Slydini Legacy 10/97-12/97


Slydini Legacy 10/97-12/97

October 1997

“The Stunning, Subtle Poker Deal”
Bill Wisch
This is one of those effects that was never put into print, to the best of my knowledge. Slydini showed me this almost as an off-handed thing one lesson, and fooled me mega! I’ve shown it at lectures over the years and never failed to get a literal gasp when I performed it. It’s both stunning in effect and subtle in execution, but most important, it’s fun to do!


You tell your audience that you want to show how to deal a game of 5 card stud, poker. A person is sitting or standing opposite you at a table. You shuffle the deck thoroughly and can even have the spectator shuffle. Then you slowly and deliberately deal out five cards to thespectator and to yourself. Now you ask the spectator to make the best pokerhand he or she can with the cards dealt. You ponder your hand a bit and after the spectator lays out the best hand possible you say, “I win!..” and lay out about ten or twelve cards onto the table instead of the five you’re supposed to have. Obviously you can make up a better hand, and the spectator has no idea how you got that many cards because of the slow and deliberate manner in which you dealt to begin with.


This is vintage Slydini. Please do not overlook it until you’ve tried it and mastered it enough to get a chance to see the effect it has on people.

1) You make a big deal about shuffling the cards and cutting, etc.. Even have them shuffle. This sets them up in a way Slydini used in a number of other effects we’ll eventually be studying. I call it his “boredom technique”. This is when you do an action so painstakingly and sometimes repetitiously that the audience becomes slightly bored and kind of has that “wish you would hurry up and not go over the same thing five million times”

2) You continue the “boredom technique” with the way you deal. You deal the spectator a card and say “one”. Then you deal yourself a card and say “one”. Now you deal another card on top of the card already dealt to the spectator and say “two”, and you say “right?” and slowly separate the two cards a bit. By now the spectator is saying to himself, “what is this guy doing stressing the obvious so much?”

3) Continue on the same way with your second card and his third card…your third card and etc.. In other words your taking a bit of time (not TOO long, though) after each card is dealt. You’re separating them and constantly asking , “right”, after saying the number of the cards each time. It gets old and that’s precisely what you want.*

4) Now comes the move. After you deal the last (fifth) card onto your cards and separate them and show the five cards and say ” five…right?”, you tell the spectator to make up the best poker hand he can from his cards, and as you say this you square up the deck with the right hand on top and left hand on bottom (as usual) and with the right hand you casually but firmly slap the deck down onto the table to the left of your five cards.

5) You are looking at the spectator as you’re doing this. Then immediately after you slap the deck down, your right hand (on top) gently lifts a bunch of cards off the top of the deck and adds them to the five cards immediately to the right as you pick them up. In other words, you added a bunch of cards onto your five when all attention is on the spectator’s cards. Just in that off-beat, split second you will have more than ample opportunity and time to carry the cards over and the entire action is covered by the simple act of slapping the deck down and picking up your
cards…that’s it!

6) Now after you are holding the ten or twelve cards you now have in your hands, you kind of keep them hidden like poker players do, cupping your hands around them so nobody can get a look. You pretend to be looking overyour “five” cards and be trying to make up the best hand. Do this until the spectator finally lays down his cards. Now, with a tongue-in-cheek remark of your choice, getting the point across that you think you’ve won, you slowly fan out your cards and lay them down on the table face up, looking up at the spectator.

Wait until you see the expression on his or her face when they see the amount of cards you have! They will be completely in the dark as to how you were able to get the extra cards.

Tell them what Slydini told me…“I used my sleeves!”

*Note: Slydini uses this “boredom technique” to great advantage in his coins through the table routine, several times. It is very disarming and the audience only remembers later on that you did everything so unbelievably open and free from suspicion that there was no time you could have done anything sneaky. The actual deception comes at a totally unexpected time when the balance of the deck is placed aside. You only have the extra cards (just take what lifts off naturally…don’t make a move out of it) for a split second anyway because they get added to the top of your five cards as quickly and as naturally as humanly possible.

I told you this was vintage Slydini. See you next month!

November 1997

“Up In Smoke”
Bill Wisch
Note: The following routine deals with matches and fire. It is for magicians 18 years of age or older ONLY!

This month I’d like to give you a quick but extremely effective little “bit of business” that Slydini used to use with great success.

Slydini did many great cigarette effects and routines. Many times he would carefully remove a match from a matchbook, strike it, light up his cigarette and then in a rather nonchalant manner, make the match disappear into thin air by just blowing a small bit of smoke on it. It took me by such surprise the first time I saw it, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. He purposely did not tell the secret to me (he did that quite often) so I could mull it over for a week or two…then he would share the method and laugh his little maniacal laugh for a while as he watched me try to recreate it in my head (those were the good old days).

Many of Slydini’s effects were carried out in the simplest of fashions and came off as utter miracles due to the fantastic misdirective qualities he used (see September’s Tip of The Wand article on misdirection). This was no exception. The method is brazen to say the least but OH SO UNREAL!

Whenever you have to light a match for an effect, strike it, light your item and then shake the match as you would to extinguish the flame before you place it into an ashtray. During that little shake of the match (not overdone) you look at the audience and just let the match go during a downstroke. It will land on the floor out of sight.

You keep shaking the hand once or twice more as if you were still holding the match and then blow smoke on the hand or just blow on it if there’s no smoke and slowly and dramatically open the fingers showing the match gone. Now go on with the effect and don’t make a big deal out of it.

The audience will freak if the moves were done right. You must try this and see the reaction.

Some side comments: practice just shaking the flame from a match normally so you can see how much and at what force you must use to extinguish the flame. Then just duplicate it when you do the vanish.

I can’t begin to tell you how well Slydini did this thing. It was so natural that even after seeing the effect several times during a series of effects using lit matches, I still was totally blown away each and every time. This was pure magic and done as it was, just a little “bit of business”, it was just the right spice to add to the dish.

One more thing. Try not to do this on a carpet in someone’s home. Even though the match goes out before it is dropped, the heat remaining in the head will char the carpet slightly.

Of course, Slydini never let little things like that bother him*. Next month, along with another effect, I’ll tell you about the time he did a number on someone’s expensive dining room chair! Take care.

*Co-Directors Comment: Little things? Only Slydini could get away with a stunt like that. I would not recommend working this stunt in “any” home as Bill stated earlier. Some older carpets may actually burn! But this lesson does serve to illustrate the psychology that Syldini used in his magic and thus is valuable in that way. If the student is intrigued by this premise they may wish to think of ways of adapting the technique to things that do not involve fire. This could be a great vanish for small objects like toothpicks, etc. Give it some thought and remember, keep it safe! BJG…

December 1997

Bill Wisch
Slydini used to get extreme pleasure from mild practical jokes. I don’t mean the silly stuff like hand buzzers or snapping chewing gum packs. No, he would reserve his fun stuff usually for his fellow magicians. I’m certain other students can attest to this. I know he always had some sneaky “gag” ready to pull off when least expected.

Some of his gags are not fit to print…not because they were not clever or extremely funny, but because several were slightly off-color. For this reason I won’t include them in this forum. However several come to mind and I will include one every once in a while.

For this month’s Legacy I’d like to discuss one funny bit and certainly one that could be fun to do for you, not only for fellow magicians but for regular spectators as well.

This involves a deck of cards and as usual involves a bit of off-the-cuff acting, which method I will leave up to you and your style. Slydini would cut the cards and tilt the top portion toward the spectator to view the bottom card, then, almost as an action that wasn’t meant to be noticed, he’d slightly tip the same top portion toward himself to get a glimpse just before he put the cards back onto the lower half. Now he would make this pseudo-mindreading type buildup and then announce the name of the card triumphantly. All this was very bewildering to the spectator because they kind of knew he looked at the card as he put the cards back down. You think “what’s the big deal?”.

Now he’d do it again the exact same way. Lift up part of the deck…show the bottom card of the portion and then glimpse it as he lowered the cards to reassemble. You’d say to yourself, “what the heck is he doing?”. He did it even a third and sometimes a fourth time!

Now he would ask if you think you could try to guess a card in the same fashion. He’d mention this almost as if he was challenging you to do something very difficult when all the time you KNOW you can duplicate it because the whole thing is so obvious to you.

You accept the challenge and he hands you the deck. You proceed to lift up the top section of cards and tip them towards the spectator showing the bottom card. Now you lower the cards and your mind “shorts out”! What you see when you glimpse the card is a card BACK instead of a face. The expression is the thing and Slydini would laugh his head off watching the look on your face. It’s quite funny and really has to be tried to see the potential, especially for those magician wanna-bees we all encounter from time to time. You know, the person who just has to grab the cards and try the same thing you just did even though he knows he can’t do it.

The sneaky set-up is to simply have the bottom card face up…that’s it!

When you’re doing your actions the bottom card has no bearing on anything, right? But when you hand the deck to the sucker-to-be, just turn the whole deck over before you hand it over, being careful not to spread the cards at all. They’re not looking for anything at this point anyway since all they want to do is get their hands on the cards to mimic what the magician just did. It’s a riot when he or she sees the back of the card while they’re trying this thing.

I’ve used this once in a while for the wise guy type and it’s precious!!! Give it a try…you’ll fall in love with it.

Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only. This entire page is under copywrite 1998 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing and publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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