who is wesley james

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erlandish
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby erlandish » May 26th, 2008, 5:17 am

"But there is not a single card feat in the whole calendar that will give as good returns for the amount of practice required, or that will mystify as greatly, or cause as much amusement, or bear so much repetition, as this little game; and for these reasons we believe it worthy of unstinted effort to master thoroughly."

It seems fairly clear that Erdnase is talking about the use of monte as entertainment. It would also make sense that somebody who'd know a lot about how to cheat at regular card games might not be able to impart information on the mobs. It seems a silly nit to pick given that I doubt that anybody is rushing to Erdnase to get his thoughts on tossing broads.

As for the rest of it... Well, I won't pretend to speak for guys who are brave enough to cheat when getting caught means getting killed. Others have made the point that frequently it's just a question of one move done by the right guy at the right time and you've successfully cheated at poker. If it were me? I wouldn't do it alone. If I'm working with confederates, in a real world scenario, would the techniques in Erdnase help me? Yeah, I'm pretty sure they would.

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Cugel
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » May 26th, 2008, 5:25 am

Yeah, you'd be right. And most scufflers are never in any danger of getting killed or even beat up even if they catch some heat. It's magicians who think that's the case.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby erlandish » May 26th, 2008, 5:45 am

In that case, I blame Rounders and Ricky Jay's patter.

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Cugel
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » May 26th, 2008, 6:22 am

Ahh... the romance...

Also: the idea that it's some kind of heroic achievement to have the balls to move in a game. What a load of crap. It takes the same amount of courage to cheat in a regular game as it take s a teenager to shop lift. It'll get your ticker going but don't expect to be lining up for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Wait! I can't believe I've been tricked into this tangent by a Bishop post. I must have nodded off for a minute there...
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Reason: Dawned on me that Bish was changing the subject...

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 26th, 2008, 10:58 am

There's nothing nobel about cheating--it's a criminal activity. For anyone with a conscience, cheating would be a scary thing to do. It does take balls because you don't want to get caught. At the very least, it's nerve-wracking, but of course many of those who perform criminal acts have no conscience and simply enjoy it. Even get a thrill out of it.
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Cugel
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » May 26th, 2008, 5:21 pm

I agree with you 1000%. This romantic idealization of cheating we see on the Cafe and elsewhere is one of the sillier byproducts of magician's wishful thinking.

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Michael Kamen
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Michael Kamen » May 26th, 2008, 5:38 pm

Its the Miser's Dream, with an added danger factor. Works dramatically but audience should be restricted to over 18. Well, 17 perhaps.
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 26th, 2008, 11:07 pm

A poster who wishes to remain anonymous sent me this reply (with instructions to post it) in response to Cugel's earlier remarks: Cugal wrote ... "Yeah, you'd be right. And most scufflers are never in any danger of getting killed or even beat up even if they catch some heat. It's magicians who think that's the case."
"the idea that it's some kind of heroic achievement to have the balls to move in a game. What a load of crap. It takes the same amount of courage to cheat in a regular game as it take s a teenager to shop lift. It'll get your ticker going but don't expect to be lining up for the Congressional Medal of Honor."


It is definitely not a thing of "honor". But I have played in poker games and done the work, when every person in the room had a gun! I have left pool rooms under armed escort to get to my car with the money.

As for Erdnase, there is much in there which is outdated. I have always felt it was a book written by a magician with the marketing sense to realize the public would buy a gambling tell-all. But there is also a thought train about cheating which is accurate.

Cheating today is more about teamwork, glimpses and signals. And the biggest skill is the balls to do it, calmly and skillfully.
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 26th, 2008, 11:30 pm

No, it's not Tony Giorgio.
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Hatch » May 27th, 2008, 12:02 am

Richard Kaufman wrote: And the biggest skill is the balls to do it, calmly and skillfully.


Isn't that what Erdnase meant when he wrote:
"Boldness and nerve are absolutely essential. Ability in card handling does not necessarily insure success. Proficiency in target practice is not the sole qualification of the trap shooter. Many experts with a gun who can nonchalantly ring up the bull's eye in a shooting gallery could not hit the side of a barn in a duel. The greater the emergency, or the greater the stakes, the greater the nerve required." (pp. 22-23 of the standard editions).

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby erlandish » May 27th, 2008, 12:34 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:No, it's not Tony Giorgio.


Ha. I hate to cast you as a go-between, but is there any chance that particular anonymous poster could give a recommendation of source material to study?

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 27th, 2008, 12:53 am

That will be up to him!
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Jeffrey Korst » May 27th, 2008, 1:11 am

Richard Hatch wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote: And the biggest skill is the balls to do it, calmly and skillfully.


Isn't that what Erdnase meant when he wrote:
"Boldness and nerve are absolutely essential. Ability in card handling does not necessarily insure success. Proficiency in target practice is not the sole qualification of the trap shooter. Many experts with a gun who can nonchalantly ring up the bull's eye in a shooting gallery could not hit the side of a barn in a duel. The greater the emergency, or the greater the stakes, the greater the nerve required." (pp. 22-23 of the standard editions).


Or as Lee Trevino put it: "People ask me if I feel pressure having to make a putt to win a $50K tournament. That's not pressure. Pressure is having to make a putt to win a $10 bet when you only have $2 in your pocket."

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Cugel
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » May 27th, 2008, 5:05 am

Nothing Richard's anonymous poster wrote (and it sounds familiar to me) conflicts with what I wrote. It takes balls to move, no doubt - but not as big as magicians think. If you've ever committed any act that involved risk of harm or embarrassment, if you've been in a few fights and know how to handle yourself, then it's no great leap to move in most games.
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Reason: I'll keep that stuff for my book.

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Nourdin
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Nourdin » May 27th, 2008, 8:08 pm

When youre by yourself, the bottom deal goes almost perfectly.
When you are in a table where money is involved, there is this feeling that takes over, even when you just shuffle, that will mess up not only the deal, but even the shuffle if its that big.

The more comfortable you sit at a table the easier it is.
At first the nerve was killing me. I couldnt do it untill I was sure they all werent looking. ( even picking up the card to put on bottom was scary )

you guys say you need balls. Richard says youre a criminal.

All you need is to be a manipulator. Not to only manipulate the game and the players, but also yourself.
If you can really tell yourself that its all ok and its just routine ( which I am still trying to get right ) it will all be just like a practice as if you were alone.

and for the criminal part...
I would never never never robb someone with a gun or knife. I would never kill someone. These things are Evil ! these things are crimes...
But taking control, out smarting, manipulating, using skill... It all just gives such a great kick and satisfaction.


It's totally not like the movies. totally not.
Its a very warm and weird feeling. A feeling that makes you smile. A feeling that doesnt make you feel bad, but make you want to become better at it.
It's 'cheating' and its different than a crime.

(((( even when there is no money at the table, I cheat at giving someone aces just to check out how he is acting so I can improve my reading skills. )))
Erdnase !

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Glenn Bishop » May 28th, 2008, 3:19 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:
As for Erdnase, there is much in there which is outdated. I have always felt it was a book written by a magician with the marketing sense to realize the public would buy a gambling tell-all.


I agree with this and if I may add my Dad and I talked about this many times because he read Erdnase and did the Erdnase second deal and bottom deal as part of a card shark expo.

I used the Erdnase grip for quite some time. I have written many times that I thought Erdnase was a magic book written by an amateur magician.

My Dad (Billy Bishop) also met John Scarne in his opinion Scarne was way ahead of anyone that he saw that was doing shall we say card sharp magic at the time. This included Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller and Mickey McDoogle.

Although he thought that Paul LePaul was also great.

I found an interesting little thing about what John Scarne says about Erdnase in his book "The Odds Against Me." Page 73 Chapter 3.

Just my opinion.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Hatch » May 31st, 2008, 12:36 pm

This AP article today may have some bearing on the discussion of the dangers of (and therefore nerve required to engage in) cheating at cards:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,360441,00.html

The convicted murderer claimed he was trying to recover $20 lost at 3 card monte. The prosecution claimed there was no evidence that the murdered broad tosser had cheated. Apparently the attack was captured on videotape...

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby RogueMD » May 31st, 2008, 1:15 pm

"Justices cited a 1940 ruling that said someone couldn't be convicted of aggravated robbery while trying to recover gambling losses."

Sounds like a law that needs to be changed...

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Bill Duncan » May 31st, 2008, 2:52 pm

It says a lot about the culture that the law apparently allows you to rob someone who beat you at cards. I didnt see anything which indicates that it only applies when you are cheated. Or perhaps its just Foxs usual excellent reporting? Anyone from Ark. know the precident cited?

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Hatch » May 31st, 2008, 5:10 pm

Bill Duncan wrote:It says a lot about the culture that the law apparently allows you to rob someone who beat you at cards. I didnt see anything which indicates that it only applies when you are cheated. Or perhaps its just Foxs usual excellent reporting? Anyone from Ark. know the precident cited?

The story comes from Associated Press (the Fox link was just one of the easiest ones to find). I'm not a lawyer, but I don't believe the precedent cited "allows" one to rob someone who beat you at cards, it just says that it is not "aggravated" robbery when you try to recover your gambling losses. I assume it is still potentially robbery. In this case, the fellow is still guilty of murder, just not eligible for the death penalty, since his lawyers argued the killing was not associated with the "aggravated robbery" necessary for the death penalty to apply in this case. Again, I'm not a lawyer, so may be misreading this. Any lawyers care to comment?

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Joe Pecore » May 31st, 2008, 6:18 pm

Glenn Bishop wrote:I found an interesting little thing about what John Scarne says about Erdnase in his book "The Odds Against Me." Page 73 Chapter 3.

Here is an excerpt:
John Scarne "The Odds Against Me." wrote:I knew the solution to my problem was to perfect a sleight-of-hand move that would secretly restore the prestacked arrangement of four Aces after the deck had been cut by another person. I thought I had the problem licked when I spotted an illustration in the book Ame had given me titled "Expert at the Card Table". The illustration showed a sleight described as shifting the cut. But after some practice I realized that this two-handed shift (which I later learned was called the Pass by magicians and the Hop by gamblers) was impractical at the card table, and so were most of the other moves described in the book.
I set myself the task of inventing my own Hop, and in about a month I had developed about five different methods of shifting the cut at the card table. In addition I had learned several new false shuffles and cuts plus a number of peeks (the art of secretly glimpsing the top or bottom card of the deck). Each and every move I practiced was done before the ever watching mirror. When I could not spot the manipulation in the mirror I knew I had the sleight perfected.
I did not realize at the time that the sleights that I had taken on stacking, false shuffles, peeks, second and bottom dealing, and the Hop - were the most difficult moves in the category of card manipulation to master. I believed at the time that most card cheats and top-notch magicians of the day could perform these artifices flawlessly. However, a year or so later I learned that only a handful of card cheats in this country were capable of such dexterity at the card table, and of the great magicians of that period I learned that not one of them could perform any of these sleights undetectably at the card table.
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Cugel
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » May 31st, 2008, 8:08 pm

Scarne's book was all about publicity for Scarne. Fun read, though.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Glenn Bishop » June 1st, 2008, 9:51 am

Yes - publicity for John Scarne who is an amazing success story. John Scarne was a successful professional magician. And one of the "first" pioneer's of the card sharp expo performers.

With several appearances on the tonight show with Jack Parr to his credit. Movie shorts for castle films. Several books published about gambling. Several magic books published to his credit. Owner of Scarne games Inc.

Plus he was the technical adviser for the movie the sting and in that movie is a short moment of him doing what has been called in magic as "Scarne seconds".

What an amazing and successful professional that others have followed into this specialized branch of magic called card sharp magic!

Just my opinion.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » June 1st, 2008, 5:25 pm

Yes, all true. But since it's an exercise in publicity make sure you have your [censored] radar on hi-gain. See also, "Classic Sampler" in the section "Knocking Out The Aces". (A book published in the 1990s).

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Glenn Bishop » June 1st, 2008, 6:12 pm

And if I may add - Scarne was a pioneer of this kind of magic. Most of the known so called "experts" at the card table that are known today "followed" Scarne into this branch of magic.

And most of them did not get the kind of publicity that Scarne got who was the "leader" in this field and most likely the single pioneer of this field or special branch of what is now called today as card sharp magic.

I only got to see John Scarne on television. I never met him. But my Dad not only met him back in his New York days. But he saw John Scarne do shows.

Today many people don't seem to know a lot about what kind of a world the night club business was back in those days. This was before casino's. A lot of people that owned night clubs were what could be called "wise guys". I was reading the book called "Rat Pack" about Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. And the night clubs these entertainers - performed in.

My Dad performed in many of the same clubs. That was part of "show business' back then - back before Atlantic city and Las Vegas and today's riverboat casino's.

My Dad (Billy Bishop) had a strong interest in card sharp techniques and had a great knowledge of how many of these techniques were used - back then.

He worked and did his act in many of those old night clubs!

His opinion of John Scarne and his methods and his opinion of Scarne being way out in front of everyone else at that time to me has weight. It still has weight and in many conversations about Scarne and his methods that I had with my Dad (Billy Bishop) were about how Scarne would use ideas that were used in card cheating - and then fool magicians with them.

Yes - Scarne did write and use publicity in much the same way Houdini did. But beneath it all was - skill! And in my opinion he was ahead of his time.

Just my opinion.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » June 1st, 2008, 6:20 pm

Jack Merlin was doing this sort of stuff before Scarne. Scarne was a great technician but Merlin was also a great thinker (as his book attests). I have no idea what Merlin's skill level was but I'd imagine reasonably high based on the material and comments in his booklets.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Glenn Bishop » June 1st, 2008, 6:33 pm

From what I understand Jack Merlin did not use a full deck of cards when performing his vaudeville act. I agree that his book "And a pack of cards" is a great read. But he hardly pioneered the field - like a John Scarne.

Louis Zingone and Manuel the master of the all mighty dollar who was a coin magician. Dr. Elliot and T. N. Downs all had this same interest in card sharp magic.

The difference in my opinion is that Scarne was known in the entertainment world by the lay audience. Not just known by magicians. His books are still in public libraries.

The rest including Jack Merlins book - known only to magicians. And perhaps very few magicians at that!

Just my opinion.

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Cugel
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » June 2nd, 2008, 5:11 am

Merlin didn't just perform on Vaudeville. He also worked close up. Read his book.

If he came before Scarne, and wasn't preceded by anyone (and he might have been), then he was a pioneer, by definition. You might be correct in saying Scarne was ultimately better known, he certainly was a publicity bandit, but he didn't pioneer the genre.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Glenn Bishop » June 2nd, 2008, 1:19 pm

Merlin was a vaudeville magician - and yes I have read his book.

Back in the days of vaudeville there wasn't really what was called close up magic - or close up magic performers that made a living off of close up magic - like there is today.

What we would call close up magicians would have been privet party entertainers. Magic was done as "drawing room" entertainment.

Some - not all vaudeville entertainers were often asked to entertain at privet parties for money. And if they were at a privet party they might have been asked to do a magic trick. But that was not their main gig or way of making a living.

Merlin was a vaudeville entertainer who did card magic - comedy and then closed with the glass through the hat. From what other vaudeville entertainers have told me about his act - he did not do card sharp magic in his vaudeville comedy routine.

He may have done some card sharp magic in the magic that he did at privet parties - but again that is hardly taking on the "image" the look and the "character" of a card sharp magician and being booked to "do just that" - and to become "known" as that by booking agents.

Hardly a pioneer.

John Scarne was a pioneer - because he was a vaudeville magician and then later a successful privet party magician. Later he took on this image of a magician card sharp. And became "known" by writing books and doing TV and movie shorts - doing the image of a magician gambling expert.

He was booked to do - "lectures" on gambling and card sharp expos as an entertainment and for education.

Jack Merlin - wasn't anything like that. He was a comedy vaudeville magician that performed in vaudeville and - from his one and only small booklet. Seems to have had an interest in card sharp magic.

Just my opinion.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Jim Maloney » June 2nd, 2008, 1:42 pm

Glenn Bishop wrote:Some - not all vaudeville entertainers were often asked to entertain at privet parties for money. And if they were at a privet party they might have been asked to do a magic trick. But that was not their main gig or way of making a living.


Nate Leipzig was doing exactly that -- private party gigs -- as his main source of income prior to and after he worked in vaudeville. During his vaudeville stint, he still sought out private gigs in each of the cities he visited while on tour, though the two-a-day shows he performed in vaudeville were obviously his main source of income.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » June 2nd, 2008, 5:21 pm

Glenn, you must not have read the Merlin book recently or closely enough. There is a great deal of material in that book that is in the nature of gambling demos which simply could not have been of use in a Vaudeville context, but must have been performed seated or standing at a table for a group. Additionally, the material is highly sophisticated with many subtle observations on the correct handling and performance -it was material in Merlin's repertoire and not merely tricks to be knocked off the cuff.

Since Marlin was performing professionally well before Scarne appeared on the scene, what conclusion do you think we should draw?

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Glenn Bishop » June 2nd, 2008, 8:59 pm

Cugel my copy of the Jack Merlin book "and a pack of cards" I would guess is older than you are. Because I would guess it is almost older that I am and I am most likely a lot older than you are.

My Dad performed in the vaudeville theaters or what was left of them in the 50's. A lot of the information about that time and what Jack Merlin did in his act came from people like Jay Marshall - who I think "knew him". Or at least met him.

Nate Leipzig did some magic tricks with a gambling card sharp theme - one was called "a comedy of errors" which is a routine very much like the Lorayne Magician Vs. The gambler.

Leipzig also did a poker deal called - I think "automatic gambler".

But that in my book would not make him a gambling expert - because he sold himself as a magician. Not a gambling expert in the way that John Scarne sold himself.

John Scarne was most likely not the first magician to do a poker deal - but he was one of the first - if not "the" first that pioneered this specialized branch of show business. And in my opinion he took it to a height that has not been equaled by any magician before him - or any magician that came after him.

And that includes magicians like Jay Ose who was the technical advisor to the movies the Flim Flam Man - and the Cincinnati Kid.

Just my opinion.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 2nd, 2008, 9:18 pm

Those who've studied Jack Merlin's "And a Pack of Cards ... " know what a remarkable resource it is. And you want the original mimeographed edition in three parts, not the Jean Hugard rewritten version published by Holden's.
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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Jim Maloney » June 2nd, 2008, 9:59 pm

Glenn Bishop wrote:Nate Leipzig did some magic tricks with a gambling card sharp theme - one was called "a comedy of errors" which is a routine very much like the Lorayne Magician Vs. The gambler.

Leipzig also did a poker deal called - I think "automatic gambler".

But that in my book would not make him a gambling expert - because he sold himself as a magician. Not a gambling expert in the way that John Scarne sold himself.


I wasn't really stating anything about Leipzig being a gambling expert, though he was certainly knowledgeable in the area (and had more gambling-related material than the one item you mentioned). I was, specifically, talking about the fact that he worked private parties, as a close-up entertainer, doing "table" magic, perhaps before anyone else, but certainly before Scarne.

Now, regarding how Leipzig sold himself, the specific tag he used was "Celebrated International Card Expert" or some variation thereof -- but always "Card Expert". He was not billed as "Magician".

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » June 3rd, 2008, 3:03 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Those who've studied Jack Merlin's "And a Pack of Cards ... " know what a remarkable resource it is. And you want the original mimeographed edition in three parts, not the Jean Hugard rewritten version published by Holden's.


I agree. I scored a copy from Martinka's a few years back for a song. It's one of my most treasured magic collectibles.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Cugel » June 3rd, 2008, 3:04 am

Glenn Bishop wrote:John Scarne was most likely not the first magician to do a poker deal - but he was one of the first - if not "the" first that pioneered this specialized branch of show business. And in my opinion he took it to a height that has not been equaled by any magician before him - or any magician that came after him.


Okay Glenn. Thanks for your opinion.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Glenn Bishop » June 3rd, 2008, 11:45 am

Thanks for posting Jim. Looking forward to the Leipzig book. If my memory is correct didn't Dai Vernon at one time do a business card that said he was the New York "Card Expert"?

If so would that have been influenced possibly by Leipzig and the way that he billed himself in the theaters?

However I have met over the years several magicians that put "card expert" on a business card. I think that billing "one's self" like that today might be a little bit confusing to clients and bookers in today's entertainment markets.

Just my opinion.

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby George Olson » June 3rd, 2008, 11:48 am

Have we beaten this "discussion" to death yet?

{;=0}}

GO

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Re: who is wesley james

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 3rd, 2008, 12:17 pm

Nourdin wrote:...
I just want more information about how to make my bottom deal more deceptive because its obvious to see from top ( the top doesnt move is what my friends tell me )

So all I want to know is which bottom deal is best....


So did the guy get the help he requested or did this thread get taken to Cuba?

George Olson
Posts: 979
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Tigard, OR

Re: who is wesley james

Postby George Olson » June 3rd, 2008, 2:48 pm

Not to bring religion into it but, Amen! Jonathon

GO


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