Hello my friend!
Today we wanted to talk about an incredibly simple technique that, if executed flawlessly, will utterly bamboozle even the most observant members of your audience.
First things first, allow me to tell you a parable about two idiots (me and my cousin Jacob) who decided to take on the Caroline Reaper…
As you can see in the video, there we were—shivering, sweating, and praying we wouldn’t throw up on the bathroom floor.
We’d just eaten the world’s hottest (and second hottest) chilli pepper, and we were seriously regretting our choices.
Why did we do it?
We’d just shot a video trying to fool each other with different types of false shuffles.
Each time we were fooled, we had to eat a chilli pepper—getting gradually hotter and hotter until we came face to face with the Carolina Reaper, the world’s hottest chilli pepper (over 200 times hotter than the hottest jalapeno)!
We ended the video by announcing the release of our latest project, a false shuffle called ‘The Dolphin Shuffle.’
The next day, as we stumbled out of bed after spending the majority of the night on the bathroom floor, we were both thinking the same thing:
In this post we’ve made a list of our 3 favourite false shuffles that we regard as…
- The most powerful ✔️
- The most deceptive ✔️
- The most versatile ✔️
What are the best false shuffles?
- The Dolphin Shuffle
- The Vertical Zarrow Shuffle
- The Tabled Charlier Shuffle
Number 3 Pick: The Charlier Shuffle
The Charlier shuffle is a very sneaky way to make it look like you’re mixing the cards in your hands, when of course you’re doing anything but that.
The false shuffle appears to be a one-handed Charlier Cut but actually retains the order of the cards, giving the illusion of shuffling without altering the deck’s sequence.
The tabled Charlier shuffle…
We’ve been working on a method to perform this shuffle using a table rather than your hands, and we think it looks even better than the usual method.
This shuffle is, admittedly, far less refined than the previous two—but we think you’ll still find it fascinating.
Number 2 Pick: The Zarrow Shuffle
This shuffle is one of the most popular tabled false shuffles in magic, and for good reason.
The Zarrow shuffle is a sleight of hand manoeuvre that mimics a standard riffle shuffle while actually maintaining the deck in its original sequence.
However, to accomplish this shuffle you need to push the cards together in a rush and use your hands to help cover the sleight that makes it all possible.
The Vertical Zarrow introduces a way to slow down the shuffle and push the cards together slowly and without covering the deck with your hands.
The Vertical Zarrow…
Benji first stumbled on this idea while he was living in Macedonia nearly two years ago, but we haven’t put it out there until now.
Number 1 Pick: The Dolphin Shuffle
What is the Dolphin Shuffle? Why this shuffle is the most natural-looking false shuffle we’ve ever seen
The Dolphin Shuffle is an overhand style false shuffle that looks like this…
Actually, let’s play a game…
Here’s another video:
One of the above shuffles is false, and one is real.
Here’s what professional magician and card counter Steven Bridges said when we asked him to figure out which is which…
“I feel like I’m going to need to watch them both 50 times to get ANY idea which is the real one. I’m gonna go with the first one but really that’s a guess. They’re both so convincing, and the card flying out by ‘accident’ is such a great convincer. With false shuffles, if they look a bit haphazard and messy and little mistakes happen…that’s great because it looks like you don’t have control over the cards, or at least you’re not handling the cards in a careful or precise way, which is exactly what you need with a false shuffle. Great stuff, very very fooling!”
Now, we’ll let you in on a secret—the false shuffle is actually the first video.
But as our friend and popular magic YouTuber The Card Mechanic said, the difference is “completely imperceptible.”
The origin of the Dolphin Shuffle—and why it might not be right for you
We started by asking ourselves the following question:
“When we shuffle cards for real, what does it ACTUALLY look like?”
We sat down and spent a while just giving the cards a real overhand shuffle in the way we naturally would if someone handed us a deck of cards.
See, we think that the best type of false shuffle for you is the one that looks the MOST like the way you actually shuffle cards—because we think your sleights should look as similar to the ‘real thing’ as possible.
So if you rarely use the overhand shuffle, the Dolphin Shuffle might not be right for you.
(however, you will likely benefit from the two bonus shuffles you’ll get with this purchase—the vertical Zarrow and tabled Charlier.)
Personally, we almost always use an overhand shuffle, as we think it’s the most casual and natural-looking way to mix the cards—and unlike tabled shuffles, doesn’t give away our card-handling ability to the audience.
Here’s what our natural overhand shuffle looks like:
We’re willing to bet that this is also the ‘go to’ casual mode of shufflng for the vast majority of people (including many magicians.)
Once we had figured out exactly how we actually shuffle cards, we decided to try to invent a false shuffle that almost exactly mirrored that action.
The result is the Dolphin Shuffle.
We later also devised a simple method to create the chaotic image of a single card dropping from the deck while you shuffle.
This shuffle is:
- Easy (you should be able to pick this up within 10-15 minutes)
- Visually imperceptible (even when you know how it’s done, it’s incredibly hard to spot)
- Casual (carefully crafted to mimic the way people actually shuffle cards)
- Chaotic (the subtlety of a card dropping from the deck sells this shuffle HARD)
But…what is the best false shuffle?
In card magic, we think it’s essential that your sleights and moves look natural.
But the truth is, what looks natural in OUR hands might not look natural in YOUR hands.
What’s ‘natural’ depends on your persona, performance style, and the unique way you handle cards.
So when it comes to choosing a false shuffle, here’s a little test we recommend running on yourself…
1: Pick up the cards.
2: Give them a genuine shuffle.
What did you do at step 2?
Did you riffle shuffle the cards in your hands? Did you overhand shuffle? Did you give the cards a neat tabled shuffle?
Did you throw the cards on the floor and mix them up with your feet?
Whatever the answer, we’d argue that the best false shuffle for you is the one that looks the MOST like whatever you did during step 2.
That’s because we think your sleights should like as similar to the ‘real thing’ as possible.
If you shuffle the cards a certain way every other time you handle cards, and then suddenly switch styles in order to pull off your false shuffle…we feel that’s unnatural and a little suspicious.
So look for the false shuffle that most closely mimics your natural style, and we think you’ll be set.
If you’d like a super guide to learning all about false shuffles then I’d highly recommend you check out this excellent post by Ambitious With Cards…
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