Saturday Night Contest - Roundtable with Jason England

Sep 3, 2007
1,255
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Should we then only perform according to : Darwin Ortiz disucsses this at length in his Strong Magic.

Or, can we perform the way we want to?

By the WAY! Are you a girl or a boy!~ Just a joke bro. Hope you take it lightly.
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
What noticeable differences are there between the reactions of spectators while performing a simple trick as opposed to a more advanced trick?

Are there some sleights that you prefer to practice on your own for fun but rarely show to spectators?

What sleights are you currently learning for the first time?


Thank you!

Although this is a generalization, more advanced tricks often get better responses, simply because the effect plays bigger. For example, a signed card to a sealed envelope in your wallet (requiring palming techniques), will typically play much better and bigger than a simple location of a signed selection in the deck.

The first is impossible, the second is merely puzzling, although both can be made entertaining of course.

There are many sleights I only practice for myself. Most of the passes in Erdnase are things I do just for fun. I also experiment with funky palms and passes that rarely find their way into my actual performances. I like having a lot of "tools" and more than one way to achieve an effect, so I experiment frequently, even if the experiments don't always pan out.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
What was the most memorable experience you have shared with steve forte?

What are some books you recommend for someone other than the obvious expert at the card table and expert card technique?

Easily the most memorable experience was watching him handle a deck of cards in person for the first time.

It was a 6-hour session and I left his house thinking I'd just seen the greatest card handler that has ever lived.

Many years and thousands of hours with him later, I now know I was right.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Have you ever dealt poker at a casino? Were you ever allowed in house poker games? What is your fascination with collecting dice?

Only for a television show, The Takedown.

I have however, taken a poker dealing class here in Las Vegas a year or so ago. So, I've had the training. Incidentally, I passed with flying colors. The instructor (who knew nothing of my passion/experience with cards) said I was "a natural."

Who would've guessed?

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
2. Do you prefer a seated performance, or standing up and why?

I actually prefer to perform standing, but with a table at just above waist height. This probably stems from doing magic behind a bar for a few years.

If I can't do that, I'd choose seated with spectators up close.

Jason
 
Sep 3, 2007
1,255
0
Only for a television show, The Takedown.

I have however, taken a poker dealing class here in Las Vegas a year or so ago. So, I've had the training. Incidentally, I passed with flying colors. The instructor (who knew nothing of my passion/experience with cards) said I was "a natural."

Who would've guessed?

Jason

I got it. You went to school. Wanna answer any of my questions?
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Which magician has had the most influence on your performances?

Do you think many of todays magicians underestimate the use of the simplest sleights? For instance the double lift instead of a pass.

Do you have any tips when it comes to dealing with what magicians call "hecklers"?

Probably Vernon, though I never met him. I'm very influenced by his writings and the writings of his students.

Actually, I find it the opposite. Too many guys think the double-lift (or double-undercut) do the same thing as a pass. The tough moves often can accomplish things that no other moves can. Don't forget that.

At 6'4" and 290 pounds, I have few experiences with hecklers. Sorry.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
1. Would you advise performing a double lift without any misdirection whats so ever while completely surrounded? (If so what technique would you recommend?)

2. What really makes you want to get up in the morning and teach, perform and practice card magic? (What is the driving force behind your passion?)

3. What card effect would you recommend for a magician just starting to perform and only has two effects in his/her repertoire?

I advise performing techniques and effects that are commensurate with your skill level. If you're capable, knock yourself out. If you're not, practice more. When you're ready (or very close to it), you'll know.

I love to learn. That's what keeps me reading.

There are dozens of great ones. Giobbi's Card College series is a good modern resource.

Jason
 

Casey Rudd

Social Director // theory11 interactive
Staff member
Jun 5, 2009
3,064
2,764
Charleston, SC
www.instagram.com
I got it. You went to school. Wanna answer any of my questions?

Fansalot, the reason why he isnt answering any of your questions is because you are being immature and impatient. If you are patient, you will get the best advice from someone who's seen it all, and pretty much knows it all that has TRUE EXPERIENCE. Tone it down, you're not accomplishing anything by annoying Jason.

And Jason, thanks for answering my questions! I will definitely be searching up on those books.

But since I don't have much money at all, I can't get all of the books or DVDs. Besides Expert at the Card Table and Expert Card Technique (I have them both already), what is ONE book you would recommend? (My guess is something by Darwin Ortiz, but I just want to know).

Thank you for taking the time to answer all of these questions, my double lift and second deal is highly improving by your instruction. :) . Take care and wish you all the best!

Cheers,

Casey Rudd
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Hey Jason, I have but the utmost respect for your work and your teaching methods and I really enjoyed SHADE. My questions to you are:
1. Aside from practice, what would you say is the most important factor in deceiving someone at the card table. Would it be confidence? or perhaps a certain calmness with a touch of misdirection?

2. In the Zarrow Shuffle 1-on-1 you use classical bee playing cards because thats what Zarrow used, but my question is that would you find an all over back pattern more deceptive than lets say Bee Stingers? Could you please tell me your personal opinion and what you prefer.

3. In the movie SHADE, Sly Stallone uses an up the sleeve card holder and a Juice deck. I know they must exist in the con mans arsenal and I have seen many sites offering juiced decks with variable printing options but, my question is could you tell me the best place to go to for such items for my collection?

Thanks again J. Bayme and Jason England.. I appreciate these 1-on-1s the most but am still missing some that I want. Thanks and hope to see more in the future! - Lane


Never really thought about the first question. The truth is it's a mixture of things: knowledge, technical ability, innate intelligence, charisma and a host of other things will all play a role in being entertaining. If you lack in a particular area (I don't think I'm particularly funny in performance), try and make up for it in another area.

Actually, I used Aristocrat cards for the Zarrow 1-on-1. In the hands of an expert, allover back design cards aren't crucial. In the hands of a beginner, they might certainly help some. The same goes for false deals.

Most of the best stuff isn't sold online, but in person. Having said that, try here: www.markedcards.org

That guy sells quality stuff and knows what he's talking about.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
1. You have a large collection of gambling objects, i.e. loaded dice, a joker from a bicycle deck from the late 1800's, etc. I was wondering what is your favorite piece in your collection?

Probably the first edition Erdnase, but I might go with something else on any given day. I own some private items that belonged to Forte that are very special to me.

Jason
 
Sep 1, 2007
1,247
1
In your opinion, whats the most underrated/underused card move of all time?

In your opinion, what was the most innovative or revolutionary sleight released the past decade? (2000-2010)
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Jason

1. What do you think of hypnotism used in a magic routine?

2. How would you help an amateur magician trying to make it into a profession?

3. If you could get a six-player poker game going with anyone (alive/or dead) who would it be?


Thanks for the awesome chance to pick your brain!!

I can't answer the first question because I think it's meaningless as written. As far as I can tell, there is no consensus on what would constitute a working definition of hypnosis that we could all agree upon. In short, I think hypnosis is 98% B.S. and 2% science.

Find a place to perform at all costs. Preferably for complete laymen that are different every night. Your friends and classmates don't count, or at least they don't count for much. Other magicians are even worse.

Steve Forte, Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller, Erdnase, Frank Thompson and me. (I'm not in their league, I just want to be there to watch.)

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Love your work and your teaching style. I've always had these questions in mind to PM you but now that I've got a chance to do it on a SNL, this is the perfect opportunity!

We know your technical level of expertise. Still no matter how clean you're sleights are, there's much more to being a professional magician.

1) Regarding presentation and showmanship, what foundational resources would you recommend?

2) What resources would you recommend in learning effect-construction and or routining?

3) Outside of magic, who are 2 or 3 of your heroes? How did they influence you or in what ways did they challenge you to grow?

In putting together a 45 minute set, one will put 7 to 15 tricks in a routine. Eventually, one puts in the time to learning moves just because we love learning not necessarily to put them into an act.

4) what are the top 8 to 10 MUST sleights every magician should learn and get performance ready?

5) do you have any pre-performance rituals that bring out the best in you?


For presentational techniques, Darwin Ortiz's Strong Magic and Ken Weber's Maximum Entertainment are both great books. Our Magic is a great book on magic theory as well.

With cards, Darwin Ortiz's Designing Miracles along with his three trick books, At the Card Table, Cardshark, and Scams and Fantasies.

Well, my Dad was pretty inspiring in a few ways. He can do the kinds of things that human calculators can do (rapidly add large columns of numbers and multiply 3 and 4 digit numbers by other 3 or 4 digit numbers). Only, he doesn't have a system. He does it the same way you or I would do it via paper and pencil...just really, really fast and in his head. It's pretty amazing.

I once asked him why he was so fast at rapid multiplication with large numbers. He said, "Well, it helps to have your multiplication tables memorized up to 100 x 100."

He was serious.

As for the moves, in no particular order, I'd pick these 13 as terrific moves with tons of basic utility:

Classic pass
Classic force
Top palm
Bottom palm
False overhand shuffles
False tabled shuffles
Riffle stacking ability
Faro (in the hands)
Double lift
Second deal
Bottom deal
Top change
False cut

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Hey Jason, you are simply one of the best there is and I admire the skill you have. I have 3 questions for you:


1. I know that you perform gambling demonstrations, but what type of card magic do you typically perform. Do you combine magic with gambling demonstrations? If so, do you then represent your magic as pure sleight of hand?

2. How do audience reactions differ from when you perform gambling demonstrations then of that when you perform magic? Do you perform magic as sleight of hand, or as something magical?

3. Would you ever consider producing an Erdnase Expert at the Card Table DVD-set similar to the one made by Wesley James? Do you think that a set of DVD's could ever do the book justice?


Most of my magic with cards is rooted in the classics. Triumph, Ambitious Card, Out of this World, Dunbury's Delusion, Card to wallet/pocket, and Card Under the Drink are all classics I've used and continue to use all the time.

I don't represent my magic as anything necessarily. When I perform for people, it's usually understood or acknowledged by them within a few moments that they're watching an expert with a deck of cards, although I never come right and say so. I've actually been asked directly by spectators though, and I vary my response depending on a variety of circumstances.

One thing to consider though: I have effects that are very strong that are clearly not possible with sleight of hand. An Out of this World type trick is just one example, although many memorized deck effects also fit the bill. By mixing very strong effects that DON'T use sleight of hand, with very strong effects that DO use sleight of hand, you can create an environment where the spectator is kept off-guard and constantly looking for something that isn't there (at least not when he's looking for it).

The combination can (hopefully) eventually cause them to stop trying to spot anything and give up. They surrender intellectually and just sit back and enjoy.

Question 3: I hope not.

Question 3a: I used to think there was a good way to do this. These days I don't. The goal of any sane person trying to make a book like Erdnase into a DVD should be to improve upon some element of the book by transferring it to a new or different medium. I've decided that this isn't really possible. You can make it different, but you can't make it better. If I can't make it better then I'm not interested.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Would you consider yourself more of a gambler or a magician?

Well, I don't gamble all that frequently, so I'm definitely more of a magician. However, I do read about gambling constantly. Was looking through several books just this evening at the bookstore near me. So, I'm really more of an "interested party" when it comes to gambling than a dyed-in-the-wool gambler.

I can play blackjack fairly well (I'm a very solid basic strategy player) and can count cards on a very basic level. But...I know what it takes to be a world-class card counter and I'm not interested.

Poker is the same. I've played in several tournaments and home games, as well as ring games in casinos here in Vegas. I could probably be a good poker player if I devoted my time and energy to it (i seem to have the proper discipline and basic skills), but I'm just not that interested.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
2) Jason, I own a few of the 1-on-1's that you teach. With regard to the center deal in particular (although this would apply to any difficult sleight), I've had a lot of difficulty with it; it almost seems like I'm making zero progress on the sleight. I realize it's a difficult sleight, and will take time to master. However, do you have any (general) advice for practicing difficult sleights such as these? Anything to make the learning process a little less...harsh?

Yes. Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Are you an accomplished second and bottom dealer? If not, I would tell you to immediately stop trying to center deal and practice those sleights instead. First of all, they are much more useful than the center deal. Secondly, lessons that are imbedded in those moves will transfer to the center deal when you are ready to tackle it.

The same type of progression or evolution of easy to difficult sleights can be used in other areas:

Two-handed palm before the one-handed palm
Classic pass before a top or bottom-card cover pass
In-the-hands faro before tabled faro

You get the idea. Walk first, then run. We'll worry about flying later.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Do you think that Street magic is here to stay?

Is there any way that you think the magic community could be improved ?, from relations between elders and youngsters, to the time it takes before a trick should be put out on themarket.

In what way do you think that you have changed the art of magic for the better?

I can't help but roll my eyes at the mere mention of the words "street magic." Street magic is magic done on a street? Well then yes, it's here to stay. So is racquetball court magic, mall magic, airplane magic, hotel room magic, Disneyland magic, and a zillion other places that you can pester someone into watching a trick or two.

Great street performers (experts at their craft that happen to perform in public settings) have been around for hundreds of years and I hope we never lose them.

Street magic in the sense of teenage morons accosting homeless people into watching some ****ty trick they learned a week ago just hoping for a "WTF?" moment so that their buddy can film it with his camera phone is probably also here to stay.

But I wish it wasn't.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
1) Where, in the US, do you believe is the highest concentration of good card magicians?

2) Do you prefer a set practice schedule, or do you free wheel more? Meaning, do you have X, Y and Z that you practice, or do you just work on whatever you like?

3) What has inspired your outlook in life the most? A book, a movie or play, for example, that has really inspired your thought processes and view of life.

Los Angeles probably.

I no longer have a set practice schedule, but I used to and I still highly recommend it for beginners. When I do practice, I mostly practice sleights, but occasionally run through entire routines, especially if they're not something I do frequently.

3: Great movies, great books, great friends.

Just some of the non-magic books that I've enjoyed over the years:

Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos (or any of his other books)
Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely (a relatively recent book, but a good one nonetheless).

Any book by Martin Gardner
Any of the Calvin and Hobbes books by Bill Watterson
Any of the Far Side books by Gary Larsen
Any Bill Hicks comedy album. Add George Carlin and Richard Pryor to that list too.
Any Bill Bryson book.

That should bet you started.

Jason
 
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