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"The Count's Inquisition of Shuffling and Dealing I, II, and III"
"The Count's Inquisition of Shuffling and Dealing", an ebook series in PDF format, is an impossibly thorough and wonderfully complete work of shuffles, stacks, and deals that demonstrate how ebooks ought to be done.
The three ebooks in the series, written by some mysterious someone under the pseudonym "The Count", contain some 800-plus pages detailing an electronic warehouse full of moves, subtleties, mechanics, and insights into shuffles and deals ranging from the simple to the extremely difficult.
Let's take a look at each volume for a sec, just so you can how much you get for how little.
In "The Count's Inquisition of Shuffling and Dealing I", you'll learn some of the more basic shuffles (the overhand, blind/mirror, and Hindu), then dive into the cancellation, rear guard, weave, chaos/blind chaos, Charlier, spade shuffle, gear shuffle, rear guard shuffle, the circulation shuffle, weaving, push through, Greek, and even the slop shuffle. Then, when you're getting the idea of things, you're taught the square shuffle, the book shuffle, the tabled bridge control, the gripped bridge control, the invisible strip-out, and the gamut shuffle. To top it off, you'll even learn how to execute the in-hand Zarrow shuffle.
Sounds like a lot, doesn't it? It is. But the book is so well written, even the more complex mechanics are made just a bit simpler. Before you even have the chance to get in over your head, you're taught all the basics of shuffling, like forming a bridge, holding a break, maintaining top- and bottom-stocks, and then progressively advance to counts, runs, Faros, and, yes, even the Gilbreath Principle.
In "The Count's Inquisition of Shuffling and Dealing II", the accent is on peeking, culling, and stacking. Now you're taught the open peek, a simple cull procedure, the vegas peek, overhand stacking, the bottom peek, the shuffle peek, and other easy techniques before moving up a level or two and taking on top-down/bottom-up stacking, riffle stacking and culling, culling while stacking (a new one for me), Faroes, misdirection peeks, planned culling, the Double-Duke, the Scarne Shuffle, and many, many more.
As with Volume I, Volume II walks you up the ladder slowly, beginning with the simpler stuff -- both in concept and execution -- before getting you into such higher concepts as palming and shifting as you stack. To top it off, there's "The Count's Riffle Stacking System", which allows for such things as culling a random four-of-a-kind in two shuffles and culling and stacking two four-of-a-kinds in only three shuffles. Okay, I'll admit -- that one got me!
"The Count's Inquisition of Shuffling and Dealing III" gets into the real tough stuff: the false deals. Having mis-spent a great portion of my youth practicing just this very thing, this volume raised the most interest in me. Like the other two volumes, this one is packed: there are twelce different strike-seconds, fifteen push-off seconds, seven strike bottoms, four push-off bottoms.. and that's just for starters. There are also side-strike seconds, stud seconds, one-handed seconds, spins, side-strike doubles, plus multiple deals (as in third-deals, fourth-deals, and fifth deals). Of course, my mouth watered when it came to the mother of all false deals: the center deal. Before that one gets your attention, though, you're taught snap deals, punch deals, the Benzais Cop, and so many different dealing techniques you'll be heaven.
Again, everything is a nice, slow progression. Before you even get to the point of learning your first technique, you're immersed in the theory of false deals, how false deals fail (meaning, how someone can spot one a mile off), and even how the cards you use affect your false deals. With that as a background, you start wading in slowly, learning the simples of seconds, until you're all the way up to dealing centers from a tabled deck!
Before I forget, there's a demo video on the website that is worth checking out; it gives you an idea of what you're getting into here.
But I can tell you in a few words: in this collection, you're getting a tremendous value, more material than you imagine, and all brilliantly taught.
That last is important for a couple of reasons.
As you probably gathered, while you're taught the basics, these books cover some very difficult moves. In some cases, "very difficult" just begins to describe them. To master them, you're going to invest a lot of time and a lot of practice. You're not going to be dealing centers an hour after you read the description.
But -- and this is very rare to say about any such material -- the descriptions are so thorough, so well-written, that learning curve is cut down considerably. The first thing I noticed, and which made me a fan of these books instantly, was that a simple bit of technique explained usually explained in a single paragraph in other comparable books, is explained in pages here. That depth of accuracy is extremely rare, as rare as it is valuable, and makes getting the hang of things correctly so much easier. That ease translates into progress and puts much of the material here within anyone's grasp.
Yes, I'm high on these ebooks. "The Count's Inquisition of Shuffling and Dealing" is a real treasure for card workers. "Voluminous" is the word that comes to mind, and the ebooks are so well structured that looking up a specific move is a piece of cake, the illustrations are perfectly placed... there's nothing I can find wrong with any of these.
If ever a set of ebooks deserved a place next to Erdnase, these are those ebooks.
Count's Inquisition of Shuffling and Dealing"
by "The Count"
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