gambling soh (stacking)

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by Elioconpraro, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. Hey everyone,
    I've recently been studying Steve Forte's Gambling Protection Series, and I found that using a pickup stack is a great easy way to stack a cold deck (without set up). However, I have run into a problem. If you use a pick up stack after the deal, false shuffle, then deal out the stack, won't people notice that the same cards are in circulation that were being played last hand?
    I'm perfectly happy with using other stacking methods, such as a riffle stack, but I'm just wondering if anyone has a solution to this dilemma.

    Disclaimer: I do not intend to use this knowledge for thievery or cheating, and do not endorse either of them.
  2. I think it's highly unlikely anybody would notice. As far as I'm aware, pickup stacking is still a relatively popular method of cheating at cards today, and if the "technique" flies by gamblers, we can safely assume that no one in the audience will detect it, either. Quite the opposite; I doubt if many audience members will commit their cards to (short term) memory the way a card player does, and even if they do, it's not uncommon for a few of the same cards to appear in the following round.
    Obviously, you still have to be subtle about it -- you can't give yourself the four aces immediately after a spectator had them. But maybe spectator A had two aces, B had a king and an ace and C had a king -- that a full house with aces and kings right there, and nobody will notice if you have those cards.

    If your primary goal is doing magic, I wouldn't necessarily recommend you to learn the riffle stack. It's an amazing move to be able to do, and if done well, you'll get a lot of credit from fellow magicians, but it's not of much use in magic. Plus, it takes ages to become proficient with this technique (Steve Forte calls it the most difficult gambling technique) and it requires constant practice to hold your level.

    But maybe you don't even need to stack the cards. What's the context of your routine? Could you reach your aim any other way as well?

    The following is just nitpicking, so feel free to skip that part. If you do a pickup stack, you don't have a "cold deck". A cold deck (or cooler) is a term used specifically to describe a deck (which may or may not be stacked) that hasn't yet been in play. It's called that because it hasn't been warmed up by the hands of the people using it, so it's "cooler" than the old deck. "Cold decking", "ringing in a cooler" or any of a dozen terms describes the action of covertly bringing this new deck into play and taking out the old one.
    After doing a pickup or any other kind of stack, you simply have a stacked deck.

    Disclaimer: Me neither.
  3. So, fun story - several years ago when I was still up to par with card sleights, I was killing some time playing BlackJack with my roommate. No money on the line or anything, just putzing around. Just to see how far I could push things, I false dealt myself 21 about 6 times in a row. Not only did he not realize I was false dealing, he didn't even realize I used the same two cards every time. Being casual and not pointing out the specific values of the cards goes a long way.

    Also - if you're doing a gambling demonstration people are going to know you're being sneaky somehow. It's literally what they're there to see.
    ForceProof101 likes this.
  4. What a great story :D

    Though it detracts from the entertainment when they actually do see something, which is why many gambling demos are (nearly) selfworking and have little to do with actual cheating skills.
  5. @Scodischarge Thanks for the reply, This really helped!

    I could use other methods that are easier, but as Erdnase wrote "There is but one pleasure in life greater than winning, that is, in making the hazard." and, really, the best way to get better at these sleights in my opinion, is to practice both by yourself, and in front of an audience.
    In terms of the context of my routine, I have thought of some ideas that revolve around this:

    The spectator shuffles and hands the deck back (the magician caps the deck with a favorable hand that they have been holding out) The magician then asks the spectator to make a free choice of how many people are playing the game, and what position they want to sit in. Then the magician shuffles idly (stacking the hand so that the spectator would receive it (or not, depends on the routine)) The magician then freely deals out the hands and reveals the miracle.

    Of course, this would be combined with appropriate patter and I probably would alter that effect a bit depending on the patter. Also, that particular effect would utilize a riffle stack or overhand stack, so a pickup stack would not be necessary. However, I am working on a couple of routines that would use a pickup stack and it would be a useful thing to learn for situations such as the one @WitchDocIsIn mentioned.

    Thanks for correcting me, I'll get that right next time!:D

    Hey, thanks for the reply! Hopefully I get that opportunity one day!:D
    I agree, being casual and not drawing attention to your sleights is a really valuable lesson to learn, and can make your sleights so much more impossible.

    I disagree, I find the best gambling demonstrations are ones where the audience gets a true insight into the real sleights used at the card table because I find that's what most people are curious about when they see a gambling demonstration.
  6. I completely understand if you like difficult techniques. For more than a year after starting to practice with cards, I did almost exclusively gambling moves (bottom deal, second deal, false shuffles etc.), without any aim of someday performing (or in any other way using) any of it. Though my focus has shifted quite a bit since then, I still enjoy practicing those moves.
    But always remember: The audience doesn't care how difficult the method is. If they see you "do" something, whether it's a basic double lift or a near-perfect bottom deal, the magic's gone for them. So why risk being "caught out" with a difficult method, when a simple method gets to the same goal?

    This is a nice effect, but it can be made easier, directer and more hard-hitting. I'll send you a PM with suggestions.

    Warning: Looking back, this became a lot longer than intended. Please excuse my rambling :)

    That's what you and I enjoy most, because we know a little bit about how it's really done (personally, I really don't like seeing "cheating demontrations" where the magician just had a stacked deck, or does some magic moves that have nothing to do at all with cheating). But you shouldn't forget that the audience doesn't know what we know; most likely, they've never heard of bottom deals, stacking the deck, nullifying the cut or any of that. They don't know what they are, so they don't know what to expect.
    What they have, on the other hand, is an image of the card cheater as this slick, quick-witted, invincible guy (an image enforced by movies and magicians). They don't know what he can do, so they assume he can do anything; if you tell them that a good cheater must be able to control the position of every single card in the deck at all times, guess what -- they'll believe you!

    With that in mind, what would they rather see: After a tension-raising introduction of the legendary center deal,
    - the magician puts the aces on the bottom, cuts, holds a quite obvious break and deals the aces to himself out of the middle (accompanied by a great knuckle flash and the dreaded "separation" at the front of the deck),
    - the magician puts the aces face-up in different positions in the deck, shuffles the deck, squares it and then deals the aces to himself (as they are face-up, the spectator can see that they must have been dealt from the middle)

    Both of these scenarios give some information about gambling moves (though in the case of the center deal this information is of course debatable), yet one will seem a lot more impressive (and thus entertaining) to a lay audience that the other.

    What people want from a gambling demonstration (in addition to some insight to the moves) is to have their image of the slick mechanic confirmed -- it's so much more romantic than reality.

    I'd be very careful with this. At the Magic Café there's been a couple of threads of what can happen when you're caught (even when you're playing for no money). To name just one example, Ben Train told of one time he was slightly drunk and accidentally did a dribble pass. He got punched in the face and thrown in the pool for this. What it did to the relationship between him and his friends I don't know.
    Even if your friends are less ready to use violence than Mr Train's, cheating at cards can still leave a huge decrease in trust between you and your friends, and that's not easily made up for.
    The following was written by somebody I'm pretty sure knows what he's talking about:
    "Max Maven used a quote at the beginning of one of his Parralax columns which I do not remember exactly but the gist of it is: no one turns bad immediately, licientousness progresses in degrees. My point here is what you consider fun and games now may lead you to more serious matters."

    With that in mind, be very careful how you use your skills.
  7. I suppose it comes down to this:
    If I am performing to an audience that I'm not completely confident with then I will absolutely use the easiest method possible. However, if I am just performing for a close friend, then I do try out harder moves that I am working on, simply because I believe the best practice is practice under pressure.
    That does come to the question of why I practice hard moves if they are unpractical in performance, and the answer is simply because I enjoy it and love the accomplishment of getting a difficult move up to a standard that I can be proud of.

    I completely agree.

    Let me be more clear. I would NEVER cheat with an unsuspecting person (friend or not). However, I have had friends come up to me multiple times and ask what it would look like to cheat at a card game. Of course, if this happened just randomly I would probably just start a routine but if this happened whilst we were playing a card game the yes, I would most likely demonstrate real false deals, shuffles, or other methods. (Obviously I would do it more discreetly and not blatantly expose the methods.)

    I'll try my best

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