Some blackjack players have never heard the name S.W. Erdnase. This famous author wrote about how cards can be manipulated. In fact, Erdnase crafted the Bible of card handling titled The Expert at the Card Table. You might be interested to learn a little bit more about Erdnase and blackjack card manipulation. Other Blackjack books listed here.
There was a time when most casino blackjack games allowed players to actually handle and even deal the cards. This is not the case today as more modern methods of dealing have been introduced. The tricks of Erdnase still work if you can find a game where blackjack card handling is allowed, but beware. Getting caught can have serious consequences.
Who Was Erdnase?
One of the most enduring mysteries of magic is the genuine identity of Erdnase. What is known is that the name S.W. Erdnase is a pseudonym. Some have theorized who could have been behind the name, but no one really knows for sure. There are a few names which continually come up in discussion.
Milton Franklin Andrews was a small-time con man who seems to fit the mold. At 33, Andrews took his own life. The evidence linking him to Erdnase was impressive, but investigations reached a dead end upon Andrews’ death.
Some believe that a circus performer named Edward Gallaway was Erdnase. An interesting fact about this theory is that Gallaway was also a printer. He may have had the connections or means to arrange for printing his book of card manipulations.
Why would the writer of Erdnase’s treatise want to remain anonymous? It is possible that the information contained in the book might have caused its writer to be arrested. It is, after all, a book of cheats. It could also have put the safety of the writer at risk when other players branded the writer a cheater.
The Connection Between Card Magic and Blackjack
What is the connection between a simple little book of magical slights “erdnase magic” and the game of blackjack? Everyone knows that blackjack is a gambling game of skill and that card magic is a ruse. The two could not be farther from one another in general terms.
Actually, this is not true. In the earliest days of American gambling, blackjack was a much different game than it is today. It was played with a single deck of cards, and players usually took turns dealing. This means that players were handling the cards. Anytime that you have players handling the cards, there is the possibility of manipulation.
Blackjack was also played by individuals who competed against themselves. This could also cause a problem.
The manipulations that were described in Erdnase were also applicable to any card game that allowed player handling. This could mean poker as well as blackjack. You have probably heard of dealing from the bottom of the deck. There is also second dealing. These are both concepts which were described in great detail by Erdnase. Want to learn how to use the mechanic’s grip in card magic? Erdnase is the perfect teacher.
Why Gamblers Manipulate Blackjack Cards
Why would gamblers want to manipulate playing cards? The obvious answer is to gain an advantage by cheating and win more money. This was a common occurrence many years ago, but it doesn’t happen as often today. This is not to say that it doesn’t happen at all.
The professional poker player Phil Ivey was accused in scandal which involved the game of baccarat. Ivey won millions in a live game where he was said to be using a technique known as edge sorting. In this cheat the player uses the borders of the playing cards to create an arrangement where cards can be identified by glancing at the back.
This is not technically a manipulation in the style of Erdnase, but it is effective. Ivey is said to have won millions in a single session. He was later ordered to return the money after the casino pursued legal action.
It is greed that makes a book like The Expert at the Card Table so popular. To this day the book is nicknamed the Bible by those who practice card magic.
How Modern Blackjack Thwarts Card Mechanics
If you are a fan of card magic then you should definitely check out the work of Erdnase. If you are planning on using the techniques in the book today at blackjack, you are probably going to be disappointed. The game has gone through many changes to keep unethical players from using card manipulation.
For starters, players are not allowed to handle the cards in most cases today. The dealing is handled by an employee of the casino who is also responsible for shuffling and cutting. In some cases, the cards are also shuffled by an automatic shuffling machine.
Still, a study of Erdnase and his blackjack card manipulations can be interesting from a historical perspective. If you are an amateur magician, even better. You will want to add the Erdnase classic to your own personal library. You can read the Casino Max review, Miami Club review , High Country casino review, Cherry Jackpot casino review, or Roaring 21 review to name a few.