Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 02/20/07 03:25 PM

It might be worth mentioning at this point that the shuffle in Erdnase played no part in the development of Herb's shuffle. Herb's shuffle was inspired a cutting sequence, not a shuffle sequence.

A close read of the Erdnase shuffle sets out many differences, the most obvious being that the Erdnase shuffle is an 'in the hands' shuffle. It was not designed to be performed on a table surface.

On another note, I never knew the LePaul made guitars. I always thought he was a card manipulator.

Postby Guest » 02/20/07 06:29 PM

Actually, i'm pretty sure that all Le(s)Paul guitars are manufactured by (Walter B.) Gibson. That Epiphone thing, that's just a pseudonym.

Postby Guest » 02/20/07 07:22 PM

Gibson bought Epiphone about 60 years ago. Most Epiphone's actually have the Gibson name stamped on them somewhere, usually the truss rod cover.

They use cheaper woods and electrics on the Epiphone models so they tend to get microphonic at high volumes.

Postby Bob Farmer » 02/21/07 08:59 AM

Boy, this is a strange, strange group.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 02/21/07 09:04 AM

I used to do a Zarrow Shuffle but I replaced it with the Shank/Zarrow With No Cover/Erdnase 2nd Method.

Also, I replaced the pickups and all of the elctronics on my Epiphone Le(s)Paul Standard Plus with (Walter) Gibson original parts and this has solved the microphonics problem.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 02/21/07 09:50 AM

Mr. Ben,
What led to the incorrect Zarrow shuffle description in the Vernon Inner secrets books?
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Postby Guest » 02/21/07 10:02 AM

A strange group, indeed.

Bob: is it true that even when you claim to be using a genuine Gibson, you're actually playing an Epiphone...?

Postby Guest » 02/21/07 11:24 AM

Ryan, there are so many factors at work. Ganson was not one for nuance. This is not entirely his fault as few magic books, now or then, express the sort of nuance required to really master technique. Further, that was perhaps Vernon's interpretation of the shuffle at that particular time period, and not what Herb, himself, actually did. The best description of the shuffle so far is perhaps the first description of it in The New Phoenix, No. 346, although the illustration is, if not wrong, misleading. The description in Epilogue is not too bad, but still misses some fine points. The way that I learned the shuffle, before running it by Herb for his comments and corrections, was to listen to the DVD, Zarrow on the Zarrow. The reason I say, "listen" to the DVD is because at the very beginning of the DVD, Herb states that although he can no longer really do the shuffle, he knows what needs to be done, and can teach it. So, I decided then and there to learn it from his words, rather than from the visual representation. It made a huge difference. The good news is that we are nearing completion of Herb's book and it will have a very detailed description of the shuffle, its nuances and variations.

Postby Guest » 02/21/07 12:06 PM

good to hear dben, that is where i learned the shuffle, well the way i do the shuffle.

i like to take the cards from the middle, no cover needed. as for the hunter/shank shuffle it dosent look good to's a bad zarrow.

Postby Guest » 02/21/07 12:38 PM

The (?non-existant?) Shank can actually look very good in the right hands. I have a friend who was taught by Mr______ and he does this shuffle deceptively.

There are politics, and then there are shuffles.

Postby Guest » 02/21/07 12:51 PM

My friend Roger Crosthwaite once showed me the differences between the Shank & Zarrow. It's a chore to tell them apart...but, obviously - there are differences. Both look good...but, if performed 1% off-key - they look like nothing on earth. MOST I've seen performed LOOK like cards simply sliding apart!

Anyway, my point is that the BEST I've SEEN live is Bob Irons's handling. NO tell-tale 'getinto' at all; lovely! There is an OLD video of him somewhere...maybe Trik-A-Tape or Inner Sanctum. Not sure!


Postby George Olson » 02/21/07 01:23 PM

Don't forget Gary Plants handling of the Zarrow...

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Postby Guest » 02/21/07 05:44 PM

I thought the Hunter Shuffle was the overhand shuffle where you chop off a block, run four cards, injog and throw the rest. Then you form a break at the injog, throw all the cards above the break, run five cards, then throw the rest. I think this is in Greater Magic.

Postby Guest » 02/21/07 06:26 PM

I believe that is the G.W. Hunter false shuffle.

Postby Ryan Matney » 02/22/07 08:04 AM

Mr. Ben, Thanks for the reply. Interesting stuff. I believe there are several items described incorrectly in the Inner Card Series.

I first tried to learn the shuffle from the Vernon/Ganson book when I was about 15/16 and I gave up pretty quickly. Later I learned it from Johnny Thompson's DVD where he states the correct way is to use a single card cover.

For awhile I practiced the Roy Walton idea of sighting a key card and shuffling under it. This took me a lot of diligent practice just to be able to do it consistently.

I'm still not really comfortable with the shuffle so I'm looking forward to Zarrow's book very much.
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Postby Guest » 02/25/07 10:04 AM


You said "The description in Epilogue is not too bad, but still misses some fine points." This is interesting since Herb told me personally that this was the best description of the shuffle since he (Herb) wrote it up himself.


Postby Guest » 02/25/07 10:32 AM

Yes, Herb worked on that particular write-up and there are some nuances in it that make it a worthwhile read. (I believe, however, that Karl Fulves also had a hand in it.) I suppose it is all a question of detail. My current description of the shuffle, for example, is nine pages of text and 43 photographs. There is a lot to know if one wants to understand how to do it and why it works. As you know, Herb is so mild mannered, he does not note flaws, be they character or technical, in anyone or anyone's work. One of the goals for Herb's book is to provide the last word - or at least, Herb's last word - on the shuffle.

Postby Guest » 02/25/07 03:50 PM

Thanks David. I am anxiously awaiting Herb's book.

Postby Harvey Rosenthal » 03/19/07 12:16 AM

The finest Zarrow Shuffle I have seen since seeing Herb Zarrow do it in his prime at the time he taught me the shuffle something like 50+ years ago, is the shuffle handling of Steve Reynolds of Pennsylvania. Herb has seen Steve's work on the shuffle and told me in November, 2001 that he was extremely impressed with it. It is the most efficient shuffle handling I have seen.

I understand that Gary Plants does a superb Zarrow Shuffle and recently obtainted a copy of his book on the Shuffle. I have also heard from friends in New York City that Doug Edwards also does the Shuffle beautifully. :) :) :)
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/19/07 08:22 AM

Those who've never seen Herb himself do the shuffle would be shocked at how quickly he does it, and the rapid shoving together of the supposedly interlaced halves of the deck after the riffle. There is none of the false resistance supposedly created by the halves binding as they are pushed together.
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Postby Harry Lorayne » 03/19/07 09:03 AM

I don't particularly use the Zarrow Shuffle too often. In any case, I'd like to hear what some of you experts think of the "Old Reliable" shuffle (supposedly used by gamblers for years) that Tony Mulle showed me decades ago. I teach it in RIM SHOTS, bottom of page 34.
I haven't seen those mentioned above do the Zarrow, but I have seen Doug Edwards do it numerous times. I can't see how it ca be done any better. And, if you have BEST OF FRIENDS 3, check out his variation wherein the cards are SEEN to interlace. Best - HARRY LORAYNE.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 03/19/07 10:07 AM

I've always found it strange that virtually no one does (or at least owns up to doing so) the Triumph shuffle, which I always thought looked quite good. (Exception: I believe Ron Wilson used it when DOING Triumph.) Are there strong reasons for its disfavor?
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Postby Jeff Eline » 03/19/07 11:23 AM

Peter Studebaker does a really nice, 'in the hands' zarrow that, I believe, was taught to him by Hank Miller.
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Postby Guest » 03/19/07 07:54 PM

I have seen Rudy Hunter perform his version of the Zarrow Shuffle (called the Hunter Shuffle) many times and I can assure you that it is very deceptive.
While there is nothing wrong with the Zarrow Shuffle, the Hunter Shuffle is easier to do and just as deceptive.
I purchased the DVD at one of Rudy's lectures and was very impressed by the quality of the instruction. Besides teaching the move in great depth, he includes all the finer points that many DVDs leave out.
While it is certainly acceptable to criticize someone's DVD, it is probably adviseable to actually view it first.

Postby Grant McSorley » 03/19/07 10:08 PM

Sorry Terry, but the Hunter Shuffle (if we can even call it that) is not as deceptive as the Zarrow shuffle because it has a major tell: the exaggerated pushing over of the top cards. If you want to learn to do a no-cover Zarrow properly, buy Gary Plants' manuscript and learn his handling, it's beautiful. I have to admit that I'm basing my opinion on the preview on Penguin's site, but if that isn't what the shuffle actually looks like then why did they post that clip?

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Postby Guest » 03/25/07 01:16 AM

Well, this is my first post on this board. I'm looking forward to some healthy back-and-forth.

This is one of my favorite subjects: False Shuffles; particularly the Zarrow Shuffle, and all the tangled roots and branches around (and through) it.

To Mr. Kaufman:

It has been established IN PRINT (even by you) that the elements of the Zarrow Shuffle (i.e. the center cut dynamic, the unweave dynamic, the riding block under a cover card)have been around prior to Herb Zarrow's contribution. What Mr. Zarrow deserves credit for is the combination and application of these established forms into a wholey deceptive technique. No problem there.

And he does get credit; his name is well associated with all of these things.

You suggest that the Shank Shuffle does not exist. O.K. You are intitled to your own interpretation.

However, I question your citation in regard to Erdnase. In no part of the second method in the "Magic Section" is it written that the shuffle can be executed by the ends and on the table as you suggest.

Can you clarify this? Please.

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Postby Guest » 03/26/07 10:12 AM

In fact the cards are HELD by the ends not SHUFFLED by them. If you rotate your hands, so that the thumb ends are towards you, you can shuffle the CORNERS. As this is done in the HANDS, this is a far cry from what some call the SHANK SHUFFLE.

So, if the TABLED RIFFLE SHUFFLE handling (that we have recently seen in the mis-named Hunter Shuffle) exsists, and it is not what is in ERDNASE, how can you say that the Shank Shuffle which has clearly been recorded (not in Erdnase as you suggest) does not exist?

It is there. What is your reasoning behind the statement: there is no such thing as the shank shuffle.

Does the Zarrow Shuffle square ACROSS the bottom portion and under NO cover cards? That's not a Zarrow Shuffle.

That's the Shank Shuffle; but you say there is no Shank Shuffle. The shuffle that is refered to as the Shank is in Erdnase. But when you actually compare what is in Erdnase to what is considered a Shank Shuffle, there is a big difference.


Is there anybody out there in the Anti-Shank League that can shed some light on this?

Don't take a breath, I've got tons more.

Here's another question. Do most people that have voiced there stance on this issue done their OWN research.

Have they compaired the Fulves/Racherbaumer Documents?

Mr. Ben?

This is for Historical reasons, folks. These questions need asking.

In my experience (limited as it has been), most people do NOT do there own research, but listen to their closest pundit. These are the guys that still claim Marlo stole TILT! Which he did...until of course you ACTUALLY READ the Introduction to the Tilt booklet. But that's another story. Let's keep Shuffling On.

I'll never Shuffle Off.

Steve Reynolds

Lansdale, PA

Postby Guest » 03/27/07 08:40 AM

Mr. Reynolds,

I'm not sure what you are asking for exactly.

Do I do my own research? Yes. Have I had access to documents that perhaps Fulves, Racherbaumer, you and others have not had access to? Perhaps.

Have I voiced an opinion in this forum on the differences between the Zarrow Shuffle and other shuffles? Not really.

So, again, your question is?


David Ben

Postby Guest » 03/27/07 01:19 PM

Thank you Mr. Ben for the response.

Let me be more specific.

Have you read Karl Fulves's SHUFFLE OFF and Jon Racherbaumer's ON FULVES' SHUFFLE OFF (from MARLO'S MAGAZINE VOLUME 5)?

There are technical and historical elements that a full description of the "Zarrow Shuffle" and its history needs.

It is my understanding that Mr. Zarrow is unaware of the contents of Racherbaumer's rebuttle to the Fulves response (to the Shank Shuffle book). This is a FIRST HAND FACT. No one can read everything, that's understandable.

Have you looked seriously at BOTH sides of the debate, Mr. Ben (and all that are reading)?

If you're looking strictly from the Zarrow/Fulves perspective; I'm sorry, Fulves is a blind fold on the eyes of the researcher in this case, on a few critical points. He "Likes a rigged game."

I've researched the Work (both sides) for over fifteen years. I can't sit still on this.

It is a major responsibility to straighten out the MESS.

I'm not pointing a finger at you, Mr. Ben. I just am airing a few misgivings about the original voice of the Zarrow/Shank Debate, and the Fulvian perspective should be considered, but not as the groundwork or framework of the historical aspects.

Find Racherbaumer's On Fulves' Shuffle Off if you havn't already. Please.

I understand the difficulty of setting these things straight.

Thank You, Mr. Ben.

Now it's Mr. Kaufman's turn to respond.

How could you misquote Erdnase? If you did, then you should reconsider the notion of the Shank Shuffle existing; since that was the basis of your argument. If you still think it does not exist, tell me WHY it doesn't exist? But you're not allowed to recoil into Erdnase, that doesn't hold up. Or maybe it does. Please explain.

Let's get down to business here. It's 2007.

Historically Yours,

Steve Reynolds

Lansdale, PA

Postby Guest » 03/27/07 01:59 PM

Wasn't this "Shank owns Zarrow" thing flogged to death over on the TSD forums?

Postby Bob Farmer » 03/27/07 02:07 PM

Does anyone have Frank Shank's email address?

Thank you.

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Postby Guest » 03/27/07 03:05 PM

Mr. Reynolds:

Yes, I have copies of all of the material that you refer to and I have read the material.

I disagree with your comment with respect to whether Herb Zarrow is familiar with the so-called Racherbaumer rebuttal. I believe he is familiar with it. Herb has elected, so far, to take the high road and not wade into this mess. That may, or may not, change.

I also suggest - but cannot confirm - that I have had access to more information on this subject than perhaps you. Have you, for example, had access to or copies of original correspondence between the various parties on this issue?

Further, have you had contact with the lawyers who were retained at the time, and the documents that were drafted, when a law suit was initiated against Mr. Marlo but subsequently dropped by Mr. Zarrow out of compassion because Mr. Marlo had suffered a heart attack around the time of the suit?

Further, I'm not sure that this whole 'mess' is really worth recounting. I am writing the book on the magic of Herb Zarrow. I had planned to detail the technique and variations that Herb developed with respect to his shuffle. I did not want to present a legal brief on the subject. I left that profession a long time ago. Futher, if any such brief is developed or presented, it would be distributed in another forum than a hard cover book that presents a lifetime of his magic. My rough count suggests that there will be over a 100 items of Herb's in this book, the shuffle merely being one of them.

I, too, have spent a great deal of time on shuffle work. Probably twenty-five years. I always find it helpful to survey or review the work of the creator as their work in one area can often provide insight into their work in another.

I have not yet done an "Ask Alexander" search on Shank but would be curious whether you could point towards any of his other contributions he has made to the literature, or that have been made in his name. Is there, for example, a Shank shift, a Shank second deal, a Shank hold-out, a Shank double-lift, a Shank colour change.

I'm honestly not trying to be difficult. I am curious and I haven't got there yet. You see, like you, I like to do research. Any insight you may provide into any other work attributed to Shank would be greatly appreciated.

Postby Bob Farmer » 03/27/07 04:01 PM

Another shuffle with a shank:

Go here and do a find on the word "shank:"
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/27/07 05:55 PM

There is no such thing as a Shank Shuffle--it's just a lot of [censored].

What amazes me is how Marlo had so many guys completely hoodwinked. Sometime you should ask Steve Draun, Dave Solomon, Simon Aronson, and just about anyone who spent time with Marlo about how he would steal their own tricks--the tricks from his best friends in magic--and show the tricks back to them a few weeks later as his own! (I don't care if they come on the Forum right now and deny it--it's true.) The whole thing would be a damn joke if it wasn't such a crime.

I think Frank Shank might have been a kid's show performer, but as one close friend of Marlo's told me, he wasn't a sleight of hand guy and even Marlo knew the idea of him coming up with that type of shuffle was preposterous. What Marlo was banking on was that no one knew Frank Shank!

This would have been settled in court a long time ago if Herb Zarrow had proceeded with his lawsuit. The fact that he was a humanitarian first, and dropped his lawsuit because Marlo had a heart attack, has left this [censored] mess.

If I have the time, when I'm an old bastard and retired from Genii, I'm going to start going through all the literature in magic (which will all be digitized by then) and begin a comprehensive listing of all the material that Ed Marlo stole and printed under his own name. Then I will write publish the list on the Internet, because not only did Marlo steal hundreds of items (publishing variations under different titles with no credit to the originator--like "Tilt," which is but one example), but I've been told by someone who should know, that he was also a plagarizer, and that careful reading will locate identical wording in stolen items. So, I'll get to that in about 15 years.

Now, even though Marlo stole hundreds of items, since he printed THOUSANDS there will still be plenty of original material of his in print, but that wasn't enough for Marlo, and it won't be enough for his defenders, either.

I've already published the information that the so-called "Marlo Card Clip" is in Hatton & Plate's book Magician's Tricks: How They're Done, which is from about 1910. There's a picture of the damn thing. Do any of Marlo's defenders say, "Oh, well I guess Eddie should have given credit there," or "Oh, well I see your point." Forget that! Deny deny deny--that's what do.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 03/27/07 06:19 PM

David Ben:
I have not yet done an "Ask Alexander" search on Shank
Richard Kaufman:
I think Frank Shank might have been a kid's show performer

The single reference I was able to locate in AskAlexander for Frank Shank, outside of the Shuffle business, mentioned that he had a fire-eating act. That's all that was said.

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Postby Guest » 03/27/07 07:02 PM

I was able to find a few other references to Frank Shank. He was listed in Frances Marshall's AROUND CHICAGO column in December 1951 LINKING RING as an assistant bartender at Dix and Norb's Magic Bar in Chicago in 1951, home of the then recently founded Knights of Sleights club, limited to 15 members, with Ed Marlo as an honorary member. Shank could have had good chops, since he worked there on a regular basis. The only Sleights of Knights member I personally knew, through our H & R Book business, was founding member (and later Dean) Norm Osborn, who always struck me as a very decent and ethical fellow. He vouched for Shank and his shuffle in one of the publications on this topic (saying, in effect, that he had seen Shank do the shuffle on numerous occasions in the early 1950s). Which proves nothing, of course, but why couldn't it have been a case of independent invention, with Shank ignorant of Zarrow's work? Which wouldn't excuse Marlo for denying Zarrow credit, of course. There is a photo of Shank with other Knights of Sleights in the accompanying article, page 49, and another (from the same period) on page 80 of the June 2001 LINKING RING (an article about the 50th anniversary of the club, which by then was meeting at Tim Felix's Midwest Magic shop).

Postby Pete Biro » 03/27/07 07:52 PM

Re: Marlo. I remember a trip back from Europe where Matt Corin and I showed him the Ascanio Spread (he had neither seen or heard of it), but then Corin did a killer card switch on the table that was totally his original.

A short time later Marlo published it as his without credit to Matt.

Right then I was no longer a fan of Marlo.
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Postby Guest » 03/27/07 07:57 PM

I will address Ben, Kaufman, and Hatch. Give me a bit. This will take an hour or so.


Mr. Kaufman: Richard,

You misquoted Erdnase to make your point. Your argument is on shaky ground. Can you comment on the fact that what you said about the Erdnase (second method) does not appear in Expert.

For the third time!

Steve Reynolds

Postby Richard Kaufman » 03/27/07 08:37 PM

When I have the time I'll go back and dig out the appropriate text from Erdnase.
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Postby Guest » 03/27/07 10:31 PM

Shouldn't you have done that BEFORE you made an inaccurate citation? Should I treck into Jennings '67 and your forgetfulness with Marlo's Perfect "False Shuffle" from Expert Card Conjuring (1968)? No problem with the Jennings' FINESSE, and no problem with citing Dad Stevens (I'm sure he had it prior-since it is mentioned in the Miller Notes, but you should have at least referenced Marlo's contribution.

Who's MISREPRESENTING the published record Mr. Kaufman?

It's like the pot calling the kettle black; just like Fulves. Man, you are rolling along with the mis-information.

How about the Jenning's "Jog Shuffle Finesse" (in Jennings '67) that is actually in The Magic of Edward Victor's Hands. Didn't you publish that?


Can you please give me a DIRECT answer, Richard?

We'll get back the Shank/Zarrow thing. I have three big posts to respond to.

I'll reference correctly. Will YOU?

Steve Reynolds


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