New Rules

By Luke Jermay - Saturday, November 28, 2020

At the right time, for the right audience a gambling routine can produce a deeply engaging and highly impactful experience. However, that time and that audience, seems to me, to be very specific.

In my experience most people do not know the intricate details of gambling games. Most people do not engage with playing cards outside of an occasional casual game with family and friends. Assuming you do not specialise in performing at world poker championship, most audiences, most of the time are filled with these people. Of course there will always be exceptions to these rules but I am comfortable enough with these observations in a broader sense to base some creative exploration upon.

The simple reality, that most people do not know the rules of most games, quickly leads us to consider that any gambling demonstration built upon the rules of a game is likely going to fall short of the mark for the majority of the audience. They simply do not care enough to remain engaged and interested and do not know enough to be rendered amazed.

There are a few obvious remedies, namely; to present material that does not require knowledge of the game, as we commonly see with skill based demonstrations such as bottom deal demonstrations or stacking sequences. These demonstrations, sadly lack the potential of the direct engagement of play and become demonstrations as opposed to direct experiences.

The second option and the solution I most often turn to, in an effort to retain the direct engagement of play, is to find a way to explain the rules of the game at hand in the shortest and most succinct way possible. This requires a routine themed around a game that is simple, pure and easy to understand.

This is why, for me Blackjack is such as good game to work with when creating gambling routines. The rules can be explained in one sentence: “The winner is the closest to 21, without going over.”

In one simple, short and easily understood sentence, every single person, fully understands the rules and can engage with the demonstration, overcoming the major problem that so often cause gambling material to fall flat. It has always been something of a surprise to me, that so little material framed around Blackjack exists in the literature.

In my new effect ‘Hit’ I use the simple, direct and easily understood rules of Blackjack to open up the wonderful and proven potential of direct play engagement within the classic structure of the ten card poker deal. Not only is the method new, needing no control of any cards at all, but the presentational framework becomes fresh and more vital within the Blackjack frame, as it renders the experience to its most pure form highlighting the compelling internal narrative at work: the choices we make.

“Hit” might on the surface be a gambling demonstration, but hidden beneath is a deeper experience for your audience that connects to the direct engagement of play within the question; ‘are your choices your own?” and I believe this is something everyone cares deeply about.

Reader comments:


Tuesday, 01 December 2020 20:09 PM - Reply to this comment

I really like that final paragraph there.

The essence of the trick.

Reminds me of Pete McCabe's tip to find the essence of each trick you do, and understand it to make the effect more powerful.

"are your choices your own?" Is a great sentence/question that seems crazy powerful.

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