A TALK TO CARD ENTHUSIASTS It was always my ambition to become a supreme master of a deck of cards in a ll the branches of card manipulation. In addition to being able to excel present ing fancy motes or jugglery and effects or tricks with cards, it was also my amb ition to become a supreme master of the art of the card table as practiced by th e so-called card sharp. A few months ago, after years of practicing and struggling with a deck of ca rds, I came to the conclusion that it was a physical impossibility to become a m aster of the above two branches of card manipulation because the span of life is too short. My reason for coming to this conclusion is that in the last four or five years it has been my good fortune to have gained the intimacy of several of the greatest card table men of this or any other age, both in this country and across the water. After witnessing the various angles of these men's work, after hating had th em instruct and explain the various details of some of the most subtle and ingen ious sleights and subterfuges, so clever that they seem to have been devised by an inhuman brain. I have come to the conclusion that when it comes to real scien tific handling of a deck of cards, real cleverness requiring superhuman practice , that the average magician is more or less of a joke. Why, I know one of the above mentioned men who has forgotten more about card s than the average magician knows. If you ever meet or become intimate with one of these real card experts, you will probably consider my statement ridiculous, but if you could see what I have seen in the past few years, you would probably make an even stronger statement. Please note that I am not referring to some of the so-called card table men who hang around magic shops, but I am now thinking and writing about the real wo rkers whose number you can almost count on the fingers of one hand; the type of Walter Scott—perfect gentleman, fluent talker, personality plus, shrewd, clever, a nd with an abundance of brains. If you have not met the type I mean, you have mi ssed a treat. After carefully watching the super-clever work of the above mentioned men, a fter seeing them under fire under all conditions. I have come to the conclusion that Scott is the greatest of them all. I have seen Scott in some terrific card battles with other clever card men and he always comes out the winner. Scott has developed, what is without doubt, the greatest card table system ever developed . Cardini, who has knowledge of the system, states that it is five hundred years ahead of the Erdnase system. When it comes to the card table, Cardini is an exp ert worker himself, and has made a close study of this line of work, so his stat ement is authoritative. When I made statements, about Scott's work around New York, I was laughed at and ridiculed. So, I was forced to bring Scott to New York to prove my statemen ts. It was some job, getting Scott to work before these magicians, and it was th e first time he ever consented to do this because of his great friendship for me . The sensation that Scott made in New York is now history. When we arrived back from our trip we put up at the Naragansett Hotel in Pro vidence. The first evening we were there Scott made me sit down at a table, and taking a seat apposite me, said, "Eddie, I have been entertaining your friends a round New York... now I am going to entertain you." Go to this moment I thought I had seen everything Scott possessed, but what he showed me that evening astonished me as much as the work he presented before the New York magicians astonished them. If I were to go into details and describe the things he did with a deck of cards . I am sure I would be doubted, because if the conditions were reversed I would doubt any person if he were to describe to me these uncanny things that Scott pr esented. Card enthusiasts might read with interest that adages, old sayings and prove rbs of long and honorable standing are being debunked by the Department of Psych ology at Cornell University. At the University it has been discovered that many
of these proverbs are not founded on sound psychology, while some of the old saw s are actually harmful. "People put too much faith in them." say's Professor Jenkins of the above Un iversity. "Take the copybook motto, "Practice Makes Perfect" that," he says, "is responsible for any number of crummy golfers. They are in a class with poor swi mmers and awkward dancers. Hard working persons who have spent long hours practi cing over and over the same wrong movement." The above statement of Professor Jenkins brings to the mind of the card enth usiast the fact that it is useless to put hours of practice on a sleight if the hands are in the wrong position or the method is interior. This is especially ap plicable to the sleight of second-dealing. If the card enthusiast is practicing an interior method, putting hours of practice on this inferior method will avail him little. The above brings to my mind an incident last summer at one of the magic shop s in New York when Scott and I met a young fellow who had taken lessons in secon d-dealing from a well-known card expert. This fellow stated that though he had t he necessary movements or mechanics of the second-deal down perfect, he didn't s eem to be making any progress dealing seconds. Upon demonstrating his second, it was clearly apparent that this fellow was using and practicing a most inferior method and if he practiced diligently all his life, he would still be a poor sec ond dealer. Not being acquainted with the young fellow, Scott did not demonstrate his ow n superior method, but if this fellow could have seen Scott's second, I am sure he would immediately come to the conclusion That the time he had spent practicin g his instructor's method had been practically wasted. What a wealth of material a novelist would have. writing the romance of Walter Irving Scott's life. Walter Irving Scott was, for years and in fact. is today, a will-of-the-wisp, a myth, a legend among gamblers. When gamblers congregated, t here were stories and rumors of a man whose control, handling and manipulation o f a deck of cards was almost supernatural. So exceedingly clever was this man th at he specialized in beating other card sharps, beating them with their own mark ed cards. their own "strippers." their own mechanical appliances. Whether or not this man really cheated was a question for debate, because at no time was he ev er seen to make one false move with the cards. He was a man of mystery. Today, there would be a story that he was in Califo rnia, tomorrow, you would hear about him in Havana. No one knew anything about h im. who he was, or where he came from. He never made friends and disappeared fro m town as mysteriously as he came. And so it came to pass that this man became k nown as THE PHANTOM OF THE CARD TABLE. Gambling and card sharping has always had a peculiar fascination for me and has taken me to the four corners of the earth; to all the great gambling resorts , including several years at the famous and notorious Monte Carlo. During my tra vels I made it a point to become acquainted with some of the greatest card men i n the business. This was extremely difficult in many cases. Naturally, I heard o f "The Phantom of the Card Table." He proved to be a real phantom to me. Try as I might. I could not locate him. One night a rumor that he was in Havana. Cuba reached me when I was in Canad a enjoying the winter sports. I took the next train for New York and upon arriva l in New York took the first boat for Cuba. Arriving in Havana, it was just like looking for a needle in a haystack. I only had a vague description of this man in the first place. How I was to make his acquaintance is something I had never figured out. At Havana I ran into a Mexican gambler who gave me a good description of "The Phant om." He also gave me the disappointing news that "The Phantom" had suddenly spru ng up at Tijuana. The stories I heard of this man's uncanny control of a deck of cards made me vow that some day I would meet him. How and when I finally did me et him, and later became his friend, chum and companion, would make an interesti ng novel.
MASTER SECOND DEALING Second-dealing, as the term indicates, is the process of dealing the second card from the top of the deck, but making it appear as though the top card was t aken. To deal a perfect second is the most difficult card sleight that any human p air of hands ever attempted to master. It is the most difficult sleight in the w hole range of card manipulation, and takes many, many hours of assiduous practic e to perfect. There are many methods of dealing seconds, good, bad and indifferent, but th ere is only one master method, one method so superior to all others that there i s no comparison. The writer of this article spent several years mastering a method which he t hought was as near perfect as any method could be. For years he made a careful a nd exhaustive study of every known method. During these years he became acquaint ed and made it a point to gain the friendship of the greatest card men at both s ides of the Atlantic. Combining all the best points of these carious methods of second-dealing, he originated what he considered, at that time, the perfect seco nd-deal. "Then he met "The Phantom of the Card Table." How and where he met him would make an interesting novel and will be related at a later time. One evening. "Th e Phantom of the Card Table" gave a demonstration of his second-deal. From that moment, the writer never again dealt his "perfect" deal. Yet, "The Phantom of th e Card Table" told the writer that the writer's method was the best, outside of his own, that he had ever witnessed. But the writer discarded his method because he had seen the master method, t he super method, the my perfect ever originated; a method which one authority on cards called "A thing of beauty and enjoy forever." S. W. Erdnase. some years ago, wrote a book entitled, "The Expert at the Car d Table." This book is an authority on card table manipulation, and is considere d by experts as the greatest book of its kind. In this book, Erdnase describes a method which might be termed a "two card push off SECOND." Many card experts sw ear by this method. The well known Cardini, the greatest English magician. an au thority on cards, said. "The master method of Walter Irving Scott's is five hund red years ahead of the Erdnase method." There are many ways to judge the merits of a second-deal. Is the execution o f the second natural and indetectable, and is it noiseless: "What can be done wi th the second, and what effective results can be accomplished with it." There are many second-dealers whose execution of the sleight is good, but wh en asked to do something with it, they have to admit that they cannot accomplish what the second was invented for. They are very limited and can do practically nothing with it. These second-dealers do not seem able to definitely obtain any results from their seconds. They deal the second and that is all. The merits of the Master Method are many. First, it is the most natural ever devised. Nothing could be more natural. The dealing of the natural card from th e top and the dealing of the second are exactly alike and does not deviate in th e smallest detail. Second, it is indetectable. So deceptive is this second, that card experts who have seen it claim that "The Phantom of the Card Table" does n ot pull back the top card to accomplish the second. but by some unknown process, squeezes the second card out. Third, it can be made noiseless. Fourth, the most important point of all, wh at can be done with this method of second-dealing and the results obtained with it are unbelievable. There is absolutely no limit to what can be done with this method of second-dealing. It is interesting to note that many second-dealers are detected, not by the actual dealing of the second itself, but by the noise of the second. There is a
distinct difference in the sound of dealing the natural top card from that of de aling the second. An acute ear can detect that sound at once. "1 didn't see you take the second, but I heard it." is the remark heard when the above type of dea ler is working. If you suspected that a man was dealing seconds, at what spot or portion of the deck would you watch to verify your suspicions. No doubt you will answer, "A t the upper right hand portion, where the right hand approaches and touches the deck to deal off the cards." But no, an expert will look at either the upper lef t hand corner or the lower right hand corner, because a noticeable gap forms her e when the average second-dealer deals a second. In the master method, no such g ap is discernable. Another way in which a second-dealer is detected is that he is continually w etting his right thumb at his lips. If you are a second-dealer and you bring you r right thumb up to your lips, you might just as well call out, "I am dealing se conds." During the many years that the writer has witnessed "The Phantom of the Card Table" deal seconds, he never once saw him bring his right thumb to his lip s. The final and conclusive proof that this is the matter method of second-deal ing is that "The Phantom of the Card Table" fooled, deceived, mystified and outw itted the greatest card men in the game with this method and was never detected by these clever men, who pride themselves upon their shrewdness along these line s. The details for dealing this Master Method are as follows: Hands of Walter Scott The deck of cards is on the table at the dealer's right. The deck has been c ut and halves replaced. The right hand picks up the deck from the table, not at the sides, but AT TH E ENDS, the thumb at the lower end, the fingers at the upper end. The deck is pl aced in the left hand, the right fingers fanning the upper left side of the deck as it is placed in the left hand. The upper left side of the deck is thus fanne d. As described above, why is the deck picked up at the ends? The reason for pi cking up the deck at the ends is that it eliminates an extra move. If the deck i s picked up at the sides and placed in the left hand, the right hand has to chan ge its position in order to fan the cards, thus making an extra move. In card ta ble manipulation, speed is essential. Therefore, to learn system, all extra of s uperfluous moves have been eliminated, after very careful study. "The Phantom of the Card Table's" system is based on a series of keys. By "k ey" is meant the position of the fingers and hands. The "key" for the second-deal: The deck is really held in the left hand by t he forefinger and thumb and base of the thumb...the other three fingers lie idly at the right side of the deck. It will be noticed that these three fingers may be straightened out, showing that the deck is held by forefinger and thumb, but of course, in the actual performance of the second, the three fingers lie along the right side of the deck. The fan mentioned above is very important as will be described later. The left thumb lies diagonally across the deck. The tip of the thumb being n ear the upper right hand corner. Vote that all four fingers are at the right sid e of the deck, the left fore finger being near the upper right hand corner. The entire deck is held well down in the left hand. About one quarter of an inch of deck lies over the left forefinger. The reason for the (an mentioned above is that it makes the second look much better). Also, the reason for the fan is that it does away with a gap at the up per left corner and the lower right corner when the second is dealt. As stated b efore, this Rap is a weak point in the majority of seconds and it is at these tw o corners where a second is liable to be detected. The right hand approaches the deck to deal the second. The right thumb is he ld in a horizontal position. Just as the right thumb covers the right hand corne r of the deck, the left thumb pulls down the top card about high of an inch. The
left thumb does not pull this card straight down, but at an angle. The ball of the right thumb hits the second card, this hit starting the card out. The right forefinger comes up to the card, card is grasped between thumb and forefinger of the right hand and carries second card off the deck. The small angular gap form ed by the left thumb pulling the top card slightly down is immediately closed by an upward movement of the left thumb when the right thumb hits the second card. There is a movement of the left wrist during the action of the second-deal t hat is very important. This is a toward and backward twist of the wrist. Just be fore the second-deal is dealt, the deck is held flat in the left hand. As the ri ght thumb approaches to hit the second card, the left wrist twists up causing th e card to meet the right thumb... while the second card is clearing the deck. it twists back again to normal position. As the cards are dealt successively, one after another oft the deck, there i s a continual forward and backward twist of the wrist. When starting to practice the second, this twist of the wrist should be very pronounced. As you become mo re proficient, the twist becomes less pronounced until it is hardly perceptible. Note that the ball of the right thumb does not push or pull out the second c ard, but hits it, thus starting it out, and the right forefinger then comes up a nd the card is grasped between the thumb and forefinger. A person trying to learn this method is liable to fail because of lack of pa tience. He will want to learn it too quickly. Start very slowly, take your time, and don't be impatient. There are five general movements which coincide into one continual movement: 1. Upward or forward twist of the left wrist as the right thumb comes ove r to hit the second card on the deck. 2. The pulling down at an angle of the top card the smallest fraction of an inch by the left thumb. 3. The hitting of the second card by the ball of the right thumb, startin g the card out so it can be grasped between the thumb and forefinger of the righ t hand and carried off the deck. 4. The closing of the gap by an upward movement of the left thumb as soon as the right thumb hits and starts the second card. 5. The backward and downward twist of the wrist as the deal is accomplish ed. It is very important to practice dealing natural off the deck; that is, deal ing off the top card. Dealing the top card and dealing the second must be exactl y alike... there must be no change of position nor change of any movement of the hands, down to the smallest detail. In first learning this method, start dealing the cards natural off the top t o get the general movement. Start dealing "natural tops," then, every now and th en deal a second. As you become more proficient, deal a natural, then a second, then a couple of naturals, then a couple of seconds, then a natural, then a seco nd, etc. Note that when dealing the natural top, the left thumb moves slightly downwa rd out of the way as the right thumb touches the top card of the deck. The left thumb has to move out of the way to make room for the right thumb to hit the top card. In dealing natural, the right thumb hits the top card to start it, just t he same as when dealing the second. As stated above, in dealing natural, the left thumb moves slightly out of th e way for the right thumb. There is this slight movement of the left thumb in de aling the second, when the left thumb slightly pulls down the top card to enable the right thumb to hit the second card. Thus, the slight movement of the left t humb is the same dealing natural or seconds. There are three positions in which the card may be dealt off the pack. The c ard may be dealt from the top or front of the deck, the side of the deck or diag onally off the right upper corner. "The Phantom of the Card Table" says that dia
gonally off the right upper corner is the A good second-dealer never misses his "miss" is by using the correct method and Phantom of the Card Table" deal fifty-two s.
best position. second. The only way to overcome this practice. Many times I have seen "The seconds, the entire deck without a mis
CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS The opening and closing of the "gap" at the upper right hand corner, formed by the left thumb pulling down the top card, is very important. This gap is open ed as the left wrist twists up and is closed as the wrist twists down. It is really beautiful to see "The Phantom of the Card Table" deal seconds c onsecutively. There is a beautiful rhythm to the movement that must be seen to b e appreciated. On page 15 in the second paragraph it states, "the ball of the right thumb h its the second card." Note that this does not mean the ball of the thumb when he ld flat, but the ball of the thumb when held horizontally. The exact spot on the thumb that hits the card is at the side of the thumb where the bone projects sl ightly, close to the thumb joint. A natural "ball" forms there. When practicing and perfecting his system, "The Phantom of the Card Table" u sed novel and effective methods. He would be seated at a table and in front of h im would be seven or eight decks of cards. One deck would be brand new, the next would be one that had been used a little, the next one that had been still more in use, and so on down to an old and well worn deck. First he would practice with the new deck, then the next, and so on, one dec k after another. Thus at any time, no matter what kind of a deck came into his h ands, he would be at home and at ease with it. Also, before playing in a game, h e would practice with a deck that had three or four extra cards in it. Thus when he entered the game and the regular sized decks came into his hands, this regul ar deck would seem so much easier to handle than the larger sized deck he had pr eviously practiced with. In this method of second-dealing there is not an extra or superfluous move. There is a definite reason for every little move and detail. It is extremely int eresting to hear "The Phantom of the Card Table" describe in detail the reason f or every detail. The writer has heard him talk for over an hour on the theory of the second-deal alone. The writer has met many great card experts in his travels and if he were to ask those card experts why they made this or that move, it is extremely doubtful if they could give him a definite answer; that is, to explain the theory of the move. "The Phantom of the Card Table" can explain in detail the theory of every move he uses in his system.
TOP CARD PEEK Deck is held in the left hand in position for Scott's second-deal, or it can be held in position for the ordinary second-deal, where the left first finger i s hooked around the far end of the deck, and the far right hand corner of the de ck is between the left first and second fingers. One difference between this position and the position for either of the two sensational second-deals, is that the deck must be held high away from the palm of the hand on the back side. There should be an inch at least, between the bott om card of the deck and the palm. You will note that there are two creases at th e base of your left thumb, and the top card of the deck must be into the bottom crease of the two.
Extend the thumb straight across the pack. With the thumb, pull the top card to the left about ¼ of an inch, and at the same time, bend or roll the thumb towa rd the front end of the deck, which automatically tilts the top card up at the r ear, as it is caught in the bottom crease of the thumb. This can be done in a flash, and the peek can be made as the right hand take s the deck from the left hand to place it on the table. This tilt of the top car d can be made as pronounced as you desire, from ¼ of an inch to one inch, but, of course, the less the better. This is one of those things that has to be seen to be appreciated and is next to impossible to describe at all well. One nice way to cover this peek is to have a party shuffle, and when you rec eive the deck in the left hand, point the left hand directly at him, holding the left hand with its back toward the ceiling, and make the lift, which is perfect ly covered. Or, in receiving the shuffled pack, extend the left hand, with the b ack up, while you pull up the left sleeve, and make the lift, which is thus full y covered. In a card game of Poker or anything else, have your chips on your left side. After the deck has been shuffled and cut, receive it in the left hand, which re sts on the edge of the table. With the right hand reach over to get more chips a nd, as the right forearm covers the deck, make the peek. Or point to the pot wit h the left hand, turning it so the back is up, and ask some question such as: "H as everybody put up?" and make the peek at this time. However, the most perfect and deceptive way to use the peek is in Stud Poker and is as follows: Say the sucker is seated on the left of the dealer. Cards are shuffled fair and cut fair, but when the dealer receives the pack, he gets the peek as describ ed above, and of course knows what the hole card is that goes to the sucker. In Stud Poker, the first (or holed card) is dealt face down, and the rest of the cards are dealt face up. After dealing the first two cards to all players, one up and one down, the dealer gets the pack in position for the lift with his right thumb, bends up the corner of his hole card, and at the same time, places his left hand on the far end of his hole card, as well as on his face up card, t o presumably keep them from sliding. His left hand is now back up, and in a beau tiful position for the peek. Thus, the dealer knows from the first peek, just wh at the sucker has in the hole, and what his next card would be, and if an advant ageous one, would deal a second or bottom, so the sucker would not get it. The procedure is carried out on each deal around, so that the dealer knows e xactly what the sucker has before the cards are dealt. Should a card appear on t op that would fill the dealer's hand, he of course deals seconds around and take s it himself. Another beautiful way to use the peek is in Draw Poker. Say that the discard has been made and it's time to draw. The first player wants, say, three cards. The dealer by now has made the peek and knows what one of these cards will be. He deals off two cards to the table and takes off the third card, and with t his last card he scoops up the two cards on the table by sliding the left edge o f this third card under the right side of the two cards on the table, and at the same time he turns his left hand back up and places his left middle finger agai nst the cards on the table, presumably to keep them from sliding, but in reality to afford a perfect peek. These three cards are now thrown to the player and the dealer knows what the top card of the deck is. Should he want it, he deals seconds all around and tak es it himself. If he does not want it, he continues the dealing and peeking all around. Just think what an advantage the dealer has when he knows the top card m ost of the time. Try this as a trick. Have the deck shuffled and returned. Stretch the left a rm and pull up the left sleeve, getting a peek at the top card. Deal two cards d own and with the third card, scoop them up, making the peek as you do so, and pl ace them aside. You now know the middle card of the first three; also the top ca rd of the deck. Deal down two more, scoop them up with a third card, also laying them aside and make your peek as before. Repeat. You now have three piles of three cards ea ch and you know the middle card of each pile. Any pile is now selected and the m
iddle card chosen, and repeat with the two remaining piles. As a finale, take another deck and locate the three known cards, then reveal them in any manner you fancy. It's a knock out. THIS IS THE MOST WONDERFUL MOVE WITH CARDS THAT I KNOW.
BOTTOM DEALING Theoretically, the ideal method for bottom-dealing would be a method that wo uld have the same "key" as used for second-dealing. Dealing bottoms and seconds from the same "key" was abandoned as impractical by Walter years ago after a gre at deal of study and practice. The method that will now be described is Walter's favorite method. In practi cing, about half the deck should be used, although it must be remembered that a clever bottom-dealer is expert in dealing bottoms from a full deck. Place the deck in the left hand in the position for the regular second-deal, using the regular second-deal "key." Now bring the left forefinger up and aroun d the upper right hand corner of the deck, and bring the left little finger down and around the lower right hand corner of the deck. It will be seen that the de ck is now held in a sort of vise between the left forefinger at the upper right of the deck, and the left little finger at the lower end of the deck. The two mi ddle fingers of the left hand lie idly at the right side of the deck. It will be noticed that the two middle fingers may be stretched out straight and the deck is held securely between the first and little fingers. A detailed description of the position of the deck in the left hand is as follows: Note that the deck is fanned as in second-dealing. The left thumb lies idly on top of the deck. The left forefinger is at the upper end of the deck, the tip of the finger lying at about the center of the end of the deck. The left little finger is at the lower end of the deck near the lower right corner. The upper l eft hand corner of the deck lies in the crotch of the second joint of the left f orefinger. The two middle fingers lie idly at the right side of the deck. In dealing natural, the right hand approaches the deck. The right thumb hits or pulls the top card near the right hand upper corner, the right second finger being under the deck, directly under the right thumb, and the top card is dealt diagonally off the deck at the upper right hand corner of the deck. Note that t he card is grasped between the thumb and second finger of the right hand. In dealing bottoms, the right hand approaches the deck, the right thumb and second finger assuming the same position as when dealing natural. That is, the r ight thumb is at the upper right hand corner of the deck, and the second right f inger is under the deck, directly under the right thumb. The right thumb glides over the upper right hand corner of the deck, and the second finger pulls or hit s off the bottom card, it being grasped between the right thumb and right second finger and dealt diagonally off the upper right hand corner of the deck. There is no movement of the left thumb in this method of dealing bottoms. So me bottom-dealers push the top card off the side of the deck by means of the lef t thumb, but Walter prefers to allow the left thumb to lie idly on top of the de ck. The left thumb takes no action in this method, except to help retain the fan in the deck and helps to retain the "key." In this method of bottom-dealing, there is a very important up and down move ment or twist of the left wrist. As the thumb and second finger of the right han d approaches the deck to draw off either the top or bottom card, the upper right hand corner of the deck is raised up by a movement or twist of the left wrist t o meet the thumb and second finger of the right hand. Then, as the card is drawn off the deck, the deck goes back to its normal position by a downward movement of the left wrist. Thus, in dealing, there is a continual up and down movement o r twist of the left wrist. Note particularly that it is the upper right hand portion of the deck that i s raised up and down.
In this method of bottom-dealing a very important point is to deal with a lo ng stroke of the right hand, otherwise the bottom-dealing will be noisy. The sou nd of dealing off the top card must be imitated exactly in dealing off the botto m. Note that the fan in the deck is very important. With the deck fanned, it is much easier to pull or hit off the bottom card. It is quite difficult and very awkward at first, dealing bottoms by this met hod. It is much easier to become an expert bottom-dealer than a second-dealer. A good bottom-dealer can be made almost over night, but it takes years to make an expert second-dealer. One of the reasons why Walter Scott preferred this method of bottom-dealing is that you can go from the second-deal "key" to the bottom-deal "key" in the tw inkling of an eye. Also, in this method of bottom-dealing, the hands are in an e asy and comfortable position. The hands are not cramped up and you have free and easy movement of the hands and arms. The ease, grace, and natural manner with which Walter deals off twelve, fift een or twenty bottoms in rapid succession is really remarkable and acknowledged by card experts to be the last word in this particular branch of card table mani pulation. Anyone who has seen Walter's expert dealing of bottoms, using this method, w ill admit that it is beautiful, natural, and perfection personified SCOTT'S PUNCH The original inventor of the punch remains unknown. It could have been Walte r. This does not mean that Walter claims to have invented the idea of the punch. What is meant to be conveyed is the claim that he invented this particular form or style of punch. Without a doubt, Walter is the most successful dealer from the punch in the whole history of card table manipulation. Anyone who has seen him demonstrate hi s artistry and cleverness along this line will agree with this statement. One reason why he is, and has been, so successful in dealing from the punch, is the special punch he uses. This is his own invention. This particular punch of Walter's is one of his own exclusive ideas, and an artifice that he greatly prizes. To my knowledge, and I have known him many year s, this is the first time that he has ever divulged the following carefully guar ded secrets. Not even to expert card men, men who have reached the highest ability along this line, has he divulged these details. I have often heard him in conversation with other card men, discussing punches in detail, but I always took particular notice that he never mentioned, or even hinted that he used a special punch of his own invention. The regular or ordinary punch sold by dealers and used by the majority of ca rd men is pictured below. This punch is a minute, flat piece of metal, a needle point being soldered in the middle. 1/16 of an inch to sides TOP
Walter's punch is far superior to the above, both in the manufacture of the same and as an artifice for card table work. To watch Walter manufacture and make one of his special punches, or to watch him make anyone of these special appliances that he uses in his work, is a reve lation. Using special tools, and with care, accuracy and precision, he turns out a perfect article. No skilled watch-maker or highly skilled artisan in jewelry ever used more c are or patience.
Walter's punch is pictured here: TOP
It will be noticed that this special punch is concave. This is the great sec ret of Walter's punch. Here is a clearer description of Walter's punch: Take a v ery small ball. Cut this ball in two, and you have two half balls or two small c ups. This small cup is the base of the punch. The needle point is located in the center of the outside of this small cup. In order to make a perfect punch, the following procedure is necessary. The base of the punch or cup must be gold or silver. The reason why gold or silver m ust be used is that in making the punch the needle is pushed through this metal base and the needle point must stay perfect. The gold or silver, being a soft me tal, does not injure the point of the needle. If you use a hard metal, you will break the needle point off, trying to push it through the metal. In making the punch, the disc or cup is laid on an asbestos board. A full le ngth No. 10 needle is pushed directly through the center of the cup-shaped disc. Care must be taken that you do not push the needle through too far, because if you do, when you punch the cards, you will make a hole in the card, instead o f a slight hump. From here, the procedure is as follows: Place solder in the cup. Next put fi re to the solder. Soft solder is all right to use. After you have done this, break off the back of the needle and you have a pe rfect punch. Two of the many disadvantages of the old style punch are that you are liable to scratch the card when withdrawing the punch, and the needle breaks off after little use. Walter states that the best spot to stick on the punch is at the first joint of the left thumb, at the lower side, the first finger side, where the bone is located. The best material to use to stick on the punch is a transparent plaster that was formerly called "Gold Beader's Skin Plaster." This is a transparent adhesive plaster that has been off the market for some time. For best results, the cards must be punched without the cards touching the t humb. That is, in the operation of punching the card, the card does not touch th e thumb itself. This is the reason why the punch is concave or cup-shaped. The special punch, being one of Walter's original, exclusive ideas, he urges anyone who obtains this information to guard it carefully. It can be seen at on ce that this special form of punch is the most practical; the best along this li ne ever invented. Walter states with authority, "My special form of punch is ten times faster than the ordinary punch." Experience will prove that this is an actual fact. You can't imagine what a splendid article Walter's punch is until you try it out. T he idea of the perfect punch is to get the card to be punched as far away from t he punch as possible. The old style punch wiggles and wobbles all over the thumb . Walter asks that you do not take his word for the above statements. He advis es a person in doubt to try out both styles of punches and satisfy himself. THE BLINDFOLD DEAL "The Blindfold Deal" as presented by Walter, in which he deals himself a per fect no trump bridge hand...the Aces, Kings, Queens and Jacks...after the deck h as been repeatedly shuffled and cut by the spectators, Walter being genuinely bl indfolded, is accomplished by what is known as "the punch."
"The Blindfold Deal" from Sphinx magazine The idea of the punch is well known to magicians and gamblers alike and may be said to be old. But Walter is the only person I have ever come across who rea lly does it. He is the only person I know, or have ever heard of, who presents i t as a demonstration as presented at Al Baker's. Manuel, and others, having heard of "The Blindfold Deal" as presented at Al Baker's, are vainly trying to imitate and duplicate the feat. But they fail for the reason that the methods they are using are wrong. They never will be able to duplicate the feat with any amount of success with the method they are now usin g. One of the strong features of "The Blindfold Deal" is, Walter is genuinely b lindfolded. He usually presents this feat by being blindfolded and then having a pillow-slip put over his head and tied around the neck. There are many things that can be put on the back of a card to feel it. I ha ve seen Walter "read" cards, when he was genuinely blindfolded, from a simple li ttle scratch. Walter states with authority that the punch is "the daddy of them all." In order to put the "work" properly on the cards, Walter uses a punch that i s especially made by him. This punch has never been sold by any dealers and is o ne of the many exclusive ideas along the card table line that Walter originated and perfected. The punch, as usually sold by dealers, is a worthless article. Wa lter's punch is a minute piece of apparatus consisting of a very small piece of gold, used as a base, with a needle point soldered to this gold base. This gold base is not straight, but slightly concave; a most important detai l. It is a delicate piece of work, making this punch, on account of its smallnes s. The needle point is just long enough to raise a little hump on the card witho ut penetrating the card. The "work' is put on the card at approximately ¾ of an in ch from the top and slightly less than ¾ of an inch from the side of the card. For best results, this punch must be made of gold. The punch is attached to the rig ht thumb by a small piece of transparent court plaster. Walter experimented with every kind of court plaster manufactured...until he found what was best suited for his purpose. The needle used is the finest and smallest manufactured. During a game, afte r the "work" has been put on, the punch is secretly removed and disposed of so a s to be out of the way when it comes time for the operator to shuffle and deal t he cards. It is very interesting to note that I never detected Walter putting the "wor k" on during a game and I never knew anyone else detecting him. He often challen ged me and would bet me that I could not detect him. Try as I might, I was never able to detect the slightest false move. His moves and misdirection for putting on the "work" are the last word in card table strategy. Regarding the "work" itself, it is really an art, putting this properly on t he cards. The needle does not penetrate the card. It simply makes a little hump on the back of the card. Frankly, I have never been able to figure out how Walte r can deal so fast from such a small hump on the card. The speed with which he d eals and reads the cards is remarkable. I suppose the explanation is really this : Assiduous, patient and painstaking practice. Going into further detail regarding the "work," if the "work" is put on heav y by allowing the needle to penetrate the card, it will be found that this heavy "work" does not stand up. That is, the minute raised portion of card "breaks do wn" after a short time and cannot be felt by the thumb. On the other hand, if a very slight hump is put on the back of the card by n ot allowing the needle to penetrate the card, it will be found that the "work" s tands up indefinitely, as long as the cards are in fairly good condition. The secret of "The Blindfold Deal," as presented by Walter, is in the method of dealing. This method of dealing from the punch, which Walter originated and perfected, is very difficult; especially to a person who has been practicing his method of second-dealing. This is the move that our mutual friend, Sam Horowitz, said would take a per son twenty years to perfect. The peculiar feature of this deal, strange as it ma
y seem, is that Walter does not feel the top card, but feels the second card. I was simply astounded when Walter explained that he felt the second card and not the top card. This sounds impossible, but this is actually what he does. Analyzing the mov e, you will find that the second card is felt before the top card leaves the dec k. There are two different methods of dealing, when dealing from the punch. Fir st, what might be called the "punch-deal," when you are feeling for a punched or "pegged card"; and second, the regular second deal, which you go into from the punch-deal when you feel a punched or pegged card. The punch-deal: to feel for the punched or pegged cards. The "key" for this deal is the regular second-deal "key." Note that the usual fan is in the deck. N ote that the right thumb is held horizontal as it approaches the deck to deal th e top card, as in the regular second-deal. As the right thumb, held horizontal, is placed on the upper right hand porti on of the deck in front of the left thumb, the left thumb, held as flat as possi ble, pushes the top card very slightly off the side of the deck, exactly paralle l with the rest of the deck. The right thumb and forefinger grasp the top card and deal it diagonally off the upper right hand corner of the deck. Note particularly that the left thumb pushes the top card off the side of the deck exactly parallel with the rest of t he cards. The left thumb, held as flat and straight as possible, starts to glide very slightly back to push off the next card, and it is at this point that the second card is felt or "read." This second card is "read" just as the top card is leaving the corner of the deck. Thus, you see, the second card is read, instead of the first card, strang e as it may seem. Note that the left thumb is held as flat and straight as possi ble. The less amount of bend in the left thumb as it glides slightly back to pus h off the next card, the better. Note also that the top card is pushed off very slightly over the side of the deck. When a pegged or punched card is felt, you go into the regular second-dea l. In the deal just described, for best results, the top card must be pushed ve ry slightly off the side of the deck and exactly parallel with the rest of the deck. Again, let me re peat that the less the top card is pushed off the side of the deck, the better. The reason for pushing off the top card exactly parallel with the rest of th e deck is, that if you don't, you will lose position of the left thumb and thus lose "key." What makes this deal so difficult to a person who has been practicing the re gular second deal is that the movement of the left thumb is different in this de al. In the regular second-deal, the left thumb moves slightly forward, out of th e way of the right thumb, so that the right thumb can hit the top card. In this punch-deal, the left thumb pushes slightly forward and slightly pushes off the c ard over the side of the deck. Thus, the movement of the left thumb in the regular second-deal, and the mov ement of the left thumb in the punch-deal, is different. One of the most difficult points about this deal is to retain the "key." You must be careful and not allow the left thumb to move down and thus lose its pos ition. Here is a "slow motion" description of the punch deal: 1. Place the deck in the left hand in the regular second-deal position. 2. The right hand approaches the deck to deal off the top card, the right thumb held horizontal is placed on the upper right hand portion of the deck in front of the left thumb. The right thumb masks or covers up the left thumb. 3. The instant the right thumb masks the left thumb, the left thumb pushe s the top card very slightly off the side of the deck, exactly parallel with the rest of the deck. 4. The right thumb and forefinger grasp the top card and deal it diagonal
ly off the right hand corner of the deck. 5. The left thumb held as flat and straight as possible, starts to glide slightly back to push off the next card, and it is at this point the second card is felt or "read" just as the top card is leaving the upper corner of the deck. Many card men dealing from this punch bring the left thumb to the very extre me top edge of the deck. This is a "dead tip off" that you are dealing from the punch. The right thumb should be placed on the deck in front of the left thumb a nd acts as a "cover-up" of the left thumb. Walter is the only person I ever knew or heard of who can distinguish the Aces from Kings with a single punch in the card. On one occasion I saw him win a good sized money wager from several card men who disputed this fact. Distinguishing the Aces from the Kings shows to what pe rfection Walter has brought dealing from the punch. The Kings are pegged a littl e below the position where they are pegged for the Aces. You feel for Aces when you wish Aces, and a little below this location when you wish for Kings. If all the cards in one suit are pegged or punched, it is easy to deal yours elf a flush. If you deal around the board and do not feel one peg, when you come to your hand, deal a second, as there is a possibility that the card under the card you would naturally receive might be a pegged card. To SUCCESSFULLY deal from the punch, certain psychological factors enter. On e must assume the proper mental attitude. In other words, you must concentrate o n the fact that you are feeling for something and forget all about second-dealin g and everything else. When you feel the peg or punch, you will deal seconds, na turally, from force of habit. I have often seen Walter perform "THE BLINDFOLD DEAL" with a borrowed deck, as presented at Al Baker's. Previous to "The Blindfold Deal" he presents several other effects, during the course of which he puts the "work" on the cards. I don't expect you to believe the following statement, but Walter has proven it tome many times. When Walter picks up the deck, he has absolute control of t he fifty-two cards in the deck. I have often seen him deal 12 different hands in 12 deals, using the same deck of cards. His system of dealing is simply remarka ble and a startling revelation to even the most expert card men. SLICK ACE FORMULA (This is a letter in reply to Dai Vernon.) In your letter you ask if the cards that Walter fixes have to be kept in a p ress when not in use, and you state you imagine they must warp if a liquid is us ed in preparation. An examination of a deck of Walter's cards will show upon clo se examination that they are not different from any other cards. They are not st iff, not curled, not stained, or blurred in any way. It will also be noticed the work is put on very even. The cards shuffle natural and deal natural. No, the c ards do not have to be kept in a press when not in use, and they will not warp. A study of the formula will reveal why the cards do not possess these unfavorabl e features. In this description of this work, the combination is Kings and Queen s. If you understand how to handle this work, you will be able to cut a King or Queen every time. I spoke to Walter about his own "Slick Ace" card. He told me that he didn't know how strong you wanted the cards or how long you wanted them to last, or how good you wanted them to look. So, he came to the conclusion it would be better to send you the formula and let you make up your own work to your own satisfacti on. At this time I must call your attention to the fact that you are not to pass this formula on to anyone else. Of course, if you want to make some of it up an d give it to your friends, why that is all right. But, under no condition is the formula to be exposed. Of course, Dai, you know that I know better than to call
your attention to the above facts, but Walter has insisted on me doing so. You must understand that this formula is priceless as far as Walter is concerned, wh ich means that nobody can buy it, as it is his own original method. In order to make up the formula, here is what you have to do. Fill a bottle three-quarters full with pure alcohol. Be sure that the alcohol is pure. Do not use denatured alcohol. Now, put two ounces of ether into the alcohol. The idea i s that the ether is to make the alcohol dry faster, which stops the card from cu rling. Alcohol alone will cause cards to curl. Next, go to a first class music store and get a piece of the finest grade vi olin resin. Break this up into a powder form and put about an ounce of it in the bottle containing the alcohol and ether, thus dissolving the resin. Of course, you understand you have to shake the bottle to give the resin a chance to dissol ve. You now have a yellow fluid. NOW FOR THE SECRET OF THE FORMULA.... Get a bottle of peroxide. Put about two ounces of the peroxide in the bottle . Shake it well, then let it stand overnight. You will notice that you now have a white liquid which is ready to put on the cards. In other words, the peroxide is used to bleach the yellow liquid, which means that there will be no yellow st ains on the cards. Do not use any sediment that might be at the bottom of the bo ttle. If the liquid is not bleached out enough, you will have to use more peroxi de. After you make up a deck of cards by using the above formula, if they work t oo strong, or in other words, if the cards are too tacky, of course reduce the f luid with alcohol and ether. Now if the cards are not working strong enough, of course you add more resin. When the liquid is put on fresh, naturally it will be sticky and tacky, whic h means that you have to wait until they dry out. But remember, no matter how lo ng you have to let them dry, there must be some tackiness there, otherwise they will not work. Walter says he cannot give you the exact time on how long to let them dry, but they should at least dry 24 hours. Now, as far as putting it on is concerned, you can use your own way of doing it. If you understand this work, you won't have any trouble putting it on. Bicycle cards are good cards to use. Be careful and not blur the backs when you are putting it on. If you put the liquid on right, it will dry out without s taining or blurring the cards. Walter says there are no "ifs, ands, or buts" connected with this work, if i t is put on right. It should work perfect. Walter says after you have used it a few times, you will of course know how to handle it. I have seen this work in action in the Stud Poker described later on, and it works perfect. Walter says he will start you off with a Stud Poker combination. If you want to cut Kings or Queens, this is what you do: Take the Kings and Queens out of the pack. The remaining 44 cards are painte d on the backs. Great care must be taken not to get any fluid on the fronts of t hese 44 cards. Now, take the 8 cards, Kings and Queens, and paint them on the fr ont. Again, I call your attention not to get any of the fluid on the backs of th ese 8 cards. As far as cutting the cards is concerned, you are ready, but if you want them to work a little faster, polish the backs of the cards, Kings and Que ens, with pulverized soap stone, which is a slippery white powder. The cards are now ready. Shuffle them. Give them a cut. Of course, you under stand that you have to put a little pressure on the cards when you are making th e cut, so that the cards will break at the Kings and Queens. To make the cut: Just simply put a little pressure on the cards, then lessen the pressure and slide off. It must be remembered, there is a little knack in m aking this cut. If you do not get the knack, you will continually miss. The deck must be squared up perfectly. Do not pick the cards off; slide them off. You understand that the stronger you make them, naturally, the stiffer they will be, but under no circumstances should they look unnatural. Of course, the s tronger they are, the more tacky they will be. It is up to you regarding the str ength.
When you put the work on, try not to hit the same spot twice. If the cards, after they have dried, show a little blur, that means there is too much fluid in that particular spot. This blur can be easily done away with by another applica tion of fluid or rubbing the blurred card lightly on a clean piece of cloth. Do not try to use the above work, or any work similar to it, on a rainy, clo udy or sticky day, as close humidity greatly retards the strength of the work. Walter says to forget about the idea of alcohol and glycerine as it is absol utely useless and will not do the same work. Walter says he cannot tell you how long the above work will last as he doesn 't know what abuse you will subject it to. It must be remembered that this work must not be abused more than any other work. I will now explain how Walter uses the above work for Stud Poker. You shuffl e the cards natural, and you cut natural. Now, of course, when you have made the first cut, the first man left of the dealer will get a King or Queen in the hol e. Now, at about third or fourth drop, somebody calls for a cut. This person can be your partner or one of the players. You cut the same as usual. You deal, and of course your partner gets another King or Queen. A lot of times a cut is call ed for on the last drop. Now you cut again, and your partner, of course, will ge t a King or Queen. This work can be made up in any combination, which means that you can make it up to cut Aces, if desired. Walter says he does not use the wor k to cut Aces, because other persons do that, and furthermore, cutting Aces is t oo conspicuous. Eddie McGuire composed an additional chapter to "The Phantom" series. He calls it "Which Brings Us Up to Present." Here he tells of the intervening 20 o dd years since first preparing a manuscript which we find out was never meant to be circulated. WHICH BRINGS US TO THE PRESENT With all due modesty, I might be considered somewhat of an authority on what is commonly called, for want of a better name, "cardsharping." Practically my entire life has been spent in the study of this particular br anch of card manipulation. During the course of this study, I have visited every famous gambling spot on earth including several years at Monte Carlo when this famous resort was in its heyday, and synonymous with the word "gambling." I doubt if there are many persons on this earth who would spend the time and money I did or possess the fortitude and courage I needed, in order to meet, ma ke the acquaintance, and gain the friendship and confidence of the really great artists of the card table. The Fritz Kreislers and the Ignace Paderewskis with a deck of cards, the vir tuosos of the card table, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. One of the fingers thus counted would signify a gentlemen named Walter Irving Scott. You wi ll never find one of the above mentioned artists visiting a magic shop, not that they consider a magic shop beneath them, but because a shop of this nature has nothing to offer or assist them in their profession. You will never see one of t hese artists pulling chickens out of cups or doing card tricks because it takes every minute of the time they can spare keeping themselves "sharpenedup" on the methods and subterfuges they perform so skillfully, and without detection or sus picion. If you meet a person in a magic shop who claims to be a professional "ca rd sharp," you can take the statement with a grain of salt. Years ago, on my visit to New York City, I would make the statement to the m agicians and card experts that they had never met a real professional "card shar p," one of the really great artists of the card table. I use the term "card sharp," advisedly. This is the common term word, but th e great artists of the card table are entitled to a much better and more appropr iate term. When I use the term "card sharp," I am not referring to those persons who would like to be "card sharps," haven't the knowledge or ability, and are t he customers of the gambling supply houses. I am not referring to those characte
rs who hang around the cheap pool parlors, and openly boast that they are "card sharps." Neither am I referring to those misguided kids in the army who introduce in the game a deck of those ancient relics called "marked cards." Such antiquated, moss covered devices as "marked cards," "shiners," "hold-outs," and etc., were, years ago, relegated by the masters of the card table to the dusty archives of t he Smithsonian Institute. My statement to the New York magicians and card experts that they had never met a real professional "card sharp" was received with skepticism by polite magi cians, and with ridicule by those not so courteous. Therefore, to clinch my argument, and prove my point, I brought one of the m asters of the card table to New York City—Walter Irving Scott. It took considerable persuasion on my part to do this, but Mr. Scott consent ed to do a favor for an old friend. I always thought the New York magicians owed me a vote of thanks, because it was through my efforts that they met the fabulo us Walter Scott. The sensation that Walter Scott created in New York is now history, and was reported by Max Holden in the columns of The Sphinx. At the time Walter Scott was creating his sensation, I met Arthur Lloyd, "Th e Human Card Index,' in the lobby of one of the New York hotels, and he said: "F rom what I hear, I wouldn't dare witness the performance and demonstration of Wa lter Scott. If I did, I'm afraid I would never touch another deck of cards the r est of my life." Mr. Lloyd would not have been the first magician who gave up ca rd magic completely after witnessing a demonstration by Walter Scott. Max Holden was an authority on the art of magic. He was held in such high es teem, and was such a likeable person, that magicians would divulge their cherish ed secrets to him, knowing that these secrets would go no further. He had known and been intimate with all the great card experts from Dr. Elliott's time up thr u the years. In his report in The Sphinx on the Walter Scott visit to New York C ity, he went so far as to specifically name each card expert he has known intima tely, and concluded with the words to the effect that: "Walter Scott is the mast er of them all." A few weeks after the visit to New York City, I wrote a manuscript entitled: The Phantom of the Card Table, which contained some of Scott's methods. Mr. Sco tt read the manuscript, and approved of same, because the methods explained in t he manuscript had been discarded or were to be discarded, by him for better or m ore approved methods. The manuscript was primarily written for Leo Horowitz whos e artistry with a deck of cards was greatly admired by both Mr. Scott and myself . It was never written to be printed, published or sold. It was written in a h urry, and had I known that some day it would be a collector's item, I would have taken much greater pains with it. I am not particularly proud of the manuscript . I wish to explain that I am not a professional writer, and do not claim or asp ire to be. One of the methods described in the manuscript, was a method of second-deali ng in which a card is "hit" from the deck instead of being dealt in the usual ma nner. This method has amazed the card experts, and was completely new to them. F or the first time in the history of magic, I described a method of second-dealin g in which a card is "hit" from the deck instead of being dealt in the usual way . Writing in regards to this second-deal, Max Holden stated: "It appeared as t hough Scott squeezed the cards from the deck." Even expert second-dealers of the well known methods of second-dealing were not only amazed at the deceptiveness of the "hit" method of second dealing, but the effects obtained by Walter Scott with the use of same were even more astounding. This description and explanation was written to give Mr. Horowitz the salien t points of the second deal, and was not written as rudimentary instruction for a novice. As Mr. Horowitz had already been given a personal demonstration by Mr. Scott, many details were omitted. Mr. Horowitz, a card-expert in his own right, understood perfectly the theory of the second-deal, particularly as to "why" it
was more deceptive to "hit" the card, and therefore it was unnecessary to expla in the theoretical phases of the second-deal. If memory serves me right, copies of the manuscript were sent to Mr. Horowit z, Nate Leipzig, T. Nelson Downs, and Cardini, all intimate friends of mine, wit h the request the manuscript be kept confidential. Later Mr. Horowitz wrote requ esting permission to loan his copy to Dai Vernon. I considered this a most gentl emanly gesture on Mr. Horowitz's part, and his request was granted. Shortly after this, as just related, I left for other parts of the country a nd the world. In my travels, you may be sure, I was always on the lookout for an ything relating to "card sharping" or card manipulation. When I returned to this section of the country with one of the prominent rod eos, we played Boston, and I visited Herman Hanson, manager of the Boston branch of Max Holden's Magic Shop. Here I met Walter Taylor, an old friend, former ass istant to Richard Davis, the magician. Years previous, I had introduced Mr. Tayl or to Walter Scott, and Mr. Taylor had witnessed some of Scott's work. During th e course of the conversation, Mr. Taylor remarked that a book had been recently published entitled, Expert Card Technique, by Jean Hugard. I was informed it con tained an explanation of the Walter Scott method of second-dealing. I obtained a copy of Hugard's Expert Card Technique, and read the chapter on second-dealing, which had a most familiar ring. Digging up the original copy of The Phantom of the Card Table, I compared the text with the chapter on second-d ealing and bottom-dealing in Expert Card Technique, and discovered, to my conste rnation, that the book contained words, phrases, and ideas from the original man uscript. For instance: In my manuscript, I warn the prospective student of secon d dealing that the axiom or adage "Practice Makes Perfect" is a fallacy, and to substantiate my claim I quote Prof. Jenkins of Cornell University. Mr. Hugard ma kes the same statement, but without credit to Professor Jenkins or myself. In my manuscript, I use the word "hit" in describing the second-deal. Mr. Hugard evid ently has an English complex for he uses the word "strike." As to the merits of his description, explanation and instructions, Mr. Hugar d completely "missed the boat." The illustrations depicting the position of the deck and hands are wrong, the accompanying text is inaccurate, inadequate, and h e omits and overlooks, one of the most important elements of the second-deal. It is rather tragic to think of a conscientious student spending hours of us eless practice, vainly struggling with the explanation, not realizing that the a uthor himself, if his instructions as written are followed, can't possibly effec tively perform or execute the method he is volubly attempting to describe. Some day I intend to pay a return date in New York City, accompanied by a ca rd-expert, and repeat the sensation created by Walter Scott. The guarantee is gi ven that the next card expert brought to New York City will create even a greate r sensation than the memorable visit of Walter Scott. Since Mr. Scott's last visit to New York City, 20 or more years ago, new tec hniques and methods have been developed and perfected. Not only in the manipulat ive branch, but also in the department of devices and appliances used as an adju nct to manipulation. I claim the art of magic has not kept abreast with modern science. At least two of the card experts mentioned at the beginning of this article have taken Cu ll advantage and made ample use of the marvelous new inventions and discoveries that, in the last quarter of a century, have amazed and startled the civilized w orld. Recently there appeared on the magic horizon a book entitled Effective Card Magic by Bill Simon. A chapter is devoted to the "hit" method of second dealing. The "hit" method of second-dealing is associated with the name of Walter Sco tt. Although Walter Scott's name is not mentioned in this chapter, yet some magi cians might possibly think that this is the Scott method. This is emphatically n ot the Walter Scott method, although the basic idea of "hitting" a card is used. The second-deal is a gambler's sleight, and the merits of any particular met hod of second-dealing, should be judged from the viewpoint and standards of a ga
mbler. The position of the deck in the left hand as illustrated in the chapter on t he second-deal in Effective Card Magic, is suspicious and unnatural. The author practically admits this point when he describes the posit on as "uncomfortable." Particularly objectionable, is the position of the left forefinger curled again st the outer upper end of the deck. I doubt if even the great Walter Scott himse lf could accomplish much with the deck in this position. He certainly could never have presented his Poker demonstration in which he dealt any Poker hand called for, without the use of marked cards, and with a bor rowed deck. It is interesting to note that Walter Scott could execute the "hit" method o f second-dealing with equal facility using any finger of the right hand, includi ng the little finger. This, of course, has no practical value, but Scott liked t o demonstrate This to my magician friends to prove what could be accomplished wi th practice. The U. F. Grant Magic Company has disappeared from the scene, but during the fifties they were one of the country's foremost manufacturers of magical ap paratus. We reprint U. F. Grant's January '54 comments which appeared in his reg ular "Linking Ring" column. TAKEN FOR GRANTED by U. F. (Gen) Grant Walter Scott, The Phantom At Card Table, the article about him that started in The Linking Ring in November. Some may wonder if it is fiction. 1 can verify it is genuine as I knew Scott real well, he visited my home many times and I SAW HIM PERFORM MIRACLES, the greatest Miracle Worker With Cards I Have Ever Seen.. . I could go on for pages, telling of the many miracles he performed for me. Eddie McGuire from Providence, R. L, a close friend of mine for years, intro duced Scott to me and brought him to my home many times. They would be on their way to a professional game. Eddie would drive the car. Walter had a hinged table that lifted up and a heater in the back seat and on the way to a game would pra ctice for hours to keep fingers limbered up. Scott was so good, he cheated the c heaters. His specialty was to let the sharks take him for awhile, then the last night he would take them for everything. In the material McGuire added to the original manuscript were several re ferences to "Effective Card Magic." Here in the March '54 L.R. author Bill Simon answers the attack. Bill's book was published is 1952 and remains today one of the better efforts in describing and defining sleight of hand.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT by Bill Simon I first met Eddie McGuire, by mail, about five months ago and at the time I had no idea that the venerable Phantom of the Card Table was to be published by him in The Linking Ring (Nov., Dec., '53; Jan. '54). Now that the series has bee n concluded a few thoughts have sprung to mind which I feel obliged to discuss. In the last chapter of the PHANTOM series, entitled: Which Brings Us to the Present (written quite recently), my pen-pal Eddie McGuire has made several comm ents which interest me greatly. He refers to the "card sharp," the select few wh o possess superlative sharping skill, as "the great artists of the card table." He berates the less skilled at cheating with cards, calling them... characters w ho hang around cheap pool halls... misguided kids..." What he fails to recognize is that they are both dishonest, the prime difference between the "artists" and the "kids" being that the group Eddie eulogizes are simply better at it than th
e others. The chapter continues by discussing descriptions of the second and bottom de als as described in Expert Card Technique. McGuire says: "...the book (ECT) cont ained words, phrases, and ideas from the original manuscript (the Phantom)." At a later point he admonishes ECT by saying"...the accompanying text is inaccurate , inadequate, and he omits and overlooks one of the most important elements of t he second deal." To an innocent bystander it would appear that since ECT contain s wards, phrases, and ideas that appear in the Phantom then whatever weaknesses appear in one would appear in the other: After all, they are the same words, phr ases, and ideas! Of course, this isn't so, for the descriptions in ECT are disti nct and valuable to the student as is the information disclosed in the Phantom. McGuire continues the chapter by discussing my book, Effective Card Magic, o r rather, the chapter on second dealing which is in the book. He says: "The posi tion of the deck in the left hand... is suspicious and unnatural. The author pra ctically admits this point when he describes the position as uncomfortable: "In actuality the illustration referred to is commonly called the "mechanic's grip." This grip is fairly popular and was used as I believe it to be best in teaching second dealing to the neophyte. Throughout the chapter the student is told that it is advisable for him to later develop a grip best suited to himself. To illu strate this I quote the following (Effective Card Magic, page 72) "Before starti ng, keep in mind that this is a fairly general plan. It must meet the needs of m any types of persons with many types of hands. What suits you may not suit anoth er. Eventually, you may have to make changes in the deal to suit yourself, but f irst master the method given here. After that, you may make whatever changes in grip, position, and handling that suit you best." McGuire says that I admit the position to be "uncomfortable." This is a slan ted interpretation, for I actually say: "If you have never held a deck this way before, it may be slightly uncomfortable at first, bin you will rapidly get accu stomed to it." (ECM, page 75, last paragraph, second sentence.) My reasons for writing a chapter on the second deal were (and still are) the following: 1) I developed what I believe to be a tremendous aid in teaching basic secon d dealing to anyone in a very short period of time (ECM, page 76, The Immovable Card). 2) I felt it more expedient to teach the components of the deal separately, and then combine them after each component was learned rather than teach all of the moves together at one time. 3) I developed six tricks using the second deal and felt that by including t hese new effects in a chapter on second dealing more magicians would become inte rested in the deal since they could openly see a variety of its magical applicat ions. That sums up my relation to the Phantom series, but a few items persist in h aunting me. For example, the article repeatedly harps upon the superiority of th e "card artists" over the skill of our card men in magic. I must take exception to this as I believe that our top card men, such men as Vernon, Daley, Marlo, Mi ller, Scarne, can more than hold their own in skill and technique over that of a ny top professional gambler. First of all it must be recognized that the field of card gambling and the f ield of card magic differ in many outward respects. A gambler need only depend u pon a few things (marked or punched cards, a second deal, a bottom deal, or othe r gambler's devices), the things that "get the money." On the other hand, a card man (magician) is more versatile in that not only is he well grounded in the var ious gambler's moves but he also has endless effects, methods, and techniques at his command that gamblers don't even know exist! Approach is another important consideration: a gambler works under entirely different conditions than does a card man. When a gambler "operates" he is not u nder suspicion or surveillance (if he is suspected then he simply plays legitima tely). Thus, unsuspected, his "work" many times is quite visible and even sloppy
. The one thing the gambler must strive for is naturalness of action. As long as he appears to be at ease and handles the cards in a natural and innocent manner he will not be watched. The gambler may then unconcernedly utilize whatever che ating methods he desires. A magician, on the other hand, is under constant scrut iny: people anticipate that a magician is going to resort to manipulation and so they carefully watch every movement. One false move, or a "flash" of any sort, and he is finished. Thus a magician performs under stringent test conditions whi le a gambler may unconcernedly go about his business (his only pressures being t hat of his guilt—complexes and his own conscience). And so the magician's techniqu e must be perfect, while the gambler's may be wanting. Card magic has been constantly improved until our present-day card men have reached a peak of perfection never before dreamed of. Tremendous strides (in met hods, techniques, and effects)have taken place, and much of the very best of thi s material is available in current magical books and other magical literature. A nd so it is with out surprise that Audley Walsh (one of our country's best infor med men on gambling and gambler's methods) points out that today many card cheat s are devoutly pouring through magic books in search of techniques and methods. There is little necessity for doubting the ability of our men in magic! And it's a darn sight more honest. In the November 1954 issue of "Linking Ring," one year after the Pha ntom article started, Rufus Steele wrote of his feelings about Scott and the dif ference between gambling cheaters and card handling magicians. Steele was 73 whe n this appeared. He wrote with the experience of a knowledgeable gambler and an informed magician. While attending M.I.T. Engineering School days, his nights we re spent keeping cases at the faro table in a fashionable Boston casino. Early i n this century his minor became his major and he gambled all over the Western U. S. Another thing learned in Boston was a respect for magic and magician s. Always listening and learning he finally used his expertise of all forms of p lay to become a writer and lecturer on bridge, poker and the history of gambling . He has five books on card tricks to his credit besides his many contributions to magic journals. COMMENTS ON GAMBLERS' SLEIGHTS by W. F. (Rufus) Steele I was very much interested in reading Arthur T. Johnson's review of Walter I rving Scott's Phantom of the Card Table. As has been related by Frances Ireland, both in The Linking Ring and in her last book, I was employed during my early l ife in a Boston gambling club, where I was taught many gambling sleights by men who knew their way around in gambling. I have followed up this interest in gambl ing all my life and believe that I am in a position to say that a magician is po orly equipped to judge a gambler. Interestingly enough, none of those gamblers I knew in the Boston days ever used his sleights in the True Blue Club. He would go out into the open spaces an d do his cheating, then bring his spoils back into the Club and lose them in a s traight game—where the percentage take will break any constant card player. While I was working at the Club, I was taught to deal in a Faro game, which probably was the greatest lesson in my card education. It was there also that I met my first magician. I met this man by accident in Austin and Stone's Museum i n Scolly Square where I was one day trying out a certain variation move in check ers in an arranged game with the Hindu Checker Playing Machine (actually Charlie Barker, the champion of the world, concealed in back of the big Hindu figure). I played my new variation and beat Mr. Barker. The moment the win was establishe d, I received a heavy slap on the back from a stranger who said, "Young man, tha t was the greatest play I ever saw made." This man was Dr. Elliott, renowned among the old-time magicians as a card ex pert. I was invited to have lunch with him and later went to his room and played a number of checker games with him. He at that time showed me a great many card
tricks and flourishes. When I informed him I was working in a gambling house, h e became very much interested and wished to know about the sleights the gamblers used. I told him I could not explain them because "I didn't know any," but offe red to find out whether I could invite him to the Club. Later, when he was invited to visit the Club, he was asked to perform some o f his pet tricks, which were very wonderful. However, he suggested that he knew several gambling sleights, such as second and basement deals. This was his mista ke. Dr. Elliott performed these sleights in true magician style, and I remember very well the comments of a gambler called Monk White. "That card work may be fi ne for the magicians," he said, "but before you try to use it in a game for mone y, you had best look up the closest mortuary." Monk White then demonstrated his "second" with 10 cards of a suit on top of the deck, and using his peek he dealt any of the 10 cards called for to himself. When this and several other sleights had been shown by White, Dr. Elliott aband oned his gambling routine and never returned to it. Sam Bailey once told me the doctor cried when he thought of the hours wasted on a gambling sleight that was not even a good magician's trick. So far as that goes, a second deal of itself is of little use to a gambler. What good would it be to a gambler unless he was able to know what the top card was? In order to know this, one must employ one of several methods, such as mark ed cards, glimmers, or a peek. Whatever method is used, it takes plenty of nerve and heart. In my lifetime, I have met many truly great gamblers, and I am frank to admi t that the better class gamblers do not resort to sleights like second dealing o r basement dealing. But they do understand these methods. A gambler who resorts to a second deal in his games belongs in the cheap honky tonk places where the r iff raff gather. I venture to say no cheat in a poker game can get by with 30 mi nutes of cheating in any gambling house that is run on the up and up. Although we may admire skill, I can't for the life of me figure why you shou ld make a hero out of a character who deals a perfect second. There is no half-w ay mark for a cheater: he is a common thief from his feet up. I never found one of them who had a penny saved for a rainy day. Please don't misunderstand me when I speak of a second dealer in a gambling game. I am not including the magician who uses his second in performing some car d trick. I know magicians who use a second deal in many of their tricks and do a very fine job of it. Yet these magicians would be suckers in a poker game—they ar e not gamblers. The Phantom of the Card Table states there is only one master method of deal ing the second card. With this I cannot agree. I am convinced that the type or s hape of a man's hand has a great deal to do with how he deals. In my time, I hav e met a great many people who have fooled the public with their second dealing, and about all of them used different grips for their second—so why say "there is o nly one perfect way." The late Dr. Daley worked hard on a good second deal and did what I should c all a "perfect second." He had a wonderful pair of hands, and he never gambled f or money. He once told me how many different ways he could deal a second, and th ey were all about perfect. Dai Vernon said in his lecture, "A lot of nonsense has been written and circ ulated about the second deal." I fully agree with Dai, although I am a bit doubt ful about the short time he feels it should take to master and time his current simplified second. Dai says he can deal a second in more than 20 different ways, so probably he has included among these Mr. Scott's "perfect" method. Mr. Scott seems to stick to the general idea that a card should be knocked o ut with the hands perfectly still and with great caution. While I am convinced t hat a second deal can be noiseless, the slight sound that could be expected from the rubbing of cards against one another is pretty well covered in a poker game . Poker games as a general rule are not so quiet as a person might expect. Rattl ing of chips and money and idle talk and laughter cover up whatever sound might be caused by a second deal. The quickest way to discover a second deal is not by listening, but by watching for unnatural play of the cards and the play of the
money angle. One of the main reasons the "Phantom" article does not carry conviction for me is the general mixture of references to gambling and magicians. They just do not mix, and I do not think there is any basis of comparison between one and the other. The author of the article states he has seen the greatest card magicians all over the world, and goes on to name them: Dr. Elliott, Al Baker, Note Leipz ig, Zingone, Cardini, Jimmy Kater Thompson, Noffke, John Scarne, Nelson Downs, D ai Vernon, and Hunter and Billy O'Connor from England. As far as great magicians go, I am in agreement with him—but this article was about a great gambler known t o the gambling field all over the world for his clever handling of gambling slei ghts. So why should a gambler be judged by a magician, or vice versa? I have met many gamblers and magicians in my time, and among the magicians, very few gambled for money for a living. The late Manuel (his real name was Thom as) was regarded among the magicians as the greatest of gamblers, but among the gamblers he was a "dud," or classed as a chump or sucker. He lacked the nerve to try his gambling sleights during a real poker game, and he confided to me the r eason was fear. I have talked with many good gamblers who knew Manuel and watche d him perform his sleights in private and had nothing but praise for him as a de monstrator. Yet as a player he lacked nerve and had a heart about as big as a mu stard seed. If a man can make his living through his ability as a cheater, why would he advertise his secrets to the public whose wool he is trying to clip? For years I have read in the magical magazines about this man called Walter Scott and have asked a great many gamblers if they had ever met or heard of him. Up to the present time, the only persons who acknowledge hearing of or knowing him are a few of the New York magicians. I have no reason to doubt Mr. Scott's a bility or to question the fact that he impressed Mr. McGuire. But I do question the statement that Mr. Scott is the greatest of them all. Apparently this evaluation of Mr. Scott's prowess is based upon observing hi m in some terrific card battles with other clever card players. Personally, I ha ve visited and played in a great many poker games where real money was at stake and where some very wonderful card men drew cards. To save my life, I could not state that the pot was obtained dishonestly—although I knew the winner was capable of doing some shady and clever card work. If an outsider, like Mr. McGuire, could watch and catch his friend Scott do some cheating, then the clever card players just cheated must have been asleep o r blindfolded. A consistent winner in a poker game will always be regarded with a great deal of suspicion, even though he wins through scientific playing. The writer of the Scott article states that "card sharping" has always held a peculiar fascination for him and that to satisfy himself he has visited the fo ur corners of the earth: going to all the great gambling resorts, including seve ral years spent at the famous and notorious Monte Carlo. I question whether he went to the right places to observe "card sharping." I have had the pleasure of visiting Monte Carlo on several occasions, although I never spent "several years" there. Personally, I would not think that was the sp ot to find card cheats in the games. They do not play poker at Monte Carlo, and their gambling is much different from ours. The biggest trouble Monte Carlo has is caused by the American tourists who try to steal one of the ivory chips used on the layout—a difficult thing to get away with. The gambling cheat just doesn't go to a legalized house to try out his sleig hts! Legalized gambling, such as allowed in Nevada, does not have much attractio n for the crooked gambler. The private police are constantly on the lookout for card sharpers or cheats. There are no clip joints in in the larger cities of Nev ada. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to start even a small-sized gambl ing room. With the license fees, high wages and taxes, the owners are in no posi tion to imperil such an investment for a few dirty dollars. I can't believe a pe rson has much chance to study the actions of a card cheat in such circumstances. The Scott article gives us to understand that Cardini says, "Scott is 500 ye ars ahead of Erdnase" (whose book was put out over 50 years ago). Well, I did no
t know that Erdnase was ever considered an authority on the game of Poker nor of the correct way to deal a "second." But I have read The Expert at the Card Tabl e and consider it a very wonderful book on card sleights, and I believe it had a great deal to do with the way several of the better magicians handle a deck of cards. I have not read Mr. Scott's full donation to the gambling or magical profess ion, but in my mind Erdnase offers some very helpful advice. All I can say regar ding it is: If your ambition is to become a card cheat—one of the lowest forms of human endeavor—study the first part of The Expert at the Card Table. And it will t ake daily practice if you want to master these sleights. If, however, you wish t o become a good magician and entertainer, devote your time to the second part of the book entitled "legerdemain." Disregard the statement that Scott is 500 year s ahead. That is a lot of years, and I am afraid Poker was not even born in this country that many years ago. We end our story by going all the way back to the beginning. The followi ng two articles appeared in the July 1930 Sphinx Magazine which was the "Society of American Magicians" official organ. Here recorded by two of magical arts' fo remost authorities is the meeting of Scott and some greats in the field. Eddie McGuire of Providence, accompanied by Walter Scott, came into New York to meet Tommy Downs, and what a feast of magic we had. A special session at Al Baker's home with Cardini, Sam Horowitz, Downs, Eddie McLaughlin, Scott, McGuire and the writer. This is one event that is worth a lot, as here we saw Walter Scott from Prov idence, perform miracles with cards, and I pass the crown to Walter Scott. Witho ut a doubt, Walter Scott is the cleverest man with a pack of cards in the world, say I, backed up by Tommy Downs, Sam Horowitz, Leipzig, Cardini, McGuire and al l the others who have witnessed his skill. I know that many readers will think I am relating the impossible, but it is real facts, which can be vouched for by M r. Ernst, Prof. Quimby, Leo Rullman and John Malholland, as Mr. Scott gave a dem onstration at Mr. Quimby's house. At Al Baker's home, a picture of the bunch was taken by Cardini and may be r eproduced in the Sphinx at a later date. (Note: This picture appeared in the Aug ust 1930 Sphinx.) Anyway, here is a description of a few miracles of Scott: A pack of cards, b orrowed, and shuffled by Al Baker. Scott seated at the end of the table, takes t he cards in hand and deals out hands. I suggested six hands and six hands were d ealt out. Now again the cards were handed to Al Baker to shuffle and again place d in Scott's hands, and there was no chance to make a pass or do anything with t he cards. Again, six hands were dealt out onto the table. Again a shuffle by Bak er and again six hands were dealt out until there was a full Poker hand or deal. On turning over the hand of Scott, there were four Aces and a King. We were all watching very close, and none of us could detect any false moves or anything un fair. Again the cards were thoroughly shuffled and again Scott held a Royal High Flush against the other hands. Another pack of Al Baker's cards were borrowed a nd AI was asked to shuffle and to place them in Scott's hand (one hand only). "N ow," Scott says, "It is easy for me to tell the top card, but if I can look down and tell you that the fourth card down is an Ace, what would you Say?" And, on looking at the fourth card down, it was an Ace. Again, the fourth ca rd from the bottom was also an Ace, and also cutting the pack into two heaps, Sc ott handed me one heap and said, "You have one King and three Aces." And sure en ough, I had. I cannot begin to tell you of the miracles of Scott, but he is really uncann y and I think I have seen the greatest card magicians all over the world: Al Bak er, Cardini, Dexter, Downs, Dr. Elliott, Erens, Hoffke, Hunter, Leipzig, Milton, Scarne, O'Connor, Kater Thompson, Zingone, and last of all Dai Vernon, whom I h ave always admired, and Dai, to me is the greatest in cards, but I now have to p ass the crown to Scott, and the others agree with me.
Cardini was always considered to be an expert at second-dealing, but after s eeing Scott dealing seconds, Cardini gave up. Scott is the greatest man with car ds in all kinds of effects, and dealing seconds is just another one of his accom plishments. Never a move of the fingers in his second deal, it just seems as if he squeezed out the second card. A Little Joke: Cardini, after camping on the doorstep of Scott, decided that he must try to get to the bottom of some of his work; invited Scott to dinner. He had a movie taken of Scott's card work. This in slow motion, gave some of the moves, but Cardini, being a gentleman, presented Scott with the film and photos , and what a relief, as this was too good to let out in pictures. Now, I know that many of the readers will think that I am wrong in my explan ations, but I will leave it to any of the others. I think they will agree with m e. I am as much at sea as anyone. I can't explain or give any clue. There simply is no explanation and this is about the first time I have ever been without an explanation or clue to a magical effect or sleight, and I have had a training wi th the best: Devant, Maskelyne, Hunter, Baker, Downs, and many, many others. I want to thank my good friend Eddie McGuire for the many favors shown us. E ddie is a prince of the first water. In fact, I am deeply thankful to T. Nelson Downs, Eddie McLaughlin, Eddie McGuire and Walter Scott for all the kindnesses s hown us.