Conjuring Credits

The Origins of Wonder

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Red-Black Shuffle

The overhand red-black shuffle commonly attributed to Laurie Ireland was actually invented by Charles Jordan, who described it in Thirty Card Mysteries, 1919, p. 27. Some references state that Ireland published the shuffle in his manuscript New Card and Coin Manipulation 1935, 1935, but that is incorrect. Edward Marlo, in Estimation, 1962, p. 32, attributes the shuffle to Ireland, but notes that its use was to maintain a central card or cards in place during an overhand shuffle. Marlo also writes that Ted Annemann later applied Ireland's shuffle to maintain a red-black separation. (Marlo does not give print references for either the Ireland or Annemann discussions.) Although Jordan's and Ireland's aims were different, the mechanics were the same, and this is possibly what led to Ireland's name being attached to Jordan's red-black overhand shuffle.

The run of single cards can be eliminated by first establishing a break at the dividing point. A method using a corner-shorted card was described by George Kaplan in The Fine Art of Magic, 1948, p. 19, “Using the Corner-Short to Retain a Prearranged Deck in Order”. An impromptu method to minimize the single run can be achieved by establishing the break slightly above the center of the deck. This idea was published by Ed Marlo in The New Tops, Vol. 7 No. 2, Feb. 1967, p. 26. (It was reinvented several times after that.)