Some Very Cool Card Magic

I recently attended the Gathering for Gardner conference in Atlanta, held every two years to honor Martin Gardner. Gardner was a prolific writer on a variety of topics, especially mathematics, magic and pseudoscience. Since those just happen to be three major interests of mine, you can imagine how much fun I had! Alas, since we are nearing the end of the semester around here it might be a while before I can do a proper write-up. So in the meantime, enjoy this video from the conference. It opens with the great Raymond Smullyan doing some three-card monte. Smullyan is 93, by the way. The angle from which the video was shot makes it a little hard to follow what is happening, but starting around ninety seconds in Jorge Luengo launches into an astonishing impromptu card routine. The video is fifteen minutes, but definitely watch the whole thing.

Of course, the real highlights are when I get to participate in the tricks...

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Yesterday, I wrote about financial speculators and their impacts on commodity markets, focusing on oil. Here, Stephen Colbert and Stephen Colbert play three-card Monte to explain what's going on:
I will be leaving for Atlanta, GA tomorrow to participate in the Ninth Gathering for Gardner. That's Martin Gardner, of course. I will be giving a short talk about the Monty Hall problem on Thursday morning, and then it will be three days of math, magic and other cool things. Gardner contributed…
Don't see this at very many math conferences: This is from the Gathering for Gardner, which took place last week in Atlanta. That's Martin Gardner, who wrote the “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American for thirty years. He also wrote prolifically about magic and psuedoscience. Or…
Well, it looks like I have my next book project lined up! This one's a bit of a departure for me, since I will be an editor this time as opposed to an author. I will be editing a tribute volume to Raymond Smullyan, to be published by Dover Publications probably sometime next year. I've…

That look like it was awesome fun, Jason!

Your participation was clearly critical to the success of the trick. :)

Some time back Dick Cavett had two posts on a NYTimes blog on the Great Slydini, a master close-up magician. The two columns, with some genuinely amazing videos, are here and here.

Thanks for the links.

I know a fair amount about card magic, but I'm mostly baffled by the tricks Jorge Luengo performed. On the video you can even hear me say to the person standing next to me, after that trick where I dealt out the cards, “That's a good trick!” You could have knocked me over with a feather when I turned over the card and it was the eight.

Jorge actually went on for quite a while after the person who filmed this stopped. I have lots of books and videos about sleight of hand, but I rarely have a chance to see it performed live.

The Slydini videos are among my favorites. He keeps saying the coin work is "simple" -- and it is! You can tell what's going on after a couple viewings. But to utterly fool several people sitting a few feet away with such beautiful misdirection is, as you say, genuinely amazing.

By Another Matt (not verified) on 16 Apr 2012 #permalink

I love the psychology of deception and misdirection. I've studied this at length from a neuro-scientific point of view and find it absolutely facinating.

Cool video. Thanks for sharing.