Expert at the Card Table Intro

Jul 27, 2010
128
1
Chicago, Illinois
I recently read the introduction for the Dover edition of Expert at the Card Table by Martin Gardner. He says that his real name was Milton Franklin Andrews. According to Gardner, Andrews was a prime suspect in a murder who committed suicide at age 33. Gardner also talks about how much Erdnase didn't include in his book. The picture on page 19 doesn't explain the correct technique for the slip cut and the text doesn't match the picture. Gardner also says that since Erdnase's bottom deal method is somewhat challenging and weird that he could have done that on purpose so that people wouldn't be able to perform it. The same can be said about his bizarre shifts. It also says that he got caught cheating on a ship using the spread method which isn't described in the book.

So my questions are:
How does Mr. Gardner know Erdnase's identity when all the threads on this site say no one knows?
Why did Erdnase omit material from his book?
What is the spread technique that he used?
 
Jul 13, 2010
526
34
AFAIK nobody really knows his true identity or can prove that 100%. Gardner thinks it was Milton Andrews, David Alexander thinks it was Wilbur Edgerton Sanders, Juan Tamariz and Gaetan Bloom have established the theory that it was the Peruvian magician named 'L'Homme Masque'.
 
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Sep 2, 2007
1,186
16
41
London
How does Mr. Gardner know Erdnase's identity when all the threads on this site say no one knows?
Why did Erdnase omit material from his book?
What is the spread technique that he used?

Martin Gardner's theory has now (in the mind of many, including me) been discredited, or, at the very least, called into question. It relies on information suplied by a demonstrable liar called E L Pratt, and Andrews doesn't fit the description of the author given by Marshall Smith. Additionally, Andrews doesn't appear to have the education or literary skills necessary to have written the beautifully-worded book. Given this, there's no real evidence that the true author knew the spread, so it's not clear whether he did deliberately omit material.

However, I'm beginning to come round to the two author theory. This would allow for Andrews to have been one of the authors, while the other met with Marshall Smith, and for the other man to have been the actual writer of the text. Therefore, Andrews isn't a complete non-starter as a candidate.
 
Jun 10, 2010
1,360
1
Anyone interested in anything related to Erdnase should check out this thread on the Genii forums:

http://www.geniimagazine.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=12447#Post12447

I haven't even come close to reading the entire thing. It's huge!

I second this notion.

For those wishing to read about Erdnase, you won't find anything useful in "The Man Who Was Erdnase", written by Gardner, Busby, and Whaley. It's good, but there are a lot of "leaps of faith" taken by the authors in order to support their evidence. I would, however, suggest picking up the Gardner-Smith Correspondance if you ever happen to see it go up for sale (I personally missed out on a copy recently, but did win something I wanted more). Now don't get me wrong. All three were amazing researchers. But one could just as easily say that they Erdnase isn't Andrews as they could say he is,

The two main candidates presented on this thread are regarded by many to be two of the best-supported possibilities of the "true Erdnase" by the magic and gambling communities.

EDIT: I apologize. I would, in fact, recommend The Man Who Was Erdnase. Just reember that it isn't 100% fact as you read it, and perhaps read the Genii thread before picking it up.
 
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Apr 2, 2011
129
0
Chicago, IL
Martin Gardner's theory has now (in the mind of many, including me) been discredited, or, at the very least, called into question. It relies on information suplied by a demonstrable liar called E L Pratt, and Andrews doesn't fit the description of the author given by Marshall Smith. Additionally, Andrews doesn't appear to have the education or literary skills necessary to have written the beautifully-worded book. Given this, there's no real evidence that the true author knew the spread, so it's not clear whether he did deliberately omit material.

However, I'm beginning to come round to the two author theory. This would allow for Andrews to have been one of the authors, while the other met with Marshall Smith, and for the other man to have been the actual writer of the text. Therefore, Andrews isn't a complete non-starter as a candidate.

In the Dover edition, Gardner states that he believes Smith is the illustrator, not the author. Gardner acknowledges that Andrews did not have the writing skills to write the book, and asks who the editor of the manuscript was. He then goes on to make a case for the editor being William John Hilliar.

I have no idea if this is true, but it adds another dimension to The Legend of Erdnase.
 
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Sep 2, 2007
1,186
16
41
London
In the Dover edition, Gardner states that he believes Smith is the illustrator, not the author. Gardner acknowledges that Andrews did have the writing skills to write the book, and asks who the editor of the manuscript was. He then goes on to make a case for the editor being William John Hilliar.

I have no idea if this is true, but it adds another dimension to The Legend of Erdnase.

Sorry, I must not have been clear. Smith certainly was the illustrator. However, he met the author (or someone claiming to be the author who could do all the moves), in a hotel in Chicago in 1901 to do the illustrations of his hands.

EDIT: A caveat to that. Smith couldn't remember doing all the illustrations in the book, and, in fact, remembered doing significantly fewer. Therefore, it's possible that there was a second illustrator.
 
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