From Card Sharp to Magician?

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by Abedan, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. Are there any examples of magicians who initially started out as card sharps and later went into magic?

    Of course, a card sharp is "a professional card player who makes a living by cheating at card games". But in this context, i am speaking broadly about someone who started out initially as a gambler (with card manipulation skills) and later decided to transition his card-sharp skills into the art of close up magic entertainment.

    I suspect there have been such magicians (especially having read about the life of Dai Vernon and how he was fascinated with card sharps). But i just can't come up with any.
  2. Off the top of my head I can think of Tony Giorgio and Gazzo. I imagine there are many more, though.
  3. Thanks. I just looked up both guys and they do appear to have started out as card sharps. In Tony Giorgio's case he seemed to transition back and forth between magic and hustling during his career. (Btw, i'm surprised his wikipedia article says so little about him. It doesn't even mention the fact that he was also a magican, besides being an actor).

    There is another magician called John Scarne who i later found out about after posting this question. He too started out as a card sharp.
  4. Daniel Madison was one, he has really amazing skills!
  5. I have never heard anyone who has had anything to say about this other than Daniel Madison. Madison's style of handling cards (with all his rhetoric aside) suggests that he was taught as a magician.
  6. In the cases of both John Scarne and Daniel Madison, I think we might want to consider the possibility that they've taken some quantity of artistic licence with their claims!
  7. Quoted for truth. You can tell when a card worker was trained as a magician.
  8. Daniel Madison doesn't consider himself a magician, he said so himself, but in this case its fair to say he made that transition.
  9. qft.

  10. Back in 2003 I read the book Bringing Down the House, and I was fascinated by the story. Basically, it was the story that inspired the movie 21.

    Anyways, this was the beginning of high school for me and after that I learned card counting, false shuffles, second deals, the pass, and three card monte, before I even thought of performing magic. I used these techniques for about a year to win lunch money from people in my high school (basically scamming classmates with 3CM and rigger poker games). I wasn't a professional by any means but still started with card cheat techniques and scams.

    I then moved to Seattle where I picked up Royal Road to Card Magic and stuck with magic ever since. I made way more friends this way as well (go figure).

    Just a interesting story of how I got into magic.

    ~Ryan Fox
  11. David Blaine! He is the appropriate answer for your question
  12. Really? I'm intrigued. Where did you get that information?
  13. Pen, from Pen and Teller, was a Mechanic. I read he book some time ago, it even had a deceptive cover on it, so people wouldn't know what it was. He goes over bottom and top dealing I think, though most of what he went over was marking cards. He was homeless for a while when he was an adult, 18 I think. He went around cheating at cards making a good living doing it.

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