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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » All in the cards » » Explain self-working (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Jaz
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Would someone kindly explain to me what elements make a self-working card trick?
After many years I never really understood this.
clamon86
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It's a trick where there are no sleights and it's easy to do. But because of presentation and attitude no trick is REALLY self working. (my opinion)
marc_carrion
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Do we include key-card, even if a glimpse is needed? What about automatic forces?
Alym Amlani
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How about Sam the Bellhop?
Logic Defied
wsduncan
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A "self working" trick is one in which the method requires no practiced manipulation and depends on physical actions that can be performed without "muscle memory".

Setting a key card (most methods) does not require practiced dexterity. Dealing cards, as in Karl Fulves' Gemini Twins (from Self Working Card Tricks v1) does not require practiced dexterity.
mergardmagic
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Anything on Michael Ammar's Easy to master card miracles.

If you haven't seen this DVD series, I recommend it. It has some incredibly good professional material with hardly any work.

Sean
Erdnase27
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Sean, I don't agree with you.

Although most of the effects are easy to master they DO require sleight of hand. This means it isn't SELF-WORKING. Self-working tricks means to my point of view that some work is done but no sleights, a Deal trick, or Devestation (cutting the deck is no sleight) from Geoff Williams.
Pete Biro
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You could also say a mechanical deck, like a windup rising card deck, or a card fountain is self working... all you have to do is press a button and it goes.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
airship
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To me, a trick that requires any moves beyond the basic card-playing moves is NOT self-working. This excludes any sleights whatsoever, including double-lifts and false shuffles. If you have to learn and practice a move that requires dexterity, it's not 'self-working'.
For a card trick to be truly self-working, you must be able to write the instructions for the trick using ONLY these card manipulation verbs:
* cut - into as many piles as needed
* stack - placing cards or piles on top of one another in the specified order
* shuffle - overhand is best, riffle is okay (though about as advanced as a self-working trick should get)
* count - by ones, twos, threes, or whatever
* deal - however many at a time, into any number of piles, rows, columns, or other patterns
* stack - arrange a deck or packet into a particular order before the trick
* arrange - put a hand or tabled cards into a particular order or pattern
* gather - pick up tabled cards
* peek - identify a key card
* remove - take cards out of a deck or packet
* add - add cards into a deck or packet
* take - get cards from the spectator
* give - give cards to the spectator
* place - a card or cards into a container of some kind
* retrieve - card or cards from a container
* insert - a card or cards somewhere in the deck
* reverse - turn a card, packet, or deck over
* choose - 'pick a card, any card'
* fold - fold a card
* tear - tear a card or portion of a card
If you need other verbs, the odds are good that the trick you're trying to describe is not self-working.
Self-working card tricks can also make use of other common items as props, such as coins, pencil, paper, scissors, a table knife, etc.
Self-working tricks don't use gaffed cards or decks (even homemade ones), nor do they use 'magical' props.
Besides, even if you disagree with me, the Café has other places to discuss these other types of effects. Smile
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
marc_carrion
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Mr. Airship I think your classification is incomplete.

" ... pretend to shuffle the cards but don´t really shuffle them ..." would be a false shuffle and it´s included in your "self working" classification even if yourself decided not to include false shuffles in the the classification.

You can explain multiple false cuts, and the green hindu false shuffle using get and place.

If we want to get to a classification like this, we have to be more acurate, or just say what techniques are accepted and which ones are not.
Jaz
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Thanks all.
airship
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Mr. Carrion, I humbly disagree with your addition of the false shuffle to this category. I would categorize even such a simple move as the Hindu shuffle as a 'manipulation'. Though I understand that some would consider it to be so easy as to be trivial, I believe that it takes some skill to sell convincingly.
If badly executed, a false shuffle can be discovered and the trick exposed. A sloppy deal, cut, or shuffle can only make the performer look amateurish, while the trick itself can survive the move.
However, I'm willing to concede the point for the sake of brevity.
Respectfully, Mark
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
marc_carrion
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Hi Mr. Airship,

I totally agree with you, false shuffles and most of the false cuts should not be part of "self-working" tricks.

My point is that they can be described using only verbs from your list. And so, your list is not sufficient to describe "self-working" tricks.

Marc
Kelvin W Sherlock
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There are some people that actually use the hindu shuffle to shuffle their cards, which would make it no more of a manipulation than a riffle shuffle or overhand shuffle. "Self working" is often accompanied by the phrase "no skill required." If a lay person could perform it without learning any sleights, it's (IMHO) self working.

That would include a balducci force or a cross cut force, key cards, counting, spelling (ok, that's a stretch for some Smile, pre arranged stacks, display subtleties, dealing 3 rows of 7, etc.
Jaz
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I just came off card-trick.com and I should have realized that the "21 Card Trick" is self working. I haven't done it since I was a kid and almost forgot about it.

What I'm seeing is that quite a few self working tricks are mathematical in nature.
Other than noting a key card there's no stacking or preparation beforehand.
No sleights are needed.
Often the cards may be shuffled by the spectators beforehand.

Thanks
Daegs
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I personally think the crux is that you do exactly what you are saying you are doing, only knowing the secret.

IE no secret actions really take place.

Like in the 21 card trick, you don't do anything other than what you say too, but because you know the secret and order to pick up the cards it works.
marc_carrion
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There are self-working tricks with secret actions. Like when you keep the bottom card of the deck face up or you do part of the effect behind your back, under the table or in your pocket.
airship
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Bern's made the same observation that I have, that many - maybe even most - self-working card tricks seem to be mathematical in nature. But like Marc says, there are some that rely on a 'secret' too.
So what I'm saying is that everyone seems to be right.
I guess we can all sing 'Kum Bah Yah' now. Smile
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Daegs
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I disagree marc,

If the bottom card is reversed from the beginning then that has to do with the setup and is not really a "secret action in the effect" it's a "second condition of the deck". If you have to turn over the deck secretly, then I'd say that is not self working anymore.

Also, if you do something behind your back or under the table, then that isn't self working, now is it?

I stand by my "no secret actions".

It may be that you have a secret way to come UP with your actions, or that things start in a secret condition, but during the execution of the effect you do exactly what you look like you are doing with no secret actions = self working effect.
andre combrinck
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Most reviews I read (concerning Encyclopia of Card Trick), say that it is a collection of self-working tricks. I cannot understand this-jog shuffles, DLs-these are sleights according to me.
AJ
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