The Undifferentiated Middle March 30 1993

After experimenting with the Theory Thirds approach, I came to realize—mostly because of my misses—that fourths, fifths, etc., were possible. I reasoned that almost any number of cards could be pushed as a block and the technique would still work. I began pushing random-sized blocks, determined by where my thumb happened to fall, then applying the Theory Thirds Take. It worked. Having determined that it worked, I was still unsure of the utility of the technique.

It then occurred to me that there were often occasions when one would need to maintain stocks at both the top and bottom of the deck and still deal. Under such circumstances, one wouldn't care where the cards came from in the deck. One would, however, have to obtain them from somewhere in the middle. This technique is ideal for such a purpose and can be considered as an alternative to the use of a Bottom Deal under circumstances when only a top stock needs to be maintained. It may be considered an alternative to a Greek Bottom Deal when the goal is to maintain the bottom card and still get access to a card from elsewhere than the top stock. Moreover, since this technique requires no Get-Ready, one can readily use it in Deal-Switch situations. As an example, if you had four Aces face down on top of the deck and needed to apparently deal them to the table, dealing four Undifferentiated Middles would serve as a Deal-Switch. This could eliminate the need for a more complicated, fiddly and probably less logical display before the deal.

GRIP

Hold the deck as you do for Sure Theory Seconds or Theory Thirds but, depending on the size of your hand, slightly deeper. You want to be able to hide a substantial portion of the front edge of the deck.

PUSH-OFF

Instead of pushing a controlled number of cards from the top, as in the two deals just mentioned, move your left thumb farther left and down slightly, contacting the front left corner of the deck. If you now move the thumb to the right, you will move a block of cards of undetermined size ahead of it. From the front it should not be possible to see the block because it is partially under the left thumb. The thumb cannot conceal the block by itself however, so your left first finger and the deeper grip you've assumed assist in obscuring it. (Figure 193 shows a front view of the rather unusual position of the deck, with the left thumb moved slightly aside to expose the configuration of the cards.) If you have a top stock, it's easy to push over at least that number of cards to preserve it. The further down the side of the deck the left thumb makes contact, the more cards will move over. It is nearly impossible to control the exact number reliably with this technique.

TAKE

As the hands approach each other, slightly necktie the deck. The right thumb will contact the extreme right edge of the block and will then push all but the lowermost card of the block back to the left. At the same time, at the moment of contact, the left fingers straighten, pushing that card farther to the right. When the technique is clicking, the block will slide back to the left as though it were a solid unit and the lowermost card will almost jump from beneath the block to under your right thumb.

During the action just-described, the right first finger should cover the front right corner of the block (Figure 194). At the completion of the action, the card at the bottom of the block will be jogged to the right for about a third of its width. The cards above it, having been pushed back by the right thumb, will be essentially square with the top of the deck (Figure 195).

Once the card is side-jogged, it is a simple matter to press up with your right second finger and down with your right thumb to grasp the jogged card and

carry it to the right, clear of the deck. It will take some work, but you can learn to perform this Take with no pause between the pushing of the block and the grasping and carrying of the middle card to the right. As soon as it is clear, curl your left fingers inward, tightening them on the deck. Also apply pressure forward, aligning the cards at the front by forcing them against your left first finger. The Deal is then complete and the deck square.

ADDING DIFFERENTIATION

As I continued to work with the Undifferentiated Middle, I began to recognize that a means for differentiation was possible. I attempted to use a technique I thought would address the need. After a little experimentation, I found a way to make it work. The following additional touches will allow you to deal from whatever point in the middle of the deck you wish.

GRIP AND PUSH-OFF

If you begin the Undifferentiated Middle but hold a left fourth-finger break below the middle card you wish to deal, you can, with just a little extra practice, push off all the cards above the break. It is somewhat an acquired feel that comes with experience. Fundamentally, you need to learn where the left thumb needs to fall so it will overlap the edge of the block you want to move. You'll also need to learn the angle at which pressure must be applied by the left thumb. For me, it helps to think of aiming the pressure at the middle of the extreme right edge of the bottom card of the block I want to push over. That imagery may not work for you but it's a starting point. Experiment and you'll find the point you must target in your mind to make the technique reliable.

TAKE

As in the Undifferentiated Middle, as the hands approach each other, slightly necktie the deck. The right thumb will contact the extreme right edge of the block and push all but the bottom card of the block back to the left. At the same time, at the moment of contact, the left fingers straighten, pushing that card farther to the right. Again, the desired card should almost jump from the center and under your right thumb.

The right first finger, just as in the Undifferentiated handling, covers the front right corner of the block, and the Deal is completed as previously described. Because you need to acquire the break again after each card is dealt, your left fingers, beginning with the fourth, need to curl back toward the deck before the middle card clears the right side. If you time the action correctly, your fourth finger will catch the upper packet as it drops, after the middle card clears. The second and third fingers will re-align the deck against the base of your left thumb and forward pressure will align the front of the deck against the left first finger. Give it some practice and you will find the technique quite reliable.

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