Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

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FaloneMarco
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Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby FaloneMarco » September 11th, 2020, 5:46 pm

I'm looking for Al Stranger miracle poker machine ,
If you have one to sell, please let me know
Thank you

Roger M.
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Roger M. » September 12th, 2020, 10:47 am

Marco, with John Mendoza now sadly passed away, there is nobody left to program these machines should the battery die ... and trust me, regardless of how carefully you monitor the two batteries, they will die, and you will lose the programming.

There is no instruction manual provided to re-program, that was always accomplished by sending the unit back to John, where he would re-program it at no charge beyond the postage to get it back to you.

I've sent mine back to John before for re-programming, and mine needs re-programming once again ... but unfortunately, there's nobody left to do that re-programming, and there is no recourse at this point in time for Poker Machine owners.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby erdnasephile » September 12th, 2020, 11:55 am

I sympathize with Roger M. I got lax and didn't change my batteries regularly, and had to send mine back for reprogramming.

However, that was honestly, on me---if I had followed John's instructions to the letter, I don't think it would have happened. After that incident, I put reminders in my calendar to make sure I get this done once a year, regardless of whether the old batteries are worn out. Years later, I'm still good (knock on wood).

Failing that, I thought Al Stanger was still around, no?

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Joe Lyons » September 12th, 2020, 12:17 pm

Roger M. wrote:Marco, with John Mendoza now sadly passed away, there is nobody left to program these machines should the battery die ... and trust me, regardless of how carefully you monitor the two batteries, they will die, and you will lose the programming.


The Al Stanger Poker Machine is a programmed TI-35 calculator. You can backup one TI-35 to another.
You can also connect one to a computer. I am not familiar with the machine but I would think you could potentially view or print the program.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Roger M. » September 12th, 2020, 12:32 pm

The machine dumps the program entirely when the back-up battery dies.
Joe's advice is excellent though, for those whose batteries haven't yet died!
If I had followed John's instructions to the tee, as erdnasophile notes ... I wouldn't have my current issue :) ... but ... "human nature and forgetfulness" always seem to creep in.

Other than reading Al Strangers name attached to the name of the trick, I've never seen any writing or comments from him regarding the Poker Machine. If I knew how to get in touch with him, I'd write him and ask about the programming (presuming that it's his programming originally) ... but it's always been John that's been the very public face of the Poker Machine.

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erdnasephile
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby erdnasephile » September 12th, 2020, 12:35 pm

Hi, Joe:
The model I have is the TI-85.

John Mendoza once wrote on one of the forums that he had put safeguards in the program so if anyone tried to copy it to another calculator it would fail. I don't know much about TI-85 programming, but is that even possible?

I also looked into at one time how to hook up this model calculator to a computer, but was unable to find an interface that worked with this particular model. Cables and programs do allow other TI models to do this, but for some reason, I couldn't find a kit for this one to potentially backup the program.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Joe Lyons » September 12th, 2020, 1:03 pm

Sorry, I meant TI-85.(Must have had a flashback to my high school calculator :) ).

Here's a link to the TI-85 manual. Hope it helps.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Brad Henderson » September 12th, 2020, 1:35 pm

Isn’t al still alive?

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby FaloneMarco » September 12th, 2020, 2:36 pm

Hi erdnasephile,
you want to sell your poker machine?

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Richard Kaufman » September 12th, 2020, 3:42 pm

Would someone kindly inform me what this poker machine is?
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Joe Lyons » September 12th, 2020, 4:05 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Would someone kindly inform me what this poker machine is?

https://www.martinsmagic.com/allmagic/m ... n-mendoza/

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Roger M. » September 12th, 2020, 5:31 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Would someone kindly inform me what this poker machine is?

It appears to do the bloody impossible, which is predict a card which has not been seen, and (to a viewer) simply cannot under any circumstances be known.
The "low-tech" charm over something like an iPhone is quite disarming, as most folks today have no idea what a "programable calculator" actually is, thinking everything that looks like the Poker Machine actually looks, is simply an old fashioned, simple calculator.

It really is the most "impossible" trick I've ever owned. It's one of those tricks that amazes the performer as he/she is doing it.
Reading John's instructions is in and of itself, a bit of a mind bender!

Does anybody on the forum have any contact information for Al Stranger they could pass along?

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Brad Henderson » September 12th, 2020, 6:19 pm

He also sold a pro model with a routine by gaeton bloom. I was changing my batteries last night and may have screwed something up. The program is still there though. Just have to get it to run.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Brad Henderson » September 12th, 2020, 6:20 pm

I used to present it as the worlds first card cheating computer. Not ideal for every audience, but for the ideal audience it’s unfathomable.

I did it for a camp poker group maybe 10 years ago and the owner still talks about it.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Brad Henderson » September 12th, 2020, 6:26 pm

It’s a version of the Fitch Cheney card trick

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Al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Jonathan Townsend » September 12th, 2020, 9:55 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Would someone kindly inform me what this poker machine is?
Ask Eric (Decamps) to demonstrate it. He brought it to a convention some time ago and folks were impressed.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Dr. Solka » September 13th, 2020, 6:29 am

Roger M. wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:Would someone kindly inform me what this poker machine is?

It appears to do the bloody impossible, which is predict a card which has not been seen, and (to a viewer) simply cannot under any circumstances be known.
The "low-tech" charm over something like an iPhone is quite disarming, as most folks today have no idea what a "programable calculator" actually is, thinking everything that looks like the Poker Machine actually looks, is simply an old fashioned, simple calculator.

It really is the most "impossible" trick I've ever owned. It's one of those tricks that amazes the performer as he/she is doing it.
Reading John's instructions is in and of itself, a bit of a mind bender!

Does anybody on the forum have any contact information for Al Stranger they could pass along?
I have sent you a PM with his email address.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 13th, 2020, 9:02 am

I first witnessed the Poker Machine years ago when I acquired John Mendoza's "My Best" DVD set. John performs it on Volume 3 (performance only, no explanation). To this day, it is the number one most miraculous card trick I have ever seen performed. Everything I have seen Bill Malone do with cards is tied for second. Although, the aesthetic beauty of what Bill can do cannot be matched by any machine.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Tom Frame » September 13th, 2020, 9:31 am

I just watched the video. That routine is absolutely amazing! I can't imagine how a program can identify/predict cards. I love it!

Now I have to pursue Brad's clue....
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

Bob Farmer
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Bob Farmer » September 13th, 2020, 9:57 am

See "The Hidden Value of Cards," pp. 305-334, Mathematical Card Magic by Colm Mulcahy, CRC Press 2013.

https://bookshop.org/books/mathematical ... 1466509764

Someone will surely create an app for a smart phone based on these principles.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Joe Lyons » September 13th, 2020, 10:08 am

It appears that the Poker Machine eliminates the need for an accomplice that the Fitch Cheney card trick requires.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Bob Farmer » September 13th, 2020, 11:00 am

Yes, the Poker Machine does the work.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Joe Lyons » September 13th, 2020, 4:34 pm

For the geekier among us this appears to be Python script for the trick.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby martinsmagic » September 13th, 2020, 7:18 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:He also sold a pro model with a routine by gaeton bloom. I was changing my batteries last night and may have screwed something up. The program is still there though. Just have to get it to run.


Hi Brad (long time no talk!) - two things: the Gaeton Bloom routine was actually included in later versions that John sold, the calculator was exactly the same. I have never seen or heard of a "pro" version of the calculator. The Gaeton Bloom routine is easier to do and perform and is in fact the routine I perform on my site. If you want a copy of the Gaeton Bloom instructions please contact me directly.

Regarding your battery change and getting your program to run this is the routine that has helped me in the past.
If you still have the POKER program installed these are the tips John gave me when I had a similar issue:

Be VERY careful and enter the exact keystrokes given in the exact order:
1. Turn the unit Off completely and wait a few seconds.
2. Push "On."
3. Push "Clear" which is on the right underneath the arrow buttons.
4. Push "Prgm" which is three buttons under the Spade button.
5. Push the Club button.
6. Push the Club button a second time (the word "Poker" should appear in the upper left corner.)
7. Push "Enter." (The blinking vertical lines should appear in the upper right.)
8. Push "Enter" a second time and the word "Done" should appear in the upper right comer and you are back at the starting point.

From here you can push the Orange button, followed by "On," to turn the unit off or you may just enter cards and continue experimenting with your machine.

Hope it helps.

andy
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby martinsmagic » September 13th, 2020, 7:23 pm

Joe Lyons wrote:For the geekier among us this appears to be Python script for the trick.


Hi Joe,

I think the most magical thing about this program is how clean and elegant the code is - no wonder I love Python so much :)
Thank-you so much for sharing!

Of course the Al Stanger routine actually does a little more but even so this is great to see the program. I'm always amazed what you can find out there on the web!

andy
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby martinsmagic » September 13th, 2020, 7:31 pm

Tom Frame wrote:I just watched the video. That routine is absolutely amazing! I can't imagine how a program can identify/predict cards. I love it!

Now I have to pursue Brad's clue....


Hi Tom this routine is the Gaetan Bloom one - though I added the historical comments about the iPhone which seemed to resonate with the audience. The Gaetan Bloom routine was added with later versions of the calculator that John Mendoza sold, but the calculator works for either one. The Gaetan Bloom routine is easier to learn and a little more direct.

Good luck finding a calculator - it is an amazing effect for sure.

andy
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Brad Henderson » September 13th, 2020, 10:23 pm

Thanks Andy. I will try that.

John sold the ‘pro version’ as a second calculator. Same calculator just allegedly with a different program. It came with the the bloom routine.

I just worked with mine. The normal unit/program worked

The ‘pro version’ isn’t generating the correct response on the test run, but I’m going to try your sequence to see if it works. (The pro version goes to the weird screen with random symbols and then to a welcome screen from which you continue. You do some secret programming as you navigate in between those screens).

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby martinsmagic » September 13th, 2020, 11:38 pm

Brad Henderson wrote:Thanks Andy. I will try that.
John sold the ‘pro version’ as a second calculator. Same calculator just allegedly with a different program. It came with the the bloom routine.


Hi Brad - I had not heard about that Pro Version - if it is the same calculator I'd be real shocked if the program had changed much except for maybe some bug fixes. I've had 3 calculators over the years (all from John) and he never once mentioned the "pro version" to me. Each calculator appeared to look and operate the same way and the last two had the Gaetan Bloom routine.

I also scanned through his emails over the years and could not find a mention of the Pro version. But thanks for the info I learn something new every day!

andy
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Brad Henderson » September 13th, 2020, 11:49 pm

The pro version requires a bit more mental prowess. I have the documentation for it.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby martinsmagic » September 14th, 2020, 12:43 am

Brad Henderson wrote:The pro version requires a bit more mental prowess. I have the documentation for it.


Hi Brad,

I thought the standard version required enough mental prowess - so I can't imagine wanting to do anything more complex! In fact that is why I like the Gaetan Bloom version as it was a little simplified. As I get older my ability to even remember a more complex routine is quickly disappearing, particularly as I only perform during the holiday season and then just a few parties. I'll leave anything more complex to the full time pros like yourself!

andy
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Tom Frame » September 14th, 2020, 9:09 am

martinsmagic wrote:
Tom Frame wrote:I just watched the video. That routine is absolutely amazing! I can't imagine how a program can identify/predict cards. I love it!

Now I have to pursue Brad's clue....


Hi Tom this routine is the Gaetan Bloom one - though I added the historical comments about the iPhone which seemed to resonate with the audience. The Gaetan Bloom routine was added with later versions of the calculator that John Mendoza sold, but the calculator works for either one. The Gaetan Bloom routine is easier to learn and a little more direct.

Good luck finding a calculator - it is an amazing effect for sure.

andy



Thanks Andy. I tracked down the original Fitch Cheney handling. Wow. What a concept. Gaeten's routine makes an excellent, impenetrable effect even better.
"There is more to consciousness than meets the mind's eye." - Frame

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Leonard Hevia » September 14th, 2020, 6:24 pm

This is ingenious. If it was marketed again I'd get one, as long as it didn't have the chance of losing the programing when the batteries drain out.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby MagicbyAlfred » September 15th, 2020, 9:07 am

Leonard Hevia wrote:This is ingenious. If it was marketed again I'd get one, as long as it didn't have the chance of losing the programing when the batteries drain out.


Absolutely, Leonard. So would I. You would think that with all the amazing programmers and tech people and companies in this day and age, someone should be able to manufacture them. Although I'm not sure what legal/intellectual property issues there might be. Right now, the most sophisticated technological device I own, other than my MacAir laptop and iPhone, is my Magic 8 Ball.

Speaking of which, it might be pretty cool if there was a version of the Magic 8 Ball that could "read the spectators' minds" and identify two or three "freely selected" cards with just a shake of the 8 ball in between each revelation. (For example: "Signs point to Ace of Clubs," "Outlook good for 2 of Hearts," etc.) It would have to be made or licensed by Mattel Toys, though, since they are the current owner/manufacturer. But I digress...

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Bob Farmer » September 15th, 2020, 9:17 am

I have created a method for the Magic 8 Ball that will do something like that but at this point it's only a pipe dream.

If you read the reference I provided above, it should be a simple matter for a programmer to create something that would work on a smart phone.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby erdnasephile » September 15th, 2020, 10:01 am

FaloneMarco wrote:Hi erdnasephile,
you want to sell your poker machine?


Thank you for asking. I plan to hang on to it for the time being.

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby erdnasephile » September 15th, 2020, 10:03 am

Bob Farmer wrote:I have created a method for the Magic 8 Ball that will do something like that but at this point it's only a pipe dream.

If you read the reference I provided above, it should be a simple matter for a programmer to create something that would work on a smart phone.


Actually John Mendoza talked about doing that at one point (and I think an iOS app that does this actually exists). However, Mr. Mendoza said something to the effect that part of the charm and effectiveness of his presentation was the old school nature of the calculator.

Just curious: Do ya'll think the effect would lose something if ported over to a smartphone?

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby Joe Mckay » September 15th, 2020, 12:09 pm

Along similar(?) lines - you guys might like this automatic version of an unusual Bob Hummer trick:

https://wheelof.com/mindpower/

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby martinsmagic » September 15th, 2020, 12:48 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Just curious: Do ya'll think the effect would lose something if ported over to a smartphone?


Hi erdnasephile,

As someone who makes a big point that this device is 25+ years old in my routine I think it would make a big difference to the effect was done using a smart phone - smart phones can do amazing things in real time, but these old graphics calculators cannot. The only thing to improve is the battery situation and having non-volatile memory, but the older and more mundane the calculator looks the better.

When I first got this calculator I created a website that that had images of cards they could choose on a tablet (or smart phone now) to input the choices and I was happy with the method (different from the Stanger approach, but to the audience it looked similar) but it never had the same impact. So I abandoned the project.

The T-85 (or similar old graphics calculator) with non-volatile memory is the only way to go for me at least, and I believe it is fundamental to why it has such a good impact on the audience.

andy
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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby erdnasephile » September 15th, 2020, 10:11 pm

It also occurred to me that if you did the routine with a modern smartphone, it seems that a spectator might suspect that the smart phone's camera might have something to do with the initial stages of the routine. They'd be wrong, of course, but today's tech is so strong, they'd probably just jump to that potential solution.

Andy, did you figure out how to retrofit the TI-85 with non-volatile memory?

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Re: Looking for al Stranger miracle poker machine

Postby martinsmagic » September 15th, 2020, 10:36 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Andy, did you figure out how to retrofit the TI-85 with non-volatile memory?


Hi erdnasephile,

Sadly I'm a software engineer - not a real engineer :cry: Also, I'm pretty sure if the Texas Instrument guys couldn't (or didn't) back in 1992, it would be no simple matter today to simply slap in some new non-volatile RAM (power, wiring, space would all play a part, in fact the cpu probably wouldn't work with the new RAM either). You'd be better off finding the oldest graphing calculator you could find that stored the programs and coding it from scratch there. The key is you don't want anything that even looks like a smart phone because that is where the real magic happens - the audience have to believe it is a dinosaur, preferably one that came out even before the internet went mainstream. So anything from the early 90's should work. The TI-85 actually supported the Basic programming language so in fact the coding probably wouldn't be too difficult to start from scratch, nothing as elegant as that neat python link Joe Lyons mentioned above, but how hard could it be ... I think I'll track down a suitable calculator and see what I can do. I really love the routine for sure.

In the meantime I live in fear with the batteries dying. It is not as simple as replacing them in time - sometimes random things happen and when you replace them something goes wrong (that has happened to me twice when John was alive). So every time I change them it is a little scary.

andy
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