Passes and breaks are essentially the same thing, but their relation is like this: a pass is created by doing a break. When you do a break, you subtly seperate two cards or two halves of a deck or whatever. When you seperate them, an open space is created (a passage) for cards to be put in there or pulled out of it.
This is the most common break, because it is easily hidden. The end result is always that you have a deck in your hand that looks normal to the audience, but at the back you have your pinky stuck between there to mark a certain spot. To get there, you can use multiple techniques.
For all pinky breaks, for them to look as natural as possible: tilt the deck a bit forward, put extra pressure on the top with your thumb, and don't put your whole pinky in between but only a 'bit of flesh' so to speak. This makes sure people mostly see the front and top of the deck and never notice that the back is a bit larger.
- For seperating card(s) from the top. Subtly move the top card(s) with your thumb towards your pinky. Lower the pinky to make the cards rest upon it, and then slide the cards back while holding the pinky between cards.
- OR apply a lot of pressure with your thumb at the top right corner. Use your middle finger (and perhaps the pinky too) to keep the bottom cards down. This way, the top cards' bottom left corner will jump up in the back so you can put your pinky in that gap.
- For seperating card(s) from the bottom. Simply lower your pinky, while keeping the other fingers at their place to avoid raising suspicion, and use the part right under your nail to break as many cards as you like.
- For seperating card(s) somewhere in the middle. Often, you randomly cut the deck and ask the spectator to put his card in there. There's no trick there, the trick comes when you put back the top half of the deck. As you do this, move your pinky a bit inward and/or apply inward pressure with it to keep a small break between the chosen card and the top half (doesn't have to be very large). Then all you need to do, is find a way to distract the audience and quickly move the bottom half to the top (make it look like your cutting/shuffling), and you've already recovered the card!
The thumb break is similar to the one with your pinky. Instead of having your thumb at the side of the deck, you want it at the back. Index and pinky are then on left and right, and middle and ring finger at the side opposite to the thumb. Your hand can be below or above the deck, but below is the more natural grip. Just as with the pinky break, you can use your thumb's flesh to create a break somewhere in the middle of the deck. To get cards from the top, you can do two things:
- Let all the other cards of the deck fall into your hand, and have only the remaining one or two cards from the top touching your thumb. This can be done quite smoothly.
- Use your other hand to do a quick countback. This means that, if you for example need the top two cards, you place your left hand over the deck and grab a portion of the top cards and quickly drop them again until you feel there's two left between your fingers. You can then pick those cards up, or use your thumb from the right hand to hold the break at the back of the deck.