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Second Deal

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Revision as of 10:20, 10 January 2011 by Philippe billot (Talk | contribs) (Tricks using the second deal)

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Second Deal is a false deal that deals the second card down from the top of the deck while apparently dealing the top.

This sleight was originally created by professional card sharps and was exposed in 1822 in the autobiography of Robert Bailey from Virginia. Bailery Robert Bailey invented a brass dealing box with a hole in the top called a Faro Box, which allowed cards to be slid out one by one in an attempt to prevent such things as the second deal.

One of the earliest known reference (although no explanation was given) appeared in a four page pamphlet in the early 16th century called "Opera Nuoua Done Facilmente Poirai Imparare Piu Giuochi di Memo el Allri Giuochi Piacenolissimi & Genlili Come si Polra Leggendo Uedere el Facilmente Imparare" by G.S. di Carlo da Pavia in Florance (circa 1520).

In English some of the earliest books were "A Manifest Detection of the Most Vile and Detestable Use of Diceplay, and Other Practices Like the Same" by G. W (1552) which includes some card-cheating methods, "A Notable Discovery of Cozenage" by Robert Green (1591) and "The Art of jugling or Ledgerdemaine" by Samuel Rids (1612).

The Second Deal was mentioned briefly in "How Gamblers Win or the Secrets of Advantage Playing" by Gerritt M. Evans (1865), but one of the first advanced description in English appeared in S.W. Erdnase's book The Expert at the Card Table in 1902.

Basic Types

Magicians use two basic types of second dealing procedures, the "Push-off" and "Strike". The push-off, which was described by Erdnase, consists of pushing off two cards from the deck with the dealing thumb snapping the top card back into place allowing the taking hand to take the second card. The strike second deal consist of moving the top card slightly out of the way allowing the dealing hand to 'strike' the second card with its thumb to deal it out from the deck.

A related sleight is the Punch Deal in which some of the cards (usually the high values) are marked with tiny bumps which can be felt by the dealer. Cards can be dealt normally until a "punched" card is felt and then held back using "second deals" until ready to give to the hand of choice.


  • Les Tricheries des grecs dévoilées by Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin (1861), tranlated as Card-Sharping Exposed by Prof. Hoffmann (1882)
  • Sleight of Hand by Edwin T. Sachs (1877)
  • * The Art of Modern Conjuring, by Prof. Henri Garenne (1885)
  • Card Tricks Without Apparatus by Prof. Hoffmann (1892)
  • Sharps and Flats by J. N. Maskelyne (1894)
  • The Expert at the Card Table By S.W. Erdnase (1902)
  • The Modern Conjuror by C. Lang Neil (1903) - contains a form of the side push-off second deal appears.
  • Tricks and Illusions by Will Goldston (1908)
  • ...And a Pack of Cards by Jack Merlin (1927)
  • The Tarbell Course Vol. 2 by Harlan Tarbell (1927,1942)
  • The Phantom of the Card Table by Eddie McGuire (1930/1976) - About Walter Scott, containing one of the earliest descriptions of the strike second deal (called the "hit" second).
  • Ten Card Problems (aka Dai Vernon's $20 Manuscript) by Faucett Ross (1932) - dealing an "automatic" second using a gaff.
  • The Card Expert by Lynn Searles (1938)
  • Lessons In Dishonesty by Laurie Ireland (1938) - The push-off second deal is described
  • Greater Magic by John Northern Hilliard (1938) - Two one-handed second deals are briefly described
  • Expert Card Technique by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue (1940) - the second chapter is devoted to false deals.
  • Card Mastery by Michael MacDougall (1944)
  • Braue on False Card Control by Arthur Buckley (1946)
  • Marlo In Spades by Ed Marlo (1947)
  • Ghostly Seconds by Vynn Boyar (1949)
  • The Magic of Rezvani by Maurice Sardina (Translated by Dariel Fitzkee) (1949)
  • The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay (1950) - A version of the push-off second deal is taught
  • Effective Card Magic by Bill Simon (1952) - reprinted by Dover as Card Magic for Amateurs and Professionals.
  • The Cardician by Ed Mario (1953)
  • The Card Magic of LePaul by Paul LePaul (1959)
  • The Dai Vernon Book of Magic by Lewis Ganson (1960)
  • Seconds, Centers, Bottoms/Revolutionary Card Technique by Ed Mario (1960,2003) - Chapters 8, 9 and 10 of Marlo's Revolutionary Card Technique series were devoted to false deals.
  • Dai Vernon's Further Inner Secrets of Card Magic by Lewis Ganson (1961) - Chapter 8 is devoted to the second deal
  • M.I.N.T. Vol 2 by Ed Mario (1997) - The "Beveled Edge Second Deal" which first appears in New Tops (Aug. 1968).
  • Super Subtle Card Miracles by Frank Garcia (1973)
  • Two Second Deals by Russell Barnhart (1974)
  • Marlo 's Magazine by Ed Marlo (1976 - 1984)
  • Any Second Now by Stephen Minch (1977) - The second book of The Martin Nash Trilogy."
  • The Second Now You See it, Now You Don't by Bill Tarr (1978)
  • The Complete Walton Vol. 1 by Roy Walton (1981)
  • New York Magic Symposium Collection 1 by Richard Kaufman (1982) - Contains the Slydini Second Deal
  • The Complete Works of Derek Dingle by Richard Kaufman (1982)
  • Revelations by Dai Vernon and Faucett Ross (1984)
  • The Vernon Chronicles Vol. 1 by Stephen Minch (1987)
  • The Cardwright by Mike Maxwell (1988) - containing variations by Larry Jennings
  • Darwin Ortiz At the Card Table by Darwin Ortiz (1988)
  • The Punch Letters by Ray Grismer (1988)
  • The Annotated Erdnase by Darwin Ortiz (1991)
  • Modus Operandi: The Card Magic of Jack Carpenter by Stephen Hobbs (1992)
  • Second to None by Simon Lovell (1993)
  • Magic From the Soul by René Lavand (1993)
  • Second to None by Simon Lovell (1993,2001)
  • The Expert's Portfolio Vol. 1 by Jack Carpenter (1994)
  • Roger's Thesaurus by Roger Crosthwaite & Justin Higham (1994)
  • Mysteries of My Life by Richard Kaufman and René Lavand (1998)
  • Drawing Room Deceptions by Guy Hollingworth (1999) - contains a "gag" second deal
  • 21s' Century Card Magic by James Swain (1999)
  • Phantoms of the Card Table by David Britland and Gazzo (2003) - An update of the McGuire manuscript which also documents Walter Scott's life A chapter is devoted to descriptions of seconds, bottoms, peeks and the punch deal.
  • Enchantments by Wesley James (2004)
  • Billion Dollar Bunko by Simon Lovell (2005) - The push-off and strike second deals are both covered very briefly
  • Second thoughts by Jason England (2006)
  • Secrets of an Escamoteur by Harry Riser (2006) - contains a description of the strike second deal used by Charlie Miller.


  • Advanced Card Control Series Vol. 2 by Allan Ackerman (1999)
  • The Cheat (1991/2005) by Richard Turner
  • Cheating at Hold 'Em: The Essetials by David Malek (2005)
  • Darwin Ortiz on Card Cheating (2000)
  • Gambling Protection Series by Steve Forte (1987) - Not structured as teaching tapes, but highly praised.
  • Poker Cheats Exposed by Sal Piacente (2006)
  • Revelations Vol. 12 by Dai Vernon (1982)

Tricks using the second deal