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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The Gambling Spot » » Bottom deal - left finger movement question (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Last Laugh
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Greetings friends,

As I work on my bottom deal and read and watch various resources, I've come upon a question that I haven't found addressed as explicitly as I would like.

Seems like this sub forum is the place to come for the best advice on these types of sleights.

Here it is:

I'm doing a mechanics grip, and basically a strike bottom.

So, the left fingers obviously need to get out of the way for the right to take the bottom.

I have tried two options - first is simply to lower the fingers to create an opening, the left fingers just straighten a little allowing the right fingers to get the take.

The other option is sort of akin to the 'feeding motion' taught with the Erdnase BD, i.e. the left fingers move back a little but maintain contact with the bottom of the deck (the tips of the fingers). To be clear, I'm not really pushing with the left fingers as I seem to get a reasonably good take just with the strike, but just retracting them and keeping them touching the bottom of the deck rather than just floating.


Seems like, depending on the angle, these both are have disadvantages.


Any advice or tips that you gents can offer me?
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Thomas Gilroy
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Hi Last Laugh.

I also practice a strike bottom deal from a Mechanic's grip. While this distinction isn't usually made, I've found it helpful to distinguish between a Dealer's grip and a Mechanic's grip.

I consider this to be a Dealer's grip:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xae1njd3ffmmmn......jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4r1wvosycdhv16......jpg?dl=0

The first finger is at the front of the deck and the other three fingers are on the long side. The palm faces upward toward the ceiling, the fingers are curled and the tips of the second, third and fourth fingers come to the level of the top card. This is the grip position is often taught to poker dealers, as there is excellent control of the deck, and the top of the deck is not obscured from any player's view.

Trying to deal any kind of bottom from this grip will result in significant finger or knuckle flash, as to remove the bottom card will require that the second, third and fourth fingers extend (straighten), or curl further so the tips are below the level of the bottom card. Both are very obvious from any angle.

Here is finger extension from this grip (finger flash):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ghgi14cyqj16rw......jpg?dl=0

Here I drop the fingers below the level of the bottom card (knuckle flash):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/oigmbek04ulc0l......jpg?dl=0

Both are obvious. I'm also moving close to the minimum amount possible for both methods to work.

The formal Dealer's grip simply doesn't facilitate a deceptive bottom deal.

The following is what I consider to be a Mechanic's grip:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/4d1rlzisgizd7g......jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/y0u18t61wvmgva......jpg?dl=0

As in the Dealer's grip, the first finger is at the front of the deck and the other three fingers are on the long side. However, the aspect of the hand is very different. The palm faces to my right and the fingers are almost straight. In my hands, only the tip of the third (ring) finger comes to the level of the top card, which is sufficient to control the pushover of the top card. The deck is beveled to facilitate this grip, which also helps to cover any movement of the second, third and fourth fingers.

For some people, their fingers are just too large for them to comfortably strike the bottom card between the first and second fingers, and so a loosening action is required. In his Theory 11 videos, Jason England mentions that he can't comfortably deal strikes from a Mechanic's grip for this reason, and he needs a loosening action with the gripping hand to facilitate the bottom. My fingers are long but slender, and I can comfortably strike the bottom card between the first and second fingers from this grip. By the way, if you haven't already, buy Jason's videos on the subject, they're excellent.

Since the fingers are almost straight in the Mechanic's grip already, very little extension of the fingers is required to remove the bottom card and this finger extension is much less noticeable.

Here is the grip:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0wjuc2qiyyioi5......jpg?dl=0

Here is the extension I require to remove the bottom card:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/b817u01w6bn7rh......jpg?dl=0

A slight adjustment of the plane of the cards while dealing is all that's required to allow the bottom card to be removed with this amount of extension. In practice it's usually a little more than this for me, but it's improving.

Here is an unnecessary finger flash, which should be avoided:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/v7ku1r4ccs5jk8......jpg?dl=0

These pictures were all taken with a full deck. When the deck is shorter by about 13 cards, the grip and the extended position are even closer to each other, are the fingers have to curl further to control a full deck.

Tilting the front of the deck down to show more of the top of the deck will help to conceal the little finger movement that remains. Subtle flexing and extensions of the wrist and small rotation of the forearms creates a small, easy movement which covers the bottom also.

Finally, extension of the second (middle) finger is the most noticeable. Taking with the second finger of the right hand helps cover this. Alternatively, it is possible to modify the grip further to basically eliminate the extension of the second finger. This requires that you keep the tip of the second finger lower and take between the second an third fingers. I learned this from studying Arnold McDonald's strike bottom deal and I don't want to discuss it more (that is, show pictures of my interpretation of his grip and take) without his permission.

I hope that has been some help.
Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Aug 31, 2018, Last Laugh wrote:

...I'm doing a mechanics grip, and basically a strike bottom.

So, the left fingers obviously need to get out of the way for the right to take the bottom.

I have tried two options - first is simply to lower the fingers to create an opening, the left fingers just straighten a little allowing the right fingers to get the take.

The other option is sort of akin to the 'feeding motion' taught with the Erdnase BD, i.e. the left fingers move back a little but maintain contact with the bottom of the deck (the tips of the fingers)...

...Any advice or tips that you gents can offer me?


Yes, there is a third option. Michael MacDougall mentioned it in his book, Gamblers Don't Gamble (published 1939). He wrote that some professional gambler bottom dealers, in order to eliminate or reduce the finger flash, would have the first joint of their middle finger amputated.

Now THAT's dedication!!! ...and it certainly seems to help solve or reduce the problem.

While I can't vouch for the veracity of MacDougall's statement, nor am I suggesting that those who aspire to the heights of bottom deal excellence choose this alternative. I am simply mentioning this possibility for the sake of completeness and to be helpful.

However, for the purist at bottom dealing...??? Smile
Cagliostro
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@Thomas Gilroy: Well thought out and good discussion of certain aspects of the bottom deal.

I should mention that the right finger(s) taking the bottom from between the middle and ring fingers of the left hand using the Mechanic's Grip, or any grip for that matter, is not unique to any one individual, or even an uncommon "take" of the bottom card.

Additionally, the strike bottom deal, often used by magicians/demonstrators with a new or pristine deck of cards, can become somewhat perilous when the deck has become a little worn or sticky with use. I have found the bottom card must be moved or loosened, however slight, in those instances in order to do a "clean" deal.

Once again, nice post.
Thomas Gilroy
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Quote:
On Sep 1, 2018, Cagliostro wrote:
@Thomas Gilroy: Well thought out and good discussion of certain aspects of the bottom deal.


Thank you.

Quote:
I should mention that the right finger(s) taking the bottom from between the middle and ring fingers of the left hand using the Mechanic's Grip, or any grip for that matter, is not unique to any one individual, or even an uncommon "take" of the bottom card.


I'm aware of this, however, I learned this method by studying Arnold, and have nothing to present on it other than what I believe is direct mimicry. If he's comfortable with me posting further about my understanding the method in his videos, I'm happy to do so. I'd like the give him the opportunity to present his deal first. I also don't want to assert that I have a complete understanding of his method, that would be arrogant.

Quote:
Additionally, the strike bottom deal, often used by magicians/demonstrators with a new or pristine deck of cards, can become somewhat perilous when the deck has become a little worn or sticky with use. I have found the bottom card must be moved or loosened, however slight, in those instances in order to do a "clean" deal.

Once again, nice post.


Once again, thank you.

With a new deck, I can deal the strike bottom from a Mechanic's grip reliably, misses are rare for me. With the deck is worn or sticky, I don't like the strike much at all. My grip is loose, so the bottom card can often pull a small packet of cards with it with the strike take. If I try to grip more firmly, I start missing. Sometimes the movement of the bottom card will cause the deck to move slightly out of position in the grip. Sometimes there are hangers.

I can fix these issues by squeezing the deck in the grip lightly with the second finger to buckle the bottom card very slightly, and then relax when the taking finger makes contact. It's much more reliable, though not quite as fast. The same basic movement also facilitates a Greek deal.

I'm not a magician or a demonstrator (I'm an enthusiast/hobbyist), but I think the strike is good in those contexts, where you have control over the cards used and their condition. It's been nearly a decade since I've played in a game that used paper cards, and generally, the condition of the cards was either poor when the game began or they deteriorated quickly. Had I the intention or ability to deal from the bottom back then (and I had neither), I definitely wouldn't have used a strike. I believe they were bridge sized cards also, which typically require the gripping fingers to curl more. This would naturally have a negative impact on the deceptiveness of a bottom deal for the reasons discussed above.

The vast majority of games I've played in used 100% plastic poker sized cards and a cut card. Many plastic decks include a cut card. I doubt that the bottom deal is really worth learning if your intent is to cheat at poker, even if you stick to loose, private games. You'd be better off learning how to play your game better. If you were set on cheating, there are easier methods that are more applicable. I practice bottom deals purely because I find practicing card moves to be an enjoyable activity.
Last Laugh
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Thank you Thomas Gilroy (and Cagliastro... I guess Smile )

This is very helpful and I really appreciate the time you put into sharing details. There is a lot packed into that post. Thanks for explaining the distinction between dealers and mechanics grip. I did not know that but it explains a lot.

I have seen Jason England's T11 bottom deal video, and it's definitely very good but since he doesn't really go over strike bottoms, I don't believe this particular issue was explored more. I also have relatively thin fingers, so it seems to work well for me.

And no, definitely not a gambler (well I do play poker, but not trying cheat. People are already giving their money away). I'm a mentalist but I enjoy sleight of hand with cards, so basically yes, this is all for entertainment purposes. I am pretty much always using my own cards, and I like fresh cards anyway, but perhaps I'll spend more time working the get ready/push off for completeness sake.

Thanks again, I'll be reading that first post several more times.
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Thomas Gilroy
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Quote:
On Sep 1, 2018, Last Laugh wrote:
Thank you Thomas Gilroy (and Cagliastro... I guess Smile )

This is very helpful and I really appreciate the time you put into sharing details. There is a lot packed into that post. Thanks for explaining the distinction between dealers and mechanics grip. I did not know that but it explains a lot.


I'm glad to help. The distinction between a Dealer's Grip and a Mechanic's grip is not made in any source that I'm aware of, however I feel that it is an important distinction, and it was vital to my understanding of the bottom deal.

Quote:
I have seen Jason England's T11 bottom deal video, and it's definitely very good but since he doesn't really go over strike bottoms, I don't believe this particular issue was explored more. I also have relatively thin fingers, so it seems to work well for me.


This particular issue is not addressed, but as I discussed above, I think it's important to have a loosening action available when the condition of the cards isn't optimal for the strike. In my opinion, Jason performs this move at least as well as anybody else, and he can teach it better than anybody. Honestly, I think Jason's T11 videos are the premier resource for the mechanics of false deals generally, though at times you have to try to focus your attention on things he's not saying, like the subtleties of his grip, or the slight movements of his wrists and forearms during the deal. I don't know of any resource that really covers the strike bottom form the Mechanic's grip in any great detail.

Quote:
And no, definitely not a gambler (well I do play poker, but not trying cheat. People are already giving their money away). I'm a mentalist but I enjoy sleight of hand with cards, so basically yes, this is all for entertainment purposes.


It is amazing how most people will either bluff all their chips away or play so tight that they can be bluffed off everything but the nuts, isn't it?

Quote:
I am pretty much always using my own cards, and I like fresh cards anyway, but perhaps I'll spend more time working the get ready/push off for completeness sake.

Thanks again, I'll be reading that first post several more times.


I would definitely recommend developing a bottom deal with a loosening action to supplement the strike. Don't think of it as a push-off or push-out bottom, think of it as a loosening action, there's really no need to push the card any significant amount toward the taking hand, all that's necessary is that the bottom card can come away cleanly.

If there's anything I've written that isn't clear, or that you'd like moe to articulate again, please let me know.
Last Laugh
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Quote:
On Sep 1, 2018, Thomas Gilroy wrote:


It is amazing how most people will either bluff all their chips away or play so tight that they can be bluffed off everything but the nuts, isn't it?


Yep! Especially live. Online is a bit tougher, but I play low stakes anyway.

Quote:

I would definitely recommend developing a bottom deal with a loosening action to supplement the strike.



Funny, after reading your post earlier I put on the T11 bottom deal video again and went back to practice that exact thing.

Quote:
Don't think of it as a push-off or push-out bottom, think of it as a loosening action, there's really no need to push the card any significant amount toward the taking hand, all that's necessary is that the bottom card can come away cleanly.


That's super helpful. I think you've saved me some time with that tip.

Thanks again.
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Last Laugh
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Okay, had a little breakthrough with the loosening action. Kind of clicked for me and it makes is much easier to take without moving the left fingers as much.

My next issue is the left thumb push off timing. If I'm doing a pure strike, I can push the top card over and retract it as the bottom comes out in a reasonably even rhythm.

Now, I can 'replace' the push over with the loosening and get a decent rhythm, but I'm having trouble pushing over the top card and loosening it at the same time.

I'm feeling like a workable rhythm is to do the unlocking motion just a quick beat after the push over, but would be interested to hear if anyone has advice about the rhythm of the unlock and the push over.

Cheers and thanks again.
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Cagliostro
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Quote:
On Sep 2, 2018, Last Laugh wrote:

Now, I can 'replace' the push over with the loosening and get a decent rhythm, but I'm having trouble pushing over the top card and loosening it at the same time.

I'm feeling like a workable rhythm is to do the unlocking motion just a quick beat after the push over, but would be interested to hear if anyone has advice about the rhythm of the unlock and the push over.


My suggestion (and the way I have done this for years now), is to push off the top card and THEN loosen the bottom card. You have enough time after the top card is pushed over to do this. It only takes a fraction of a second to loosen the bottom card and there is no break in the dealing rhythm when you do it this way.
Last Laugh
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Okay perfect.

Thanks!

I really appreciate the advice.
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Thomas Gilroy
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Quote:
On Sep 2, 2018, Cagliostro wrote:
My suggestion (and the way I have done this for years now), is to push off the top card and THEN loosen the bottom card. You have enough time after the top card is pushed over to do this. It only takes a fraction of a second to loosen the bottom card and there is no break in the dealing rhythm when you do it this way.


I'd agree with this suggestion. As long as you're not to actually feed the bottom card t the taking hand with a large push-out movement, you have plenty of time to loosen the bottom card after the top card pushover. Push over, squeeze, relax, pull back.
Last Laugh
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That rhythm is definitely starting to sink in. I'm just giving it a little downward squeeze right after the push off.

And it really helps with the finger movement issue I was having with the strike, once the card is loosened I can pull it right over my fingers without opening them as much as I seem to need with the strike.

Thanks again. You guys have saved me a lot of time.
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