Lost with the Bottom Deal

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by ChristopherR2, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Last night I spent the entire evening trying to at least get started with the Bottom Deal without any success.

    I watched Jason England's lesson on the Bottom Deal from Foundations 1 about a dozen times last night and I'm still lost.

    Using the initial Erdnase Grip that Jason teaches, I can't figure out how to push off the bottom card.

    Two things happen when I buckle and try to push out the bottom card with my third finger. Deck is in my left hand.

    1. The bottom card goes to the left and the rest of the deck pushes to the right.


    2. The bottom card just goes back to it's original position.

    Are there any other tips or references out there that can give me a better idea on how to push the bottom card off and to the right? I've looked at Foundations, Daniel Madison's bottom deal, referenced Expert at the Card Table, and even scoured YouTube without any success.

    Or in the end is it just practice, practice, practice until I figure it out?
    conaedge likes this.
  2. When holding the deck in your hand have a lose grip on the deck and try the buckle action with a full deck.
    ChristopherR2 and conaedge like this.
  3. Thanks, I'll give this a shot.
  4. The Erdnase grip feels a bit stiff. If you try to lock the deck in the position you will contract too many muscles to even attempt to buckle the card, try to get comfortable with the grip, in such a way that it fits your hand.
    The second thing is the buckle: it's not too much of a buckle, you just need to pull/push the card aside.
    The deck moves cause you put too much strenght in the action, although all these things will be fixed just with practise.. any advice is kind of pointless, the bottom deal is a very difficult move and you will need nothing but patience and persistance.
  5. Thank you so much for the advice. I ended up abandoning the Erdanse grip and went with a modified Erdanse where the middle finger is off to the side of the right corner and my index finger is right up against my middle finger. So far that is the only grip where I have been able to pull off strike bottom deals and push off bottom deals.

    That being said I've finally been able to figure out how to push and strike the bottom card. While it's extremely rough at the moment it does work. My only issue now is timing. That seems to be the most challenging part with the bottom deal at the moment.
  6. The grip you refer as "modified" is actually the Erdnase grip, that's how it's explained in the book.
    Maybe the drawings don't look like it, but it is

    I want to clear a point: the deck should be locked in position, yet the grip must not be tight!
    Vernon said "almost floating" although this may be misleading, since he was dealing strikes from a straddle grip.
    The philosophy is the same: you have to lock 2 points: 1 is the base of the thumb, (it's where it hurts when you practise a lot), the other is your first finger (what i use), or the second finger on the short edge.
    Too tension cause more friction.

    Timing is what makes the move deceptive, a friend of mine can spot the move not by sight, but by noticing a little delay between a top deal and a bottom deal.
    Solution for now: deal slow everytime!

    Also, practise dealing bottoms by pitching/sailing the cards, if you deal the bottom to yourself you cheat a bit, cause the deal to the dealer is naturally slower than the others, and you can't train the timings
  7. As my education continues, the grip that feels most comfortable to me is the Gene Maze grip. I'm switching back and forth between the Gene Maze Grip and a Mechanics Grip. So far I prefer the Gene Maze grip for both strikes and push off bottom deals. I'm really rough with a Mechanics Grip. I will continue to practice with the Mechanics Grip but at this moment it feels really awkward pushing the bottom card out with my middle, ring, and pinky fingers. Using the ring and pinky fingers with the Gene Maze Grip feels more natural to me at the moment.

    Regardless of the grip I completely agree with you. The grip must not be tight. My major issues in the beginning was the simple fact that I was holding the deck way to tight. The tighter the grip, the harder it was to get the bottom card free. What I'm finding now is that if I keep my first finger tense but don't apply any pressure on the deck, the bottom card comes out much easier with strikes or push off's and the deck stays in place. If my first finger is loose, I find that I'm pushing off more cards near the bottom of the deck than I would want to.

    The challenge that I'm facing now is flow when mixing in a bottom deal with a straight deal. There is a short pause that even a lay person would be able to detect when I'm breaking off the bottom card and at the same time taking it. It's like I'm overthinking it and it's not even close to being as natural as a regular straight deal.

    I'm trying to go as slow as possible to solve that issue to make my bottom deal more natural.
  8. I totally agree, i use that grip as well.
    The mechanics grip is a bit harder in my opinion, i suggest learning all about one you feel comfortable with, to improve everything at once, then move to the mechanics if you want to.
    the short pause your refer to is due to the fact that you "do" much more than it looks! The training consist in mixing the BD in between regular deals, to teach yourself that they are the same thing.
    It helps to get "in resonance" at first, so try dealing 4 top and 1 bottom until you finish the deck, collect everything and start over (as i said before, deal everything in the same direction, all straight to the table, or all forward).
    You'll start building a inner metronome, then you can even mix different combinations in the same deal, like 3 top 1 bottom, 2 top 2 bottom. But dont get completely random, you have to feel what you're doing or you get confused!

    To answer your question: if you can't get the move to be small enough, try to get the top bigger, with wider gesture (not exaggerated tho), then with practise you'll narrow both moves.
    The problem is, dealing a top is easy, you have to get to the same confidence and rythm as a bottom.
    Film youself doing it, and you'll start noticing details

    PS: i like to talk a lot about it, cause i had a hard time learning it, and still i haven't refined.
    I hope i'm giving good advices
    ChristopherR2 likes this.
  9. You are giving fantastic advice which I greatly appreciate. I think the hardest thing in learning these sleights is not the technical moves in the least bit. It's the simple fact that we are doing this on our own. It's frustrating doing this on your own with no one to connect with that understands what you are trying to accomplish. You have no idea whether or not you are on the right track. Just having someone to connect with to simply talk about the process helps a TON!
    MarcoLostSomething likes this.
  10. this is also my problem . the whole deck little by little slides on the buckled bottom card. Anyway, i learned mine from "Mechanic" of daniel madison. any thoughts?
  11. You have to find the grip that works for you. In my case I also found that I was holding the deck way to tight as well as putting to much pressure on the bottom card to push it out.

    Anyways I hope that helps. I've definitely improved since I originally posted this but I still have a long way to go before mastering it.

    Also, I started off with Daniel Madison as well but I highly recommend you check out Jason England. He does a much better explanation of the Bottom deal in his foundation series by Theory 11.
  12. Don't learn the bottom deal from someone that can't do it himself.

    My guess is that you haven't found the right pressure points yet. Since the Madison thing is a cheap version of Gene Maze's deal, I'd recommend to check out "The Art of Bottom Dealing". The book explains the grip and the deal in great detail.
  13. Sorry, I'm in a rush and couldn't read all the advice you've already been given or see how much progress you have made.
    I am going to share with you my own personal way for achieving the bottom deal. I discovered this method completely uninfluenced, aside from seeing the end effect of the move and I have done the same with Center and Greek deals, this is my handling:
    1) hold the deck in a relaxed dealers grip with finger 1 lying across the frony of the deck and finger 2 just touching the under edge/pip of the bottom card. Fingers 3 and 4 lay as you normally would have them.

    2) the uncovered action of bottom dealing involves a bit of finger movement, all from finger 2. Contact the pip of the bottom card and apply pressure until it buckles sleightly (haha) under the deck. After this you will straighten, that is to say fully extend, finger 2. This will bring the bottom card aprox. 1/2 inch away from the deck allowing enough purchase to complete the dealing action.

    Thats it. My 2 step bottom deal. If there are other published methods teaching the move this way I was entirely unaware and will give credit to those sources. I only call this move my own because I arrived to it by my own uninfluenced means.

    some tips: keep a loose grip. finger 1 should lay across the front of the deck to help hide the movement of finger 2 and the "outjogged" bottom card. Of course discrepancies are easier to cover with a borderless deck but a good false deal can be achieved with any deck. Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong.

    In the words of porky the pig: "that's all folks!" I hope I helped or can inspire you to adjust your method to find one that works for you. PM me if you have any questions I did not answer.

    - Jake
  14. I like your method for practicing and shanging up when you use the bottom deal and when to top deal. The way I practiced when learning was to use only 2 cards and bottom deal, then use 3 cards, then 4 and 5.... you get it. It helped me subconsciously understand the move and learn how much pressure was needed depending on the number of cards in my hand. I would recommend this type of practice until you or whoever grasps the mechanics and then use the whole deck and change things up.

    Ps. This thread is full of great advice

  15. Dr. Elliot's bottom deal is probably the easiest I know. It was Vernon's favorite.

    When I bottom deal I don't buckle, I learned from Erdnase.

    I echo the Madison sentiment. I have seen his approach, it's not great.
  16. I recommend people first starting out in bottom dealing to start with the Erdnase grip not because it's the "best" grip to use forever, but because there are so many great things that it teaches about proper bottom dealing. Things that will be useful later on.

    I find it amusing how often I read about someone that tried the Erdnase deal for a brief period of time (an hour, day, week or even a month may not be enough time to know if it's right for you) and then gave up on it and moved on to another grip that gave them some instantaneous pseud0-progress. Virtually none of those people ever become great base dealers, although some of them become marginally proficient.

    Can you imaging taking a golf lesson (having never swung a club before) and after a month of apparently getting nowhere telling your golf coach that you've decided on a different grip that "feels better" to you? A good coach would slap you senseless.

    If you've never swung a club before, then you have NO IDEA what a good swing should look like, sound like, feel like, or finish like. The absolute best thing you can do for yourself is trust in your coach and stay the course. You might not like it at first, or you may not see or feel any progress initially, but so what? Golf is a game predicated on YEARS of practice - not weeks.

    The same goes for the bottom deal. You say you've not made any progress in X amount of time? I say, "So what?" - it's still the best way to master the move. (And secondly - "How would you know?" Maybe you've made significant progress but just don't have the eye/feel/touch/experience to realize it.)

    In short - the bottom deal is one of the toughest moves to tackle and it takes serious, serious time to even begin to make any significant, lasting progress.

    Then again, if it was easy everyone would be doing it.

  17. THANK YOU, for your reply and advice. I think the biggest challenge for us (at least for me) is that we are learning this on our own. Sure we have your excellent instructional videos to reference off of but we have no one in our reality to bounce ideas off of or go to when we feel like we have reached a roadblock. At least, that person who is having troubles swinging that golf club has an actual golf coach to turn to for guidance.

    We are not entirely sure whether or not we are on the right track. So we go online for horizontal advice just to make a connection with someone that understands what we are going through and we might not get the advice that would be in our best interest but at least, we find some sort of connection that we think might just put us on the right track.

    Yet, we fail to realize that what you've said in your videos is the perfect advice that we have needed all along. We just needed to listen and to put the practice time in. Unfortunately, that realization only comes through experience and the struggle it takes to master these moves that you make look so easy.
  18. The Bottom Deal has cause me years of frustration so in the end I abandoned it as non of the books/videos I could find taught a method I could physically do. Not have ape sized hands all that buckling stuff was not happening so I went onto other things and forgot about it.

    Until I bought on a whim a DVD by Richard Turner just dedicated to the Bottom Deal and I found the grip/method that Richard Turner uses his method got me clumsily but successfully bottom dealing inside and hour(!!).

    Previously I had tried examples from the "Expert Card Technique" and Walter B Gibson's "Complete Encyclopedia of Card Magic" books and places like YouTube, but found those methods described far too difficult to even get the basic motion somewhere near right in a week! Plus some looked just obvious or where having me suddenly adopt a new dealing style meaning I might as well have a neon sign above my head saying "He's Bottom Dealing people!".

    Maybe that is the key to learning the Bottom Deal or any of these "non standard" handling methods: To expose yourself to as many variations on the technique as find the one your hands can work with!
  19. Are you using a new deck? Try to break-in the deck first with a few riffle shuffles and some cuts. The Bottom Deal isn't for the faint of heart. You should at least practice X amount of hours a day to get it. Practice with the bottom deal with a fair deal alternately until the cards had been all dealt. Do this for X amount of times a day. That doesn't stop there.

    Deal 7 hands with 5 cards each including yourself, bottom dealing the last 5 cards to the first hand until complete. Then move onto deal the bottom to the second hand and the next and the next. That doesn't stop there yet, Try it with different types of decks, new and old. just for your hand and fingers to get used to dealing in different decks.

    and when you can bottom deal already, now you move onto the tiny details like a 'Knuckle Flash', 'Finger Flutter', 'Changing the grip while dealing fairly or crookedly' and the 'Swish Sound that it makes'.

    Bottom line is(no pun intended) crooked deals in general take a lot of time and effort to master. Practice and Consistency is the key.

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