# Question on Grip for Bottom Deal

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by brotherwolfgang, Apr 26, 2020.

1. #1
I hope this doesn’t count as revealing magic secrets, I’m trying to be as general as possible. If it is my sincere apologies.

I tried to pick up the bottom deal awhile ago and got no where. I’ve noticed that the placement of the thumb in the video is significantly closer to the top-right corner than mine is. Is this a deal-breaker or will it simply mean more effort in building hand strength and dexterity? Thanks for the input.

Pic: https://imgur.com/1sBknmL

2. #2
Hi, I'm new to this only starting in September so what do I know - but get the Daniel Madison BD Masterclass. Then develop your own grip from that. I found it to be an amazing tutorial and have been practicing ever since. His BD is one of the best out there, in my opinion. (But this is my first post - so I'm sure others will have other advice.)

3. #3
The best grip for the bottom deal should be dealer's position /mechanic's grip (see the description in Volume 4 of Card College). For a proper dealer's grip, the thumb placement should have the thumb touching the side of the deck at the top of the side edge. You want to be able to draw a line from the front edge across your thumb and that line should be in the middle of your thumbnail. The first (index) finger should be across the front edge of the deck at a diagonal. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers should be on the right side of the deck at an angle with the top 1/3rd of the top phalange of each finger being above the top of the edge of the deck. No finger should ever be pressing down on the deck.

Erdnase uses the same grip, except he moves the thumb from the side to the middle of the top card (which you would do for any deal) and moves the 2nd finger (deck in middle joint) to the front edge of the deck with the 1st finger (deck touching top joint) moving back to accommodate it. LePaul's simplified method uses the same grip as Erdnase.

It looks like you have a lot of tension in your hand (might just be holding the pose for the picture). From that position, lift the deck up about a half inch. The middle of the deck should be where the top is. By doing that, your 3rd and 4th fingers go from being on top of the deck to just having a third of the top phalange on the side but above the top of the deck. Your 1st and 2nd fingers will go from vertical to diagonal and your thumb will shift more diagonal and toward the top of the deck. Think of the deck floating in your hand.

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4. #4
Disclaimer: I realise I wrote a lot here and it may not always be as easily understandable as I would have liked it to be. Please bear with me, and if you have any question about what the heck I meant, don't hesitate to ask

May I ask which video you got?

I second this. Daniel Madison's bottom deal is by no means the best there is, but it's a decent bottom deal, and a good one to start with. There are several reasons why I'd recommend you to get this video:
1. It's a good bottom deal to begin with because it's a lot easier than most others. This allows you to learn certain principles of the bottom deal without completely despairing over the mechanics of the deal.
2. Mr Madison tells you to develop your own grip. This is very important, so I'll say it again: Develop your own grip! And, just to drive it home: Develop your own grip!!
The bottom deal is a move that must be highly personalised to suit your own hands. No two people have the same hands. The picture you posted above is a great example: It looks as if LeBron James had told you exactly where his contact points are when he holds the deck. This might suit him, but - ignore this if you have the hands of a 6'9" basketball star - there's no way the same will work for you. (I'm sorry if I'm sounding harsh. I'm taking a lot of freedom when writing because I vividly remember being exactly where you are right now.)
This is the most important thing Daniel Madison can teach you: His grip is not the non-plus-ultra. You're not supposed to copy his grip exactly. They say imitation is the sincerest kind of admiration, but in this case imitation only results in frustration, and possibly hand injury induced by excessive strain.

When you're fairly proficient (not mastered, but at a point at which it feels more or less comfortable) with the Madison bottom deal, I'd strongly recommend you to move on to Jason England's download from T11. It goes into a lot more detail regarding several kinds of bottom deal (Erdnase and mechanic's grip) and will help you learn a more advanced bottom deal.

That said, let's have a look at your grip. RealityOne already gave some good tips on how to make it more natural, but here's just a few extra pointers:
Hold your hand flat (palm up, fingers outstretched, thumb at a right angle to the other fingers) in front of you. Lay the card deck on top, so it's at a right angle to your outstretched fingers. The center of the deck (lengthwise) should run above the knuckles connecting your fingers to your palm. The tips of your fingers should be about 1/2 inch apart from each other. (If you closed your fingers now you'd have the full grip: all four fingers along the side of the deck.)
Now, rotate the deck a few degrees clockwise, until the front right corner is between your index and middle finger. If you close your fingers now (don't clamp, just lightly curl your fingers around the deck), you'd be in the mechanic's grip.
Rotate the deck another few degrees clockwise, until the front right corner is between middle and ring finger. Again, close your fingers (the fingertips of your ring finger and pinky should just protrude above the top card). Adjust the deck a little bit so it sits comfortably in your palm, and congratulations, you're in Erdnase grip.

So what' the difference between the original Erdnase grip (the one you're trying to simulate in your picture) and what you're doing now? Your ring finger and pinky are spaced more evenly across the side of the deck and don't curl around to the top of the deck, your middle finger is just left of the corner of the deck (instead of exactly at the right corner) and your index finger lies more naturally across the front of the deck (instead of being exactly at the left corner). All of this results in a more relaxed and casual grip, as well as some advantages when bottom dealing.

Even if you exactly followed the instructions above, I doubt the grip you are in right now and mine are exactly the same. But both of them would be classified as Erdnase grip (variation). So the lesson we learn from this: If you read or see the description of a specific grip, adjust them to fit your hands. "They're more what you'd call guidelines, than actual rules", to quote Pirates of the Caribbean.

I have to disagree with this statement. Yes, you can deal a good bottom from this grip, but you can't say it's "the best". You'll find some tremendous bottoms dealt from the Erdnase (see Steve Forte TV Special), the mechanic's (Jason England), full (Peter Duffie) or straddle grip (sorry, didn't find a video).
Nevertheless, some grips are more suitable than others. When you progress, I'd recommend you to move away from the Erdnase grip, as it's a very unnatural way of holding the deck. However, if you're performing for lay audiences they won't notice, and probably wouldn't give a **** if they did.
Apart from this caveat, it's completely up to you. Learn the basics (again, Jason England's video is great for this) and, going on from there, develop your own deal. Play around with different grips, adjust each of them to suit your style and your hands and experiment. But remember: For this to work, you need to know the fundamentals!

This post has gotten longer than I thought, and might be a bit confusing at times. But one thing that should be made clear at the end is what's most important: Have fun practicing! The bottom deal is a difficult move, but it's great to be able to do. So don't get discouraged and keep asking questions if something isn't clear

5. #5
Madison's left hand makes some very unnecessary moves with his wrist seemingly flicking up that makes it look unnatural.

I'd start with Jason. If you look at his dealing, there is no unnecessary movement. It is perfectly executed. Learn it right the first time.

I should have explained myself. The reason I think that is the best because you don't have to change your grip to do a bottom deal. You want your bottom deal to look the same as you do other actions -- which typically are from Mechanics Grip. Although the shift from Mechanics Grip to Erdnase Grip is minor, it could be a "tell" that you are doing something different.

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6. #6
You're right, I should have mentioned his golf swing. Though it's not so bad in his BD Masterclass as in some of his trailers, it isn't a habit you should get into.

In his bottom deal video, Jason also starts with an easier bottom deal technique (Erdnase) and later moves on to the more difficult one (mechanic's grip). I would suggest to put a step in front of this, as having learned the Madison bottom deal makes learning the Erdnase deal a lot easier (at least that has been my experience).
If it's a question of either - or, it's Jason's download all the way. But if you can, I'd go with both.

All right, now we're on the same page, though I'd make distinctions: You want your table work to all look the same. Your second deal, bottom deal and fair deal should look the same, but when you sit down, nobody will remember how your grip looked when you were still standing (provided you don't make a show of changing it, of course).
But even with this, some top magicians will disagree, and Jason Ladanye has an excellent blog post on the topic: https://www.cardmagicbyjason.com/get-a-grip/
His point is a good one: Yes, changing the grip can be a tell, but one that is obvious only to magicians.
I have my own reservations concerning the Erdnase grip, but if that feels most comfortable to you, go with it.

RealityOne likes this.
7. #7
Thank you all for the responses! I’m working off Jason England’s Foundations. His updated Bottom Deal video is great. I’ll work on adjusting the grip to work with my hand shape and size.

8. #8
It definetly is. If you already have that, strike the Madison recommendation. Jason England's tutorial starts of a little more difficult than the Madison BD is (in my opinion), but you can learn extremely well from it.

That also explains why you had difficulty matching it to your grip -- the guy's hands are huge! That makes it all the more important: Fit the grip to your hands.

PS: Here's a thread where Mr England and another guy (who, by the way, has a lot more credibility on card table moves than either of us) discuss this issue: https://www.theory11.com/forums/threads/jason-englands-new-bottom-dealing-tutorial.48533/
(The interesting part begins with the 7th response, from a guy who calls himself "FunkyBottoms".)