I'm a new member, and what a wonderful thing that Genii has done in giving us a way of sharing ideas on subtle points of technique with others who have had experience with the same effect.
I completely agree with Jeff Haas's statement that "a method which depends on the spectator gradually releasing his or her grip to just a certain specific point is,to me, somewhat unreliable". The question than is just how, through our instruction to the participant, can we provide the kind of instruction that will improve his or her motor control. The best result that I've had seems to be: 1)When I first place the box into the hand, firmly press the fingers on the box, saying, "please hold the box just like this". 2)Do the first serpent rising instruction without any mention of relaxation (at this point there should be no movement of the card).3)Upon the second round of patter at the "breathe out" point instruct the participant to relax.4)At the third round of patter, instruct the participant to relax his entire body.In other words, our instructions to relax become gradually more intense.
Your comment about another method (i.e.Devano)is interesting but would destroy
the opportunity to use a perfectly ungaffed deck, which is one of the very strong features of the trick.
It's interesting you mention Jeff McBride's performance with the card coming up "like a slice of toast". When I saw him do it,the card rose slowly and beautifully.So even the most consumate professionals have their problems. I wonder how McBride handled this with his patter as it popped up?
I also wonder whether a participant is sitting or standing would make any difference one way or another.
When the effect works well, it is spectacular! All the more reason to find ways of maximizing a "perfect rise".