For Episode 117, the Discourse in Magic boys got a chance to sit down with Jason England. If you didn’t know, Jason England is the leading expert on Erdnase, Casino gambling and cheating. His interest in cards
started after learning how to play blackjack with his Grandma, and watching the Carson show with
his Dad, which lead him to the beginnings of buying card books.
Because of this, he stumbled into a magic shop and bought even more books, sticking with playing cards for their portability and efficiency.
By then he became interested in gambling techniques, and in the late 1990s, two magicians from
his home town introduced him to tricks that typically used fake decks to using real decks
(Blowing. His. Mind). From there, his book addiction grew, finding a commonality in reading up on cheaters. This then started his interest in cheating, and after meeting Gary Plants at his first magic convention, reinforced this – and later finding out that the whole thing was filmed.
“As magicians, we have to accept that we don’t know something, which is hard for us” he says.
Eventually, Jason found out about Erdnase, Expert at the Card Table as all of his many books keep referencing it. And he talks about the history and reasons why it’s important. Then going into all of the common speculations, theories and conspiracies surrounding Erdnase, and the developments on the identity of who he was.
“Erdnase didn’t invent the magic book, what he did was improve it” he says. Jason then talks about the realities of cheating and how it affects everything from casinos to underground games, even talking common techniques. He then goes full conspiracist and talks about inside jobs, what really happens on gambling boats. But it’s all about broadening horizons and moral issues (…right?) and one story of how he taught a casino dealer how to false shuffle.
In 2009, theory11 contacted him to film the Foundations course and they’re now filming
Foundations IV, with the Double series getting a lot of praise from the Discourse in Magic team.
Check out Jason Englands’ work with Theory11
(Everyone should check it out).
What do you want to ask the audience?
What do you want to achieve?
Be an interesting person first, and a master magician second
Who should we have on the podcast?