Richard Turner is an incredible performer with exceptional talents and amazing skills.
He is, in our very humble opinion, one of the best cardsharps we have ever seen – ever. His lecture at The Magic Castle on Sunday was more of an exhibition of amazing card technique that even if we were taught with hours of patient instruction, we would still be unable to perform without his “fifty years of dedicated practice.”
The Second Deal is a personal point of pride for us. We have only been practicing it for about 30 years and of that 30 years, we slept, ate, had a life and worked in our non-magic world so it was not entirely dedicated to perfecting our work.
We saw Mr. Turner’s incredible dealing prowess and later performed our routine in which we rely on Seconds and felt shame. We wanted to stop our presentation and admit to the innocent lay audience that we were showing them the clutching, tightly gripped mechanics of muscle memory when they deserved so much better.
We did not actually stop our performance mid-deal but we felt it would have been warranted. We watched our hands deal Seconds that seemed so apparent that they looked (to us) more like a Glide from the top. We try to be humble (maybe not the most humble but of course if we were the most humble we would not claim to be) but seeing Mr. Turner’s lecture brought us down several rungs on the humble ladder towards humility.
Did we mention that Mr. Turner is blind? He is blind. Not “legally blind” or “partially blind” but really blind. He is demonstrating cardsharping with absolutely no ability to see what he is doing.
He has perfected the perfect Second deal without a visual reference. His Seconds are slowly done as if he were dealing directly from the top of the pack. There are no moves, no tells, no flashing or signs that a Second is in the offing, is occurring or has just happened.
Seeing Mr. Turner perform is like sitting in Plato’s Cave with a periscope for just a few minutes. We saw, briefly, what the real Second Deal looks like rather than the shadows on the wall we have been watching in our own hands or the hands of other performers.
His lecture is a delight to attend. It is not a study in basic sleights or fundamentals. In fact, there were very few sleights actually taught. It is more of an opportunity to watch a true master perform impossible effects using imperceptible skills. He discussed his involvement with the United States Playing Card Company and playing card production methods. We could have listened to that type of inside information for another ten hours. He told us about his interaction with Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller and their collaborative work on cardsharping skills. We would have gladly paid to listen to more of those stories.
The lecture went for about two hours but we had a feeling he was just getting started. We departed humbled but hopeful. It is satisfying to know that there is a perfect Second Deal. While we will likely never achieve it, we at least know our quest is not Quixotic.