Card Counting Story

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Sean Piper » 01/26/02 11:35 PM

I'm sharing this little experience of mine not because I think it had an earth shattering effect on my audienec, but in the hope that it may present you with another option when trying to 'jazz it'.

Recently while away on holiday with friends, the conversation turned to cheating at cards. Knowing that I was the magician in the group I was asked if I knew how to count cards, "... like the guy in that Tom Cruise movie???"

Having worked on card counting techniques for a short time, I decided to show off a little with a bit of a demonstration. I looked away while someone shuffled the deck and removed a card. I dealt through the rest of the pack twice (I'm not very efficient yet) and told them the name of the card that was missing. Now, this was OK, except that it was a little slow and not much to look at.

So....

I shuffled the deck again, glimpsed the bottom card and forced it with a classic force. For all intents and purposes, it looked exactly the same as the previous demonstration. This time however I went through the deck at break-neck speed, with the most focused facial expression I could muster at the time. At the conclusion I named the card, which brought sustained applause.

The moral of the story...

An audience doesn't care about method, only effect!!

I know I've learnt an important lesson! ;)
Sean Piper
 
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Postby John Pezzullo » 01/27/02 03:52 AM

Sean,

If you're interested in exploring this premise further, check the first phase of Harry Lorayne's 'What A M-E-S!' (published in "Personal Collection").

Here's a description of the first phase:

"A card is selected and pocketed by a spectator. The deck is thoroughly shuffled. You deal cards face-up, haphazardly, into four tabled packets. At the end, you point to one packet and say that you need (say) a three and a diamond there. And that's the card in the spectator's pocket! (S)he shows it, you place it on the indicated packet. Then, you show that not only have you dealt exactly thirteen cards into each packet, but that each packet consists of just one card of each value, ace to king!"
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Postby Guest » 01/28/02 05:15 AM

Sean,

I read your post and I think it is great that you were able to pull off what can only be described as a miracle.

The moral of your story is that the audience doesn't care about the method, only the effect. If you performed the same effect using 2 different methods and one produced much stronger results, don't you think that the method is in fact important to the audience (although they wouldn't describe it in those exact terms)?
Guest
 

Postby Pete McCabe » 01/28/02 02:15 PM

To Mark Ennis:

The moral of the story may be that they were not the same effect. In the second version, Sean was able to go through the deck much more quickly. This, it turns out, dramatically changes the spectator's response.

Many times we can change small things that don't seem so important to us, but which cause a big difference to the audience. That's the best lesson we can learn.
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Postby Sean Piper » 01/28/02 03:56 PM

If you performed the same effect using 2 different methods and one produced much stronger results, don't you think that the method is in fact important to the audience (although they wouldn't describe it in those exact terms)?


Mark,

This is a topic which, depending on the time of day and the mood I'm in, I'll passionately agree or disagree with?!?!?!

Certainly if two versions of the same trick were performed and one brought greater amazement than the other, the performer should look at the in's and out's of both methods and figure out why.

In this case however, I feel that by first dealing through the deck slowly and deliberately, explaining the process of card counting as I go, this sets up the premise in the minds of the audience. Therefore, by doing exactly the same effect more quickly, it becomes a much more impressive feat.

The point I'm trying to make is that while it is true that method can affect the way an audience will perceive an effect, their perception is more likely to be altered by the way the trick is presented to them.
Sean Piper
 
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Location: Brisbane, Australia

Postby Bill Duncan » 01/28/02 07:56 PM

I think it's clear that the audience saw to different things:
One was like watching someone haltingly tossing juggling clubs in the air and not dropping them while the second effect was like someone tossing the clubs casually in the air with the occasional behind the back pass.

You wouldn't applaud a chef at Benihana if he slowly carved the shrimp into bite-sized pieces and carefully placed it on the plate would you?

Audiences only care about the effect but the method affects the effect.

(didn't JR write that somewhere?)

[ January 28, 2002: Message edited by: Bill Duncan ]
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