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Erdnase, S.W.: The Expert at the Card Table
1902 Original published by Frederick J. Drake; many republications exist
Hardcover & Softcover editions, approx. 218 pages
ISBN: 0486285979 (Dover Edition)

                Expert at the Card Table - Drake Ed
Image courtesy eBay seller AtlantisMagic
The Expert at the Card Table
Image courtesy eBay seller Sorcar-TWGM

Comments (Hunter Higgins): This book is considered by many to be the most important work in the literature regarding sleight of hand with cards. Illustrated by Marshall D. Smith. Available as an e-Book from

From Originally entitled Artifice Ruse and Subterfuge at the Card Table, is probably the most cited and referenced book about card gambling moves - a classic in the history of magic literature. A must read for any card magician or aspiring gambling expert and an indespensable reference book. Until today it is not known who the real author was. Several theories are circulated but none can prove its correctness beyond a shadow of a doubt. See for example the 1999 December issue of Magic (page 67) for more details. Was it E. S. Andrews or W. E. Sanders? Nobody knows, and most likely nobody will ever know. This book was rated one of the ten basic books for a working library of conjuring by H. Adrian Smith, historian, collector and owner of the largest private magic library in his time.


9 Introduction

11 Card-Table Artifice

13 Professional Secrets
14 Hold Outs
15 Prepared Cards
18 Confederacy
20 Two Methods of Shuffling
21 Primary Accomplishments
21 Possibilities of the Blind
22 Uniformity of Action
22 Deportment
23 Display of Ability
23 Greatest Single Accomplishment
24 Effect of Suspicion
24 Acquiring the Art
25 Importance of Details

25 Technical Terms: Definitions of

28 Erdnase System of Blind Shuffles
29 Position for Shuffle
30 I. To Retain Top Stock
31 II. To Retain Top Stock and Shuffle Whole Deck
32 III. To Retain Bottom Stock and Shuffle Whole Stock

33 Erdnase System of Blind Riffles and Cuts
34 I. To Retain Top Stock
36 II. To Retain Bottom Stock

39 Blind Cuts
39 I. To Retain Bottom Stock. Top Loosing One Card
40 II.To Retain Complete Stock
41 III. To Retain Top Stock
42 IV. To Retain Bottom Stock
44 V. Combination Riffle and Cuts

44 Fancy Blind Cuts
44 I. To Retain Complete Stock
45 II. To Retain Complete Stock
46 One Handed Fancy True Cut

48 To Indicate the Location for the Cut
48 I. By Crimp
50 II. By Jog
11 III. By Crimp
51 IV. By Jog

52 Bottom Dealing
56 Top and Bottom Dealing. One Hand

58 Second Dealing
60 Ordinary Methods of Stocking, Locating and Securing
65 Stock Shuffle
68 Erdnase System of Stock Shuffling
69 Two Card Stock
72 Three Card Stock
72 Four Card Stock
74 Five Card Stock
74 Twelve Card Stock
76 Euchre Stock
76 Euchre Stock

78 Erndase System of Cull Shuffling
79 To Cull Two Cards
79 To Cull Three Cards
80 To Cull Four Cards
81 To Cull Nine Cards

83 Erdnase System of Palming
83 Top Palm, First Method
85 Top Palm, Second Method
86 Bottom Palm, First Method
88 Bottom Palm Second Method
90 Bottom Palm When Cards are Riffled

93 To Maintain the Bottom Card While Dealing

94 To Hold the Location of the Cut While Dealing

95 Shifts
97 Two-Handed Shift
99 Erdnase Shift, One Hand
102 Erdnase Shift, Two Hands

103 To Ascertain the Top Cards While Riffing and Reserve Them at the Bottom
104 Mode of Holding the Hand
106 Skinning the Hand

109 The Player Without an Ally
109 Dealing Without The Cut
110 Replacing the Cut as Before
110 Holding Out for the Cut
111 Shifting the Cut
112 Dealing Too Many
113 Copping for the Cut
113 Replacing Palm when Cutting
116 The Short Deck

117 Three Card Monte
122 Mexican Monte

127 Legerdemain

128 Shifts
128 Single-Handed Shifts
130 The Longitudinal Shift
132 The Open Shift
134 The S.W.E. Shift
137 The Diagonal Palm Shift

141 The Blind Shuffle for Securing Selected Card

142 Forcing

144 Palming
145 The Back Palm

147 Changes
147 The Top Change
148 The Bottom Change
149 The Palm Change
150 The Double Palm Change

151 Transformations: Two Hands
151 First Method
152 Second Method
153 Third Method
153 Fourth Method
154 Fifth Method
154 Sixth Method

156 Transformations: One Hand
156 First Method
158 Second Method

159 Blind Shuffles Retaining Entire Order
159 First Method
161 Second Method
163 Third Method
164 Fourth Method
165 Fifth Method

165 Methods for Determining a Card Thought Of
166 A. By The Riffle
166 B. By Springing Flourish
167 C. By the Cut
167 D. By the Gaze

168 To Get Sight of Selected Card

168 The Slide

169 Favorite Sleights for Terminating Tricks
169 Catching Two Cards at Finger-ends
169 Leaving Selected Card in Hand of Spectator
170 The Revolution
170 Cards Rising from the Hand

170 Card Tricks

171 Explanatory
172 The Exclusive Coterie
174 The Divining Rod
177 The Invisible Flight
179 The Preaarranged Deck
185 The Traveling Cards
188 The Row Of Ten Cards
191 The Acrobatic Jacks
194 A Mind Reading Trick
196 Power Of Concentrated Thought
197 The Acme Of Control
198 The Card And Handkerchief
200 The Top And Bottom Production
202 The Three Aces
204 The Card And Hat

206 Critical Comments
206 Editorial Note
207 Introduction
208 The Erdnase Shift (One Hand)
211 The Erdnase Shift (Two Hands)
211 The Erdnase "Longitudinal" Shift
213 The S. W. E. Shift
213 The Erdnase "Open" Shift
215 The Erdnase "Top Palm"
217 The Erdnase "Bottom Palm"