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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Do they really notice an alternating red/black pattern? (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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J-L Sparrow
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On 2012-07-19 20:11, Tanay wrote:
My question is, would the spectators really notice an alternating red/black pattern in a ribbon-spread deck, if asked to check if it's shuffled well?

I can't speak for all of them, but some definitely will.

When I had just learned the Si Stebbins stack, I was eager to try out my first trick using it. I ribbon-spread the deck face-up across a table and told the spectator that the deck was a normal deck of 52 cards. He immediately noticed that the colors alternated, thinking that there was something fishy about that. Granted, this spectator had a degree in Mathematics, but as a result I never ribbon-spread a Si Stebbins stack again.

Instead, when showing the deck as a normal deck, I now just fan the deck in my left hand (using my right hand to spread the cards). I don't try to spread the cards evenly, which results in somewhat-clumped cards and give the illusion of non-alternating colors. Using this technique, the alternating colors have never been noticed, not even by highly intelligent engineers and mathematically-minded spectators.

Now, I've never actually handed a Si Stebbins deck over to be inspected, for fear that a pattern would be discovered. But twice spectators have pretty much "commandeered" my deck to look for clues. This made me sweat for a while, until I realized they were determinedly looking at the backs of the cards for subtle markings, like the kind you might expect to find (or not find) on a common marked deck of cards.
Stratton Magic
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A few months ago I was reading "Secrets of Bro. Hamman" and it mentioned spreading a dec that had a red/black alternating order (I don't think it was Si Stebbins, but it might have been.) The book offered the advice of not asking a spectator to check the thoroughness of the shuffle, but just spreading it on the table, looking at it, then gathering it up, as if you were just openly checking yourself to make sure you'd done a good job. Mostly a body language and attitude thing.

I don't know that it would eliminate the occurrence of nosy spectators, but I'd think it would certainly cut down on their frequency.
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