January 24 1969 BETA

IN late 1968, I began toying with the idea of delivering lectures on "How Cheaters Cheat." I felt I knew enough and that I had sufficient technical competence in almost all areas. The one thing I could not do at the time was a deceptive Center Deal. Not wishing to be caught in the situation of being asked about a Center Deal and not being able to demonstrate one, I resolved to do two things: I'd learn a Center Deal and work out a way to convincingly simulate one to cover me until I did. On January 24, 1969,1 recorded in my private notes my first version of a simulated Center Deal demonstration. I called it "P.K.A. (Professionally Known As) Cheating" because I viewed the routine as cheating at cheating.

I used the effect periodically over the years, making minor changes along the way. By 1973, when I signed to deliver my first full series of gambling lectures, it had evolved considerably. By that time I could deal a Center but, frankly, I lacked the confidence to use it under performance conditions. Further, I had come to like the response I was getting when I performed the original effect. As I later learned, many others have also developed Pseudo-Center Deal demonstrations. Nevertheless, as you'll see, this effect distinguishes itself through subtle persuasions.

I did eight lecture dates that year and I did the effect in every one of those performances. "What is recorded here is the version I used in those lectures. By the following season I'd changed the lecture and since then I've used the effect only at an occasional hospitality suite. Still, in its place, I highly recommend the piece.

next table were attendees. After the performance, while standing in the lobby, one of the fellow magicians approached me. To this day his comment confounds me. He said, "You must have done that a long time. I can understand how you can stick your finger into the deck and take the Aces out of the middle but how are you able to hold a break? It looks like you're doing nothing." You can decide whether the comment was a compliment or an insult. You can, however, have confidence that the responses of lay audiences are less ambiguous.

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