.:147/365: The Bottom Deal:.

Ricky Jay is one of the best card magicians out there, although he’s really known for his card throwing. This demonstration is amazing, considering how smoothly he dealt the bottom card from the cards, without missing a beat. If you didn’t see the cards face-up, there was practically no way for anyone to realize that he wasn’t simply dealing cards normally.

However, what made this particular demonstration deceptive was that while he was openly demonstrating how the bottom deal works, the last hand in a freely chosen number of hands actually sported a royal flush, which just floored everyone around the table. They know how difficult the bottom deal was. The deck was previously shuffled. Yet for some odd reason, he still managed to cough up an apparently impossible hand, and it was simply unbelievable.

The best sleights in card magic happen when nobody realizes anything different is going on. In fact, a particular routine I’ve seen involves doing rapid-fire sleights left and right, without doing anything that could be construed as magic at all. In fact, the point of the exercise is to present to a spectator that everything going on is just plain normal, yet in reality, some very challenging sleights are being performed precisely to make things look just normal.

Truly, a work of art. Watching this video again and again never ceases to amaze me how spot-on Ricky Jay’s execution was. He gave all the chances for the audience to catch what he was doing and what he was really up to, but at no point did he relinquish control over the audience. He was setting them up for something big and impressive, and they had no idea they were in for quite a surprise.