Need help doing Gemini move for twins, etc.

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Postby Guest » 02/28/04 10:05 AM

I recently purchased the lost works of Brother John. I've been reading card manipulation books, unfortunately none relating to Brother John. Could someone please explain to me the proper amount of pressure one needs to lift a double from the middle, ie. does Brother John use a flesh break with the meat of his palm/thumb, relax then grab two from the middle using only his blah, blah, blah, as you can see I'm lost Any 411 would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Postby Bill Wheeler » 02/28/04 12:41 PM


I remember I had difficulty doing the Gemini move when I first learned it. (This was about 10 years ago). In general I think it only requires a soft touch. I don't use any flesh breaks or tense up. (But I'm not sure I would have said the same thing 10 years ago).

Others may propose alternative strategies, but I think if you learn Bro. Hamman's "small packet double lift" at the same time you'll get a much better sense of what is required for the gemini count.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/28/04 01:14 PM

Hi John, what is the specific nature of your problem?
Your left thumb GENTLY slide the top card TO THE LEFT. It rides over the tip of your first finger, which keeps all the cards below it in line.
THEN, your left second fingertip buckles the lowermost card so the center bellys downward. This exposes the right long sides of the two center cards (which are still in alignment). Grasp the right long side of this double card at the center, thumb above and first and second fingertips below, and pull it straight to the right. If you are having trouble pulling the double card out, then you are pressing down too hard with your left thumb, or pressing up too hard with your left fingers.
Good luck!
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Postby James » 03/01/04 12:03 PM

Speaking of the Gemini count...

How exactly is it suppose to look to the spectator. By that I mean, when you take the double from the middle of tha packet, is it suppose to look like you're taking the bottom card of the packet?


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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 03/01/04 02:19 PM

You can substitute a pushoff technique for the buckle technique. I have this on my WEbsite with photographs. Otherwise, you can easily scope out the mechanics by reading the following:


This false count by Brother John Hamman could look natural in Hammans hands because it fit his easy-going, fluent, and modest style. It didnt matter if keen-eyed viewers noted that cards came out from between other cards or was maneuvered from the bottom. Where the cards were drawn out was not a nagging or important issue. The faces of the cards shown were the important thing.

Despite the peculiarity of the counts mechanics, the aspect that that warranted mastering the mechanics was how the count was applied. Cardmen loved the two instant hits, namely The Pinocle Trick and The Protean Twins (as it was originally called). Suddenly, the weirdness of the count did not matter.

A bugaboo for many magicians was the buckle-action. If you couldnt do it smoothly and unobtrusively, it looked awkward or, worse, suspicious. My approachone eventually discovered by countless cardmen, was to eliminate the buckle. By using pushoffs, the cards remained flat.

Set-up: Arrange the four Aces in this order from the face: Ace of Diamonds-Ace of Hearts-Ace of Clubs-Ace of Spades.

Method: Hold the packet face down in your left hand. The tip of your forefinger should be at the outer right corners top edge and your second finger rests lightly at the right side at the outer right corner.

Push over the top three cards as a block with your left thumb so that the outer right corner of the card(s) hits the fleshy tip of your left second finger. This finger and the heel of your left hand where the inner left corner of the card(s) pivots keeps this block firmly locked and steady.

Almost immediately, lightly pull the top card of the three-card block back to its original starting point. That is, drag it to the left and flush with the bottom card. These mechanics take only a second to execute.

The center pair of Aces is now angle-jogged to the right. Your palm-down right hand moves to contact and grasp the outer right corner of the center pair. Pinch these cards between your right thumb (underneath) and your first and second fingers (above).

Pull and pivot them to the right so that they slide free of the top and bottom Aces. When they clear the others, turn them face up Stud-fashion as an apparently single Ace of Hearts. If it looks like anything, it should appear as though you slid out the bottom Ace and flipped it face up on top of the others.

Flip the top face-up card(s) face down and deal the top card (Ace of Clubs) face down to the table.

Next, slightly pull the top card (Ace of Hearts) to the left at an angle with your left thumb. This exposes the bottom two cards so that your right hand can grip them in the same manner just described (Stud-fashion).

Turn them face up and onto the left-hand card as apparently a single Ace of Diamonds.

Flip these face-up card(s) face down and deal the top card (Ace of Spades) face down onto the previously tabled card. The audience has ostensibly seen the two Red Aces and now thinks they are face down on the table.

Slightly pull the top card (Ace of Diamonds) to the left and grasp the bottom Ace of Hearts by its right side and flip it face up and on top. Flip it face down and deal it onto the others.

All that remains is to flip the remaining Ace of Diamonds face up and deal it face down onto the others. The audience thinks you now have two pairs of Red Aces.

Thats all there is to the move. Otherwise, the mechanics and concept belongs to Hamman.

Enjoy (as they say)...

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Postby Bill Duncan » 03/01/04 11:17 PM

Originally posted by James Demas:
How exactly is it suppose to look to the spectator?
I would be tempted to say it's supposed to look like the cards are coming from the bottom of the packet but after seeing Bro. John DO the thing on the video that Richard shot (and Houdini Magic released on DVD) I have to say that it's more like it doesn't matter where they're coming from. The complete and utter lack of tension in Bro. John's hands while doing the thing makes it like the Flushtration count. You see only what he wants you to see and what he calls to your attention.

I know that sounds almost mystical but it really feels like he's doing nothing but showing you the cards and you don't think about where they're coming from because that's not important. I was surprised to see it and even more surprised that it came across on video tape.
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Postby James » 03/02/04 09:33 AM

Thank you Bill,

Watching Bro. John on video is what threw me. I agree exactly with what you said - but I would not have been able to articulate it as well as you. Well, off to practice to smoothe out my count...

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/02/04 12:56 PM

James, I urge you to read the portions of Brother Hamman's book regarding his approach to performing. It makes it quite clear that he IGNORES exactly the kind of thing that's troubling you.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 03/02/04 03:31 PM

There is a quote, I think from this book, which sums this up, and which I can only paraphrase:

It is the casual manner in which the actions are performed, not the precise alignment of the cards, which fools.

In other words, it is much more effective to do the move casually and have the cards separate slightly than to do the move very carefully and with obvious precision. Nobody pays that much attention when the turn over a card, or draw a card from the deck, or whatever. If you pay close attention to the exact way you turn over the cards, it won't fool anybody.

That said, if the buckle doesn't work for you, try a pull down. Pull downs are in general better than buckles in my mind, because they require much less tension in the hand to execute.

In this case, get your pinky on the corner and do the buckle before you push the top card to the left. See if that doesn't help -- it made the move much easier for me.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 03/02/04 07:22 PM

Originally posted by Pete McCabe:
If you pay close attention to the exact way you turn over the cards, it won't fool anybody.
Advice I first recall reading in Andew Galloway's book Diverting Card Magic and better advice I've never received.

It doesn't matter how good your Double Lift is if you have to concentrate on the simple act of turning over cards you're done...
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Postby Guest » 03/03/04 09:53 AM

An excellent alternative to the Gemini Count is the Virgo count by Wesley James. It can be found in his book Pastboard Perpensions. Available at his web site here
He may be sold out. But I think he is about to print some more in preparation for his upcoming lectures to promote his excellent book Enchantments.

The move is a significant improvement over the Gemini count. There is no center double involved in this technique so there is no need to hold any breaks whatsoever. What people may find daunting about the move is the bottom deal. But remember you are only dealing the bottom off a four card packet. I've applied this move Darwin Ortiz' Jumpin' Gemini and never looked back.

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Postby Guest » 03/05/04 11:42 AM

In his outstanding lecture notes, "Bob White presents IT'S A MATTER OF STYLE," Bob writes, "This handling of the Gemini Count is offered as an alternative to Brother John Hamman's method." He then describes "Gemini Count Alternative." It's terrific, as well as the rest of the notes. If you're lucky, the booklet may still be available from Bob through his website: - I bought it because of the very positive review in the January 2002 issue of "Genii.

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/05/04 05:28 PM

Originally posted by John Powers:
... Could someone please explain to me the proper amount of pressure one needs to lift a double from the middle
It happens that if you buckle the bottom card and make contact with the corner near you forefinger, you can tilt your hand down and inwards a bit ... keeping contact on the top card of the packet with your thumb... and guess what... the double will slide out and pivot forward on its own! You can practically catch the thing with your other hand and flip it face up onto the packet. Good thing to keep a break there. :)

Yes this is a bit of a flourish... though it gets the count started
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Postby Ray Banks » 03/08/04 07:28 AM

I have found that when I just can't get a particular move down, if I work at it I can adapt some other handling to accomplish the same results.

Remember, it is the result that is entertaining, not the moves to acheive the results.

As for the Gemini count, I found that the hardest part was the first move. I can do it the way Brother John teaches (after a bit of practice) but there are several other ways to do it. The only thing that you should remember is where the cards come from and how they end up.

As for the 'other' move in Twins (don't want to give to much away) I have seen different handling for it (Of course I can't remember where..maybe Ammars ETMCM #3).

I love the effect and it always gets a good reaction.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 04/03/04 01:52 AM

Read Jon Racherbaumer's take on it, a few posts ago. It really facilitates matters if you are still unhappy with Bro. John's description.

In Ascanio's Favorites by Rafael Benatar there's a similar sleight in The trick I would show Dai Vernon.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 04/03/04 12:31 PM

Ascanio's sleight is pretty much the same move and developed independently. For the Twins routine, I worked out a version using Larry Jennings' Rhythm Count instead. I find it makes the routine flow more smoothly and needs less resetting.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 04/03/04 10:17 PM

I should note that Karl Fulves always claimed the Gemini Count as his own--I believe he published the mechanics before Brother John. Can't recall the source.
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Postby Matthew Field » 04/04/04 08:58 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I should note that Karl Fulves always claimed the Gemini Count as his own--
The story is told by Fulves in "Epilogue." He also told me the same thing in a letter. Karl made it clear that he had shown the move to Bro. Hamman, but as Hamman makes clear in the Houdini Co. videos, crediting was not his main interest. Fulves also went out of his way to explaion that he was not in any way chastising Bro. Hamman.

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Postby Yves Tourigny » 04/04/04 02:30 PM

I would add my voice here to Rich Kameda. I discover the work of Wesley James very recently, and I must say that it is superlative. Everything he publish is worthy of your attention. I have bought almost every books he has to sell and with his book Enchantments, (now my favourite reading) I must say that I am a very happy customer indeed.

The Virgo move let you do the work that is done with the Gemini count as if each card come from the top. I must add however that Bro.Hamman is very doable but being able to do it from the top is now my preference.

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