Cutting to 26

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Postby Zach Taylor » 06/09/12 05:12 PM

Are there any good ways to practice cutting a deck directly in half? I've been turning the 27th card down face up and then re-squaring and repeatedly cutting the deck, which seems like a solid idea. However, I was curious about whether there were alternate approaches that others have had success with.
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Postby Frank Yuen » 06/09/12 05:55 PM

I would not have a reversed card at the 27th position as no matter how square or flat your deck is, it would make the deck more likely to break at that point naturally. I would have as the 24th through the 26th cards a 2,ace of hearts and a joker. The 27th through 29th cards the ace,2, 3 of spades. That way when you cut if you see a joker you know you hit it right on and if not, the card you see will tell you how much you missed by. Add more cards if you think a six card range for error is too small.
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Postby Zach Taylor » 06/09/12 09:04 PM

Excellent idea, thanks.
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Postby Joe Naud » 06/09/12 10:10 PM

Zack, I sent you a PM.
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Postby Rafael Benatar » 06/10/12 07:09 AM

Or follow with a faro check and get some practice on that as well. This way you can complete the shuffle from time to time and prevent the deck from naturally breaking at that point.

Also, compare visually and adjust. As recently discussed with Bill Mullins, adjust and move a crd from one half to the other until you are willing to bet $1000 that the split is perfect. Keep in mind that if you're off buy one, there will be a difference of two 27/25. I have had my non-magician brother try this and he was eventually able to decide when it's 26, without practice.

To help make this adjustment at the moment of splitting, you can look as you split and pull one more card with one of your thumbs. To be able to do this equally well with both thumbs, you can double-bevel the deck slightly before you start. Hold the deck with your left middle finger and thumb, from below, at the centers of the sides. With the right hand, hold the deck by the ends. turn the right hand slightly clockwise to double-bevel the deck, very slightly. You will find, when splitting, that if the right hand is taking one card less than it should, the right thumb can easily pull one more. When it takes one card more than it should, then the left thumb can easily pull one more.

The more different ways you try to cut 26 the better to get the feel. You might even try to eliminate the comparison factor by putting, say, 50 or 60 cards together and trying to cut 26 off the top. Whatever happens, trying to guess how many you cut and then checking, will sharpen your skill.
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Postby Chas Nigh » 06/10/12 07:55 PM

It might be some sort of optical illusion working, but I have found that the right hand packet should look slightly larger than the left. It works for me.
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Postby luigimar » 06/10/12 08:06 PM

Hey Chas, are you right handed by any chance? The question is because I am left-handed and the same thing happens to me but on the left hand packet. It has to look (for me) slightly larger for it to be exactly 26 cards. I thought I was crazy but now that you mention it, that idea is not that crazy. And sometimes I have to go slightly "cross-eyed" for my brain to calculate the two packets correctly. Just slightly and for a very short period of time.
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Postby Phil Pearce » 06/11/12 01:10 PM

Chas Nigh wrote:It might be some sort of optical illusion working, but I have found that the right hand packet should look slightly larger than the left. It works for me.

Dang. I'm right handed, but I have found that the LEFT hand packet should look slightly larger than the right. And I thought "it was just me". Maybe there's still hope.
Excellent observation, Chas.


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Postby Chas Nigh » 06/11/12 03:19 PM

Thanks, Phil. After a while its kind of an instinctive thing.
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Postby Ken Becker » 06/11/12 07:38 PM

That's weird! I'm right handed and have the same; right hand
packet looks slightly larger than left. I thought it might be a
stigmatism.
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Postby Steven Keyl » 06/12/12 06:31 PM

In my experience the reason one packet may look a little larger or smaller is that it is not held exactly square along the performers line of sight. Most faro'ers tilt the deck slightly one way or the other. This is what creates the illusion that one packet is bigger than the other, not the dominant hand of the performer.
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Postby Rob UK » 01/18/13 10:46 AM

Chas Nigh wrote:It might be some sort of optical illusion working, but I have found that the right hand packet should look slightly larger than the left. It works for me.


Good lord, I thought that was just me! If I cut them so they look the same size the right hand packet /always/ has more cards.
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Postby erdnasephile » 01/18/13 11:00 AM

Michael Close published the perfect way out in case you happen not to make a perfect cut the first time. (See: CGS)
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Postby Ian Kendall » 01/18/13 11:12 AM

My best piece of advice on this is not to aim for 26/26, but for half the packet. If you learn to spot the midway point visually (and that's just practice) then you can handle thicker or thinner cards, and incomplete decks.

As to the practice; cut to where you think the middle of the deck is and then have a good look at the packets. Count the cards in one packet to see how far off your were. If you where two cards off, move those two cards and have another long look at the packets to see how they appear. Shuffle in (to avoid an unnatural break or crimp) and repeat. After a few hours you'll be able to cut to half a packet with a good degree of reliability.
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Postby Q. Kumber » 01/18/13 11:30 AM

Ian Kendall wrote:My best piece of advice on this is not to aim for 26/26, but for half the packet. If you learn to spot the midway point visually (and that's just practice) then you can handle thicker or thinner cards, and incomplete decks.

As to the practice; cut to where you think the middle of the deck is and then have a good look at the packets. Count the cards in one packet to see how far off your were. If you where two cards off, move those two cards and have another long look at the packets to see how they appear. Shuffle in (to avoid an unnatural break or crimp) and repeat. After a few hours you'll be able to cut to half a packet with a good degree of reliability.


It is always astonishing to me what a few hours practice can do.

Even after a few weeks you can develop a basic level of competence.
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Postby Ted M » 01/18/13 11:48 AM

erdnasephile wrote:Michael Close published the perfect way out in case you happen not to make a perfect cut the first time. (See: CGS)

Or, less cryptically: Closely Guarded Secrets
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Postby Rob UK » 01/18/13 11:49 AM

That secret was being guarded a little too closely.
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Postby Rob UK » 01/18/13 11:58 AM

My interest in the faro was piqued by John Bannons effect Dawn Patrol. For those unfamiliar it uses a perfect straddle faro of 26 cards into 27 to place a selection between two previously placed face up cards (and is really rather fantastic)

The maths of faro shuffles make my brain melt, but it seems to me that the various faro corrections around will not help with this particular trick. Can anyone confirm?

If a faro is intended to move a selected card to a specific number from the top then I can see how the faro corrections can help sort that out after a mis-weave or mis-cut. I don't think they can help in the case of needed to move one card in between two specific other cards. I'm hoping I'm wrong...

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Postby Denis Behr » 01/18/13 12:25 PM

Elmsley's Faro Corrections for mis-cuts always work (provided you are only off by one). After them, the deck is in the same order it would be if no correction would have been needed.
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Postby Rob UK » 01/18/13 12:33 PM

Thanks Denis,

I'll take another look at them.

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