The Pass

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
The Burnaby Kid
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Re: The Pass

Postby The Burnaby Kid » November 4th, 2018, 4:55 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:That's the whole point. If you can use a pass correctly, then in the eyes of the spectator, nothing at all has happened; they replaced the card into the deck and that's it.

However, if you have to use bizarre covers for the pass, or do something _after_ the pass, then that illusion of 'nothing happening' is weakened (I explained my thoughts on this at the top of the thread).


Oh sure! Sorry if I misunderstood.

What I'm getting at is that sometimes it helps to have it seem like nothing happened (eg: using the pass in an ACR, Cavorting Aces, etc.) and sometimes it helps to have it seem like something happened (eg: using a shuffle in a pick-a-card trick or a CAAN effect).
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ian Kendall » November 4th, 2018, 5:21 pm

I'm struggling to think of a time when it's beneficial during a card control for the spectators to think that something had happened (as opposed to thinking that nothing had happened).

The strangest thing about this is that the pass is not that difficult to do properly, given correct instruction and a bit of thought.

The Burnaby Kid
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Re: The Pass

Postby The Burnaby Kid » November 4th, 2018, 5:47 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:I'm struggling to think of a time when it's beneficial during a card control for the spectators to think that something had happened (as opposed to thinking that nothing had happened).


I'm thinking along the lines of open controls such as shuffles or cuts.
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ian Kendall » November 4th, 2018, 5:53 pm

Yes, but how is that beneficial?

Again, doing something is rarely better than doing nothing (from the perspective of the audience). Especially if the desired effect is magical.

The Burnaby Kid
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Re: The Pass

Postby The Burnaby Kid » November 4th, 2018, 6:12 pm

Darwin Ortiz explains this the best. I'll try to paraphrase.

If the effect is that the card magically travels from the middle to the top, then it makes sense that it'd be better if nothing appears to happen, so a pass makes more sense than a shuffle in that context. If you put the card in the middle of the deck, shuffle, and then show the card on top, then it stands to reason that the shuffle had something to do with it, which undermines the effect.

If the effect is that the spectator can mysteriously guess the position of a card, then it makes sense that it'd be better for the card to apparently be in a random position, so a shuffle makes more sense than a pass in that context. If you put the card in the middle, do nothing, and then the spectator names a number nowhere near that position, if the card shows up there, then that means that the magician did something sneaky to get the card into position, which undermines the effect.
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ian Kendall » November 4th, 2018, 6:22 pm

That's a good point, but I fear it might create bad construction.

An attempt to explain; if a card is returned to the deck and the deck is immediately shuffled, there is a chance that a spectator might question that chain of events. However, if we can add in some time misdirection, then the two events (returning the card, and then the shuffle) become distinct and less likely to be taken together.

So, in the second example, have the card returned and controlled with a pass. You can then relax, get into an open position, and then a few moments later you can do a very easy shuffle to retain the top card, and you are in the same position you were in before, but without doing the overt dirty work _immediately_ after the return of the card.

The Burnaby Kid
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Re: The Pass

Postby The Burnaby Kid » November 4th, 2018, 6:29 pm

While I see what you're saying, the delay that you're speaking of is a bit tangential to my point, which is merely that the effect benefits by having a shuffle in there. Besides, one can just as easily (arguably more easily) insert a delay prior to a shuffle through various extant jogging techniques and setting the cards down.

For what it's worth, I do what you talk about all the time, using a secret control to get the card into position and then shuffling from there after a pause. However, that alone isn't an argument against other shuffle-only methods (assuming competent handling, of course).
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ian Kendall » November 5th, 2018, 6:37 am

Besides, one can just as easily (arguably more easily) insert a delay prior to a shuffle through various extant jogging techniques and setting the cards down.


I would counter that part; if you have to worry about holding a break or leaving a jog, it's considerably more involved than just doing a pass and setting the cards down, or holding them in an open position.

In the end we are circling back to the idea of justifying extra actions to compensate for not being able to use the most efficient solution...

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Re: The Pass

Postby MagicbyAlfred » November 5th, 2018, 9:59 am

Magician Logic in using pass to control a selected card: "Well, if i just do a smooth, deceptive pass, it will look like I did nothing and the spectator will believe the card is lost somewhere in the the pack."

Reality: The spectator knows the magician can control a card by sleight of hand not detectible to the spectator. He/she doesn't know how the magician did it, but nevertheless believes the magician did something sneaky to control the card (which, in actuality, is true).

Magician Logic in using a pass followed by a shuffle (or, alternatively, no pass, but just a shuffle or a double undercut) to control a selected card: "Well, if i just do a smooth, deceptive pass followed by a smooth deceptive overhand shuffle or double undercut control, the spectator will believe the card is lost somewhere in the the pack."

Reality: The spectator knows the magician can control a card by sleight of hand not detectible to the spectator. He/she doesn't know how the magician did it, but nevertheless believes the magician did something sneaky to control the card (which, in actuality, is true).

This is why I subscribe to the Professor Hoffman approach of palming off the card after the control (irrespective of which control it may be), handing the deck to spectator to shuffle, then replacing the card after the spectator has shuffled to their heart's content. I use the same approach in Spectator Cuts to 4 aces, Card to Ceiling, and various other effects, as well. This may slow things down, but it builds true conviction. Without that conviction, it doesn't matter how incredible the revelation or location may be. Like anyone else on here, this is just my opinion, but it is one born of blood, sweat and tears, performing for laymen for over a quarter of a century.

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jkeyes1000
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Re: The Pass

Postby jkeyes1000 » November 5th, 2018, 12:57 pm

MagicbyAlfred wrote:Magician Logic in using pass to control a selected card: "Well, if i just do a smooth, deceptive pass, it will look like I did nothing and the spectator will believe the card is lost somewhere in the the pack."

Reality: The spectator knows the magician can control a card by sleight of hand not detectible to the spectator. He/she doesn't know how the magician did it, but nevertheless believes the magician did something sneaky to control the card (which, in actuality, is true).

Magician Logic in using a pass followed by a shuffle (or, alternatively, no pass, but just a shuffle or a double undercut) to control a selected card: "Well, if i just do a smooth, deceptive pass followed by a smooth deceptive overhand shuffle or double undercut control, the spectator will believe the card is lost somewhere in the the pack."

Reality: The spectator knows the magician can control a card by sleight of hand not detectible to the spectator. He/she doesn't know how the magician did it, but nevertheless believes the magician did something sneaky to control the card (which, in actuality, is true).

This is why I subscribe to the Professor Hoffman approach of palming off the card after the control (irrespective of which control it may be), handing the deck to spectator to shuffle, then replacing the card after the spectator has shuffled to their heart's content. I use the same approach in Spectator Cuts to 4 aces, Card to Ceiling, and various other effects, as well. This may slow things down, but it builds true conviction. Without that conviction, it doesn't matter how incredible the revelation or location may be. Like anyone else on here, this is just my opinion, but it is one born of blood, sweat and tears, performing for laymen for over a quarter of a century.


I agree with your philosophy on this subject, but I have never been fond of palming. It is one of the most well known deceptions in magic, and therefore one of the hardest to get away with. If you can manage it, that's great. However, I prefer a more visual assurance that no "funny business" is going on when I do The Pass

First of all, I do it VERY SLOWLY, so as to allay suspicion of the hand being "quicker than the eye". After the chosen card is replaced in the face-up fan of cards (I often ask them to insert it only partly, with half of it still sticking out), I turn the spread towards the onlookers, making sure they see the bottom card of the deck. It helps to use a MEMORABLE card, like a king, a queen, or an ace. I close the fan gradually, keeping both the selected card AND THE BOTTOM CARD in full view.

As I do this, I am maintaining an invisible break at the chosen card with my middle finger. All I need do is LIFT the bottom half of the deck--sort of LEVER it up and over the top half as I simultaneously close the fan and bury the card.

By keeping the BOTTOM CARD in full view the whole time, I can easily conceal the fact that I am inverting the two portions. And because I lift the bottom half WELL ABOVE the top half (no contact), it is a perfectly silent move.

It seems as though all I have done is slowly compress the fan and gingerly flip the pack over.

I wish I had a video to show you, but I hope my description will resonate with those that are conversent with The Turnover Pass

The Burnaby Kid
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Re: The Pass

Postby The Burnaby Kid » November 5th, 2018, 1:27 pm

Ian Kendall wrote:In the end we are circling back to the idea of justifying extra actions to compensate for not being able to use the most efficient solution...


That analysis can just as easily apply to introducing an extra sleight (the pass) to a trick that doesn't necessarily benefit from it from the audience's point of view, if the trick needs a shuffle in there anyway.

MagicbyAlfred wrote:This is why I subscribe to the Professor Hoffman approach of palming off the card after the control (irrespective of which control it may be), handing the deck to spectator to shuffle, then replacing the card after the spectator has shuffled to their heart's content.


When it comes to selling the idea to a spectator that the card is lost, then yes, having that spectator shuffle is hard to beat.
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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Pass

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 5th, 2018, 3:19 pm

BK: Can you do a Pass that is not seen by the audience without any wild or unnatural gyration to cover it?
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jkeyes1000
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Re: The Pass

Postby jkeyes1000 » November 5th, 2018, 4:06 pm

Regarding The Burning Question of whether to shuffle or not....

I find it is usually best to let the spectators decide. What better way to dispel the notion of CONTRIVANCE than to allow the audience to direct the action?

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Re: The Pass

Postby The Burnaby Kid » November 5th, 2018, 4:18 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:BK: Can you do a Pass that is not seen by the audience without any wild or unnatural gyration to cover it?


If it'll help make the argument, let me see what I can do about getting video of it.
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Re: The Pass

Postby jkeyes1000 » November 5th, 2018, 4:37 pm

The Burnaby Kid wrote:
Richard Kaufman wrote:BK: Can you do a Pass that is not seen by the audience without any wild or unnatural gyration to cover it?


If it'll help make the argument, let me see what I can do about getting video of it.


I don't know where Richard is going with this, but all that is required to make an undetectable Pass is to hide the upper portion of the deck with your upstage hand. You can do it as slowly as you like and nothing will show, even on Instant Replay or frame-by-frame analysis.

The only concern with doing it slowly (as I do) is that the lower portion of the deck (which is supposed to be The Whole Deck) might seem a bit thin. If it it happens to be a short stack, I tend to speed up the move just a bit.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 1st, 2019, 8:15 pm

This is what Cy Endfield said about the matter.

"It is safe to say that most card men in the top flight do NOT use the pass to get the selected card under control, and I firmly believe that those who do aren't getting away with it to the extent they think they are. The audience knows "something is happening" even if they politely refrain from revealing their doubts. The magician depends on loud-mouthed misdirection, sudden body turns, or other vocal or muscular distractions to the flickering halves as they transpose. I won't even mention the elbow jerkers, the eye blinkers, and the stomach suckers in; they live in a world of their own wherein the only ones deceived are themselves" (This last sentence sounds just like members of the Genii Forum)

EXACTLY what I have been writing in the previous posts above. And THAT is why if you do wish to amuse yourself by doing the pass you should bloody well shuffle afterwards. I have been doing this stuff for over 60 years. And the Pass for about 59 of those years. I have used the pass hundreds of times and have never encountered a single whiff of suspicion. I damn well know what I am talking about.

And so did Cy Endfield.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 1st, 2019, 9:30 pm

The Pass is my go-to method for controlling a card to the top of the deck, and has been for 40 years.
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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 2nd, 2019, 4:42 am

Cy Endfield concedes that Charlie Miller could do the move undetectably. He does not say whether Charlie shuffled after the move or not. I suspect not. However, I also suspect that only a tiny, tiny, tiny few can do the move without using misdirection and getting away with it EVERY SINGLE TIME. I personally have never witnessed it. And even if you use misdirection why take a chance? Shuffle to be on the safe side. Even if your misdirection is perfection itself or you are one of those rare individuals who can do it without misdirection (I have never seen it) you can still arouse suspicion because of other factors I have already explained particularly if you are an introverted card magician who is in love with moves rather than entertainment. So shuffle after the move and be done with it. It is a much safer procedure.

It has been argued that if you have to shuffle after the pass then why do the move in the first place? Wouldn't it be easier to use a different control such as the injog where you shuffle anyway? I agree with this and in fact I tend not to use the pass as a control although I use it for other purposes. However, I do use it perhaps 25% of the time as a control since I think it is wise to vary your methods. And since I am going to use it anyway. I might as well shuffle afterwards to be on the safe side.

I use the injog as a control perhaps 50% of the time, the pass perhaps 25% of the time and miscellaneous controls that I have mastered over the years the rest of the time. I actually have far too many methods of controls and double lifts that are beyond my needs. I suppose I learned them when I was young and enthusiastic.

The old Professor Hoffmann procedure of doing the pass and then palming off the selected card is a very fine procedure but to my mind has two strikes against it. One is the delay in presentation. I don't like the slowing up of the action. The other problem is of course the increased technical difficulty. You have two difficult sleights to execute, namely the pass and the palm and this can be challenging for the less technically advanced among us. After all you have to use twice the misdirection since two sleights are involved instead of one. However, if you have the technical expertise to do this and it fits your personality then by all means go for it.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 2nd, 2019, 12:17 pm

I have never seen the Kaufmann personage doing the pass although I have heard many good things about it. I therefore decided to see if there were any videos of him doing it on the internet. I did indeed find an entire 48 minute, possibly unauthorised, video originally put out by Meir Yedid, showing him when he was much younger, devoted entirely to the pass.

He did it reasonably well in his younger days although I have no idea how well or how badly he does it now since I presume he is out of practice with age. After all you need to be constantly performing before LAYMEN to keep up with your skills. As a result of watching this video I have not only not changed my mind my opinion is reinforced. As well as he does it in the video there is still a slight flicker or flash as he does the move, along with a little unnatural action. He would definitely need misdirection to be 100% sure that astute laymen would not suspect anything. And he should DEFINITELY shuffle after doing the pass, JUST IN CASE. Just because laymen don't say anything doesn't mean they don't have a vague suspicion that something untoward has occurred. In fact they are not going to say anything because they don't know what they are supposed to say anyway since they have no evidence. Just a vague feeling and that is not enough for them to spout off.

Of course the more outspoken ones might on rare occasions say, "Let me shuffle". If that ever happens to you,( or has happened in the past) to you Pass people who do not shuffle after the move let it be a sign to you that I was correct all along.

You want people to think the selected card is LOST. And you want them to believe that 100 percent. If you don't shuffle after the pass they will only believe it 90% at best and 50% at worst, the latter being more likely than the former.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Pete McCabe » June 4th, 2019, 3:28 pm

I don't do the pass myself, so I'm certainly not an expert. But I have not heard of doing the pass to control the card to the top, and then openly shuffling the deck. Why wouldn't you just hold a break and shuffle the card to the top? This was one of Daryl's favorite controls, and it looked very disarming in his hands.

I guess the question is, if you are going to openly shuffle the deck, why would you do a pass first?

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 4th, 2019, 4:48 pm

I agree. However, I have just explained my reasoning in the above posts. You do the pass first because it is WISE TO VARY YOUR METHODS! In other words you should have a set card control for a specific trick. It is not good policy to overuse a method. As Ken Brooke once quoted his mentor Albert Verity "You shouldn't flog a principle". I have already explained that 75% of the time I do not use the pass for the reasons you indicate. In fact many people will say that it is now an outmoded control. However, if like me you happen to be a genius of the first magnitude and can do the pass as easily as breathing because you were silly enough to learn it when you were young then you might as well do it since you can. But if you do so then bloody well shuffle afterwards!

Besides it is worth learning the pass for other uses besides control methods.

I do and have done the Daryl thing for years and years I dare say before Daryl was even born. It is indeed a useful control. However, I am not discussing that. I am discussing the Pass. In the Royal Road chapter devoted to this move you are instructed to shuffle the deck after controlling the card. And the Royal Road is correct. And so am I. After all I always am.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 4th, 2019, 4:59 pm

For reasons of sheer amusement and nostalgia I have decided to post on here my instructions on how to do the Pass which was written about 40 or so years ago for my non-completed book on card tricks for beginners. I will be including this in my annotated Royal Road. Maybe from this someone will be able to learn it in ten minutes like I did 60 years ago. You will have to imagine the non existent
illustrations.
............................................................................................................................................................................................................
THE PASS

A word of warning here: this one is HARD! You’re really going to have to practice here. If you can’t master it, don’t worry too much-a lot of experienced magicians can’t do it either! It’s not absolutely necessary to conquer it because you can substitute any of the controls outlined in the preceding pages. However, I do advise you to have a try at this one for a number of reasons.

One, it’s a venerable old classic and at one time, before card magic reached the advanced state it is in now the Pass was required learning for any beginner in magic. Indeed in those days it was the only control in existence. Unfortunately, the story goes, many neophytes found the move so difficult that they decided to give up card magic altogether. Luckily since that time many new, easier controls have evolved and the Pass is no longer essential as a card control. Mind you, it still deserves respect as one of the better ways of getting a selected card to the top of bottom of the pack

A second reason I’d like you to learn it is that it is something you can be proud of if you do it properly. If magic were too easy I believe half the fun would be gone. There would be no feeling of achievement, would there?

A third reason is that it’s a useful sleight and not just for controlling a card either. As you get more and more into card magic you will discover that there are many fine uses to which this famous move can be put.

The fourth reason is that I don’t think it’s as difficult as it’s supposed to be. I have to confess that I learned it in ten minutes! All the books I read when I was a beginner said it would take me months of practice, hour after hour. They gave me the same advice I’m giving you now, namely, don’t be discouraged if you find it too difficult. Well, I don’t know. As I said it took me ten minutes. Maybe I was lucky. If so, I hope you’ll be lucky too. Incidentally, for some reason I found it difficult to learn the so-called easy sleights. Perhaps I’m a little eccentric or maybe the moral is that people are different and so are their learning capacities. Anyway I’ll describe the thing as best as I can:

The procedure in the “Little Finger Break” control is followed up to the point where the break is made. In my description of that control I counseled you not to insert the little finger fully into the deck as depicted in Figure 8. Well, here the reverse is true; I want you to form the break EXACTLY as in Figure 8!

The top portion above the break is held in a vise like grip between the little finger underneath and the second and third fingers on top. By exerting a little downward pressure with the second and third fingers it will be found the top half is held quite securely.

I want you now to practice levering the top portion up and down using the left hand only. This is done by raising the left little finger in an upward direction. The second and third fingers from above help in this raising action. All this is depicted in Figure 19. When you can do this with ease you are ready to start on the Pass proper.

Position the right hand over the pack as in Figure 20. Your right thumb is at the inner end, the other four fingers rest against the outer end. The position of the left fingers is as described above, the little finger holding a break, thumb at the left side and the second and third fingers pressing down. Now comes the hard bit; your left fingers carry out the levering action with the top portion as described above and as depicted as in Figure 19. Simultaneously your right hand grips the lower portion and by a combination of pulling this packet upwards and pivoting the left side against the left thumb the two packets will begin to form an inverted “V” (Figure 20-right hand removed for clarity). By continuing the right hand action, the two packets will clear each other and if the left fingers now lever the original top portion downwards it will fall into the palm of the left hand, the right hand then dropping it’s packet on top. In effect the pack has been given one complete cut. The selected card is now on top.

With a lot of practice the whole action takes but a split second. At the beginning aim for smoothness rather than speed. Some magicians do it at absolutely lightning speed. Unfortunately this very speed can be their undoing, leading to a false notion that their “Pass” is so fast that it is absolutely invisible to the onlooker. Consequently they make no attempt to distract audience attention from their hands when they perform the sleight. (By the way a “sleight” is a secret move performed by a magician-I’ll give you the conjuring terminology as we go along) I believe the idea of the Pass is not to do it so rapidly that it looks invisible, but to do it reasonable quickly and distract attention from the hands at the moment of execution. I have never seen any magician do the Pass so quickly that it defies detection to someone who happens to be watching the hands at the crucial moment. There is always some slight flicker or unnatural action, be it ever so tiny. If experienced magicians who should know better wish to fool themselves then that is not your problem. Do it my way and you’ll deceive people.

Now how do you distract attention from the hands? Well, this looks like a good spot to discuss the art of “misdirection”. This is the terminology magicians use for the science of distraction. And science it is too. Some magicians have developed the craft of misdirection to such perfection that it is almost an art form in itself.

There are two types of misdirection; mental misdirection and physical misdirection. The former is the art of distracting the mind and fooling the senses. An example of this would be the first trick in the book, “The Teaspoon Trick”. Here you divert the audience mind into thinking they see two certain playing cards when in actual fact they see two entirely different ones.

However, physical misdirection is the type magicians usually mean when they discuss the subject. This is the art of distracting the eyes or diverting attention to a place where secret actions are going on somewhere else.

As applied to the Pass, you can divert attention by looking directly at the spectator and asking him a question such as, “You remember your card, don’t you?” or “Did you show your card to this gentleman here?” He will look up and answer you and in that split moment you quietly do your pass. If you like, you can stare absently at some spot on the wall as a result of which the spectator will follow your gaze meanwhile wondering what you’re looking at. Another ploy is to ask the unsuspecting chap to pass you some object such as the card box etc; I once heard of some eccentric magician who would misdirect his audience by violently stamping the floor at the same time cursing imaginary beetles, spiders and other assorted insects that were supposedly roaming about. When the, I imagine, perplexed spectators looked downwards our flamboyant friend would then execute the Pass and no one would see a thing! As I say, I heard this story. I don’t necessarily have to believe it.


Actually, misdirection is a personal thing. I can only give a few suggestions. You’re probably better off to figure out your own methods of misdirection. Just use your imagination. If you can create your own misdirection you will have something individual, and the more individual you are the more deceptive you will be.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Matthew Field » June 5th, 2019, 9:09 am

The whole point lf the Pass is to avoid a shuffle or cut. If you're going to shuffle or cut, control the card via those moves; you don't need a Pass.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 5th, 2019, 10:17 am

That is NOT the whole point of the pass. The whole point of the pass if used as a control is to get the bloody card to the top of the pack WITHOUT SUSPICION. And I have already explained about three hundred times on this thread that it is correct that you don't need the Pass and you can use a shuffle instead. But you can use the pass to VARY YOUR METHODS. I shall repeat that since it doesn't seem to sink in to those who cannot read what I have already said. The pass is no longer a necessary control as it was in the days of Hoffman and you really don't have to use it. However, if you can already do it then by all means use it to VARY YOUR METHODS. And if you do use it then you should bloody well shuffle the pack afterwards JUST IN CASE your audiences aren't as daft as you think they are.

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: The Pass

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 5th, 2019, 10:49 am

There is absolutely no point in doing a false shuffle after you've done the Pass.
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ian Kendall » June 5th, 2019, 12:10 pm

The idea of the pass is that it is not seen, nor suspected.

Adding a shuffle to the return of the card just adds another moment when the magician could have done 'something'.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 5th, 2019, 2:56 pm

The trouble with most of you is that you understand technical matters. However what you don't understand is the human mind. Magic is PEOPLE. I know how people think, how they react and how their minds work especially where magic is concerned. Even if they don't see a bloody thing if you shuffle it adds an extra layer of conditioning that the card is lost. And it isn't exactly technically taxing once you get the card to the top to do a little shuffle to keep it there. Rather than "adding another moment when the magician could have done something"
it adds another moment to prove that the magician didn't do anything. If this wasn't the case then why the bloody hell did every magician in the days of Professor Hoffman give the cards out to be shuffled if supposedly everyone was satisfied that the card was lost?

Simple. To make SURE that people thought the card was lost! You need that extra layer of protection.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Jonathan Townsend » June 5th, 2019, 11:08 pm

If you have the pack in your hands when they take a card, and the pack is your hands when the card is replaced into the pack - why a pass and then a palm rather than a cull or steal?

If you're at a card table and trying to maintain a stack... and normal procedure has them giving the pack a cut before you deal the cards- that's a different situation.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Brad Henderson » June 6th, 2019, 12:39 am

The issue is what condition do we want to reinforce for the sake of the effect.

If the trick benefits from the card being ‘lost’ in the deck, then shuffling is a wise choice regardless of the control used. (Though to use the pass and then shuffle in this instance is a bit like using a Lexus to haul gravel).

However for some tricks, like the ambitious card, it’s important the audience know the card is in the middle (or not on top or bottom). In this case the shuffle is a bad idea because the card could have been shuffled intentionally OR accidentally to the top or bottom. In that case a control where the location (at least in general) of the card is known is preferred (such as a pass), and a shuffle would undermine that knowledge.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 6th, 2019, 4:17 am

I am only referring to the Pass used as a control here----nothing else. However, oddly enough with regard to the Ambitious Card. in Harry Lorayne's "Magic Book" he DOES explain an ambitious card routine where the method is shuffling! I tried it----it seemed to work! Come to think of it I have been doing a certain trick in the Royal Road for decades called Top Change Byplay. I feel guilty every time I do it since I am breaking all sorts of rules in magic which I won't get into right now. And one of the rules I break is that at one point I say, "The six of diamonds is a very strange card. Even though I am shuffling the cards it never likes to be in the middle--it always comes to the top". I know the procedure is wrong just as Brad said but it has worked for decades and always elicits a certain amount of surprise.

Of course this fits in with the Faucett Ross dictum that there is no rule in magic that cannot be broken. I have found that to be true. However, it is important to know that you are breaking the rule when you are doing it. And have a good reason for breaking it. If your reasoning is correct no problem. If your reasoning is not correct you abandon the procedure. However, if like me, you have no reasoning but it works anyway, just shrug your shoulders, thank your lucky stars and accept it. Just know you are breaking the rule is enough.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Brad Henderson » June 6th, 2019, 9:47 am

Actually, the example you give does not break the rule. The shuffle SHOULD randomize the position, but the magic is that it doesn’t. So you are still taking advantage of actions that are meant to create a certain condition, but rather than that condition being one of the initial state it is one of action that should produce an expected result but doesn’t.

My points hold for using the pass as a control. We still need to be sure the audience is aware of certain conditions for the trick to be effective and our means of control should not serve to confuse the conditions on conflict with the alleged effect.

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 6th, 2019, 12:59 pm

I am now beginning to get irritated with myself for discussing this matter. I have seen in the past endless bickering about the best way to do false riffle shuffles that went on and on and on forever. I remember thinking, "God almighty! Are they really spendless hours and hours and hours on a stupid riffle shuffle?"

And now I find I am doing the same with the Pass. I had better get back to finishing this bloody Royal Road book as exceedingly boring as I find writing technical descriptions to be. I swear I will never write another book again which involves sleight of hand. There are plenty of other things I can write about.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Pete McCabe » June 6th, 2019, 2:58 pm

Leonard Hevia wrote:A sandwich effect quickly loses its effectiveness without a Pass to trap the selection.

What would the plan be without a Pass? Cut and shuffle the deck so that the mates can trap the selection? That won't work very well. How else would a face up card travel to the top in an Ambitious Card routine?


My preferred sandwich phase: Hand the spectator the red queens. Card selected from a face-up spread, culled to the top. Card is palmed off and the spectator puts the red queens on top of the deck, face up. You wave your hand over them, secretly depositing the selection, and the queens vanish ("down into the deck," etc.) Do the Houdini color change from Erdnase to bring the queens back to the top, this time with the selection between them.

My preferred Ambitious Card phase: Selection is inserted face up into the deck, goes second via the depth illusion. Houdini color change brings it back to the top. Even if you can do a pass, this is probably cleaner and more mysterious because the move can be done slowly and dramatically.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Richard Kaufman » June 7th, 2019, 7:17 am

Pete, you're assuming that the Depth Illusion is bullet proof in terms of convincing people that the card goes into the center of the deck. Maybe not!
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Re: The Pass

Postby Ryan Matney » June 7th, 2019, 11:26 am

Shuffling during an Ambitious Card routine seems to have been pretty common at one time. Show the card on top, shuffle, card is still on top. I've done it, in order to avoid a DL. It is effective.
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Re: The Pass

Postby MagicbyAlfred » June 8th, 2019, 11:15 am

Performer Wrote: "I feel guilty every time I do it since I am breaking all sorts of rules in magic which I won't get into right now. And one of the rules I break is that at one point I say, "The six of diamonds is a very strange card. Even though I am shuffling the cards it never likes to be in the middle--it always comes to the top". I know the procedure is wrong just as Brad said but it has worked for decades and always elicits a certain amount of surprise. Of course this fits in with the Faucett Ross dictum that there is no rule in magic that cannot be broken. I have found that to be true."

I say have at it! Many of the great advances and breakthroughs in Science, Medicine and the Arts came from proponents of theories and methods that broke the existing laws or rules. In some cases, the proponents of that which departed from the conventional "wisdom" were laughed at by their peers. Bleeding patients used to be the accepted treatment for treating an infectious disease. Einstein's equations obliterated existing "laws" of physics. And so on...

If a procedure works as based on audience reaction/response, then that is certainly evidence, if not proof, of its effectiveness. Nothing succeeds like success.

And of course, everything in magic, and life in general, is subject to the caveat that what works for one may not work for another. Come to think of it, I guess that disproves the age-old rule that, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander."

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Re: The Pass

Postby performer » June 9th, 2019, 5:31 am

Sometimes the passing of time and present day conditions can lead to the breaking of rules and in fact make the rules so redundant that you have to make new rules. Mentalism is an example. In days of yore (and not that long ago either) the rule was that you should never mix magic with mentalism. The other rule is that you should present it in a serious manner. Those rules may well have been true in pre-internet days but don't apply now for reasons I have no energy to explain.

The rules in magic have changed too over the years. For example the standard rule was always to open with some fast way of gaining attention such as some kind of quick trick. However, that applied to the days of the variety theatres, rather than more difficult performing conditions which evolved when the theatres died. If you do something of that nature with an inattentive audience where people are not sitting quietly in rows of seats they can miss the trick if it is too much of a flash opening.

Magic has evolved in many ways and as it has evolved the rules have begun to change too. I prefer the old days and the old rules but one has to move with the times.

Still, I think that if you are going to break rules you should at least know they are there and what the reasoning for those rules are. That means that if you do break them you know you are doing it and have made a calculated decision to do so rather than breaking the rules by accident.

I know when I do trade shows I break all sorts of standard "rules". I work without a microphone, I do not stand on a raised platform and I work fairly continuously rather than the standard two or at the very most three shows an hour. However, at least I know that I am going against standard procedure and have thought it through before embarking on that course.

Nothing is cast in tablets of stone and rules in magic are no exception. They should be regarded as guidelines rather than strict instruction. Wise guidelines in many if not most cases but guidelines nevertheless. I try to keep to the guidelines but once in a while I have to use what my gut feeling tells me is a more sensible way of going about things which perhaps applies to me rather than anyone else. But that comes with experience. If you are just starting out in magic keep to the rules until you know what you are doing.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Pete McCabe » June 11th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Richard Kaufman wrote:Pete, you're assuming that the Depth Illusion is bullet proof in terms of convincing people that the card goes into the center of the deck. Maybe not!


You may be right, but that's true of any move so I'm not sure how to use that information. You may be assuming the Pass is bullet proof, but I have only ever seen one magician whose had a pass I would describe as bulletproof.

I can say that before that phase I do a phase where I genuinely put the card in the center, using the same movements of the Depth illusion. Then I comment about how some people think it never really goes in the center, and spread the cards face up to show it really is in the center. Spread on, to show that there are no duplicates, etc, and cull the card to the top.

This is a wonderfully effective phase for an ambitious routine that I've never seen anyone else do. But it's very magical and helps cancel the idea that the card is not really put in the middle.

BTW when I do the Depth Illusion, I do the bit where as you are inserting the card, the left thumb lifts up the left long side of the deck. This dramatically improves the illusion in my eyes. Does anyone know who first came up with this idea? I learned it from Daryl, but I can't remember if it was his or he just taught it to me.

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Re: The Pass

Postby Ian Kendall » June 11th, 2019, 12:56 pm

I've seen that credited to Daryl.

As for Ambitious card routines - show the selection, top change, and place the 'selection' cleanly in the middle of the deck. Repeat as necessary :)

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Re: The Pass

Postby erdnasephile » June 11th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Hi, Pete:
Here's the reference:
"Convincing Tilt" (Daryl Martinez), The Last Hierophant, pg 39 (June, 1979)


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