Praise for Michael Close...

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Ray Eden » 07/25/12 04:52 AM

I've struggled with the Faro Shuffle for years. Recently I bought Michael Close's Workers series DVDs and found out about his handling for the shuffle. It's not hype. Within hours I was able to do the eight runs to bring the deck back to new deck order following his instructions. I'll be spending the next couple days smoothing things out, but damn...Michael has made this shuffle EASY!

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Postby mrgoat » 07/25/12 06:43 AM

The Fred Robinson book is another good source to learn it from.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/25/12 09:17 AM

So many have told me that they learned the faro from Close-Up Card Magic.
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/25/12 09:27 AM

Close mentions in his notes on the Faro that he learned it from your book, Harry. BTW...I highly doubt you remember me, but I remember all those times at Reuben's Deli soaking up the magic from you; although, I spent most of my time with Wes.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/25/12 09:42 AM

Interesting, I didn't know Michael said that. So, might as well go to the original. Good old Reuben days!
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/25/12 10:56 AM

Here's the quote:

"I learned to do a faro shuffle between the ages of 12 and 13. I learned it from the description given in Harry Lorayne's book Close-Up Card Magic."
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Postby Michael Close » 07/25/12 11:26 AM

When I was around thirteen and living in central Indiana, I ordered Harry Loraynes first four books (Close-up Card Magic, Personal Secrets, My Favorite Card Tricks, and Deck-sterity) from Stoners Magic Shop in Fort Wayne. These are excellent books, and I recommend them to this day.

I really wanted to be able to do Vernons Aces and Favorite Aces and Kings from those books, so I worked on the faro shuffle as described in Close-up Card Magic. (I think this was the first description of the shuffle I had ever read.) I was isolated in the little town I grew up in, so I diligently practiced the shuffle according to Harrys instructions, and in a couple of years I had mastered it to a degree of confidence that I could use it in tricks that only required a couple of perfect shuffles.

Later, I studied Ed Marlos handling of the shuffle as explained in his The Faro Shuffle booklet (part of the Revolutionary Card Technique series). Most important were the years I spent with Harry Riser discussing the shuffle. Riser did the shuffle from the bottom up (as explained in the Marlo booklet), and I switched over to that method.

Ive been doing the shuffle for almost fifty years; its my sitting-at-the-airport/watching-TV move. Im sure Ive passed the ten-thousand-hour mark with it.

With the publication of the Workers series, I started to think about the pedagogy of sleight-of-hand not just explaining how a sleight is done, but explaining how to learn how to do the sleight. I had some insights into how to teach the mechanics of the faro shuffle. One evening, at the Houdini Lounge in the Monte Carlo hotel, I sat with my friend Ken Zarifes and explained the ideas I had on how to do the shuffle. I didnt let him touch the cards. I just had him watch, absorb, and comprehend the ideas. Then I asked him to go back to his hotel room and try it out. We talked the next night, and Ken was able to get the cards to weave with some reliability, even with that brief instruction. This gave me the confidence that I was on to something.

I published my instruction for the faro shuffle in an ebook that is available on my website. There are certainly many other descriptions and explanations of the faro shuffle out there, but if you want to save yourself some time, you might want to check out what I have to offer.

Thanks for reading.
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/25/12 11:36 AM

Hello Mr. Close,

I've been trying to get the hang of the faro shuffle for years. Your instructions were so good that I was doing it with consistency within a few hours. True...I have been able to do the faro shuffle on a limited level, but I'm really happy to be hitting it with consistency now. I'm as giddy as a school girl. LOL
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 07/25/12 02:06 PM

When I was around thirteen and living in central Indiana, I ordered Harry Loraynes first four books (Close-up Card Magic, Personal Secrets, My Favorite Card Tricks, and Deck-sterity) from Stoners Magic Shop in Fort Wayne. These are excellent books, and I recommend them to this day.

Interesting - those are the four books (plus The Epitome Location and 16 new items) in my The Classic Collection, Vol. 1. (Thanks for the plug opportunity!) Also interesting that Vol. 4(!) of that (The Classic Collection) series is almost done.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 07/25/12 02:54 PM

Michael Close wrote:One evening, at the Houdini Lounge in the Monte Carlo hotel, I sat with my friend Ken Zarifes and explained the ideas I had on how to do the shuffle. I didnt let him touch the cards. I just had him watch, absorb, and comprehend the ideas. Then I asked him to go back to his hotel room and try it out. We talked the next night, and Ken was able to get the cards to weave with some reliability, even with that brief instruction.


I read a study many years back about what you might call mental practice. They took a group of people and measured their ability to throw darts. Then they separated them into three groups. One group practiced throwing darts. One group did nothing. The third group thought about throwing darts.

The group that practiced got better. The group that did nothing did not get better. The group that thought about throwing darts got better. Not as much improvement as the group that actually did throw dartsI seem to recall they had about half as much improvement.

I always thought this was a fascinating result.

A few years back I learned about mirror neurons, which are in a specific area of your brain and seem to have the function of causing you to experience things that you see other people experience. So if you see someone eat a lemon, the mirror neurons are responsible for you having a mild sour taste reaction. (BTW, I believe that mirror neurons will turn out to be the main reason of why having an expressive assisting spectator is so powerful).

With both of these things in my mind I'm not surprised that Ken was able to learn something from just watching Mike do the faro and think about what he was doing. I learned a lot about the faro by something else that Mike recommends, which is to do a tandem faro with someone who is already an expert. The expertI was lucky enough to have Mike himself do this after a lecturedoes one hand and you do the other. That really gives you the feel of the move in a way that is difficult to achieve any other way.

I wonder how many other moves can be taught that same way.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 07/25/12 04:04 PM

For the "Unshuffled" effect, I made a few additions to make it practically self-working.

First, I added some more marks on the side of the deck to indicate where to cut. With so many marks on the cards already, a few more will not be noticed.

Second, I took a bar of "Cascade" soap and rubbed it around the edge of every card, then wiped off the excess with a cloth. This makes the shuffle work itself. I think I got this idea from Tony Kardyro via Gary Ouellet.
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/25/12 04:41 PM

Bob:

Here in the states, I've only seen "Cascade" dishwasher soap, which comes in powder or self-dissolving "actionpacs". I did a quick google search and those are all the Cascade soaps I can find.

Is the Cascade bar soap you are referencing something only available in Canada? If so, is there a US equivalent?

Thanks!
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Postby Michael Close » 07/25/12 05:13 PM

I believe that in the Great White North it is marketed as "Weave & Cascade - the only soap Bob Farmer uses to faro shuffle."
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Postby Bob Farmer » 07/25/12 05:19 PM

Whoops -- just looked in my collection of card prep junk and it's "Cashmere Bouquet." I remembered it incorrectly because I had been talking to Mike Close recently and he has this mind-vacuuming app that causes you to forget things to do like complete your sentenc
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Postby Michael Close » 07/25/12 05:23 PM

"Cashmere Bouquet" was also Bob Farmer's nickname in high school.
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Postby mrgoat » 07/25/12 05:26 PM

Michael Close wrote:"Cashmere Bouquet" was also Bob Farmer's nickname in high school.


Sounds like someone's 'porn name'
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Postby Michael Close » 07/25/12 05:34 PM

I should also mention that Django Reinhardt rubbed Brylcreem on his guitar strings to help him play faster.

All seriousness aside, the secret is good instruction and thoughtful, consistent practice.

In the time it took to search the Internet for some secret, magic ingredient, you could have knocked off a couple of hundred shuffles.
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Postby Bill Mullins » 07/25/12 05:40 PM

In Minch's "Collected Works of Alex Elmsley" vol 2, he describes the preparation Elmsley used to make a deck easier to faro: He sanded the corners of the deck to round over the short edges of the cards so they would weave easier.

He mentions that Jerry Andrus used the same trick.
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/25/12 06:03 PM

Michael Close wrote:I should also mention that Django Reinhardt rubbed Brylcreem on his guitar strings to help him play faster.

All seriousness aside, the secret is good instruction and thoughtful, consistent practice.

In the time it took to search the Internet for some secret, magic ingredient, you could have knocked off a couple of hundred shuffles.


You mean buying things isn't the same as practicing? ;)
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Postby Pete McCabe » 07/26/12 03:13 AM

If you rubbed Cashmere Bouquet all over my edges I'd be self working too.
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Postby Ray Eden » 07/26/12 03:53 AM

Is the soap a powder or bar variety?
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Postby Bob Farmer » 07/26/12 08:53 AM

Bar.

And my nickname in high school was Faromer.

Mike's right, practice makes perfect. I also found that Derek Dingle's idea worked really well for me. I think it's in the Kaufman and Company book.
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Postby Denis Behr » 07/26/12 09:03 AM

Bob Farmer wrote:I also found that Derek Dingle's idea worked really well for me. I think it's in the Kaufman and Company book.

It is indeed.
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/26/12 09:24 AM

Bob Farmer wrote:Bar.

And my nickname in high school was Faromer.

Mike's right, practice makes perfect. I also found that Derek Dingle's idea worked really well for me. I think it's in the Kaufman and Company book.


1+ Dingles idea, coupled with Michael's stuff really made consistent faros finally possible for me. I highly recommend both.

PS: There is one other great tip in the Dingle book that made a world of difference in my classic pass (it's the first tip about doing the 1st Riffle Pass in the book)
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Postby Brian Marks » 08/06/12 03:56 AM

I learned it from the Dingle book. Excellent book.
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