Thought Waves

Thought Waves – Geno Munari

I am fascinated by the concept of “A Mathematical Problem” In Plate and Hatton, Magicians Tricks among many of the other effects in the book. I sense that Jimmy Grippo certainly must have perused this book, published in 1910. There are many concepts in this book that resemble some of the ideas and methods Jimmy used in his most entertaining close up magic performances.  The effect that I created, based on the binary concept, was not used by Jimmy Grippo just to be clear. It is however an amazing mental revelation, I believe Jimmy would have enjoyed watching, as Jimmy told me that he “would perform a mental card effect in his stage hypnotic shows.”

Here is Thought Waves

The effect: A person just thinks of any card in the deck. The performer reveals the card.  

Facts: No questions asked. The performer never sees the cards before naming the card or anytime. Spectator can shuffle the deck before thinking of any card. Spectator can think of any card and not just cards shown by the magician. Magician does not put cards before spectator’s eyes to be selected. Can be repeated. No set-up. 

Modus Operandi (Method Of Operation)

There are two groups of cards that are marked on the back with a easy to use white marking pen called, Uni-ball Signo (broad) from Mitsubishi Pencil Co. The first group of cards will be used to determine the value of the cards using a binary method. Don’t let this term “binary” scare you.  This is a simple method and very easy to use. Bicycle cards are secretly marked with small numbers 1 through 4 on the back of the cards. Each mark is located in the middle of the card, inside the circle. The photos indicate the cards that are marked. Those marked inside the circle will be dealt on the upper row to four piles. The cards marked outside the circle will be dealt into four piles making a second row, to be placed below the first row. The number will determine which pile, from #1 through #4, each card will be placed. 

Remember: if the number is inside the circle, that card is placed on the top row. If the number is outside the circle, it is placed on the lower row. 

To be clear: Each number represents a pile number from 1 to 4, that will be seemingly randomly dealt on the table. The performer will deal the cards onto the table one at a time into four different piles. From the performer’s view, the first pile #1 is to his left, then pile #2, #3 and #4.

On the row beneath this you will deal out the remainder of the deck which are marked just outside the circle into four piles below the first row, into piles #1, #2, #3 and #4.

The marks are located outside the circle on the card back. Once the performer learns to look at this spot as he or she is placing the cards into piles, it will soon be easy to develop a little speed and the process will go rather quickly. 

The mark on the back of each card signifies the pile number where the card should be placed. Remember: inside the circle on the top row, outside the circle on the bottom row.

There are 48 cards marked in the deck, the four aces are not marked and placed in your pocket  when presenting this effect. They will never be noticed missing. Occasionally, one of these cards will be the card the spectator selected. In this case, simply reveal his card by retrieving it from your pocket. The four cards can be in ascending order and easy to remember the sequence for quick retrieval. 

As an option: In another pocket have four separate small pieces of paper with four different messages written in your handwriting: “You will think of the Ace of Clubs”, “You will think of the Ace of Hearts”, “You will think of the Ace of Spades”, “You will think of the Ace of Diamonds”. Each prediction will be folded and placed in a stacked order to remember them. The word CHaSeD will help you remember the order of C for Clubs, H for Hearts, S for Spades and D for Diamonds. The reason for these four different notes or predictions is that many spectators will think of an Ace. If the do, the trick is over and you simply produce the desired prediction. The trick can then be repeated telling the spectator to think of another card, because many people think of Aces.  


A person merely thinks of any card in the deck.

Performer says, “Think of any card in the deck. Write it down on a piece of paper that only you can see and let no one see it. Fold it up and place in your pocket. You are doing this only so you won’t forget your thought.”

Tell the spectator to shuffle the deck of cards and then cut the deck on the table as many times as they wish.  

I tell the spectator to concentrate and visualize their card as a picture and you will try to intercept the radio waves that are emitting from their brain. I say, “If a cel phone can send a Radio transmission through time and space, so can a human brain.”

The performer picks up the deck and begins dealing the cards onto the table in piles. As they are being dealt the mark on the card signifies which pile to place the cards. As the performer is dealing the cards, he occasionally hesitates and looks at the spectator, as though he is perceiving a thought from the spectator’s brain. The entire deck is placed in seemingly eight random piles.

The performer points to pile #1 and tells the spectator to shuffle this packet. 

Performer says, “I have not looked or touched these cards. Look at this pile and visualize the card you were thinking of. If you see the card in the pile or even the same VALUE of the card in the pile, put the entire pile in your pocket for safekeeping, out of my sight. Remember only you can see the cards. If you don’t see your card value push them aside, but don’t let me see the cards. 

The performer will do this exact same procedure on the first four piles each time reaffirming what has occurred.

Calculating the Value of the Card 

This effect uses binary system to determine the value and suit of the selected card based on the cards the spectator “affirms” that he has seen, When the spectator sees the same value of his card, he places them in his pocket. This signals to the performer a “Yes, I see the value.” 

Each of the first four piles have been given a designated value:

Pile #1 is 1

Pile #2 = 2

Pile #3 = 4

Pile #4 = 8

If the spectator puts pile #1 in his pocket add 1. If he puts pile #2 in his pocket, add the value 2 to the 1, for a total value of 3. Do this for piles 1 through 4. This total value will give you the value of the card thought of.

Here is how to translate value to the card.

Total value is 1, card is an Ace.

2= Two

3= Three

And so on,

11 = Jack

12 = Queen

13 = King

After you have the card value, tell the spectator to put what’s left of the remaining first four piles in his pocket. This is just a smoke screen to help hide the secret of the effect. When the spectator tells someone of how you revealed his card it will be like he explained a miracle to his friends.  

Just remember the value of the packets the spectator picks up to get the value of the card chosen. This is real easy to do and not difficult to with a little effort. Don’t let it scare you.

To determine the suit:

There are four remaining piles on the table. Each of these has been given a value for the suits, Clubs, Hearts , Spades and Diamonds. The first pile, #1 to the performer’s left is Clubs, then #2 is Hearts, #3 is Spades and #4 is Diamonds. 

The performer says, “Pick up this pile (pointing to pile #1) and if you see your card suit in the cards, place all of them in your pocket” 

The first time he DOES NOT put a pile in his pocket tells you that this pile is the value of the suit. So for example if you point to pile #2 and he looks at the cards and does not see his suit value and leaves these on the table signifies his suit was Hearts.  

You follow the same direction on all four piles. There can only be one pile that he doesn’t see his suit value.  

After you have determined the suit, have him place all the rest of the cards into his pocket. Now the entire deck is in his pocket.  

Now is a good time to recant what has taken place. Have the spectator take the deck from his pocket and place on the table. The performer does not touch or look at the deck.

He looks at the spectator and reveals his card in a dramatic fashion.

The next four photos show which cards are marked inside the circle and with which number.

The next four photos indicate which cards are marked OUTSIDE the circle.

Baccarat Location

Baccarat Location

By Geno Munari

A few years ago, many as a matter of fact, Mike Rogers and I sat in the Tropicana Hotel lounge playing with an idea of having the spectator remove four of the same value cards from the deck and then taking the deck and riffling the faces and deducing what card value is missing.  Purely skill, but easily mastered.  Then we would remove three cards, then two and finally one card, and then name the card.

I worked on this concept for years and came up with this idea.

This is similar to the Epitome Location, by Harry Lorayne, but different because when I was a Baccarat dealer at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, I counted the cards in a similar fashion. What I mean by counting the cards is this: There are two side to place a wager on in the game of Baccarat, the Bank side and the Player side.  Two cards are initially dealt to each side. Depending on the totals of each hand a third card is dealt to each respective hand. The hand is totaled and the hand closet to a total of 9 is the winner.

This was long before I learned of or aware of the Epitome Location. I spoke with Harry Lorayne about this and he gave me permission to refer to his great concept.

So in Baccarat, the value of ten does not count. A five and an eight would not be counted as 13, but as 3.  Just think about the number on the right.  A nine, another nine and a queen would total 8.  A ten a ten and a ten would be 0.   A six and a four would be 0. And so on.

Before shuffling the the deck on the table, remove any 10 valued cards from the first 15 or 20 top cards.  Then shuffle, keeping the 20 cards in place and have a spectator choose one.  Shuffle again, and turn the deck face up and count the totals.  If the total is 16, your remember 6.  You eliminate 10 values and continue adding.  If the next card is a 4, your total is 0.   Continue your running count through the deck and whatever the total is at the end of the entire deck, subtract this value from 10.  That is the value of the card missing.  Say the total in your head was 3, subtract 3 from 10 and you arrive at 7.  That is the value of the card chosen.   Simply run through the deck and look for the other three matching 7s.  Take the odd colored seven which is red and you have the match.

In the video, I did not have a spectator so I rolled a single die after pancake shuffling the cards on the table. I made sure the top 20 cards covered the other 31 cards.  I dropped the die to select a card.

Hope this is clear.

Geno Munari

Eddie Joseph’s “Hitting the Spots”

If ever there was a guy I would have liked to have met it would be Eddie Joseph. His approach and selection of gambling effects are tops in my book. Here is an effect from his pamphlet, “How Gamblers Win”. It is one that reads good, looks good and is a real fooler. We bring you this little known gem as a diversion and some relief during this terrible nationwide tragic epidemic. Let me know if you would like more from Eddie Joseph.


Dunes Hotel, the book is finished.

The book is finished and in the mail. It is over 513 pages, with 395 footnotes, photos and exhibits. A redesigned cover.

I am happy to announce that The Dunes Hotel & Country Club book is completed.

The Dunes Hotel and Casino: The Mob, the connections, the stories.

“The intent behind this book is to record classic Las Vegas history that would be lost forever if not memorialized.”

“In capturing the true story of the Dunes, I had to cross over into the history of some of the other classic Las Vegas hotel-casinos because many of the Dunes operators and associates were connected to these other operations.”

The Dunes operation was a spectrum of information that is intricate and mysterious at times, protected by a shroud of secrecy and intrigue that is virtually impossible to decipher. It featured different operators and Mob characters who, at various times in the history of the hotel, were involved in various ventures, including gambling, bookmaking, real estate investment and many other business arrangements.

I recently found a photograph that was in an oversize notebook given to me by Rudy Crisotomo, one of the first designers/graphic illustrators of the original Dunes sign. It has never been published and will use this on my book jacket design.

I have been working on this book for almost four years, which included many hours of research and the development of a timeline. My research helped bring forth answers to questions regarding notable gambling operators, Mafia chiefs and memorable events. One such event solves a mystery of a bomb assassination plot and a shooting. I never dreamed these details would ever be uncovered.

Once the book is released I will post the timeline and additional notes.

As they say, “Stay tooned.”

James Harte (Harto), Was he a Ghost Writer?

In Erdnase’s,  Expert at the Card Table,  the quintessential book for card sharping methods,  has a  magic section wherein there are many inclusions about mentalism .  Noted are “Methods for Determining a Card Thought of” and then further on, “A Mind-Reading Trick”, and further on, he writes, ”
Or he may assume the power of mind-reading”, which is about a pre-arranged deck.

There is really a lot of information on mind reading etc. in this book of gambling sleights and legerdemain. If the collaborator, and if there was a collaborator, he or she must have had a good deal of knowledge about this subject.

Why would the main writer, who appears to be a hard core player, “because he needs the money”, dabble or include mind reading in this book about cheating at cards?

Erdnase was a player and pretty unlikely to have performed mental magic,  but perhaps he did.  If he did not have a knowledge of mental card magic a collaborator could have been hired to ad this inclusion  to skirt around the Comstock laws.   Thee collaborator of EACT may have had a good deal of knowledge about mind reading.

James Harto (Harte) could have been the collaborator as reported by many sources. He was a mentalist and was living not to distant from MFA. Here is Harto’s listing in Magicpedia:

James S. Harto was a professional magician that performed a mind-reading act as “Chandra, The Mystic”.
His first performance as at the Bristol Museum in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1886.  Interesting because Worcester was not so far away from the Holyoke home of Milton Franklin Andrews (MFA).

The above are just notes and ideas that may have some interest to some of you. No dogma or proven points. Any thoughts?

Oct 10, 2010

In a post on the Genii Forum, Richard Hatch mentions Harto but does not elaborate on Harto’s road act and the fact that Harto lived very close to Milton Franklin Andrews. Read his post from Aug.,2008:

“Clearly Harto told several people of an association he claimed to have with Erdnase. Only Pratt claimed that Harto had contributed the Legerdemain section of the book, and Pratt’s testimony is questionable as noted in earlier postings. Charles Maly, one of the Harto associates who confirmed for Gardner that Harto spoke of an association with Erdnase, claimed to have seen a notebook of material that Harto was working on as a proposed sequel to Erdnase. If this notebook survived the destruction of many Harto documents by Audley Dunham, it has not yet surfaced, nor have any Erdnase references in Harto documents that have survived. But I take his claimed association with Erdnase as a serious possibility, and one that may lead to further information on the identity question.
I do not think that Harto had much, if anything, to do with the writing of THE EXPERT. If one assumes (as I do, though I recognize it is an assumption and not a proven fact) that the book was assembled shortly prior to publication, Harto’s schedule makes his collaboration with the author unlikely. Harto was touring with the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show as a ventriloquist and magician in the sideshow during several seasons prior to the book’s publication. They would set up in a new city nearly every day, arriving by train, parading through town, setting up the show, doing the shows, striking the show, loading on the train, and traveling overnight to the next stop on the tour. I traveled to Pawnee, Oklahoma to check the tour route books in the Pawnee Bill Museum for those seasons and the schedule does not much leave much free time to work on a book, unless the primary author was also working the same tour. There was a magician name Andrews from Philadelphia (Pratt’s later home) who did later join the Buffalo Bill Wild West show for their tour of Europe, and Harto was also at one time associated with the Buffalo Bill show, but this would have been after the book’s publication and I have been unable to develop much information on this particular “person of interest.” Another possibility I considered was Charles Andress (whose name reverses to S. S. Erdnase if you drop the rest of the first name reversal), a traveling magician with strong circus and Chicago connections, but I think him an extremely long shot for any number of reasons. I did track down Andress’ son and spoke with him by phone a few years back (his father sired him when he was 80 or so!), but he knew nothing about the book and I haven’t followed up on that line of inquiry.
Although Harto did get billing as a card magician early in his career (as a teenager) and was respected by his peers for his general knowledge of magic, mentalism and escapes, he does not seem to have been noted for originality in his card work. And the reference to the originality of his patter that is quoted in TMWWE is, in the original context, actually a reference to the originality of his ventriloqual dialogues, which I don’t think can be extrapolated to assign him credit for the patter in Erdnase’s LEGERDEMAIN section.

The Profile of a Di-generate Gambler: Unger

Sid Wyman

Stu Unger








The Erdnase profile theory. The book, Expert at the Card Table by S.W. Erdnase, was self published by the author because the writer basically said, “because I needed the money”

This statement fits the profile of a gambler that needed money because they lost in a game of poker or they won in a game of poker and then blew off the winnings to some other form of degenerate gambling. Players and hustlers are in constant need of money because they have bad habits. The author SW Erdnase said that he “bucked the Tiger”, meaning that he played The Bank, or game commonly called Faro.

This seems to fit a profile of a gambler who is constantly playing and looking for new sources of easy money. He is always looking for the next sucker or mark, that doesn’t have the playing ability nor the skills of a card sharp.

Every serious gambler I have ever known had a bad habit. For instance, Stuie Unger first visited the Dunes Hotel on a junket arranged by the legendary Jules “Julie” Weintraub. Julie brought a plane load full of gamblers to the Dunes every other week. To be eligible for the complimentary flight, free room, food and beverages for the Thursday to Sunday junket the player had to 1) be alive, 2) bring cash front money (a minimum of $2500-$5000), and 3) gamble in the casino.

Stu Unger’s parents operated a “Slosh” joint near Manhattan and Stu was raised amongst the best gamblers, kibitzers and characters that frequented this semi secretive card room that offered every kind of short card game under the sun.

Stu could beat most other players in gin rummy and on his first trip to the Dunes he had the opportunity to play the Dunes’s big boss, that we the floorman and dealers referred to as Pacone Grande. If Sid Wyman was walking near the game we where supervising or dealing, the code word Paco was said aloud to another adjacent dealer, to alert the worker to be on his best behavior.
Pacone Grande meant the big boss Sidney Wyman was near and to be very careful. You never knew what kind of mood he might be in.

Wyman and his partners controlled the Dunes Hotel and made it the success that it enjoyed for many years before they sold out.
One of Wyman’s partners pushed the idea of “buying” business and the New York junket became one of the many successful junket operations that the Dunes was known to cater.

I don’t know who conceived the idea of Wyman playing Unger in a round of Gin, but I watched the massacre. In the adjacent poker room, I could see the action develop from my ladder chair in the Baccarat pit. A special table was cleared and Wyman and his kibitzers were on one side and little Stuie Unger was on the other side. Wyman has about 15 to 30 in his gallery while Unger had but one person. I think Stu was not yet 21 years old at the time, but had a reputation of a class A gin rummy player.

It is conceivable,but not provable , that a kibitzer in Wyman’s gallery may have tipped off Wyman’s hand to Unger, because I saw several cross roaders paying close attention to Sid’s play. It was easy enough to see what Wyman was holding. But even if Unger got some assistance, he really didn’t need it. Wyman lost $75,000 on the play.
Unger then followed suit of the profile of every generate gambler and went over to the crap table and lost it all.

This degeneracy profile of shooting craps, playing the horses or bucking the tiger is a sickness that seems to be in every serious gambler who is there to be in the action whether they win or lose.

It is like the guy who follows the elephants, cleaning up after them in a parade, when asked why don’t you get a better job? His answer is,”What, and give up show business?”

More on my Erdnase theory later.