DVDs where he shows you many different ways to reveal cards (https://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S18787). You could also try to find different ways to control cards (a pass is such a way). 

You don't mention any books you have (and Harry just chimed in, suggesting his books which you should just go ahead and grab/buy). I do a coins across that I put together long time ago from the moves explained in the Derek Dingle and Larry Jennings' books, so you may want to get those too (the PDF of the Jennings book can be bought from the L&L site, here, but I would suggest you wait for the Black Friday sale, so you could get it cheaper).

Oh, and don't forget that on TMF we have the Saturday Sessions and some Lectures which could also be useful. 

I think you could tell us a bit more of what you have so we could give you other suggestions. 

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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #6 
If you've mastered all of that in 6 months, I can't wait for a year....
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RayJ

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
If you've mastered all of that in 6 months, I can't wait for a year....

Right?
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EVILDAN

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Simon Lovell once said that people come up to him at conventions and ask, “Do you want to see my pass?”

He responds, “No, I want to see what you can do with that pass.”

I don’t do any passes either. I once went to Jason Ladanye for private lessons and asked for him to teach me the pass. He asked why and I told him I wanted to be able to control a card to the top of the deck. He said there are better ways.

My suggestion is that if you want to practice something, work on card culling. Very versatile. It’ll open up a bigger range of possibilities than taking a card from somewhere in the middle to the top of the deck.
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ
Sam, what town are you in if I may ask? I'm in the St. Louis area myself. Your list of sleights is good. If you can master just those you can do great things. I would think at some point you might want to add the Zarrow shuffle to the list. Steve Reynolds, who recently lectured here is a great resource.

Glad I've been of help. My main motivation is to add to discussions, stimulate thought and help people past sticking points. It is never too late to take up magic, as you have found. As you grow, hopefully your friends and family will ask for you to perform! I'm sure they will.


I am living in Wichita, Ks at this time and have been for years. However, I am from Mt. Sterling, MO, about 75 miles west of St. Louis on the Gasconade River. I went to high school in Owensville, Mo.
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Lorayne
    You might even benefit from some of the books I've written JUST FOR YOU!!
 

Your book for beginners is at the top of my Christmas list! [smile]
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom G
If you've mastered all of that in 6 months, I can't wait for a year....


I am very reluctant to say that I have mastered anything, but it does seem to be working, except for my Herman pass.....
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Smithee

Well, you’ve certainly been busy. I found the list exhausting!  [smile][smile][smile]

It’s fun to work on sleights, but it can be a bit soul destroying if you don’t have a routine or two to surround the moves. Even if you "only" do things for personal pleasure, rather than for other folk, it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve.

"Twisting The Aces" is always a winner and the Elmsley Count will stand you in good stead forever.

Keep on choogling and I look forward to the next interim "report". 



I am working up a routine, that is why I am learning Twisting the Aces, because I want to do a "Aces are magic" theme to my card routine. All of the stuff I listed are necessary for tricks that I have found that I liked and so I learned those passes and bits just to do the tricks. It is, as you say, easier to work in larger context. That being said, I often just put on a podcast or music and do my passes and double lifts and top changes. 

I have started the cups and balls because I want to do a parlor show for my grandson's 6th birthday. He is only 2 1/2 yrs old, so I have time to practice until then.

Next update will be April 10, if the Good Lord is Willing[biggrin]
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chris w

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Reply with quote  #13 
Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Sam. I'm glad you're having a good time!

As you obviously have the necessary diligence, you might benefit from working through something like Card College (if you're not already doing so) that takes a systematic approach to covering fundamentals. Such courses of study make it easy to know what to work on next and ensure you're tackling things in a logical order.

Of course, there's also plenty of fun to be had in charting one's own idiosyncratic course.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
My suggestion is that if you want to practice something, work on card culling. Very versatile. It’ll open up a bigger range of possibilities than taking a card from somewhere in the middle to the top of the deck.


Ditto what the Evil One wrote. Culls, properly and invisibly executed, can begat miracles. The Hofzinzer Spread Cull is taught in lots of sources and is a good place to begin.

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Alan Smithee

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotsoMagnificent

Next update will be April 10, if the Good Lord is Willing[biggrin]


I'm sure he's smiling, benevolently  even though we are all talking about The Devil's Playthings.  [smile][wink]

And I don't mean the Roy Walton Book. [wink][smile][smile]
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krolik

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Reply with quote  #16 
Hi Sam,

Your list of card moves is solid, classical and ambitious. It's absolutely normal if these moves are a work-in-progress. Actually, that's the case for the top card handlers, too. Everywhere. The foundations are inescapable, and always being practiced and redefined.

I assume you're using YouTube, too? Back in the day I had to rely solely on books and I'm still a book guy but honestly there's so much good stuff out there available on video that a person can progress more quickly for many things, I think, with online resources.

I'm new here too but my impression is that the forum has a good vibe and if you had a specific question about this or that trick, or move, you'd have a friendly response from well-informed people. So no reason to hesitate!

Till next time...

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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by krolik
Hi Sam,

Your list of card moves is solid, classical and ambitious. It's absolutely normal if these moves are a work-in-progress. Actually, that's the case for the top card handlers, too. Everywhere. The foundations are inescapable, and always being practiced and redefined.

I assume you're using YouTube, too? Back in the day I had to rely solely on books and I'm still a book guy but honestly there's so much good stuff out there available on video that a person can progress more quickly for many things, I think, with online resources.

I'm new here too but my impression is that the forum has a good vibe and if you had a specific question about this or that trick, or move, you'd have a friendly response from well-informed people. So no reason to hesitate!

Till next time...



Charles, the moderators and Rudy are to thank for the friendly vibe here.  There have been moments where someone has said the wrong thing or was a little too "excited."  When those happen, they are dealt with quickly.

Nobody should ever feel that they cannot post questions, no matter how basic.  Nobody will judge.  That is what makes this forum unique.  We all share one thing in common and that is our love of magic.  Anything that helps further that pursuit is welcome.
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


Ditto what the Evil One wrote. Culls, properly and invisibly executed, can begat miracles. The Hofzinzer Spread Cull is taught in lots of sources and is a good place to begin.

Av  


I will add the Hofzinzer Spread Cull to my list of things to learn...as soon as I find out what a Hofzinzer Spread Cull is. [smile]
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Quote:
Originally Posted by krolik
Hi Sam,

Your list of card moves is solid, classical and ambitious. It's absolutely normal if these moves are a work-in-progress. Actually, that's the case for the top card handlers, too. Everywhere. The foundations are inescapable, and always being practiced and redefined.

I assume you're using YouTube, too? Back in the day I had to rely solely on books and I'm still a book guy but honestly there's so much good stuff out there available on video that a person can progress more quickly for many things, I think, with online resources.

I'm new here too but my impression is that the forum has a good vibe and if you had a specific question about this or that trick, or move, you'd have a friendly response from well-informed people. So no reason to hesitate!

Till next time...



Yes, I've used Youtube a lot, I am a visual learner so see how something is done is much easier than reading about it. However, I have seen some bits in magic books that seem to be presented very well. I am thinking the books I had available as a kid weren't all that good, or my ability to visualize from reading has gotten better.

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotsoMagnificent


I will add the Hofzinzer Spread Cull to my list of things to learn...as soon as I find out what a Hofzinzer Spread Cull is. [smile]


Well, since you use YouTube, I have little doubt you will discover what it is soon enough. At the same time, look up Johann Nepomuk Hofzinser. Any card magician should know at least a bit about him. Think you'll be intrigued!

FYI, Harapan Ong has a great little booklet called Close Culls in which he does a stellar job of teaching the art of culling, and provides a couple of effects using the sleight.

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #21 
Culling can give you the ability to control cards as you “casually” run/spread through a face-up deck. For example you spread thru the deck and control the four aces to the top of the deck.

The culling action will also allow you to force a card seemingly pretty fair.

It will also allow you to have a card returned to the deck and you control it to the top or bottom depending on how your deck is oriented.

Check out HaLo Aces by Harry Lorayne and The Roadrunner Cull by Kostya Kimlat.

Kostya can separate a mixed deck into reds and blacks in one pass using the cull. That is practice time well spent.
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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #22 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotsoMagnificent


Yes, I've used Youtube a lot, I am a visual learner so see how something is done is much easier than reading about it. However, I have seen some bits in magic books that seem to be presented very well. I am thinking the books I had available as a kid weren't all that good, or my ability to visualize from reading has gotten better.



Not going to get into the whole video versus text argument here but I do have a word of caution.

Video instruction can be great, but, and there's always a but, make certain that the person executing the move is doing it right?

How to know?  How does it look?  How does it compare to other magicians you see do it?

I bring this up due to the fact that there are countless "instructional" videos on the web where the practitioner has no clue as to what he/she is doing.  

If you learn a sleight incorrectly it can be hard to fix later on after you've developed bad habits.

So just be aware of it!
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Not going to get into the whole video versus text argument here but I do have a word of caution.

Video instruction can be great, but, and there's always a but, make certain that the person executing the move is doing it right?

How to know?  How does it look?  How does it compare to other magicians you see do it?

I bring this up due to the fact that there are countless "instructional" videos on the web where the practitioner has no clue as to what he/she is doing.  

If you learn a sleight incorrectly it can be hard to fix later on after you've developed bad habits.

So just be aware of it!


I have sort of vetted my sources. I only really like three sources, which isn't to say there aren't more good channels, but for various reasons I tend to go back to A Million Card Tricks, Steve at stevesworld.tv and Pigcake. I am not sure if I should mention Pigcake, he has a very dank sense of humor, but I find his fake arrogance funny, a lot funnier than some people's fake humility, anyway. I've seen other magicians who are talented, but their videos seem more like art projects than an instructional videos. I also look at multiple videos whenever I learn a trick. I have watched five or six videos on the Elmsley count trying to see which is best. I have also paid attention to various forums discussing some channels, and I avoid the ones where there is an overall negative consensus about them.

I have also been watching a lot of master magicians as well that have clips on youtube, especially the ones from the magic castle. I must have spent an hour and half on John Mendoza's cups and balls routine, stopping it and going back and trying to see how he did things and I have probably spent twice that amount of time on other magicians doing the cups and balls. 


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RayJ

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Reply with quote  #24 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotsoMagnificent


I have sort of vetted my sources. I only really like three sources, which isn't to say there aren't more good channels, but for various reasons I tend to go back to A Million Card Tricks, Steve at stevesworld.tv and Pigcake. I am not sure if I should mention Pigcake, he has a very dank sense of humor, but I find his fake arrogance funny, a lot funnier than some people's fake humility, anyway. I've seen other magicians who are talented, but their videos seem more like art projects than an instructional videos. I also look at multiple videos whenever I learn a trick. I have watched five or six videos on the Elmsley count trying to see which is best. I have also paid attention to various forums discussing some channels, and I avoid the ones where there is an overall negative consensus about them.

I have also been watching a lot of master magicians as well that have clips on youtube, especially the ones from the magic castle. I must have spent an hour and half on John Mendoza's cups and balls routine, stopping it and going back and trying to see how he did things and I have probably spent twice that amount of time on other magicians doing the cups and balls. 




Sounds like you are using discernment, which is important.  And Mendoza's cups and balls is a great model to study.  
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamtheNotsoMagnificent


Yes, I've used Youtube a lot, I am a visual learner so see how something is done is much easier than reading about it. However, I have seen some bits in magic books that seem to be presented very well. I am thinking the books I had available as a kid weren't all that good, or my ability to visualize from reading has gotten better.



I looked up the Hofzinzer Spread Cull, and I can definitely see the usefulness of such a move. I only got to play around with it for a few minutes, but I will definitely add it to my practice sessions. With that, and a cups and balls routine I am working on, I am going to officially declare my plate to be full. I think I will spend the next few months just grinding the sleights I have started into muscle memory before I take up any new skills.

Thanks to you and EvilDan for bringing this to my attention.

Best to All,
Sam
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SamtheNotsoMagnificent

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayJ


Sounds like you are using discernment, which is important.  And Mendoza's cups and balls is a great model to study.  


I am a rank beginner, but I am a serious beginner, so I am definitely trying to keep the quality up. 

I watched a couple of magicians, and very good ones, do the cups and balls. And the first couple of times I fell for the misdirection when they do their wand twirls to load a ball on top of a cup, but now I see that move whenever someone do that. John Mendoza simply picks up his wand and drops the 5th ball, and I have watched that video at least ten times and I still miss that move about half the time its so natural. 
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