February 12 1990

IN Mario's Magazine, No. 5 (1984, page 262) there appears a description of what Mario calls his "Unconventional Passes." Mario apparently felt that his description of the first of these left something to be desired. He attempted, slightly more successfully, to describe it in the November 1989 issue of New Tops, in a contribution titled "Detailed Unconventional Pass" (Vol. 29, No. 11, page 37). More recently, in his charming book, Drawing Room Deceptions or Etiquette of Deception (1999, page 122), Guy Hollingworth shares a related idea.

The Pass Eddie teaches in these two efforts is accomplished by moving the bottom packet of a deck around the left side of the top packet. This is an unusual path for a packet to follow in a Pass. It is made possible by locking the lower packet between the fleshy pad at the base of the inner phalanges of the right third and fourth fingers and the space below the fleshy mound at the base of the left thumb (the Thenar). This spot on the left hand is roughly the equivalent of Classic Palm position for a coin. The arrows in Figure 250 indicate these points on each hand. It may vary slightly in your hands.

Repeatedly throughout Mario's write-ups, he makes reference to the consideration of relieving or reducing the strain on the right hand. The strain to which

Mario refers is both real and apparent to spectators. It is even evident in the photos of Mario's hands that accompany the New Tops article. It is perhaps even more evident in my hands, which are smaller than were Mario's.

I hoped I could develop a technique that would solve the problem of strain. After some experimentation, I am satisfied that I have, and that the technique is easier and notably less angle-prone than the Mario technique. This modified technique, which I call "The Anomalous Pass" motivated a change in the cover action. It is this change that accounts in large measure for the improved angles for my procedure. The combination of revised grip, rotation of the top packet and the cover action constitute my claim to originality for the Anomalous Pass.


The deck should be held in left-hand Dealing Grip, with a break held above ten to twenty cards from the bottom (and no more). While it is not important to the mechanics of the move, it contributes to the logic of the cover action (a fingertip squaring motion) if the top portion of the deck is relatively unsquared, as it would be after the return of a selection. While the dealing position used in this Pass is not unusual, it is specific: The left ^ 251

thumb lies along the left side of the deck. The tip of the thumb should extend past the front left corner. The near left corner should contact the left palm at a point about an inch to the right of the point used in the Mario Unconventional Pass, at the ridge above the hypo thenar. Figure 251 illustrates the approximate position. The exact position will vary slightly, depending on hand size.

Your right hand takes hold of the deck as though to square it. Both hands should be centered directly in front of your body, about level with your diaphragm; thus it can be done seated. As the right hand grasps the deck, its grip is slighdy deeper than normal. The right third and fourth fingers contact the bottom packet. The fleshy pad of the fourth fingertip makes contact at the right front corner. The third finger touches the edge of the top packet with the soft flesh of the middle phalange.

A lot of words have been spent on the description of the hand positions, but these positions must be thoroughly learned so that they may be arrived at automatically. As soon as the right hand has taken hold of the deck, the right fourth finger exerts diagonally inward pressure on the bottom packet, trapping it between the right third and fourth fingers and the left palm. At the same time, the right thumb lifts the near end of the top packet until that packet is perpendicular to the top of the trapped bottom packet. This requires rotating the right hand clockwise and

palm leftward. Figure 252 shows your view of the packets from above, revealing their relative positions. The top packet is rotated on end. Figure 253 shows the hands from the front. Notice that the trapped bottom packet cannot be seen by the spectators, but they can see the back of the top packet.

palm leftward. Figure 252 shows your view of the packets from above, revealing their relative positions. The top packet is rotated on end. Figure 253 shows the hands from the front. Notice that the trapped bottom packet cannot be seen by the spectators, but they can see the back of the top packet.

When the packets and hands have achieved the positions illustrated, the bottom packet is completely screened from the front, left and right. Shift your grip on the vertical top packet from the right hand on the ends to the left hand on the sides, fingers on the front side and thumb on the near side.

Move both hands or, better yet, rotate 254

your body to the right until the spectators are looking at the face of the top packet. As soon as that position is reached, slightly twist the bottom packet in a clockwise direction, pivoting on the left-hand contact point. After this very short pivot, the left forward corner of the bottom packet will clear the inner edge of the original top packet and start to move back to the left (Figure 254).

NOTE: The best way to handle this type of body rotation is to set up for it in advance. In this case, you should be turned to the right. This is easily accomplished by swiveling in your seat and placing your feet on the ground in this position. (The same concept can be applied standing.) Twist to the left just before you begin the Pass. When its time to rotate your body, all you need to do is relax and your body will rotate naturally into its more relaxed rightward position. The rotation will be smooth, natural and automatically properly timed. This is discussed at somewhat greater length in connection with the Side Steal (see page 184).

Immediately pivot the right hand's packet back to the left. The lower edge of this packet will slide upward along the inner edge of the left hand's packet

(Figure 255) until the left edge of the right hand's packet is stopped by the left thumb. The packet will then be resting on the left hand's packet but in-jogged for approximately a third of its length (Figure 256).

The left fingers now grip both packets. Extend your right fingers until they contact the front edge of the under packet (Figure 257). Pull the lower packet back until its front edge is behind the left thumb tip, square with the upper packet. This completes the Pass within an action that appears outwardly to be an end-for-end turn of the deck in the fashion of an All-Around Square-Up. You can now move the combined packets forward into normal dealing position. To the audience, it should appear that you simply rotate the deck onto its end, square it and move it back to dealing position. You never move quickly, and there is never any strain on either hand. The pass will seem odd to you at first, but it is invisible and indetectable to an audience.

Section Six

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