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A classic - but not for everyone
on 15 December 2003
After reading the previous reviews on this book I feel compelled to clarify. The Expert At The Card Table is the first advanced instructional text ever released for card mechanics and card magicians. This is the reason why it is of such importance but it is also the reason why it's not for everyone. As it was written over a hundred years ago, many of the techniques explained have been superseded but there is still a wealth of useful information for the serious card worker (the palming techniques, for example, are still extremely practical and were tens of years before their time when the book was written). Most people who are serious about cards have studied this text - not just read it, studied it. This is a book for the student of card work and it's history, it's not a book for someone with a casual interest who wants to learn a few basic tricks. If you fall into the latter category then The Royal Road to Card Magic or something similar is more suited to your requirements.
A review of this book would not be complete without mentioning The Annotated Erdnase by Darwin Ortiz. This book offers the reader an expert's insight into this classic text. Darwin Ortiz is the world's foremost expert on cards (in respect of the fields of "magic" and crooked gambling) so his opinions have to be respected. It's sadly out of print but is still available from some dealers and a used copy may be available on this site.
In summary, for the beginner or someone with a passing interest, The Expert At The Card Table really isn't worth buying but for the individual aspiring to become a serious card worker knowledge of this text is essential.