Blog Archives

Richard Turner, live at the Magic Castle:


Richard Turner has a new Youtube channel featuring many of his card routines live at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood.

To watch Richard Turner live at the Magic Castle visit his new channel here:  WWW.Youtube.com/CatchAThief52

Start with episode 1 above then move on to episode 2, 3 and 4.

Richard is up for “Close-Up Magician of the Year” this year at the Magic Castle. This is the act that won him the nomination. It is well worth checking out.

Advertisements

Richard Turner at the Magic Castle this week:


Richard Turner

My friend, Richard Turner is working this week at the Magic Castle. He is the foremost card expert in the world today, even though he is legally blind. His discipline and perfection is stunning. These photos show him in 1986 when he received his first black belt, and then in 2012 when he is 58 years old. There is only four ounces difference in his weight.

As a measure of the type of skill Richard displays in his work, let me quote Jon Raucherbaumer, an internationally recognized expert who is writing a biography of Richard Turner:

“The action of perfectly alternating playing cards, 26 and 26, is not easily named if the goal is accuracy. Even the noun “shuffle” seems inexact because it suggests clumsy randomness and asymmetrical mixing. Sure, the relative positions of the cards change, but the changes are cyclically predictable and in this regard, perfect…

“…But there are two types of this kind of Interlace: The Faro Shuffle and what can be called a Volitional Faro Shuffle. The physics of the Volitional Faro Shuffle in terms of what happens with and to the cards is identical, but the means of making this happen is different. The Faro Shuffle is semi-automatic because the two 26-card sections are butted together in precise ways and the cards will then automatically alternate. The Volitional Faro Shuffle depends on the operator’s volition. He must will his thumbs to precisely and alternately release cards until all 52 of them are interlaced. This is not automatic. It is a matter of pure dexterity and unerring timing.

“Richard’s high-lift, soft interlace table Faro Shuffles are done in less than one second. Formerly a fantasy in MacDouggal’s mind, Richard can execute a Volitional Faro Shuffle in 8.1 seconds.  

“If you think this is easy, try making love while standing up in a hammock and juggling seven ice-cream cones.”

Richard Turner, my good friend Johnny Ace Palmer and I were all named in the comic book the Spirit as magic teachers to the Spirit. It was very cool to be included in such incredible company:

Richard Turner is performing in the Close-Up Gallery at the Magic Castle in Hollywood until Sunday.  It is worth your time to make an effort to see this incredible and unique talent.

School for Scoundrels at Magic Castle Sunday!


Bob Sheets at School for Scoundrels

Despite the recent Halloween fire, the Magic Castle is planning to be open by this weekend, and our School for Scoundrels class will begin on Sunday night, November 6th, as planned.

There is still room for you to join this exciting class, but you must register by Friday.

It is open to both members and non-members of the Magic Castle, and no prior experience, skills or knowledge is required.

This course teaches the basic sleight of hand, psychology, history and importance to magic of the three basic street swindles: Three-Card Monte, the Shell Game, and the various games of Fast and Loose.

We believe that the street hustler makes a better role-model for the modern close-up magician than the card cheat which has been the model since the turn of the century.

We believe that street hustlers have much to teach that is of huge benefit to magicians, especially those who work corporate walk around, trade-shows, or private parties where they need to gather a crowd, hold their attention, control their thinking, and get them to do what they want them to do.

School for Scoundrels at the Magic Castle in Hollywood will begin on Sunday, November 6, and continue on Nov 13, 20, 27, and also on Mondays, November 7, 14, 21, 28. School for Scoundrels is a course taught at the Magic Castle every November since 1996.

Pop Haydn and Chef Anton (two-time national trick-shot champion at pool), teach the class together, with guests such as Bob Sheets and Doc Eason.

The course attracts lawyers and law-enforcement personnel, as well as magicians, students of gambling and history, and many who just find the subject fascinating–you don’t need to be a member of the Magic Castle to sign up for this course, and no previous knowledge or skills are required.

The course is $160 for the eight hours–two hours a night, once a week, for four weeks.

You can switch nights from Monday to Sunday or vice-versa–each week the same lesson is taught on both Sun and Mon at 7:00 pm.

Contact Magic University, and talk to Mark or Nani Wilson at (800) 367-8749 to sign up for the course.

$160 for all four nights.

School for Scoundrels at the Magic Castle:


Pop Haydn

Pop Haydn

School for Scoundrels at the Magic Castle in Hollywood will begin on Sunday, November 6, and continue on Nov 13, 20, 27, and also on Mondays, November 7, 14, 21, 28. School for Scoundrels is a course taught at the Magic Castle every November since 1996.

Pop Haydn and Chef Anton (two-time national trick-shot champion at pool), teach the class together.

The course attracts lawyers and law-enforcement personnel, as well as magicians, students of gambling and history, and many who just find the subject fascinating–you don’t need to be a member of the Magic Castle to sign up for this course, and no previous knowledge or skills are required.

The course is $160 for the eight hours–two hours a night, once a week, for four weeks.

You can switch nights from Monday to Sunday or vice-versa–each week the same lesson is taught on both Sun and Mon at 7:00 pm.

This course teaches the basic sleight of hand, psychology, history and importance to magic of the three basic street swindles: Three-Card Monte, the Shell Game, and the various games of Fast and Loose.

We believe that the street hustler makes a better role-model for the modern close-up magician than the card cheat which has been the model since the turn of the century.

We believe that street hustlers have much to teach that is of huge benefit to magicians, especially those who work corporate walk around, trade-shows, or private parties where they need to gather a crowd, hold their attention, control their thinking, and get them to do what they want them to do.

Contact Magic University, and talk to Mark or Nani Wilson at (800) 367-8749 to sign up for the course. $160 for all four nights.

Henry David Thoreau:


“All voting is a sort of gaming, like chequers or backgammon, with a slight moral twinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions, and betting naturally accompanies it.”

Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience, 1849

Hoorah in Pool Hustling:


“Sometimes the best way to get up a game is to walk in from nowhere and make a preposterous claim about how good you are and aggravate people into challenging you for high stakes. That’s called hoorah. You hoorah someone into playing.”

— John Gollehon, From: A Gambler’s Little Instruction Book

The Intelligent Gambler:


“An intelligent man gambles because this is a means of surrendering himself and his fortunes to the fates before tasting his wits and nerve. He does this because it improves the flavor of living. Unless he can do this happily, and with grace, he is a loser whether he leaves the game a richer man or a poorer. Unless he can do this, he should not gamble at all.”

–Nick “The Greek” Dandalos

Sophie Evans–The Girl at the Bar


Sophie Evans

Sophie Evans

Closed Monte: The Girl at the Bar

—a monte script by Whit Haydn and Sophie Evans

“Mark is in town on business, and is sitting in a quiet, expensive bar near his hotel. It is late, but he is intrigued by a beautiful, sexy lady who is sitting alone at the bar. Mark watches until he’s sure she isn’t waiting for someone. He approaches her, and the two begin to talk.

“The girl, Dianne, is both flirtatious and in high spirits. She is dressed well and acts like she has money.

“Mark buys her a drink. Dianne warms up to Mark, and he begins to think this night might be more interesting than anticipated.

“A second man, Jack, comes over to the bar to order a drink. Dianne engages him in conversation, and pretty soon Jack begins to compete with Mark for the lady’s attention. It turns out that Jack is an amateur magician, and he does a few simple card tricks, but they are not very impressive.

“Dianne is wild about them. “You’re really great! Do you do that thing with the three cards? Like they do on 42nd Street?”

“Jack launches into a lecture on the trickery involved in that swindle, and explains that no one can keep up with the cards when they are thrown by an expert card sharp such as himself.

“Dianne insists on a demonstration, and gets ticked off when she is wrong several times in a row. She is obviously very competitive, and doesn’t like to lose.

“Jack tries to quit as he begins to sense that the game frustrates her. She refuses to let him quit. “Look, I’ll bet you twenty. Don’t be such a chicken. It’s only money for Chris’ sake. Come on. Twenty on the ace this time.”

“She shames Jack into playing for money.

“Each time she plays, she misses.

“Dianne turns to Mark all in a twist, “Can you follow this? I can’t figure it out…”

“Mark says he can keep up with it pretty well. He was right every time so far, after all.

“Dianne bets another twenty, and when Mark suggest a card, she turns it and wins. She puts her palm on Mark’s chest, “You’re great!”

“Jack says, “Well look, I’m not going to play against the two of you.”

“As Jack orders a drink and is talking to the bartender, Dianne winks at Mark to get his attention, and then touches her lips with a finger. She then marks the back of the ace on it’s corner with a smudge of lipstick and gives Mark’s hand an excited squeeze.

“When Jack turns back, Dianne is insistent that he give her a chance to get the rest of her money back. Jack is now obviously unhappy with the way things are going.

“He refuses and starts to leave.

“Dianne holds him by the arm. “Oh, come on. I’ll bet you $500 that I can get it this time. I’ll put up $250 and my boyfriend here will put up $250.”

“Mark starts to protest. Dianne squeezes his knee and whispers into his ear, “Let’s you and me spend his money tonight! Come on, baby, help me show this sleaze up!”

“Mark still hesitates. Dianne whispers again, “Oh, you’ve got the money—I saw it when you bought the drinks. Don’t be an idiot. Nobody passes up a sure thing!”

“Mark gives in.

“Jack is now copping a real attitude. He puts down his stakes, and Mark and Diannematch. Jack throws the cards and turns to Dianne, “But you have to pick the card, not him. And no help.”

“Dianne stands right up to Jack. “The bets already up. We didn’t agree to that. We both put up money, its up to us to decide who chooses. Go ahead, Mark. You pick one.”

“Mark reaches for the card with the lipstick on the back. The card that he knew was the ace…

“It’s a loser.

“Jack looks up at Dianne and Mark. “You two tried to cheat me, didn’t you?”

“He picks up the money and turns away, as he walks off he says, “Shouldn’t try to kid a kidder…”

“Dianne turns to Mark. “I can’t believe it! I think I’m going to be sick. How could that have happened? Look, buy me another drink, I go to go to the ladies room.”

“Mark sits at the bar nursing two drinks for what seems like a very long time…”

— From School for Scoundrels Notes on Three-Card Monte by Whit Haydn

Photo is from a painting by Sophie Evans’ father, John Dupret.

Nice review from “Down Under”:


Australia’s Honest Con Man’s Blog

Getting taken twice by Soapy Smith


From Jeff Smith:
“Some of my favorite stories involving Soapy and his Tivoli Club in Denver are the times he was able to swindle the same dupes twice. A good confidence man can take any victim once, but only a great one can take the same victim twice on the same day. Think of the smooth intellect needed to fool a man twice.

“You need to know that I don’t condone or admire crime. However, anyone who studies Soapy for the shortest amount of time ends up admiring his methods, much the same way a police detective might admire an intelligent crook. My website has a saying I changed around to meet my needs. “He left his mark on history, so we won’t become one.”

“My book has two such examples in which victims were lured back into the Tivoli Club after having gone to the police and complained about the first case. In the example below the victim did enter the den a second time but was able to escape before he was taken again…so he says.”

GRANGER HELD UP

“Twice inveigled into a Gambling Den on Seventeenth Street. The latest hold-up on Seventeenth street is reported from the gambling rooms over the Tivoli saloon, Seventeenth and Market streets. As the result of a brief experience in the notorious resort Rudolph Hann mourns the loss of $95 in hard cash which he earned by the sweat of his brow on a Kansas ranch.

“The lamb from the Sunflower state floated into Denver Friday night and put up for the night at one of the cheap down-town lodging houses. There he was evidently spotted and yesterday forenoon as he meandered out to view the scenes of the rising metropolis he was approached by a smooth stranger who inveigled him into the Tivoli gambling rooms. Three men were playing cards at one of the tables.
“The new comer was presented with a handful of checks and in five minutes he arose, loser by $130. Upon applying at the police station he was sent back to the place accompanied by an officer, and succeeded in recovering $35. Before night Hann was inveigled a second time into the building but made his escape and took the first train for his old home in Kansas. He related his story to a News reporter as the train left the union depot.”
Rocky Mountain News, 1893
%d bloggers like this: