- Series: Dover Magic Books
- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications (July 19, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486285979
- ISBN-13: 978-0486285979
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 98 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,554 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Expert at the Card Table: The Classic Treatise on Card Manipulation (Dover Magic Books) Paperback – July 19, 1995
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This book is amazing, whether you want to cheat at Poker or perform the most astonishing card magic.
Now, don't cheat at Poker. Instead, study this book and learn to cheat at cards, because it will help you become a better magician.
The first two thirds of the book is all about how to shuffle, cut, and deal cards to your advantage in any card game. The last third covers the use of these slights, and more, when performing card magic, and explains a number of excellent tricks.
It's tough to learn the moves from the book alone. While Erdnase explains them in detail, they're the sort of moves that are much easier to learn if you can see someone performing them. Because of this, I recommend getting one of the various DVD instructional sets for "The Expert at the Card Table."
I still need to watch my DVD set, but I wanted to read the book first. It's easy to get through if you don't worry too much about visualizing the moves exactly. Get a general idea of what he's describing, and what each move does, and remind yourself that you'll be able to see them in action when you watch video instruction.
Just having that basic understanding of what was possible, of what the various slights could produce, keep me interested. I mean, I know how Three Card Monte works now, and why it's so tough to beat!
If you want to learn card magic, at some point, you will need to study Erdnase.
I just got through reading "The Magician and the Cardsharp: The Search for America's Greatest Sleight-of-Hand Artist" and would highly recommend it to help you with SWE's book. It's a great historical treatise about Dai Vernon's search for the "center dealer"; something not discussed in the SWE book. Probably because it was thought to be impossible to accomplish.
The book is divided into two sections, "Card table artifice", dealing with cheating at draw poker (false shuffles, false cuts, bottom dealing, palming, etc.) , and "Legerdemain", dealing with card magic. The entire book is written in a very engaging and amusing style, and although describing complex hand movements in words is notoriously difficult, it is fairly easy to follow the instructions for the various moves described, with the aid of the provided drawings. And the moves are many. A performer could easily make a career strictly by mastering the slights contained in this gem.
It is hard to pick favorites from everything described in this book, but I wanted to try. The "Mexican Three Card Monte" move is one of my favorites, because it is so simple (you can master it in about 5 minutes), yet looks so smooth and is very hard to detect. Probably overall, my favorite move I have ever seen is described in this book -- the "Diagonal Palm-Shift". It is hard to put into words how elegant this move is; when I first saw a video clip of Dai Vernon performing it, I rewatched the same 5 seconds about 20 times in a row, because it is so amazing and unbelievable to see.
Anyway, this book is a classic, and remains useful today, more than 100 years after its publication. It is great. Really great.