Phantoms of the Card Table by David Britland & Gazzo

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Publisher: High Stakes
Location: London, England
Date: 2003
Pages: 256
Layout: 6"x9", hardbound
Search at: Amazon, Stevens Magic.

Walter Irving Scott was the greatest man ever with a pack of cards, so said Max Holden, writing in The Sphinx magazine, an exclusive journal for magicians. This was in 1930 after Scott had bamboozled a room full of New York’s finest card manipulators by dealing himself winning poker hands from a shuffled deck. He liked to say of himself that he “cheated the cheats.” His skill with cards was extraordinary. He was elusive too, and soon became known as The Phantom of the Card Table.

We call have a sneaking admiration for the man who can deal from the bottom of the deck and get away with it. That’s why New York’s finest magicians gathered to watch Walter Scott and later paid generously to learn his methods. And that’s why some sixty years later Gary Osborne (“Gazzo”), a magician from England, decided to track him down. To his utter surprise, he found him, living in a retirement home in Rhode Island. The two became friends and Scott openly discussed his work with a view to it finally being published. “I don’t care what you say,” said Scott, “as long as you tell the truth.” This then, is the truth about Walter Irving Scott.

The book includes stories of other legendary card experts such and a full explanation of the methods Scott used to fool the finest sleight of hand artists in the world.

“There isn’t a card player who wouldn’t cheat, if he knew how.” – Walter Irving Scott, The Phantom of the Card Table.


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