Of all the different types of shuffling, weave shuffling is probably the most elegant and of late has become the most common. Interestingly enough, I would suggest that for typical applications in the world of magic it is less than the most practical, but in the world of gambling it is infinitely better than any of the others and offers considerably greater potential. Among its advantages are the ability to maintain both the top and bottom stock simultaneously, the ability to cull cards from the middle of the deck to the top in a single shuffle, the ability to peek easily and a much better mix than is offered by block shuffling. The weakness of the shuffle is threefold. First, it is much more difficult to develop and perform a convincing blind shuffle than say an overhand shuffle. Second, culling cards near the top or bottom of the deck is troublesome and typically requires more than a single shuffle. Finally, tracking single cards is virtually impossible while it is extremely easy using a block shuffle as I have mentioned earlier. On the flip side of the last point, if you are able to do so it becomes considerably more convincing than with any other method of shuffling. Personally, I find that most young people use weave shuffles in their day to day shuffling, while older people tend to favor overhand shuffles. Due perhaps to elegance and the associated flourishes, I use weave shuffles probably more often than any other type of shuffle. Without further ado then, we shall begin what promises to be the most extensive section on shuffling.
Method: Like Hindu shuffling, weave shuffling can take place both in the hands or on a table, the later, is easier and so that is where we will begin. There are several styles of weave shuffling, both on a table or in the hands, but the essence of them all begins the same, you start by cutting the deck into two portions. Generally it is natural to make these portions roughly even, but it certainly does not have to be exactly so, something we will touch more upon later. You will now place the two halves of the deck opposite each other on the table so the ends are facing each other. (See figure 112.)
Now each hand will grab its respective half and place the pinky at the back (that is to say the outside end) of the deck, the forefinger will apply pressure in the middle and the thumb will take hold of the inner end of the deck, the middle and ring fingers can be placed with the pinky. (See figure 113.)
You will now lift with the thumbs and push the two packets together enough that when you release the cards gradually with the thumbs they will interlace. You riffle the cards off the thumbs gradually roughly alternating until the whole deck has been riffled off, hence the term (riffle shuffle). (See figure 114 and figure 115.)
You can now push the interlaced packets together and the shuffle is complete. This is what we call a standard riffle shuffle. Two other variants on a table exist that I will now explain. The first is called the dovetail shuffle and it tends to be the one I use the most, in fact I would generally suggest it is most favored by magicians and card men in general since it allows one to peek fairly effective without allowing the audience to do the same and it is both elegant and comfortable.
In the case of a dovetail shuffle, instead of placing the entire front of the halves together you place only the upper inner corners together. (See figure 116.)
The finger position also varies slightly. This time you place your thumbs on the upper inner sides near the upper inner corners, the forefingers roughly halfway across the card and the three remaining fingers along the upper outer side. (See figure 117.)
As with the standard riffle shuffle you now lift with the thumbs, bring the packets together and allow the cards to riffle off the thumbs so that the cards interlace. You can then push the packets together completing the shuffle. (See figure 118.)
The third variant is what I call the peeking shuffle, it may have another name but if so I am not familiar with it and peeking seems to be an appropriate name given the nature of the shuffle. It is in many regards a combination of the dovetail and standard riffle shuffles. This begins by placing the sides of the two halves next to one another as opposed to the ends. (See figure 119.)
As when you performed the standard riffle shuffle, you will place the thumb at the one end (in this case the end closest to you), the forefinger in the middle of the packet and the three remaining fingers at the other end. As before the thumb picks up the end of the deck, in this case, the lower inner corners come together and you riffle the cards off so that they interlace. (See figure 120.)
In any of these cases and those that follow it is possible to interlace the cards without actually riffling them off, however, for several reasons I would not recommend this. The first reason is because psychologically people are less convinced that the cards are thoroughly mixed, as they are when you riffle the cards. (Apparently, it takes two riffle shuffles to convince them that the cards are mixed, while three shuffles if you are not riffling the cards.) Second, it is very difficult to control the cards and the interlacing process (with the exception of faros which will be covered later) when you do not riffle the cards off. Third, you cannot peek to determine the location of cards and I would recommend that you attempt to form some consistency in your practices, it is not wise to use a riffle to interlace the cards only when you have a need to peek as it will serve as a tip off to those who are familiar with your habits. Fourth, riffling will make it easier and more convincing later when it comes to the subject of blind shuffles.
The next subject to examine is weave shuffling in the hands. This is a little more difficult process, but with the correct tips should be fairly easy to pick up. Just as there were a few variants on the table, there are likewise a number of variants in the hands. To begin with, it is easiest to learn and perform a riffle shuffle in the hands using a deep grip, I generally feel that easy is a good place to start and so we shall.
You will begin by holding the deck pinched between the thumb at the top and pinky and ring finger at the bottom of your right hand. The key is where on the pinky and ring finger, the deck sits, which, in this case, will be around the second joint. (See figure 121.)
The forefinger will now move in behind the deck and provide a small amount of pressure causing the deck to bevel so that you can riffle the cards off the thumb. You can curl your middle finger, ring finger, and pinky inward slightly to provide support. (See figure 122 and figure 123.)
You will now riffle off about half the deck and let it roll into the same position in the left hand. You will accomplish this by twisting the wrist so the packet turns downward and falls into the support of your middle finger, ring finger, and pinky. At the same time, the left hand will approach to catch the top end of the deck at the second joint of the ring finger and pinky. (See figure 124.)
In order to complete the roll you release the packet with your right hand and use the tips of your fingers that were formerly cradling the packet to push the packet up to the waiting left hand thumb by raising the right hand. (See figure 125 and figure 126.)
This process will have successfully cut the deck into two portions for you and left them in position for the riffle shuffle to follow. You will now bring the hands together slightly and tilt the packets inward in preparation for the riffle. During this process, your last three fingers (the middle finger, ring finger, and pinky) should curl inward again to provide stability and the forefingers will move to the back of the packets to again provide some bevel in the deck. (See figure 127.)
It is now simply a matter of using the thumbs as before to riffle the cards together. (See figure 128.)
Push the interlaced packets together and you have completed the process. I realize that description may have been a bit tedious for some of you and involved an excessive number of pictures, but it is important to learn to shuffle well before learning to perform false shuffles well as the one must mirror the other.
A shallow shuffle offers less control, but may also appear more refined, it is in essence the same as the deep shuffle I just described with the exception that instead of pinching the deck at the second joint you will do so at the first joint of the fingers. In addition, some may place all of the last three fingers at the bottom of the deck, however, personally, I prefer to use the middle finger to provide some stability during the shuffle, and it is up to you to determine your preference. I hope my readers will not be offended that I spare them a description like the previous one, but considering the detail and an only subtle difference, I feel it is unnecessary. However, here is one picture for those who are not so easily placated. (See figure 129.)
Naturally, one does not have to interlace the packets in the standard riffle shuffle manner, one could of course do so for example in a manner more closely resembling a peeking shuffle, but I do not feel such minor differences merit a complete description or name in this case. (See figure 130.)
One sufficiently mutant variation of an in the hands riffle shuffle is what I call the broad side shuffle. It is not terribly practical, but I nevertheless enjoy performing it from time to time and so I offer you the description now with the possibility that you too may enjoy it. This method is exactly the same as a conventional in the hands riffle shuffle except that instead of holding the packets by the ends and riffling the ends together you will hold them by the sides and riffle the upper inner corners together. (See figure 131 and figure 132.)
The final variant, which I call the saw shuffle for lack of a better term, I mention for two reasons. First, because I have seen it used by many laymen and second, because it is the style emulated by the Greek style blind shuffle, which we will refer to later. In essence, it consists of holding the deck in the left hand in the overhand shuffle grip I told you earlier not to use. (See figure 133.)
You will now pick up the bottom half of the deck as you would for an overhand shuffle pinched between your right thumb and right middle and ring finger. Having cut the deck in this manner you will place the two packets next to one another and interlace them with a sort of sawing motion (hence the name) while pushing downward slightly with the right hand in order to assist in the process. (See figure 134 and figure 135.)
This is an odd method that I doubt you will employ regularly but it can nevertheless be effective and since the Greek shuffle is quite a convincing blind shuffle, you might consider working it into your handling.
Having learned how to perform a variety of weave shuffles we will now progress to a few simple flourishes, the first of which, is virtually a necessity for any serious card worker as it is a standard functionary tool that helps to convince audiences of the validity of a shuffle, that is, forming a bridge. Some people call this a waterfall shuffle, I do not, I reserve that title for another method/flourish, but at least this way you will know what they are talking about if someone mentions a waterfall shuffle in that manner. Ironically, while riffle shuffling in the hands is more difficult than on a table, forming a bridge in the hands is easier than on a table; as such I will begin there.
The process of forming a bridge begins once the packets have been interlaced and is simply a visually appealing method of pushing them together. There are two keys to this process, the first, is to position your thumbs so that they apply a small amount of downward pressure to the cards at the point of interlace. The second is to use the fingers as before to cradle the cards, holding them in place. (See figure 136.)
You now simply move your hands together allowing the cards to bend upwards forming a "bridge" (again, hence the name). You can use your forefingers to hold this position as I have in the following photograph. (See figure 137.)
Finally, you will complete the process by removing the forefingers (if you have placed them under the deck, as it is not necessary) and easing the pressure slightly to allow the cards to cascade together in a somewhat appealing display. (See figure 138.)
It takes a bit of practice, at first you will definitely want to hold the cards, so they are cascading downwards allowing gravity to work with you, but later you should be able to develop sufficient knack to allow horizontal displays. Along this line, I might as well mention that it is possible to perform the bridge one handed as follows.
Once the cards are interlaced, reach with your right forefinger and thumb and pinch the sides of the cards at the point of interlace in such a manner that you are left with a firm grip and able to release the cards from all other points. (See figure 139 and figure 140.)
Once you have reached this point you can either cascade the cards directly using the left hand to form a bridge by placing the interlace at the base of the forefinger, reaching with the thumb on the one end and the middle and ring fingers at the other end of the cards to push slightly. (See figure 141.)
By easing up pressure on the ends of the deck, the cards will cascade as they did in the standard two-handed bridge. In this case, however, it is much easier to cascade the cards on a horizontal rather than vertical plane.
Alternatively, you may choose, as I generally do, to transfer the interlaced cards from the right hand to the left and cascade the cards with the right hand, the decision is up to you.
This brings us to forming a bridge on a table, a practice that I have rarely seen employed, which, to me, gives it greater appeal, then again, I have always preferred to do things somewhat differently.
Just as you formed the bridge in the hands, you will begin doing so on a table at the point immediately following the interlacing of cards. You will start by moving the left thumb and middle finger to the sides of the packets where the cards are interlaced and placing the left forefinger on top of the cards at this point. The left pinky will remain at the left outside end of the cards while the left hand ring finger takes up its post next to the middle finger. The right hand middle finger and ring finger will apply pressure opposite the thumb on their respective sides at the right outside end of the cards. The right pinky will ground itself onto the table at the end itself ready to apply inward pressure on the cards. Finally, you will place the right forefinger on top of the cards in-between the thumb and middle finger. In case this description was burdensome for you, as my grammar checker is cautioning me may be the case, I am providing photographs of two different angles of this arrangement for your reference. (See figure 142 and figure 143.)
Having accomplished this task you will lift upwards with your left thumb and middle finger at the point of interlace and move your right hand towards the left allowing the cards to bend in the now familiar bridge formation, then release with the left thumb and middle finger to allow the cards to cascade together. (See figure 144 and figure 145.)
Though that may have seem complicated due to the description I assure you that it is not so and with a bit of practice you will quickly become acquainted with the various forces at work so as to render the process quite natural.
That dear reader comprises the entirety at least so far as I can tell, of forming a bridge and so, having by now overwhelmed you with tedium I will proceed to one-handed shuffling.
I believe some people refer to what I am about to describe as a one-handed faro, bad! A one-handed faro and a one-handed weave shuffle are not the same thing. While granted a one-handed faro is in fact a one-handed weave shuffle, a one-handed weave shuffle is not necessarily a one-handed faro. This is a point of small annoyance to me, since the purpose of language is after all communication and if we are to simply apply random terms without consistency to things, objects, ideas etc. then the ability to communicate effectively is eliminated and the entire process rendered pointless. One should strive then, I feel, for a measure of accuracy and consistency. I will point out then, that a faro is something we will discuss later and a one-handed faro, an extremely difficult version of this process performed with one hand, the details of which I will not address in this volume, nor is it, to my knowledge addressed in any volume created to date. Having concluded my rant, we shall begin.
You begin in what is probably familiar to most of you as the grip for a Charlier cut, a grip we will refer to much more in the next section, but for now, since there may be some among you either unfamiliar with this grip or the cut itself I will provide a brief description and photograph for you. You hold the deck in the left hand pinched on the ends between the forefinger and pinky and on the sides between the thumb on the one side and the middle and ring fingers on the other. (See figure 146.)
From this point, you will move your forefinger from the end to the side so that it is next to the middle finger. (See figure 147.)
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