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 Post subject: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:12 am 
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With Ellusionist coming out with Daniel Madison's new DVD, Mechanic, I was hoping to get some of your opinions on which DVD I should go for in order to expand my knowledge on gambling moves.

I understand that Mechanic isn't available for purchase yet, so some opinions will probably be to wait it out, and I can't respect that.

However Ellusionist has earned a rather bad reputation when it comes to magic DVDs, and that worries me, but the marketing method used for mechanic is surprisingly different. No fast paced videos with graffiti in the background, or promises to learn the moves quick and simple, just a story. This peaks my interest, but at the same time I'm rather weary.

So far my knowledge in the Card Table Genre is very limited, basically what I've skimmed over in Expert at the Card Table, and I have too much on my reading list to want to jump back to that right now... So a DVD sounds nice for now.

Enough about me and my thoughts, what do y'all think?


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 11:11 am 
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I absolutely love Ellusionist's line of playing cards, I bought 40 packs of the red 1800 decks alone. They put out some top-notch gear. I can't say enough good things about them in these areas.

HOWEVER, I have been disappointed by Ellusionist's DVDs time and again, mainly because they're way overpriced for what you receive. After watching the ad for the Mechanic DVD I can tell you right now it should sell for $30 max.

I've never heard of Danial Madison until recently, and have never seen him perform LIVE at a convention or lecture where we could view his true skill. With enough re-takes anyone could perform flawlessly what we witness on the ad for the Mechanic.

I always pay attention to what is NOT reviewed in the magic magazines. There's a reason for it and it's usually fear of criticism or the product isn't that great and a review could do more harm than good.

Cestdesconneries, your hesitation at laying out $80 for this DVDs is justified. Let's wait until the reviews are out from Magic and Genii magazines, mylovelyassistant.com has always been straight, too. One thing I have learned is NEVER BELIEVE FIVE STAR REVIEWS. I'm more interested in the guy who gives it 1 or 2 stars and what bothers him about the product. And definately don't believe the Ellusionist customer reviews, they're always too good to be true and written by magicians no one has ever heard of.

There are plenty of books and DVDs on crooked gambling out there. For starters there are the bibles of crooked gambling, GAMBLING SCAMS by Darwin Ortiz, 52 WAYS TO CHEAT AT POKER by Allan Kronzek (this little book is loaded with a hard to find secrets), REVELATION by Dai Vernon, I could go on. My favorite set of DVDs on crooked gambling is Steve Forte's GAMBLING PROTECTION SERIES. Steve also has a $200 book on the subject strictly used by casinos (it's unbelievable and worth every penny). This review wouldn't be complete without the following book, here's a link to it on Amazon (it has every trick in the book...quite literally):

http://www.amazon.com/How-Cheat-Everyth ... mon+lovell

I just bought JACK CARPENTER'S EXPERT GAMBLING ROUTINES. The material is geared toward the card mechanic who wants to give crooked gambling demonstrations. Darwin Ortiz (mentioned above) also has a 10-volume set of DVDs on very advanced crooked gambling using sleight-of-hand with cards (this material would take half a lifetime to perfect). I've got books and DVDs on everything from hand mucking to dozens of ways to mark cards to how to build your crooked gambling equipment (my favorite is a juice table used to control loaded dice).

And lastly, here is my little gift to you for reading my rants this far. For years the most highly sought after HBO special in their history, 'Ricky Jay & His 52 Assistants'. It's on Youtube so it's in 4 parts, here is the first 1/4 (watch them all):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQmNuRZU4nQ


If you need more help feel free to PM me, I've bought every book, dvd (and vhs tape) on crooked gambling that's come out in the last 40 years.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 4:48 am 
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I couldn't find all 4 parts of that video on my phone, but there is a 6 part video set of it that has all the parts :) absolutely loved that performance, even if the man is a little strange, haha.

I appreciate your input on the reviews, I would usually just read through everything and go with the consensus, but that seems flawed the more I think about it.

During my original post, my only idea on Crooked Gambling was card mechanics... Mentioning all the things you did, I'm very interested in the knowledge some of those books contain.

I went ahead and took you up on the offer to PM you, I'd like to learn more about these methods.

Even after trying to focus on Mentalism (which I've been doing lately), I find it impossible to leave my cards alone for more than a day. I've already got a few moves down for the card table, but my skill set isn't extensive.

Thank you for your help and time,
TJ


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:40 am 
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Hi, I am seeing that there is an interest in mechanics and gambling. I don't use the word "cheat", I use mainly "out-wit"..

Just coming in on the tail end of this thread, but since I was a pro-gambler for well over 40 years (retired), I know about the physical and mental part of being a mechanic and using it to make a living.

Will get back when I get a chance.. BTW, having looked at those vids at all. I did see the "cold deck" move by a someone called "doc", and that was one of my bread and butter moves. I did it exactly the way the "doc" did it, and I never was caught. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 11:53 am 
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I just purchased Mechanic, to this point all my gambling know how is from books. I'll report on it later. I assume Foundations will be more specific on the details of certain moves. Mechanic looks a little bit more like an overview of moves.

As far as Ellusionist and their DVD quality goes, in the past they weren't great but now the quality of their products have really been elevated. They've done a better job the past few years.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 10:59 pm 
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goatears,

Feel free to keep this thread updated on your thoughts and opinions on the DVD, I'm very curious on the quality and depth of the Mechanic DVD! I hope you're satisfied, for your wallet's sake.

cehowardrc51,

I'm glad to hear about your success at the table over the years! The concept of out-witting another player definitely feels more justifying as well, almost takes some anxiety away.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:46 pm 
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Alrighty! Here's a review.

Mechanic by Daniel Madison is an overview of many popular moves one could use to cheat at cards. For those of you who aren't familiar Daniel Madison is a reformed gambler. He used to cheat at card for his own gain until one day he played with the wrong guys and ended up in the hospital. After a long recovery he was told by family that some of his card moves looked like magic. He embraced this similarity and has been releasing his discoveries to the magic community for the past few years.

He claims to have discovered most of the moves he discusses independently, even if he hasn't he has a distinct style to the way he presents these move. It is very raw and nowhere near as elegant as Jason England, Richard Turner, or Darwin Ortiz. The way he treats the cards and the sleights is unconventional to magic, he is clear that he doesn't use the moves like a magician would though, and the distinction between the two styles are significant.

Given his rough, handling of the cards he is very skilled. He covers most of the moves described in Erdnase with the addition of a couple modern moves such as a simple mucking method, thoughts on marked cards and a deck switch.

This is a nice overview of some of the classic moves of gambling cheats. It is aimed at those who know very little about gambling moves and we get to hear about what works and doesn't work at a card table. This is not the best resource for magicians who want to look like gambling pros. Madison's style is messy for a purpose, to take the heat off of him in a game. I think that those looking to entertain would profit more from Jack Carpenter or Darwin Ortiz. Somebody looking to sharpen up might go for Steve Forte and someone looking for an in depth academic look at the moves would be better to go with Marlo, Jason England or Jon Racherbaumer.

For the price you get a sampling of most of the popular moves in gambling with the exception of stacking, faros, and culls. The shear amount of moves shared is worth the price. If you are familiar with Erdnase though I might skip this as you probably know most of what is discussed.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Wed Aug 21, 2013 8:39 pm 
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Very well thought-out review, thank you goatears.

Could you comment on the amount of controls in the DVD, and the practicality of them? Switches and false-deals are nice, but I'd like to have enough controls to cheat whenever I'd like/need-to, not to mention peaking methods to know what cards I'm controlling...

All I need is a couple of methods to false-deal, false-shuffle, switch, and palm, but all of that is useless if I can't do them on the cards I need to.

Hopefully I'm not asking too much, I'm just extremely curious and need to be conservative with my purchases.

I do own Expert at the Card Table, so chances are I should probably just read through that, and adapt the idea of being sloppy to take off heat. I just have a lot of material I already need to read for performing and education, and sadly I'm not a tremendously fast reader, so DVDs are my preferred route for things I don't have labeled as "vital" right now.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:51 am 
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So to get cards where he needs to he does a couple things. He divulges a marking system so he knows what card are where. This looks very usable in a game of cards.

There are no peaks, culls or stacking methods taught but there are a few controls and a deck switch. The deck switch is fairly bold. There are a few different passes taught including his own pass that is completely invisible, and a table pass. There are a couple variations to the diagonal palm shift which were interesting and 4 or 5 false cuts and shuffles. Most of the cuts were classics with his thoughts interjected.

His strategy seemed more like holding out good cards as they came into play and ringing them in at the right moment. He didn't really give practical cheating advice. Mostly he taught what sleights you could get away with at the card table.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 8:03 pm 
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Thank you for the information :) I appreciate it goatears.

Out of curiousity, is a Diagnal Palm Shift even usable at the card table? I mean, it seems kinda strange to just take a card and put it in the middle of the deck like that...


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:26 am 
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Maybe it you were taking a couple cards that you misdealt, turned over prematurely or if you were shuffling the discard you might get away with casually "losing" a few cards in the deck.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 1:24 pm 
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I find it difficult to perform just about any and all crooked gambling moves and techniques while seated, I have to be standing. Especially things like the Pass, or in this case, the Diagonal Palm. I prefer to think of myself as a dealer, who is almost always standing. The one time where seating is prefered in Hand Mucking (switching cards in play).

George Joseph wrote a whole book on Hand Mucking, which took me almost twenty years to find a copy (this was the pre-internet era, circa 1983). Mr. Joseph also has three or four DVDs out with titles like 'Cheating at Poker', 'Cheating at Blackjack, Cheating at Dice', etc. (I'm not sure if they're all still available, at only $19.95 they went fast, and were worth far more than twenty bucks a pop).

Environment is very important and must be taken into consideration when performing. For some reason I'm picturing a NY City back alley street hustler 'tossing the broads' in the middle of the winter using a old cardboard box as a table. Imagine dong this with a heavy coat and mittens on. I used to cut slits in the fingertips (index fingers) of my leather gloves so my finger tips could poke through when needed (this is something I learned from a corrections officer so he could squeeze the trigger on his gun if need be). I immediately saw the potential of this glove trick for magicians.

For clarity, put a (leather) glove on, turn your hand so the palm is facing you. Imagine a one to two inch slit cut going through the fleshy tip (not the fingernail side). Mark this slit with a pencil or pen. Take off glove and put a carrot in that finger. Take a razor blade and cut the pre-marked slit in the glove. You should now be able to move your fingertip in and out of that slit.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:13 pm 
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The classic pass is hard to do if the table comes up high on you. False deals, mucking and things I'm comfortable doing standing up as well as sitting.

I LOVE performances with context. I personally don't gamble so I really I look for the most entertaining way I can to perform these moves because I only use them in performance. Marlo has a handful of bottom deals that have great context. He talks about how cheaters would cut off their ring finger to make bottom deals easier, and then demonstrates what it would look like with a curled finger. He also talks about how a flat handed bottom deal is a type of holy grail to some. In my demonstration I act like my partner is dishonest and give myself a winning hand. Context makes it more theatrical.


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:44 am 
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cestdesconneries wrote:
goatears,

Feel free to keep this thread updated on your thoughts and opinions on the DVD, I'm very curious on the quality and depth of the Mechanic DVD! I hope you're satisfied, for your wallet's sake.

cehowardrc51,

I'm glad to hear about your success at the table over the years! The concept of out-witting another player definitely feels more justifying as well, almost takes some anxiety away.


To tell the truth, I should write a book!! 8)

My skill level was uncanny, and my mental anticipation was awesome. The two work hand and hand..The #1 rule in being a mechanic and out witting others is to be STEALTH at all times.. If you have no suspicion of me, and I am okay, then my moves have 98% chance of being successful, 1% chance of being chancy, and 1% chance of being discovered. I made a living off the 98%

Once a mechanic is discovered or put on the suspicious/watch list, the chance of their moves being discovered 50/50.. And when they win, they are almost surely are not invited or welcome back. Hence, that is where most of the skill should be place when mechanics and real live gambling..

One of my teachers, was a master with the deck. He taught me the second and the false shuffle, both were my bread and butter. However, the mental part, and reading of the minds of my opponents was all my doings. Those last two was the reason I as successful, and my teachers were so-so..

More about that later... 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Foundations Vs Mechanic
PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:06 am 
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cestdesconneries wrote:
Very well thought-out review, thank you goatears.

Could you comment on the amount of controls in the DVD, and the practicality of them? Switches and false-deals are nice, but I'd like to have enough controls to cheat whenever I'd like/need-to, not to mention peaking methods to know what cards I'm controlling...

All I need is a couple of methods to false-deal, false-shuffle, switch, and palm, but all of that is useless if I can't do them on the cards I need to.

Hopefully I'm not asking too much, I'm just extremely curious and need to be conservative with my purchases.

I do own Expert at the Card Table, so chances are I should probably just read through that, and adapt the idea of being sloppy to take off heat. I just have a lot of material I already need to read for performing and education, and sadly I'm not a tremendously fast reader, so DVDs are my preferred route for things I don't have labeled as "vital" right now.


In real-live outwitting of others when gambling, the mechanic should always strive to use the LESS tools to get the job done. Even if it takes longer, being STEALTH(out of sight) is priority one!! Plus, all moves should be "humanized".. don't know if that is in the books or not!! :) By "humanized" I mean made to look normal and not suspicious. One of the reasons I was so successful was because on all the games I played, I could play the games straight up on a expert level. In other words, take all my weapons away, I am still favored to win. What that kind of skill, I just need a little edge to tilt the odds way in my favor..Just because I had a battleship full of skills I could use, using less was the goal..

Dam, I can run it. :)

Another skill, don't know if that is in the books, but being able to read your opponents. I could read my adversaries minds. Example, I am of small statue, cannot fight my way out a wet paper bag. However, I have been known to go in the lion's den, with lions all around the table ready to eat me alive, and I come out with all the money, and nobody has a the slightest idea of what hit them. Even if it got to the point, where somebody wants to do me harm I was on to that before they act, and have time to exit.

Sometimes I would do a move, it would be so sweet, the urge to stop, stand up make an announcement to everybody at the table, that I just did this and that.. However, I never did that...:)

Knowing who was suspicous and who was looking is vital information for the mechanic. Just like an aircraft carrier, you must know ALL THAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU AT ALL TIMES.. I state these reasons, because doing high class moves, and getting caught, or told not to come back again, is the last thing in the world a successful mechanic wants to happen. I thrived on people telling me as I was leaving with my pockets full, "will you come to my game".. "we enjoyed playing with you", etc..

:)


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