To all who are looking to advance their knowledge of The Pass.
This essay was originally written in response to a question asked on the Theory11 forums and was intended to be much shorter than I thought it was going to turn out. All my thoughts kind of ran together so I wrote it out and realized that it could help a lot of people by putting this here as well. I might mention my little description of the pass once or twice in here so forgive me if this seems like it is pointed towards one person in particular. I was asked to give some tips to an up and coming passer, whatever the edited that is lol.
I guess the biggest piece of advice is, don't be afraid. There is no pass in the world that will ever be 100% invisible. Every pass will flash from some angle so you don't need to worry about getting all caught up in every single variant. The best pass, in my opinion, is the classic, or two-handed pass. One of the better descriptions can be found in S.W Erdnase's "Expert at The Card Table" under the first section of shifts.
The best kind of pass you will come upon, is something that can be done smooth, and as silent as possible. That is why I am so devoted to the classic pass. SPeed really doesn't matter. If your audience is burning your hands, you will be caught. That is where misdirection plays a HUGE part here.
Now it all comes down to what pass to use. Like I said above, there are thousands (roughly estimating) of different variants, when only a small handfull of them are actually different and worth learning. But to find your pass, it is important to look in every nook and crannie from the deep margins of books to the dark corners of the world. There is a pass waiting to be discovered, but it is up to YOU to find out which one fits you and your needs. You need you look in every book you can get your hands on. No joke. The advantage of books is that there is more information burried there than in DVDs. Sure you can see the "performer" do the move at speed, but how do you know if they are doing it correctly if you can't learn to comprehend what is being put forth in books
Some of the books that have REALLY good descriptions on the pass are S.W Erdnase's "Expert at THe Card Table", Roberto Giobi's "Card College" (I think it is in volume 2. Don't quote me),Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue's "Expert Card Technique", and Aaron Fisher's book, "The Paper Engine" for an excellent description on his advancements to the Hermann Pass, which is also subjected to a 1-on-1 featured here on Theory11 called the Outjogged Hermann Shift and is, in my honest opinion, one of the few exceptions for videos teaching what is clearly taught in books, because this was such a good video lol. You can of course also go to Richard Kaughman's material on the pass which is REALLY good as well. He published a full book full of information as well as a video tape which has since been converted to DVD. But hey, it's Richard Kaughman lol. I think we can forgive him for that as well lol.
Now that we have covered WHERE you can learn these passes, let's look at a few of these that can be applied to multiple situations and will get you the farthest on your journey with the pass.
>The Two-Handed Shift: This is one of those passes that I love because every other pass is built around it lol. Essentially all you do is put both hands on the deck, when in reality, you really substitute the top and bottom stock(s) of the deck. I said stock(s) becuase you don't have to limit yourself to just the top and bottom halves of the deck. I do the pass sometimes where I need 3 breaks and actually transfer all 3 of them. An EXCELLENT description can be found in The Expert (at the card table) and Card College, again, I think it's volume. 2, but don't quote me on it.
>The Open Shift: This one I have very little to talk about, but it is definitely worth your consideration. It is described very well in S.W Erdnase's book, again, but it is also a VERY easy pass to execute and to be honest with you, if you are just starting out and want to go to an easy to find source, just pick up this book and get working. There are around 6 different shifts taught in this book and this is one of those ones that you can't pass up.
>The One-Handed Shift: Is, without a doubt, the most difficult passes to execute (not even smoothly, but even just to get from point A to point B lol.) If you are just beginning, this will be of no use to you for a couple of years, even if you have a few years of card handling under your belt. I JUST started to get somewhere from this one after 3 years of studying the shift. One of the plus sides to it though, is it can eventually be done really quickly and smoothly and with limited cover. Found in Expert At the Card Table, again!
>S.W.E Shift: I wonder where THIS one came from! The S.W.E SHift was intended to be the most natural, smoothest, most invisible, and BEST pass to perform at the card table. It was designed to be a tabled version of the Longitudinal Shift, found just a few pages before this one in Expert At The Card Table. When I get up to talking about the kind of pass that suits you, I will reference this one to demonstrate how you can't just use any pass whenever you want. You need to use what works for the situation, that is why you need to study every pass, not just the one.
>The Outjogged Hermann Pass: This one was mentioned above as well. If you are looking for a pass that is actually one of the more invisible passes and has a wide variety of applications, you can check out this one. Plus, it is even easier than the Open Shift. What happens in this one, is you have a card outjogged to the side of the deck, and in the action of just tapping it flush, you can execute a nearly perfect shift and the card is on the bottom. I personally love this one the most and think that this one is one of those passes that can only be used appropriately in certain effects and situations, but it can also work JUST as well in others. This can be found in Aaron Fisher's book, "The Paper Engine" and also on video exclusively through Theory11.
Now that I mentioned the 5 best shifts, we need to get you into the fitting room to try on a few. The most important thing you need to look at when researching the pass, is find out how you intend to use it. If you are using it in an effect, you certainly don't need to worry about it being the most invisible pass klnown to man (unless you do), and if you are using it in a gambling demo or at the tables, you DEFINITELY need to make sure it is invisible and can be done with little to no movement of the hands. I mentioned the S.W.E Shift above, and that is because in S.W Erdnase's brief lecture about this sheight, he says that you need to use a pass at the gambling tables that will be invisible. If you pick a classic pass, this looks very unnatural on a table and you need a little bit of action with the hands which can be picked up by another player and they wont like that one bit. This is one that looks best when tabled, or at a natural position on a table. The classic pass looks better at a more casual level. It is important to choose a pass that compliments the feel of the effect, and this even goes to anything. If you were doing a coin routine where things where happening fast, flashy, and extremely visual, you don't want to then go and do a french drop to make a coin vanish. It doesn't fit! Choose your pass how you want it. Aaron Fisher does a really good trick that shows this VERY visually in his Outjogged Hermann Shift video.
3 final tips I can give you on the subject of the pass, are about performance. This is a VERY common mistake I see by people all the time and I hope you never fall into the trap. This is when you squeeze the deck right before the pass is executed. It is something that has been talked about a little bit, but not too much. It is important not to frame the deck. Don't do this because :
1) Don't squeeze the deck. When I see passes, I often see people do them very tightly. What I am saying here is, when you have your right hand over the deck, I see people start to squeeze, RIGHT when the pass is about to be executed. This starts to look VERY unnatural! If you were in a game of cards and the dealer took the deck and started to squeeze them and fiddle with them, would you leave the table or beat the living crap out of him right then and there? You see their skin tighten, bones show, veins bulge. It looks unnatural!
2) You will make sound! When you do the pass, the last thing you want is to have silence, and then you hear *riffle click*. I highly suggest working on the pass until it is flawless and you can do it with no sound at all! If the deck suddenly starts "talking", people are going to look at it and question you.
3) The third and final tip, THE SLEIGHT WILL NOT WORK! If you squeezed both of the packets together very tightly and tried to execute the move, because you are supposed to move the stocks smoothly and lightly, your hands will be squeezing everything together and clumped up, so you won't be able to move the packets appropriately, if you can move them at all!
So there you are. I hope that answered your question. NOW GET TO WORK!