The routine “Hold’Em Hands” is a simple poker hand demonstration that utilises the Texas Hold’Em community cards. A small packet of face down hole cards is spread through one at a time. Each time there are different hole cards face up that (when combined with the community cards) display every possible poker hand in the game.
This video was shot in one take with no edits used as part of the effect. It was a secondary project while I was filming the demo for a new card effect. It is a simple routine that is not designed to be flashy.
It has evolved from 3 core ideas:
I wanted to create a Poker Hand Demonstration using the Texas Hold’Em Community Cards
I wanted to incorporate a “Twisting the Aces” style presentation where different cards (the required cards) would appear face up in the deck.
The final reveal of the Royal Flush with the community cards.
The challenges came from deciding on a set of community cards that could support every single poker hand with the addition of having only a small packet of hole cards to cycle through for the routine.
I like that this routine can be enjoyed on a few levels. Lay people can either watch or interact by guessing the next hands to appear. Magicians and Gamblers working (or anyone who watches to work out the method) will no doubt spot a few popular sleights, but will also hopefully be surprised by a few aspects of the handling.
I will release a free video tutorial soon demonstrating the method behind this routine and some others I have recently created.
As things get busier out IRL, things do get quieter here on my website. This is not reflective of my card work and magic practice. My days have been filled with learning new tricks, new sleights and, most importantly, working on some great new ideas.
Over the the last few weeks, I have created and updated multiple new routines to add to my live set and to potentially sell. Whenever I get a wave of creative inspiration like this, I know not to waste it.
I have created so much in the last few months, it has been hard to find the time to note it all down. Some of my new tricks include a fun new torn card reveal, an ACAAN effect and an impossible card penetration illusion called “Beeline” that (even though I know how it works) still sometimes fools me!
I am cautious not to go into too much detail before releasing my creations so I can protect and properly copyright the ideas. For now, the goal is simply to test and fine tune everything as much as possible.
REFINING, REHEARSING, RECORDING
The time has come to produce demos and instructional videos for the stronger of my multiple new tricks.
This is always great fun, but very time consuming. I have tested my new 4k equipment regularly filming songs with my band Walker St and I now have a powerful new laptop capable of editing the UHD footage to professional standards.
My new illusion trick “Beeline” will be produced and released first as it is a routine that requires very little spectator interaction to demonstrate. The other routines are much more interactive so I will need to wrangle friends and family to be involved to film them effectively.
SO HERE’S THE PLAN
The time has come for me to structure a solid 30-45 minute routine that I can perform regularly and reliably to build up the match practice I need to move forward in this craft.
In the coming months, I plan to visit as many people as I can (as many as will have me!) to practice my brand new (and first ever!) live card magic / gambling demonstration show. I look forward to finally demonstrating what I have been working on and hearing everyone’s feedback.
During the performances I will take the opportunity to video some demos of my original work and catch people’s reactions. The videos will have much more effect when filmed in front of spectators and will better demonstrate the routines to those who may wish to purchase and perform the tricks themselves.
So … who’s in?
HERE’S ONE I PREPARED EARLIER
Meanwhile, as you wait for my new videos you can check out all of my previous video releases on Penguin Magic.
“Perfect Practice Makes Perfect” is a quote from Richard Turner, one of the best card mechanics in the world. By altering the well known quote from just “Practice” to “Perfect Practice”, he is referring to working on moves and sleights but ensuring that work is focussing on correct techniques and methods. In short, practising how to do something imperfectly will not “make perfect”.
“The only shortcuts are at the butcher shop”
This quote comes from another master of his craft. Tommy Emmanuel, well known as one of the worlds best acoustic guitarists, insists that there is no other way to become great at what you do. Excellence requires constant hard work and dedication in your pursuits.
Not Bad, Not Ready
I have been practicing cards for well over 5 years now. I’ve explored magic, gambling, cheating and even created some of my own effects. I have accumulated a large amount of resources and knowledge about all areas of the subject and have met and consulted with some of the best magicians and card men in the world.
Am I good at this? Yes.
Am I good enough? Not yet.
The method behind magic tricks and gambling demonstrations often requires only minutes to learn. But to be able to perform the sleights effectively and consistently while maintaining the showmanship required for an entertaining performance takes months at minimum. Maybe years.
I once read an article where a magician compared this process to learning a musical instrument. This comparison resonated with me. If you have just started and learned to fumble through one or two basic songs on something new, would you go out and straight away perform to an audience? Even if you can navigate your way pretty confidently and only struggle at one or two parts, are you performance ready? No.
You shouldn’t just practise so you don’t make mistakes – practise so you CAN’T make them.
No retreat, No surrender
I have watched many performances where card masters who have been practicing their whole lives still drop that last Ace in a shuffle, or miss the crimp in a cut. I have personally been in situations where I have practiced cards solidly for months but when asked “Can you show me a trick?“, I just can’t.
This path is filled with multiple challenges. There is of course the physicality required to handle a deck of cards with confidence, but there are mental and social challenges as well. I still wouldn’t feel comfortable asking a stranger to “Pick a card” and I am assuming that no matter when I finally perform, I will never feel fully prepared.
Luckily for me practising cards is like meditation. My breathing and heart rate instantly slow down and my stress levels fade with every cut, spread, fan and shuffle. I thoroughly enjoy this process of learning and that helps me recover from those setbacks I encounter along the way.
The only true way to fail at something is to give up!
Unfortunately, there is only so far you can get having only a mirror or video camera as your audience. There is nothing wrong with practising alone, and I encourage doing this with every trick to ensure the moves become second nature. It is bad etiquette to perform routines that are underprepared as it risks revealing their secrets. It is always best to work on every part of every move, learn the script, become aware of all angles and make it a performance – not just a trick.
Ironically, the work behind magic and cards is designed NOT to be seen in front of spectators. It requires interactivity and a strong command of misdirection. This can only be achieved through working with an unpredictable and often critical audience.
At this stage, I have only dipped my toe into the magic performance world by publishing some of my work on YouTube. I am currently working on and refining a live set that will hopefully see me performing live by 2019.
Unlike music, cards have the advantage of being easy to carry and versatile to practise. I always carry a deck with me and work on moves sitting, standing or even walking. I have portable card mats for table work in cafes, restaurants or aeroplanes.
Unlike music, card practice is not disruptive to those around you. If you have any hesitations, just see it as an alternative to poking a smart phone like everyone else is no doubt doing.
My Regular Routine
Bottom Dealing (with & without sailing)
Strike & Push Off Seconds (with & without sailing)