I've been fascinated by false deals for awhile now; specifically the second deal. Erdnase wrote that becoming adept at second dealing "Is as difficult a task as can be given in card handling" and as anyone proficient in false deals can tell you, he sure as hell wasn't lying. Besides learning the required fundamental techniques, one must also pay considerable attention to details that one wouldn't normally consider when handling cards. Details such as stiffness, speed, brief size, the take, and rhythm.
The following are just a few of my thoughts regarding some of the above mentioned details and how I choose to handle them. Though, like most techniques in magic, there is a time and place for each practice. How one decides which train of thought to engage in is completely subjective to them and their scenario but I believe that Vernon's adage of being natural is key. Or, more precisely, natural to ones-self.
First Thing's First
The first and most obvious detail to take note of is that the deal demonstrated is a strike second. This is the first false deal I ever started working on and remains my favorite to this day. It's taken a while and it still isn't perfect (nor do I think anything really is) but I've been fortunate enough to have some great friends help me in my journey. Most notably Gary Plants, Jared Kopf, and Derek Delgaudio. All of them have taken the time to sit down on a hotel table or carpet, fix a finger or two, and leave me dreaming as to what is possible with a second deal. Not mention that they're all master false dealers as well. I'd also like to point out two excellent resources in print for the strike second deal; that of Expert Card Technique and Effective Card Magic along with anything that Jason England has put in print and on video. Alex Pandrea also has some nice touches to explore.
I've noticed that most people when false dealing tend to have a rather stiff body composition. You see them tense up both before and during the deal and only see them loosen up once they've completed dealing therefore successfully telegraphing the effort they're putting in. Relax, take a breath, and just deal. Also notice on the first round of the deal, the hand which is holding the deck has a sort of bounce to it.
Size of Brief
Brief size is something that is almost exclusive to Strike Seconds. It's also something that's a hotly debated issue with false dealers. Vernon was known to say that the size of the brief didn't matter and I agree with him. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't strive to minimize our briefs. It keeps us sharp and keeps us working towards a goal. Plus, if you can master a small brief, you should have no trouble with a larger brief. It's good to give yourself some comfort room every now and then. Let's be honest, though. Whoever says that brief size doesn't matter clearly didn't put enough practice in. Don't be that dude.
I firmly believe that dealing at a machine gun rate is useless. Unless we're playing cards in a burning room and a beam is about to fall on the table, there is no need to get the cards out that fast. Sure, it's cool to be able to do it and might make a dealing demo impressive but there's no real need for it. The last round dealt at that speed merely serves as a demonstration that it can be done. Deal at a natural and comfortable rate but practice with varying speeds.
I find the take to be the completing aspect of any false deal in an aesthetic sense. Keep in mind that both of your hands are putting work in but only one is really scrutinized. However, that is no excuse to have a crappy take. In real game play cards are sailed whereas in most magic tricks or dealing demos they're dealt straight down. Now, before one quickly dismisses the idea of sailing cards because "it's not that big of a change" I invite you to do so. Go ahead, sail a few cards. Eh, not so easy now? Practice sailing them. It'll get you places.
Gary Plants was the first individual to bring the concept of rhythm to my attention. At it's core, the idea of rhythm is to have a smooth even deal every time you execute your take with a nice even tempo and flow. The worst thing to watch is a false dealer with crappy rhythm. That's like watching a guitarist try to play the intro to Stairway to Heaven but not get past the first few notes. It's just bad. The best way I've found to practice this is by dealing along with a metronome. It'll get you dealing at a smooth steady rate and slowly ease you into a relaxed physical state. Once that tension is gone, you'll find it easier to loosen up and combine all of these facets together into a smooth dealing pattern. Watching other false dealers work is a great way to see how they utilize different types of rhythms and tempos.