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Profile of minusthebear

I'm new to magic and am starting on some card tricks by Oz Pearlman. I am really struggling with performing the riffle shuffle + waterfall effect (I haven't been able to even get to the waterfall yet). Every time I shuffle, huge chunks of cards wedge between each other rather than just a few at a time. I know it takes practice, and trust me I've been practicing but I can't get it down, I have some tricks to show but I don't want to go out because I know my performance will suffer considering I can barely riffle. I'm not trying to do a force shuffle, just a general-card-playing riffle shuffle.

I've watched some videos and here's what I'm doing.

1. Cut the deck in half.
2. Place thumbs near the outside corner of the cards (the side facing audience).
3. My ring and middle finger are on the opposite side to my thumb.
4. My index is on the outside-top of the card
5. I'm bending the card a little with my index but mostly with my thumb
6. annnnd card's get clunked together.

Any suggestions?
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Profile of Cyberqat
I don't know if I do it classically "right", but I find it easier to hold my thumb closer to the center of the top edge.

When you bend the cards up, the back edge should remain square, which means the front edge will form a wedge like shape. If you run your thumb evenly back along that wedge, the cards should fall evenly out. Practice doing it slowly, the slower the better, as that teaches you control, and practice one hand at a time. In fact you can practice with a whole deck in one hand at first if you want.

It gets easier with practice, though, to be honest, I use an over-hand shuffle much more often because its a lot more controllable. Still, I will riffle if for instance all I am doing is taking a peeked middle card and moving it to the bottom. Then I over-hand to move it to the top.

There are some nice photos here...

Over-all, don't sweat it too much. Even a sloppy shuffle looks good to most people Smile
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Brad Burt
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Profile of Brad Burt
When your thumbs are performing the riffling action you have to have the cards 'beveled' and not straight up and down. Let the fingers push the cards towards the thumbs in such a manner that the ends or sides depending on where you do the riffle are beveled from bottom to top.

This allows the thumbs to let go of the cards in a more uniform manner, etc. The bevel need not be that great, but it has to be there.

Brad Burt
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Profile of wingz
Once you know the method, the only hint is practice, practice and practice.

However, the quality of the cards somewhat matter. Bicycle deck is easier to riffle shuffle than cheap dollar store deck.
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North dakota
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Profile of othelo68
Buy a new pack of bikes and practice until the cards form creases in the center of the cards or on the corner. Don't feel too bad it took me months to get this right too. I use to get made fun of at poker nights because of my horrid shuffling abilities but you just have to do it. Be patient you have your entire life to practice if you need to theres no hurry.

seriously buy a new pack and riffle shuffle the pips out of them. it'll help
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Profile of juggernought
Get good quality cards (bikes will do)- practice

For a tabled riffle shuffle, check out erdnase. Surprisingly few people riffle shuffle in the correct manner.
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Profile of Cyberqat
This probably isn't helpful... but I actually found the mid-air riffle easier to learn then a table-top riffle.

Still can't do a mid-air bridge, though.
It is always darkest just before you are eaten by a grue.
Douglas Lippert
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E Pluribus Unum
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Profile of Douglas Lippert
On 2010-06-24 21:52, minusthebear wrote:
Any suggestions?

Take half the cards in each hand. Don't bring them together. Practice releasing one card at a time from each hand. Once you practice and can do this then bring each deck close together, drop one card from the left, one card from the right. THEN, move your hands a little bit closer together and keep releasing cards one at a time. At the end place your thumbs on top in the middle of the deck and the rest of your fingers underneath, pushing up. Release the pressure everywhere. Keep the deck held by the pressure of your two hands together. This will give you a nice waterfall.

PRACTICE! and have fun. Smile
Douglas Lippert
Former I.B.M. Ring #8 Secretary
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Alberta, Canada
152 Posts

Profile of Bobbert
Its all about how the thumbs roll off the side of the deck. For ease of execution here are two tips:

Place thumb on outer corners instead of center

Practice Riffling the deck from behind with your thumb while in mechanics grip. It is the same action when riffling for a shuffle.

If you want me to do a video of it slowly, just lemme know!
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Profile of asgar
Give the spectators to shuffle and by that time show some coin stuff
Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
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Profile of satellite23
Just practice...and practice...and practice. That's what I did. Trust me, I couldn't riffle either when I first started magic. I just had a deck in my hand at all times, practicing my riffle, fans, and other flourishes. Practice your tricks and flourishes AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. It really helps. I personally think that videos for flourishes don't help. Only experience works. Just wait until you try card springing. Have fun with that lol.
Lord Anacho
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Kessel-Lo, Belgium
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Profile of Lord Anacho
After many years I still cannot do a halfway decent in the air riffle shuffle. My technique is at should be, having studied a lot of the great books, (Card College etc.)

The problem lies in the one thing the books and DVD's can only tell you but not teach you.

You have to release the cards evenly from the thumbs. I just can't do it. With me they fall in big clumps of 4 to 7 cards together. I just cannot succeed in letting them riffle of nice and evenly. Forget about faros and stuff. Just a nice fluid in the air riffle shuffle would be great.

I have the same problem with dribbling cards. Try as I may, I cannot release the cards evenly. They always fall in big clumsy batches, sometimes turning over end for end. I'm truly seem to be an all-thumbs person!

Doesn't stop me from doing magic though. I cheat mostly with the overhand shuffle and solid false cuts.

But it would be so nice to be able to pull this off.

Ciao for now

"The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything" (Alfred Borden in The Prestige)
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Profile of rklew64
How long have you've been doing this or when did you start to take up magic? Curious!?
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Profile of Piqsirpoq
Personally, I don't really like in-the-hands riffle shuffle, it bends the cards too much compared to a SOFT tabled riffle shuffle. Blind shuffling and C**** locating is much easier with level cards and the deck lasts longer.

Instead of an in-the hands riffle shuffle, I'll rather do a in-the-hands faro and then optionally cascade the cards.

Now, a blind in-the-hands riffle shuffle is a whole different beast altogether and it is something I practise and hope to get up to perfomance standard. It may well slightly bend the cards, but the payoff is certainly worth it.
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Profile of leechiswell
I had real problems mastering the in-the-hands riffle too. I would very much agree with Douglas Lippert above that first practicing the gradual release of cards from each hand is the way to go. This really helped me move forward from the 'huge chunks' problem that I also experienced.

There really is no secret formula though. Just a knack that you have to aquire.

Alternatives? Try the tabled version first and master that, or do an overhand shuffle instead.

Other than that, just what everyone else said. Practice.
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Chattanooga, TN
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Profile of DWRackley
My family played cards a lot when I was young, Gin Rummy just about weekly with my parents, and a monthly penny-ante poker game with several aunts and uncles. I had lots of examples of how to shuffle. But until I got the cards in my own hands and worked it out, nothing much happened.

Brad Burt has (IMO) the best single piece of wisdom: bevel the edges. You can't riffle a brick. Your thumb must contact every card in order to control every card. Your thumb should roll (not slide) along the edges, to release the cards.

It might help to just riffle the whole deck (not a shuffle) a few times with one hand, then the other, to see how it feels.

The cards themselves can make a difference; a slightly used deck seems to work better than a new one. Forget the plastic cards; they're just garbage. Cheap dollar store cards aren't worth the paper. USPC (Bicycle standard) cards are about all I use.

Working on a pad does help. It's difficult picking up a thin plaque from a kitchen table. Even a thick piece of cloth is better than a slick surface. (Ultimately I got to the place where I could do stuff on a glass top case, but not at the beginning!)

And again,
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