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A DEVELOPMENTAL PERSPECTIVE

IN SECOND Deals, as in Bottom Deals, an observant viewer can discern some of the distinguishing elements. Such an observer would be recognizing appearance factors. As in all False Deals, these factors are as relevant to legitimate deals as false ones. For that reason, many of the observations made in the grip discussion on the Bottom Deal apply to Second Deals as well. They will not be restated here. Instead, after a few comparative comments and a brief historical overview, I will proceed to the technical considerations. Ultimately, it is the "technical" factors that are defining for magical purposes.

APPEARANCE FACTORS

GRIP

Full Grip, Mechanic's Grip, S.F. Grip, Erdnase Grip, Straddle Grip, Master Grip, Modified Erdnase Grip, Pseudo Grip and No Grip are all possible for Second Deals. Techniques for dealing Tabled Seconds have also seen print (thanks to Ed Mario in The Cardician, page 69, and Seconds, Centers, Bottoms, page 94). These grips and others are all viable because grip is a less crucial matter in dealing Seconds than in dealing Bottoms. The reasons are, or become, apparent to anyone learning both types of deals. Stated simply, when dealing Bottoms, generally one must control the entire deck. When dealing Seconds, only the top portion of the deck must be controlled to a greater degree than would be required during a legitimate deal. Once one has reasonable mastery of their chosen method, the hand receives enough tactile feedback to allow the necessary added degree of control to be exercised with minimal adjustment, grip notwithstanding. That said, it remains true that some grips lend themselves more readily to some techniques than others. These combinative considerations become readily apparent once one begins adapting a given technique to a particular grip. Very little more need be said about grip in the context of Second Dealing, so we can move on.

TAKE

Standard Take, Stud Takes (both Overhand and Underhand) and No Take or One-Handed are all as useful to the Second Dealer as to the Bottom Dealer. In addition, End Take and Snap-Over Deals are fairly common for the Second Deal (see LePaul's Improved Method in The Card Magic of LePaul, 1959, page 85, and the Joe Berg Second Deal in Volume 2 of The Tarbell Course in Magic, page 192, as examples). It is also worth mention that there are a number of more "flourishy" Takes, including the Shooting Second Deal (see "A Rapid One-Hand Second Deal," The Card Magic ofLe Paul, page 89), the Chinese Second Deal (Dai Vernon's Inner Secrets of Card Magic, 1959, page 71) and the unattributed D'Amico "Blackjack" Second Deal (Buckley's Card Control, 1946, page 119), to name a few. The most important point to make here is that, as much as in the Bottom Deal, the Take grows from application and drives method.

TECHNIQUE FACTORS

Just as the Bottom Deal may be said to distill to two major approaches, Buckle and Strike, so it is with the Second Deal. Nearly all Two-Handed Second Deals are either Push-Off or Strike. Within these broad families are a wide variety of techniques, all of which fall into the category of Push-Off (Two Card, One Card or No Card) or Strike. The following pages will look at some of the more important variations in a more or less systematic way. At the same time, it should be recognized that to a far greater extent than in Bottom Deals, no analysis can be fully comprehensive. This overview should, nevertheless, help to illuminate this poorly understood subject.

COVERT

Playing cards of the type we know today, it is conjectured, were invented in France in the late 1300's. They first became widely available from a source in Basle, Switzerland (ref. Greater Magic) in the mid-1400's. Considering those dates, it is difficult to believe that serious card cheating didn't begin for some fifty years, yet that is as far back as their known published history extends. 1509 is the approximate year the Liber Vagatorum by Joh. Froschauer was published in Augsburg, Germany. In this booklet are mentioned, albeit most briefly, such practices as false dealing, controlled cutting and concealing cards outside the deck for later use. In Italy, references to dealing the bottom card were cropping up about the same time, and in the anonymously authored Opera nuoua doue facilmente potrai imparare piu giuochi di mano et altri giuochi piaceuolissimi & gentili come si potra legge[n]do uedere et facilmente imparare (published in Florence around 1520) there appears a clear mention of dealing Seconds, along with descriptions of the Slick Card and Shiners. By 1559, in France, there appeared Le mespris & contennement de tous ieux de sort compose Oliuier Gouyn de Poic-tiers, in which not only the practice of dealing from the bottom but also from the center are mentioned. In English, we have G. W. s A Manifest Detection of the Most Vile and Detestable Use ofDiceplay, and Other Practices Like the Same (1552), which included some card-cheating methods along with the advertised dice cheating; Robert Greens A Notable Discovery of Cozenage (1591), which expanded entertainingly on the previous booklet; and Samuel Rids The Art ofjugling or Ledgerclemaine (1612). (I am grateful for the remarkable research of Vanni Bossi and Bill Kalush, who have recently discovered the first three works mentioned and provided the information I've given. I have personally only perused a copy of The Art ofjugling or Ledgerdemaine) To the best of my knowledge, none of these old works offer any technical descriptions of gambling sleights. The methods they relate in any detail are non-sleight-of-hand techniques, which were easier to explain. Nevertheless, the mentions of various False Deals in these works make it clear that they existed in the sixteenth century and probably had since a week after the introduction of playing cards. More to the point, no one, to my knowledge, has ever resolved which came first, the Two-Card Push-Off or the Strike type Deal. The earliest, however vague, reference to the latter appears in Quinn's Fools of Fortune (1891) but both Maskelyne {Sharps and Flats, 1894) and Erdnase (The Expert at the Card Table, 1902) describe Push-Off techniques. Still, by 1914, Theodore Hardison (Poker) provides a detailed description of a Strike type Deal. By 1933, Judson Cameron (Cheating at Bridge), was characterizing the Strike approach as "preferred." There are other clues that lend themselves to a line of speculation. The Punch Deal makes Strike type Deals nearly mandatory. That being the case, and since gambling catalogs going back to the 1880's advertise "nail pricks" and Rid mentions that card cheats of his time would "play upon the prick" (though without defining the practice), it is probable that Strike techniques existed and were in use. A more interesting speculation is whether George Devol—stronger on color than on detail—who describes a suspiciously "peg"-like gadget in his 1887 memoirs (Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi) was describing a Punch. If I understand him correctly, his description suggests that the Punch Deal and thus, in all probability, the Strike type Deal existed as early as 1839, but it almost surely came into existence no later than 1860. With this matter unresolved, I'll dismiss it and begin my exploration with the Push-Off approach because, if for no other reason, it fits my didactic preference.

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