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Review: Bammo Ten Card Deal Dossier, Genii Magazine



Well, here it is at last. Bob Farmer’s bulging file on the Ten Card Poker Deal. At some time or other every card man has tried this trick. I remember finding it in Bruce Elliott’s Magic: 100 New Tricks. Later I discovered that it was one of the many tricks that Elliott had taken from his Phoenix magazine and used in his books for the public. I saw Harry Lorayne perform it with his usual gusto and Basil Horwitz turn it into a mental miracle. I admired the way Woody Aragon took something that appealed to poker players and made it play to any audience. Recently interest was piqued when Ricky Jay played poker with Jimmy Kimmel on The Tonight Show and magicians asked, as they always do, ‘Where can I find that?’ The answer is, of course, in The Bammo Ten Card Deal Dossier.

The premise of the Ten Card Deal is simple. Ten cards are shown and the spectator invited to choose five of them to make a poker hand. The magician takes the other five. Although the spectator is given all kinds of advantages by choosing first or looking at the faces of the cards, he always loses the game. The origin of what looks like a proposition bet remains a little hazy. Dai Vernon said he learned it from a Mexican gambler. This information then leaked into the wider magic community via Arthur Buckley (Card Control) and Bruce Elliott’s Phoenix magazine. While gambling literature seems remarkably silent on the issue magicians have published dozens if not hundreds of variations. Over time the principle has been varied and new strategies added. The goal remains the same, to construct a simple to understand routine in which against all odds the performer beats the spectator at poker.

Bob Farmer has collected the best of them, perhaps almost all of them, together in this volume. The quality of contributors is amazing: Alan Ackerman, Max Maven, Larry Becker, Roy Walton, Paul Wilson, Peter Duffie, Nick Trost, Karl Fulves, Bob Neale, Darwin Ortiz, Paul Curry, over one-hundred and fifty contributors in all. Also included are the routines I mentioned earlier by Harry Lorayne, Basil Horwitz and Woody Aragon. And yes, that routine Ricky Jay used on television, a version of Jon Racherbaumer’s excellent (Losing) End Poker.

Perhaps it is the simplicity of the method that has made The Ten Card Deal so popular among magicians. From the set of ten cards you only have to control the position of one card, termed the Jonah Card. Whichever hand gets the Jonah Card will lose. Much thought has been put into finding ways of giving the spectator an apparently free choice of cards but always making sure the Jonah Card finds its way into his hand. There are methods and ruses here so subtle that even knowing the principle won’t avoid you losing. Most of the handlings are practically self-working.

Another amazing trait of The Ten Card Poker Deal is that you can take your favourite strategies and put them together to create your own routine. Lots of people perform this trick but they nearly always manage to give it their own individual touch. The Ten Card Poker Deal is a trick you can easily make your own. There are over two-hundred and fifty ideas and routines detailed here. Plenty to choose from. Lots to explore and experiment with.

You are spoiled for choice in this 400 page encyclopaedia, not only with variations of The Ten Card Deal but also other related gambling routines which follow the theme of a card game in which the spectator makes choices but the magician always wins. The real tragedy is that ultimately only one of these items will find its way into your repertoire. But finding that item in this incredible collection is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

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