I was in a meeting late last week, a virtual meeting over Zoom, and the only thing I could think of was wanting to practice an up-the-ladder false cut. My work desk has a close-up pad on it and I'm usually practicing with a deck during all my meetings anyways, but this was a specific urge to practice something that I don't typically use.
I have only practiced one variation of these cuts and it's from Card College, Vol. 2, suitably named Up the Ladder. I can do this one fluidly, without thinking, and it looks pretty decent... in my opinion. I've seen others on various YouTube channels (Alex Pandrea, Xavior Spade, and a few others), and also learned it during Alex Pandrea's The Ultimate Card Magic Course. However, only knowing the one I wanted something more. Something different. And then I remembered that a few years ago, I read a description of a version of this cut in Principia by Harapan Ong. With so many variations to choose from, that's the one my mind was pulling towards.
My camera was off, so I went over to the bookshelf and pulled out the big orange book, looked at the Table of Contents and found a section called Routines with a Tabled False Cut. That sounded pretty spot-on, so flipping to it I was happily looking at a 3-page walkthrough and several very clear images on how to do this running cut variation. It took me the remainder of that meeting and the whole of the next to be able to be able to do a riffle shuffle followed by this running cut smoothly, without looking at the deck during the process too. Nice!
Why bring all of this up? I'm glad you asked! There are two different reasons I want to talk about, all because of this sleight:
- Is it okay for a false shuffle, or cut, to appear "suspicious"?
- If you have a magic book that is at a skill level beyond your own, how do you know when you're ready for it?
These are fairly open-ended topics, but I have opinions and ideas for both. Stay tuned for the next two parts in this series where I will dive into the topics more in-depth.
If you have opinions on either topic, let me know what you think =]