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- In a lecture I conducted during the "Redefine Magic" convention in December 2009, I spent 45 minutes sharing on the topic of "Asian Underground Gambling". I divided the lecture into 4 sections, but only finished 3. I now present to you, the summary of my lecture notes. The lecture slides were prepared my students Jason and Li Sheng.
- So here are the contents -
- 1. History of Gambling
- 1.1 In The West
- 1.2 In The East
- 1.3 The Primary Differences (With Demonstrations)
- 2. My Concepts
- 2.1 The Tripod Theory
- 2.2 Learning Curve (With Demonstrations)
- 2.3 Relationship Between Mentor & Student
- 3. The Magician, The Gambling Magician, The Gambler
- 3.1 Putting Up An Act
- 3.2 Sleight Differences (With Demonstrations)
- 3.3 Keeping Secrets
- 4. Gambling Demonstrations As Entertainment
- 4.1 Entertainment Concepts
- 4.2 Dragon Stack (With Demonstration)
- 4.3 Conclusion
- In these next few days, I will release material on point 1.1, which is but a small portion in the category.
- Benefits: Knowing the history of gambling and of card magic will give you a boost in understanding the card magic you are doing on a deeper level.
- Since time immemorial, cards have always been a significant portion of gambling and magic. Therefore, we will be using "cards" as our basics.
- Contrary to many beliefs, cards aren't the Asians' original gambling platform. We are not as well-versed with cards as the western gamblers. Although there has been research and assertions that cards have originated from the East, there was never enough solid evidence to establish so. The primary gambling equipment difference between the Westerners and the Asians (mainly Chinese) are obvious - The Chinese gambled with 掷筛子 (Craps), 麻将 (Ma Jiang, Mahjong), 牌九 (Pai Jiu, Pai Gao Poker), 白鸽票 (Bai Ge Piao, A kind of lottery), 番摊 (Fan Tan, Repeated Spreading Out), 字花 (Zi Hua, A kind of lottery), etc; whereas the Westerners have always used cards, roulette, etc.
- Back then, when many Chinese and Indians rushed to San Francisco for the Gold Rush, most Chinese only gambled with Bai Ge Piao and Fan Tan (Refer to Photo 1). These games were only popular within the Chinese culture and were not played outside. We will start analyzing from the Western gambling, especially in America and Europe. Then we will see how the techniques of the gambling world were adapted for magic uses. I'll include some food for thought at the end. So let's start...
- A guided tour in the gambling world.
- * Photos 1 & 2: This is one of the research papers published by the Univeresity of Pennsylvania in 1891. The title - The Gambling Games of the Chinese in America - under the series of Literature and Archaeology, Vol 1, No 4. The research was headed by by Stewert Culin, secretary of the museum of archaeology and palaentology in the University of Pennsylvania.
- * Photo 3: This picture shows the basic gambling props needed to play a game of "Fan Tan" - A cover, coins, and a chopstick. Later on, Weiqi chess pieces, beans and matches were used to replace the coins and some people replaced the chopstick with a cigarette butt. But it doesn't matter what props are used - "Fan Tan" is a game that can be easily cheated at in many many ways.
- * Photo 4: "Bai Ge Piao" was shunned by the westerners because they could not understand Chinese characters. Since the "Qing" Dynasty, this game has been very popular in the Guang Dong area in China. Needless to say, there are a multitude of ways that this game could be cheated at as well.
- P.S. Thank you everyone who has supported me and participated in my postings. After 15th June 2011, all of the material will be removed from my Facebook page.
- P.P.S. All photos are that of my own personal collection unless stated otherwise.
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