ERDNASE

Discuss general aspects of Genii.

Postby Larry Horowitz » 07/10/05 03:38 PM

O.K. Here is an odd thought, I really don't know if it warrents any merit.....

It has always been thought that the writing style and vocabulary used by the author has denoted an education and possibly finer upbringing. Yet, all gambling references in the book refer to Poker. I believe at the turn of the century Poker would have been considered a low-brow game.

Does it signify anything that there is no reference to cheating at Gin, Bridge, Pinnochle or any other game played with "x" dollars per point? Certainly, there are known stories of cardsharp's working the cruise ships traversing the Atlantic.
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Postby Guest » 07/10/05 05:20 PM

Hi Darren,

Dai Vernon has been noted for saying that it's all there in black and white. I don't know to what extent he took this, I'm sure some of the older members here who knew or met him would know more about his thoughts here.

There is the odd mistake that comes clear the more the book is studied, but other than that; when I read the book I see everything to be there in black and white. But with a book that (to me) has obviously been wrote by someone who practiced what he preached there has to be under the surface information, it can't not be there.

It would be impossile for an author of this work to put everything he knew about everything included on paper, especially when it comes to moves such as the cull and stock shuffles.

While I can see Dai Vernon's thinking behind it all being there; I can also see that it's only so much of what the author knew that is there. While reading between the lines may not be neccessary to learn the moves, it can certainly offer a fuller understanding of what is going on.

I suppose there are no two people the same, and different people will see different parts of any quality text in a different clearness, perhaps Dai Vernon just seen this stuff clearer than anyone else, and that wouldn't be surprising.

From any level; I believe the book deserves a massive respect and thought is well worth putting into it, so I do both.

Larry, at the turn of the century I have no idea what poker would have been considered as, either over here or in the States. Sorry to jump in and reply to your thought without knowing, perhaps if what you say is true there could be something in it.

First I have to add somehting here. The book really does reek of poker and draw poker at that. It can clearly be seen that the thinking behind the majority of the book is tackling problems that occur in draw. The cut and the draw have been thought out massively by whoever wrote this book.

It is't the only game mentioned in the book though.

There is mention of Whist, Hearts, Poker, Cribbage, Euchre, Coon Can, Penukle, All Fours, Piquet and Euchre.

Back to your thought; as I said, I have no idea of how poker was looked apon at the time, the book is obviously not a quick throw together of moves worked out for the latest fad game though. We have read here that the book may have been written long before being published. Whether it was or not; the moves were definately not freshly thrown together for a quick publication.

Perhaps you are right and draw poker was becoming low brow, maybe if this wasn't the case the book wouldn't have been published at that time.

I don't have a clue really, I was just interested in the possiblity when I read your thought. Hopefully someone here knows more about the history of the game and can help out.

David.
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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/10/05 05:47 PM

Originally posted by Larry Horowitz:
Yet, all gambling references in the book refer to Poker. I believe at the turn of the century Poker would have been considered a low-brow game.

Does it signify anything that there is no reference to cheating at Gin, Bridge, Pinnochle or any other game played with "x" dollars per point?
Poker is referenced only four times (on pages 9, 70 and 115), and relatively in passing, whereas Euchre is more prominently featured (also mentioned four times, if one does not count the two section headings and the two table of contents reiterations). And the only game I know of that the author explicity admits to having played is Cassino (p.p. 116-117), at which he sheepishly admits to having had a "protracted run of 'hard luck'" which he only later learned was due to a "short deck." In addition to the games mentioned in the text as cited above by David Walsh (Whist, Hearts, Poker, Cribbage, Coon Can, Penukle, All Fours, Piquet and Euchre) the author mentions Faro three times on page 18 (though his earlier reference on page 14 to having "bucked the tiger voluntarily" is almost certainly an admission to having played that game as well) and, perhaps most famously, an entire section is devoted to three card monte, though that is hardly a real game!

I do think it is instructive to examine the games mentioned and what they might tell us about the author. Some (Gazzo, for example) have attempted to use them to date the original manuscript (when were the games cited popular?) and perhaps fix the age of the author, but I am not aware of much success in that direction. I also think the writing style ought to tell us much about the author: the kind of works he read, perhaps his academic history and background. But I am not personally able to do much with that kind of literary "profiling." Although many have assumed that the style pre-supposes a higher education, I would point out that many fine writers of the period did not have such a background, Mark Twain being a prime example.
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Postby Guest » 07/10/05 06:34 PM

There certainly is mention of many games in there, and I know no gamblers who know and play only a single game.

But even without specific mention of name I also see a massive draw poker influence in the work, but it could just be that out of all the games mentioned I only know that and hearts.

David.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 07/10/05 07:43 PM

It would appear that I am mistaken. Once again I shall read the book,(for the umpteenth time), and pay a little more attention.
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Postby David Alexander » 07/10/05 09:01 PM

Larry wrote:O.K. Here is an odd thought, I really don't know if it warrents any merit.....

It has always been thought that the writing style and vocabulary used by the author has denoted an education and possibly finer upbringing. Yet, all gambling references in the book refer to Poker. I believe at the turn of the century Poker would have been considered a low-brow game.

Larry,
I wrote an 8,000 word article, the cover story of the January 2000 Genii that profiles a candidate for the identity of Erdnase that takes this aspect into account in the creation of a profile. Clearly, the writer was university educated. He was also skilled in solving problems and articulating his solutions in writing, something that does not come easily or quickly, but with experience and practice.

While Mark Twain was a "fine writer," his was not the style of a university-educated writer. His was the style of a popular writer who learned his craft writing for newspapers of the day.

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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/10/05 11:18 PM

Originally posted by David Alexander:
Clearly, the writer was university educated.
I'm probably naive in thinking that such literary profiling is not as scientific as DNA matching. It seems to me that such profiling is, at best, probablistic in nature, with the degree of probability unspecified ("Clearly" implies 100% certainty on this issue). Perhaps Mark Twain was not the best example, but there are many others. Joseph Conrad wrote in a very dense prose style without benefit of a college education and English was not his first or even his second language. Herman Melville left school at age 12 and certainly wrote sophisticated American prose. My point is simply that I do not believe we can know with certainty that the mysterious author "S. W. Erdnase" necessarily attended college. One might argue that it is likely, but to say that it is "certain" likely excludes some interesting candidates, including possibly the actual author.
I highly recommend David's excellent GENII article to anyone interested in this topic, but I don't think that the profile developed there must be accepted uncritically. Here's an example of how I believe the profiling is based on probabilities rather than certainty: In that article, David argues that the author is college educated and therefore from a well-to-do family and therefore a Northerner, since the wealth of the South was destroyed during the Civil war. I apologize if I have oversimplified the argument, but I think that is essentially what is stated (please correct me if I am wrong!). If we turn that logic around, it implies that no one from the South went to college for several generations, which I find very hard to believe.
Certainly one is more likely to sound college educated if one actually has the benefit of such an education, but I think we all know people who sound better educated than they are and others who sound less sophisticated than their backgrounds would suggest. Con men, in particular (and I am not suggesting that the author necessarily was a con man!), are often able to pass themselves off as doctors, lawyers, even judges and surgeons, without any formal higher education at all (Frank Abagnale, of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, being a recent example of the type). Personally, I find such profiling fascinating and a useful guide, but I do not yet find it compelling. In this specific case, I think it is not a question of whether the author was "well educated" (I would characterize all the authors cited as being "well educated", in my opinion), but how he came by that education: was he self taught, as the majority of his generation were, or did he have benefit of higher institutional education? I consider it still an "open" question. And though it is not likely entirely relevant here, I'm reminded of a quote attributed to Mark Twain:
"I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/11/05 09:05 AM

Perhaps S.W. wrote poorly but had an educated feller setting the type and editing? :)
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/11/05 09:32 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Perhaps S.W. wrote poorly but had an educated feller setting the type and editing? :)
Pete, that approach makes more sense than searching for a single author for the text. Houdini and Downs were not the best of writers, yet who they were does come across in what is known of their writing. Likewise we have some of Karl Germain's words in longhand to consider.

I hold that "ERDNASE" is a composite work, with at least two components and perhaps more than a few hands in the writing. In some ways I find the work analogous to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein where the author purports to one agenda and identity ...

With a nod to Mr. Hatch above, I'd be surprised if a textual analysis could produce anything close to DNA type match/mismatch results with similar confidence levels.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/11/05 09:51 AM

Originally posted by david walsh:
Hi Glenn,

Its hard to tell but I think you may misunderstand the description of the stock in the book.

The following is partly why Im not sure you are getting the text right:

This will come clearer as you read but the reason being is that the sets of two, three or four dont even have to be of kind.
David.
First of all it is wrong to make these above assumptions about the text in Erdnase. Not only do I find it insulting but I also find it very closed minded. Have you ever used this 12 card fancy stock on a real game of cards? Have you ever played cards like draw poker or five card stud?

I don't claim to be an expert at cards or magic.

But you might try and set up a safe game and try out the moves as I have. Because this is how I came to this idea toward the 12 card fancy stock in Erdnase. I still think it makes a great demonstration to sell the book. But I do not see Erdnase or any card shark using the 12 card fancy stock in any real game of cards. As with many moves in this book.

And I have met with a few advantage players and sessioned with them.

He doesnt expose the hop or the gamblers palm and the palming is only on the magicians FULL palm. I also feel that Erdnase might have been employed as a spotter in the gambling halls of his day and then decided to write a book to help him do lectures and perhaps make more money. If he was successful at that it is lost in time for now - until someone finds the clues.
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 10:52 AM

Glenn,

I can assure you no insult was meant, Im not sure what it is thats insulted you, but none was meant in any part of what I said.

Its hard to tell from your quoting of my post what you refer to, this is because you have taken a few bits from here and there and quoted them together, and as a result misquoted me. I never put them in that order or in that relation, so again Im not sure what has offended you.

All I have done is seen your first mention of the use of the shuffle (in February) and offered a change of thought from someone who knows otherwise. Then in your more recent description of using the stock it seems to me that you have read it wrong or dont understand it. Again I mean no insult or harm in anyway by saying this, I just mean (and meant) to offer help. Perhaps you do understand the example given in the book and it just hasnt come across that way in your post, it is possible but it doesnt look that way.

I can assure you that I understand the description exactly as written and I also understand the real world use of the shuffle to a fuller extent. I think I made this clear enough in my examples in my reply post. Perhaps if you do understand the move correctly you could take the time to check these out and see where I am coming from.

Perhaps you could read the Erdnase text again and see if perhaps I am right and you havent picked it up correctly. Perhaps even do this and if you have understood it read your post again and see why it looks like you dont understand it to someone who does when reading it.

The bottom of the deck being in play is somewhere in particular that you should take note on when doing this.

Im also glad you mention the full palm and the hop in the text. They are very related.

The palms have been designed to immediately follow on from an overhand shuffle, they flow so beautifully from the shuffle to the cut and to the cut replacement with the cards actually being palmed for such a very little time.

These palms have been designed specifically for one purpose only, to combat the cut.

There is mention of holding out during the deal, but even this is related. The palms flow from the shuffle to the cut and to the deal in perfect naturalness and complete econemy.

If you run an overhand shuffle, even an honest one, and pause for an instant as the cards are about to be adjusted into dealing position and look where they are, they sit in perfect position for the bottom palm first method (preferably with addition from the final paragraph) to be done as they are moved to a dealing position. No cop or gamblers palm could be made this economical, natural and uniform with the honest counterpart for this use. If you look at the top palm first method you will also see the exact same, the timing of the palm is a little different but the action is the same, the honest adjustment from shuffle to dealers grip, the bottom palm under this cover and the top palm as the same all look identical, they flow and they fit in with the strictest of card table surroundings. Its details like this that make me believe that Erdnase wasnt just knowlegable about cheats moves or even a run of the day cheat, the highest order is what I see.

Perhaps thats why theres no mention of the hop, with a system this good, there is no need to do one. I suppose thoughts like this can help the thinking if why what is and what isnt in the book is the way it is, but I dont think whats not in the book can be offered as proof that Erdnase wasnt a cheat, If everything was in there it would still be being wrote, I think what is in there is a better place to be looking, even if not to be finding out who wrote it, but for learning about the finer points of card handling and structure.

In nothing I have said do I mean offence, there is something that I feel I have to say in relation to your last post though. That is in your reference to your safe games and your assumed questioning about me (someone you dont know from Adam).

I dont want to hear about your safe game set ups again, and I dont want to be asked questions of that nature and in that manner.

Sorry to be blunt there, but I feel just. Hopefully we can we live with that and carry on.

David.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/11/05 11:43 AM

Originally posted by david walsh:
Perhaps you could read the Erdnase text again and see if perhaps I am right and you havent picked it up correctly.
David. [/QB]
Moves in magic and theory are not a right or wrong issue with me. When a person learns from a book it is open to the interpretation of the reader.

So to me there is little right or wrong in the written world and only things that are different. The right way to do a move in performance at the card table and in a magic show is the way that it works. I would say that what works in the application of the move is the right way to do it!

So basically if I have read your posting - is that YOU think I am wrong and Erdnase in both the moves of the 12 card stock and he WAS a card shark cheat. And Erdnase DID do the 12 card fancy stock at the card table.

I can live with that!
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 12:10 PM

"I would say that what works in the application of the move is the right way to do it!"

Glenn Bishop.

Taking the above quote into account and by your saying that the way you have read the move it doesn't work, it seems that we agree and you also think you are wrong, I'm glad we got that cleared up.

It's up to you of course, but perhaps you may like to study the move further and try to interpret it in a different way, one that does work. I originally posted my thoughts on this for no other reason than that of helping, you are welcome to study these along with it if you wish.

David.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/11/05 12:38 PM

Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:
...Moves in magic and theory are not a right or wrong issue with me. When a person learns from a book it is open to the interpretation of the reader.

So to me there is little right or wrong in the written world and only things that are different. ...
Umberto Eco wrote two books on that issue. In the first he suggested that the reader play an active role in the process of learning from a work, as you implied. However, in the second book, The Limits of Interpretation he was more conservative in approach as text taken out of its original context has little to no meaning of itself. What may be sensible in one place may be of no utility in another.

Have folks considered the book with its sections reversed and a different introduction? What then if the card table were a selling point expanded and emphasized to a attract a different audience?
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/11/05 01:43 PM

Originally posted by david walsh:
Taking the above quote into account and by your saying that the way you have read the move it doesn't work, it seems that we agree and you also think you are wrong, I'm glad we got that cleared up.
David. [/QB]
No what I said was that I read the move learned it the way I learn things and then did it under fire and worked it out so it will work under fire - for me.
Originally posted by david walsh:
It's up to you of course, but perhaps you may like to study the move further and try to interpret it in a different way, one that does work. I originally posted my thoughts on this for no other reason than that of helping, you are welcome to study these along with it if you wish.

David. [/QB]
Not interested. I have my ways of doing things and they work and my audiences like them. And as I said I like to test things under fire.
Originally posted by david walsh:
I originally posted my thoughts on this for no other reason than that of helping, you are welcome to study these along with it if you wish.

David. [/QB]
No I don't think so. If you were interested in just helping me you most likely would have sent me an e-mail. But it seems that you want to insult and slam me - my theory and profile of what I feel who Erdnase might have been - card shark or magician.

And how he might of used his moves in a real game.

This is not the first time I have run into this kind of thing. Paul Chosse and I went at it in the cafe last year. And I quote "He said I would not know fast company if it passes by me".

Basically I do not care if people feel that I am wrong and they are right. If you want to insult - it doesn't bother me at all. It is just one more voice in one more forum - doesn't change my opinion and insulting others has little to do with any Erdnase Theory!
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Postby Temperance » 07/11/05 01:59 PM

Get a grip Glenn. David's not insulting you, he just disagrees with you, which is kind of the whole point of a discussion forum. If everyone agreed with each other it would just be a load of people saying "yes", "quite so!", "I agree entirely", "well said", etc.
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 02:10 PM

I don't see any point in taking this any further Glenn, sorry for mentioning it.

It's not my loss.

David.
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 02:40 PM

While I don't want to comment on Erdnase as a card cheat vs. a magician, I do want to add that in my opinion Erdnase was not able to do every move in the book. The main spot of evidence comes from the bottom deal. The description of the bottom deal, in my opinion and others, is the most poorly described item in the book.

From what I can tell it is written from the perspective of someone who has not spent a significant amount of time learning the deal. The latter part of the description adds amendments to the earlier portion of the description in a way that seems like the author decided that there was more to add after learning more about it. The lack of time spent learning the deal may also be the reason for the bottom deal having the most errors in the book. It is possible that he forgot to correct all of them after a further study of the deal.

The two lines of argument above reinforce each other. They are, however, speculative. The more convincing piece of evidence comes in comapring the bottom deal to holding out during the deal. Looking at the photograph, only the first finger is at the outer edge. The held out cards are likely to be dealt from the bottom during the draw. This would require a change of grip in the middle of the deal, a procedure that would not provide a consistent mode of play. While this would likely fly in many real games, it is contrary to Erdnase's approach.
My guess is that he learned the bottom deal and holding out during the deal from different sources. It is either possible that a) he never used the hold out during the deal or b) he never used either move.
I am somewhat inclined to lean towards the latter conclusion, given the poor description of the bottom deal when compared to other items in the book.

I think the tendency to believe Erdnase could do and would possibly use everything derives from the modern magicians' ideal of the, what one friend calls, "super cheat". don't think there's any need to believe that Erdnase could do every trick in his book. After all, even among modern experts, not all of them can do everything they publish.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/11/05 03:35 PM

Most of the cheats I have met have only know a few moves. Yet Erdnase is packed with moves and ideas - many of them I think were new at the time. Some were not.

If Erdnase was a cheat I tend to think he used the bottom deal. And Palmed and held out the needed cards to get past the cut.

Years ago in one of the copies of Erdnase I think he also talked about dealing thirds. I think I gave this copy away to someone but IF Erdnase could deal thirds that would have been also useful to get a hand.

The book I feel is written from the point of view of a lone card shark. That also is a mystery because I feel that it is much easier to get the money if you have others - or partners.

If Erdnase was a lone card shark - why would he want to work that hard?

Also life on the road for a lone card shark would be both rough and dangerous because in those days it was very dangerous to travel alone - because of hwy men and the fact that it is also very expensive.

Having partners would be a safer way to travel in those days. That is if Erdnase did travel in his life as a card shark - that is if he was a card shark.

One more thing about the drawings and the theory that the may be drawn by more than one artist. If this theory is true I would suggest that Erdnase needed more drawings just before the book went to press. Perhaps he had a few done by a local artist.

Just some theory!
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 04:15 PM

Someone just mentioned that all the cheating

books were about poker .Poker and blackjack more

likeky get the most gambling action maby rummy.

I have a book im my collection that I wamt to

call your attention to. " Cheating at Bridge '

by Judson J. Cameron....1933....hard back 188

pages 23 photo plates . I bought it in 1996 in

a secong hand book store. Its not just a knockoff

of Erdnase ....... Mike Walsh
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/11/05 04:23 PM

Dai Vernon once told me (and another source said the same) that more crooks cheated and made more money hustlng BRIDGE than Poker.
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/11/05 04:26 PM

NOt sure if I posted this before, but....

Persi took me into Ace Sport Works in NY City some time ago... and we waited while a guy was describing to the man behind the counter how he wanted a deck of cards marked.

The counter man said he'd never heard of the setup and wanted to know what the game was.

The guy said, "It's an old family game and I want to bust my uncles."

Heheheh :eek:
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 04:39 PM

Pete...I heard but second hand that 30's-40's

Ocean liners had very wealthy people who liked to

play bridge.........Mike
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 08:12 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
NOt sure if I posted this before, but....

Persi took me into Ace Sport Works in NY City some time ago... and we waited while a guy was describing to the man behind the counter how he wanted a deck of cards marked.

The counter man said he'd never heard of the setup and wanted to know what the game was.

The guy said, "It's an old family game and I want to bust my uncles."

Heheheh :eek:
Yes, you did mention, in 2003 , but in the 2003 version, the quote waa
"It's a game I play with my dad and his brothers!"
What happened to all those gaffed card makers Scarne wrote about, , anyway? The only place I know you can get good stuff is Cards by Martin. I ask for entertainment purposes only, of course.
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Postby Guest » 07/12/05 07:30 AM

Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:
[David. [/QB]
This is not the first time I have run into this kind of thing. Paul Chosse and I went at it in the cafe last year. And I quote "He said I would not know fast company if it passes by me".

[/QB][/QUOTE]

Glenn,

You are using my name to lend some sort of credence to whatever your position is. Please stop. You are quoting me incorrectly, and out of context. In addition you are bringing up old news that I thought we had put to bed long ago. Apparently you don't feel the way you said you did in private e-mails to me. Please DO NOT use my name in your posts on this subject unless you'd like me to respond in detail...

Best, PSC
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/12/05 07:59 AM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
...Ace Sport Works in NY City some time ago...
As best I can recall, the place was on 12th street and fifth avenue. A nice short walk from Forbidden Planet and a great place to buy decks by the case. They may even remember the guy who would want a split case of Tally Ho's, blue back circle and red back star design. They had dice and the card trimmers there too. Anyone know if the place still exists?
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/12/05 10:26 AM

Originally posted by pchosse:
Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:
[David.
This is not the first time I have run into this kind of thing. Paul Chosse and I went at it in the cafe last year. And I quote "He said I would not know fast company if it passes by me".

[/QB]
Glenn,

You are using my name to lend some sort of credence to whatever your position is. Please stop. You are quoting me incorrectly, and out of context. In addition you are bringing up old news that I thought we had put to bed long ago. Apparently you don't feel the way you said you did in private e-mails to me. Please DO NOT use my name in your posts on this subject unless you'd like me to respond in detail...

Best, PSC [/QB][/QUOTE]
Fine Paul
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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/12/05 11:08 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
Perhaps S.W. wrote poorly but had an educated feller setting the type and editing? :)
Hi Pete! It strikes me as extremely unlikely that a typesetter would be able to turn something poorly written into a masterpiece. Indeed, David Alexander has convincingly argued (in his GENII article) that the textual errors (typographical and technical) are evidence of the lack of an editor.
I would also argue that if we take his famous final statement in the preface that he published the book because he "needs the money" at face value (as I do, and I recognize that others do not!), then it seems unlikely that he could have afforded the luxury of a professional editor.
Personally, I find the style sufficiently confident, compelling and consistent to favor the "lone writer" theory. I don't believe anyone suggested the possibility of an editor until Milton Franklin Andrews was found wanting in the literary department, based on the surviving lengthy confession/alibi letters he wrote, though Edgar Pratt had suggested to Martin Gardner that James Harto had a hand in adding the legerdemain section. For many reasons, I'm skeptical of that claim, though I do accept the strong possibility of a relationship between Harto and the author of the book.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/13/05 04:23 PM

On page 23 he mentions his bottom deal as "Greatest Single Accomplishment" and then later on in the book page 52 he explains the bottom deal.

And it is not the best write up of a move in the book. Dai Vernon in Revelations mentions that this description is one of the few technical errors in the book.

I find that very interesting that the "Greatest Single Accomplishment" is explained that way in Erdnase text.
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Postby Guest » 07/13/05 04:57 PM

Originally posted by Darren Hart:
Glen

Please post where Vernon says that in Revalations. Thanks

Darren Hart
Better yet, what edition of Erdnase contains the "Third Deal"?
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Postby Guest » 07/13/05 05:39 PM

I'm not sure "errors" are evidence of the lack fo an editor. There are plenty of magic books published with multiple editors that have more errors than Erdnase. I think it also depends on the editor's background and approach. Most of the errors are finger positions, so it is likely that they would not be caught if the editor was not working through every item in the book.
The ease with which these errors could be missed is further supported by Diaconis's statement in Revelations that Vernon asked him to find the 3 technical errors in the book. Given that Vernon carefully and repeatedly studied the book and still missed two of the errors, it is plausible than an editor could have missed all 5, especially if he didn't have a background in magic.

He doesn't describe his bottom deal as the greatest accomplishment, but rather bottom dealing in general. He also, to the best of my knowledge never claims the method of bottom dealing as his own.

With regard to the bottom deal being his own, I would argue against it being his own. I previously drew attention to the nature of the description. I'll add a few more notes on it. Erdnase comments "Like acquiring many other feats, a perfect understanding of the exact manner in which it is performed will avoid the principal difficulties." Erdnase is readily willing to comment on what he thinks is the best version and does not seem to be humble in laying claim to anything. The phrasing of the sentence quoted above makes it seem as if he is aware of only one method of bottom dealing. Contrast this with the second deal, where he provides two methods.
I also find it odd that the only place in the book that Erdnase describes the so-called Erdnase grip is with the Bottom Deal and the first method of Second Dealing. He never provides any reason why this grip is superior in these cases. The fact that the second Second Deal uses a more typical grip without any explanation for the difference, I believe is indication that he is collecting material from different sources.
The bottom deal and first second deal likely came from the same source. Given the inconsitency of the grip with the rest of the items in the book without any justification for the change (especially in light of the holding out while dealing (moving from all 4 fingers on the side to two on the front is a distinct shift), and no suggestion of an alternate method or the superiority of this method, I am inclined to believe that he did not use the bottom deal. (Note that I am not commenting on the validity of the grip but rather it being out of place in the context of the rest of the book.)

One might, however, say that he has bottom deal envy, given his praise of the move.

Oh and Paul I belive the third deal is in the same version that Vernon believe had photos.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/13/05 05:55 PM

About the third deal I am not sure because I have purchased and given away at least a hundred copies of the soft bound book Expert at the card table over the last 20 years. It is one of the books that I have given to many students of magic as a Christmas gift.

So I have only my memory to go on. I brought up that question in the magic caf and here is the link that might answer that question about the third deal Paul!

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/view ... =2&start=0


http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/13/05 06:13 PM

Originally posted by Darren Hart:
Glen

Please post where Vernon says that in Revalations. Thanks

Darren Hart
Revelations Dai Vernon Wrote,

Few present day experts use or recommend the method of bottom dealing described by Erdnase; their chief objection being the position of the pack in the hand and the difficulty of concealing the movement of the third finger.

We may say, however, that the above grip is of constant utility to card men. When the cards are thus held, are spread between the hands easy, without discernible movement, to slip the bottom card along bottom of the fan - a move of constant utility. Further, properly executed, the deal can be incredibly deceptive. Aim for a "soft take" avoiding sharp actions associated with other approaches.

The technical description contains one of the books few errors. The third paragraph should begin, "The third finger and thumb do the work."
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Postby Guest » 07/13/05 06:48 PM

Just another thing to add since Vernon's comments on the deal seem to be prominent in this thread at the moment. On the Revelations video series Vernon mentions that the Erdnase Deal is only good if you have large hands. In The Gardner-Smith correspondences, one of the details that Smith feels fairly sure about is that Erdnase's hands were not large in size. The deal was likely not well suited to his hand size.

And Darren it's on (of all pages) p. 52.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/16/05 07:40 AM

Someone paid money for an add for Expert at the card table in the sphinx magazine. Could any records of this transaction like a check or a record still exist in the sphinx office files?

And would the sphinx office files still exist in storage?

And could that lead to a clue as to who Erdnase was?
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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/16/05 08:58 AM

Originally posted by Glenn Bishop:
Someone paid money for an add for Expert at the card table in the sphinx magazine. Could any records of this transaction like a check or a record still exist in the sphinx office files?

And would the sphinx office files still exist in storage?

And could that lead to a clue as to who Erdnase was?
The first mention of the book (which was available for sale in March 1902, the same month the first issue of THE SPHINX was published, in the same city, Chicago) is in the September 1902 issue, a single line mention by editor Wm. Hilliar (in his last issue as editor). He simply states that a book entitled THE EXPERT AT THE CARD TABLE was recently published (no mention of the author or place of publication) and that it contains some material of interest to magicians (hardly a strong editorial plug, as claimed by Busby/Whaley on the assumption that Hilliar helped edit the book, which came off the presses half a year earlier). The first known advertisement for the book is a quarter page ad in the November 1902 SPHINX which quotes the preface, omitting the famous final line about needing the money. This ad was placed by Vernelos, the Chicago magic store that published the SPHINX. The second ad for the book in THE SPHINX is in the March 1903 issue, a small ad that, for the first time, describes the contents, and offers the book at half price, just $1. This ad was placed by E. S. Burns (Emil Sorensen), owner of the Atlas Trick and Novelty Company. I do think this advertisement may offer some clue to the book's provenance. It may be a coincidence, but Atlas was located at 295 Austin Ave, and a 41 year old travelling agent with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad had been living just 9 blocks south on the same side of the same street for the previous year, and was transferred to San Francisco the month before the advertisement appeared. His wife shared the same maiden name (Seeley) as the mother of Louis Dalrymple (to whom the author told the illustrator he was related). His name? E. S. Andrews...
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Postby Tabman » 07/16/05 09:51 AM

Originally posted by Richard Hatch:
It may be a coincidence, but Atlas was located at 295 Austin Ave, and a 41 year old travelling agent with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad had been living just 9 blocks south on the same side of the same street ...
Holey smokes!!! You just gave me the shivers!!

-=tabman
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/16/05 10:00 AM

Great work Richard. Could you please post what kind of a job would a railroad agent do on the railroad?

Thank you in advance and thank you for the great work you have done in finding out who Erdnase was?
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Postby Richard Hatch » 07/16/05 11:52 AM

Hi Glenn. Hi Tabby. Thanks for your continued interest and input on this topic. First, this particular E. S. Andrews (Edwin Sumner Andrews, 1859-1922) is just one of a half dozen or more interesting candidates. He happens to be my personal favorite, but Todd Karr's con man (who appears to be a different fellow than this one, though that is not entirely clear), David Alexander's W. E. Sanders, Chicago attorney James Andrews, and Martin Gardner's Milton Franklin Andrews are all strong candidates for various reasons. Obviously, they didn't all write the book, possibly none of them did, so their strengths will in most (possibly all) cases prove to be coincidences once the case if definitively solved.
A railroad "travelling agent" is not a "travel agent." He is not selling tickets for travel on the train. Instead, he seems to have been a kind of "trouble shooter," visiting potential clients, soliciting business. Necessarily he would have spent a great deal of time traveling on the train to visit those clients. Naturally, that would have given him an opportunity to observe and even participate in card games, as well as practice his sleights on an "Erdnase" table, like the one you make, Tabby. At the time Edwin Sumner Andrews was living on Austin Ave in Oak Park, Illinois (Austin runs North-South and divides the enclave of Oak Park from Chicago. In other words, he was living on the Oak Park side of the street, Chicago was on the opposite side), he was actually the travelling agent for the C&NWRR based out of DeKalb, some 50 or so miles due west from him by rail. His home was just 1/3 of a block south of the Oak Park station for his RR, so he could have gotten to downtown Chicago (where the illustrator met him, and the printing was done) in about ten minutes by rail. David Alexander has pointed out (in his January 2000 GENII cover story) that the hotel room in which the author met the illustrator was apparently unheated in the wintertime, an unlikely situation even in a cheap Chicago hotel, implying that the author may not have been staying in that room, but merely using it to meet the illustrator. Makes sense if he lives just ten minutes away, but didn't want the illustrator to know that... This E. S. Andrews was living in Chicago from about 1887 till 1896. Richard Hood wrote Martin Gardner in 1946 that his father, Edwin C. Hood (founder of the famous H. C. Evans gambling supply company) knew the author of the book quite well when the author was living in Chicago in the mid-1890s. E. S. Andrews got promoted from clerk to travelling agent in 1896 and was transferred to Denver where he remained until October 1901. He was then transferred to DeKalb, but lived in Oak Park with his father in law, an invalid civil war veteran and railroad baggage handler, at the Austin Ave address. He was himself a widower with two teenage children, a second wife (the former Dollie Seeley, who had been head of stenography for a large Chicago company. Perhaps he dictated the book to her?), and two aging parents in the same household. My guess is that he needed the money! Arriving in Chicago in October 1901, he could have opened a bank account (the artist said he was paid with a low numbered check on a large Chicago bank), contacted the printer, met with the illustrator, and finished the manuscript in time for submission to the copyright office in early March (the two copies of the book were received at the Copyright Office in Washington on March 7th, 1902). The big mystery to me, no matter who the author was, is how he distributed and advertised the book. Until it enters the magic community some six months after having been published, we know nothing about this. Surely he didn't wait that long to start selling copies. My guess is that he took out classified ads using a PO Box in sporting men's publications, like the Police Gazette, but to date no such ad has been found. His move to San Francisco in February 1903 neatly explains the drop in price on unsold copies when he left town, if, in fact, Atlas was the distributor, rather than, for example, Frederick J. Drake (from whom Atlas could have obtained them, rather than vice versa). McKinney, the printer, went bankrupt in January 1903, and may also have had unsold copies that someone (Drake?) obtained at that time. Perhaps court records of the sale of McKinney's assets exist that would clarify this... His death in California in 1922 would explain why the copyright was not renewed in 1930. But these could be coincidences. He is the age remembered by the illustrator, and the one photo I have of him indicates he is, unlike Milton Franklin Andrews, relatively short of stature, also as recalled by the illustrator. But even though he seems a near perfect circumstantial match, I have no evidence of writing ability (or the education it implies) nor can I put a deck of cards in his hands, nor conclusively demonstrate his relationship to Dalrymple. So I'd say the case is still wide open!
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 07/16/05 12:21 PM

Richard I am so incredibly knocked over and excited by your information on Erdnase that you have done and the stuff that you just posted. Thank you very much you have really done some outstanding work on this and I really hope you do a book on it - because I would buy it in a second.

Thank you for the more info on the railroad agent job.

But would that put him into contact with magicians to? Because according to contracts I have of both my Dad and Jack Gwynne that the managers of the acts pushed the acts not to drive cars but to ride the rails. In fact it is mentioned in some of the contracts I have had in my files. This was quite a few yeas after Erdnase.

Did most of the acts of those days ride the rails too? Would this bring Mr. Andrews in contact with magicians too as well as card sharks?

And would this job also most likely put him in many towns with the saloons and card games that he could have gone into because he had time on his hands?

Would that give him the education in cards to write this book?

Thanks again Richard - fantastic work on Erdnase!
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