James Swain in New York City

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Matthew Field
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James Swain in New York City

Postby Matthew Field » June 7th, 2002, 8:02 am

A brief report on the book signing and mini-lecture by James Swain last evening (June 6th, 2002), held at Michael Canicks book store on 82nd Street in Manhattan. Jim is the author of two recent books, Grift Sense and Funny Money, as well as three books essential to any serious card magicians library, Dont Blink, Miracles with Cards and 21st Century Card Magic. He has also released a self-produced 3-volume video titled Miracles with Cards.

It was a very rainy evening in New York City, but among the 20 or so magicians who showed up for this rare appearance by Jim were Herb Zarrow, Meir Yedid and the new co-owner of Tannens Magic Shop, Steve Brown.

We all spent some time looking over the books Michael has on sale, and discussing Jims books, experiences and recent MAGIC magazine interview. Jim regaled us with stories about his gambling scam research and newly-gained status of noted author. CBS recently spent some time filming Jim in an Atlantic City casino for an upcoming feature on CBS Sunday Morning.

Jim Swain is a very personable gentleman with superb skill with cards. For his lecture, he gave several examples of cheating at casinos, including how casinos can cheat even though a Blackjack dealing shoe is used. Jim then performed a four Ace production, then switched out three of the Aces to show a royal flush. He had the deck shuffled, then cut off nine packets, the first with one card, the second with two, all the way up to the ninth packet which contained nine cards. Assembling these, he had one card cut to by the spectator, then apparently freely cut into the packet, and Jim named the position the selection occupied in the packet. He had a great demonstration of a Blackjack stack which would work for from two to four players, automatically. And after again producing the Aces, he had a spectator name her favorite, then they were apparently placed beneath her palm, with the empty card box atop her hand. The selected Ace vanished from beneath her hand, appearing in the box.

Although more a demonstration than a lecture, Jim Swains card handling is a joy for a love of cad magic (like yours truly) to behold and spending some time with this rare visitor to New York, as well as being able to chat with the likes of Herb Zarrow (and purchasing some books my library was in dire need of) made for a lovely evening.

Michael Cannick will hopefully continue these intimate lectures. His bookshop, at 200 East 82nd Street, Apt. 3B, New York, NY 10028is open by appointment only. You can reach him at canick@panix.com, phone (212) 585-2990.

Matthew Field

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