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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Some questions on handmucking. (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Thomas Gilroy
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I recently bought the Tony Giorgio DVD set on handmucking. I have a few specific questions regarding mucking and holding out which are not specifically addressed on this set, and I'd appreciate if anybody could weigh in.

When demonstrating break-offs, Tony breaks the cards off into his right hand each time. This seems a bit odd to me. Whenever I'm dealt a hand in a game, I square my cards on the table and cover with my left hand, with the fingers at the outer long edge and the thumb at the inner index corner. I cover with my right hand, create a viewing window between my right thumb and index finger. I lift my left thumb, and let the card fall off my thumb one by one to read the indices. From this position, it would be very easy to transition to any of the break-offs that Tony demonstrates without much movement of either hand, but the break-off would have to be into my left hand.

I can't switch the position of my hands during my viewing process, there's no index at the other inner corner.

What, if any, are the specific benefits of breaking-off into the right hand, and why would this would be preferable to breaking-off into the left hand? I understand that most people deal right handed and that it's more natural to cap the deck with cards in the right hand. However, if the card is concealed in the left hand, the right hand is still free to handle chips, signal actions, etc, and those actions are done more naturally with the dominant hand.

My next question concerns breaking-off multiple cards. Tony does not demonstrate a method for breaking off multiple cards, but he does demonstrate mucks involving multiple cards. I can modify his methods to break-off multiple cards, but all require a break to be held. My solution to this is to let the cards to be broken-off riffle lightly off my gripping thumb onto the table, then re-grip them with a break. It's simple, and easy. Does anybody have a preferred method they'd be willing to share?

Finally, and probably most importantly, is the question of when the break-off would be performed. I'm assuming these moves would have been used in poker games, most likely 5-card draw or 7-card stud. Most good poker players don't immediately view their cards when the deal is complete. They watch the players who act ahead of them as they look at their cards and make their actions. Mike Caro's books stress the importance of this, and in my own experience, the information you can get by watching players at this moment can be valuable. To view your hand early and break-off after the deal but before your action sacrifices this information, and limits your ability to win legitimately. Also, the table will watch you on your turn to act, so to move now would be obvious. Maybe you could wait until after the first round of betting and break-off as the draw or the next street is dealt, but you would again be sacrificing the opportunity to watch your opponent's reactions. Also, if you feel your had is weak before the draw or the later streets with the exception of a card or two you'd like to break-off, why play the hand further? Would it be worth calling a small bet with the intention of folding later for the opportunity to break-off a good card or two?

With the decline of draw and stud and the rise of hold'em, I'd imagine that mucking is too risky to be used anymore, even in a private game. It would be hard to discard 1 or 3 cards as 2 convincingly. Maybe it could still be applied in Omaha as you'd have more cards to work with, but Omaha is a draw heavy game and you can only play two of your cards. I'd suspect that as often as not, holding an extra card would be a disadvantage, as you'd be likely to be blocking some of your stronger draws. I haven't done the mathematics on that though.
Cagliostro
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I don't have time right now to discuss the good points you made on mucking and Giorgio's DVD on same. However, I will address mucking in a more modern framework than Giorgio as soon as I have some free time.

In the meantime, here is a review of Giorgio's DVD that I wrote some time back. You might find it interesting.
Quote:
On Jan 26, 2012, Cagliostro wrote:
Since commentaries on Tony Giorgio have been mentioned above and he and writings are of interest to magicians and gambling move hobbyists, I am going to post a review of The Ultimate Work I wrote some time back for another purpose. Since I have not seen any detailed commentaries on this DVD and since it appears applicable to this thread, possibly this review might be of passing interest to a few of the members.

Quote:
Tony Giorgio’s DVD entitled, The Ultimate Work purports to demonstrate the “real work” on the subject of hand mucking, as opposed to the magician’s and expose demonstrator’s renditions of same. The designation of “Ultimate Work” might seem a bit pretentious, but what the heck that’s show biz.

I have written favorably about Giorgio’s ability and knowledge in the past and although I don’t know him personally, there is no doubt that he “walked the talk” in his earlier days. His commentary and previous writing on the subject quite definitely convey that fact. The mucks he describes were evidently used by him under fire at some point in his life and more importantly, his philosophy and understanding of the subject goes beyond what most magicians and expose artists usually convey or understand.

The DVD is not meant to be a comprehensive treatise on mucking and there are many “real work” mucks and mucking techniques that are not part of this DVD. The moves Giorgio demonstrates are those that Giorgio evidently developed and used many years ago and in a number of instances have been replaced by more modern and better methods, especially in the area of casino hand mucking. Giorgio’s work in this DVD is almost exclusively aimed at mucking in private games and is really not applicable for casino use. Then again, in all fairness, the best casino mucks for Blackjack and Baccarat, as well as for Texas Hold’em dealt in casino card rooms, have not been exposed by anyone in books or on DVDs – at least not yet. Such techniques and methods are still fairly unknown at this point in time.

What Giorgio does on the DVD is take a standard move (like the machine break off), and then show all the variations of that move that he has developed and used in the past. Additionally, he demonstrates a multitude of ways to palm cards prior to capping the deck. These palming moves for capping the deck are in part, but not entirely, variations of the basic move described by Erdnase under Skinning the Hand in The Expert at the Card Table. His demonstration of actually capping the deck itself, after palming, offers a good lesson for the interested viewer as Giorgio starts with a chip on top of the tabled pack. Placing a chip on the top of the deck is a relatively standard way of “protecting the deck” and Giorgio caps two cards so he can burn the top card before dealing the draw. (Capping the deck applies primarily to the game of Draw Poker and Low Ball Draw Poker in this DVD presentation, but is applicable to other card games as well as different variations of poker.)

Additionally, some of his techniques were designed for poker games and conditions that existed in the past and not for the modern professional full game poker environment of today where the players are sitting arm to arm. His Blackjack muck is more of an oddity (which he admits would never fly under today’s conditions), and his Gin Rummy moves, while interesting and still workable, do not represent the latest methods currently in use. His capping the deck moves are designed more for a shorthanded poker games as the muck techniques demonstrated would tend to “leak” under modern full table conditions. A hustler would definitely have to pick his spots in such instances. (Then again, a hustler always has to pick his spots and gear his moves to the game conditions encountered.)

The philosophy Giorgio conveys is valuable and beneficial to those who have a real interest in the subject, keeping in mind these moves were used a great many years ago. This doesn’t detract from their value and a serious student will definitely benefit from Giorgio’s commentary, demonstrations and perspective. The moves are applicable today in many private games for those who have the desire, audacity and courage to muck under fire.

Giorgio appears to be in his mid 80s and therefore the pace of the two DVDs is rather slow in comparison to the Forte, Piacente and Malek videos/DVDs. However, keep in mind these are teaching and not demonstration DVDs. Giorgio goes over each move 4 or 5 times, and for some this might prove to be tiresome, but it eliminates the necessity of rewinding the DVD over and over again. For serious students looking to master these moves, this is an advantage.

All in all, I recommend this DVD and I think some members of this site will benefit from purchasing and learning from an old timer who really has been there. (An experienced or top notch hand mucker who works under fire, especially a casino mucker, might find the DVD of passing interest, but that’s all. However, many serious viewers, especially magicians, should find the information to be of considerable benefit.

For me, it was a wonderful trip back to a previous era and the world of the old time hustler, and we all benefit by having someone like Giorgio convey this type information while he is still able to do so.

For those who are looking for flashy, whiz bang, razzmatazz BS demo work, this is not the DVD to buy. But for someone who is serious about learning from an old timer who knows what he is talking about, and perhaps picking up a few pointers along the way, I recommend The Ultimate Work.
Thomas Gilroy
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Hi Cagliostro, your review was interesting, thank you for sharing. I look forward to your post.
JasonEngland
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Quote:
On Sep 13, 2018, Thomas Gilroy wrote:
What, if any, are the specific benefits of breaking-off into the right hand, and why would this would be preferable to breaking-off into the left hand?


It was common for partners that passed cards between them to sit next to each other. If you're trying to pass to a partner on your right a left-handed break off is going to cause you problems. Thus, being able to break off with either hand is important.

Now, if you're just a holdout man that isn't going to do anything but play 6 to everyone else's 5, then left-handed is probably the way to go, since as you mentioned, the entire poker hand is usually in the left hand while squeezing out the cards to see the hand.

Jason
Eternal damnation awaits anyone who questions God's unconditional love. --Bill Hicks
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Sep 13, 2018, Thomas Gilroy wrote:

I recently bought the Tony Giorgio DVD set on handmucking. I have a few specific questions regarding mucking and holding out which are not specifically addressed on this set, and I'd appreciate if anybody could weigh in.


Let me address some questions asked by Thomas Gilroy. It is very important to keep in mind the three poker games that Giorgio discusses on the DVDs are Draw, 7 Card and 5 Card Stud poker, plus Gin Rummy. These were the money games during the era under discussion. No Limit Hold'em did not make its appearance until many years later so the handing of the cards and the table configuration in the games Giorgio discusses are not the same as for modern day No Limit Hold'em.

The poker table of that time period was round, not oblong as used in Hold'em today. Therefore, some of the moves and ploys Giorgio shows on the DVDs cannot be used quite the same way in modern day Hold'em, although variations of what he demonstrates can. Notice that Giorgio uses his right hand to go in and out with a card or cards while holding the main poker hand with his left. This enables him to cap the deck, clean up, pass a card to a partner, pick from the Gin Rummy stock, etc. with his right hand. Most right-handed people hold their Poker or Gin cards in their left hand and use the right hand to play with the chips, bet, etc. Not always, but mostly. This concept applies also to modern day Hold'em.

However, in order for Giorgio to steal a card in the right hand with the machine break off, he must move the poker hand cards from his left to his right hand. The packet can then be transferred back to the left hand after the steal. That is not a problem in five-card draw poker, or Blackjack, as the cards are not held flat on the table as they are in Hold'em or 5-card stud. Of course, when actually working with a hold-out machine the cards would usually be held in the left hand for the machine break-off in order to feed the card in and out of the left sleeve hold-out. Indeed, one of the mucks used for many years in BJ (before the cameras when in), used a left-handed machine break off. Adding a card, looking at the hand, doing the break off and sliding the cards under the money was all done with the left hand.

Mucking is used in private Hold'em games and to a lesser extent in casino Hold'em, but still used. While it is true that good poker players will view their cards when it is their turn to act, that creates no problem at all There is plenty of time to go in and out with a card during the play of the hand. Actually, that can be done with either hand and with the cards ostensibly flat on the table. However, that is something you will have to figure out for yourself. Mucking does not have to be done immediately. The main difference in Hold'em is the table configuration and the players sitting shoulder to shoulder, therefore the cards usually have to be held very close to the table during one's moves. The magician's palm for modern-day Hold'em would usually be problematic because of leaking and there are other palms in addition to the gambler's palm that are used.

All one needs is moving one card in and out for most games and using multiple cards is less often used. However, Tony does demonstrate a multiple card break off for capping the deck. I'm sure you can work out some variations on your own. Going in and out with multiple cards, or even switching the entire hand, is mostly for magician demos nowadays.

Perhaps this is in some way helpful but unfortunately my time is up as my wife wants me to go shopping with her. For some strange reason she feels that buying gifts for our granddaughter is more important that writing about hand mucking.

Women! Go figure... Smile
Peterson
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As I recall - Tony Giorgio said that mucking in Hold'em is not worth the risk.
Cagliostro
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On Sep 15, 2018, Peterson wrote:
As I recall - Tony Giorgio said that mucking in Hold'em is not worth the risk.


How do you "recall" this? Did you hear it directly from Giorgio himself or is it hearsay?

However, the point is well taken. Although mucking is used in private games, mucking in the casino environment, regardless of the game, is dangerous. It can be done, it has been done but the cameras knocked out a lot of mucking in that venue. In most cases it is not worth the risk and there are much better and safer ways to go.

Generally speaking, using sleight of hand moves against the cameras can be quite perilous. But to some, it is worth the risk. Smile
Thomas Gilroy
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@JasonEngland, thank you for your input. I can definitely see the value of being able to break-off with either hand to allow for that type of partnership.

@Cagliostro, thank you for taking the time to write that your post and addressing each of my questions. I found your post very informative, and I feel my questions are resolved.

I will think on the answers in this thread and I may ask further questions soon. I'm younger than most who post here in this sub-forum (I'll be thirty soon). I've played a lot of poker for low-stakes in card rooms and in private games, and some online. For me and probably most of my generation, poker has always meant No-Limit Holdem or Pot-Limit Omaha. I've only rarely played 7-card stud, and I've never played 5-card draw or 5-card stud. I've played gin rummy with friends, but not for money. It can be difficult to see how certain moves or methods could have been applied in older games with older procedures that I'm not familiar with.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Sep 15, 2018, Thomas Gilroy wrote:
I'm younger than most who post here in this sub-forum (I'll be thirty soon).


Nope, got you beat. I'm only 14. Smile
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