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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Breakthrough Card System's natural advantage over Close and Tamariz? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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todsky
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I've studied Osterlind's BCS, and it's very logical (easily memorized as a sequence), yet it appears completely random. I figure if I peg each card to its associated number, I will then be using a mem deck system that is superior to the Close or Tamariz method, because if my memory ever fails me, I have the 'out' of being able to figure out what the card is in any position by just running thru the logical sequence in my mind. Does this make any sense? Keep in mind that I'm new to the mem/stacked deck thing.
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churken
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Ultimately what you are doing is memorizing a stack. Therefore it is exactly the same as using the Tamariz or Aronson (not Close) stack. Both of these stacks use mnemonics so you have that to fall back on instead of the math. The advantage that Tamariz or Aronson has over the Osterlind System is the built in features that allow for so many other variables. I am not knocking the Osterlind system, I am just pointing out that each variation of a memorized stack offers it's own features. In terms of ease of memorization the Osterlind Breakthrough System is probably the easiest. Also it is cyclical so it is open to a huge number of effects, including those by Close, Tamariz, Aronson, Loomis, Meade, Ortiz, etc. But keep in mind it is a mathmatical based stack, much like Stebbins. I understand that Darwin Ortiz uses two stacks. One is unpublished and the other is the Si Stebbins. He has a great method of getting into the Si Stebbins set up from a newly opened deck with just a few shuffles and adjustments. He also states that lay people never catch on to the order of the cards when he is working with the Si Stebbins stack. And I for one believe him. A great deal is made of the stack appearing random, and while this is good in theory, how many card workers do you know that spread the deck out across the table for examination. I work out of my hands for the most part and I may casually spread the cards face up from time to time (but rarely) and I guarantee that in the time they are spread face up, no lay person would ever pick up on any stack or order. I think the only time they would be able to recognize an order is if the cards were in new deck order or set up for Out of This World. Remember, lay audiences don't know about stacks. They may occasionally say "you know where every card is", but they say that for all card tricks and can't actually fathom someone memorizing an order, then being able to maintain it from trick to trick, through countless shuffles and cuts. This, I believe, would also apply to most magicians, unless they had reason to believe you were using a stack.

Bottom line is that my advice would be to use whatever stack you feel comfortable with. Just make sure it is a cyclical stack. Make sure you also know the stack position that corresponds with every card. Make sure you do a good false shuffle.

The Osterlind Breakthrough Card System is great. Take the time to learn it, and then take some more time and get it down cold so that it is second nature. Keep in mind that getting hung up, or loosing your place while in the midst of a trick is death in mem deck work. Many tricks have delays built in so that you can think for a second, but the last thing you want to be doing is trying to do mental math in your head to find your place while you are also trying to act natural and keep up an entertaining patter line.

Good luck in your studies of the BCS. The effort will be well worth it.

Paul
Richard Osterlind
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Gentlemen,

Since the BCS is very close to my heart, I will just make one posting here which is a sort of condensation of ideas I have written in various books, etc.

Todsky, I have written a book called "The Memorized Breakthrough" which uses Harry Lorayne's system (with his entire permission) for both the peg words and the card keys. It is all layed out including my ideas for the associations. (Although Harry later told me he would have used different ones. Each person, of course, must use what works for them) And yes, you are right in stating that having a system that is both memorized and mathematical is a great device since you have the "protection" of falling back on either should the rigors of performing cause a slight mental lapse. Since the mental process of each is entirely different, a memory failure will not affect your ability to compute. Also, such as in card calling effects, a system that allows you to directly move from one card to the other is to be desired over one that causes you to think of numbers and cards at those numbers. I would dare to suggest that far more stacked deck routines in the literature rely on the former rather than the latter.

Paul, I wrote quite a bit about spreading cards and the importance of a completely random looking deck in my "Mind Mysteries Guidebook - 2". The BCS looks more random tham many other stacks. You will see 2 or 3 cards of like value right next to each other. Long runs of red or black cards and other "similarities of randomness" reside throughout the system. (Some stacks do not even have "mate" cards in the same half of the deck) When the BCS deck is spread in front of a spectator's eyes, their subconscious sees these runs and says, "These cards are REALLY mixed!" That usually cancels out any desire they might have to shuffle the cards. (If you are totally convinced the cards are mixed, why shuffle?) Again, this concept is covered very thoroughly in my book and the reality of my conclusions is clearly demonstrated on the "Mind Mysteries" videos as well as my 30 years of experience.

Finally, even though I don't really consider it important, the BCS does have other effects built into it such as my "Poker Deal". This is demonstrated on my new video series "Richard Osterlind - No Camera Tricks" about to be released. But I have always felt that I have a ton of effects using an ordinary deck that don't require a stack which can be demonstrated anytime and anyplace. If a stack is destroyed in the performance of an effect, you do not have the capability of performing that effect immediately again. Knowing how to do Poker Deals, spelling effects and others from scratch gives you much more freedom for most practical situations.

Speaking of practical, I have never really understood the great advantage of being able to get into a stack from new deck position. When working professionally, I never bring out a new wrapped and sealed deck (and there are ways to do this with a stacked deck) and it would seem to me that the long shuffling and cutting process involved in setting a new deck into a stack is not only long and tedious, but extremely liable to go wrong in the heat of battle.

Just my thoughts.

Richard
tboehnlein
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Hmm, No Camera TRicks gotta love that title.
Dennis Loomis
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It is interesting to note that Richard Osterlind and Mike Close are very much at odds about the importance of a stack appearing random. (Richard's arguments are above, Mike's are in Closely Guarded Secrets.) I respect both of these gentlemen and know that either or them can really "fry" an audience with card magic. Why then the difference? I suspect that it's the result of how and maybe where they work. If you move quickly from effect to effect and never give the audience a chance to look at the cards, then Mike Close is right. I suspect that most audiences hardly look at a ribbon spread deck, and have little knowledge of what to look for. But, if you work for sharp groups like card players, and if you want to be leisurely and leave the deck in view for a while, then it's more important that the deck appear "random."

It is true that the Osterlind Breakthrough Stack appears to be genuinely shuffled, but there are many stacks which do. Certainly the Aronson and Mnemonica stacks are not going to betray themselves to a lay person that looks them over.

I think that working with a memdeck is much like working with sleights. It's important that you be ready before you use a particular move or tool. If you are having trouble forgetting your stack, then you need to practice more before you try to do memdeck magic in front a lay people, especially paying audiences.

But the same is true of your sleights. Mastery means you can do a move or recall a card with no delay or apparent effort. Given that, there is no reason that you should have or need a "crutch" when doing memdeck work. If you're not ready, admit that and go home and practice! For that reason (and one more) I see no reason to memorize the Osterlind Stack. After all, it contains very few "built-in" effects. (I am interested in Richard's Poker deal, of course.) If you're going to memorize a stack, why not pick one which has a lot of tricks you like to do already built in. The Aronson and Mnemonica stacks have that. Or, you could devise your own stack to contain setups for effects that you use a lot.

Don't get me wrong: The Osterlind Breakthrough System is a remarkable tool for magicians. It can do all of the effects that you can do with Si Stebbins or Eight Kings or Hungry Jackass, etc. And, it has the advantage that the cards can be seen, and their order will betray nothing. If you watch Richard work with his stack, you'll see some remarkable card magic. And, if you do not wish to get into full memorized deck work, I would recommend it over Si Stebbins and the like.

Finally, todsky, I am afraid that your plan to spin through the Osterlind stack to determine a card at a remote location would take far too long to be practical. For example, there's a wonder principle of card magic called the remote key where a key card can be 26 cards away from the selection, and yet you can find it. But, even Richard Osterlind would probably not entertain the thought of running through 26 cards in his head, using the system, to determine the card without looking. Even a few cards, like eight or ten, is going to take way too long and your "thinking" will be showing.

Dennis Loomis
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todsky
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Paul, Richard and Dennis: I very much appreciate the extensive responses you have all given to my query. I especially appreciate that each of you has your own particular perspective on what works best in the world of Mem/Stack decks. You have all made very good points, and now I am more confused than ever. But this is a good thing, and I will just have to read Mnemonica and Aronson to understand what they are about, and then sift all these stacks through my mind's sieve and see what drips out in the end.
Now time for the sleep of forgetting...
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MTaylor2002
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Todsky:

For what it's worth, I memorized a couple of other stacks (which I won't name here) before settling on Osterlind's BCS. I memorized it using Harry Lorayne's peg system even before he and Osterlind wrote "The Memorized Breakthrough." Like you, my thought was that I would have an "out" if my memory ever failed me during a performance. In actuality, this has never happened, but it's nice to know I'm ready for such an occurrence.

But the two main points I want to make here are, first, I really decided on the BCS because if/when I go for long periods without using it, it’s EASY to recall and review using the mathematical formula. When I didn't use the other stacks for an extended period, I had to pore over notes in order to remember them again. Second, the built-in effects of the other stacks simply weren't particularly appealing to me. You can do the vast majority of memorized deck effects with any of the systems, so you don't lose anything there. But more importantly, after years of learning and performing some killer non-memorized deck effects from people like Vernon, Lorayne, Krenzel and others, the advantages of adding to my repertoire the BCS as my memorized deck of choice far outweighed the "built-in" effects of the other systems. After all, how many card tricks does one need to know?

Bottom line: I recommend the BCS. It was a great investment of my time and I've never looked back!
Richard Osterlind
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Quote:
On 2007-03-27 13:38, MTaylor2002 wrote:
Todsky:

For what it's worth, I memorized a couple of other stacks (which I won't name here) before settling on Osterlind's BCS. I memorized it using Harry Lorayne's peg system even before he and Osterlind wrote "The Memorized Breakthrough." Like you, my thought was that I would have an "out" if my memory ever failed me during a performance. In actuality, this has never happened, but it's nice to know I'm ready for such an occurrence.

But the two main points I want to make here are, first, I really decided on the BCS because if/when I go for long periods without using it, it’s EASY to recall and review using the mathematical formula. When I didn't use the other stacks for an extended period, I had to pore over notes in order to remember them again. Second, the built-in effects of the other stacks simply weren't particularly appealing to me. You can do the vast majority of memorized deck effects with any of the systems, so you don't lose anything there. But more importantly, after years of learning and performing some killer non-memorized deck effects from people like Vernon, Lorayne, Krenzel and others, the advantages of adding to my repertoire the BCS as my memorized deck of choice far outweighed the "built-in" effects of the other systems. After all, how many card tricks does one need to know?

Bottom line: I recommend the BCS. It was a great investment of my time and I've never looked back!

Thank you! I couldn't have said it better myself!

Richard
Dennis Loomis
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I disagree. You can't do the majority of memdeck effects using other systems, if you mean mathematical systems like BCS. A glance through Mnemonica of the Aronson books will turn up tons of effects that require you to know much, much more than what the next or previous card is in the system. While that's a powerful tool, it's just not as powerful as knowing where every card in the deck is.

Dennis Loomis
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Richard Osterlind
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Dennis,

Answer me honestly, have you ever read "The Memorized Breakthrough" or my "Guidebook Number Two"?

Just an honest answer please.

Richard
todsky
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Thanks for the encouragement, MTaylor. I've decided to concentrate on learning BCS for now, and adding the Memorized Breakthrough when I'm ready to tackle that. As for Aronson or Tamariz, at this point I don't really feel the need to learn their systems. And the point has been well made: how many card effects does one really need to know? (In my case, I only need a few).
Cheers!
-Todd
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churken
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Todd,

I respecfully disagree. The correct response to how many cards tricks do I need to know is: all of them.

Congrats on choosing the BCS. You are going to have a great time with it. And you will have a great memorized stack. Trust me though once you see what a powerful tool a stacked deck is you are going to want to learn everything you can about how to use it to it's fullest potential. I predict you will eventually end up buying Mnemonica and Try The Impossible. There are many effects in both that you will be able to do with your stack. And some that you can't will inspire you to take off in your own direction and create new efffects that are possible with the BCS. I can bet that nothing would please Mr. Osterlind more.

My advice is to find a trick that you can perform with it and start doing it in front of people as soon as possible. That's what will really inspire you to keep going. I personally think that Test Conditions by Richard Osterlind is one of the most powerful stack tricks I have ever performed for people. And, once you are even resonably good at the BCS you can do this, because there is a natural time delay buit in where can have a few seconds to calculate the correct card if you don't know it instantly.

Good luck,

Paul
todsky
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Thanks. Paul. I am going to start by choosing just one trick to perform with the BCS (quite possibly Test Conditions) when I'm confident enough with the stack, and I expect that will further light the fire to continue into the memorizing of the deck.
Cheers!

Todd
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Dennis Loomis
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Richard,
No I haven't read them. Using the Aronson stack, I didn't see the need. However, this old dog is the first to admit that it can learn new tricks. If I've offended you, that wasn't my intention. The statement was that you can do the majority of memdeck effects using any of the systems. And my comment about the BCS was about that system. If however, you memorize your BCS, then it is a memdeck, now isn't it? I will concede that if someone memorizes the BCS, then they can do all of the memdeck effects which are not stack dependent with it. If I did not make that clear, I'm sorry. However, I do not see the wisdom in taking the time to memorize a stack which does not have some built in effects. If you don't like the effects in the Aronson Stack, Mnemonica, Nikola, etc... then it might be wise to create your own stack which includes set-ups for tricks you like to do. Then memorize that. By the way, I do look forward to studying your Poker deal with the BCS when it's released. I freely admit that I had no idea that was there, or possible. Did you realize it initially? Or, did you discover it afterwards? Either way, it will extend the range of miracles possible with your BCS.

I get very tired of these threads about stacks where non-memorized stacks like the original BCS, SS, and Eight Kings are compared with true memorized stacks. They are vastly different tools for vastly different jobs. One is not "better." Just like a hammer is not better than a screwdriver.

I have always said that your BCS is a remarkable construct and that you yourself do absolute miracles with it. And, there are guys that do absolute miracles with Si Stebbins, too. But most (certainly not all) effects that are possible with them are doable with a memorized deck as well. However, I do not agree that the opposite is true. Of course, you can memorize any stack... and that includes your BCS. But to suggest that working with the memorized BCS give you a crutch in your memory fails, is only partly true. If you cannot remember what the 23rd card in the stack is, it does you no good to be able to compute the 2nd card. I believe that memory is generally faster than computational systems. But yes, you have to stay on top of it. But isn't that also true of sleights? If you don't do a sleight for a long time, you're going to be rusty with that, too.

I don't think we really disagree, Richard.

To the others reading this thread: if you don't have Richard's BCS either in printed form or on his DVD, then get it. If you aspire to work with cards in a serious manner, you need to know about this.

Dennis Loomis
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Richard Osterlind
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I am about to drop out of this thread as I have a plane to catch in a few hours. To end: I have documented all of my ideas concerning this matter in the 2 books mentioned above including the very important issue of "built-in" effects.

Thanks for your indulgence.

Richard
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Quote:
On 2007-03-28 17:10, todsky wrote:
Thanks for the encouragement, MTaylor. I've decided to concentrate on learning BCS for now, and adding the Memorized Breakthrough when I'm ready to tackle that. As for Aronson or Tamariz, at this point I don't really feel the need to learn their systems. And the point has been well made: how many card effects does one really need to know? (In my case, I only need a few).
Cheers!
-Todd


Todsky,

You are right. How many card tricks does one need to know?

Learning a memorized stack is hard work. Why bother when there are so many non-memorized effects to perform.

That’s all for now, I have to get back to practicing Tamariz’s “Four of a Kind”.
churken
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Pierredan - that's hilarious.
todsky
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Since I do a variety of close up effects (coins, silks, etc), I don't need more than 3 or 4 really strong card tricks to complete my close-up repertoire. However, if I decide to perform for other magicians, perhaps I'll learn all the mem deck tricks out there. But for now, it is the lay audiences that pay my bills.
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Nathan Coe Marsh
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"Speaking of practical, I have never really understood the great advantage of being able to get into a stack from new deck position. When working professionally, I never bring out a new wrapped and sealed deck (and there are ways to do this with a stacked deck) and it would seem to me that the long shuffling and cutting process involved in setting a new deck into a stack is not only long and tedious, but extremely liable to go wrong in the heat of battle."

I agree completely with Richard but would point out that the fact that you can get into Mnemonica from new deck order is simply an artifact of the feature that Juan Tamariz was really interested in -- being able to get from the stack to new deck order as a stunning climax for a formal set of card magic (this is noted by Jamy Ian Swiss).

After 45 minutes to an hour of strong card magic, with the cards constantly being in motion, to instantly have the deck back in perfect order is a powerful climax.

This is a performing situation (extended sets of formal close-up magic) that Tamariz finds himself in very often. Thus, it is extremely practical for him.
churken
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I also, never open a new deck in a perfoming situation. In the past, very little of my card work was with a stack and the majority of the card magic I did was in FASDIU condition. And even then I always wanted to "break" the cards in before performing. On an occasion or two I forgot to break in the cards and showed up at the show with a sealed deck and played that to my advantage, but it is not my perferred style.

Now my main deck is in stacked order and 90% of my FASDIU stuff has been converted to be used with a stack and only displace a couple of cards (4 at the most), and they can be easily replaced in a casual manner.

As far as ending in new deck order, I agree with Nathan. "What's the point?" If you are ending your set, hopefully you have just knocked their socks off and I think it would be somewhat anti-climactic to do a few more shuffles and show the deck back in new deck order. I can see it as a framing device to open a show and end a show in new deck order, but that would be a formal performance, not a walk around situation.

Again, and I don't think I've posted on this particular thread which stack I use, I think the important thing is that whatever stack you use, it is MEMORIZED. The effects you choose to do with that stack are an individual thing, so the features built in to one stack or another, don't matter that much unless they are features that support your performing style.

I myself may have learned a different stack than I did, if I had different materials available at the time. Although the stack I use (which is easily figured out by reading my posts on other threads) is great and I consider it the strongest tool in my arsenal. I am learning more about it's uses every day and hope to for a long time to come.

So, after all this, to those of you thinking of learning a stack, any stack, just pick one and learn it. It will be worth it. All of the main stacks talked about in these forums are great and each has their benefits. And in point of fact most of the tricks done with one of them can be done with any of the others, because most of the published mem deck material is not stack dependant.
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