The techniques and applications we've been looking at thus far have used the Low Lateral Palm position in a form of Deal Switch and a form of Side Steal. It can be much more. Unlike most concealment positions, which severely restrict the use of the hand, Low Lateral Palm leaves all the fingers and, most importantly, the thumb, free to be used in other ways. As flexible as it is, one must initially move the card(s) into Low Lateral Palm before anything else can be done. The techniques for doing so, particularly off the top of the deck, are a bit odd but, as you'll see, quite workable.
TOP STEAL—It would be easy to jog the block of cards to the right and wedge them into Low Lateral Palm position. The problem with this direct approach, in most instances, is that it would either be visible from the left, or the opening of the third and fourth fingers would flash from the right. Neither is acceptable. Fortunately, these two periods of vulnerability occur at different moments during the process of the Steal. This allows us to develop a cover using a screen and a turn.
You must acquire a left fourth-finger break below the cards to be stolen; let's say the top four. The deck is in Dealing Grip with the left thumb resting on
the front left corner of the top card, and the right hand takes the deck into Overhand Grip. If you straighten your left fourth finger, the three cards below the top card should move out as a block, to the right. Once they have moved right far enough— about a quarter of the width of a card—you turn to your right. You can, however, have made the turn before you started moving the cards to the right. In any case, with your right side beyond the audience's line of sight, open your right fourth finger, as you did when performing the Low Lateral Control, so the corner of the jogged cards can enter between the third and fourth fingers at the middle joint of the fourth finger (Figure 278). Close the fingers and squeeze firmly.
Now turn back to the left to cover the weak angle for the next action, and use your left thumb to push the top card to the right. It will slide along the top of the cards that are already clipped by the right third and fourth fingers and become clipped without the need for the fingers to reopen. Move the left hand inward slightly while the right hand stays in place. This will cause the front edge of the block to extend over the front of the deck. As the right hand moves forward and to the right, releasing the deck, the right second finger can curl and grasp the front left corner of the packet (Figure 279). The block of cards will be in a secure Low Lateral Palm.
NOTE: The extent of the body turns, both right and left, is dictated by the viewing positions of your audience members. On either side, the right second finger should point past the eye farthest to that side. This will assure that nothing will flash on either side.
BOTTOM Steal—Stealing cards into Low Lateral Palm from the bottom is far easier than from the top because the left-side view is screened by the deck itself. With your left side toward the audience and the deck held in left-hand Dealing Grip, obtain a fourth-finger break above the cards you wish to palm. Curl the left first finger under the deck, getting it out of the way. As you now turn rightward to protect that side, bring your right hand to the deck and take it into
Overhand Grip. Pivot the cards below _ 280
the break as though the inner left corner were pinned to the deck. The front right corner and about a quarter of the block of cards will protrude from under the deck on the right side. Grip this protruding corner between the right third and fourth fingers as you have in the Lateral Control and Top Steal (Figure 280). You will notice that the front left corner of the block slightly protrudes past the front edge of the deck. Turn toward the left until the right second fingertip points past the leftmost eye viewing you. Release your right hand's grip on the deck, at the same time curling the right second finger to secure the block of cards in Low Lateral Palm. You're done.
middle Steal—Stealing cards into Low Lateral Palm from the middle of the deck, even cards from different places, is also fairly easy. There are many ways to get into the position where one or more cards in one or more positions in the deck are jogged at the near end or the right side. It is not my intention to discuss jog controls here. We will assume that you have reached this in-jogged or right-jogged position. Further, once you are in either of these positions, it is a simple matter to grip the inner left and outer right corners between your right thumb and the tip of your right fourth finger. This is the same grip used for Mario's Bold Steal. Move the cards to the right for about a third of their width.
Your right side must be turned at least slightly away from the audience. Open you right fourth finger, allowing the right front corners of the cards to enter between the third and fourth fingers at the middle joint of the fourth finger. If you are stealing widely separated cards (as in a Multiple Shift), you may have to open these fingers wider than you normally do. Close the fingers and squeeze firmly. You should be able to move the cards with just the pressure of this grip. Swivel the outer ends of the clipped cards to the right slightly as you turn your body to the left by shifting your weight, as we've discussed. Relax as you make the turn and allow your right hand to move forward as your right thumb pushes on the inner right corner, causing the front left corner to break through the front edge of the deck. Squeeze inward with the second fingertip and move the right thumb slighdy to the left. This will clamp the cards between the web of flesh at the base of the third and fourth fingers and the second fingertip. When this grip is secure, the right thumb can move away from the cards.
Move your left hand forward and to the left, away from the right hand, which retains the stolen cards in Low Lateral Palm. The pressure shifts and regrips are a bit trickier in this steal than in any of the previous ones because the cards are being extracted from the deck. Friction creates resistance to the extraction. With practice you will learn to deal successfully with all but the stickiest of decks. It is a good idea to practice this, and most other techniques, with decks in all possible conditions.
LOW LATERAL SWITCHES November 18, 1995
What follows are two approaches to switches at the top of the deck, both utilizing the Low Lateral Palm. Each also describes a manner of handling cards while secretly holding other cards concealed. The first takes a fairly standard approach, the second is rather novel and could be done without the Low Lateral Palm but is much easier with it. Each offers a unique combination of benefits for certain situations.
Low Lateral Addition—As this Addition begins, we will assume that you've already stolen the number of cards you wish to switch in into Low Lateral Palm. We will also assume that the cards you wish to switch out are face down on top of the deck. We will show these cards—let's say there are four of them—to the audience and switch them under the cover of actions that appear very fair.
Spread over the top four cards of the deck and take them between the edge of your curled right first finger and the pad of the thumb, maintaining their spread condition (Figure 281). The important thing to keep in mind as you do this is that the cards in Low Lateral Palm must be kept parallel with the floor.
Tilt the right side of the deck down and push the left side of the spread closed against the right edge of the top card of the deck (Figure 282). Again, the Low Lateral Palmed cards must be kept parallel with the floor. Push with the right first finger, flipping the cards face up onto
the deck (Figure 283). Repeat the process to turn the top four faceup cards face down again. When you've finished, the top cards of the deck will be a bit unsquared. Square them briefly, releasing the Low Lateral Palmed cards onto the deck. Immediately spread over the top four cards and take them, as you have before, with the edge of the right first finger below and the thumb above, maintaining the spread condition. The cards you were holding out are switched in and, as the saying goes, "no one's the wiser."
Low Lateral Substitution—-The unique feature of this technique is that it switches face-up cards for face-down cards, yet the deck starts and ends with no reversed cards. It is also an unusual switch construct with far-reaching implications beyond the scope of this discussion. We will assume you want to switch three of the four Aces for the top three indifferent cards of the deck. To keep it simple, you are already holding a break below these three cards. The four Aces are in a face-up fan or spread in your right hand. Add the Aces to the top of the deck, pushing them closed but not square. Release your right hand's grasp on the closed spread and shift to Overhand Grip. Square the top seven cards and put your left thumb on the face of the top card (a face-up Ace). Immediately straighten your left fourth finger. The lower six cards, above the break, should move to the right as a block. This is somewhat like the start of a Burgess Top-Card Cover Pass (formerly attributed to Stanyon; see The Looking Glass, Summer 1996, page 128) combined with Mario's Future Reverse (from his 1945 booklet of the same name). Steal the six-card block into Low Lateral Palm. The action is very much like the Top Steal technique already described (page 370), except that you don't push the top card over to join the clipped block. While you're completing the steal of the six-card block, as your hands are moving apart, you may want to secure a break below the top card of the deck. It isn't essential, just helpful.
What will happen next is effectively a Half Pass of the cards you've just stolen, albeit an unusual one, under the cover of the top card. Your right hand returns to Overhand Grip, which necessitates your left second finger releasing its pressure on the packet, leaving the cards clipped between the third and fourth fingers. At the same time, the left first finger moves over the outer end of the deck, near the right front corner. The right third and fourth fingers, which lie in front of it, screen its position and the action. The tip of the first finger enters under the front end of the top card of the 284
deck and supports the front edge of this card as the left hand slightly lowers the right side of the deck. Your right thumb and second finger also hold the top card lightly by its ends, helping to keep it stationary, while your left thumb stops the card from slipping to the left.
Here comes the unusual action: The left second, third and fourth fingers open and the left edge of the cards in Low Lateral Palm pass slightly below the right edge of the face-down deck. The right side of the deck is now lowered further, though you don't want to drop it any more than necessary. It should drop just far enough so that when the left fingers curl inward, as they will in a moment (turning the stolen block of cards over, side for side), the upper edge of the block will pass under the top card, which is kept horizontal. You are performing a Half Pass of just the small packet of cards, using the lower edge of the deck as the initial pivot point. Then, while the deck remains in place, the packet continues to rotate, pivoting on the right edge of the deck and finally on the right edge of the top of the deck, albeit under the screening top card. Figure 284 shows in three stages the packet on its reversal path.
Depending on the length of your fingers, you may find it helpful, or even necessary, to angle the right side of the deck downward heavily. Within limits, this is not a problem; but it necessitates tilting the front end of the deck downward to screen the action at the front. Set up a video camera at eye level, at the distance you would typically stand from your audiences, and point the camera at your hands. The resulting image will tell you all you need to know about the angle considerations.
It will take a bit of practice to learn to do all this quickly, smoothly and noiselessly, but it can be learned. Perhaps the hardest part is keeping the top card
from bending, which would give the game away. Using the left first finger as support aids in avoiding such undesirable bowing. You complete the switch by squaring the entire deck and raising your hands as you spread off the top four cards. There will be one Ace and three indifferent cards. This concept, using a Half Pass at the top of the deck to accomplish a partial packet switch, is, I believe, original with me, though Aaron Fisher uses a similar idea (see The Paper Engine, 2002, page 66). I think it worthy of further investigation; alas, another day.
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