for a number of years (1969-74), A1 Cooper and I spent uncounted hours on the phone and in person discussing, primarily, three types of moves: False Deals, the Pass and False Shuffles. Thus any of my treatments of False Shuffles from those years bears a significant measure of Al's influence. I rarely get to speak with A1 these days. He has moved away and is far less active in magic. It is, nevertheless, with warm memories and a solid vote of thanks to him that I present this shuffle.
Divide the pack, carrying less than half from the top to the right. Place the adjacent inner corners together, just touching, with the packets at an approximate 165-degree angle to each other. (Vernon seemed to favor approximately the same angle.) Release all grips and regrasp both packets along the sides, near the outer ends, with the second, third and fourth fingers at the front edge and the thumbs of each hand at the near edge. The gripping fingers should rest on the table. The first fingers are curled on the tops of their respective packets. As I've mentioned in previous shuffle descriptions, these positions are not absolutely critical; different people shuffle differently. It is only important that you have full control of the packets and that the hand positions be absolute mirror images of each other.
Raise the thumbs, lifting each half of the deck, and move the packets diagonally forward and slightly toward each other. Release roughly a half-dozen cards from the left thumb. Without pause, continue the action with both thumbs until all the cards have been dropped off and interlaced, cards falling from the left thumb last. Again, lightness is essential, regardless of the condition of the cards.
When the corners have been interwoven, move both hands to the outer ends, grasping the front edges at the extreme corners with the second and third fingertips. The balls of the thumbs should contact the near long edges at the corners. The first fingers remain curled above their packets (Figure 232).
Squeeze firmly and lift the deck almost to the point of raising it off the work surface. Rotate the packets until they align lengthwise, with roughly half the length of each packet interlaced. The packets may bind.
Adjust the alignment of the cards by moving your second fingers to the front edges at the points where the meshed ends of the packets lie. The thumbs take up the equivalent positions on the near edge. Press firmly, causing the cards to align perfectly along their sides (Figure 233).
When the two packets have been aligned and partially telescoped, the hands should be removed from the pack. The spectators will find nothing out of the ordinary in the appearance of the deck at this point.
Again the hold must be adjusted. This time move the hands to the outer ends, placing the second fingertips on the front edges at the extreme corners. The third fingers, which should be in full contact with the sides of the second fingers, should touch the ends at the extreme front corners. The balls of the thumbs should contact the near long edges of the packets just outside of their respective midpoints. The first fingers remain curled on top of the
packets (Figure 234). With the hands in these positions, telescope the packets, pushing them into each other, until they are interlaced for about three-quarters of their length. Because the ends of some of the cards may not have been square with the other end in their packet, this telescoping will serve to even them. Release the deck completely.
You are about to perform the critical and defining procedure of this technique. Move both hands back over the deck. The balls of the thumbs should lightly contact the near edges, just outside the midpoint. Simultaneously press diagonally inward with the second and third fingers of each hand on their respective far corners of the interlaced packets. This forces the inner corners against the thumbs, which regulate the extent to which they break through the near edge. As long as the inner corners break through beyond the midpoint of the deck, the packets will pass through each other (Figure 235). During this action the outer edge of the pack, which the onlookers can see, should present a more or less normal appearance but for a slight inward V that will form. To mask this V, which is the only tell that the shuffle is anything but legitimate, slide both hands and the deck inward toward your body. When this action is complete, there will be diagonal jogs at both inner corners (Figure 236). In practice, these jogs should measure about a quarter of an inch. They can be as much as half an inch without presenting a problem.
As soon as the corners break through, press them forward and outward with the thumbs. This will complete the push-through process (perhaps more correctly, angle through) and produce a brief conjoin that appears to be a coalescence. Actually, it serves to move the pack into a telescoped position, but with the original right-hand packet protruding from the left side and vice versa. The second and third fingers at the fronts of each packet screen the protruding portions from view. As a result, the "breach," or protruding portions, can be fairly broad, as great as half an inch. Pause only very briefly at this point; just long enough to secure your grip.
NOTE: The action of this conjoin amounts to simultaneously striking the front corners of the deck with the second and third fingertips of each hand and moving the deck inward, toward you, as you angle the packets inward and then through each other. It is this action that defines and distinguishes this technique from other approaches to the Push-Through. It will take some practice to become sure-fingered enough to perform this deftly. You should, however, be aware: If you can't perform it at a brisk but unhurried pace, it is better not to use this technique at all. Under many other conditions, though, a slight inward slide can be useful cover for a Push-Through.
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