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PHOTOGRAPHS BY

JAN CODDINGTON FRAME

COVER ART BY

VINNY DEPONTO

LAYOUT & DESIGN BY

ANDI GLADWIN

WRITTEN BY

TOM FRAME


CONTENTS

Foreword (Jason England) ..................................................................7

Introduction ........................................................................................9

TRANSFORMATIONS

Peek Performance (Michael Weber) ....................................................15

Hold ‘Em Seductively (Chris Westfall) ................................................20

Hold ‘Em Switch ‘Em (Bobby Hasbun) .............................................26

Betrayed (Joshua Jay)..........................................................................29

Texas Hang ‘Em (Ashford) .................................................................33

Radical Hold ‘Em (Meir Yedid) ..........................................................37

Lo and Behold ‘Em (J.K. Hartman) ...................................................42

Texas Hold ‘Em Dream (Don England) .............................................45

Last Two Hold ‘Em (Paul Tuohy) .......................................................49

Heavenly Hold ‘Em (Gene Castillon) .................................................54

PREDICTIONS

Psi-Poker (Ben Harris) ........................................................................63

No Limit (Tom Frame) ......................................................................69

Texas Fool ‘Em (Lee Earle and Larry Becker) ......................................79

One of the Better Losers (John Bannon) ............................................93

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 5


MEMORIZED DECK APPLICATIONS

What Are You Holding? (Norman Beck) ............................................99

Slugged (John B. Born) ......................................................................102

Hang ‘Em Hold ‘Em (Sterling Dare) ..................................................109

Well Hung Hold ‘Em (Tom Frame) ...................................................114

CARD ARTIFICE

Flop Foresight (Sal Piacente) ..............................................................123

Nine Card Hold ‘Em (Bob Farmer) ....................................................126

Hold-Up (Aaron Shields) ...................................................................131

Burn ‘Em Up (Paul Wilson) ...............................................................135

Pocket Rockets (John Bannon) ...........................................................138

Tantalizing Texas Hokum (Paul Tuohy) ..............................................142

Lo and Controlled ‘Em (J.K. Hartman) .............................................145

Hold ‘Em Stack (Steve Ehlers) ............................................................149

American Airlines (Gianfranco Preverino) ..........................................154

Kansas City Hold ‘Em Shuffle (Stu Lewis) .........................................157

Kansas City Hold ‘Em (Stu Lewis) .....................................................160

Choose the Winner (Gianfranco Preverino) ........................................164

Kansas City Hold ‘Em 2 (Stu Lewis) ..................................................167

Duke ‘Em Out (Paul Wilson) .............................................................171

Best…Hand…Ever! (Jay Jayaraman) ..................................................175

Best…Hand…Evermore! (Jason England) ..........................................179

APPENDIX

Creative Timeline ................................................................................185

Bibliography ........................................................................................188

A Brief History of Poker and Hold ‘Em (Jason England) ....................189

Hole Card Nicknames .........................................................................194

Quotes of Note ...................................................................................196

Page 6

Hold ‘Em Magic


FOREWORD

Jason England

When I first read of Tom Frame’s idea to write

a card magic book consisting entirely of effects

with a hold ‘em poker theme, my first thought

was, “Good luck. You’re going to need it.”

You see, while I enjoy many great traditional

poker effects, I have found very few hold ‘em

effects worth performing. To be sure, I have

known of and enjoyed one or two great hold ‘em

effects in the past several years, some published

and at least one unpublished. But I would

have bet that the number of really worthwhile

hold ‘em effects could be counted easily on the

fingers of one hand.

I would have lost that bet.

The effects in this book are excellent. Some, in fact, are downright brilliant! Tom

has done a great job of extracting the very best hold ‘em effects from some of the

finest magicians in the world. (Paul Wilson also contributed two items.)

Everything from self-working effects to intensive false shuffles and false deals can

be found within these pages. There is truly something for everyone here.

Tom has taken a bold idea that was nothing more than a “one-out long shot”

and he has turned it into the stone cold nuts. I think he has played it just right

all the way. Excellent job Mr. Frame.

Jason England

Las Vegas - 2011

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 7


INTRODUCTION

Tom Frame

Magic inspires life. Life inspires hold ‘em. Hold ‘em inspires magic. To some

degree, those words describe my life story and the story of this book. Allow me

to explain.

MAGIC INSPIRES LIFE.

At the time of this writing, I am fifty-one years old. I’m a card short of a full

deck, in at least one sense of the term. For the past thirty-seven years, magic—

particularly card magic—has been the primary passion of my life. I love magic

and I always will.

Early in my magical education, I learned that the creation of a magical

experience relies more upon psychological mechanisms than it does upon the

use of gimmicks or sleight of hand. Magic occurs in the participant’s mind, not

in the performer’s hands.

That insight sparked my interest in psychology. My fascination with the mind and

with interpersonal relationships ultimately led me to become a psychotherapist.

LIFE INSPIRES HOLD ‘EM.

On March 30 th , 2003 I tuned in to the premiere episode of the World Poker Tour,

with very low expectations. By the end of that broadcast, I actually understood

how Texas hold ‘em was played. Much to my surprise, I liked the game. As each

month passed, my enthusiasm grew.

And then it happened. In May 2003, the aptly named Chris Moneymaker,

playing in his first live tournament, won the World Series of Poker main event.

It was an Everyman’s Cinderella story. Holy high-heeled Hoover! I fell in love

with hold ‘em!

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 9


HOLD ‘EM INSPIRES MAGIC.

In the last decade, hold ‘em has crossed into the mainstream and professional

poker players have become celebrities. This wondrous game is now a huge

global phenomenon.

I never dreamed that any other subject would rival my love of magic. So it

shocks me to admit that after only eight years of play, my passion for hold ‘em

now equals my passion for magic. I initially felt guilty about feeling this way. I

truly felt like I was cheating on magic!

So I did therapy on myself and resolved that issue. My two passions are now able

to peacefully coexist within me. In fact, I discovered that they get along quite

well. They are similar in several ways.

Both magic and hold ‘em involve control. You must control all aspects of your

performance; effect, method, technique, character, patter, presentation, audience

interaction and management—the works.

Taking control is also a key element of playing winning hold ‘em. The best

players set the pace of the game and gain an edge by forcing opponents to make

difficult decisions.

The master magician and the master hold ‘em player often exert control without

appearing to be in control.

Both subjects require keen observational skills, a good memory and the ability

to think on your feet. These attributes allow you to constantly monitor your

performance and your play and to immediately make whatever adjustments are

necessary to optimize the outcome.

In January 2011, I began thinking about ways to combine my passions. Could

my merry pasteboard ménage a trois possibly bear offspring of interest?

I decided to write what I hoped would become the definitive book on an

important, emerging area of card magic. I notified kindred card conjurors of my

quest to record all existing hold ‘em material.

Page 10

Hold ‘Em Magic


The project was a semi-bluff. I didn’t

expect much to come of it, since I

knew of only a few hold ‘em effects.

Fortunately, many talented magicians

raised my bluff with thirty more

effects, which have become Hold ‘Em

Magic. You are now in possession of

the largest collection of hold ‘em card

magic ever assembled between two

covers.

You’ll find thirty-four effects, twenty

of which are appearing in print for

the first time. I’m not suggesting that

I’ve recorded every single hold ‘em

effect ever created. I have no way to

verify that claim. But I feel confident

that I’ve captured most of them.

At the back of the book, I have included a poker section. If you’re going to

perform hold ‘em magic, you need to know what you’re talking about. Jason

England describes the fascinating history of hold ‘em. I encourage you to

use this information and the other material to color your presentations with

authentic details.

It’s a rare treat to witness the genesis and blossoming of a new sub-genre of

card magic. I am surprised and delighted that the thing I feared would seduce

me away from magic - hold ‘em – has become my inspiration within magic. I

sincerely hope that this material inspires you.

Shuffle up and deal!

Tom Frame

San Francisco - 2011

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 11


HOLD ‘EM

SEDUCTIVELY

Chris Westfall

Chris changed Paul Harris’s “Seductive Switch” from Close-Up Seductions (1984)

from a non-visual switch into a visual transformation. He then applied it to this tasty

piece of hold ‘em eye candy.

EFFECT: The performer recounts a heads-up hold ‘em game in which he

improved his hand by sneaking a folded Ace of Spades into his hole cards. He

displays the face-up Ace of Clubs and Ten of Hearts, with the folded Ace of

Spades beneath them. Instantly, the Ace of Spades and Ten of Hearts visually

switch, creases and all.

SETUP: Place the Ace of Spades face outward in your right front pants pocket.

PRESENTATION: Spread through the deck and remove the Ten of Hearts and

the Ace of Clubs. Table them face down in front of you with the Ten of top.

These are your hole cards.

Remove the Queen of Clubs, Queen of Spades and the Ace of Hearts and table

them in a face-down, overlapping row. This is the flop.

“People always ask me if I cheat at

cards, and the answer is, of course I do.

Once I was playing a game of hold ‘em

and the fl op delivered a pair of Queens

and an Ace.”

Turn the flop and your hole cards face

up. (Photo 8)

8

“I looked down at my hand and noticed

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Hold ‘Em Magic


that I had the Ace of Clubs and the Ten of Hearts. My opponent went all-in, so I had

to assume he was holding a Queen.”

Turn your hole cards face down.

“Of course, he didn’t know that, a few hands earlier, I snuck into my pocket...”

With your right hand, remove the Ace from your pocket.

“…the Ace of Spades.

“Now, to get pocket Aces, I have to sneak the Ace of Spades into my hand and sneak

the Ten of Hearts out, without anybody noticing.”

Demonstrate some horrific techniques for palming the Ace in your right hand.

Execute a classic palm with your fingers spread so that the card can be seen.

Execute a longitudinal palm in which half of the card is seen sticking out of the

side of your hand, etc.

“I know some guys can hide cards behind their hands, but obviously I know nothing

about that. And to be honest, I think switching them like this wouldn’t fool a blind man.”

With your left hand, pick up your top hole card, the Ten of Hearts. Place the

Ace of Spades face down on top of your other hole card, the Ace of Clubs.

Use the face-down Ten to scoop the two black Aces into your right hand, leaving

you holding all three cards.

Hold the cards with their faces toward

you and rearrange them a few times,

ending with the Ten of Hearts on top

and the Ace of Spades in the middle.

“So this is how I did it.”

Take the three cards face down into

left-hand dealing grip. Execute a

double turnover, displaying the Ace

of Spades.

9

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 21


10 11

12 13

The double lift was described in Richard Neve’s The Merry Companion (1716).

Turn the double card face down and grab the top card with your right hand by

its inner edge, fingers on the back, thumb on the face. (Photo 9)

Drop your left-hand cards onto the table face down. These are apparently the

Ace of Clubs and the Ten of Hearts.

Re-grip the purported Ace of Spades (actually the Ten of Hearts) by its lower

long edge between your thumb and first and second fingers. (Photo 10)

“I went to the bathroom and folded the Ace once…”

Your right thumb and fingers fold the Ten toward you until it is folded in half

lengthwise. (Photo 11)

While creasing the fold between your fingers, your right thumb folds the lower

right corner of the Ten upward. (Photo 12)

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Hold ‘Em Magic


“…and folded it twice…”

Your left fingers fold the left half of the card away from you, folding the card

into quarters. Firmly crease the folds. The upwardly folded flap is still facing

you. (Photo 13)

Your right hand takes the card, gripping it by its right edges between your thumb

and fingertips.

“... so that it would be easier to conceal in my hand.”

Use your right thumb to pull the card into your palm. Display the back of

your claw-like right hand to the crowd as you demonstrate your poor palming

technique. (Photo 14)

Use your right thumb to push the card back into view at your right fingertips.

The flap is still toward you.

Transfer the card to your left fingertips and use your left thumb to hold the flap

in place. (Photo 15)

“Now, I usually do this next part face down and sneaky.’’

Your right hand picks up your hole cards, turning their faces toward you. In a

continuing motion, bring the folded card toward your hole cards and apparently

place it behind them.

14 15

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 23


16 17

18 19

In reality, you slide the upper left corner of the Ace of Spades under the folded

corner of the Ten. (Photo 16)

Once the cards are properly aligned, use your left thumb to cover the line.

(Photo 17)

“But for demonstration purposes, I’ll do it all face up.”

Tilt the face of the packet toward the crowd. They will see that you’re holding

the face-up Ace of Clubs and Ten of Hearts, with the folded Ace of Spades

beneath them. (Photo 18)

“I have to sneak the folded Ace of Spades in and the Ten of Hearts out, without

anybody noticing. But, I also have to iron the creases out of the Ace of Spades and fold

the Ten of Hearts so that I can hide it back in my hand. This is how fast it happens.”

Grip your hole cards with your right hand, thumb on top and fingers beneath.

(Photo 19)

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Hold ‘Em Magic


Your right hand now pulls up slightly on your hole cards as your left hand

simultaneously executes a wrist kill. (Photo 20)

The startling effect is that the Ten of Hearts and the Ace of Spades have visually

switched places, folds and all.

Drop the Aces face up on the table near the flop. (Photo 21)

“My pair of Aces gives me the winning hand. A full house, Aces over Queens.”

Use both hands to unfold the Ten of Hearts. Once it’s unfolded, your right

fingers hide the flap crease as you display the card to the crowd.

“And this of course is the Ten of Hearts, which I sneak back into my pocket.”

Fold the Ten into quarters, and openly place it into your right pants pocket.

20 21

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 25


HOLD ‘EM

SWITCH ‘EM

Bobby Hasbun

Bobby combined the classic ruse of pseudo mates with a transposition effect and then

dressed it in spiffy hold ‘em attire.

EFFECT: The worst hole cards in hold ‘em visually transform into the best

hole cards.

SETUP: Place the Seven of Spades and the Two of Clubs face to face on top of

the face-down deck, with the Two uppermost.

PRESENTATION: Talk about how Seven-Deuce off-suit is the worst opening

hand in hold ‘em. Spread through the deck and remove the Seven of Clubs and

the Two of Spades.

You don’t want to give your participant the opportunity to remember the precise

identities of the cards. So, briefly display their faces, turn them face down and

table them near your participant.

State that the best opening hand is a pair of Aces, also known as pocket rockets

and weapons of mass destruction.

Spread through the deck, remove the Ace of Diamonds and the Ace of Hearts

and table them face up.

Describe how a card cheat friend of yours blew your mind by demonstrating

how he could invisibly switch the worst hand for the best hand.

Flip the deck face down and catch a break beneath the face-to-face cards.

Place the Aces face up on top of the deck. Rest your left thumb on the face of

the uppermost Ace, say the Ace of Hearts.

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Hold ‘Em Magic


22 23

With your right hand, in end grip, slip the three cards above the break (and

below the Ace of Hearts), as one, off of the deck. (Photo 22)

As you remove the triple card, maintain a left pinkie break beneath the Ace of

Hearts. (Photo 23)

This triple card consists of the face-up Ace of Diamonds, the face-down Two of

Clubs and the face-up Seven of Spades.

Turn the triple card face down and place it on top of the Ace of Hearts. You are

apparently placing the Aces face to face.

Lift off the top two cards of the deck while maintaining your pinkie break

beneath the face-to-face Aces. Flash the underside of the pair of cards and then

table them.

Retrieve the Seven of Clubs and the Two of Spades and place them face up on

top of the deck, with the Two uppermost.

The following double color change

was described in Jack Merlin’s

“Rubbing Off a Spot and Showing

Where It Goes” in ... And a Pack of

Cards (1927). Rest your left thumb

on the face of the Two. With your

right hand, in end grip, slip the

three cards above the break (and

below the Two), as one, off of the

deck. (Photo 24)

24

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 27


25 26

27 28

Alternatively, you can grip the triple card between your right thumb at the inner

right corner and your right second finger at the outer left corner. After you slip

the triple card off of the deck, this grip allows you to use your right index finger

to spin it on its diagonal axis. This flashier handling allows you to emphasize the

apparent singularity of the triple card. (Photo 25)

Place the triple card face down on the deck, ostensibly positioning the Seven and

Two face to face. (Photo 26)

Slide the top card toward you, revealing that the Two has transformed into the

Ace of Diamonds. Turn over the top card to reveal that it has transformed into

the Ace of Hearts. (Photos 27 and 28)

Ask your participant to turn over the tabled hole cards to reveal the Seven-Deuce

off-suit.

Remark that you still can’t figure out how he did it.

Page 28

Hold ‘Em Magic


BETRAYED

Joshua Jay

In 2008, Josh was hired to perform at a hold ‘em event. He thought that he should

learn a few hold ‘em effects, but none were readily available. Yet. Out of necessity, he

created this clever effect, which he still performs whenever anyone mentions hold ‘em.

I rescued it from its anonymous existence by giving it a name.

EFFECT: The performer demonstrates how a cheater can ensure that his secret

partner receives pocket Aces. He deals two Aces to a participant and two Aces

to himself. When the flop is dealt, it

contains three Aces. The turn and the

river deliver the Queen and King of

Spades. The performer turns his hole

cards face up, revealing that he has

made a royal flush in spades, doublecrossing

his partner.

SETUP: From the top of the facedown

deck: Ten of Spades, x, Jack

of Spades, x, x, Queen of Spades, x,

King of Spades. The royal flush cards

can be in any order. The cards can

be prearranged or culled on the fly.

(Photo 29)

29

PRESENTATION: “I’ll show you one of the latest hustles that cheaters are using in

games of hold ‘em. I assume that you know the rules.”

In this effect, an understanding of the game is critical. So make sure that the

participants know the rules.

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 29


30

As you talk, spread the cards face

up and up-jog the four Aces as you

come to them. While doing so,

secretly in-jog the King of Spades

near the rear of the spread. Close the

spread. (Photo 30)

The in-jog is described in Erdnase’s

The Expert at the Card Table (1902).

Turn the deck face down and strip out the Aces. Replace them face up on top of

the deck, taking care not to disturb the in-jogged King.

As you gesture to the Aces, reposition the Ace of Spades so that it is uppermost.

“I’ve removed the Aces so that I can show you the con. The cheater would work with

a secret partner.”

Address your participant.

“You can be my secret partner.

“The cheater begins by secretly palming the Aces in his hand, like this.”

Your right thumb lifts at the in-jogged King and your right hand apparently

removes the four face-up Aces. Actually, you remove the Aces as well as eight

face-down indifferent cards. Hold the packet in end grip, with your right fingers

obscuring the thickness of the outer edge of the packet. Hand the deck to your

participant.

“Now you can shuffle the deck legitimately, because the Aces remain in my palm, like this.”

Place the packet against your left palm and feign a terrible palm by gripping the

cards in a claw-like grip. Josh quips that you’ll be fine if you simply mimic the

way most magicians palm a card. The Ace of Spades should remain uppermost

and in view as you demonstrate your pathetic technique.

After your participant has shuffled the cards, take the palmed packet into righthand

end grip and retrieve the deck with your left hand.

Page 30

Hold ‘Em Magic


Replace the Aces face up on top of the deck, secretly unloading the stack

beneath them.

Spread over the face-up Aces and obtain a left pinkie break beneath the fourth

face-down indifferent card.

Square the cards above the break and lift them off of the deck in end grip.

Immediately count the Aces one by one, levering them face down onto the deck

with your left thumb. On the last Ace, drop the entire five-card packet on top of

the deck and then lever this last Ace face down on top.

This is Fred Braue’s The Secret Addition, which was published in Hugard’s Magic

Monthly in July, 1945.

Position Check: Ace, Ten of Spades, x, Jack of Spades, x, Ace, Ace, Ace of Spades,

x, Queen of Spades, x, King of Spades.

“Once the Aces are secretly loaded onto the deck, I can deal pocket Aces - the best hand

in hold ‘em - to me and my secret partner.”

Deal hole cards to your participant and yourself. Your participant believes that

you’re both holding Aces.

“So that’s the con for delivering pocket Aces. But this is a con within a con.”

Turn your participant’s hole cards face up, but keep the cards squared for a moment.

“It looks like you have pocket Aces, but you don’t!”

Spread her hand to show that there is an indifferent card beneath the Ace.

“And if you’re upset that your partner has double-crossed you, this discovery should

make you furious.”

Burn a card and deal the flop in a face-down pile. Turn the flop face up and

spread it to the left, leaving the Ace of Spades as the right-most card in the row.

“The fl op has our Aces, which makes things interesting.”

Hold ‘Em Magic Page 31


Burn a card and deal the turn, the Queen of Spades, face up.

“The turn gives us the Queen of Spades.”

Burn a card and deal the river, the King of Spades, face up.

“Here comes the river…a King of Spades.”

Turn over your hand to reveal the Ten and Jack of Spades. Place these cards on

top of the indifferent Aces to display the complete royal flush. (Photo 31)

“From a deck that you shuffl ed, I dealt myself the exact cards needed to make the best

hand. My royal fl ush beats your four Aces. Now…anyone for a game of hold ‘em?”

31

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Hold ‘Em Magic

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