Does size matter?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 11/09/03 08:19 PM

What is the collective wisdom relative to "Bridge" vs. "Poker" sized decks for close-up work? The reason I ask, I am assembling some bits and pieces of a card routine, and thought to add a card cut or two. I have admired Lovell's "Five and One-Half" so I learned it with a poker-sized deck. Then, about three months ago, I saw Daryl's DVD with his "triple reach over cut" (Vol. 8). I can execute the Daryl cut with a bridge-sized deck but cannot seem to get my thumb to reach over far enough with the poker deck. I cannot find a technique problem, although one may be present that I am missing, but since I can execute the Daryl cut with a bridge-sized deck one solution is to switch deck sizes. So, what are your views re size and decks and poker and bridge? Thanks in advance.
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Postby Steve V » 11/09/03 09:31 PM

I say use what works best for you. Only problem with Bridge Cards is it's hard to get gaffs. I see them so rarely that when Jerry Andrus showed me some stuff with them they just looked odd, but that shouldn't be true to the lay public who doesn't have a deck around them all the time.
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Postby Frank Yuen » 11/09/03 10:08 PM

Dai Vernon once wrote in one of his The Vernon Touch columns that it might be wiser to use bridge sized cards as they were almost exactly in proportion to the Golden Ratio and thus were more pleasing to the eye. Just goes to show that he considered every last detail.

Oh, I agree with Steve, use whatever you want though his point about the ready accessibility of gaffs is accurate as well.

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Postby Steve V » 11/10/03 12:08 AM

What is the Golden Ratio?
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 11/10/03 01:12 AM

Despite having reasonably large hands I too find some of the "thumb reach over" cuts difficult with poker sized cards. Years ago I used to use bridge cards for everything, until someone suggested that they looked a bit small in my hands and that poker cards would be better. I believe the most common gaffs are available in bridge size, so if those are adequate and the size suits you better, go for it.

By the way, is Simon Lovell's Five and One Half Cut available in print somewhere?
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 03:32 AM

Originally posted by Steve V:
What is the Golden Ratio?
Steve V
Steve, take a look at http://geniimagazine.com/forum/cgi-bin/ ... 446#000003

Dave
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 04:32 AM

...To each his own...learning on one size and moving to another just requires an adaptation of muscle and grip - what happens if someone says to use his deck, and it's a different size? Nothing!.....I recently bought the Jack Daniels commemorative cards - they are about a 1/4inch larger than poker-sized, in both directions... I find the only problem is in using a standard Pass, because of the width (and I'm working on it), but my spectators enjoy them and I love how they look, feel, and sit in both a standard and raised dealer's grip.... ............

Thanks - Rich
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Postby Robert McDaniel » 11/10/03 06:54 AM

I believe most professionals use poker size. And, most gaffs come in poker size now.

Personally, I like Taly Ho Circle and the ever-popular Bicycle Rider Back cards, of course. However, the Tally Ho's seem to feel better and are not prone to warping, at least in my experience.

At the risk of sounding snobby, when a magician pulls out a bridge sized deck, I immediately think "amateur".

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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 07:30 AM

Simon Lovell's Five and One Half Cut is published in his book, Son of Simon.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 11/10/03 10:00 AM

Thanks for the reference.

It's probably true that most "serious" magicians use poker size, but I'm not sure that it bothers lay people too much. At least in the UK and (the rest of) Europe, bridge sized cards are what you normally find in shops and are therefore more familiar.
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/10/03 10:11 AM

To say "bridge size cards" means AMATEUR means you have never seen Jerry Andrus.

The size, design, brand, color, whatever, of cards MEANS NOTHING to the spectators.

If you can handle small cards better then use them.

Believe me, I have done more miracles with junk cards of all sizes and shapes someone pulls out of a kitchen drawer than you can imagine.

You use thier cards and they are blown away, as they "know" they are just plain cards, and not some kind of magician's cards -- As Seen on TV!
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 11:00 AM

To say that the use of bridge cards for magic is the mark of an "amateur" is the biggest load of twaddle I have read for some time.

Jerry Andrus used them. I only saw Andrus perform once. It was on British Televison about 40 years ago and I was mightily impressed. I have never forgotten his dead pan delivery. I have no idea what he did for a living but he was no amateur (in the derogatory sense) when performing. If it is good enough for Andrus to use bridge cards it is good enough for the rest of us.

Eddie Tullock only used bridge cards. No slouch there.

It must be remembered that in the UK for example, poker cards are a rarity and in fact are only used by hotshot finger flinging hobbyist magicians who have bought into the Poker size argument. Every professional magician including Paul Daniels uses bridge cards in Britain. I am looking at a great book for beginners by Jon Tremaine. Nobody could call him an amateur. The book is beautifully illustrated with photos. What is Jon using? Bridge cards of course.

I must say that I do find all the fancy one hand cuts virtually impossible with poker cards. naturally, if you have large hands you may not find this a problem. I do, though.

Another thing is the Notis Cascade or alternatively the One Hand Shuffle invented by Howard De Courcy is a bit tricky to do with poker cards.

Naturally the biggest argument in favour of bridge cards is that I, [censored] use them and have never used anything else my entire life.

There. That last sentence should settle the matter.
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Postby Tabman » 11/10/03 11:07 AM

have you tried a one handed cut with the jack daniels cards yet??? :)
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 02:18 PM

Thank you Dave.....now I can make Greek windows!
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/10/03 04:52 PM

Tabman... sure, just empty the bottle and you can cut anything... :eek:
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Postby Tabman » 11/10/03 05:56 PM

pete... i have a studio client who is the musical entertainment for jack daniels days. he gets paid in cash and cases of jack. he is bringing me some tomorrow. i will send one to you with a deck of jd cards so you can practice that one handed cut.
-=tabman
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 06:04 PM

In terms of practicality, I think you should go for whatever your comfortable with. However, when your adept at using poker size cards, if you're given a bridge size deck, you should be able to cope. I'm not so sure that the reverse is true though. I went through a period of mucking around with bridge size cards and found it extremely hard to adapt back to poker size when i wanted to. It's not a good excuse when your handed a poker size deck by some expecting spectators to say : "sorry I'm not used to these cards" ... it just doesn't cut it
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 06:52 PM

Thanks for all the great advice. And along those lines, even if size doesn't matter, but keeping in mind the maxim that going down is easier than going up, does anyone know of an exercise to increase thumb reach? I can do the balance of the "reach across" after the thumb reach, but I am a good quarter-inch off on the first move. Thanks again.
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Postby Guest » 11/10/03 07:28 PM

For those who have never seen Jery Andrus live not only does he use bridge size cards, his hands are very large . His fingers are about an inch longer than mine. It would be like me doing card magic with Playtime cards. Wait, maby that's not a bad idea. I could probably do the " Triple wibble-wobble, flip flop flush the tank pass " and no one would see it.........Mike... :D
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 11/10/03 09:08 PM

While I advocate the do whatever the heck you want to do train of thought, heres my issue with bridge size cards and why I stopped using them many years ago (from an amateurs standpoint only, and this is coming from someone who has small hands and benefits from their use): Very few households have bridge size cards anymore (at least not here in the realm of fruits & nuts); all thats readily available is poker size cards. So, when you are in someones home and they want you to do some magic with their cards, poker size cards are the most likely to be offered up. If you have practiced only with bridge size, moving up in size could be daunting. Enough so as to raise doubt in your subconscious mind and create anxiety, which could be as, if not more, detrimental to the performance than the actual issues raised by the larger deck. The last thing you want is to be worrying about whether or not you can get away with some move with a deck larger than that of which you are used to using.

The other half of that scenario is to say that youd rather use your own (bridge size) cards. Well, this puts suspicion on the deck. Even if they are legit, inspection will not take the onus off of your deck because people have heard that there are specially made cards that are undetectable to regular people. Owning up and saying that the cards are too big is just as bad because now your prospective audience will know that hand size matters.

Over the years there have been many moves I didnt think I would ever be able to do because of my small hands. There have been several times when I have been proven wrong in my belief.

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Postby Anthony Brahams » 11/11/03 02:23 AM

Dustin Stinett's argument for using Poker cards because they are found in people's homes in exactly the converse in the UK where, as said in an earlier posting, Poker size packs (not decks :) ) are only used by magicians. Some sleights are easier or more practical with the larger size such as switching in a count as there is more space for the fingers on the front edge, and others I forget.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 11/11/03 02:25 AM

Morning all,

Gazzo converted me years ago with a sound piece of advice; If you get used to working with Poker sized cards you can do the moves with bridge size. The reverse is not necessarily the case.

Having said that, common sense says use whichever you like.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Robert McDaniel » 11/11/03 10:43 AM

I stand corrected. Sorry about that. I wasn't aware that cards in the UK were mostly bridge size. I do think there's merit in the idea that working with poker size cards enables you to handle any size deck though. But, Pete's right. Lay people just don't notice.

Unfortunately, I have never seen Jerry Andrus perform. We were at a national IBM convention in St. Louis many years ago and we had to leave right as Jerry walked on. :-(

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Postby Guest » 11/11/03 10:53 AM

With regard to the argument that someone may hand you a poker deck and say "do something" I must have led a sheletred life.
In 40 years of doing card tricks I don't think I have been offered a borrowed pack more than about 6 times. Poker OR bridge.
I have always been amused to read the guff about magic with a borrowed deck of cards.
Who the hell carries a deck of cards around with them anyway except magicians? How on earth are you supposed to "borrow" a deck?

I think this must be an American thing. When I did a trade show for Hoyle Playing Cards years ago I read one of their brochures which said that virtually every American home had a deck of cards.
I do not go to people's homes on the grounds that I might frighten the children so perhaps this is why I have never come across this borrowed deck guff.

Incidentally, I have utterly no problem using poker size cards if I have to except in the area of a few flourishes-mainly difficult one hand cuts.

I always carry a deck of cards with me wherever I go and am prepared to perform on a street corner if someone asks me. I consider it my duty to perform impromptu if anyone shows interest.Truly.
I have an odd sense of duty.Therefore it makes sense to do things the British way and use bridge size cards. That after all, is how we won the empire. I suspect we lost the empire because of the use of poker cards.

With regard to Dustin's point about being more technically able to do tricks with a poker size offered I would suspect the fact that the borrowed cards are old and grubby would make it more difficult.

Still, I think the answer to this is obvious. In the UK bridge cards should be used because that is all you will find and in North America use Poker size because they are more generally available. Convenience will win out in the end.

When I was a kid I only used patience cards. I could not afford the bigger ones. Once I graduated to real cards after a year or so I thought I was walking on air.
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Postby Guest » 11/11/03 01:42 PM

Dustin is correct. He was actually sitting at the same table with me when Jerry Andrus did his card tricks. I do remember thinking "those cards look odd" and thus getting 'into' the effect Jerry was doing a bit late. I've never touched a bridge deck, just too durn cute for me.
Steve V
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 11/12/03 12:40 AM

Mark,

Perhaps thats part of the hell that is being an amateur: those who know that you do not make a living with magic rarely hesitate to ask for a free performance. Since I do not carry a deck with me at all times, Im usually stuck with theirs. As for the condition of the cards, you should see the deck I keep in my car that I practice with: theyve been in there for over three years now. The deck in my desk at work is about one year old. I practice with new cards, decent cards and crappy cards. I know my limitations with each. Of course, this same theory can be applied to larger cards if you prefer working with the smaller deck; just know your limitations.

Steve,

I remember that evening: Jerry Andrus and Ray Hyman! With you, me, and the other three or four folks at that table, I bet our collective IQs came nowhere near those two guys!

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Postby Guest » 11/12/03 12:03 PM

Dustin.
I do not think people asking you to perform anywhere you go is "hell". I think it is heaven.
I envy you.

You should always want people to ask you to do magic. Everywhere and anywhere. That is how you get good. And the reason most people took up magic in the first place is to perform. So perform.

I always used to look for opportunities to perform. On the train, on the bus, on the street corner, in the park. I would never dream of going up to people of course. Or even volunteering to show them something. However I had little ploys that I used to get people to ask me to do something.

Of course the word spread and I would go back to these same places where my spectators would be likely to return. This time they would ask me to show their friends something. I think in my earlier days I performed more than any professional magician. I never got paid of course.
I got good though.

However, when you do it for a living the fun seems to go out of it somehow.

I am much more inhibited now about showing people stuff. Age, I suppose. And the fact that doing it professionally takes the enthusiasm away.

However, I still feel it is my duty to perform impromptu even if I don't make a dime out of it. It is still good advertising and can often get me a show of course but that is not why I do it.

I do it because I can. And because I must.
I am a magician so I magish.
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Postby Guest » 11/14/03 11:27 AM

One of the greats once said, "Practice with Poker sized cards, perform with Bridge sized cards."

Personally, this is what I do, much of the time. If I can do the move with poker sized cards, then it's usually much easier to do the same move with the bridge sized pasteboards.

And frankly, the public only looks askance at a deck that they do not recognize. So Bicycle, Hoyle and Bee play well in the mid west, but Tally-Ho cards are rarely seen. I have gotten some comments about the "funny cards" I was using when I brought them out.

Nothing that couldn't be handled, though.

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Postby Guest » 11/16/03 03:34 PM

OK. Here is a weird post script to this topic. After three months of trying the reach over cut and finding my thumb was just too short with a poker-sized deck, I decided to practice with a bridge-sized deck to teach my hand and mind the moves. So, three months of work on the cut. I woke up this morning, and I can now execute the cut with a poker-sized deck. I don't think I am doing anything different, but the result is different. Do any of you have the experience of patterning or teaching with the smaller sized deck as an avenue to using the larger-sized deck?
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Postby Pete Biro » 11/16/03 05:04 PM

Hey, whatever works for you... :D
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Postby Guest » 12/12/03 07:11 PM

Mike: I have expierenced the same circumstances with coins. A little over a year ago I couldn't fathom the ideo of classic palming a silver dollar (and couldn't even if I toyed with the placement). I purchased an uncirculated "Silver Eagle" dollar, because I really liked it. I wanted to be able to manipulate it and kept working at it and now I can classic a silver dollar (in my opinion) better than I can a half. I can relate! ;)
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