Stevens Cull

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Matt Richman » 12/12/09 10:59 AM

Could you guys please critique the following video? It's of me doing the Steven's Cull. I'd appreciate any feedback you can give- good, bad, doesn't matter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ4rKD4eXjY

Thanks,
Matt
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Postby Kent Gunn » 12/12/09 05:40 PM

Matt,

Your technique is sick.

Ok, I don't know how to communicate with folks your age. I was trying to say the shuffle work is excellent.

I think if you put up a link to your Cascade Control/Nelson video you'd get way more attention. You do both of those sleights to a level of expertise I rarely get to see.

Ok I'll put the link up.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyVvPvvmWC8

You are skillful far beyond your years young Jedi. Now work on an entire trick!

KG
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Postby J-Mac » 12/16/09 05:24 AM

Matt - I think Kent meant to type "slick" instead of "sick"! Got me worried when I first read the post.

I'm not much of a card guy but your vids look pretty good to me. :)

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Postby J-Mac » 12/16/09 05:37 AM

J-Mac wrote:Matt - I think Kent meant to type "slick" instead of "sick"! Got me worried when I first read the post.

I'm not much of a card guy but your vids look pretty good to me. :)

Jim


Then again, I just saw a couple more posts where "sick" is used in a complimentary manner, so maybe I'm just behind the times with the latest vernacular! Apologize if I indeed am!

Jim
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Postby mrgoat » 12/16/09 06:19 AM

Yes, sick means good.

If you get stuck in the future, www.urbandictionary.com is your friend.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 12/16/09 05:04 PM

Damian,

Your vocabulary is sick!


Pete
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Postby David Alexander » 12/16/09 05:17 PM

Matt kindly put me on to a source for learning the Cascade Control that he does so well.

Kids like him need to be encouraged if only for reminding us that because of kids like him there is hope for the future.
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Postby erdnasephile » 12/16/09 07:08 PM

Dude has chops! So good to see that the next generation still reads books.
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Postby Sonicstabber » 12/17/09 01:34 AM

Where'd you learn this one from? The Vernon write up, or in the Classic Magic of Jennings book (incorrectly described)?

If you love the Steven's cull, check out Wimhursts Kicked in the Face, which can be found on here :

http://www.elmwoodmagic.com/?nd=full&key=2674

As well as in his Down Under Deals lecture notes I believe. It uses the Steven's cull to genuinely cut the four aces and then cut the four jacks. Really brilliant use of it.

Your video would be better if we could follow the cards meant to be dealt, rather than just seeing them at the end.

Hope this helps, keep it up man, beautiful stuff.

Eddie
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Postby Matt Richman » 12/19/09 11:47 PM

Sonicstabber wrote:Where'd you learn this one from? The Vernon write up, or in the Classic Magic of Jennings book (incorrectly described)?

If you love the Steven's cull, check out Wimhursts Kicked in the Face, which can be found on here :

http://www.elmwoodmagic.com/?nd=full&key=2674

As well as in his Down Under Deals lecture notes I believe. It uses the Steven's cull to genuinely cut the four aces and then cut the four jacks. Really brilliant use of it.

Your video would be better if we could follow the cards meant to be dealt, rather than just seeing them at the end.

Hope this helps, keep it up man, beautiful stuff.

Eddie



Sadly enough, I didn't read it from either of those sources - a couple of people have taught me their touches on it, and I have been playing around with it ever since.

Sorry for taking a while to get back, I've been busy with school.

Matt
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/20/09 10:28 AM

Very nice - my suggestion would be to get the book Revelations the older copy or the newer one that was just published. They may have a few ideas and tips in them.

I have no idea if you want to use this card table technique for magic - cheating - or just to do for your own enjoyment. Speaking of the Steven's cull for magic. My personal opinion is that it is a very good cull to use to cut the aces one at a time from a shuffled deck of cards.

I use my slant on the Steven's cull with the up the ladder cut from the LePaul book to do this.

The next cool thing I have used the my slant on the Steven's cull for is after Marlo's simple shift. Put the aces into the deck - after the simple shift - they are together close to the top of the deck - with the Steven's cull it is an easy thing to do - cull them together to the top of the deck. This is cool because there is no need for a key card.

If you were to add stacking to culling - I have found the Vernon triumph shuffle to be very good. Speaking just for magic. One of the ways I use the triumph cull stack is to cold cut the aces from a shuffled deck using a cool Zingone idea that was in expert card technique.

And then again you might get an idea or two from the video at my web site.

I hope this helps - and keep up the good work - but in my opinion you should slow down a bit. I thought that you were trying to get the work done at a speed that might be a tad to fast when doing it as a demonstration for a lay audience.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Matt Richman » 12/20/09 11:18 AM

Glenn Bishop wrote:Very nice - my suggestion would be to get the book Revelations the older copy or the newer one that was just published. They may have a few ideas and tips in them.

I have no idea if you want to use this card table technique for magic - cheating - or just to do for your own enjoyment. Speaking of the Steven's cull for magic. My personal opinion is that it is a very good cull to use to cut the aces one at a time from a shuffled deck of cards.

I use my slant on the Steven's cull with the up the ladder cut from the LePaul book to do this.

The next cool thing I have used the my slant on the Steven's cull for is after Marlo's simple shift. Put the aces into the deck - after the simple shift - they are together close to the top of the deck - with the Steven's cull it is an easy thing to do - cull them together to the top of the deck. This is cool because there is no need for a key card.

If you were to add stacking to culling - I have found the Vernon triumph shuffle to be very good. Speaking just for magic. One of the ways I use the triumph cull stack is to cold cut the aces from a shuffled deck using a cool Zingone idea that was in expert card technique.

And then again you might get an idea or two from the video at my web site.

I hope this helps - and keep up the good work - but in my opinion you should slow down a bit. I thought that you were trying to get the work done at a speed that might be a tad to fast when doing it as a demonstration for a lay audience.

Just my opinion.


Glenn, I can't see myself doing any gambling themed routines with it for layman any time soon. Think about it. I myself would hardly be able to take a 14 year old seriously if he was claiming to be 'explaining' how people cheat at cards. Maybe one day, yes, but at the moment, I just fool around with it for my own enjoyment.

Could you post a link to the video on your site of you doing it? I'd love to see it.

Matt
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/20/09 02:01 PM

Ok

Just go to www.bishthemagish.org

Click the links - watch and read - you may get some good ideas that help you.

By the way - your fooling around with it for your own enjoyment was how - my Dad - Jack Pyle - Me and a lot of others I have met - all magicians - well that is how we seemed to have started doing this kind of table work.

Keep up the good work - by the look of your video - your doing great!

Just my opinion.
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Postby Paul Hayward » 12/21/09 06:25 PM

Hi Matt,

I thought your culling technique was excellent. The problem with the Stevens is that it has little magical application and probably no real hustling application these days either. It has been speculated that Stevens developed and used the method as a faro dealer. But who really knows. It is a fascinating challenge to learn and does find some utility as with a few of Andrew Wimhursts effects. I believe David Benn has developed some ideas and many of us are waiting for his Erdnase project with its Stevens section. Also Glenn uses his adaptation of the Stevens to cut the aces from a shuffled deck. Despite some criticisms of the method expressed on the internet, Glenns ace cutting plays well to an audience in the right frame of mind. I did develop a rather ungainly Steven's type of method of cutting aces from a shuffled deck myself but after some invaluable critical insight into the problems I developed a much simpler non Stevens approach and this has worked much out much better for me. Its also a heck of a lot easier to do and allows me to concentrate on the presentation and raporte with the audience.

The trouble is you can perfect superb sleight of hand and your audience will never know. Whereas the simple pseudo handling can often be just as convincing. Under these conditions, it is really showmanship that is the most important ingredient. I clearly rememeber a post by Pete Biro describing a party where two guys were displaying amazing dexsterity with a pack of cards. Pete used a simple routine with cutlery and stuff from the table and amazed his audience with these elementary props. Afterwards someone remarked that in spite of the all the card pyrotechnics, it was Pete's performance that the guests remembered and talked about.

Regards,

Paul
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/21/09 10:26 PM

I well remember sitting at a table with Larry Jennings, who began with a shuffled deck and culled and cut to the four Aces using Stevens' cull and control. It was an amazing thing to see. To be able to ask for a borrowed deck, have it shuffled, and then cut to the four Aces is an amazing trick.
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Postby Doc Dixon » 12/22/09 06:50 AM

Matt Richman wrote:
Glenn, I can't see myself doing any gambling themed routines with it for layman any time soon. Think about it. I myself would hardly be able to take a 14 year old seriously if he was claiming to be 'explaining' how people cheat at cards. Maybe one day, yes, but at the moment, I just fool around with it for my own enjoyment.


I don't know what's more impressive. Your skill with cards or the fact that you're self-aware and mature enough to make the statement above. Keep up the good work, Matt.

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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/22/09 10:52 AM

Paul Hayward wrote:Also Glenn uses his adaptation of the Stevens to cut the aces from a shuffled deck. Despite some criticisms of the method expressed on the internet, Glenns ace cutting plays well to an audience in the right frame of mind.


Thanks for the kind words Paul. One of the things that I have tried to do is simplify this table riffle cull to make it less top heavy - so I can use it under a real time performing situation. As I see it the technique exists - to be used in order to get from point A to point B to Point C in a routine.

In this case it is a cull. I hit on this idea by watching Jack Pyle work. He used to shuffle the deck four or five times between each trick with a table riffle shuffle. While watching him it hit me - I thought I could cull an ace in the same amount of time he shuffled the deck. This led to my experimenting with using a table riffle cull to cut the aces as I published it on my first DVD. As I think you already know.

Paul Hayward wrote:I developed a much simpler non Stevens approach and this has worked much out much better for me. Its also a heck of a lot easier to do and allows me to concentrate on the presentation and raporte with the audience.

That is the reason of why I worked out a more simplified method as well. To make it less top heavy so I could add bits of business working the idea into a piece of entertainment. However I find the triumph cull even more useful in regards to magic. Not only can I cull on the fly with it I can cull and stack up to three hands of four of a kind.

This is useful to me because I have used the technique in another challenge cutting the aces routine - using the Zingone idea that was in expert card technique. I consider it a better routine than the one that was on my first DVD just because the challenge - like in Scarne's aces - gives me the opportunity to have fun with the helpers and it adds a lot more entertainment in the way of a situation comedy.

When the audience is in the mood to see ace cutting and gambling themed magic that is.

Paul Hayward wrote:The trouble is you can perfect superb sleight of hand and your audience will never know. Whereas the simple pseudo handling can often be just as convincing. Under these conditions, it is really showmanship that is the most important ingredient.


I don't know if it is true for every magician. But I find that the harder a technique is - the harder it is to add that showmanship and hone a technique into a piece of entertainment.

That is why I like and will use a simplified method over a harder technique that I may work on in practice. Because for me I have found that what looks good when I am practicing the outcome can be very different when I take it out and try it in front of an audience in a venue.

I find faro work and other work hard to do in dark bars and night clubs and the dim lit venues that I am often performing in this modern day world. Also at outside gigs - the wind and humidity and damp performing conditions - dry hands in the winter time also play against card effects.

And under the hot lights and under ventilated rooms of a studio when working TV or video. All of these things can work against some technique in magic that the magician may choose to use in a card effect or a gambling routine.

When we practice it is often under better performing conditions than what we are paid to perform under - often in this modern show business world of ours.

So lets wrap up all these thoughts with my opinion of whatever works for you - that is the best method in my opinion. Each to their own method - if it works.

Thanks for the kind words Paul and Happy Holidays!
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/22/09 12:03 PM

By the way Paul I agree with your above post and you came up with some interesting things that I agree with in taking an idea then honing it in front of an audience into an entertaining routine.

Thanks again.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 12/22/09 08:56 PM

One thing we can only speculate on is how much Dad Stevens himself took advantage of the fall of cards when he demoed this move for Vernon. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Stevens used glimpses and took advantage of the lay of cards on top of the deck or at the face to put himself a move or two ahead before he started his first cull. Certainly the best demos of the Stevens cull are by people who take advantage of the random sequence after a real shuffle. That means you might not always be culling aces, for example if a pair of treys rest near or on the top. No matter the skill of the demonstrator, without exception, if the lay of the cards is against you, you'll end up shuffling those cards to death.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/23/09 10:43 AM

Nathan Muir wrote:One thing we can only speculate on is how much Dad Stevens himself took advantage of the fall of cards when he demoed this move for Vernon. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Stevens used glimpses and took advantage of the lay of cards on top of the deck or at the face to put himself a move or two ahead before he started his first cull. Certainly the best demos of the Stevens cull are by people who take advantage of the random sequence after a real shuffle. That means you might not always be culling aces, for example if a pair of treys rest near or on the top. No matter the skill of the demonstrator, without exception, if the lay of the cards is against you, you'll end up shuffling those cards to death.

Yes a card cheat might use a cull and cull cards from the discards and the cards he may choose might just be 2's or three's. And he may only need to do the shuffle cull once or twice to get a hand. As I have written about many times when explaining the need to shuffle the deck two times for each ace.

As I have read - only magicians would cull four of a kind. As Jack Pyle used to say - only magicians would stack or run up a four or five card hand (a royal flush or a full house) for a demo. He and I agree the more impressive the hand - the more impressive the demo - from the lay audience point of view.

One of the things I learned from him was that if I was going to get a hand of three or two of a kind in a demo. And that was to run up a strong hand in a demo first - to prove it to the audience that I could do it. Then after that if I wanted to - do a demo where I only got two or three of a kind.

In my opinion this can be an impressive routine when stringing several demo's together into a routine. I also like starting with a shuffled deck - culling one hand and using it in the first demo - then shuffling it in the deck and keeping it under control - culling a second hand for the second demo - then using both hands in the third demo. However the audience is not let in on any of the culling technique in the demo.

Interesting stuff.

Just my opinion
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/23/09 11:25 AM

If I may add - speaking of culling. In my video where I cull and stack the four aces on the fly from a shuffled deck using the triumph shuffle. It often takes at least 8 shuffles - 2 shuffles to both cull and stack each ace in turn.

One of the more interesting things I have found when experimenting with this kind of technique over the years. Was that it also took 8 shuffles the same amount of shuffles to cull and stack the three hands of four of a kind - as I demonstrated in my Triple duke triumph.

That is in my opinion at least equal to the 12 card stock that was published by Erdnase in Expert at the card table. Only I use a table riffle shuffle to cull and stack the hands.

Also if I may add - in the Erdnase book Erdnase also says some interesting things or his opinion of the need to stock 12 cards. However I find it an interesting idea and have used my triple duke triumph on occasion.

I thought a method of culling and stacking 12 cards in 8 shuffles was an interesting thing.

Just my opinion
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/23/09 04:18 PM

Then again it is fun to speculate how Steven's an alleged card cheat might have culled under fire in a game of cards. I wrote about this many times. What gave me the idea of this was something that I read in the Vol. 4 Vernon Chronicles. The story of Vernon watching Steven's do the pass, third dealing and other moves along with the cull.

As I said many times it is a great story.

Perhaps a card cheat might peak at the top card while shuffling and then shuffle cull a second card making 2 of a kind and then third deal.

It is indeed fun to speculate.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Paul Hayward » 12/24/09 07:29 PM

Hi Glenn,

Sorry for not replying sooner. Christmas preparations have me running around chasing my own tail. We seem to be in broad agreement about these matters Glenn. I think part of the fascination with the Stevens is also its connection with the Scarne ace cutting myth. Karl Fulves thinks Scarne used it to fool Rothstein but on the other hand I seem to remember something about Vernon teaching him the method which rather contradicts this. As I mentioned earlier, I don't think it is a technique used much by card hustlers. I do agree with Richard Kaufman though. When done well, it can be an ace cutting show stopper. Merry Christmas.

Paul
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/25/09 03:39 PM

Hi Paul,

I find the Scarne aces - riffle shuffle cull - Steven's cull - Stevens Vernon meeting story rather interesting. And all of it is a great story.

I have seen a lot of magicians do an ace cutting And tie in Scarne's aces. But none of them follow the description that was written about in the Scarne book The Odds against me. In this description the racket good old boys shuffled the deck. Then Scarne shuffled the deck - A racket boss cut - and got a card and then Scarne cut to an ace.

This was done one at a time with each ace in turn. A lot different than what most magicians do when they are cutting to the aces. Magicians like to control the aces as a group and then cut to them. Audience members don't get to free shuffle the deck after the aces are lost because that of course would mix up the deck and blow the trick.

What makes the cull ace cutting interesting to me is the bi-play that the magician can have with the audience - when they shuffle and the magician is still able to cut to the aces in turn.

Scarne was also noted to do a lot of jog shuffle work. I have heard that he did an ace cutting on a TV show - but from what I have heard it is different than the way it was written in the book the Odds Against me.

Another ting that I want to speculate on was the way he did it at the Rothstein party in his hotel room - was written about to be very impressive. He fooled the racket boss - However when he did it for Hiker later on in the book Hiker said something like Thats OK and would be good for Banker and Broker.

Rothstein was talked about as a backer so to speak and may have not been a card sharp - however Hiker was a real card sharp that Rothstein and others of the day may have employed or backed - I think that in the book as a reader it makes me feel that there might be some truth to this story.

The book goes on to tell about Scarne learning a few things from Hiker. But this is told that there were several meetings. This to me rings as a might be true because card sharps and many magicians I have known over the years - would not tip on the first meeting. If they tip at all.

The Vernon Steven's story in the Vernon Chronicles says something like Steven's tipping his cull and showing Vernon thirds, seconds, bottoms shift. All at this first meeting.

Plus he used the cull to cull four queens and then four aces. Doing several shuffles at medium speed. From what I have heard only magicians would go for four of a kind. Because that third and fourth card could be very hard to find - and additional shuffling may be needed to spot them - then cull them.

This story is a great story but as the reader - I feel it might be exaggerated a bit.

I have told this story many times about me doing close up magic at a VFW. And an older guy wanted to borrow my deck and show me something. At the time I thought - OH great another guy going to deal out three rows of cards (21 card trick).

However he took my deck - asked me how many hands in draw poker I wanted - I said six. He shuffled them again six times - he then asked me which hand I wanted the winning hand I said the fourth hand - he shuffled the deck one more time - dealt out six hands and the fourth hand got three aces. I asked him if he would do that again for a friend - another magician working the gig. I went to get him and when we came back the guy was gone.

Over the years I speculated the guy was a card sharp. I still don't know who he was. He did not tell me his name. He did this with my deck on a table with a table cloth. He did table riffle shuffles - not fast a relaxed speed like he had all the time in the world. I counted seven shuffles and I know one ace was on top of the deck because I just did a take a card trick and that was a selected card.

I speculate he culled two and stacked the three in six shuffles and the seventh shuffle was used to stack which hand the aces fell in. I told my Dad about this and he thought the guy might have culled them to the bottom and bottom dealt the hand.

However I don't think so because of the amount of shuffling.

The things I have speculated about this over the years that he picked me to show this to - I must have done something when I was performing that made him want to do this. My mistake was going to get a friend - for whatever reason he did not want to do this for more than me so he left.

I speculate that this guy was a card sharp and if they show moves it is when they want to - and under their own rules.

However this was one of the many things that got me interested in this kind of card work.

Merry Christmas Paul.

Just my opinion.
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Postby Nathan Muir » 12/26/09 04:37 AM

Right Glenn, it is interesting. No one can ever prove it, but I strongly suspect that Stevens mixed it up with Vernon. He might have had a pair on top and culled a third and fourth or whatever. It's funny that if you are familiar with the range of techniques, you may meet magicians who have absorbed the story and will defend it to the hilt, "no, no, no - Vernon said that Stevens culled four of a kind in three or four shuffles after being handed the deck". Well, maybe. But if he did, he got lucky and didn't tip to Vernon that fact. And why not? It's fun to have some young (or old) magician sitting there with his head spinning.

I've done it myself. Peek the top five or six cards cards and note a pair and another high card, then cull a third for the pair and a second for the high card in two or three shuffles, move the slug to the bottom and base deal to give yourself three in the hand and a pair on the draw. It leaves a savvy card player breathless and what the hell if they walk away and misremember what hand was dealt? Sometime on that peek you get really lucky and might only have to cull one card, but why reveal your secrets? A few fast blinds and they are ready to build a temple in your name.

Merry Christmas.
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Postby El Mystico » 12/26/09 05:04 AM

I don't have the book in front of me so may be talking even more rubbish than usual; but - didn't Stevens produce three of a kind; and when Vernon asked about the fourth, Stevens said a bit huffily "A real gambler wouldn't produce a fourth - it would call too much attention".
Given this was just a demo, for me, this detail lends credence to what Nathan writes.
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Postby Glenn Bishop » 12/26/09 10:44 AM

I also agree agree with Nathan and from reading his post I can tell he has spent a great deal of time with a deck and culling.

One of the interesting things is that in the Vernon Steven's story is that Steven's culled the four of a kind to the top of the deck.

This guy whoever he was at that VFW show I did (80's) did some kind of cull stack. I think that he culled two cards to the top on top of one ace then stacked them - I may be wrong because it was a lot of years ago.

But I do remember seven riffle shuffles.

He also did not hand the deck to me to be cut after the shuffling as I remember.
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