Twisting the Aces

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Sean Piper » 12/12/01 08:00 PM

In response to Bill's comments, try the Asher Twist on a lay audience before disregarding it. Remember, you know much more about card magic than your entire audience is ever likely to pick up on. It is probable that the Asher Twist doesn't look right to you, due to the fact you've got a fair idea of what's happening. This is a big flaw in many a magicians judgement of what is real world material.

For example, I heard of quite a few performers who refuse to do R. Paul Wilson's 'Ricochet'. Their justification being that the secret is too basic, and they figured it out after seeing it once.

The thing we have to keep in mind is that most spectators don't know about double backers, triple lifts and half passes. To them, it's magic!
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 12/12/01 08:46 PM

I think Twisting the Aces is a nice bit of skill that is over-rated as a presentation to laymen. That being said there are occasions when laymen in the course of a performance will say something that makes Twisting the aces the perfect routine to then perform. All depends on the words being used by you, in context with the comments from the spectator.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 12/13/01 12:10 AM

I sometimes do the Vernon handling for the first three aces and then the Asher Twist move for the last ace.

If you're familiar with both of these techniques give this a try. The methods cancel nicely and it provides a strong climax.
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Postby Pete Biro » 12/14/01 12:27 AM

Mike Rogers (and I) worked out a way of doing a similar Twisting Aces using the Ascanio Spread. I haven't done it for so long I forget. May RK knows where Mike put it in print.

BTW, Ray Boston was the first magician I ever saw do Twisting the Aces and it blew me away. I still think it is one of the great tricks of all time.

I learned the right way to hold and count the cards from a Professor at Stanford!
Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 12/16/01 11:59 AM

Sorry I am late....

A bit of history

Alex Elmsley was the first to PUBLISH turning a card over underneath the cover of spreading cards. I think he called that an 'Action Half Pass'. He was inspired by Roy Walton (who never published his idea). After Elmsley's move was printed, Larry Jennings, David Williamson, Jay Sankey, Ed Hollins and a few others played with the concept. None of them applied the reverse spread for cover. That is one of the things that makes the Asher Twist special. Also, the displacement of the cards while spreading makes the effect magical. Many people overlook that concept. If the Asher Twist is performed properly, the audience swears the card is turning over in the MIDDLE of the spread. Most people choose to learn the Asher Twist the wrong way and neglect this displacement. That's why they feel it doesn't look magical.
As for comparing the original Twisting the Aces to the Asher Twist, let me say that there could not be one without the other. The Asher Twist is a distant 'grandson', if you will, to the original Twisting the Aces.
My favorite part of the Asher Twist is that I don't have to execute 6 or 7 Elmsley counts to accomplish the effect. That, I think, is a massive improvement over the original.
As for Richard's comments about "The Asher Twist certainly taking some of the natural quality and mystery out of Twisting the Aces", I absolutly disagree. It is one's performance of the routine that makes or breaks the natural quality. I could very well do every single movement of the original Vernon routine except for the Elmsley count and the effect is just as magical. I choose not to because actually twisting the cards, I feel, is 'old hat'. Again, this is just my opinion.
I would have loved for Vernon to see the Asher Twist and hear what he thought about it. I can only dream.......

Lee Asher

Postby Guest » 12/16/01 12:46 PM

Vernons twisting the aces was and is one of my absolute favorites. But I was completely stunned, when Lee Asher showed us his "Asher Twist" at his lecture for our club in Wuppertal(greetings to Lee!!). When performing the original routine, people sometimes feel that you are doing something, though they do not know what. The Aher Twist looks so natural!!.I must confess that I didnt have the time to rehearse the move, but the youngest member of our club(Felix Brauer) has mastered it after a short time.
Season greetings from Germany
Hans-Gerhard Koch

Postby Guest » 12/16/01 02:04 PM

Having met and spent a pleasant afternoon with Lee Asher a few days after his lecture in Glasgow a year or so back I have to say that I found him to be a most personable magician and interesting to talk with.

However, moving on to his comments on "Twisting The Aces", I feel I have to disagree with his viewpoint and offer my own personal viewpoint.

To my mind the Asher Twist, used in the context of a Twisting The Aces routine, is nothing more that an example of "Card Juggling". This was evident to myself and several other more knowledgeable magicians at his lecture. Firstly, the move is not invisible and can be clearly viewed for what it is from certain angles. The same cannot be said for the Vernon routine which, like all Vernon routines, is a beautiful piece of construction and is angle proof.

When the concept of the Asher Twist is applied to another effect,Roy Walton's "A Twisted Tale",[Genii November 2001], for example, then the move falls into context of the effect and it looks magical as it should do.

Mr Asher states "My favorite part of the Asher Twist is that I don't have to execute 6 or 7 Elmsley counts to accomplish the effect. That, I think, is a massive improvement over the original." This is where his argument falls down. In the Vernon original it is only necessary to perform the Ghost count a maximum of three times to obtain the desired effect where in Mr Asher's version it is a pre-requisite that you do the move Four times to obtain the same effect. Where is the economy here?. required.}. Mr Asher's thinly disguised argument about economy of motion is somewhat shot down in flames.

[The Vernon Effect could actually be performed with only two Ghost Counts if required]

Vernon intended the Twisting The Aces routine to be performed slowly and deliberately and, providing ones technique is good, then there is no visible manipulation of the cards and no finger movement. Due to the technique of the Asher Twist it has to be presented at a reasonable speed and to my mind, and that of others, it looses its credence here as it is blatantly obvious that some kind of manipulation is going on and is hidden by the speed of the movement of hands and cards.

The other beauty of the Vernon routine, although somewhat cosmetic, is the excuse for twisting the cards. OK, I appreciate it has no bearing on the effect but the patter and routining leaves the spectators with that small element of doubt in their minds as to whether or not it was the twisting that caused the cards to turn over one at a time because they can see no other logical way of it happening. I cannot say the same for the Asher version.

As for the wish that Vernon had seen the Asher Twist and commented on it. Having never met Vernon and having only having stories from people who were friends of Vernon's to rely on I should imagine that his comments would have been kind without actually making any statement about the actual move. However, these comments by Vernon depended on various factors which I wont go into here.

Postby Reinhard Mueller » 12/16/01 02:22 PM


I have here the book by F.W.Conradi "Der Kartenkuenstler im XX. Jahrhundert" (= The Cardmagician of XX. Century) from 1898. There is on page 43 the move "Das Wenden mehrer doppelseitiger Karten inmitten des Spiels" (= The reversing of several double face cards in the center of the deck"). In fanning out the deck cards in the center are reversed! Astonishing!

All the best
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Postby Charlie Chang » 12/16/01 06:17 PM

This is a fascinating topic and I would like to add my thoughts to the mix.

There have been a few comments criticising Lee asher's twist in this thread and I would like to address.

To begin with I should say a little about how I use the asher Twist. As many will know I use it in my effect "Ricochet" employing Lee's idea of using it to change a card rather than reverse it. I use this effect regularly and, thanks to the qualities of Lee's move each change receives gasps from the lay audience.

I also use Lee's effect in a routine I devised several years ago when I first learned his move. This is a three phase routine that begins with the Asher Twist followed by Vernon's original and ending with my own phase (a surprise ending). This is one of my favourite sequences to perform for the following reasons:

The Asher Twist is STRONG. Contrary to claims made in this thread, asher's move can NOT be seen when performed correctly under the right conditions (I do this surrounded in walk around gigs). When I follow this with Vernon's Twisting the second phase cancels out any solutions they might have for the first phase (I challenge these solutions in my presentation) and is MUCH STRONGER as a result.

These two phases are pure magic and, combined together they strengthen each other. This is NOT the case when the effects are reversed (in my experience).

I think it is remarkably naiive to describe the Asher Twist as obvious or "juggling". I myself must admit to not liking the effect until I had seen Lee perform it. Once seen, even the least knowledgable magician should be able to appreciate it's effectiveness.

Someone also stated that the Vernon "Twisting" presentation had no bearing on the effect. I would like to take issue on that point. Having used Vernon's Twisting a great deal I can state that twisting that packet IS the effect (hence the title) and the trick is greatly diminished without it.

Another small point is speed. The Asher Twist, when performed by Lee, is not done quickly (I often do it quickly when demonstrating Ricochet - but I do it slowly in actual performce).

Do I consider the Asher Twist to be better than Vernon's? No. In fact I value each one for different reasons. I certainly think they compliment one another beautifully.

As for Vernon, I know, and have known, many of his students personally. For the most part they like Asher's Twist just fine (one of his better known prodigies uses it regularly) and I would bet money that Vernon would have liked it too but the truth is I just don't know. Nobody can.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 12/17/01 12:57 AM

I gotta agree with Paul Wilson.

At the first Las Vegas Close-Up Classic I walked into the dealer room and saw this kid -- this damned kid! -- holding four aces. He spread them and one had turned face down. Then he spread them and two were down.

I think you know the routine.

I didn't know Lee or who he was (which is a comment on myself, not on Lee, as I was just returning to magic after the obligatory twenty-year absence). So I couldn't ask him what the hell he was doing, which I was sure had to involve trick cards.

But I stalked Lee the rest of the convention, and I saw him do the trick another dozen or so times from various angles.

Months later I read that the method was in print and I ran to Brad Burt's Magic Shop and read it. That was the first time I had any idea how it had been accomplished.

The elimination of the Elmsley counts is the greatest strength of Lee's method. There is no justification for counting the cards singly to demonstrate that they are all face up or face down. It is an entirely unnatural action.

The spreading action of the Asher Twist is much more natural.

Which I believe the Professor is on record as favoring.

But Paul's combination is the best. I saw him do it at the Castle, and the third section is just fantastic.
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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 05:28 AM

Wow, good responses. Very interesting commentary on the subject.

I must admit that Gavin Ross pretty much summed up my sentiments on the routines. Paul Wilson says he can do the routine surrounded which to me would be one of the more amazing things I would witness (I would love to see it). I have never seen Paul Wilson perform the Asher Twist, but I have seen some very skilled card handlers perform it and unless you are pretty much looking down and straight on, you'll probably spot what's going on.

I totally disagree that the elimination of the Elmsley Counts is a strength. If performed properly, the Elmsley count is as clean of a sleight (or subtlety) as they come. I don't think showing the audience that you are counting 4 cards singly from one hand to the other is unnatural. If anything, the fact that you can perform an Elmsley count very slowly makes it that much more impossible.

As I have mentioned before, I think Lee Asher is a clever guy and is extremely skillful but I think that this routine appeals more to magicians. I also think that "card juggling" to describe it is not naive, but accurate.

I will continue to perform Twisting the Aces as I have for the last 10 years and that is the Dai Vernon method.

Postby Guest » 12/17/01 07:30 AM

In response to the ongoing comments re this thread I find it fascinating that there is such controversy over this move.

I have known Paul Wilson for about 14 years and I have always found him to be a competent card handler.

I will respond to some of the points in his posting first prior to addressing some others.

I do not disagree that the Asher Twist is strong providing it is used in the correct context and this I highlighted in my comments on Roy Waltons use of the move. In the context of Twisting the Aces it is poor and I still maintain it is juggling with cards when used in this context. I have received many private emails from well known magicians who concur with my statement.

I must strongly disagree with Paul Wilsons comments on the invisibility of the move and I have seen it done many times by several people including Lee Asher and Paul Wilson and I have yet to see it done flawlessly to the point where I cannot see it being performed or have any indication that some manipulation is ongoing. The very nature in the mechanics of the move implies this, even though they are covered well by the reverse spread. The nearest I have seen this move done to invisibility is by my friend Peter Mclanachan, a fine Scottish card man.

As for Pauls statement that the second phase of his routine [The Vernon Phase] cancels out any suspicion of how the effect may have been done in the first phase is, in theory, an admission that the first phase [The Asher Twist Phase] has a weakness and that it is possible to have an indication to its methodology. This is highlighted in more detail by Paul himself when he says the move cannot be seen when performed correctly under the right conditions. The point I was making about the Vernon effect is that the Elmsley Ghost Count CAN be performed invisibly under any conditions and the setting does not need to be right for it. The statement about the second phase further serves to reiterate my original thoughts that Vernons routine is a beautiful piece of construction and is angle proof. I am glad to see that Paul challenges any solutions offered when presenting his effect and I am sure he does this in his own inimitable style.

Paul then goes on to state that he thinks it is remarkably nave to describe the Asher Twist as Obvious or Juggling. I think Pauls statement is, in itself, nave and I did not say that the move was obvious I merely said that it was blatantly obvious that something was going on. I do however again say that in the context of Twisting the Aces, the effect is that of the juggling of cards.

Like Paul I was never fond of the effect and although he subsequently came to like it once he saw Lee Asher perform the effect, I, on the other hand, did not. At this point may I agree with Paul that to use the Asher Twist for the change of a card into another cardas he does in Ricochet, and as Roy Walton does in hIt is just the Ricochet effect itself that I am not a fan of.

I now move on to the comments made by Pete McCabe. Whilst everyone is entitled to their own opinion I feel that Mr McCabe has somewhat missed the point here. The elimination of the Ghost Count is not the greatest strength but the weakest one as you are taking out of the effect the one flawless move that can be done surrounded and from any angle. The same CANNOT be said about the Asher twist. The intrinsic beauty of the Vernon routine containing the Ghost count is that the count is done in a totally natural and innocent action of counting the cards slowly. Each time this slow and deliberate count is done, another card turns face up. In Mr Ashers version it is apparent that to do the same thing you have to have a movement of the hands that is not entirely natural and this gives an indication to the spectator that some manipulation is ongoing. Hence, it looks like magical juggling in this context.

I defy anyone to say that they could watch the Asher Twist from any angle and not see some movement no matter how well the technique is performed. The same cannot be said for the Ghost Count which is an amazing Elmsley technique and has been beautifully incorporated into one of the few flawless routines in the world of magic.

Finally, Mark Ennis hits the nail on the head when he says unless you are pretty much looking down and straight on, youll probably spot whats going on. He further goes on to consolidate his argument with this encompassing phrase in the context of Vernons routine If anything, the fact that you can perform an Elmsley count very slowly makes it that much more impossible.
I say again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion on this and any other subject but no matter how much we discuss or argue the point, we are arguing over a card trick at the end of the day. There are far more important things going on in the world. Lets not get too carried away.

Postby Matthew Field » 12/17/01 08:23 AM

Gavin Ross has some interesting comments on the "Twisting" discussion. My experience has been that when I first saw "Twisting the Aces" I was floored. I immediately bought the Vernon "Inner Secrets" books to learn the trick and see what else was hidden in there.

But when I performed the trick, it received less of a reaction than I expected. People I was close to told me that all the counting, the placing cards on top (rearranging) made it seem like "something" must be happening, although they couldn't tell what it was.

Lee Asher's "Asher's Twist" is instantaneous. You spread, boom, and displace the cards in one motion. If you've seen Lee (or Jamy Ian Swiss) do the trick, you would not suspect "juggling." It is beautiful when performed slowly and I believe, done properly, is almost angle-proof.

It's not self-working. It's easier to use the Elmsley Count, which everyone has been doing back before Emerson met West. But I am convinced Lee Asher's trick will survive the test of time.

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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 09:22 AM

Matthew Field makes his own valid points about his perceptions on this effect however I defy anyone who has good technique to be met with a response of "Something must be happening" [other than as a sign of being fooled].

As I stated in my original post, if the Vernon version is done correctly there is no apparent movement of the fingers or manipulation of the cards. It is a technique thing. Now, the same cannot be said of the Asher Twist no matter how good ones technique is because of the motion required to perform the move. It is impossible to 100% cover this from every angle. Needless to say, the Vernon routine does not have this flaw.

Postby Terry » 12/17/01 09:27 AM

Re the Asher Twist - maybe the Professor would refer to Erdnase in that "the spectator should not suspect, let alone detect, something happening."

I enjoyed watching Lee do the Aces w/ the Twist when he first started working on it as a teenager many moons ago. I could not do it effectively and dropped working on it.

My two those who enjoy it/can do it - rock on, to those who don't/can't (me) - let them be.
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Postby Philippe Noël » 12/17/01 10:03 AM

Personally, I use the Allan Ackerman's twisting the aces routine. It only uses two Elmsley counts and two Jordan counts.
However, you do not "count" the cards, you just show that each time one different ace is face up. It is pure magic!
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 12/17/01 10:38 AM

Although I have enjoyed reading the articulate back-and-forth comments regarding Twists and Turns, including points and counter-points about various modalities and their provenance. However, scant attention has been paid to the effect ITSELF, particularly as it may or may not MEANINGFULLY relate to lay people.

Although advocates will strenuously argue that Twisting effects, particularly Lee Asher's suddenly-flashy version (which wowed the faithful at FFFF), "fry" lay people, I wonder how it comparatively stacks up against truly theatrical effects. Is it more "dazzle" than "razzle"? Is it just cute-and-catchy "eye candy" for half-passes to pass on?

Like everyone else, I started collecting Twisting effects in the 70s. Back then my friend, Robert Walker, wrote an immense treatise on what he called THE CRUX EFFECT. (Bob is out of magic and is now a practicing physician-teacher.) His treatise, thankfully, was never published. As it stands, I have squirreled away over 200 methods in my files. I also contributed a forgettable treatise titled GOOD TURNS that Lloyd Jones published. (P.S. The version Pete Biro asked about was published in THE ASCANIO SPREAD, along with others. Pete was one of the guys who transported the Ascanio Spread to these shores. The Twist versions based on a Ralph Gironda (Fulves pseudonym) trick in Pallbearers generated dozens of versions, including one that Fred Kaps liked to do.)

RELATIVELY SPEAKING, I think that ANY Twisting effect does not warrant being included in the non-existent Hall of Fame for Great Card Effects. Because most cardmen have been fascinated with the approach and all its variations for 30 years, it ranks high as being on the Hit Parade for Obsessives.

I have yet to see anyone perform a version of Twisting in their One-Man Show, whether it be Ricky Jay, Steve Cohen, or Paul Gertner. I haven't seen anyone perform it at a Trade Show recently. I didn't see Blaine perform it on any of his Street-Magic Specials.

However, I did see it last week at our local Magic Round Table and I still see it at magic gatherings. In fact, I may perform some variations tonight?

If this "thread" doesn't quickly unravel in the next week or so, interested parties may want to check out my Website (, which will reprint a down-loadable version of GOOD TURNS, other slightly "twisted" Twisting Tricks, and the original ASCANIO SPREAD mss.

Otherwise, keep the dialogue rolling and roiling...

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Postby Charlie Chang » 12/17/01 11:37 AM

Whilst I can empathise with some of points made in this thread regarding the Asher Twist and Vernon's original Twisting, I would like to point out that, for the most part, those in support of Asher's Twist, myself included, are speaking from experience.

I know it works because I use it. Because I use it I know how and WHEN to use it (when I said I use it surrounded I clearly stated this was for walkaround - everyone standing and looking down).

Detractors of the Asher routine have not learned it and have no experience to call upon regarding it. Several remarks atest to the finer qualities of the Vernon routine but, as Matt field points out, the Vernon routine doesn't break any records in audience reaction on it's own (not to say it's a bad trick, quite the opposite).

By combining the two, each supports the other (two phases that perform the same effect in different ways - surely this can't be a new idea!) and the result is pure magic.

Lee Asher (who is, admittedly, one of my closest friends) made a reputation amongst the biggest names in magic with this routine, despite being a punk kid at the time (such an instant reputation is not earned by moves that are obvious). He then used it to earn himself a job as a regular magician in Caesar's Palace (winning the job over dozens of more experienced workers).

I appreciate that certain people dont like it (or simply can't "get it") but I take exception to it being called a bad effect. I once heard the same argument (almost to the word) about Out Of This World and how "obvious" the method was.

Perhaps fore-warned is fore-armed in the case of the twist. Maybe if we know the mechanics before experiencing the move we are less able to appreciate it's illusion (as is the case with a lot of magic). Never-the-less, as a confirmed convert to the cause of the Twist, and as a regular user of the Asher Twist in an environment where people DEFINITELY shout out their suspicions, I can (again) atest to it's effectiveness in the field.

That's not theory. It's fact.


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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 12:20 PM

I have travelled the world on the back of my four aces! The lunch we had together (Gavin) was financed by the Asher Twist. Apparently, there are a ton of people around the world that think its very magical. But I am also aware that there are a few that feel the way you do. So for those that dont find the Asher Twist intriguing, do me a favour and dont perform it. Due to the fact that you obviously missed the point of the whole routine, I don't think you would be able to do it justice. Now there will be a few less people that are smothering the Asher Twist.

And as for the comment <but no matter how much we discuss or argue the point, we are arguing over a card trick at the end of the day. There are far more important things going on in the world. Lets not get too carried away.> Personally, I thought the purpose of this message board was to discuss "mere card tricks". There are plenty of other places to ruminate on the problems of the world. If you dont like discussing card tricks on a Close-up magic discussion board, feel free to post on or for more important things that are going on in the world.

Lee Asher

Postby Guest » 12/17/01 12:58 PM

Mr Asher,
I treat your arrogance with the contempt it deserves.

You accuse me in a round about way of smothering your move. You have never seen me perform the move so have know knowledge of how good or bad I may be at it.

I gave up your move as I was not as good at juggling as I would like to be.

I do enjoy discussing card tricks and my statement was simply a way of taking the potential heat out of this conversation before it developed.

YOU are the one who seems to have missed this point.

A constructive critique of a move is a good thing and that is what has been attempted here [ read my posts] however, you decide to barge in and defend your move with arrogance.

For those that dont speak French, perhaps you would be kind enough to translate as it is highly ignorant to post in a foreign language on an predominately english speaking forum.

Personally, I speak French so perhaps some foreign language board may be of more interest to you.

Incidentally, I paid for my own lunch.

Gavin Ross

Arrogance in persons of merit affronts us more than arrogance in those without merit [sic]

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Postby Guest » 12/17/01 01:00 PM

My friend Paul Wilson makes a rather sweeping, and some would say arrogant, statement in saying that those who detract from the routine do not know the routine and have no experience to call upon regarding the routine.

I know many people who would take offence to that statement.

Although it is possible that a lack of experience may well be the case for some people, for me it is not the case and I am well aware of the mechanics of the twist and have experience in using it.

I Got It as soon as I first saw it and no, I had no idea of the mechanics of the routine prior to this.

Magical juggling has its place but like many, I chose to ignore it in this case.

Incidentally, I dont think the effect is bad, simply the method.

Paul is, as I have previously said, entitled to his own opinion and I dont doubt that his has some valid points but as a self confessed convert to the twist then he must be going against his own principles as one who preaches the text of Erdnase, [ as Terry also quoted in an earlier posting ], the spectator should not suspect, let alone detect, something happening.

As stated earlier by me, I find Paul to be a competent card man but if people are shouting out their suspicions then it is either down to one of two things, a flaw in technique or a flaw in method.

Personally, I would go for the latter on this occasion.

Gavin Ross

Postby Charlie Chang » 12/17/01 01:41 PM

The internet is a great medium for text, if not for communication.

This dry text can not convey the tone of a conversation (unless you use those bloody awful emotion things).

Gavin - here is my point of view again, in a different way:

Fois Gras - it looks like a plate full of entrails swimming in a warmed soup of bodily fluids (technically it is). the look of it and the very idea of it will cause many to shy away.

I tried it, however, and it tastes like heaven. Now, I love it and order it every time I am in Paris. My wife won't go near it, no matter how I enthuse.

The Asher Twist is not the only routine we can have this discussion about - there are others. I once watched Michael Skinners tape of the Ring On stick and thought I had been conned! Now I use THAT method every show. The only thing that could teach me the value of that effect was experience. Up until then I was consumed with method.

With the Asher Twist I have the experience and I am trying to make the point that this makes me a better judge of it's merits. In the same way as someone who has driven a police car at high speed can vouch for the car's true abilities more than I can from merely looking at one.

Does this make sense?

For example - perform the sponge balls for a room full of magicians - reactions? Nope. how about Card To Wallet? Nope. But you and I both know that these effects blow away the laity - because you and I have that experience. Just like we both know that Out Of This World is one of the greatest card tricks of all time. But you and I could sit down and have EXACTLY the same discussion as we have been having here over the Twists with someone who regards Paul Curry's finest moment (arguably) as an obvious red/black set up. The difference is that the Asher Twist is less clear. For that reason I have tried to illustrate the context in which I use it ( acontext which addresses the weaknesses of the Asher trick and uses them to re-inforce the strengths of Vernon's).

Furthermore, there are many effects in magic where a seemingly obvious method can be covered by either a good feint, another phase that uses a different method (and seems to dismiss the original method) or a presentation which leads the spectator down a different path. Tamariz writes a great deal about this in his books and the idea of using feints to dismiss audience theories can be found in Ramsay's work (and I know we both love that).

So don't read sarcastic banter as arrogance - this is a debate, not a fight. Well, not yet anyway... :)
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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 01:57 PM

Paul, whilst not doubting that you have experience with the Asher Twist, and you may well be a better judge of its merits than I am, it in no way changes my opinion on the validity of the twist in the context of Twisting The Aces.

I do actually think the twist has some uses, just not in that way. This has been fully documented.

I appreciate your analogy..LOL

I agree this is a debate and I have no intention of arguing with you over this..debating it yes, arguing, no!.

However, I did take offence at the arrogance of Lee Ashers last posting and I have already had emails privately regarding this, all in support of me.

My comments stand re his arrogance, this is not the same Lee Asher I met last year. I await his comments.

Needless to say, this do not and will not prevent me from continuing an open and honest discussion if he and others choose to do so. [As you have chosen to do].


Gavin Ross

Postby Jim Morton » 12/17/01 02:44 PM

Going back to the start of this thread, Nick, I perform the Twisting the Aces close-up all the time. You may email about the problems you're having if you like.

In response to Jon's comments on the power of the effect, I mostly agree. As Jon knows, I use Twisting the Aces as a prelude effect to turning over all four aces while they are shuffled into the deck. In this context, Twisting the Aces can be very effective.

As for the Asher Twist, I don't use it, but that's mostly because it doesn't fit organically into the structure of my twisting routine, which was based on Vernon's handling (which, in turn, was created to give the magician a logical reason for handling the cards in that strange way). I would caution anyone planning to use it to practice it well. Like double lifts, the pass, and the Zarrow shuffle, it is an easy move to do badly.

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Postby Brian Marks » 12/17/01 06:36 PM

Lets not get personal here people. Things have no reason to become personal grudge matches on who's right and wrong. There is no right or wrong answer!

The trick does work. The arguments against the trick are a matter of preference and personal philosophy. If you dont like it, dont do it. I like the idea of fewer people doing tricks I happen to have in my repitore. I have a small repitore of card tricks and the Asher twist is one. What do you expect I am a coin guy with 20 versions of coins across.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/17/01 07:29 PM

Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen ...
I think Gavin Ross is perfectly within his rights to call The Asher Twist "juggling" if he believes that such is the case. Others may not feel that way ... others may agree that it IS juggling and are happy to do it anyway.
Opinions are like [censored]: we all have them!
On this board we trade our opinions and occasionally someone will be offended. In this case, Lee Asher naturally has a great affection for his Asher Twist, which many magicians around the world are using regularly. They enjoy doing it.
One of the things in favor of the Asher Twist is that Lee's excellent idea of doing a reverse spread to cover the sleight is SUCH good cover that it makes the Half Pass MUCH easier to cover--so, the end result is that lots of guys who could never get away with a Half Pass before can suddenly do the Asher Twist and get away with it. YOU BET THEY'RE HAPPY!
Some people don't like magic that is overtly visual, feeling that it is less mysterious. While lots of people love the work of Paul Harris and Jay Sankey, an equal number shun their methods because they feel the visual nature detracts from the mystery of the magic.
All of these arguments have validity, and always in relation to the person performing them.
All opinions have a place here on this forum, and if you are going to write a book, market a trick, make a videotape, or whatever--you are putting part of yourself out there for people to accept and/or criticize. Most experienced people suffer in silence when they get a bad review, or they claim they don't read reviews. Either way, it's generally better not to comment on other's opinions as Lee has because he will not change anyone's mind.
Frankly, I can see both sides of this argument clear as day, because I like the Asher Twist, and can see what it achieves, but I can also see the benefits of using other less visual methods to create a more mysterious effect. I am entitled to my opinion, as is Gavin Ross, whether or not Lee Asher agrees with it. Lee is also entitled to his opinion, and obviously he likes his own damn move.
Any there other points to be made here?
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Postby sleightly » 12/17/01 08:18 PM

Only one. I think the last post by RK should be removed from the board because of its use of profanity!


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Postby Guest » 12/17/01 08:23 PM

I also use the Asher's twist and I find it great. The first time I've experience it, I've been badly fooled eaven performing Vernon's one. If performing in good condition (walk around) is angle proof(of course if someone is lying on the ground he may supsect the move.)
And also beeing a Reset addict, Ricochet as become one of my personnal favorite. And for having using it I can say that it have a very strong impact.
I think that lay man point of view is a MOVELESS twisting the aces. It is just a spreading then BOOM! No triple turn over, no count...

Lee: it seems that your french skill have higly increase since we've met(AFAP last year)...
Paul:I didn't recognize the foie gras in your description... why is there any warm soup with it?

Postby Pete Biro » 12/17/01 10:58 PM

Aprapos of nothing...

I don't know the Asher Twist (and forgot about the Chubby Checker one)...


IMHO I have found that almost every Vernon trick that someone has 'IMPROVED' is not as good as the original.

It is my belief and/or guess... that Vernon worked out all the methods possible, which many later invented as improvements, and dumped them... publishing THE VERY BEST WAY TO DO A PARTICULAR EFFECT.

Twisting the Aces and Triumph are good examples... I've yet to see any improved versions as direct and strong as the Vernon published ones.

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Postby Thomas Van Aken » 12/18/01 03:38 AM

Sorry but speaking of directness both in effect or methode, "The Asher Twist" will be hard to beat... (as with Vernon handling of "Triumph").

BTW, seeing M. Skinner performing Vernon's original handling of TTA convinced my that it is not WHAT you do but HOW you do that's really matter.

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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 05:34 AM

LOL @ Asher Twist being angle proof !!!

It isn't.

I think it is a clever method and I am glad to see that it has proven very well for Mr. Asher, but I do not feel it is an improvement over the Vernon routine for the reasons that I have sited earlier. (I also do not think nor have I said that the Asher Twist is bad).

Honestly. How many WORKING magicians (I mean professionals, not the hobbyists that show off for friends nor the paper magicians that perform for magicians only at conventions) - ones that work for lay audiences for a living actually use this move or perform this routine?

(Of course, Paul Wilson uses it for his Kings and Aces trick and Lee Asher has been known to spring this routine on people on occasion.)

Postby Steve Bryant » 12/18/01 06:45 AM


From the start, and going almost back to when Lee Asher came up with his Asher Twist, I've sensed there was something almost _political_ against the notion that a youngster could invent something better than that of the Professor. To me, the Asher Twist is way way way better than Vernon's Twisting the Aces. I always considered the Twisting the Aces to be a rather boring effect and never wanted to add it to my repertoire. The Asher Twist on the other hand thrilled me to the core when I first saw it. I've seen it done live by only two magicians -- Danny Dygert of Illusions and Magic Moments in Indy, and Wes Schield of Dallas & Co. in Champaign -- and both do it beautifully. And of course I've seen Lee do it on tape. Without any serious background knowledge of magic, I'd not have had a clue as to how they were doing it and would have suspected a double-faced card or some such. I cannot do the effect to my own satisfaction, but it's definitely on my list of things I'd like to accomplish. It's eye candy of the highest order and just wonderful to watch. If it's not angle-proof, so what? Watch you angles. Most of what Jerry Andrus does and Slydini did wasn't angle-proof. Big deal. As to Vernon, no one appreciated invention and artistry in magic more than he. The recent quest for the center deal is an example. I think he would have loved Lee Asher's excellent take on one of his classics.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 12/18/01 08:56 AM

Steve, I must disagree with you. I don't think Vernon would have like The Asher Twist one little bit. I had the experience of going to Los Angeles for the first time in 1982 after being around only New York card guys since childhood. Vernon watched some of what I did with great horror, but he kept a straight face and didn't say anything. I had to really press him hard to get him to tear the stuff apart. And when he did was I ever grateful. Spending time with Vernon and Jennings really changed the way I handle cards.
I really don't think Vernon would have enthused about The Asher Twist. It is a move that magically "pops," but utterly lacks mystery. MYSTERY is what Vernon worked so hard to put into his magic.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 12/18/01 09:18 AM


I would be interested to hear what exactly you did, and what Vernon said about it, if you would care to elaborate? Perhaps in another thread.
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Postby Terry » 12/18/01 09:37 AM

From the start, and going almost back to when Lee Asher came up with his Asher Twist, I've sensed there was something almost _political_ against the notion that a youngster could invent something better than that of the Professor. To me, the Asher Twist is way way way better than Vernon's Twisting the Aces.

From reading all the previous posts, people are trying to compare apples & oranges. The Professor's way of doing the Ace's was done his way for him. Wouldn't the Professor have wanted each person to take the tools and use them to fit their "style" ergo being "natural"?

Lee's "Asher Twist" is his contribution to the effect and is Lee's way of doing it. Again it comes down to if one can develop the skill and perform it - great, if not - then okay.

Everyone has presented their opinion of the move - some like it, some don't, and some have never tried it. Cool, let's move on.
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 09:49 AM

It's scary! Richard sees dead people! And he talks to them and can tell what they like or dislike!


Postby Steve Bryant » 12/18/01 10:15 AM


It's all in how you perceive it. For me the Asher Twist is completely about mystery (another visual effect that is similar to me is Jennings' Look -An Illusion, which I love to do) and Twisting the Aces has never been anything but a puzzle to me. Unfortunately, I've only seen BOTH effects done in purely magician-centric contexts, in other words not for real people. I'd love to see Paul Wilson's combination handling and how he presents it to laymen. (Or I could quit being lazy and try to learn the damn thing myself and be my own judge of how laymen like it.) But getting back to when I have seen it, it has never looked like juggling to me. It has looked like real magic. But what an odd thing this thread is, that folks are so passionate to argue that a magical effect is either wonderful or horrible. It should be a pretty simple choice, one way or the other. Why is this so difficult (regardless of which side of the issue you support)?
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Postby Guest » 12/18/01 11:18 AM

Last night I've spoke with Vernon.. or maybe I was just asleep ... Whatever...
He told me to be NATURAL and that you can't be more natural than casually spreading the cards.

Postby Guest » 12/18/01 11:37 AM

Magic is an art form. That is why there really is no "Better or Worse" method for accomplishing a desired effect. I make my living as a musician, which is also an art form. I gave up many years ago, trying to decide who was "the best", and found it to be much more inspiring to see how different approaches work for different performers. I don't like everything I see, but that doesnt mean that millions of others wouldn't. Anyway, the Asher twist, works for Lee. I'm glad he loves it. It would be a bummer if he didn't. Keep in mind, that he designed it for himself, and is kind enough to share it with us. To me that makes him a good guy. Get off his case. If the move doesn't work for you, create yor own, or find one that you like. That's my simple philosophy..

Postby Guest » 12/18/01 12:00 PM

I dont think anyone is actually "on his case" with the exception to this being my reply to Lee's arrogant comments.

Apart from that everyone is happy to discuss the merits of the move and it is not a direct attack on Lee Asher as that would be grossly unfair.


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