Saturday Night Contest - Roundtable with Jason England

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
1.We've all seen your cheating demonstrations, but what experience do you have actually cheating in the real world? (Not meant to sound cynical)

2. (Add-on to question 1.) Where in the real world did you cheat. Did you cheat in minor casinos or strangers or just for friends.

3. Did you ever cheat in your advantage for money? If so, did you see anything morally wrong against what you were doing?

1: It's limited, but it's real. I've moved in about 2 dozen private games where no one knew anything but my partner. All small to medium stakes, virtually zero danger. Most knew what I was capable of, but didn't realize a partner was the true beneficiary.

2. See above.

3. Of course there is something morally wrong against it. I'm not a thief at heart and derived no real pleasure from being one for the evening. It was an experiment, and one I'm not likely to engage in again. I learned what I needed to from the experience.

Jason
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
1) What is your intention of explaining these gambling-related moves on Theory11? Are you concerned that you may be turning out a new generation of card hustlers?

2) How close are these moves you're explaining being used by active card hustlers? Is there a level of sophistication in these moves that you're leaving out?

3) How important is real-life experience in perfecting these gambling techniques available at Theory11? In today's game, what would be the repercussions of being caught trying to use these moves?

1. Simply to show people how the moves should look (at least my interpretation of the moves...I don't have a monopoly on the "right way" of doing them) and encourage people to learn. Card hustlers have to be thieves by their nature. You probably have all the "skills" you need to knock over liquor stores right now. Do you do so?

2. They're extremely close technically speaking, but I'm not teaching any of the proper context to make them useful to real cheaters. I'm also not terribly interested in teaching those things, but I enjoy discussing them with others from time to time. That level of contextual "sophistication" (to borrow your term) could be determined by anyone with a basic understanding of real card play, but it's not something I'll likely share in a forum like this.

3. For magic purposes, you need very little "real life" experience. The world of the cheater and the world of the magician are very different. Regardless, the repercussions of getting caught vary, but little has changed since Kepplinger's time.

You do remember what happened to him don't you?

Jason
 

JasonEngland

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

A book by Darwin Ortiz would be a fine choice. I began with Darwin Ortiz At the Card Table. It's a great resource.

Jason
 

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
1,796
191
35
Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
luisvega.com.mx
what do you do besides card work to relax? or besides being a magician is there any art you are interested?

how can you combine 2 arts to push both forward?

I do have a more elaborate question....I met a magician that only did the slip force...and very and I mean very basic card magic...he said he was a proffesional, but when I ask him of why he only did that force, he told me that I was wasting my time by learning other forces and sleights...that the spectators will never suspect anything even if you use the same force 1000 times....what do you think about this?
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
what do you do besides card work to relax? or besides being a magician is there any art you are interested?

how can you combine 2 arts to push both forward?

I do have a more elaborate question....I met a magician that only did the slip force...and very and I mean very basic card magic...he said he was a proffesional, but when I ask him of why he only did that force, he told me that I was wasting my time by learning other forces and sleights...that the spectators will never suspect anything even if you use the same force 1000 times....what do you think about this?

I love movies and books. Both help me to relax when I need a break from magic or gambling stuff.

I have no idea how to combine two arts to push both forward. If I've ever achieved anything remotely like that it's been a mixture of several concepts, not the least of which is luck.

I think you could do great magic with only a small set of tools, but why would you want to? You could probably build a house with only a hammer and a hand saw, but, again why would you want to limit yourself? You'll get much better results with a wider variety of specialized tools that are custom made for specific purposes, whether you're building a house or trying to entertain.

A great performer with a small set of tools will probably be better off than an amateur with lots of tools, but the best of all is a great performer with lots of tools at his/her disposal. Don't limit yourself.

Jason
 
Dec 18, 2009
399
1
Jason,

Do you prefer a zarrow shuffle over a push-throw? Or do you have another that you find superior to both of them?

Corbin
 

JasonEngland

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

Do you prefer a zarrow shuffle over a push-throw? Or do you have another that you find superior to both of them?

Corbin

I probably use the Zarrow more often, but it's not really because of any visual preference. I think they look the same (to laymen) when done correctly. Both appear just to be shuffles.

But, since you have to cut after a push-through or strip-out shuffle and you don't have to do so after a Zarrow, I seem to use the Zarrow more frequently.

The best false shuffle sequences that I know use a combination of the two.

Jason
 
Oct 29, 2009
971
0
Just around
Hey Jason. Do you think it's better to use a double lift with misdirection, like Aaron Fisher says in his podcast. The move should be done as the hands meet.

Or do you think a double should be something that looks extremely convincing, so that the audience can burn your hands and still be convinced, even if the splitting rate is higher? Like some of the doubles on you 1on1?
 
Sep 3, 2007
1,255
0
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.

Point taken. Thanks.
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Hey Jason. Do you think it's better to use a double lift with misdirection, like Aaron Fisher says in his podcast. The move should be done as the hands meet.

Or do you think a double should be something that looks extremely convincing, so that the audience can burn your hands and still be convinced, even if the splitting rate is higher? Like some of the doubles on you 1on1?

I think it depends on the focus of the routine. If the double is done on an offbeat simply to display the top card, perhaps one that was just shuffled and cut there, seemingly at random, then it's probably proper to have your spectator's focus on you and only look downwards as the double is falling face up on the deck.

However, in an effect like the ambitious card, you want to be crystal clear that no "funny business" is occurring between the time the audience sees the selection go into the middle and when it arrives back on top. In this situation, I think allowing the spectators to focus elsewhere, even for a second, dilutes the effect of the card magically arriving on top.

In short, it depends, and there are few hard and fast rules.

Jason
 
Dec 18, 2009
399
1
Jason,

Do you feel a center deal or greek deal is more for demonstration of skill than actual use in games?

Do you like Psuedo-gambling demonstrations or real sleight of hand ones?

I think it's great of you to take your time to answer more of the communities questions.

Thanks, Corbin
 

JasonEngland

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

Do you feel a center deal or greek deal is more for demonstration of skill than actual use in games?

Do you like Psuedo-gambling demonstrations or real sleight of hand ones?

I think it's great of you to take your time to answer more of the communities questions.

Thanks, Corbin

Absolutely. Center deals and Greek deals are demonstration moves only, by and large. Are there hustlers out there that have used these moves in real games? Sure there are. But they've not been anyone's "bread and butter" moves.

Not only are they incredibly difficult, but they fly in the face of how most crooked card games are structured in the first place. In theory they're terrific moves. In practice, they're little more than curiosities.

Jason

PS: In case it wasn't clear from the first sentence above, I think both moves are GREAT for demos. They just aren't the "super-moves" that people think they are in the world of crooked gambling.
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Jason,
2)If you had the power to change the entire magic industry as a whole, what would you change?

I realize this wasn't your only question, but it's one I'd like to answer specifically.

There are any number of things I'd change about magic if I had the power, but one of the things I'd change is something you actually all have the power to change yourself.

If I could give one bit of advice to people that want to improve their magic and/or knowledge, it's this: be a real person.

Drop the internet "CB handles" immediately and begin posting, performing and writing under your real name.

You have no idea how many emails I get from people that don't introduce themselves, ask a question or two of me, and then don't even bother to sign their name at the end of the email.

You know what I do with those emails? Without exception, I delete them. I refuse to answer questions of people that can't be bothered to tell me who they are. Even if I do know their names, I'll often ignore them because I can't help but think that anyone that calls themselves

amodernmagician, sirfansalot, True2Coins, TheCardician, magicman123-2, Perceptiv3CardMagic, Wildereachday, moviesandmagic3, scarecrow1, Jakeyboy, lilstunna, CardClip928, Sidekick, Cold Agent, industrialchild, Reaper, Z-Magic, cardartist23, King of Spades, tally-ho, itwasluck, or creeper

can't possibly be serious about their magic or their performances.

And I can assure you I'm not the only one. Do any of you think Steve Forte would come to the phone if his wife said, "Honey, magicman123 is on the phone for you."? Give me a break.

He'd look at her with an "Are you kidding me?" look on his face and that would be the end of it. I could name a dozen top magicians that feel the exact same way. Some of them are more tolerant than I am, but all of them roll their eyes at the notion of talking to some moronic internet handle instead of a real person.

The recipients of your emails, phone calls, posts on a magic forum and even old-fashioned letters all deserve at least one thing: an introduction up front and a signature at the end to let us know who you we're talking to.

If you're serious about this stuff, isn't it time we heard from the real you? If you're not, don't waste my time.

Jason

PS: As most of you are no doubt aware, I culled all the "CB handles" listed above from this very thread. This isn't meant as a personal attack on any of you in any way. I'm simply pointing out the fact that many of you are unwittingly putting up a brick wall that is actually preventing you from accessing the very information and people that you desire the most.
 
Dec 18, 2009
399
1
I can't believe people wouldn't sign their emails. I do my best to sign my name as often as I can and I'm 13.I'll try harder to sign my posts and emails, though, because not only is it stupid, but it's just impolite to not let people know who they're talking to... Thanks for answering our questions Jason!

Corbin
 
Apr 5, 2009
874
1
26
Illinois
I hate it when amateur magicians prattle on about "real magic" and how being a sleight-of-hand expert "lowers the impact" when they perform. Every time I hear that I just smile and shake my head, knowing that they have no idea what they're talking about. Incidentally, they are almost invariably NOT sleight-of-hand experts themselves, and I often suspect they justify not being so with this line of ridiculous reasoning. Just my experience.

Don't be that guy.

Jason

hey Jason,

if your still answering questions would you mind elaborating on this. it interests me. but at the same time puzzles.

sincerely,
Web Gehring
 

JasonEngland

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

At its core, the paragraph you highlighted simply means that it's okay for your audiences to know that you have skill with cards, coins, or whatever it is that you're using to perform magic.

Many magicians, usually, but not always, amateurs with little real performing experience, claim that if your audience knows that you have great skill that it somehow "weakens" the performance.

They are essentially claiming that the intellectual knowledge that you have skills provides a "way out" for our spectators and that therefore the emotional impact (the astonishment) is weakened.

Sounds okay so far. There's just one problem - everyday experience tells us that emotional conviction is separate from intellectual knowledge.

If you go see a movie, intellectually you understand that virtually none of what you're seeing is real, barring the case of a documentary.

You know that the crazed killer isn't real, yet you're scared. You know that bicycles can't fly, yet the hairs stand up on your arms and neck when E.T. and Elliot take flight. You know that Stallone isn't really getting beaten up, yet you cheer for Rocky regardless.

What's going on here? How is it that we can have very convincing emotional experiences in a theatrical setting even with all of this intellectual knowledge that none of it is real?

The truth is I'm not sure why it's not only possible, but so easy. But the fact remains that as humans, our emotions are not always tied to what we know intellectually.

Back to magic...

I'm almost always introduced in private and corporate shows as being a world-class expert with a deck of cards. If giving such knowledge to your spectators is so damaging, how is it possible that I'm able to amaze and astound the people I perform for?

Well, it's possible because of what we learned earlier. No matter how much you "know" about film-making and what's possible and impossible in real life, your emotions will react first to any theatrical stimulus. The intellect may catch up later and say, "well, that was just good acting and CGI", but in the moment your emotions were what mattered.

My audiences may eventually calm down and discuss possible methodologies, perhaps during a break or on the drive home. More than likely, they won't come to any correct specific conclusions, but they may rightly realize that what they had just seen was great sleight of hand.

My reaction? I'm fine with it! I no more care about what my spectators think of AFTER the show than a director cares about what you discuss regarding his film after the show. Do you think James Cameron really wants intellectual conviction that the world depicted in Avatar really exists? Of course not. All he wants is for you to feel that it exists and become absorbed in the story during the actual film. Afterwards it's okay for your intellect to rewind and examine everything you've seen (if you're so inclined). He doesn't care at that point, because he had you when it mattered.

Now, with magic, it's a little bit different. While I don't mind my audiences coming to the conclusion that what they've seen is based upon my skills and knowledge, I don't want them actually hitting upon any actual, specific methods. So, while I don't care if they think my skill is what enabled me to do the Ambitious Card, I'd rather they didn't know about passes, Tilt, double-lifts, etc.

I'm a big believer in the idea that the experience of an audience member seeing modern magic is basically this: the senses (usually the eyes) report to the vision center of the brain that they've just seen some phenomenon. Another part of the brain, the intellect, analyses the "claim" made by the eyes and concludes, "didn't happen...that's impossible." What you get is an internal argument between what the eyes insist they saw and what the brain "knows" is impossible. This internal struggle, which could be frightening if experienced in a non-theatrical setting, is eventually found to be exciting and fascinating. We call it wonder, astonishment, magic, or whatever. Most people find it enjoyable, a few find it threatening to their egos.

Assuming you agree with me that this internal struggle is what's going on inside the minds of your spectators, then you'd have to agree that one piece of the equation is the intellectual knowledge of what's possible or impossible. What this means is that the only way you'll get the proper reaction from your spectators is if they DO NOT believe in real magic. If they did believe, their brain would simply accept the incoming visual information from the eyes and there would be no internal conflict. That's not astonishment, that's acceptance.

I don't want my audiences to intellectually accept what they've seen as "real magic", I want their rational brains to scream out, "That's impossible!" while the other part of their brain is saying, "But we just witnessed it!"

In short, magic is a sub-set of theater (although we occasionally try to hide the fact that we're in a theater). As a result, we're after the exact same things that great movies are after: an emotionally engaging experience, not a intellectually convincing one.

Jason

PS: Obviously, for every broad generalization I've given here, there may be exceptions where the exact opposite might be true. But the above characterizes how most of the best and most successful magicians in the world approach their performances, at least with regard to whether or not they're after emotional belief vs intellectual conviction.
 
Oct 29, 2009
971
0
Just around
Jason, I can totally agree with you about not signing names or anything like that, but you can't seriously say that anybody who doesn't use their real names on and internet forum is not serious about their magic? I actually think it would be cool to have used my real name now that I think about it, but just cause I took a random name doesn't mean I'm not serious about my magic.
Sure, some people aren't going to be serious, but I'm sure many of the guys on here are quite serious about their magic (Steerpike, RDChopper, Keokesilverfang, visualartist, and many other people). It's just an internet forum. It's just a name.

I totally respect you, and am not trying to be rude in any way, I just think it's a bit silly to say anybody not using their real name is not serious about their magic.
 

JasonEngland

theory11 artist / card mechanic
Nov 7, 2008
158
23
Las Vegas, NV
Dear (ahem) scarecrow1,

I didn't say it was impossible to have an internet handle and be serious about your magic. I just said it was hard for me to believe that they take their magic seriously.

Ask yourself this: beyond the 4 seconds of giggles you get when you come up with a cutesy internet name, what benefit is there to it?

You're probably too young to remember CB handles from the 1970s, but today's internet handles have exactly as much class, status, and sophistication.

Think what you want about them, but they hurt your ability to progress in magic.

Jason
 
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