Miscellaneou false deals


greek Bottom Deal—-The earliest mentions of the Greek Bottom of which I'm aware occur in Koschitz's Manual of Useful Information (1894) and Theodore Hardison's Poker (1914). Neither Koschitz nor Hardison explain a method for the Deal. From then until now, the Greek Bottom Deal has been a technique that allows a Dealer to substitute the card second from bottom for the top card. I have no idea how the appellation "Greek" came to be applied. The technique was first conceived to address the problem presented by the burn card in one-deck Black Jack games. The one-deck game is nearly a thing of the past but some casinos and card rooms still "cap" the bottom of the deck with a blank or plastic card to prevent players from glimpsing the bottom card. Since most of these games are dealt by the house, the technique would only be useful to a crooked house-dealer working in concert with a player. This may, in part, explain why there are so few known techniques. The first Greek Bottom Deal technique waited until 1970 to see print: Allan Ackerman's Minus One Bottom Deal in Magic Mafia Effects (page 24). Later, in Kabbala, Volume 3 (1976), Mario shared his thinking in "The Multiple Minus Bottom" (page 106). Martin Nash provides an approach, albeit limited in application, in his Any Second Now (1977, page 191). Andrew Wimhurst adds to these techniques in his Down Under Deals (1998, page 29). I know of no other published technique, but I understand that the best existing method is a currently unpublished one by Fred Robinson. Tom Gagnon has shown me a One-Handed Greek Bottom Deal technique with very interesting applica-tional implications.

I confess that the Greek Bottom Deal has little to recommend it to magicians. It would allow a performer to flash the bottom card both before and after the deal in a Stop-type effect but that hardly seems worth the effort, and there are other ways to reach the same end (see my "PICA. Cheating," page 219). It also allows an alternative means of faking a Center Deal. This, however, seems an odd application considering the other alternatives. On the other hand, Bottom Dealers should not find adding the Greek Bottom to their repertoire very taxing. Nevertheless, if you're just learning False Deals, you can safely leave "the Greek" for last.

NO Deal and swap Deal—The terms "No Deal" and "Swap Deal" are monikers of my invention. They refer to two unique classes of techniques that are either theoretical (no technique currently exists) or are based on ideas by my dear, departed friend Johnny Benzais. The Benzais idea is sometimes called the Deal Cop. (When it first appeared in Lorayne's Close-Up Card Magic, 1962, page 269, it was dubbed the JB Kard Kop.) The concept behind the No Deal is that a card is either taken from the deck and stolen as it is dealt, for later disposition (a Deal Cop), or it is never taken in the first place, even though the actions of dealing are simulated (Theoretical). One can readily imagine how useful the functions that derive from these techniques could be. The most obvious uses being Counts for more or less, position displacements (see my "1-2-3-4 Rise" in Mr. Gadfly, Vol. 1, No. 3, September 2001, page 20) and, more directly, steals, (see "A.E. S.S. E.M. IOU" in The Magical Record and Thoughts of Wesley James, page 92). Few individual techniques would be more flexible or more broadly useful. The Benzais Cop is quite easy to learn if you use the proper grip (s.F. Grip without the first finger in front). Mario thought enough of Johnny's technique to have devoted a few pages on it to his thoughts in Advanced Fingertip Control (1970, page 140).

HISTORICAL NOTE: On page 142 of that book Eddie mentions that Persi Diaconis claimed, in a private conversion with him, to have shown this sleight to Benzais. Of course, I can't confirm what was actually said at that meeting. However, prior to his untimely passing, Johnny told me he came up with the technique and an application, and showed it to Persi, who immediately came up with other applications. I believed Johnny then and still do, as he was always honest with me. I can add nothing more to this puzzling contradiction of claims.

The "simulated deal" approach is almost completely unexplored territory. The closest approximation is "Rub-a-Dub-Dub" from Expert Card Technique (page 301), and that's not very close. It is an interesting challenge. Lennart Green of Sweden has a wonderful technique that can be applied to this purpose.

He calls it the Snap Deal. When Lennart deals a card, palming it in the action, then secretly adds it back to the deck as he apparently deals another card, his Snap Deal meets the definition of a No Deal. Lennart's Deal is not yet widely used but now that his booklet, The Snap Deal (1995), written by Tom Stone, has been released, it may gain greater currency. In Issue 5, October 1998, of Ken Simmons' ONYX, I contributed my Oil and Water routine, titled "Olive Oil on the Side" (page 5), which uses the Snap Deal as a No Deal.

The Swap Deal is not only my designation but my concept. If one could steal one or more cards from wherever they may reside in the deck and swap them at will for the top card, in the act of dealing, one would have a deal that could substitute for most other False Deals in many situations. In theory, any of the previously mentioned No Deal approaches could be applied to the Swap Deal. Other methodological approaches might also be feasible. Mario and others have published or developed methods for producing a palmed card while making it appear that the card is being removed from the top of the deck. Such techniques could probably be applied to the Swap Deal concept but, for the sake a purity of concept, I have limited candidates to techniques wherein both the Steal and the Swap are accomplished in the apparent act of dealing. Under that constraint, techniques that swap previously stolen cards, however they may be acquired or concealed, for dealt cards do not qualify.

The exchange aspect of the Swap Deal can be covered by any of a host of perfectly normal actions one might perform as part of dealing a card. I plan future discourses that will explore this concept and other approaches at greater length and in further detail. For now it should suffice to say that I see these two concepts, the No Deal and the Swap Deal, as the way of the future. A good Double Deal (the standard forms and some of the Theoretical ones) and the No Deal create powerful Card Switch combinations. The Swap Deal can replace every False Deal except the Double Deal and No Deal. These two Deals are exceptions because their function relates to number rather than identity. In case you can't tell, I'm enthusiastic about the potential of these two concepts.


The scope of overt action elements related to False Deals is as wide as it is for Bottom and Second Deals, and like those Deals is as fully encompassing: everything and anything that makes a deal easier, smoother or more efficient, except techniques addressed at creating deceptiveness or illusion. This section will offer some observations on some of the major elements as they relate to False Deals.

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