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Ernie Bryan

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Ernie Bryan
BornEarnest Carl Bryan
February 8, 1917
Seymour, Iowa
DiedJanuary of 1992 (age 74)
Wilsonville, Oregon,

Ernie Bryan (1917-1992) was one of the top bunco lecturers in the Western states. He was a Past president of the P.C.A.M. and of the Portland Society of Magicians along with being an active member of the S.A.M. and I.B.M.


He was a nationally recognized authority on counterfeiting devices and sleight of hand, toureing extensively exposing gambling cheating methods. He worked with numerous law enforcement agencies and many of the major casinos in Nevada.

At age nine, he saw his Howard Thurston at the State Fair, who invited a young Ernie on stage to assist. Bryan learned con game techniques from the carnival workers his parents would take in during the off season.

He graduated from Utah State College in Logan, Utah, where he wrote a college paper on "The History of Cards."

Bryan moved to Portland after serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He performed shows for thousands of troops.

During his travels, he would teach classes to police departments and businesses on con game techniques. He was on the security board of Harold's Club in Nevada for several years and was both Captain of Detectives and Vice Deptuty, King County Sherriffs Dept, Seattle, Washington, and was a chief adviser to the Washington State Gambling Commission.

He died of complications from diabetes in his Wilsonville home. His ashes were spread over one of his favorite fishing ponds in Seymour, Iowa.[1][2]


  1. Obit, Genii 1992 October
  2. Obit, M-U-M, NOVEMBER 1992