HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN MAGIC?
Long story... When I left school I had to do whatever I could to make money because of my home life situation and the only jobs I could get were paying less than I needed so I got into gambling but instead of making money I ended up in serious debt. I started to learn every cheating technique I could to help me make back the money I'd lost. I became very successful with the techniques I'd learnt and made more money than I ever needed but unfortunately I got greedy, I was young and naive and made a stupid mistake that got me banned from casinos…
DID YOU GET ARRESTED?
No, fortunately the techniques I'd learnt were memory based card-counting techniques so the method only existed in my mind, therefore there was no evidence, only suspicion, and for casinos that's enough...
HOW DID YOU GET CAUGHT?
I got cocky with my skills, and lazy too, I can't really tell you too much about what happened. Lets just say I was asked politely to leave... My feet didn't touch the floor until I was out in the rain. Anyway. After that I tried a few other casinos to realize that the ban was nationwide.
Soon after I developed a love for poker and wanted to make a living at it, I heard of a poker circuit in Leeds and got involved, after learning the basics of poker and standard moves with the deck; shuffling, dealing etc, I began to learn sleight of hand so that I could continue cheating within the gambling community, but it was like history repeating itself, I got good, I made money and I got cocky and lazy and got caught and had to deal with different consequences than those dealt by the casino.
IS THAT SOMETHING YOU CAN ELABORATE ON?
I'll tell you what I can... There was a standard technique I'd use once in a while at new tables; I'd ask to check the deck... As a new player the others were always okay with this; I explained that I'd been conned before and didn't want to take any risks, whilst checking the deck I'd pull wanted cards behind the spread cards - a technique known as Culling in the magic industry - once the cards were behind, or now on top of the deck, I’d palm them off with my right hand as the deck went back to the table with the left... the right hand would then reach the edge of the table and the cards would be dropped to my lap - a technique known as lapping in both professions. I'd then be able to switch any amount of these cards in with dealt cards whilst in play later and get rid of any excess cards by palming them to the bottom of the deck on my deal.
So, I was in a pub Kitchen in Barnsley and there were 4 of us in play at a small table, the stakes were low and all of the players were new to me, as was the location. It was about 20 minutes in and at the point of lapping that I messed up. A vital part of lapping more than one card is to add a curve to the cards by slightly bending them so that they fall as one... something I failed to do, and so the cards fell individually. They all landed on my lap, but the player to my right spotted one of the cards land. He grabbed my arm and pushed me back into my chair, he then grabbed the cards. There are very few excuses for having four Kings on your lap amid play, so the only thought I had was RUN; which in hindsight probably made the situation worse. I don't remember anything after that, only the fear.
WHAT HAPPEND TO YOU?
I had a lot of broken bones, have a lot of scars, I had surgery on my left knee and collarbone, I was out cold for 2-weeks and in a wheelchair for 6-months, which would have been a lot less if I had stayed in hospital but when I got my memory back I became so scared and paranoid that they were coming back to finish me off that I self-discharged and made my way home in the early hours of the morning in a wheelchair that i stole from the patient in the next room. I stayed locked in my bedroom most of the time, just me, a TV and a deck of cards, and that's where the magic began. I learnt a lot of lessons and when you come so close to losing your life your outlook on everything changes. I wanted to be fair, and take care of my life but I knew I'd never put the cards down... Magic seemed to be the most obvious answer.
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