A treatise on the science and art of the stock, cull, odd-number, and cull-stock shuffles. Presenting the Braue system, bringing these useful stratagems within the reach of every performer, together with a full description of a number of brilliant card feats made possible by this amazingly simple system.
When Hugard and Braue's Miracle Methods made its appearance some six months ago, we had no warning that it would be followed so promptly by Miracle Methods No.2, so that the publication of this latest Hugard-Braue collaboration comes in the nature of a pleasant surprise. The first of these two books covered a single device in the field of card conjuring, the "stripper deck"; the second deals with another specialized section of the same field, the "false shuffle."
Messrs. Hugard and Braue have done an excellent job of "presenting the Braue system of cull, stock, odd-number and cull-stock shuffling, bringing these useful stratagems within the reach of every performer" - to quote from a statement of their purpose which appears on the title-page. In non-technical language, which happily is the kind the authors employ in giving their instructions, they show the reader how to locate and control cards by means of what is, to all intents and purposes, a genuine overhand shuffle. The principle used is an adaptation of sleights which have long been employed by cardsharpers, and which were described at length in Erdnase's The Expert at the Card Table, and more recently in Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique. But Mr. Braue has here introduced some genuine improvements which make the execution of these sleights beautifully simple, easy to learn, and completely deceptive.
By means of the Braue system, (1) one or more cards may be placed "in such positions that they will fall to any desired hand in the subsequent deal"; (2) "the first two, or the first three, cards can be placed at any odd numbers in the deck that may be required"; (3) "certain desired cards, whose numerical position in the pack is known, are brought together to the top of the pack to be afterwards disposed of as may be desired"; and (4) cards may be "culled and stocked" (that is, moved from positions they occupy and distributed to new positions) in one operation.
The usefulness of this system of shuffling will be apparent to all who are versed in card magic. In its simplest form, it may be employed for securing and controlling selected cards in those tricks (and their name is legion) which consist of mysteriously "revealing" chosen cards that have been returned to the pack and seemingly are hopelessly lost through shuffling. This particular operation is so easy to learn, and so thoroughly convincing, that it may be strongly recommended to the beginner for use in the performance of a host of first-class tricks before (and even after) he has mastered the "pass" and "palm," for which it provides a very satisfactory substitute in a great many instances.
But the authors present, also, twelve complete, effective tricks in which the utility of the Braue system is made clear. Five are demonstrations of gamblers' methods, showing how the dealer may be especially generous to himself while apparently shuffling and dealing and quite fairly. The seven other tricks are varied in nature, and include a book test, a mindreading feat, a trick in which selected cards appear at positions in the pack chosen by spectators, another in which cards that are merely "thought of" are caused to "fly" from the deck into the performer's pocket, and so on. These tricks are all to the good; in several of them the effect is novel, and in all cases they should prove to be not only baffling but highly entertaining. To be sure, they are better suited to small than to large audiences, but this is equally true of nearly all card tricks.
Miracle Methods No.2 is a pamphlet of 24 pages, exceptionally well printed, and bound in soft boards. Whenever the indefatigable Jean Hugard and Fred Braue can produce another book as good as this, they may be sure that lovers of magic will be delighted to see a further addition to the Miracle Methods series.