Here’s a topic I see show up on magic forums and in YouTube comments anytime I see someone doing a false deal demonstration. “Great deal, but that grip would get him killed in a real game.” Or, “That awkward grip was a dead giveaway. That’ll never fly in a game.” Or, my personal favorite, “His bottom deal grip is different than his second deal grip… so pathetic.” (Chances are the people leaving these comments can’t do the deals anyway but that’s a different story.) See the pictures below for the difference between my Erdnase grip and my Mechanics grip.
So, I’m writing this blog to help guide anyone that may be wondering what grip (or grips) they should start with. Learning a false deal can take years to learn so it can be tough to know where to start. Personally, I chose different grips for different deals. I wanted the best illusion for each deal. Alternatively, you can chose one grip that allows every deal.
First of all, on the topic of awkward grip. I notice this comment most when people use the Erdnase grip. How you grip the cards is a personal choice. As a performer, I see lay people grip cards during my effects in all sorts of ways. If you watch the dealers at a casino deal poker or Blackjack, you’ll see that no two dealers hold a deck the same way either. Everyone holds a deck of cards differently. So if everyone’s grip is different, why would the Erdnase grip be any different? When I hold the deck in this grip during my performances, I have never in my life seen anyone react to how “wrong” or “awkward” it looks. They simply don’t notice how the deck is being gripped. My evidence that they don’t care about the grip is the reactions I get to the effect. If they suspected my grip had something to do with the outcome of the effect, they’d say something.
Later in my show, I may hold the deck in a different grip to do something else like deal out a pile of cards. No spectator has ever called me out and noticed that now the deck in in a different grip. They’re just not looking for this change. When you watch golf, are you studying every one of Tiger Woods’ putts to see if his fingers are in the exact same place on the putter? No, you’re watching and enjoying the game.
There’s an effect I do in Game Changer called Power Play that calls for 4 slightly different grips. I’ve been performing this gambling demonstration for the last 6 years or so and I have never had any comments from anyone regarding the change in grip. Again, the spectators can’t see things that they aren’t looking for.
Regarding changing grips while moving in a game, this is a sign of a very inexperienced card cheat. In a card game, it’s a good idea to be more conscious of your actions. There’s no need to draw any more attention to your hands. The stakes are higher when you’re cheating other players out of their money. You shouldn’t be so desperate for good cards that you’re changing grip (or dealing from different places in the deck) on every round of dealing. Typically, if you’re a card cheat working in a game, you’re using only one false deal that you’ve mastered. So, a pro will just use a second deal all night. Or, just a bottom deal all night. This also means that when you’re dealing tops, you’re still using the same grip as when doing the false deals.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re in a game where you see all the other players burning your hands as you deal, you’re in the wrong game. You’re an idiot to try moving when playing against that kind of company. Also, these are not the game the pros hit. Pros like the friendly home game where everyone is watching the game on TV and socializing with each other between hands. In a game like this, a right-handed person could deal left-handed and no one would notice.
So, for my deals, I don’t mind the small changes in grips during a performance. The audience is unaware. In a game, I’d stay with one grip depending on which false deal I may be using that evening. This is my personal preference. If you want to learn all the false deals using the same grip, go for it.
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