Palm switch problems

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 07/08/05 09:36 AM

Hey Folks,

I'm trying to learn the palm change detailed in CoinMagic (pg. 6), specifically for use in Roth's copper/silver routine. When doing the move I find that either the coins talk during the switch, or the newly palmed coin is in an altogether different palm position than normal. It seems to be related to the fact that the coin is pushed into palm with the first and second fingers as opposed to the second and third.

It may well be that this is just one of those things that takes a bit of a knack to get right, but I want to make certain I'm not practicing incorrectly. Towards that end, any tips on the handling would be greatly appreciated.



Postby Steve Hook » 07/08/05 09:51 AM

Hard to say, since we can't see how you're doing it. But the short answer is "repetition". It just gets easier and easier and you figure out along the way what works best (tilt of the hand, position of the coins, and eventually, misdirection). Good luck!

(I just picked a number, 100, and did it that many times per session. It gets more automatic very quickly.)
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Postby Bill McFadden » 07/08/05 10:17 AM

Steve's advice is probably best - if you're going to stick with the description in Coin Magic. I learned this sleight as the Fred Kaps "Palm-to-Palm" Switch, which can be found in the manuscript entitled, "Fred Kaps' Purse," published by our fellow Forumite, Anthony Brahams. I had an opportunity to discuss the minor differences in handlings with David Roth a few years back. As I recall, David admitted that it's largely a matter of style - whichever method works for the performer. Compare the two handlings and see what works best for you.
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Postby Jamy Ian Swiss » 07/08/05 01:06 PM

For the record, the palm-to-palm switch (adapted from a hustler's dice move), is the invention of the wonderful and highly influential New York magician, Earl "Presto" Johnson.

Presto taught the move to Scott York during a chance encounter at Al's Magic in Washington DC, and Scott showed it to his friend and confidant, Fred Kaps. The minor variation between the two methods is either a case of the telephone game -- sort of lost in translation -- or else Kaps simply found it easier to do another way, consistent with Bill McFadden's sound advice above.

If I'm not mistaken, I think Scotty does the move more along the lines of the original Presto handling, but I cannot attest to that for certain.
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Postby Guest » 07/08/05 01:27 PM

Steve, Bill, and Jamy

Thanks for the advice and the references. I fully expected this one would get easier with time, but there's always that initial apprehension that you're doing it all wrong and building a bad habit. Other than the purse manuscript are there other descriptions of the Kaps interpretation in print? How about the original move as done by Johnson/York?

Thanks again,


Postby NCMarsh » 07/08/05 05:14 PM

The solutions described above all work. To give one additional option: the problems you describe are completely eliminated by using a fingerpalm to classic palm switch rather than the Johnson Palm Change.

One might look at this as the Johnson Palm Change broken into Klausian half-moves. Come out with the half at the fingertips and the copper in classic palm, the half is transfered either to the lh or to the spec's hand (this makes a great deal of sense in the particular C/S routine that I -- among others in this thread -- perform). Then the copper coin is allowed to fall to the base of the fingers into low finger-palm...the half is taken again and is classic palmed as if the copperc coin wasn't there.

Another approach to the finger palm to classic palm switch is Roth's excellent "Drop Switch" described on his "Live in Sacramento" lecture tape from A-1.


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Postby Guest » 07/08/05 06:28 PM

.....something else, learn it and practice with dollars (the old big ones)...then the half dollars size coins would never talk, and you'll have the feeling that the palmed coin is in kind of a hole in your palm with plenty of flesh around protecting it...

....I'm no joking

Trying the dice swich (two for two) as described in most gambling or magic books is another great exercise to became confident with the coin move, that is a lot easier

BTW, thanks Jamy for the historic backgroud !



Postby Bill Duncan » 07/08/05 08:35 PM

A second for the Roth Drop Switch. It is an order of magnatude easier to learn and in my opinion a better designed move.

There is less chance of the coins touching during the switch because they are buffered by the flesh at the base of the fingers.

It looks more open due to the fact that the empty palm and spread fingers are seen during the action, exploiting both the so-called Malini and Ramsay subtilties.

The fact that one coin is in "free fall" during the switch makes it seem VERY casual.
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Postby Bill Wells » 07/09/05 11:07 AM

Regarding Presto's Palm to Palm switch -

One "touch" that helps cover the switch...

one coin is classic palmed - the other held at the fingertips (of whichever fingers you put coins into classic palm with) and thumb. (Kaps subtlety amy be used to give impression of empty palm)

You are apparently going to "squeeze" the displayed coin into your fist.

As the hand drops slightly the palmed coin drops onto the base of the fingers - as the hand rises the displayed coin is pressed into classic palm as the hand closes into a fist. This natural action covers the palming of the previously displayed coin.

Previously palmed coin is dropped onto table or wherever you wish.

Kaps performed this with silver dollars with great ease. Of course, he had huge hands.

The switch is explained on one of Scotty's bar magic tapes, but I don't remember which one at the moment.
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Postby Guest » 07/09/05 08:22 PM

One thing that can make this change much easier is instead of balancing the coin to be changed out on your fingertips, and then dropping the Classic Palmed coin, do it this way:

Hold the coin on your fingertips with your thumb as you kill your wrist back, let the coin fall out of Classic Palm. If it does not fall to where you want, simply slightly shake your hand to bounce it to where you need. No problems since your thumb is still on top of the coin to be changed out.

Once the coin in Fingerpalm is in the proper position, then take your thumb off the coin on your fingertips, and push it up into Classic Palm.

You have just done a Palm to Palm Change with no balance issues.

Combine that with Bill Well's advice above to mask any motion, and you have just made the move much easier by elminating the balancing part.

Postby Guest » 07/11/05 07:53 AM

Hey Folks,

Lots of great advice to digest, thanks much for all the responses. I've got at least a couple alternative sleights to look into, some subtleties to apply, and a lot of practicing ahead of me.

Thanks again,


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