Jimmy Grippo

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Postby Geno Munari » 11/07/11 09:43 AM

Here is an interesting story about Jimmy Grippo that I would have never found out about for not having a conversation with one of the original owners of Caesars Palace.

I first became acquainted with Jimmy Grippo in the late 60s while I was working in the Dunes baccarat pit. He was a friend of many people at the Dunes Hotel and would stop in the evening after working at Caesars Palace and do a few tricks right on the baccarat table. I would always miss him, because of my day off or working hours.
Then I decided to go to Caesars and meet him. I made reservations in the Bacchanal Room where Jimmy performed by request. He stayed at my table for almost two hours and that was a beginning of a wonderful friendship. I was in awe of his magic and could not believe my eyes. His talent with cards, coins, and other items, coupled with his unique personality, were beyond belief. I had never seen a close-up magician of this caliber.
Jimmys master of the card index was one of his greatest feats. I watched and watched. I couldnt catch a clue. Other friends of mine who watched him posed the theory that he was using a card index. Yes, but what kind? How was it made? I asked myself many questions. I never could get the right answers.
I searched every magic book available to me and found very little information on the index, other than a line drawing sketch of the apparatus. I dont believe I ever found an actual photograph of the item. I found a set of indexes for sale from Supreme in England. I purchased them and found out very quickly that Mr. Grippo could not be using this sort of contraption. His method was too smooth and too quick.
Jimmy would always invite me to Caesars in the evening to hang around with him at the Palace Court, one of the most lavish restaurants at Caesars Palace. Many nights he would allow me to entertain guests for him, if he had to go to a special request performance in the hotel.
Morrie Jaeger a casino boss at Caesars recently told me a Jimmy Grippo story that would have been lost forever. A Caesars Palace casino employee found an unusual card holding device in one of the many public restrooms in Caesars. The first inclination that this holder was left in the restroom by mistake and probably for sure was a cheating device that a card mucker would use in the casino. Card mucking is a cheating method for switching cards. The mens room attendant thought for sure he was on to something, especially since the holder had regulation Caesars Palace cards in place. Jaeger was notified and examined the device. Neither he nor any other experience casino personnel could identify its use.
No one was allowed to have a deck f Caesars cards unless they were cancelled.
So he called Jimmy Grippo asking him for his input. Alas Jimmy put their fears to rest. He had left it in the restroom. Jimmy did not explain the use of the item, but simply picked it up and left.
Only at Caesars
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/07/11 10:47 AM

A Caesars Palace casino employee found an unusual card holding device in one of the many public restrooms in Caesars. The first inclination that this holder was left in the restroom by mistake and probably for sure was a cheating device that a card mucker would use in the casino. Card mucking is a cheating method for switching cards. The mens room attendant thought for sure he was on to something, especially since the holder had regulation Caesars Palace cards in place. Jaeger was notified and examined the device. Neither he nor any other experience casino personnel could identify its use.
No one was allowed to have a deck f Caesars cards unless they were cancelled.
So he called Jimmy Grippo asking him for his input. Alas Jimmy put their fears to rest. He had left it in the restroom. Jimmy did not explain the use of the item, but simply picked it up and left.


examined and found what? details?
Mundus vult decipi
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/08/11 06:15 AM

Geno -- thank you for this. You already know how much I want you to write the REAL Grippo book.

Matt Field
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/08/11 09:27 AM

I guess it's like asking about they guy who did an act where cigarettese lit themselves just after the production - gonna be too late when/if it finally gets into print.

Amazing material though.
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Postby Geno Munari » 11/08/11 03:03 PM

Maybe this helps:

The employee who found the index had absolutely no idea of what it was or how it worked. Without getting into the exact description of the index, I will say that it is different than any index I have seen, as there are no seperators that are visible.

Jimmy was probably in a stall to replensih the index after performing. If the index is missing three or four cards, it can become rather tricky remembering which are missing.

So the men's room attendent finds it and probably was looking at it and asked one of the pit bosses what it was, since the cards are the exact same cards used on the blackjack tables and baccarat tables. Absolutely no one is supposed to have any cards unless they are drilled or cut. In the black market a deck of cards might be worth $5,000 and up.

Jimmy had special permission to have the cards to perform for the guests of Caesars. If you want to see style that Jimmy worked while performing at Caesars Palace, refer to the coffe table pictorial, World's Greatest Magic. Great photos of Jimmy.

Jimmy worked at the Desert Inn Hotel and when he was asked to go to Caesars Palace, Jimmy had to ask permission from the Desert Inn "regime".

So when he went to Caesars, a condition was that he performed magic with the regular casino cards.

When Jimmy was asked by the Casino Manager as to what the "device" was, Jimmy just said it was his and gave no further explanation. Jimmy told me that personally.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 11/08/11 06:31 PM

Geno, I heard that story at Tannen's long ago. What's new/up with getting the work in his index out into the community? A worthwhile project or managed by his delegate to those who can get trained?
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Postby Richard Hatch » 11/08/11 08:34 PM

Jonathan, I believe Geno sells the Grippo index here with the Miller/Wilson booklet:
http://www.houdini.com/Details_e.cfm?Pr ... category=0
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Postby Alan M » 11/08/11 10:11 PM

Thanks for sharing that story, Geno. I had never heard it before and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Come to think of it, I enjoy all of your Vegas stories. I hope you'll keep them coming.

-Al
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