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*

HIGH CALIBER

l(r

ntr

'E

HIGH CATIBER

JoHtt BnuNoN

s Q u AS

H P U B LIS H lN G *

ICAG 0

High Caliber
By fohn Bannon

Photographs by )essica Bannon


Layout, design and jacket design by Gabe Fajuri

Copyright @ 2013 ]ohn Bannon. AII rights reserved. No portion ofthe book
or any of its contents may be reproduced by any means now known or to be
invented without written permission from the publisher.
Squash Publishing
Chicago, IL 60640
w w w.

qu a shp ubli sh ing.

co

ISBN- 13: 97 8-0 -97 44681 -9 -8

654321

Fon Jessrcn

And although this art is so wonderful, still it is held in no


honor... . The reasons are various, it seems to me; fitst, the
art is concerned with useless matters; second, it is practiced
by men of low degree.
G. Cardano
De Subilitate,l.554

FOREWORD

Itt

hard to believe that I publishedDearMisterFantay almost ten years ago. Since that
time, tricks from my notes and others newly-created have found their way into print.
In High Caliber,I've collected all of my published material since Dear Mister Fantasy
and put

it all in one place.

Most of the tricks were in a series of self-published booklets. The advent of inexpensive print-on-demand services made it easy (and, in a way, fun) to produce these
smaller tomes. I love the litde booklets. They were small, colorful, convenient and
manageable. I am sure I will continue to produce them.
The time seemed right to gather them up and, fot a mofe Permanent edition, make
a hardback book. I have combined all seven of these booklets, the tricks from my
MAGIC MagaTfne appearance, and a couple contributed to other proiects.
Over fotq, tricks in all.

In

a wa1r,

I've been writing this book along the way, instead of waiting ten

years.

were pubJished and then either re-published or overhauled and re-published over the period. When a parttctlar version of a trick had been overcome by

A few tricks
events,

I left it out.

There are a couple

in

of

exceptions, however. "Origami Poker Revisited" was set fofth


tetold in n ff^t1ve style in MAGIC. So I kept both.

Six. Inpossibh. Things., and then

"Fractalfts62ll"-2 parttcular f2ys1i1s-i5 included in both Mega Vaue,then


revised in Shffin'. Even though only the opening procedutes were changed, both
have merit. Please excuse thrs bit of redundancrr
Similarl,ri

For those of vou who acquired one or more of the included booklets over time, thank
Iou for youf suppoft ovef the )rears. You have been the impetus to continue. Those
booklets are now out

of print.

Forever.

though the interaction of a session was Present. Not


a"teacher," but as a colleague. As I said in Dear Mister Faatay:

I have always tried to write

as

Hrcx

CnLrsER

as

Vll

"While

hope you like the tticks, with any luck maybe you'll finish feeling like we've
of our favorite subjects."

spent some time together on one

John Bannon
Chicago, Illinois

Vlll

Joxru Bnurolt

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Directly and indirectly, "Magic" is a collaboraive art. Indirect collaborators provide


inspiration, background, and foundation. Magic, in part, is always a product of the
creator's influences. Direct collaboration is where the fun is.
There are many people who helped with the tricks, the writing, the "slim volumes"
and this compendium.

As the "Chicago Session," Simon Atonson and Dave Solomon have been coflstant
sources of both inspiration as well as helpful cdticism.
Rai Madhok has been a consultant and confidant for a long time, as well as a tireless
editor.

Mike Vance did vitat proofreading at the last momeflt, elevating the entire proiect
in the process. My publisher, Gabe Faiuri, whipped the entire work into fine shape,
inside and out.
Owen Packard not only made me look good on video, he relendessly pushed for more
and more promotion. He made the Magic Seen arrd MAGIC MagaTine cover stories
possible.

The ever-creative card star, Liam Montier, is one to watch. Other than my own stuff,
there are three tricks that

do whenever

can' One

of them is Liam's.

John Bannon

Hrcn Calrsen

lX

*
*

CourENTs
Fnncrnl Cnno Mnotc (zooe)

-t

The Royal Scam...3

Duplicig,...14

Srx. tr.,rpossrBLE. THINGs. (zoog)

23

Counterpun ch. . .25


Four Faces North...31
\X/atching the Detectives.

34

NewJax...38
Full Circle...42
Origami Poker Revisited. . .44
Riverboat Poker...46
The Einstein Overkill.

.. 53

Opeu AND NoroRtous (zoog)

57

Opening the Open Predictron...59

Fiftr-One Fat Chances...61


Que Ser6 Ser6...65

View to a 'Skill...69

MEGA rWAVE (2010)

79

Nlega lMave...81

Hrcn Cnuaen

Xl

Fractal Re-CaII...91

Short Attention Scam. ..99


Mag-7...105
FractalJacks...109
Wicked! (Itanspositio n)

...114

BuLrEr PARrY (2011)

119

BulletPargr. ..121

Bullet Catcher...1.31,

Drop Target Aces...135


Four ShadowAces...141
Flipside Assembly.. . 148
Big Fat Bluff Aces.. .154

BoxJumper...161
Fat City Revisited.. .169
Poker Pairadox Redux. ..175

Question Zero...182
Elias Multiple Shift. . .186

Crocodile False Cut... 189


Flytrap False Cut...192

* TnlnaoucAl

(wrrn

LrRr"r MorurrER, 2011)

B'rairiac. ..1.97
Short Attention Spin. ..206

Montinatot 5.0...21.0

OuE OFF

215

Aces Over E asy Q010). . .217


One of the Better Losers Q012)...220

* Alt lu (unatc Maoazrue,FeeRunRy zo12l Chrontc...229

Buf'd...237

Xll

Joxn Bnruuon

227

195

Ot g^-i Poker Revisited...244


Ion Man...253
Bannon at the Sidebar

SnurruNr

(R.ai

Madhok)...260

(2012)

263

Spin Doctor...265
Power

of Poker...278

Bannon Ttiumph...285

Fnctal Recall (R.emix). . 289


.

Orrgr-i Prediction.

298

Hrar Cnlreen

Xll!

HIGH CALIBER

FRACTAT CARD MAGIC

How ther- are paid in gold


Just to babble in the back room
AIi night and s'aste their time . .
See the

Of

glon.

the Ror-al Scam

Steely Dan
The Roya/ Scant

Tnr

RoYnt

ScnN,l

PnEcrs
c<Q'tr3g'tr[s"-on steroids.
An expanded version of Roy Walton's classic

A number of identical red-backed Aces of

Spades are shown. Some

of

the Aces are

turned face-down, others areleft face-up. Nevertheless, the packet of the Aces undetectably turns all face-up and, then, all face-down-almost like magic. All of the faces
and all of the backs are shown repeatedly.

During the process, two piles of Aces are created: one face-up, the other face-down.
Unexpectedlyi each of the Aces in the face-up pile is turned face-down and is seen to
now have a different-colored back.
As a complete surprise, the remaining face-down 'Aces" afe tufned face-up and have
now become a Royal Straight Flush in Spades.

You end clean and everything may be examined. No palming or difficult sleight-ofhand. Nothing added or taken away.

FRncrnt Cnno Mnatc

Mrse Eu ScEue
Mnrenrer
You require a Rovai Flush (that is, the Ace, I{ing, Queen, Jack, and Ten) in Spades
u'ith red Biq,cle backs. In addition, r'ou require four duplicate Aces, each rvith a different color and back design. (Photo 1.)

Since the cards are unprepared, r,ou could put together the set ),ourself. If you are
having trouble finding four different backs, )rou could substitute four duplicate Aces
with red backs (with a blue-backed Royal Flush). If you take this approach, with a
permanent marker, mark the back of each Ace, but to emphasize the individualitv of
each Ace, mark each one differentlrr You don't have to use Aces. You could use four
duplicates of an1, one of the fi.r.,e Royal Flush cards.

lN FonMnnoN
This is a preferred set-up and lavdown procedure that uses a Hamman Count and a
self-working Takagi Turnover Dispial, Count. An easier, r'et acceptable, procedure
using the venerable Glide is explained next.

Arrange the cards in the following order from the face

Ace of Spadu

colored-ltack

Ace of Spadu

co/ored-back

Ace of Spadu

colored-back

Ace of

colored-back

Spades

Of Spades, face-down
Ten Of Spades, face-down
King

Joxtr Bnruroru

red-backed
ted-backed

of

the packet:

Of Spades
Jack Of Spades
Queen Of Spades
Ace

red-backed
red-backed
red-backed

Begin with the packet face-down in left-hand dealing position. Turn the packet faceup and give the packet a "seven-count" Hamman Count to show that the packet
consists

of

all Aces.

In a "seven-count" Hamman Count, you would take the packet from above with
your right hand and, with your left thumb, pull each of the first thtee Aces into your
Ieft hand. As 1,e11 appe r to pull the fourth Ace, however, the right-hand packet is
switched for the left-hand packet. The first thlss flsss-norru in your right
pulled onto the left-hand cards as the fifth, sixth and seventh Aces.

hand-afe

As you execute the Hamman Count, however, it is important that you do not count the
cards aloud or otherwise call attention to the actual number of Aces you have. In a

minute, you will show eight Aces and eventually you will end up with nine cards. The
discrepancies will not be noticed as long as you never specifically identify the actual
number.

After you complete the Hamman Count, deal the uPpermost Ace face-up onto the
table. Now, flip the packet face-down and deal the top card face-dowfl onto the faceup Ace in an ovedapping spread.
Turn the entire packet face-up and deal the next face Ace face-up onto the others.
Turn the packet face-down and deal the top card face-down onto the others. (This
self-working disptay count is from the Takagi Wild Card Routine.)
You have created an ovedapping row of 'Aces" that are alternately face-up and facedown. I'lI refer to this as the "Tabled Ace Row." (Photo 2.)

Fnncrnl Cnno Mnarc

Finallri turn the packet face-up and give it an Elmslev Count to shos' four Aces. This
completes the preliminarv displavs and lar-dorvn. Yout audience sl-rould have no reason to believe that vou are vorking rvitl-r anr-thing other than a set of identical Aces.

ArreRnnre FoRunnoN

(GLr DE VERSroN)

Vrith this alternate procedure, \-ou can achier-e the same objectives and position bv
using the venerable Glide. Arrange the cards in the follori'ing otder from the face of
the packet:
Ace

oJ'

Spadu

colored-back

Ace

oJ' Spade.r

co/ored-back

of

red-backed

Queen

Spades

Ace oJ Spades

co/ored-ltack

of

red-backed

Jack

Spades

Ace af Spades

co/ored-l.tack

of Spades, face-dorvn
Ten of Spades, face-dor.r,n

red-backed

Ir-ing

Ace

of

Spades

red backed
ted-backed

Begin r,vith the packet face-dor.r,n in left-hand dealrng position. Turn the packet faceup and call attention to the Ace at the face of the packet. Deal that face Ace face-up

onto the table. Another Ace

r.r,ill shorv on the face

of

the packet.

You rvill apparentlr'deal the Ace on the face of the packet, thcc-dos'n onto thc hrst
Ace. Turn vour left hand palm-dor,vn. Now, using vour left finsers, gliclc beck thc trcc
card of the packet about half an inch. (Photo 3.)
$(/ith your right fingers, remove the second card ftom the tace (the (]uecn). (Photo
4.)

Jonu

Bnruruoru

Place the card, still face-down,

into an ovedapping row on the Ace. (Photo 5.)

Turn your left hand palm-up-an Ace rvill show at the face of the packet. Deal the
Ace face-up on top of the tabled Aces in an ovedapping fow. Another Ace will show
at the face

of

the packet.

Repeat the Glide by turning your left hand palm-down again, gliding back the face
card of the packet. Again, femove the second cafd from the face (the Jack) and place

it still face-down into an overlappirlg rou/ on the tabled cards'


You have created an ovedapping row of 'Aces" that are alternatell, face-up and facedown. I'il refer to this as the "Tabled Ace Row" (Photo 6.)
Finally, turn the packet face-up and give it an Elmsley Count to show four Aces. Your
audience should have no reason to believe that vou are $/orking with anything other
than a set

0r

of identical

Aces.

Pnnnoe

You are now going to perform a series of effects rvith the packet in your Ieft hand.
Each time the uppermost card of the packet is face-up, all of the cards are face-up.
But, each time the uppermost card is face-down, all of the catds are inexplicabll'facedown. Ttr-is wiil be repeated a number of times. While ver1, visual, this phase is a litde
redundant. In designing )'our presentation, vou'll need to pay careful attention to this
redundanct'.

Rorroven 0nce
Elmslel'Count) that the packet in 1'our hand consists of al1 face-up Aces. Actuall),, only the top three cards are face-up Aces; the bottom two afe tw'o face-down flush catds.
Okal', vou have just shown

@,"

^,

Fnncrnl Cnno Mncrc

Deal the face Ace onto the table to the right of the Tabled Ace
the start of the "Face-Up Ace Pile." (Photo 7.)
Pick up the apparentiv face-down Ace at the right
it face-down onto the packet.

of

Ror.r,:

This Ace rvill be

the Tabled Ace Row and place

Give the packet an Out-Of-Position-Elmsler-Count (OPEC Count) to shorv tour


face-dor.vn cards. For those unfamiliar rvith the OPEC count, the mechanics are exactl1'the same as a regular Elmslev Count excePt that on the first count, the bottom
card of the packet is taken instead of the top card. (Photo 8.)
You can do the OPE,C count in the regular "ens-twe-1h1ss-feu1" cadence. I find
it a little more effective if the rh1'thm is altered as follows: Instead of aiming for a
smooth four-count, femove the bottom card, pause for abeat, and then resume the
count as if vou were counting the last three on top of the initial card. The cadence is
<

Ofle-

b e ct

t-1u/6-1h1ss-fq111."

move the bottom card to the top and then do a regular Elmslel' Count, but
why inject a gratuitous transfer into the proceedings? Since this phase rvili be repeated

You

cotr/d

four times, ),ou will end up doing four gtatuitous transfers. The OPEC Count is so
much more efficient here.
So the effect here is: When the top face-up Ace is replaced

of the other

with a face-down Ace, all

Aces turn face-down as well.

RottoveR Twrce
Now, you will make the supposedlv face-down cards turn face-up. Deal the top facedown card onto the table to the left of the Tabled Ace Rorv. This card r,vi-ll be the start
of the "Face-Down Ace Pile." (Photo 9.) Pick up the face-up Ace from the end of
the Tabled Ace Rorv and place it onto the packet. Give the packet an OPEC Count to
show four face-up Aces.

Joxn Bnnruon

Ror.r.oveR Tnrno
There are two effects so fat, "all face-down" and "all face-up." You will now rePeat
both of those phases again with the two temaining cards in the Tabled Ace Row.

The packet apparently consists of all face-up Aces. Deal the face Ace on top of the
first Ace in the Face-Up Ace Pile. Then, pick up the face-down'Ace" in the Tabled
Ace Row and place it face-down on toP

of

the packet.

Nolg give the packet ),et another OPEC Count to show four face-dov'n cards.

Rolloven Founrx
Again, deal the top face-down card onto the table to the Face-Down Ace Pile to left
of the Tabled Ace Row (only one face-up Ace remains in the spread). Pick up the
last face-up Ace from the tabled spread and place it onto the packet. (See Photo 10.)
Give the packet an OPE,C Count to show four face-up Aces.

Fnncrnl Cnno Mncrc

Rolr.oveR Frrrx
Having done the face-up/face-down phases, then repeating them, 1'ou will now wraP
up with a series of surprising reversals. All of these reversal phases should be done
with dispatch, but the last few should be done at a quicker Pace.

Deal the top face-up Ace onto Face-Up Ace Pile. There are no other Aces in the
tabled Ace row. Nevertheless, flip the uppermost Ace of the left-hand packet, facedown onto the packet-a red back should show: Give the packet a final OPEC Count
to show four face-down cards.

MnueuveRs
\X/ithout pausing, deal the top face-down card onto the Face-Down Ace Pile.

You are left with a three-card packet. NTith your left thumb, push the top card to the
right. Then, pinch the packet with your right hand and, by moving your right thumb
forward and fingers backward, "squiggle" the top and bottom cards of the packet. At
the same time, take the middle card with 1,our left hand and move it to the left, then
downward, and then under the two right-hand cards. (See Photo 11.) A face-up Ace
appears sandwiched between nvo face-down cards. Remove the face-up Ace and place
it onto the Face-Up Ace Pile.

Square the remaining trvo face-down cards. Take them from above with your right
hand. Turn yout right hand palm-up to show the Ace at the face of the packet. Turn

yout hand palm-down and, with your left thumb, pull the top face-down card off the
packet and drop it onto the Face-Down Ace Pi1e.
Show the final Ace and drop it onto the Face-Down Ace Pile as well.

FrRsr FneuLous Cr,runx


At this point, you've completed a number of reversal effects, sometimes face-up and

10

Jonu Bnnnon

sometimes face-down. These effects have been memorialized by the face-up and face-

downpacketsoflthetable.Because)Iou,verepeatedlyshownthefacesandbacksof
the cards, your audience's conviction that the cards are all identical Aces of Spades
should be ver1, high. of course, nothing could be further from the truth . .
.

pick up the Face-Up Ace Pile. Slowly deal each Ace into a face-down row to show that
each has a different-colored back. (See Photo 12.) This is a uery surprising turn of
events.

Secoro FneuLous Cuunx


The best is yet to come, however. Pick up the Face-Down Ace Pile. Spread them toward l,ourself, like a hand of cards. Turn the hand around to show the Royal Flush.
(See Photo L3.) You are clean and everl'thing can be examined'

PReseurnttott
Presentation is a personal thing. You need to give some thought as to how to tie all
of the various effects togethef. It's actually a bit of a challenge. I began with a Pfesentation Jon Racherbaumer had with the original "Cascade," involving the notion that
magicians must "practice." A simple 2lt1s12tie6-"moves, misdirection, and making
money"-1i.d it all together (sometimes it doesn't take much). So, for illustrative purposes, here is the presentation
yoa knory

do with a//

of

Well,

accaruulate a lot of
those

use these

use:

p/Eing

cards.

haue

PIE'ing cards.

extra cards

to

prartice. \'oa golta'pracfice'

HereJ one of ng farurite cards-the Ace of Spad*


ase these caruls to

draaercfir/l of them. People ask me what

have a small co/lection of Aces

practice three things: ruoues, misdirection' and wE's of ntaking monel

of Spadel

III showlou'

Fnncrnl Cnno Mnalc

11

First, the "mlues," or sleight of hand. I'll deal

A//

the cards areface-up.

cepib!

cattses the rest

The ke1 word,


the

of

of

course,

aface-down card onto thepacket and do the ruoue which imper-

the cards to

is

Acesface-ap and someface-down.

tnnt laer:The1,ys allfau-down.

"iruperceptib1."

Ill put

aface-up Ace onto thepacket, and now a//

of

Aces haue turnedface-up.

lrlow

III

Now

But

do

it

again in slow motion. Face-down, face-down. Face-up, fon-t,p.

can do this

all da1 kng. It's practice after al/.

I don! use these Aces znlt t0 practice

Asfar
And

mouet;

also ase them

as misdirection goes, whenlou werenT looking,

ferent cards. The17e still


remember the

trick inuolued
a

II/ place

sotae

Royl

one

to

practice misdirection.

switched these

Acesforfour compkte! df-

Aceq but thel're fron four completefi dffirent decks. ThatJ misdirertion.

I said this
A Royl Flush-and

third thing was pracilcing wals of making monel? Remember when

of ml fauoite

cards?

Here are the rest of n1 fauoite cards:

Straight Flush will alwals get the mone1.

Posr MoRren
Cnrorrs
This is essentially an "uber"-version

of

Roy NTalton's celebrated "Cascade." This extended version has eliminated the need to remove any cards from the packet in order

to end clean. The card that does all of the work (the normal red-backed Ace of
Spades) blends nicely

inle the final Royal Flush.

Over the years, I had played around with combining "Cascade" with the equally classic I{ane/Garcia "$7ild Card" without afly real success. In JanuarT, 2004, I saw an
internet video of Gerr1, 6666n doing a trick called "Queens Out Of Control" which
also appeared to be an extended version of "Cascade."

As it turns out, the Griffin trick is apparentll, just a technical variation of Magic
Ronnay's "The Sympathetic Cards," which was marketed b1, f,ms1..n and West in
the 1970s and is still being sold b), Frn, Inc. rVith all due respect, the Ronnav trick
is a technical and presentational nightmare. The Griffin routine cleans up a litde of
the handling (mainly by adding "Cascade"-type elements), but the overall effect is still
incoherent.

All of that being said, I u/ent back to the drawing board. Combining elements of
"Cascade," my eadier "Call. of the \fild," and the Ronnay and Griffin routines, about
a month later, I eventually came up with "The Royal 5.^-."
This trick improves on "The Sr.mpathetic Cards" (and "QOOC") in a number of
u'ays. The single packet approach streamlines and clarifies the handling, and the OPEC

12

Joxr.r BauruoN

Counts minimize gratuitous single-card transfers. Most importantly, the grouping of


cafds at the climax (four color-changng backs and a five-card Royal Flush) is mote
s)rmmetrical, logical and cohetent (such as these things ate) and therefore more memotable and appealing.

Fnncrnl Cnno Mnctc

13

D u pucrrY
du' plic'

i' ty: contradictory

doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially:


the belying of one's true intentions by deceptive words or action.

PnEcrs
A red-backed Ace from one packet changes places with a blue-backed Ace in another
packet. Yout spectator chooses which Aces transpose. In a series of surprising developments, the mentally-selected Aces appear face-up in each respective packet, and
then their backs prove to be different, and then

as

a frnal cbmax, al.

of

the other cards

in each packet are blank.


Everything is examinable. Ordinary cards. Nothing added or taken away. No difficult
moves.

PRernce
Card tricks are all about trade-offs. This one

1s

no exceptron.

with all the trimmings, very much along the


of "Twisted Sistets" comes from
-very
two features: First,
free selection of the first Queen with a very fair selection
^
of the second. Second, the popular multiple climaxes (revetsed with an oddback and
all the other cards areJokers). Here, we trade-off the free choices of the first feature:
the selection process is begun with one effective equivoque. In return, all of the
cards are ordinary and examinable. A nice feature. But even better, because they are
ordinary, the cards no longer need to be handled by the performer during the various
revelations. Instead, virtually all of the magc can happen in your spectators'hands.
The trick is
lines

a thought-card transposition

of my "Twisted Sisters." Much of

the impact

"Duplicity" is not necess aitly a better trick than "Twisted Sisters." For many, the tradeoffs will not be viorth it. A lot depends on how much you believe the free choices in
"Twisted Sisters" strengthen the overall effect-you may not be willing to lose that

14

Joxr,r Bnrruoru

if

of

the trick depends upon the absolute freedom of choice. Others-those who find the strength of the routine to be the multiple, rapid-fire surprises-mav be more than rvilling to give up some of the freedom
of choice (the equivoque is a prettv good one, b\- the lvat) for the abiJrq' to examine
and the increased freedom of conditions.
feature

you believe the effectiveness

Suit vourself (so to speak).

Mrse Eu ScErur
Plnvns
You rvill need to construct the follorving nvo packets (from the top dorvn):
face-dorvn, red-backed,blank

face-down, red-backed blank


face-tp, b/ne-backed, Ace of C/rrbs
face-dor.vn, red-backed blank

and
face-dos,n, blue-backed blank
face-dou.,n, blue-backed blank
face-rrp, red-backed, Ace oJ' Spades

face-dos,n, blue-backed blank

is in rvhich packet, as long as it has the othet colored back


and r-ou knorv s'hich Ace is in rvhich packet. Both Aces must be of the same color.
You could also use the Ace of Hearts and the Ace of Diamonds' You don't e-u'en need

It doesn't matter ri-hich Ace

f9 lrss r\6ss-ant'r'a1ue

5ti1l rvork.

FRncrnl Cnno Mnalc

15

of

blank cards, you can use Jokets or red spot cards. While in "Twisted Sisters" I preferred Jokers, I actualll, prefer blanks in this routine. Here's whr.,. Blank
cards ate not "ordinary" cards. As such, the)'attract attention and civil-ians want to see
and to examine them. So in tricks like "Twisted Sisters" where some of the cards can't
Instead

I opt for Jokers, which are "ordrnar \/' and don't provoke anv undue curiosity. $7here the cards can be examined, whv not use blanks to add an unusual aspect
to the proceedings? I keep the packets in a "packet-trick wallet," one ofl each side.
be examined,

Selrcrn
Presentation is a personal thing, so let's first walk through the trick and emphasize the
ke1,

presentational elements.

Offer y,6s1 spectator a selection of either the red-backed packet or the blue-backed
packet. Be sure to give her the opportunitl, to change her mind and to take the other
packet if she wishes. Itt good to emphasize those choices, which are free.
Once she has finalized her choice, sa)r the blue-backed packet, give the packet an EImsley count to show four, face-down, blue-backed cards-placing the last card on the
bottom of the packet. As 1,ou do this, ask her to imagine that the packet contains the
fours Aces, " Clubs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds."
Remark that, since she has chosen the blue-backed packet, you are left with the red.

Give your packet an Elmslel, count (again, placing the last card on the bottom) and
of the four Aces.

ask the spectator to imagine that this packet, too, consists

Now we begin an equivoque to force the two black Aces. I use the estimable "remove" gambit that I first encountered in my friend Max Mavent popuiar "B'wave."
Ask your spectator to imagine the fout Aces, "C/abs, Hearts, Spades, and Diamonds."
Now ask her to "remove" either the red or black Aces. The question is ambigrrous
because you don't say whether the Aces are removed to be used or to be discarded.

In

retrospect, either interpretation seems plausible.


Have her acknowledge that she has performed this mental instruction.

give her vet

another chance to change her mind. Now ask pointedly, which of the Aces did she
"remove."? The presentation now varies slighdy depending upon her answer.

If

she answers ttBlack"

If

she answers "Black," ask her which of the black Aces she d like to be her Ace.
Once she tells you, you again can give her the opporturrity to change her mind. When
she has finally decided, say that you will take the other Ace as yours.

To wit: "Good,

lour

own?

the

Arelou

Ace of Spades and

Ace of Clubs. Which Ace wouldlou like to keepfor

sure? Want to changelowr mind? Oka1,

[Clzbs/ Spades/)'

16

the

JoHN Bnrunoru

III

take the otberAcq the Ace of

If

she answers "Red"

If

she answers "Red," you must first establish that the red Aces were "removed," that
is, discarded,which "leaves" the black Aces. This must be done faid1, blundy, and then
without pause, ask her which of the remaining black Aces she'd like to be her Ace. As

before, once she tells you, you can give her the opportunig'to change her mind' When
she has finall1, jssiflsd, say that you will take the other Ace as yours.

Along the lines of: "Good, we'll remoue the red Aces; that leaues the Ace of Spadu and the Ace
of Clubs. If,/hich Ace wouldlou like to keepforlour own? Arelou sare? Would1ou like to change

yur

mind? Oka1,

Ill

take tbe otherAce, the Ace of [Ckbs/SpadesJ."

TRnruspose
Now comes the most important part of the presentation. You annouflce that a transposition is going to occur: Her selected Ace will "change places" with your Ace. This
statement, too, is deliberately ambiguous. You do not say which Ace from which packet will change places with which Ace in the other packet. This ambiguity is the key to
the whole trick (as in "Twisted Sisters"). The element of transposition justifies the
existence of trvo packets, which conveniendy provides a runonale for the other of the
rwo cards that possibly could have been selected. The ambiguiry allows the transposition to make sense regardless of which Ace was selected by the spectator and which
was left for you. (The transposition element also provides some time misdirection
auralr f1e11 the selection process.)

Do rvhatever you do to "cause" the transposition. Now ask your SPectatof to announce her selected Ace. The selected Ace will be either (i) face-up in the packet she
is holding, or (ii) face-up in the packet )rou are holding. ffou must remember which
Ace is where. I simply remember that the Spade is in the blue-backed packet.) Again,
depending on which situation )rou have, the presentation changes a Litde.

If

the spectator's Ace is in the packet she is holding

If the spectator's selected Ace is in the packet she is holding, ask her to slowly spread
her packet. (Photo 2.)

Fnncrnl CnRo Mncrc

17

The fhcc-r-rp
is startlins.

^ppearance

Sprcacl vour packct

of hcr tl-rought-of Acc, in 1-rer os-n packet, in her os-n

hands,

to shos- r-our selected ,\ce, too, is iace-up. The "transposition"

is not cr-iclent, r-et (but rvill be in a momcnt). For nos' tl-rc appear^nce
cnough.

If

the spectator's Ace is not in the packet she is holding

II

t1-rc

spectator's Ace is not in the packet

s1-re

oi

the Aces is

is hoiding, then it must be in the packet

\'oLl are holcling. Emphasizc that vou s'crc going

to make the Aces "change places,"


and sprcacl r-our packet to shos- l-rer ,\ce thce up. Nos, recall the name of "r-our"
Acc and point ont that sl-re s1-ror-r1cl have vout card in hcr packct. Har-e her spread her
packct to shos- the fhce-up ,\ce.

I think tllis is lareeh'due


to thc snclclcn xppearance of thc thce-up Accs s'l-rich is jurstified bv the transposition
sccnario. In tl-rc first casc, the tact of a transposition is not imn-iediatelr' obr-ious, but
\-ou arc xbolrt to clrl'e that s-ith anotl-rer surprlse
Sec l-rrxv niceh- this s-orks no matter s-hat the situation is?

Bncrn
Floldins the sprcad packct s-ith vour letl hand, s'itl-r vour risht hancl slos,lv remove
thc thce-up Acc ti-om thc packct, shos'ins its tull face. ,\sk \-our spectator to do thc
samc. (Photo 3.)
Auain empl-rasize tl-rat \'ou promisccl to make the r\ces "change places." Instruct vour
spectat()t to slos'h- tlrrn o\-er hcr ,\ce. The ,\ce has t1-rc othcr-coloted back. Turn vout
Acc over as u'c11. A transposition has clearh'666u11sd-11rhile the spectator r.vas hold-

ins the carcls. (Photo 4.)


(,ominq on thc hccls

of thc first surprisc, this

sponse. Br:r s-ait, tl-rere'.s mofe . . .

18

Jonru Bnnruoru

second surprise s-ill set a good re-

Pnrotctn
Insert the now face-down odd-backed card into the packet, but leave
about an inch. (Photo 5.) Ask vour sPectator to do the same.

it sticking out

Now both ),ou and your spectator should slowll, turn 1,s111 right hands palm-down,
turning the packet face-up. (Photo 6.) You won't have to point out that het selected
Ace and ,youf selected Ace are the only trvo Aces in play-but go ahead and do it
an\\r,a)'. All of the other cards are blank (otJokers, or spot cards, or in an1' event, not
Aces).

PReseurnrroru
As I said before, presentation is a personal thing. For illustrative Purposes, here is the
presentation I use.
Let

rue

showlou sonrcthing that cannot be exp/ained. You are thisfar awalfrom the Twi/tgltt Zone.

W'e want

First,

Okq,

this t0 befair, soltou get to ruake all of the decisions.

I wantloa
blae.

to choose one

I wantl6y

of

these

packets, red or blm. The onelou don! want wi// be ruine.

to iruagine that this packel contains

the

foar Aces-Clults, HeartL Spades,

and Diantonds. Herq hold onto it.

I get the red cards. Iruagine that

these, t00, are the Aces.

Again,loa get to nnke a/l of the choices. I wantloa

to

picture the Aces-Clabi Hearts, Spades,

Didnlnds-and I want1,611 t0 reil?ll,e either the red ones or the black


Dolotr uant to cltangel'orr ntind? Oka1, which ones didya retnoue?
and

Good, we// rentot,e tbe red Aces; that leaues the Ace
u'orr/dJ,otr

lotr

like to keepforl,our

ruind? Spadu?

OkE, I'/l

oa'n?

Again ili1our

of

Spades and the

choice.

take the otherAc4 the Ace

Areltoa

of

ones.

Hauelou

done that?

Ace of Clubs. Which Ace

sare? If,/oaldlow like to change

C/rrbs.

Fnncrnl Cnno Mncrc

19

Here's whatl going to happen:

ey. ItIl

wi/l nakeyur Ace and

m1

Ace

change

places-right beforeyur

happen right aboat here.

lVatch.
Three impossiltle thingt haue happened.

First, spreadlour cards. YourAce of Spadu isface-up. And


Second, remember whea

tarn it ouer. See thel haue

Finalfi,
Put

of

the

remember when

Ace back into

said

IA

cbanged

plaus.
were this

far

awal

froru the Twilight Zone?

packet, and leaue it outjust a bit. I\ow s/ow/1 turn zuerJlr/r cards.

the other Aces haue uanished, leauing

Like I said, Twilight

Ace of C/ubs isfau-ap.

make the cards change places? Skw/1, takeloarAce out . . . and

I saidyu

tbe

ouer here, m1

onfiyur

chosen

A//

Ace.

Zone.

Posr MoRreu
Wxo
The parent is my own "TUisted Sisters." Max Maven'5 '($'q72vs"-v[vich is a pardculady elegant solution to the "Small-Packet Brainwave" sffs61-was another influence. After seeing "B'wave," and playing around with the "Small-Packet Brainwave,"

rea\zed that by doing the effect with rwo packets at the same time, I could create a
"Small-Packet Thought Catd Transposition" effect. That rcaltzation, in turn, Ied to

"TVisted Sisters," an equivoque-free SPTCT effect with all the bells and whisdes (that
is, the reversed card [Dai Vernon], the odd-backed card fPaul Fox], blank cards

[(ad

Fulvesl).

Coming full circle, having removed all equivoque to get "Twisted Sisters," I am now
putting one back in to arrive at "Duplicity." As a result, only ordinaty cards are needed. Other collateral benefits include: (i) a table, or other working surface, is no Ionger
requited; (ii) use of face cards is not required; any value may be used (Aces, for example); and (iii) the presentation can be structured so that only one spectator parricipates.

stated ear[er, "Dupliciry" is not a better trick than "Twisted Sisters," but the
conditions are much better. Under perfect conditions (fot example, a formal shorv or
a television appearance), I would likely do "Twisted Sisters." On the other hand, in a
casual situation, I would likely do "Duplicity." In fact with a Jittle effort, "Duplicity"
could be performed on the street.

As

Oru

Tue Srneer

As described above, "Duplicity" requires a working surface at one point only-while


you are giving the fitst packet an Elmsley Count, you must set the "packet trick wallet"

20

Joxn Bnnruox

bit. This requirement can be worked around. Here is a way to do "Duplicity" without a working surface, making it complenfi street-read1. (This is what used to be
called "wa1k around.")
down for

Tell vour spectator you are going to show her something unexplainable. Ask her to
extend her hand palm-up. Place the closed packet trick wallet onto her palm. Open
the wallet on her palm and show het the two packets.

"In

here is something unexplainable.

Zone.

OkE,

'Firct,

iti

a card

Hold outlour hand. You are this far

tick. But itI

I wantloa ta choose

one

of

still anexplainable. .

these

awal

from the Twiltghl

packets, red or blue. The onelou don't want wi// be nine.

When she has chosen a color, remove the packet from the wallet and leave the open
wallet on her hand. Do the Elmslel, Count. Now take the rvallet and give her the packet to hold. Remove "),our" packet from the urallet and Put the now-empty wallet away
Presto. Proceed with the rest

of

the routine.

Lrvnrc Lnnce
"Dupliciq;' is even more impressive when performed with iumbo cards. Because the
handling and blocking is much freer, ajumbo, stand-up "Duplicitv" is straightforward
and easy to do; r,ou are onl1, limited b1, 1,our ability to do an Elmsley Count. If 1'ou
can cobble together the right jumbo cards (when I performed "DupJicity" at the 2007

Fechter's Finger Flicking Frolics,

I used the black Aces and red spot cards instead of

blanks), you should give it a tr1.

according to m1, Jumbo Catd Theon', is that audiences do not


^dvaflt^ge,
perceive tricks with jumbo cards as, sttictlrr speaking, "card tricks." This is because
jumbo cards, 'nvhile card-like, are not technicallv plaving cards-you reallv wouldn't
plat'a cardgame with them. Accordingll,, a trick with jumbo cards will not meld with
the other card tricks vou ma)'be doing and is more likelv to be regarded (and remem-

An added

bered) as something special.

Two
You can, of course, routine "Duplici6." to involve two spectators. Since the second
Ace is not reallr- selected, there does not seem to be too much value added.
The most ditect rvay is to have a main spectator select and hold her own packet. Take
vour packet, gir.e it an Elmsler- count, then hand it to a second spectator and ask her
to hold onto it for r-ou. It's sti-[ ")'our" packet; shet just holding it for t'ou. At the appropriate times, have the second spectator perform the cortect actions (that is, spread
the packet, remo\-e and turn over the Ace, tutn her hand over to show the blanks).

You can also inYol'n'e two spectators bi' splitting up the equivoque part

of

the trick.

Fnncrnr Cnno Mncrc

21

Have the first spectator choose the color of the Aces to be "removed." Then, have
the second spectator choose which of Aces she wants for herself; the first spectator
gets the remaining one.

Et-t"tslev Couur
As I mentioned in "Twisted Sisters," you can leave out the Elmsley count at the beginflce of the
rung-just place the selected packet into the spectator's hand. The
^PPear
it
is face-up
Ace,
not
because
is
face-up Ace is surprising only because it the correct
in the first place. I believe, howevet, that the trick is mwch more effective if you show
each packet to consist of four face-down cards with the same-colored back. If you
can do an EC, there is no good reason to leave 1t out.

22

Joxtt Bntuol,t

* slx. lMPosslBtE. THlNGs.

Alice laughed: "Thete's no use ffying," she


said; "one cart't believe impossible things."

"I

daresay you haven't had much ptacice,"


said the Queen. 'qWhen I was younget, I al-

it for half an hout a day.Vhy, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible

ways did

things before bteakfast,"


Lewis Catroll
Alice in lYonderland

Cou NTERPU

cH

This is a "sucker" trick, in that, circumstances are created in which your audience is
Ied to believe that: (i) the trick has been screwed up in a way that it cannot be brought
to a successful conclusion; and (ii) the performer is unaware of the problem; yet, (iii)
the trick is resolved in a satisfactory way; indicating that (iv) the performer was colrning the audience all along. (This last element may not be stricdy necessary, but we can
debate the defirution of a "sucket trick" some other time.) Wh.ile few and far between,
these kinds of tricks can be among the more effective and memorable.

PnEcrs
A card is selected and lost in the deck. The performer

says he needs help

finding the

selected cards, makes a move, and suddenly the Aces are seen reversed in the center
of the deck. The performer removes the Aces and tables the deck. He asserts that he

will make the selected card vanish from the deck and apPear among the Aces.
The problem is: the selected card is, itself, one

of

the Aces.

When the performer is so informed, with a gesture, he reveals that three


have vanished and he is holding only one Ace-the selected catd.

of

the Aces

Mrse En ScEue
Begin with the Aces on top. They are in no particular order, but you are about to force
the uppermost Ace. In fact, by combining a new bluff force I call the "Christ-Cross

Force," with a new appJication of Simon Aronson's "Head Over Heels" procedure,
we are going to; (i) force the Ace; (ii) reverse all four Aces; and (iii) control the revetsed Aces to the top of the deck (with one card covering); while (iv) creating the
illusion that the selected card is lost in the deck. \X/ow And it's reasonably easy to do.
First, let's look at the bare bones force, and then we'Il combine it with "Head Over
Heels."

SIx. lt'tposstBlE. Txtrucs.

25

Txe Cxnrsr-Cnoss Fonce


Hold the deck in left-hand dealing position. S7ith your left thumb, riffle down the side
of the deck and ask vou spectator to stoP the riffle at some point. When she does,
widen the break at the stopping point.

Now with your right hand, take the deck from above, and with vour right forefinger,
lift up the section of the deck above the break. Now slowlv swing-cut the upper portion into your left hand.
Turn the left-hand packet perpendicular and tap the right-hand packet against it once
or twice. Now, return the left-hand packet to dealing position. Place the remaining
portion on top, but offset and angle-jogged to the right. (Photo 1.)

to the sPectator something along the lines of: "Did you


say stop atthat particular time for any particular reason?" You want to emphasize
that you did not do anything fishy, but you want a little time misdirection so l,out
audience forgets the precise configuration of the deck (i.e., which half is which). This
is the same principle used in the venerable "Cross-Cut Fofce," but done in the hands
instead of on the table. But there's more...
Pause, and then say direcdy

Now flip the upper, angle-jogged packet face-up and onto the lower face-down packet, and begin spreading the face-up cards, saying, "No\g you might have stopped me
at any one

of

these catds

..

"

Now in the classic Christ Force tradition, if you sptead all the way down to the first
face-down card and act as if that was the card she stopped you on, you will have
forced the top card of the deck. But we are going to do a little more than that'

CC

Meers

HOH

Let's back up a bit. To do Simoni "Flead Over Heels" move, as you spread thtough

26

Jorn

Bnnruoru

the face-up catds I'ou usuallr- need to cull one


much easier. almost automatic

of them

under the spread. Here is

\\-a\'.

Let's staft at the point rvhere vou'r'e flipped the upper packet face-up onto the lower
packet. Take the upper card rvith vour right hand and take the second card beneath it.
\il,'ith your right frngers, pull the Iorver card of the pair to tl-re right. (Photo 2.)

Norv continue spreading the face-up cards off the deck, feeding tl-rem in benveen the
top pair, commenting on the vafious cards that might have been selected. (Photo 3.)

The second catd is more-or-less automaticallv culled beneath the spread. (In the alternative, iust spfead ofT the face-up cafds and, at some point, cull anv card beneath the
spread using vour far-orite method.)
When r-ou reach the face-dosrn cards,

lift ofT the face-up cards in

spread condition

and gesture to the upPe,:most face-dos,n catd. (Photo 4.) Then, raise vour left hand,
pushing ovef the top card so lour spectator can note its identitv (it rvill be an Ace).
After she does, los,er \-our hand and pull the toP card flush s'ith the packet.

Norv for the HOH. Rest the thce-up spread on the packet, but iniogged about an inch.
Spread ol-er the first ser-eral face-dos,n cards as r-ou remark that vout spectator could
have ended up s-ith anl of them. (Photo 5.)

Srx. Ir{possrBlE. Txtruas.

27

As you do this, secreth'insert the culled card under the fourth face-dorvn card. Norv
close the spread. The upper face-up cards will looselr- square injogged from the lorver
t-ace-down cards.

With your right hand, come over the cards and square the upper and lower halves. As
vou do this, however, lift up slightlv at the back so vou can get a break between the
packets with vour right thumb. (Photo 6.)

You will find that the four face-down cards above the culled card were trapped and
nov/ are at the back of the thce-up half. The culled card (which will now act as a cover
card) and the four trapped cards (Aces) are immediatelv above vour thumb break.
To finish, with 1,our right hand, slide the upper half to the right and flip it face-down
onto the left-hand half. The Aces are now re\rersed under the top card of the deck.
I usualll, follow-through bv giving the deck a quick thumb fan (without exposing the
reversed cards, of course), remarking that the selection is somewhere in the middle

of

the deck, and close the

DOWru

Txe GnnoEN

t-an.

PATH

I now remark that it's mv job to find the selected card, but in order to do that, I'll need
some help from some special cards. Give the deck a Chairer cut (or a regular cut),
bringing the reversed Aces to the center.
Spread through the cards and the Aces will be seen face-up at or fle r the center of
the spread. This is the first of many nice moments in this routine. \X/hy are the Aces
here? How can the performer use the Aces

to help "find" the selected card? Has

something gone awrr,? Should the spectator have selected an Ace in the first place?
Remove ail of the cards above the Aces and piace them squared to one side. Squate
up the remaining cards and take the half-deck with 1,6111 right hand ftom above. Reiterate that the Aces are going to help find the selected card. With 1,out left thumb, pull
each Ace off the top of the right-hand packet into your left hand. B)r a fortunate co-

28

Jorru

Bnruruoru

Ace. As vou take the last Ace, steal


back the first three Aces under the right-hand packet in the classic Biddle tradition.
(Photo 7.) Place the right-hand cards on toP of the tabled half.
incidence, the last

of the four Aces is the selected

You are very far ahead here; the work is over. At this point, the selected Ace is masquerading as all four Aces.
left rvrist and holding the
SX/atch ),our angles on the right. A slight inward tilt of yout
immensell).
helps
gdp
supposed packet in a deeper
@hoto 8.)

Now, I announce that the selected card will vanish from the deck and te-appear among
the Aces. Then, essentialll' 2.6ro*tedging the goofiness of the "vanish" claim, I look
at m), spectator and sa1,, "You aren't bul,ing an1' of that, ate )'ou?" She's not, but the
audience is not sure'nvhat to think at this point. The presumption that "the trick will
wotk" means the performef must have some wa)'to resolve this predicament. On the
other hand, there does not aPPear to be a resolution' There is tension.

Mnxrptutt Drssonnruce
Snap your fingers ovef the 'Aces," announce that you think the trick worked, and ask
for the name of the selected card, \(e have now acLueved maximum dissonance-it

looks like, despite presumptions, the trick did not wofk. HapPily, the dissonance

is

easily resolved.

When she announces that she selected the Ace, sa)I flothing for an extended pause.
(I believe you should not act like 1'ou n fact failed and must f,nd a "magcaI" v/ay to
resolve the tension, and your audience
Coffect the problem. In a moment, \'ou
"vill

will conclude that things happened as vou intended them to all along-that they wefe
"tricked" in more wal's than one. It is a gende trickerl', though, and it's all right.)
Nor.v, slowly reveal that 1'ou onlv hat e the one Ace and

i'ou have unequivocalll'

"found" the selected card.

Srx. !r.4possrBtE. Txtrucs.

29

Posr Monren
BncrcnouND AND CReorrs
Good "sucker" tricks arehard to find. This trick was inspired by a trick shou/n to me
by the estimable R. Paul \ffiilson called "Punch, Too." In Pault trick, the Aces were
used in a "Collectors" t\pe effect, and apparentlv unbeknownst to the performer, one
of the Aces used to do the "collecting" was one of the seiected cards. Paul sa)rs his
toutine was based upon a l2lllrJennings' effect called "Sucket Punch" inhis Thoughts
On Cards. As you can see, this trick turned out to be quite different from R. Paul's.
"Counterpunch" remixes u,hat is now being called the "Biddle Trick" (see R. Giobbi,
Card College, Vol. 3) and an Eddie Fechter effect called "No Pile."
The application of the "Head Over Heels" procedure to secretly reverse fesl 621d5as opposed to onl1, one-is new. See S. Aronson, "Head Over Heels," Try Tbe Impossible (2001). So is the bluff Christ Cross Force.

Low Tecx TuRnoveR


There is a less sophisticated v/ay to handle the force and turnover of the Aces that
some may prefer. Begin with the Aces pre-reversed under the top card of the deck.
The easiest way to do ttus is, with the Aces on top, to do a Braue Reversal. This will
reverse the Aces at the back of a now face-up deck. Now with a double undercut,
move the face card of the deck to the back. Now when the deck is turned face-down,
the Aces will be reversed under the top card.
Force the Ace using the standard Chdst Force. Riffle and have lrour spectator stop
of the deck to the right and confirm her decision. (See Photo 1.) Now, flip the upper half face-up onto the lowet half and spread
down to the first face-down card (this will be one of the Aces). Separate the spread at
this point and show the upper face-down card to your spectator.

you. NThen she does, angle the upper half

Now, square the face-up spread onto the deck (right nov/, the deck is half face-up
followed b), fout face-down Aces, follo'*'ed by a face-up card; cut below that face-up
card). In a continuing action, cut the deck at the natural break below the reversed original top card. FIip over the face-up cards onto the deck. You have essentially restored
the deck to the original starting position-the Aces are reversed under the top card.
Proceed as usual.

Clenrurrc Up
There is some clean-up to do: the three reversed Aces in the center of the deck. Do
not simply spread the deck to reveal them. If you do, everyone rvill know how you
accomplished the trick. Either secretly re-reverse them, produce them flashily, or as I
do, follow up with the next trick,"4 Faces North."

30

Jonn Bnruruor

Fncrs Nonrn

of my "Last Man Standing" Triumph-type routine from Dear Mr. Fantasl.I say "particulat" because it exploits the situation left at
the end of "Counterpunch." It's not a "stand-alone" trick. Because of the situation,
the handling is somewhat simplified-no selection, contfol, or placement. It makes
for an effective clean-up of the reversed Aces because the final display-where all the
cards are face-down, except for the four Aces-mirrors the look when the Aces wete

N7hat follows is a particular variaion

first produced.

PnEcrs
The selected Ace (from "Counterpunch") is inserted face-up into the centef of the
deck. Half the cards are turned face-up and shuffled into the face-down half-very
com.incingll,, I must add. The deck is immediately spread, and all of the cards are
now face-down except for all four Aces, which are face up together in the center of
the spread.

MIse

Er,r ScEue

At the end of "Counterpunch," 1'611 are holding the solitarli selected Ace in your right
hand. $Vith your left hand, pick up the deck and hold in face-down dealing position.
With your left thumb, push up on the left Iong side of the deck, creating an opening
at the natural break under the three reversed Aces.

Insert the selected Ace, face-up, about halfway in, and close the opening. With your
right hand, come over the deck and, with 1'our thumb, push the face-up Ace into the
deck. As )'ou do, however, get a right thumb break above the Ace'

At this point, the deck is being held by both hands, and you have a right thumb break
beneath three reversed Aces and above one Ace.

Slx. lt{posstBLE. Tttnas.

31

Do Txe Tenrnt
From this position, you nov/ do the Tenkai Optical Revolve, as follows: NTith your
right hand, cut off all the cards abor.,e the break and turn your hand palm upward. At
the same time, turn your left hand palm downward. (Photo 1.) This is a simultaneous
"twisting" kind of two-handed action.
Having turned your right hand palm-up, its packet is automaticallv tumed 90 degrees
so the long sides are parallel to you. Place the left-hand packet onto the right-hand
packet, so the packets ovedap about half their length. It appears as if half the deck
has been reversed and placed on top of the other half-at this point the upper packet
appears to be face-up and the lower packet appears face-down.

iri

Adjust the deck so it can be taken into your left hand in dealing position, keeping the
upper packet now outjogged for half its length. (Photo 2.) Your right hand now withdraws the lower, apparently face-down packet in position for a"weave" shuffls-1h21
is, a faro shuffle that does not need to be perfect.

c re that the following occur: (i) the


uppermost thtee cards of the right-hand packet (the reversed Aces) wiil remain as the
uppermost cards of the combined deck; and (ii) similady, the lowermost card of the
left-hand packet (the selected Ace) will remain the lowermost card of the combined
Weave shuffle the two packets together, taking

deck. Other than these two restrictiofls, the weave shuffle does not need to be perfect

(or even very good). Push the interwoven packets together only about one-half of
their length-do not cascade them togethet yet.

Tue GooowrNrJENNrNGs

DTSPLAY

Take the interwoven deck in left-hand dealing position with the apparently face-up
half uppermost. With your dght fingets, riffle the outet edge of the face-up packet.
Be careful, however, not to flash the very bottom card of the outiogged packet, as it
faces in the opposite direction.

32

Joxr,r Bnrurot

The packet will appear to vour audience as all face-up cards. (Photo 3.)
(You might also trv the Duvivier handling. Take the telescoped cards with your right
hand and riffle dorvn the outer edge of the deck with t'our left thumb.) (Photo 4.)

Turn over the interwoven deck toward t,ou, end-for-end. The outefmost packet appears to be the face-down one (this is a particulady subtle discrepancl). As before,
riffle the outer end of the face-down packet-all face-up cards will show. Once again,
be careful flot to flash the bottom card of the outiogged packet. Accompany these
actions b,v saying that the face-down cards are being shuffled into the face-up cards.
You will notice that the face-up card showing here is the selected Ace. While initially
this bothered me, I began to shtug it off as a happy coincidence, and as it tutns out,
it works just fine. I leave it to vou to comment or not about its
^ppe^r^nce.

Foun Fncrs
Cascade the intedaced halves together and square them in vour left hand. Give the
deck a cut, sending the selected Ace to the center. AIl that remains is to slowil, spread
the cards, shor.ving that all of them afe flow face-dorvn, excePt for the four Aces.

Srx. lr.4possrBLE. Txtttcs.

33

WnrCH ING TH E DETECTIVES


A version of this trick originally appeared in MAGIC

MagaVfne

as'Among the Dis-

cards" and was credited to "The Chicago Session," specifically Simon Aronson, Dave
Solomon and myself. As I recall, at Simon's suggestion, we spent almost an entire Saturday aftetnoon playing around with a \Tesley James trick found in his "Catch-AceTrap-Ee." S( James, Enchantments (Hermetic Press, 2003). !7e immediately moved on
to other methods and variations, but we were really intrigued by the plot-a "garden
path" sandwich effect. Among other handlings we kicked around, I came up with a
discrepant switch sequence that not onll' 511."-;nes the trick, it makes the trick really
fun to do. As the days after the Saturday session passed, we all reahzed the trick was a
good one. I went on to play, making a longer rouune.

PnEcrs
Two Jacks and a selected Ace are placed into different parts of the deck A Jack is inserted near the top and the otherJack near the bottom, and the selected Ace is inserted in the middle-somewhere between the Jacks. The other three Aces are set aside.

TheJacks and Ace are slowly pushed flush into the deck, and the performer states that
the two Jacks will converge and end up on either side of the selected Ace trapping it
in a sandwich. The deck is spread on the table, and the performef now picks up the
discarded Aces. Surprisingly, these three cards turn out to be the twoJacks-on either
side

of the selected

Ace!

Mrse Eru ScEne


At the conclusion of "Countetpunch/4 Faces North," you will have the Aces

out.

If not, femove (or produce) the four Aces. Set down the Aces and femove the black
Jacks and set them aside face-down to 1,e111 1ig[1.

34

Joxtt Bnnnot

PDFB SwIrcrI
Now, with your left hand, pick up the Aces and hold them in a face-down spread.
Raise your left hand and har.e one of the Aces selected bt' name. Remove the named
Ace and turn it over on top of the Ace packet.
Hold the Ace packet squared in left-hand dealing position. Position check: the named
\We
Ace (here, sali the Ace of Hearts) is face-up on toP of thtee face-down Aces.
need to use a little time misdirection here-\r,e want the audience to lose track of the
orientation of the Aces. It doesn't take much. So here, I usualll' chatter briefl1' about
the selection.
Now, do the following choreographed sequence. First, rvith your right hand, pick up
the face-down Jacks, brieflr' flash their faces, and slide them under the Aces. (Photo
1.)

flip over the packet and hold it in left-hand dealing position.


Push ol'er the top Jack to show both black Jacks. (Photo 2.) Now, with vout right
hand, dbbon-spread the deck on the table in front of vou. Again, a little time misdirection is needed, so patter a little here.

In

a continuing action,

The Jacks afe no\\/ in position to be srvitched out using a discrepant, but verv deceptir.e, srvitch. It's basicallt' a packet handJing of the "Discrepant Fat Block Switch"
fuom Dear llt". Fantag', so let's cali it the "Packet Discrepant Fat Block Switch," or the

"PDFB Switch." This srvitch goes bv e\-er\-one and gets vou verv far ahead of the
game-it basicallv sets up the rvhole trick and does most of the rvork. The switch
I feel a little
Sequence \r,'as one of mr- contr-ibutions and, among othel feasons,
"r'hv
proprietarr. about this trick. The discrepano'makes it fun, too. If vou're like me, you'll
smile to i'ourself every time t'ou do it.
Apparentlr- r-ou s-ill no\\, tufn the Jacks face-dorvn onto the Ace packet. Using a block
pushoff (r'ou could also use a buckle or pull-dosrn here), hos,evef, tufn over all of the
catds abor-e the bottom card.

Without pausing, take the top card of the packet-supposedlv

Jack-and insert it

Srx. lr.,rpossrBLE. Txtrucs.

35

into the right side of the ribbon-spread deck. Leave it upjogged about one-half of
its length. Take the next card-supposedll, the other Jack-and insert it into the left
side

of the spread.

Thanks to the miracle of time misdirection, the face-up/face-down condition of the


packet and the relative positions and orientations of the Aces and the Jacks are no
longer salient to the 2udi6n6s-6r even remembered. That's wht, this rather bold
switch sequence works so r.vell and fools so man1, people.
One last swindle switches out the selected Ace and sets up the final sandwich ending.
With your right hand, take the packet b,v its right side. Show the named Ace at the face
of the packet to your spectator. Now, apparendy reverse count the packet into your
Ieft hand, which supposedly moves the named Ace to the top of the packet. Actually,
though, give the packet aJordan Count. The Jordan Count positions the named Ace
third from the top and places the remaining Ace on top, effectivel), sandwiching the
named Ace and setting up for the following multiple-turnover-based switch.

Do another block turnover of all but the bottom card as one to show the named Ace.
Since the Ace was appatendy reverse-counted to the top, all aPpears to be correct.
Do another block turnover to aPParently turn the Ace face-down. Take the top card
and insert it into the center of the spread, outiogged like the other two cards. (Photo
3.)

Sxrrr

Cnnos

Let's reflect on where we're at in this trick. It apPears that the Jacks were shown and
placed near the top and bottom of the spread, and then the selected Ace was placed
into the center of the spread somewhere between the two Jacks. In realiry the selected Ace is already sandwiched between the two Jacks in 1'our hands. You are very far
ahead hete. The trick is basicallv over, and the audience thinks it's just begun.

35

Joxn

Bnruruou

Casually place the remaining cards

onto the table. As

of the packet

(these are theJacks and selected Ace)

1-ou do this, allow the three cards

to spread slightllr

Scoop up the deck, leaving the three cards outiogged. Explain that theJacks are going
to come together and surround the selected Ace in the process.
Nor.v 1'ou could simplv push the outjogged cards flush, losing them in the deck. This

is the way the original MAGIC instructions read, but I have never done it that way.
These cards ate, of course, the other three Aces. I prefer to control the Aces, so at
some latef point (as we'll see), I can reproduce them to comPlete a full set of Aces.
So I use an Elias Ntultiple Shift here to control the Aces to the toP of the face-down
deck. NIv handling of this excellent move is set forth in detail in "Out Of Touch," in
Dear Mr. Fantag, (Bannon, 2005). Of course, anv multiple shift here will do. One that
brings the Aces to the top (e.g., Nash, Cardini, Steranko, Elias) would save the step
shuffling or cutting the Aces to the toP after the shift.

of

Snrrr Focus
After the outjogged cards have been inserted (and shifted), place the deck onto the
table. The moment is good here because evervone expects that you now must do
something else to bring the trick to its conclusion.
Instead, however, pick up the three side-[ned cards-supposedlv the un-chosen Aces.
as you do this, it r.'",iLl dar.vn on your audience what has happened, so move

As soon

quicklr'here.
This is a reallr- nice moment in the trick. As soon as vou pick up the discards, almost
evervone will realize s,hat has happened-and that thet't'e been had. There is a timing element here of the type I worked on in mr' "Bullet Train" Ace assemblies. Because you are so far ahead, mainlv due to the efficient PDFB Switch of theJacks, the
audience does not expect the trick to conciude so soon. It feeis like somethins more
needs to be done, Yet, ner-ertheless . .

Turn the top and bottom cards of the packet face-up.


shor.r.

\sw, turn

over l'our hand to

the sandrviched, selected Ace.

Srx. lt',rpossrBLE. Txrucs.

37

New Jnx
Okay, you could stop right thete and have a fine effect. The surprise "garden path"
ending makes it fun for 1,our audience; the discrepancies may make it fun fot you. I
way to reproduce the now-missing Aces. Then, to make a routine of
added a re-structured version of Al Leech's venerable transposition made famous

wanted to have

it, I

b). Harry Lorayne as the "One-Eyed Jack Sandwich." H. Lotayne, M1 Fauorite Card
Tricks. This "Jack Sandwich" is also powered b), a discrepancy and a "garden path"

construction which, to m1, mind, makes

it high\,

suitable to follow "NTatching The

Detectives."

PnEcrs
A selected Ace (the one from "\WatchingThe Detectives') is sandwiched between two
face-upJacks, and the "sandwich" is cut into the center of the deck. A card is selected
and lost in the upper portion of the deck. The perfotmer sends a card spinning out of
the deck. Surprising\i it is not the selected gavfl-i1is the selected Ace. The selected
card is found sandwiched between the Jacks.

Mrse Eu ScEue
Continuing on from the previous trick, the face-down Ace is sandwiched between
two face-up black Jacks. Hold the sandwich in your tight hand and the deck in lefthand deal-ing position. Flash the face of the Ace to your audience.

Blurr Swrrcx

Move

Place the Jack sandwich on top

of the deck and, as you square the sandwich,

get

right thumb break beneath the face-down Ace. The deck is now in position for an
unds16u1-2nd a discrepant switch that has antecedents in my first booklet, Mirage.
\X'ith your right hand above, hold about one-third of the deck. I(eep the thumb break
beneath the top two cards. With your left hand, undercut about two-thirds of the deck

38

Joxru Bnruruoru

and place it on top of the right-hand portion. As the left-hand packet is squated with
the right hand packet-so far this is just like the traditional double u1ds1gu1-i1 2
continuing action, pivot all of the cards above the break to the right at about a 30-degree angle. The lowermost black Jack shows in the angled break, but is taken as the
upperJack. (Photo 1.)

Immediately, place the deck onto the table in this angled configuration. Cover this
action by saying somethiflg along the lines of, "Lett create some susPense. In a minute, I'm going to bury the Jac[s-1v121 would 1'ou sar,?-afout half walr de*t ir, ,n.
deck. But

first..."

The "in a minute" phrasing is an import^nt P^rt of this switch, as it iusufies only
pattially cutting the Jacks into the deck. But look what happened: The upper Jack and
the selected Ace have been srvitched out of the sandwich . The face Jack has changed
(from Spade to Club or vice versa), but this is never noticed. The discrepancy is blatant, but effective (if this bothers ),ou, )'Iou can use Jokers instead of Jacks). It's also
efficient. Interestinglli it's verv difficult to obtain the current position through conventional switching methods.

Cournol Aruo Swnp


"But first, I need vou to select a catd from this half

. . ." Pick up the uppet packet


and spread it in vour hands, being careful to conceal the reversed Jack second ftom
the bottom of the packet. Have t'our spectator select one of the catds b1, touching
its back. Outjog the card and square the packet. Norv remove the outiogged card and
shovz

it to 1.6rr spectator.

After the spectator has noted the catd, place it on toP of the packet in your hands. As
you apparentlv cut the card into the packet, you will switch the positions of the top
and bottom cards using aLar,s, Jennings double undercut technique.

Take the packet from above with vour right hand. As vou do so, get a right thumb

Stx. ltqpossrBLE. Txrttcs.

39

break beneath the top (selected) card.

\\'ith lour left hand, undercut about half of

the packet.

lou complete the undercut bv sJiding the lett-hand packet on top of the right-hand
one, r'our left thumb pushes over all of tl-re cards abor-e the bottom card of its packet. As
this firstpartof the cutis completed, the upperleftcornerof the bottom cardis jogged to
As

bvvourleftthumb. (Photo 2 shows an exaggeratedview.)


In a continuing action, r.vith vour left hand, undercut all of the cards beneath the right
thumb break. As I'our ieft hand moves to the left, hon,er-er, the bottom card of the
upper packet is retained br- r'our left thumb. A little dorvnrvard pressure r.vith vour left
thumb, pushing the sideiogged cornet onto the lorver packet, does the trick. (Photo
the left, butremains cor-ered

3.)

k
The sidejoggsd 621d-d1s original bottom card of the packet-is slid a1l the .'vav out
and onto the lolver packet as the packet is cut to the top. While the selected card was
apparenthr cut into the packet, it is now on the bottom underneath the face-up black
Jack. The selected Ace is norv on top of the packet.
Riffle the outer end of the packet, remarking that the selected card is somer,vhere in
there. Be careful not to flash the reversed Jack. Place the packet on top of the tabled
portion, angled to the right. Then slowlv square the two parts, saving that now you
rvill cut the Jacks into the deck.
Spr u
Y<';,;tlr'eJarahead here. In fact, the trick is vittuallr'over. The selected card is betw'een
tl-re Jacks, the selected Ace is on top of the deck, and 1,our audience thinks the trick
has just begun. A1l rve need to do norv is bring

it home.

..

trv to locate and isolate the selected card. Now give the deck a BenIn this move, begin a tabled slip cut. I take the top half with mv
left hand, the bottom half r,vith mv rigl-rt, and mv right forefinger keeps the top card
in place. (Photo 4.)
Say that vou r.vill

zais Spin Out cut.

40

Jonru Bnnruoru

The buriedJacks should not inteffere with this process-that's why we cut them twothirds into the deck rather thafl the exact middle'

As the cut is done, both hands flick sharply outwafd. At the same time, your right
forefinger pushes the "slipped" top card forward. Ptopedl'done, the top card will go
spinning forward, apparentll, propelled from somewhere in the middle of the deck.
The illusion is quite good, which explains why this classic production has withstood
the test

of

time.

of the deck. Square the cards and hold them in


Ieft-hand dealing position. With your right hand, pick up the spun-out cafd. Evefyone
will be sure that the catd is the selected card.
Place the left-hand half back on top

Ask for the name of the selection' once so informed, remind )'our audience that you
were going to locate and isolate the selected catd. Turn over the spun-out card and
show that it is the selected dss-ne1 the selected card. Place the Ace onto the table
and spread the deck in 1'e1rt hands. One face-down card is seen betrveen the Jacks.
Place the portion of the deck above the Jack sandwich onto the table.

If

vou are doing this as part of the routine, the three un-selected Aces are immediately below the sandwich. As 1'ou spread
ovef the sandwich, spread over the next three cards as well (so you can get a break
beneath them). (Photo 5.)
Sptead

Turn

off

1,6111

the sandwich into your right hand.

hand to show that the selected card has been "located and isolated" be-

tween the Jacks.

Stx. lr.,rpossrBLE. Tntuas.

41

Fu

u Cr ncrE

This is not realll, a trick, but a logical and surprising return of the three missing Aces.
It adds a certain completeness and closure to the routine. "New Jax" provides an
intedude after WTD and conveniendy uses the same equipment-the black Jacks
and an Ace. At the end, ),our audience has likelv forgotten the other three un-selected
Aces, which makes this a perfect time to close the loop and bring them back. That way
you end with all four and can go orr to a four Ace trick (or stop, or whatever).

Position check Your left hand holds a spread half-deck, ),our right hand holds the
three-card sandwich.

After showing the trapped selected card, place the Jack sandwich back on the left
half-deck. W'ith 1,6111 right hand, slide out the selected card and drop it face-down on
the tabled half-deck.
Square up the left-hand packet and, as you do, get a break under the

fifth card from

of

the packet-i.e., the face-up Jacks and three face-down Aces below them.
The spread condition of the packet and the squaring action make this easy to do.

the top

With your right hand from above, pick up all the cards above the break. Pull the upper
Jack onto the left-hand packet while, at the same time, hiding the three Aces under the
remaining Jack. (Photo 1.)

42* Jorru Bnnruor

turn your left hand palm-down and pick up the face-up selected Ace from the table. In this manner, once your left hand returns to palm-up dealing
position, the Ace wi-ll be face-down on top of the face-up Jack and sideiogged to the
right. (Photo 2.)

In

a continuing action,

As your left hand turns face-up, push over the now face-down Ace and insert it under
the Jack held by your right hand (beneath the concealed Aces). Continue by placing

the face-upJack under the dght-hand packet. Square the packet.

The spread is held momentarily while your left hand places its packet on top of the
tabled cards. Your now-empty left hand comes back to the right-hand packet, squares
it and takes it into dealing position. With your dght hand, ribbon spread the deck on
the table.

All of the preceding actions are done casually by way of "cleaning uP." The prior trick
is over and you are reconstituting the Jack-Ace-Jack sandwich. Presumably nothing
more than that. Of course, you are now positioned to re-produce all four Aces to
bring the routile to a nice closure.
ITave the packet over the deck, and then spread it to show that not one, but fout cards
are trapped between the Jacks. Remove each Ace and place it face-up on the table,

bringing the trick (and the routine) to a successful conclusion.

Srx. IupossrBrE.

Trrrcs.

43

OnIGAMI POKER RTVISITED


As an alternate form of prediction, you can use a "deiayed and self-referential" prediction s11uqtu1s-in othet words, a surprise Ro1.al p1rr.1, ending. W'hen the Rovai
Flush shows up at the end, evervone knows that this was the intended result. So it's
like a prediction without a prediction. Only twelve cards are used, making this the
leanest, meanest, and most stteamlined Odgami card trick, yet.
Remove a Royal Flush in Spades, five red Court cards and two Club Court cards (one

of these last seven cards

should be a ten) and group them as follows from the top

down:
Five Royal Flush cards, any order

Followed

br,,...

The other seven Coutt cards,

an1,

61is1

To perform, spread the packet face-up, but don't spread the last three or four cards.

(Photo 1.)

Quickty remark that 1,e11 have a packet of "high cards." Close the spread and hoid
face-down in position for an overhand shuffle.

44

Joxn Bnrnoru

it

you were actually shuffling the packet, pull off the f,tst five cards one at a time
into your left hand. After you've run five cards, you can shuffle the remaining seven

As

if

for real.
Spread the packet, secredy counting seven cards. Turn the seven cards face-up and

shuffle them into the remaining face-down cards.


Once the face-up and face-down cards ate mixed, begin overhand shuffling the packet. Then, Iet your spectator shuffle the cards, too.
Just like before, as long as none of the individual cards gets turned ovet, she can shuffle and cut as much as she likes.

!flhen she's done, take the cards back and deal the cards into a four-by-three grid'
Once again, deal the rorvs in a back-and-forth "snake" pattern and turn over every
other card as you deal:

12*34*
g*76*5
9 10* 11

12*

'(ruRu rHEsE ovER As You

DEAL)

of the grid. As you complete the fold, notice


whether the Spade Flush cards end up face-up or face-down. If they end up facedown, give the packet a frnal "fold" by rutrung lt over.
Have your spectator direct the "folding"

To end, spread the packet. The Royal Flush cards are now face-up in a face-down
spread.

Slide the cards out of the spread in ordet. Who knows, maybe your spectator will
misremember that the cards were in order when the packet was spread.

Srx. luposstBLE. TxtnGs.

45

RrveRBoAT Poren
rWe

were at a small dinner pa;.ty at a mutual friend's house, and after dinner, Bannon
was going to do a card trick or two (or five). He asked to borrow a deck from out host
and, in the meantime, did one of his "fractal" packet tricks-the one that ends with
a Royal Flush. Everl,one was suitably impressed, and one of the guests actually said:

"I wouldn't want to play cards'nvith

1rou."

Bannon smiled. "Me? !7ell, thank you, I think. But the one you really wouldn't have
wanted to play cards with was my great grand-uncle. He was the black sheep of the
fam)ly and was one of those riverboat gamblers-like you see in the movies. It was a
tough way to make a living. From what I understand, neady everyone cheated. In fact,
Iet me show you something interesting . . ."
By then the deck had arrived, and as he talked, Bannon went through the deck and
tossed out the four Aces.

"My grandmother still had some of his things, and in an old letter, I found a description of a run-up system. Do you know what a 'run-up'is? It's a way of secretly stacking the deck right in front of evetyone. I wrote down the formula . . ."
He took

a flote

out of his pocket, opened it and shovzed it to us. It said:

Fot N players, shuffle:


1,

2N +1
N-1

N
1,

2N
Toss

Cut at right place

It might

well have been Greek or Martian. Still it was intriguing. The civilians were
cleady intrigued. The1, tr2d all heard of "stacking the deck," but had never actually

46

as

Joxru Bnuruoru

seen

it done. Bannon definitely had their attention. Nline, too.

"Remember back in the riverboat da1's, thel'drdn't shuffle like tLLrs," Bannon said as
he did a riffle-shuffle. "Hadn't been invented 1'et, I think. Back then, people shuffled
cards overhand, like this." He gave the deck an overhand shuffle.
He turned the paper toward himself. "What this is, is an overhand shuffle formula. He
picked up the Aces and put them on the d66i5-f2ss up. He said, "I'[ stack the Aces
and I'll leave them face-up so lou can see it happen. Lett say we have five players. In
that case 'N' equals fir,e. So the shuffle rvould go Like this . . ."

"One." He pulled off the top face-up Ace into his left hand and tossed the deck on
top of it.
"Two N plus one. That would be e1even." He quickil'pulled off eleven cards and
tossed the deck.

"N minus one, that's four." Fout cards this time, then tossed.
"N

is five." Five cards.

"One is, well, one." One.

'And two N would be ten." Now ten more cards. As he shuffled the cards, every now
and then a face-up Ace rvould fs sssn-i1 was verv interesting. I was beginning to
wonder if this simple set of formulas was reallr'going to rvotk.
"For the 'toss,' I just chop a block of cards." He shuffled off a big chunk of cards
and tossed the rest of the deck on toP. He began spreading through the catds, and a
face-up Ace was about a thitd of the r.,",av dorvn. He continued, "You see, the Aces are
distributed throughout the deck." He closed the spread and looked back at the paper.

"'Cut at right place.' Took me a rvhile to figure that one out." He gave the deck
couple of cuts.

He looked at the stfiking coilege girl and her bovfriend. "Do i'ou think it u'orked?
Let's see."
He began dealing fir-e hands of cards. Sure enough, in each of the first three rounds,
the dealer got a face-up Ace. In the fourth round, he got a face-down card just like
everyone else. Had something gone wrong? Bannon turned the face-dou,n card face-

up-the

Four

of

Clubs.

After a long pause, Bannon said, "I guess that's s,ht'r'ou get fi\'e cards in Poker."
He dealt the last round and the last fhce-up Ace arrir.ed. Should har-e seen that one
comlng.

The crou'd s,as reallr'impressed, and the buzz s.as all about horv ther- didn't know vou
could tealLr- do thtngs like that. The mote I thought about it, though, I realized that

Srx. lt"rposstBtE. Txntos.

47

this was not a trick. It was

demonstration of what was on the

paper-thatt

all reallrr

Yet, Bannon introduced them to this arcane gambJing secret, and now thev could all
say they've seen

it done. Watched someone actuaily stack a deck.

And, he wasn't finished.


'Aces are good, but the,v aren't that good if 1.out opponents fold and don't stick
around to play S7hen that happens, you ma)' have Aces, but 1,es rvon't make any
mone1,." He picked up the other hands, turned the Aces face-down and tossed them
in among the cards, and then cut all of the cards into the deck.

"Thatt only the first problem. The

second problem is that the riverboats were dan-

gerous places, and 1'ou had to be prepared to deal with contingencies. Let me show
vou what I mean. Let's see what it might be like if you were reallv playing poker on
the riverboat." He began shuffling ths sa1cl5-everhand,

of

course. "We'11 leave all

of

the cards face-down this time."

He began dealing another five hands of poker, all face-down this time. After he had
dealt two rounds, he said, "You know life on the riverboat could be very dangerous.
Let's say a fight breaks out in the bar and one of these players gets hit over the head
with a bottle and has to drop out. \X/hich hand should go? You can look at them if
YOU

Waflt."

None of the other hands had much. The college gid pointed to a hand that had a
couple of middle cards. Bannon tossed them face-up to one side. He dealt the third
round. "Now there are onl1. fesl pla1zs1r. Let's say Miss I(tty taps one on the shoulder
and winks. You know who Miss I{itty is, right? Any'rlzay, he's out of there. NThich hand
should go?"
We looked at the hands again and one

to

of them improved to a pair of Jacks. Needless

of the other hands. Bannon

dealt a fourth round. "Three


players left. Let's say one of these gentlemen accuses the other of cheating, and pulls
out a derringer and shoots him. Which one goes?"
say,

we discarded one

Another look and an eas)r call. We kept the hand with the pair of Jacks. Bannon dealt
the last round. "Okay, iust me and you. Now we can draw. What do you have?" He
turned over the h2ni-1$/e Jacks, a Ten, a Two and an Ace. "A pair of Jacks with an
Ace kicker. I d draw two, if I were ),ou." He removed the spot cards and tutned the
hand face-down again. He dealt t\vo more cards to the hand.
Then Bannon peeked at his cards, thought for a second, and then said, "I'11 stand pat.
Showdown. SThat have you got?"
We turned over our hand.

'A full

A full house-two iacks and three

Aces. N7ow.

of money with a hand like


that. Unless ),ou ran up against . . ." He turned his cards over-a Ro1,al p1rrr1, in

48

house is a very good hand. You could make a lot

Jorn Bnnuon

Spades. "Then it would just be one

of

the better losers. Remember, on the rivetboat

evervbodl' cheats."

*
"Oka,v, that poker deal was interesting,"

"I think so," Bannon replied. "It's


phase is right out

said as we left the parfi'.

also reallv easl'to do. Almost self-working. The first

of the 'Vernon Poker Demonstration,' onll' I

small change to it. The large change is to leave the Aces face-up.
sequence more visuallf interesting.

I don't think I'r,e

seen

made a large and

It makes the shuffle

it done face-up before."

"That was cool, I felt like I could see the cards getting stacked or something. What
was the other change?"

"Pureh'presentational. Ordinarill', performets mumble through the formulas, and


then repeat the mumb[ng rvhile thev are dorng the shuffle. I prefet to v/rite it down
and to show it to the spectators. That wa1; it looks real-v/hich it is-as opposed to
so much indecipherable mumbo-jumbo. I'm trving to make the trick more interesting
and intriguing. As Vernon did, the best wat, is to plav it faidv straight."
"Can 1'ou walk me through it?" The lobb1,
table. \We sat down to wait for a taxicab.

of the condo

had some chairs and a small

Bannon handed me the piece of paper with the formulas on it. "You can have that.
You need to start with the Aces out and the ICng, Queen, Jack and Ten of Spades
on top of the deck. Thev can be in any order. From a borrowed deck, it's a fairl1' s251'
matter to cull the flush cards as )'ou remove the Aces."

I made the

necessarv arrangements

with m1'deck. "Now what?"

the Aces out, demonstrate an overhand shuffle and shuffle the top four flush
cards to the bottom. The reason whv l 'set' the trick on the riverboats is to justift'the
overhand shuffle. I made up the part about the riffle shuffle having not been invented

"\f ith

if

it's true? Anru,a)', after vou've shuffled the flush cards to the bottom,
of the deck, face-up. The Ace of Spades should be the last of
the face-up Aces, at the back."

r-et. I u,onder

put the Aces on top

"Okat', nou,

r.,,,hat?"

Bannon pointed to the paper. "Do the shuffle as described. Run the numbet of cards
prescribed and toss the deck on top, except for this step." He pointed to the step that
said "2N *1." "Here, \-ou run the eieven cards and toss the deck behind the shuf-

fled-off cards. These eleven must go back on top."

I made a note on the

paper.

Bannon continued, "Where it savs 'toss,'iust shuffle ofi a decent size block and toss
the rest of the deck on top. You are essentialll- giving the deck a cut to move the stack

SIx. lr{posstBLE. Txrrucs.

49

a litde closer

to the top. Unlike Vernon, there is no crimp to cut to. Then,

thtough the cards until you

see the

spread

first face-up Ace. With me so far?"

nodded.

"Now as you close the spread, get a break four cards above the face-up Ace-these,
by the way,
the Spade flush cards. Then, double-undercut to the break."
^re

This really

u/as

pretw simple, I thought. I made two more annotations on the paPer.

For N players, shuffle:


1,

2N +1 (back on top)
N-1

N
1,

2N
Toss (cut some to bottom)

Cut at right place


(4 cards above the uppermost face-up Ace)

Then,
stead

I began

the shuffle sequence. Bannon said, "Making that last shuffle '2N'in-

of just 'N'

is pute Vernon touch. Because

of

the doubled number, the last Ace

doesn't come on the fourth round, but on the fifth. Brilliant."

started dealing five hands and sure enough the Aces came to me. I've been doing
cards for a while, but I was impressed that the stack actually worked. I had to agree
that the "miss" on the fourth round and the "hit" on the last round were terrific.

"Very cool,"

said.

*
"What about the second phase?'What's up with that dropping out thing?"

"The second phase is a modified Martin Gardner poker deal. Right now, if you assembled the hands and dealt five hands, you'd get a Royal Flush. But, if we displace
a few cards, we cafl set up for the 'dropping out' and still get a Royal Flush. It's a lot
easier than you might think."

He continued, "Dave Solomon was playing around with a David Bridand trick called
'switch Poker.' In that trick, after each round, one of the other players switched
his cards for the dealer's cards. Your spectators could choose which hand would be
switched. I liked that dynamic, and came up with the protocol where a player dropped
out each time, and the audience could choose which hand was eliminated."

50

Joxu Bnruol,r

let the audience look at each of the hands befote deciding which drops out. I do
that because most of the time there will be apair in one of the hands and I want that
one to stay in to the end. You see, the iast hand that stat,s will get one of the Aces on
the fifth round. So, if thei, keep the pair and the Ace kicker and dfaw two catds, the

"I

next tu/o cards are Aces, too."

"Which means

full house, Aces over," I chimed in.

"Exactlr,, but even if there's no pait, the last hand can draw three or four cards and
still end up with thlss dss5-not too bad. So, we get this interesting dynamic, and an
interesting shor,vdown, and the 'dropping out' makes it seem all so uncontrollable. "

had to agree, but still didn't understand how it worked.

"Here's horv it wofks. When t,ou talk about a good hand not winning a lot of monelr
if all the other plai.ers fold, begin to pick up the dealt hands. Start with the first dealt
hand, the one on vour left. Show the faces of these cards using both hands and casuallr, cut the top two cards to the bottom. Got it?" I nodded.

"Now pick up the second hand on top of the cards in vout left hand and, again using
both hands to spread the cards, shor.v the faces of this hand. As vou square up, cut
the top card of the second hand to the bottom of the combined packet. That's all the
adiustment 1,ou need to do. Pick up the rest of the hands in anv order and drop them
on top of the packet."
I

r,vas

surprised that that was all there was to lt.

"No.,v vou afe going to apparenth'insert the Aces into the packet, but 1-ou must inseft
them right abor.e the iorver three cards. Fkst, make sure the four Aces are together
and the other card is at the face of the packet (the Ace of Spades, b1'the wali should
be second from the top, or fourth from the face

of

the poker hand)."

"Nos1 spread the packet of combined poker hands and break the spread abor-e the
iast three cards. Holding these three cards, tufn lour left hand palm down to scooP
up the face-up poker hand s,ith the Aces. Turn vout left hand palm-up and close tl-re
spread. Square up and drop the packet on toP of the deck. You are all set-"
"That's it? That's

al1

there is to it?"

"That's right. Deal out two rounds to fir'e plavets. Betbre the third round, an\r one
of the first four hands drops out. You, of coutse, are the fifth hand. Deal the tLrrrd
round, and then one of the thtee remaining Plavers drops out. Fourth round, one of
the remaining nvo. The fifth round is dealt to the sole remaining piat'et and t'ourself."
dealt the cards as instructed. Bannon r.vas right; it all seemed so uncontroiled, or uncontfollable. I took a peek 21 61'621615-a Roi'al Flush, as promtsed.

As he spoke,

Bannon continued. "Like

said earlier,

encourage the spectator to Iook at the catds

Srx. IttposstBLE. Txtttcs.

51

before deciding which hand to eliminate. Very often, this last hand," he gestured to
my opponent's hand, "will have a pat or better. Every time there will be one Ace.
Even better, the top two cards of the deck are the other two Aces, because your spectator still has a draw coming. So if there's
and she keeps the Ace kicker-full
^palu,
house. Worst case scenario, three Aces. Not bad."

"Not bad

^t

all,"

"Good question.

I replied. "IW{hat if the last hand

has nvo pairs? Or, three

of a kind?"

If

there are two pair or better, you don't have to talk her into keeping the Ace kicker. Let her do whatever she wants. If she draws two to the three of a
kind, she'll still get a full house. STith nvo pa:r,if she draws one, she'll just get another
Ace. TVo pair is not a bad hand in draw poker."
The taxi arrived and we put away the cards. I thought about the other re-cycling-type
poker deals-Gardnet, Mado-Gardner, Lorayne, and, of course, Bannon's "Lessons
Are Extra." AII fabulous, neaiy self-wotking, demonstrations of card control. But
this routine had a lot going for it, with the face-up run-up, the successive dropping
out, and the decent-hand-runs-into-a-Royal-Flush ending. I was definitely going to
work this one up-if only to do it whenever someone said:

"I wouldn't want to play

52

* Joxr Bnnroru

cards with you."

Tnr Erusrnu Ovrnmlt


old-the version in
"Old $7ine In New Bottles." While the trick
was originally done with cards, Al I(oran applied the verbal trick to a bowl of coins.
'J7ith this trick, "Jackpot Coins," I(oran allegedly fooied Albert Einstein, and the trick
has been known since as "The Trick That Fooled Einstein."
Let's start with an old verbal
Greater Magic, itself, is

in

trick-a

tautology, really. And I mean

a chapter called

have returned to the playing cards and strearnlined the handling somewhat-doing
it as a "stop" trick, rather than a prediction. This "stop" handling eliminates the awk-

ward counting or presetting usually required. On top of this streamlined handling, I


added a control of three cards and imposed a subtlety I first saw in the Mado-Ackcontrol over your spectatot's
erman-Harris trick "OverkilI." The result is al
^pParcnt
actions, reinforced by an unexpected appearance of the Aces.

PnEcrs
The performer shuffles a deck of cards and places it in front of his spectator. He says,
"Raquel, I am going to look away, and I want you to cut off a small packet of cards.
You can cut off just a few, or you can cut more, but try not to cut more than a third
of the deck. Once you've made the cut, put the cards where I can't see them."

He adds the cryptic remark, "'With any luck, you'll cut

^t

ex^ctly the right place."

The spectator does as requested. The performet takes the remainder of the deck,
gives it a quick shuffle, and begins to form a pile of cards on the table. Aftet a number
of cards are added to the pile, the performer says, "I think I'm close. Raquel, I am
going to deal cards one at a time. I want you to say, 'Stop,'when you feel the impulse.
!7ith any luck, vou'Il stop me at exacdy the right place."
He begins dealing the cards. At some point, the sPectator tells him to stoP. She
the option of dealing a few more cards, or even taking back a few.
"Raquel,

if

this packet

has

you stopped me at exacdy the right place, then three things are true about
of cards. First, I'll have as many cards as vou do. Second, I'11 have three

Stx. luposstBLE. Txtues.

53

more cards. And third,

I'll

have enough cards left over

to make your cards total to

tweflty-ofle. Let's see how well you did."

The performer and the spectator count their cards onto the table together. She has
Sixteen, and the performer has some left over. "The same 25 1'6r,rr Say5 11ra performer.
"Three more." Three more cards are placed onto the table onto one

side.

"And enough left over to make your calds total twenty-one." He deals his remaining
cafds on top of the sPectator's pile. "Let's see, lrou had sixteen. That's seveflteen,
eighteen, nineteen, t$/enty, and . . . twenty-ofle!" The performer deals his last cafd ofl
the count

of tweflty-one.

The performer places his pile back onto the deck. "So you stopped right where I
wanted you to. But did you also cut right where I wanted you to cut? Thete's one way
to tell' If you cut exactly where I wanted You to, )rou v'ould have cut to an Ace'" The
performer turns the spectator's pile face-up-there is an Ace at the face.
"Which, of course, would go with these three cards'" The "three more" cards that
'were set aside are turned up and are the other three Aces!

Mrse Eru ScErue


This is a lot of effect for a trick that is completely self-working. I actually worked out
a purely mathemarical way to make this trick work, but then came uP with this subdety-based method that is really childt play.
Start with the Aces on top of the deck and false shuffle, retaining their position.
ready to perform, undercut (or shuffle) three of the Aces to the bottom, leaving the fourth Ace on top.

'S7hen

to cut off "a small packet" of


cards. "You can cut off just a few, ot you can cut mofe, but try not to cut more than a
third of the deck." This instruction should keep the cut less thafl twenty cards' Q'{ote:
If she cuts off 24 or morq the trick canrlot work.)
Set the deck onto the table and instruct the sPectatof

Look away

as she cuts and hides her cards.

Turn back, pick up the deck and, as you speak, casually give it an ovefhand shuffle.
In the shuffle, however, run the last several cards singly into your left hand-this will
bring the three Aces ftom the bottom to the top of the deck.
You will now deal cards into a pile for the "stop" trick. You must keep track of the
number of cards dealt, and,you waflt hef to stop you, ideally, sometime aftet the twentieth catd. Twenry cards are a lot to deal, so hete is what I do. After I shuffle the Aces
to the top, I pause a bit and say, almost to myself, "Let's see if this will work." Then,
I sptead off three cards, Ioosely square them and drop them onto the table. Then six

54

Joxr,r Bnnuon

more, and six more

111a1-6,11 in all, forming a frfteen-card pile. Now, I look at my


think I'm close. Raquel, I am going to deal cards one at a ttme.

aflq

spectatof and sali "I

I want ),ou to sali 'Stop,' when you feel the impulse. \X/ith any luck, 1,su'll stoP me at
exactl)r the dght place." I start dealing cards, silentll'counting ftom fifteen(At fifteen cards, ),our spectator canflot have cut more than eleven cards ot the trick
rvon't work. B), nvent)' cards, she can have cut as man)r as sixteen. By twenfi'four, she
can have cut as man\r as twentv and sull have the trick work out. I use this as a practical
maximum-ideal11,, i.ou will have managed the cut so it is somewhat less than twenq{,
These are minimums. There is no maximum, as long as )rou have cards left to deal.)
$7hen she stops vou, note the number and subtlact three from it. This new number is
the number 1'ou will use in your third statement. In the above example, "Raquel" must
have cailed "stop" on the twent)'-fourth card. TVenq-fsrt minus three is rwenty-one.

The first two statements are alwal's the same: "If you stopped me at exactlv the right
place, then three things are true about this packet of cards. First, I'll have as mant'
cards as 1,ou do. Second,

I'11

have three more cards."

The third statemerit varies, depending upon the number of cards in your packet. If
she stopped )'ou at thirni for examPle, ),ou would sali 'And third, I'll have enough
cards left over to make your cards total to twent\r-seven." Thirty minus three is twenB'-seven.

And 1,e11 will alu,ays be right. I'll leave it to you to $/ork out whr'. The verbal trick is
not as transparent as vou might think (once 1ou figure it out) and has withstood the
test of time (and, apparendl,, fooled Einstein).

Antwali have vour spectator retrieve her cards, and vou and she should count aloud
your respective cards onto the table together. In the above example, she has sixteen,
and vou would have some left ovet. The first statement, "the same as 1'ou," is true.
Fan 1'our remaining cards and hold the fan in t'our right hand. Sai', "Three more," and
click off the lowermost three cards of the fan into a short spread on the table. (These
are the thtee Aces.)

The remaining cards are enough to make the spectator's cards total the magic number
you have calculated-in the example, nvenfi'one. Deal t'our temaining cards on toP

of the spectator's pile, continuing the count from


sition proves to be true

rvhere

lou left off. The last propo-

as rr''ell.

The prediction is puzzling enough since not even the spectator knows how many
cards she originallv cut off, and there is no wat' the performer could have known
where she rvas going to stop his deal. But, even if she is trving to figure out how it
works, the kicker s,il1 stop her in her tracks.
You knov' the "three more" cards are Aces. Because the sPectator's packet was re-

Srx. lr*rpossrBrE. Tnrncs.

55

versed-counted, the Ace that was originally on toP is now on the face of the packet.
The subtlety here is to assert that the Ace was the actual card she cut to. This just
requires a litde time misdirection and calling things not as they are, but as you wish
them to be. As you have seen, I also switch from "with any luck" to she stopped and
cut "where I wanted you to."
Then, "If you cut exacdy where I wanted you to, you would have cut to an Ace." Turn
the spectatort pile face-up. As promised, there's an Ace at the face.It seems like she
cut to the Ace.
Show the other three Aces. Given all
expected.

55

Jonx Bnrrou

of the

^pparcnt

uncertainties, they will not be

OPEN AND NOTORIOUS

In theorr', there is no difference

betr.r,een theorv

and practice. In practice, there is.

Albert Einstein

Oprurua rHE 0pru PnrotcloN


Alternatell, known as "The Open Prediction," or "Fifq'-One Faces North," or "The
Paul Curry Problem," the tdck is the bdte noire of dealing tricks. Your participant must
deal all the way through the entire deck, turning all but one card face-up. Your iob is
to make it interesting. Accordinglli the "problem" is a problem on many levels. You
have to be convinced that the payoff is worth it (your prediction is correct), and that
there is inherent drama in the dealing procedure (the wrong card could tufn up at any
time). And you still need

workable method and

arL

interesting framev'ork.

To be trult, effective, this effect must be presented from a pure mentalism standpoint.
"Mental magjc" is not as effective because of what I like to call the "tricks wotk"
presumption. Understanding that they are uratching a "titck" by a "magician," spectators presume that the "ttick" will "work"; that is, that the performer will bring the
trick to a successful conciusion. Due to the ver1, nature of the Open Prediction plot,
surprise is impossible and interest depends totally on susPense. Suspense, though, is
inherendl, undermined when spectators understand the1, are watching a "trick," rather
than a

bona

fde "experiment." Because, deep down inside, they already know the trick

is going to succeed, there is no real "suspense."

of

us do not exclusivell' do pure "mentalism," the "tricks work" ptesumption is a significant obstacle that must be overcome, whether through method,
presentation or some combination thereof. Indeed, even for most mentalists, the fundamental premise of the trick, an "open" ptediction, ma)/ tend to pose a similar presumption. The main problem, of course, is that once they cleadl'understand the objective, and are convinced that the trick will work, 1'our sPectators are ahead of you on
method and are busily hlpothesis-testing how t'ou are going to make the tdck work.
Since most

In attacking the problem, lve have our work cut out for

us. N{ethod, presentation, and

presumption all must be adequatelv addressed. If ,vou are going to have a participant
take the time to deal all the rva,v through the deck, ),ou need to make it worth her
whjle. Is the problem surmountable? I have had success with the follorr,'ing approaches, though main-lv in verv informal situations. The sheer length of the trick means
you aimost need a captive audience whom vou have alreadv sold on your capabilities.

0per AND NoroRrous *

59

From a method standpoint, the trick boils down to two approaches: either a force,
or a switch. The "force" methodology involved fotcing a paricriar card to be dealt
face-down. The clear advantage here is that the moment of truth (that is, when the
face-down card is revealed) can be no cleaner. On the other hand, the switch methodology allows an1 card to be dealt face-down, because it will eventually be switched for
the target predicted card. Accordingly, this approach allows for a much freer dealing
procedure, but a problematic moment of truth.
This excursioo explores these different approaches to the "problem." I have not attempted to "solve" the problem by meeting the fabled conditions, not have I checked
to see how close these solutions come. Instead, I tried to come up with a good, workable card trick within the general "Open Prediction" framework.

"Fifty One Fat Chances," a force-based solution that I've had for a long time (ate-nineties), explores ways to prolong the suspense and, accordingly, interest, until the very
last card is dealt.

It is also entirely self-working.

"Que Ser6 Seri" is a switch-based solution that I've had for even longer-though not
in an "open prediction" fe1621-11/fch permits yout spectator incredible freedom in
dealing and selection.

It

allows for aharder "sell" than a lot

of

these routines. S7hile

not self-working, it is not at all demanding.


The last trick has nothing to do with the Open Prediction. But

it

zi another deal-

through-the-whole-deck trick-my take on StewartJames's classic "Miraskill." Ag^ir,


this routine is also completely self-working. So, maybe the trick is not that out of
place . .

50

Jomtt Blurolrt

FrFry-Onr Fnr Cnnucrs


Bannon put a dollar bill onto the table. "I am going to give you a chance to win this
dollar. Now I know that it doesn't seem like that much of aptrze, but to be honest,
most of the time I lose. That's because I am going to give you 51 chances to win."

I had no

idea what was going on, but

I was cettain it was going to be a card tdck.

Bannon gestufed toward the deck we had been playing with all night. Bingo. He said,
"Take the cards and cut off less than half the deck and flip them over back on top
of the deck."

I compJied. The top card was a now face-up Two of Clubs. Bannon shook his head.
"No, that's not it," he said. "Cut off mlre thar,half, and flip them ovet back on top."
I complied, but still had no idea what
This time

a Four

of Hearts

he was talking about.

showed. "That's not

it eithef," he

said.

still had no clue.

Then, Bannon explained, "The card we're Iooking for is the Nine of Diamonds' If at
any point the Nine of Diamonds turns uP, you win the dollat. It's that simple. Norr,;
deal the face-up cards onto the table and stop when you get to the face-down cards.
If the Nine of Diamonds shou,s up, the trick is over and you win the dollar. Compliments of me." (I was not surprised that Bannon could not resist the homage to the
late great Del Ray)

I dealt about 15 face-up catds onto the table before I hit the face-down cards. None
of the face-up cards were the Nine of Diamonds. Bannon gestufed to a spot on the
table next to the face-up cards. "Deal a few face-down cards ovef thefe; that will be
your 'second chance' pile. Two of three, whatever." I dealt two face-down cards'

Bannon continued, "Now cut off some of the cards, turn them over and Put them
back onto the deck. Deal the face-up cards onto the others. Remember, if the Nine
of Diamonds turns up, you win the dollar."

or 14 cards. Still no Nine of Diamonds. Bannon said, "Deal a few


more face-down cards into the 'second chance' pile." I dealt three cards this time.

dealt anothef

1,3

0per AND NoroRrous

51

"Great," he said. "Nolv again, cut off some cards, turn them over and put them back
on top. Deal them off. The Nine should shorv up ant' second nou,-. When it does, r'ou
win the dollar."

I cut off more than half of rvhat I had left, and dealt them onto the face-up pile.
Nope, no Nine. Bannon said, "Deal two or three more cards into the 'second chance'
pile." I dealt three more.

about ten cards left. "Turn them over," Bannon said, "and deal them out. No
Nine? What are the odds of that?" I s.ondered about that. These cuts were totalll'
under m1- control; Bannon had not touched the cards at ali.
1-rad

"You've had fortv or so opportunities alreadl', and we still have the 'second chance'
cards. Pick them up. Norl, deal the fitst card face-up and move the second card to the
bottom. Good. Now deal the next card face-up and put the next card on the bottom.
Good. Now just keep doing that until vou're down to one card, or until the Nine of
Diamonds shorvs up. Don't turn the last card face-up just vet."

I went through the mixing/dealing process. As I turned each card face-up, the inexorabiliq, of the trick struck me. Somehow, bv nor.v, I knew none of them were going to
be the Nine of Diamonds. Sure enough, I got down to one face-down catd. No Nine.

I just

stared at the solitarv card remaining.

Bannon picked up the dollar and put it into his pocket. "I guess I get to keep the
dollar. You've had 51 chances. I could have cheated vou kno'uv I could have taken the
Nine of Diamonds out of the deck altogether."
Thathad not occurred to me. Son

of a...

'Just kidding. Turn or.et the Iast card." It was the Nine of Diamonds.

*
Bannon said, "Open Prediction or Fift1, One Faces North. I've been kicking this one
around for about ten or twelve \rears now. \Xbn't fool too manlr rn2gi.ians, but civilians won't have a clue."

Now I am no neophvte, but I think I reconstructed it. I tLrrnk. "There was a Balducci
force,

I think.

. .'Wasn't there?"

Bannon smiled. "This handling expands on I{ad Fulves's Balducci 'Cut-Deeper'


Force approach to the Open Prediction probiem. One of the problems with the plot,
though, is that after the face-down card is dealt, a lot of the suspense is gone. So what
I did was add a secon6l211r proceduls-1hs classic 'deal and duck' or 'down-underdeal.'The additional la1'er of complexitv does a lot. It helps to disguise and/ot dispel
the initial Balducci force. And, it also maintains the drama all the wa1'to the end."

I picked up the deck and squared

62 X Jonru Bnruruou

tt. "And," Bannon added, "r'ou still don't have to

touch the deck. Essentiall1,, 1,our participant forces the card upon themselves."
"Oka1', oka1,,"

said. "\il/alk me through

it."

my hands. 'All 1'ou need to do is know the toP card of the


deck. After that, \,ou ne'u'er touch the deck." He flashed the top card at me, the Nifle
of Diamonds-again. "That card, of coutse, will be vour 'open' ptediction."

He took the deck out

of

introduce the dollar and the contest, but I dehberateli'do not fill in all of the presentational details until aftef the Balducci mechanics are done. So, 1'ou cut and turn
over. All I sa1, is, 'That's not it.' Unless r-our participant is ps1'chic, he or she won't
knov'rvhat )rou are talking about. Now I haye 1'ou cut 'deePer' and turn o\rer. Again
I sali 'That's not it either.' The pozzlement takes some attention off of the cutting

"I

pfocedufe. But now the mechanics are oYef and

can fiil in some

of

the details."

minute," I said. "Your instructions for the Balducci cut were a littie different
than usual, .weren't thel'? Instead of saring 'cut' and then 'cut deeper,' you said 'cut
less than half ' and then 'cut more than half,' didn't vou? I kinda' like that."
"Wait

"Very perceptive. I've ahvat,s thought the 'less-than-half-then-more-than-half instfuction r.vas a lot less strained and procedure-iaden than 'cut deeper.' So I a1wa1's
do it that wa\,." Bannon continued, "Now explain the 'game' and make \rour oPen
prediction. You deal through the first batch of face-up cards. Of course, thanks to
the force, the Nine is the first face-down cafd you get to. Hete, I have vou deal a'few'
cards into a 'second chance' pile. Once the Nine is dealt, \'ou afe virtuallt'home ftee."
"Explain that to me, please," I

asked.

"Certainlr'. You'li need either seven or eight cards in the 'second chance'pile, but after
the first s21d-1h6 force card-is dealt, the other six or seven do not matter. What
(cut
and tufn ot ef' sequences are not 'Balducci's,'
that means is that the subsequent

but are fak and square. There's

decent chance that the initial cuts also will be remem-

bered as fair and square as \\/e11."

That's wht- I had trouble remembering whether there rvas a Balducci or not. Everv
other time I cut, turned over, and dealt rvas completeli' fait.
tell vou to deal a'fes/ cards into the 'second chance'pile. I need to keep track of
hou, manli that's all. The first time vou dealt trvo cards. After the second cut-turnover-and-deal, r-ou dealt 11166-1[21 u.as a total of five. At some point, I will tell 1'611
to deal a specilic number of cards-eflough to bring the total to seven or eight. After
r-our third deal, I told t'ou to deal 't$.'o or thtee' cards. With me so far?"

"I

"I

got \.ou,"

I said. 'After r-ou have the right number of cards

pile, r-ou end the process bv having the rest

in the 'second chance'

of the catds turned

oYeI and dealt."

"Exactlr-. Nou,, there afe se\-en ot eight cards in the 'second chance' pile and the lo"vermosr one is the force card. If there are eight cards, gir-e the vout Participant 'down/

0peu AND NoroRtous

63

under' instructions. That is, the first card is dealt face-up onto the table, and the second card is ducked under the packet. If there are only seven, give 'under/down'in51111s1i611s-fie first card goes under, the second card is dealt face-up onto the table."

"Don't you think the down-under-deal looks

litde mathemaical?" I asked.

"No. Not for civilians. I think it looks and feels like a quasi-random, mixing procedure, not a controlled one. Even if it may seem a little controlled, what could you be
conttolling? Given the structure of the trick, this last dealing procedure becomes the
most suspenseful part of the trick-nght where it is supposed to be, at the end."

*
I was a litde sutprised at Bannon's presentation for this problem. "The dollar thing is
a litde hear,1, handed, isn't it?" I asked. "Especially since the participant doesn't ever
win."
Bannon shrugged. "I actually think it works well. Part of the OP problem is to come
up with a decent presentation-otherwise it can be faiiy dry. You've got to ratiorahze the dealing procedure. The wager is only one-sided. The participant can't lose
anything, and has what would be, under normal circumstances, a very good chance to
win. Helps the interest level."

He continued, "There is a certain irony to the OP problem. The trick by its very nature-an open predtctton-is predicated on suspense, not surprise. Yet, because it is a
trick, there can be no real suspeflse."

I recalled my own sense of inexorabi-Iity, when I fsll-n6, kneu+-that the Nine would
not turrr up. I also recalled Bannon's theory on the ptesumption that, as he puts it,
"tricks work." If not from the start, at some point spectators understand that the trick
will succeed. Otherwise why would the performer attempt it in the first place, or even
ask anyone to sit through it? The context assumes the conclusion. I was familiat with
Bannon's pioneering work exploiting this presumption, but as he just pointed out,
most of the time it was an obstacle to be considered, if not overcome.

"I

noticed that before the denouement, you suggested that maybe the Nine wasn't
in the deck to start. Why did you do that?" I remembered that I felt it was a
particulady awkward moment in the trick.
even

of a long dealing routine, to suggest that


maybe the target card isn't even in the deck-which, if you think about it, is a possible
mslhed-61eates an interesting tension and dissonance. It creates tension because the
Bannon smiled,

"I love th^tp^rt. At

the end

suggestion is at once plausible and renders the entire dealing exercise meaningless.
Your participant has to wonder, if only btiefly, wl4t yott made her do all of this. Of
course, the tension resolves easily because she has, after al), found the Nine."

"You, sir, ate ateal bastard some times."

54

* Joxn Bnruror

Que SenA SenA


The modus operandi here is: switch. The particip^rfirrr:,ay freely deal any card aside because that card will be switched for the predicted one. Let's remix of one of my eadiest tricks: "Discrepancy City Prediction." SeeJ. Bannon, Impossibilia, (I-&L 1990) (also
in my first set of lecture notes, Cosmic Debis 11,981). I designed that trick as a closed
prediction, "stop" trick. In it, three cards were set aside and the participant would, at
some point, deal one card onto the three "predictions." The stopped-at card was seen
to be the Queen of Spades, and the original three "predictions" to be the other three
Queens. The trick introduced (and was totally dependent upon) a display count that
over the years has proven itself to be highly effective, notwithstanding certain glaring
discrepancies. Dave Solomon andJack Parker both have done marvelous things with
the "Discrepancy Ciry Display" and have more than confitmed its deceptive utility.
That display forms the basis for this routine, which is basically the same trick, but now
wrapped in "open prediction" garb.

Pnfcrs
"Do you think we end up whete 117s de-e111 lives, jobs, families and friends-because of destiny? That some things are simply meant to be and so they happen? Que
ser6, ser6. !7hat

will be, will be."

From a shuffled deck, the performer sets aside four catds, referring to them generally
as "predictions." One of the four cards is returned to the deck. The deck is given to
the participant to shuffle.
\X/hile the deck is being shuffled, the performer explains, "In a moment, I want you
to deal the cards face-up onto the table. At some point during the deal, I want you to
deal one card face-down over here." He gestures to the remaining three "predictions."

"But not just anv card. I want )rou to deal acard that you believe is the...Queen of
Spades. So, when },ou beJieve you afe about to deal the Queen of Spades, don't deal
the card face-up, but deal it face-down over here. Go ahead."

Open AND NoroRrous

65

The participant begins dealing catds into a face-up pile. "Obviousil-," the perfotmer
cautions, "if vou turn up the Queen of Spades, then destinv u'ill have gone horriblrwrong and the wodd as \ve knorv it mat'come to an abrupt end."

At

some point, the participant deals a face-dorvn card. She is instructed to continue
if the Queen of Spades shou's up. Evenrualll', all the cards have been

dealing to see

dealt and there is no sign

of the Queen of

Spades.

The performer observes, "You mal have noticed, but not onll' did we not see the
Queen of Spades, but rve didn't see anv Queens at a71.." He picks up the four facedown cards and turns the uppermost one face-up. It is the Queen of Spades. "That's
because ),ou successfulll' found the Queen of Spades and returned her safely to her
sisters." The other three cards are the other three Queens.

Mrsr Eu ScEue
Use anv deck, but remo\re (either secredv or previousll) the Queen of Hearts. I generally either leave it behind in the card box, or remove it along with the Jokers and place

all three catds into the card box. When )'ou are readl'to petform this trick, go through
the deck and remove the three remaining Queens and an1, other card.

Arrange the four cards in the foilowing order, from the face: Queen of Diamonds,
Queen of Clubs, Queen of Spades, [indiffetent card]. Piace the cards face-down on
the table and spread them. You should handle these cards so that it is obvious that vou
have only four cards; that is, there are no extra, hidden cards.
Now, take the deck, fan it, and insert the uPpermost of the tabled cards into the fan
(this is the indifferent card). Close the fan and give the deck a quick shuffle, and then
hand it to your participant to shuffle as well. As you do this, explain that you will
make one prediction openly and that will be "the Queen of Spades." You could iust
remove the three Queens, but I think removing four cards and losing one back into
the deck-even though it's a stone-cold bluff-visuaill' and logically helps sell the
procedure and the eventual outcome.

Your participant now deals cards face-up and, at some point, deals a card face-down

rvith the three previoush-1sn).r.d face-down cards. This dealing part has perfect
conditions. The particip^nt c n shuffle the deck-at the beginrung or at any time
during the process. After dealing the face-down card, the patticipant can later change
her mind and substitute a different face-down card. At some point, she has deait the
face-down card and completed dealing the rest

Point out that the Queen

of

Spades did

of

the cards face-up.

not turn uP, and none of the other Queens

did either. Pick up the four face-down cards and square them in vour left hand. As you
do, get a break under the second card in preparation for a double lurnover.

66

Joxn Bnuruon

Without pause, do a double turnover, allowing the double to land face-up on the packet. Apparend),, your participant stopped at this card, the Queen of Spades. (Photo 1.)
Continuing, we will now sell the process and the procedure b1' showing the other
three cards to be the other Queens. Tutn your right hand palm-down, and grasp the
right side of the packet with 1'our thumb underneath and fingers on top. (Photo 2.)

turfl over the packet and do an Elmslel, count back into your left hand. During
the count, three face-up Queens and one face-down card-presumably the Queen of
Spades-will shor.v. As vou do the count, outjog the face-down card as )'ou come to it.
(Photo 3.) After the count, remove the face-down 621d-i1 i5 the Queen of Spadesand revolve it face-up onto the face of the packet.
Now',

it could be-the Queen of Diamonds shows twice, the reversed Queen


of Spades comes third, instead of last-1'et, the display looks good. The reversed
card catches the r,-ier.vers' attention and dtaws it awat' from the twice-shown Queen.
You have conr.incinglr, shou.n the four (and onl1, four) cards to be the Queens, further
reinforcing )'our '(open" prediction of the Queen of Spades.
Discrepant

as

Operu AND

NoroRrous

67

There is a [ttle cleaning up to do-the reversed card at the back of the packet. I usua111, sr. a Larry Y/est clean-up move: \\'ith 1-our dght thumb on top and fingers belorv,
pinch the right side of the Queens packet. \f ith vout right thumb, push all but the
bottom card to the 1eft. In a continuing action, use the bottom card to lever the upper
three cards face-dorvn back into vour left hand. Norv drop the right-hand card on top
and you are done. It's discrepant, but on the off-beat quick and efficient.

Posr MoRreN4
Doru'r Do

!r

Ovet the )/ears, man)'people have purpottedlr'"improved" the Discrepancv Ciw Dispiav bv starting with ali four Queens, but displaf ing them as three cards. Then, after
doing the Displall the improvers would shorv the packet as al1 four Queens and hid-

ing the extra indifferent card. \f ith due respect, I think this is a step backward. The
compelling part of the DC Display is that \rou can handle the cards in a wa1' that
conclusively shows vour audience that 1'ou don'thave anv extra or hidden cards. That
they know there are no extra cards reallv heips the illusion. Sho,,ving fout as thtee,
then fir,e as four, is a little obvious and a likely candidate for theorizets. So uniess you
are the great Arturo Ascanio reincarnated, let's not do this.

Less ls MoRe
We can speed this up a little. After she has dealt the face-down card and 1,6rr have been
assured that she does not u/ant to change her mind, \'ou can ask t'our participant to

look through the rest of the cards to

see whether the Queen is among them. This will


shorten the procedure considerablir As she looks through the rest of the cards, pick
up the four face-down cards and get ready for the double turnover.

Again look to vour convictions: is the continued dealing trullr 5g5p6nseful and dramatic, or merell'prolonging the inevitable? Proponents of the Open Prediction often
emphasize the drama inherent in the dealing procedure. The answer depends upon
whether the "tricks work" presumption has krcked in yet. If so, then as soon as the
face-down card is finallr. decided upon, the trick is over. The presumption ensures
that your audience will conciude that the face-down card will be the predicted one. If
the presumption has not kicked in, then there still mav be some suspeflse in dealing
out the rest of the cards. All in all, I am in favor of speeding up the process as much
as the method will allow.

58

Jonn

Bnnruoru

Vr

ew To A 'Src tt

Bannon said, "Is that a full deck? Go ahead and shuffle it."

Jokers-and I shuffled it. I had been shuffling it all evening as


shop. It wasn't the worst lecture I'd seen, but alreadl'
I lvas having trouble remembering any'thing the t oung man did, or said. But now,
Bannon and I were at our fal,oritebar, at our favorite table, talking about out favorite

N{r'

deck-a full

52, no

v/e sat in the back

of the magic

subject, card tricks.

sort of. Bannon wanted to show me a card game. Bannon was not iust a card
trickster; he r.vas also an avid catd plaver. \{,hile I u'as shuffling, he iotted something

\W'e11,

dorvn on a couple

of

pieces

of paper and

set them aside.

"S7hen I rvas little and mt'psvchic abilities were just der.eloping, I used to play this
game rvith mv NIom. I didn't ah.vavs rvin, but I usuallv could tell v'ho was going to win.
Rea1l1'd1q1,s her nuts." Bannon said.

"Fland me about half the deck," he continued. "Here'.s how you plal'. Fitst, pick
color, red or black." I said "Red."

"You can change vour mind, if vou like. Realli; I want vou to be sure t'ou had a tree
choice of color." I said I'd strck u'ith red.

I get the black cards." He gave his half-deck a quick overhand shuffle. "Notv,
rl,e each turn over the top card of our packet. If both cards are red, \,ou get them. If
both are b1ack, I get them. If one is red and the other is black, nobody gets them and
u,e discard them. \\'hoever gets the most cards of their color lvins. Got it?"
"Oka1',

nodded, r'es. \ile began to p1av. I didn't knorv where Bannon was
going rvith this. The game \vas ven' simple and, it seemed, vert' fair. I knew the cards
had been shuffled. There seemed no u,'av to determine the outcome.

It

seemed simple.

The game rvent quickh- enough; it seemed that in most rounds no one 'nvon. Aftet, a
number of rounds, Bannon ran out of cards. "Just give me some of whatever cards
r-ou har-e left," he said. "I don't care rvhich ones." I handed him four of m1'remaining
eight and rve plaved the last four rounds.

Operu AND

NoroRrous

59

"Thatt how it's plaved. How did 1,ou do?" Bannon picked up the cards he won and
counted them; I did the same. "I have fourteen cards," he announced. "How manlr fls
you have?" I told him I onll'had twelve.

I win.

two cards. You know, what realh'used to drive my


Mom nuts was not onlv could I tell who would vi1-[s1 I could tell by how much."
Bannon gestured to the slips of paper he had set aside. "Read the first one," he said.
"Twelve. Then,

guess

81-

I read the paper aloud: "JB will wi1-!1,

6\I/e."

Now, Bannon fools me a lot, but I just didn't get this one. I shuffled, I chose my own
color, the pla1, 16r^r fair enough, \'et Bannon nailed the outcome exacdy

"Do you want to plal'

again?" he asked. You bet

I did. "Sure," I

said. He waved at the

cards. "Shuffle 'em up."


We played again.

I shuffled. Again,

he gave me a free choice

of color-I kept the red

half the cards. As u/e began, he reminded me that I could shuffle my


packet at ant, time. This time, I ran out of cards first. Bannon had six cards left. He
Iet me pick which three I wanted. We pla1,efl the last thtee rounds. It all seemed sofair.
cards. I gave him

"How did

1rcu do?" Bannon asked.

"How did

counted m), cards. "Fourteen,"

do?" He gestured toward his pile.

said.

counted them as well. "You have

foufteen, too."

"Nobody won? How strange." Then, he looked at the last slip of paPer.

I grabbed it, then iust stared at it.

"\We

tie-nobody wins."

He smiled. So did I.

*
"So? Are 1,ou going to tell me?" As I've said befote, Bannon was not particulady good

at keeping his own secrets.

70

Jonn

Bnruuoru

Bannon said, "Stewart James's 'Miraskill' is a great self-wotking, mathematical trick.


The problem is that ordinarily you need to palm cards into or out of the deck. Or do
some other maneuver to uPset the balance of colors. Hardly self-working."
I was not exactly sure what he was talking about. I was remotel), familiar with Miraskill,
but did not remember the conditions being as fair as what I had iust witnessed:
;Yr

My deck, which v/as compiete;

#r

I shuffled;

:Yr

The predictions specified w'ho would win

,Yr

b1 natlle rTot

color; and

chose my color-after the predictions wete made.

There was onl1, 9n. solution. "So," I said, "it was m), deck and it was complete. \i7hen
I handed you half the deck, you must have palmed off some cards and held them
out, right?"

"No," Bannon replied. "You saw what happened. This method makes Miraskill completely self-working. Let's talk about it."
"The basic Mitaskill principle," Bannon expiained, "is that from a complete, shuffled
deck, if ),ou take cards two at a time,l,ou will turn up the same number of red pairs as
black pairs. So, if 1,ou went all the way through the deck, puttlng the red pairs into one
pile and the black pairs into another (and the unmatched pairs into a third "discard"
pile), when you were done, there would be the same number of red cards in the red
pile as there are biack cards in the black pile."

"No vzal'|"
"Way Now lett make a trick out of it. I made two significant changes from the ttaditional l\firaskill. The fitst was procedural." Bannon picked up the deck and shuffled it.
He pushed over the top two catds and turned them face-up. (Photo 2.)

Opeu AND NoroRlous

71

"The usual way is to take the cards from the top, two at a time. The trick works, and
will fool the heck out of you, but the procedure is a litde odd. I haven't seen or read
a presentation that adequately deals with the odd protocol. Taking two at a time has
always seemed to me to be plainl1, method-driven."

He handed me half the deck. "So, I changed the protocol: Instead of turning over the
cards in pairs, I use a 'game' protocol reminiscent of a card game called lW'ar,' except
that colots ate used instead of values. Each player takes half of the catds and turns
them over one at a time. The game mechanics really work well here. You are actually
dealing with the cards in pairs, but it doesn't seem like it because each player is only
dealing with one card at a time."

He shuffled his half of the deck, so I shuffled mine. Apparentll,, the actual order of
the cards made no difference at a[. We cou]d shuffle our respective cards at any time
without affecting the trick.
"The second change was more substantive. But first, there are the ptedictions," Bannon said as he reached for the sJips of paper. "I write both beforehand. The flrst says
I will win by trvo; the second announces a tie. You have some flexibility with these
predictions, but I think these are the best ofles to use."

"I

noticed you made these predictions before the colors are selected.
How can that work?"
asked him,

He smiled, "That's iust one of the advantages of this method. You'll see. But no$/, go
ahead and choose 2 gelel-1sd or black? This is a free choice." This time, I chose the
black cards. "Okay, let's play through," he said.

of cards, I still had four left.


Having done this before, I handed him two of the cards. I still didn't get the freedom
that was allowed; it redly felt like the cards were completely random. "It really doesn't
matter who gets which cards, does it?" I asked. N7e firushed the last two rounds.

\Xie quickly played another game. When Bannon ran out

72

JoHN Bnuuolt

"Doesn't matter at all. Now look where we afe. Because of the Miraskjll principle, we
both have the sarue number of cards. I don't know how many, but I know they are the
same. The audience doesn't know this. And, there's no way in a million years that your
audience would suspect that the number
Suddenly,

of

cards is a/wa1s the same . . ."

saw what he was doing. Clever bastard.

" . . . which sets ),ou up perfectly for avery effective niscall.


it."

Basically, you just lie about

Bannon picked up his cards, began to spread/count them, and continued.

"In order to determine who won the game, 1,ou need to count your cards. So I pick
up the packet of cards that I have 'won.' Then, I ask my sPectator 'how well she did.'
I have a litde head start on my spectator, because I already picked uP my pile. So, I
quickly count my cards and add two to the total. As soon as I am done, I announce the
total plus two as the number of cards I have won. This, of course, will be two more
than my spectator has, which, of course, makes the predrction come true."

*
I iust shook mv head, marveling

at the simpliciw

of

the thing.

"It is critical

that vou announce )'our number first," he continued. "Due to the


IVliraskill principle, no one could possibly guess that the number of cards will be the
same or that there is any basis b1'which )rou could know the number of cards in your
spectator's packet. So if you announce frst, there is no apparent basis or reason to
believe that you might be l1,ing in order to make the prediction come true."

could see how Bannon's mrscali would work petfecdir The first prediction has an
added advantage; no one will be quite sure what is coming. Even if your sPectators
remembered the prediction, thel'wouldn't know exacdl'what was being predicted. AII
of the drrq, work is done before )rou call attention to the prediction.

0per AND NoroRrous

73

Bannon gathered up the cards and continued, "SV'hjle I hint at the beginrung that I've
predicted who was going to win, I save for the end that I could teil b1, how much. I
want the audience's attention to be on who wlllwin, not the actuai number of cards."

He began shuffling the deck. "Now, \rou can repeat the trick. And, since the second
prediction is a 'tie,'you do not need to do anything. The MiraskilI principle does it all
for you. This is great because there will be more scrutiny in the second tound."

"I

remember, in the second round you made me do all

of the counting," I pointed

out.

Bannon replied, "Exacdy,, and I also had you count your cards first, then count mine."

I picked up Bannon's second prediction and remembered how I reacted when I was
the spectator. "I like ending with a 'tie,"' I said. "The tie is really unexpected-almost
like the game didn't work. So, I really wasfl't sure whether the prediction would work.
I didn't expect that you'd actuallv ptedict a tie."
"Yeah,

Ilike that partalot. Of

course, that's right from the originalMiraskill,

butit

does complement the miscall perfecdy."

"By way of full disclosure," Bannon said,


that the trick may not work."

"I

need to point out there is

very small risk

nn6o J7 urrs

We-h|

"\Whv is that?"

asked.

"Whjle you are guaranteed that the number of red pairs will be the same as black
pairs, you
nlt gs^t^nteed how many pairs will turn up. It is possible that no pairs
^re
will turn up, and it's impossible to miscall zero as two. It's also possible that only one
or two pairs of each will turn up. In these cases, it rvould be tricky to miscall two
cards as four; four cards as six would be only a little less tricky. With three pairs, I am
reasonably comfortable misrepresenring six cards as eight."

"But how likely is that to happen?"

74* Jonr

Bnruroru

"If

no unmatched pairs turn up, each color would get a total of thirteen pairs. So,
of possibilities is from zero through thirteen. Of those, onl1' 1|-tt.. cases at
the low end and the case at the high end are problematic (0,1.,2, or 13 pairs), and the
probabiliq' of either of these cases actually happening is verl', very small."
the range

'Worth

the risk,

decided. "Ever think

of

adding a third phase?"

Bannon was quiet for a moment. "It's alreadv a long routine. I am alwavs looking for
wavs to speed it up-usualll'bi'talking less. Besides, I wouldn't be comfortable doing
the miscall twice. And, a third phase would have to allorv the same freedom of conditions. No, two's enough."
He looked at his watch. Time to go.

*
As we were walking in the brisk Chicago winter back to the car, I was still marveling
oYer the Nfirask:rll concept.

"I

it works,"

stil1 don't get how

"I don't know how


fessed.

"But

itt

said.

StewattJames ever arrived at the N[iraskill principle," Bannon con-

one

of

the most puzz)tng, counter-intuitive mathematical principles

out thefe."
"Can 1'eu explain it?"

asked.

"Remember, starting ,x,ith a complete, shuffled deck, James discovered that if you
take the cards trvo at a time, the number of pairs of red cards would equal the numbet

of

pairs

of black cards."

Bannon explained, "I think it's easier to see if rve look at the pairs that don't 62161the ones that have one red and one black card. Sav we start with an equal number of
reds and blacks and that number is an even nurnfsl-in a full deck, there would be
26 of each. If rve turn up an unmatched pair-one ted and one black-there rvould
norv be an odd, but equal number of reds and blacks left in the deck. With me so far?"
"Yes, now the deck has 25 reds and 25 blacks."

"Exactlr'. \i7hat that meafls is that, ho.uvet.er the cards are arcanged, thete will be at
Ieast one /?,ore unmatched pair."

"\\'hv it that?" I

asked, alreadv losing mv grip on this explanation.

"Nlatched pairs of red ot black cards are ahval's removed two at a time, so the respective number of reds and blacks will stav odd unul the next unmatched pair turns
up. Because the number is odd, then there w'il alwals be one red and one black card
that cannot be remor-ed in a matched pair, so there will ahtnlts \s at least one more
unmatched pair."

0peru AND NoroRrous

75

"Uh huh."
"So, the important thing to reatze is that there will ahvavs be an et'en number of
unmatched pairs. Which means the unmatched pairs',r,jll consist of an equal and eten
number of ted and black cards."

"Uh huh"
"Since the unmatched pairs remove an equal and even number ftom the red cards
and the black cards, the remaining red and black cards are also equal and even. N(hich
means the number of ted and black matched pairs will also be the same."

"Got it. Right."

*
I got home, I thought I'd read up a bit on this Nliraskill. I pulled down mv
copies of Stewart James In Print: The First Ftf\,Years flogestja, 1989) and the massive
So when

two-volume opos,

The Jarues

Fi/e (Hermetic Press, 2000). Allan Slaight and crer.v cer-

it eas1, b,v comprltng these massirre tomes of James's tricks and commentari,. gs1. enough, SJIP, TFFY had the original routine (pubJished in The Jinx in 1936).
In addition,
1883,Tbe James Fi/ehad an entire chapter called "Nfiraschool" with
^tp^ge
many variattons, handlings and ideas. Bannon had also told me that, while his routine
tainl1, made

a version of Miraskill had been published


that also incorporated a similar "War" card game protocol-an e-book called "Mirabill," by Bill Cushman and sold on-line bv Oudavz Effects.

dated from the late-nineties, recently (2008)

Perhaps it was the hour, or the gin, or the daunting amount of reading that was possible, but having assembled all of m1, resources, I decided to go to bed.

*
A couple of

I got a call from

Bannon. He said he had some more on the


Miraskill routine, which he was calling "View To A 'Skill."
days later,

He said, 'At the risk of destrol,ing the obvious purity of the self-working version we
were playing with the other night . . ."
(1When Bannon savs things like "destroy'ing the obvious

purit)'," I'm never quite sure

how to take it.)

" . . . there is another way \rou can effectively exploit the Mirask-ill principle with
borrowed deck. It's not self-working, but it's not drfficult either."

"Really? How?"

"Evervthing is exactll' the same as we discussed, except instead


openly count your cards out loud."

"How can you do . . ." Then, I got it. "False count, right?"

76

Joxn Bnnnon

of

a miscall, t'ou

"Exacdy. Remembet you know the packets are equal, but no one knows that you
know. So you false count the packet as two more than you have' Again, no one should
suspect that you are fixing the result.

"For example, with a Biddle-type count, it's child's play. Play the round. Then, with
your right hand, pick up your packet in Biddle or end grip. Count the cards by using
your left thumb to pull them off the packet into yout left hand. Count aloud as you
do this. (Photo 6.)
'After you have counted off nvo cards, get a left pinky break above the second card
as the third card is pulled into your left hand. Count the fouth card, and then as you
pull the fifth card, steal the two cards above the break onto the bottom of the packet.
"Continue counting until you reach the end of the packet. The total will be two higher
than however many you started with-which means two higher than your sPectator
has. And she hasn't even counted her catds yet."

"That's cool," I said. The Biddle count v/ould be fakly easy for most and would fool
all civilians. But some practitioners-like our good friend Dave $elqrnen-v/euld1'1
be caught dead using a Biddle count. "But, Dave won't like it very much," I said.

"I

know," Bannon replied. "But any


counts could be used as well."

of

those Edward-Victor-eleven-card/bill-false

the Victor-type counts mainly because I was never a fan of


the "Eleven Card fBill] Trick" subgenre. I thought about it for a couple of seconds. I
still preferred the miscall

had not learned any

of

"Good workable idea, but I think you're right," I told him.


"Right about what?"

"It

destroys the obvious purity

of

the work."

0per AND NoroRrous *

77

MEGA'WAVE

So,

it works in practice...What about theorr'?


T-Shirt seen at the
Universiq,

of

Chicago

Mran 'WRvr
ttMega-r" comb. form: "great)y surpassing others of its kind"
"Mega
remix

1W'ave"

is a re-vamped, remodeled, repackaged, re-engineered, and reloaded


Stephen Tucker's concepts from his "Omega" sedes of tricks.

of certain of

PnEcrs
The performer shows tv/o sets of four cards. The first consists of the four face-up
Queens. The second packet is face-down, wrapped with a wide band.

A spectator is invited to think of, and then to


force.

rr^lrr:re,

^rty

of the

Queens. There is no

The performer retains the Queen packet and tables the banded packet. He offers to
demonstrate the difference "between magic and mentalism, between sleight-of-hand
and psychic abiJiqi between hocus pocus and mumbo jumbo."
The performer comments that, for example, if he wanted to secredy reverse a card in
a packet, there are only a few ways he could do it.
demonstration of "hocus pocus," the performer annouflces that he will cause the
named Queen to reverse itself in the packet through the use of sleight-of-hand. After
showing all of the Queens to be face-down, the performer "spins" the packet and
then spreads it face-up-the named Queen has reversed itself. The performer-and
the packet-may be watched very closely as the audience can detect nothing as this
happens. (The Queen packet is never placed behind the performet's back or otherwise

As

out of the audience's sight.)


a demonstration of "mumbo jumbo," the performer states that if, by using his psychic abiliqi he knew in advance which Queen the spectator would think of, he could
simply reverse that Queen, in aduance. He then picks up the banded packet (which has
been in plain sight), removes the band, and spreads the cards. Reversed in the middle

As

Mecn 'Wnve

81

the packet is the named Queen, proving that the performer knerv ahead of time
'"vhich Queen would be named!

of

The performer surmises, ho\trever, that this Queen could have been rer.ersed bv
sleight-of-hand. After all, the spectator sar.v him do exactlv that s,ith the first packet.
So, in order to shorv that it was nlt sleight-of-hand, the performer remo\-es the reversed, face-up Queen and turns it face-do'nvn. It has a different colored backl
But that's not all! The performer inserts the odd-backed Queen into the packet, but
leaves it outiogged. He shows the faces of the packet, and the other three cards in the
packet are all Jokets-not Queens at all. The odd-backed, named Queen is the on/1'
Queen in the packet!

After the commotion has subsided, the performer makes one more obsenztion. He
expiains that rather than using "hocus pocus" or "mumbo jumbo," there is a much
better explanation. The face-dou.,n Queen is removed from the first packet and gentlt'
rubbed upon the performer's sleeve. "That, of coutse, it's all done with smoke and
nilrrori."

The card is turned over and the Queen has vanished! In her place, on the blank card,
are the simpie words: "Smoke & Nfitrors."

*
All of the cards

ma1,

be examined. No prepared or gaffed cards are used in either

packet. No extra cards are used; nothing is added or taken awal'. The cards are in plain
sight at al1 times, and nothing is placed beLrrnd the performer's back or under the table.

The trick is ver1, easy to do; onlt' two veq'basic card moves are required. No palming
or Vernon-q,pe transfers ate used.

Mrse Eru ScEre


Ser-Up
You will need an eight-card packet using the Queens (or other denomination) as follows (from the top of the packet):
Face-up, blue-backed, black Queen
Face-up, blue-backed, red Queen

Face-up, blue-backed, red Queen


Face-up, blue-backed, black Queen

The next three cards ate kept together b), a band of paper ot plastic. I first snipped
off the first inch and ahalf of a thin plastic envelope designed to protect collectable
trading cards, which gave me a plastic band that fits snugly around three cards.

82

Joxu Bnnruou

use a U.S. dollar bil. A crisp bill wrapped around the cards and
tucked into itself works great. (See Photo 1.) Of course, the larger or more interesting the bill, the more intrigrring the trick becomss-fs1 no good reason, other than
the audience may wonder why the cards are wrapped with such a special band.
Novui however,

You could also wrap an inch and ahalf strip of white or colored paper around the
three cards and tape it together. The band should be snug enough so it does not move
around too much, but not so snug that it cannot be easily removed. Here is the otder

of

the banded packet:

Face-down, red-backed Joker


Face-down, red-backed Joker
Face-down, red-backed Joker

The bottom card

of

the packet is loose.

Face-down, blue-backed, blank-faced card

On the face o{ the blank-faced card,I write the words "SN{OKE & MIRRORS." Of
course, the back colors and designs can be teversed, or different than described, but
the loose blank card should have the same colot back as the face-up Queens.

Mecn'Wnve

83

PRnctrcnl FRncrnl
Bring out the eight-card packet and spread over the top four face-up Queens. Point
out the banded packet and remark that vou'Il get to it in a minute. Use the spread

of Queens to gesture

at the banded packet, casuallv showing the blue backs

of

the

Queens. (Photo 2.)


Rest the spread Queens on the left-hand packet and take the top tw'o Queens in vour
right hand, keeping the othet two sptead on top of the banded packet in your left.

(Photo 3.)

Tell your spectator that you are going to demonstrate the "difference between sleightof-hand magic and mentalism." Ask your spectator to think of, and then name any
one of the Queens. You can make a hard sell here, along the lines of, "I want you to
choose very carefulh,, because when this trick is over, )'ou are going to wonder what
would have happened if you had thought of a different Queen . . ."

If

a red Queen is named, replace the right-hand Queens and square the packet.

If

black Queen is named, place the right-hand Queens under the left-hand Queens and
square the packet. Basically, you v/ant the named card to be one of the middle two
Queens.

Now, get a break above the bottom card of the packet (the loose blue-backed Joker);
I use a left littie-finger pull-down (with the three banded cards, the break is virtually
automatic). Take the packet from above with 1,6u1 right hand, transferring the break
above the bottom card to \rour right thumb. This is the well-known Biddle Grip.
(Photo 4.)

As you begin putting the tdck in context, you will set-up the entire trick with one

I'm going to illustrate the age-old dispute between magicians


and mentalists. That is, the difference between sleight-of-hand and psl,chic power.
Between'hocus pocus' and'mumbo jumbo."'
easy sequence. "Raquel,

With your ieft thumb, pull the Queens singly

84

Joxru Batruoru

off

the packet and into your left hand.

pull off the second Queen, Ioad the bottom card of the right-hand packet
beneath it by simpll,releasing the right thumb break. (Photo 5.)
As

1,611

As 1,ou come to it, get a left litde-finger break beneath the named card (it will be either
the second or third Queen) and, as vou pull the next Queen, steal the named Queen
onto the bottom of the right-hand packet. (Photo 6.) These actions are all standard

Biddle mechanics.

Hocus Pocus
Apparentli', r'ou have simplv counted the Queens into t,our ieft hand.
Position Check: The left hand packet has three face-up Queens with one face-down
blue-backed card in the middle (actualI1', third from the face of the packet). Your right
hand appears to hold a banded packet of face-down, red-backed cards. Actually the
named Queen is face-up at the bottom

of

the packet.

Place the right-hand's "banded" packet onto the table and focus attention on the
Left-hand cards. The basic idea rvith this first packet-rvhose sectet purpose was to

Mecn'Wnve

85

provide the named Queen to be used in the other, "banded" packet-is to justifi'its
own separate eristence and to lead the audience arvar- from concluding that the named
Queen in the "banded" packet is the sarue Queen that rvas originallv in the Queen
packet.

Thatt the single major

How to avoid the premature conclusion


that the reversed Queen in the second, "mental" packet is the same Queen that rvas
in the initial, "sleight-of-hand" packet. Contrarv to coil'entional wisdom rvith respect
to this trick, the one thing1t611 tttust not /o is show that the named Queen has r.anished
from frst packet, before s'ott sho.nv the named Queen reversed in the second packet. If
),ou do, virtually everv spectator will conclude-almost immediatelv-that the secissue s,ith the trick:

ond packet was the destination


thev'd be right.

of

the norv-r'anished, named Queen-and, t'ou know,

Instead, let's settle for a nice, easr', impl,ied reversal in the first packet.

Explain that, bt' sleight-of-hand, it rvould be reasonablv easv to cause the named
Queen to reverse itself. Ask for the name of the Queen (again). Caution vour spectator to watch carefullr'. Give the packet a "fivist." Spread the packet to shorv that the
named Queen has apparentlv turned face-down.

That's the easiest \\/av to do it. It is better, horvever, to put a iittle time between the
Biddle mechanics and the revelation of the face-dou,n card. For example, flip the
packet face-down, and give the packet an Out-Of-Position Elmsley count ("OPEC,"
see Post N{ortem), showing four face-dorvn cards. Ask for the name of the Queen
(again). Now, turn the packet face-up, do a "twist," and spread it with vour right hand
to show that the named Queen has reversed itself.

The Queen is implied because it is face-down and the outer three cards are face-up.
That's oka\,, because right now ),our audience does not know what is going to happen
and has no reason to believe that the reversed card is not the named Queen (except
that it's face-down).

MuMeo Jut'4go
Nor,v turn vour attention to the "banded" packet, but don't pick it up right awat'. Instead, set the stage. "Raquel, now lett talk about psvchic 2[i]i11'-'1111mbo jumbo.' If
somehorv I kner.v in adr.ance r.vhich Queen you would think of, all I would have to do
is reverse youf

cafd-in

adyance."

\\'ith I'our right hand ftom

above, pick up the "banded" packet (and the ioose card


beneath it). Place the packet into vour left hand and slide the band off the upper end
the three face-down redof the packet. The face-up named Queen rvill coalesce
backedJokers. Ask for the name

"rVhat Queen did


Queen

85

of

1'ou

think of? Diamonds? What

Diamonds?"

Joxru Bnrunoru

"vith

of the selected Queen (again).

if

before v/e started, I teversed the

Now give the packet an Elmsley Count, but after the first two cards are "counted,"
spread them and count the next tv/o cards in spread condition. (Photo 7.) The named
r face-up in the center of the packet.
card will
^ppe

You are now in a highly enviable position: The named card is odd-backed, the only
Queen in the packet, and everyone thinks you simply reversed it using the same
sleight-of-hand you aheady demonsttated. Further, all cards are regalar and examinable. Smile to yourself and end the trick by dramattcally revealing the remaining
multiple climaxes.
"Now, Raquel, I know what you're thinking. $7hy isn't that just sleight-of-hand, too? I
mean you just saw me do this by sleight-of-hand. I kneu, you would think that, too."
\X/ith your right hand, slowly slide the reversed Queen out of the packet. Turn it over
to show the different-colored back. (Photo 8.)

"That's why this Queen of fDiamonds] has a different back than the rest of the cards.
Not only that, but I'm glad ),ou thought of the Queen of fDiamonds] because otherwise the trick would not have worked. You see, none of these cards are Queens at all,

Mean'Wnve

87

and you thought of the on! one that would have worked." Insert the now face-down,
odd-backed Queen into the packet, but leave it outjogged a bit.

Now, slowly turn the spread face-up to show that, other than the named Queen,
the other cards are not Queens, bt Jokers. (Photo 9.)

a1l

of

Put the cards face-up on the table.

Sr"rore & MtnnoRs


Okay, the trick is officially over. All the cards are examinable. In fact, there should be
litde heat on the reversed card in the first packet. Originally, I left the card blank, and
if anyone actually wanted to see the "Queen," I would then make it disappear. This
"vaflish," of course, is an anti-climax and, in this context, feels like one.

However, after the trick is officially over, an effect that would otheru,ise be an anti-climax can be effective if ptesented as an ending Iine, effectively wrapping up the trick
and putting a bow on it. So that was my plan, to put t^gllfle or something on the
^
blank card and to use the final change as a blow-off, v/rap-up, closing bit.

For example, you could put business information on the blank end with something
along the lines of: " ...of course, if you want to see real mag1c.. .give me a call sometime." That said, after what was too long, I came up with the "Smoke & Mirrors"
blorv-off, which worked perfecdy with the "hocus-pocus-mumbo-jumbo" verbal
fiamework.
So, at the conclusion of the effect, pause a bit and sa11 "That's Hocus Pocus and
NlumboJumbo. But do you know what the real secret of magic is?" (Oka11 we shifted
geats here from demonstration, to "real secrets." It's not inconsistent, though, because the context of this presentation is method, even if a litde tongue-in-cheek. And,
of course, methods are secrets. The notion of "secfets" also raises the ante a little
here.)

88

Joxn Bnrunon

Slide out the reversed "Queen" and gendt,rub it on your sleeve. "The real secret is
flot hocus pocus. And it's not mumbo jumbo. It's all done with . . . smoke and mirrorsl"

show the face of the "Queen," which has apparentll'


"SN'IOKE
rvords
& N{IRRORS."
Slor.v11',

-.,r-otphed into the

Now, the trick is over. A trul1,6ell.r.ntfr^ct^l ending-all cards examinable and in


context.

Nores
BncroRouND AND Cneotrs
Stephen Tucker released "Omega" and "Omega Plus" as packet tricks and as an
e-book in or about Februarr' 2005; the supplement "Improved Omega PIus" is undated, but presumably was released some time later (col,lectivelli "Omega"). The promotion for the trick got mv attention because of a direct refetence to my routine,
"Tivisted Sisters." In November 2005,I purchased the e-book and began to play with
the routine.

"Omega" is a treatment of the "Fout-Card Brainwave" problem (popularized b)'-.v


friend NIax Nfaven's "B'rvave"). The central notion of "Omega" is to shuttle a named
Queen from a packet of Queens to an isolated "prediction" packet so it would ^PPe r
that the named Queen had been previouslv ptedicted. This clevet notion allowed for
(i) a free choice

of Queen, (ii) the multiple redundant

climaxes (reversed, odd-backed

Queen, other cards not Queens), and (iii) the prediction packet to be ungaffed and
fulll examinable. Despite the undeniable cleverness of this central coricept, I found
cettain aspects of the "Omega" and "Improved Omega Plus" routines to be problematic.

Despite the clever framew-ork, in "Omega," howet,er, the first packet is tteated moreor-less as ajoke; it r.vas placed behind the performer's back, manipulated, and behold,
the named Queen rvas shor.vn to be reversed. Not exactlv magical. Not exactlY an
effect, even. This packet needed to be jusufied and placed in context with the trick
proper, not throvn arvav in an obvious, procedure-driven manner. In addition, Passing off the tu,o-card second packet as four, together s,ith a palm and an add-on at the
rvorst possible moment, lvas pure self-deception. I felt some rethinking and re-engineering

r.r,as

in order.

A simple, but sigruficant tradeoff, was to forego the phvsical separation of the two
packets. Vhile "Omega's" separation added some claritr; the condition actually caused
the trick's procedurai problems. Bringing the packets together, however, resulted in a
number of promising procedural avenues. This approach has the following features:
(i) no behind-the-back or under-the-table s,ork, (ii) no palming, (iii) no tabling two
cards as tbur, and (ir) fulil- rutionahzed use of the 6rst packet.

Mecn'WnvE

89

One of the important trade-offs in this routine is that both packets begin together;that
is, not as physically separate packets. This trade-off makes the resultant handJing vety
easy. The band (which apparendy surrounds the second packet in its entirery) helps
cteate sense of physical separation. In the end, the synergy between bringing the
^
packets together and the band illusion made apractcal, commercial handling possible.

The definition of "mega-" comes from Mirriam N7ebstert

Collegiate Dictionary, 10'h

edition, page723.
OPEC Courur

This is an "Out-Of-Position Elmsley Count," afancy name for a simple concept. The
mechanics are essentially identical to the Elmsley Count With your right hand grip
the packet along its right side, thumb on top, fingers below. On the (silent) count of
"one," with your left hand remove the bottom, not the top, card of the packet. From
this position, continue with the Elmsley Count mechanics (a block pushoff, and a
steal-back of the first card on the count of "two," followed by pulling off the next
card on the count of "three'), but for this trick, place the last card under the left-hand
packet (instead

90

of counting it on top).

* Jorr Bnruroru

Fnncrnl RE-Cnu
A perennial favorite since its introduction in1993,"Call Of The S7ild" was my attemPt
to bring some logic and cohesion to the classic "Wild Card" plot. Over the years, the
trick has been consistendy well-received and, to this day, sells well (which surprises me
because, while not exceptionally difficult, the trick has a lot of moves). Here's a wav
to accomplish the same effect ftom an unprepared deck. An easily-achievable set-uP
is required, but after a logical opening sequence, the deck proPer goes away, leaving
only eight cards in play. A Iot of magic happens here in a sutprising, but cohefent wa)'.

PnEcrs
The performef Iecounts his first meeting v,ith a renowned Chicago gambler, State
Street Eddie. Eddie, it seems, proposed a contest in which the performer and Eddie
would each get four random cards and would take turns "seeing how well they could
do." In other words, it was a cheating contest.
The performef femoves eight face-up cards from a shuffled desk-a random assoftment. The packet is turned face-down and four of the cards are set to the side as
the perfotmet's hand, and the remaining four ate set aside as Eddie's, one of rvhich
happens to be the Ace of Spades.

The performer goes first. Borrowing Eddie's Ace


four of his cards into Aces of Spades.

of

Spades, the petformer turns all

Unimpressed, Eddie takes back the Ace of Spades and visually turns his four cards
into four different Aces-Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds.
Nonplussed, the performer takes back the Ace of Spades. "Eddie, you may think i
showed you Aces, but I know for a fact I showed yot Spadu. And Eddie, where I play

cards..."
The performer nov/ turns up, one card at

".

a Roval Straight Flush beats

11me, a

Royal Flush in Spades!

fout Aces, every day of the week'"

Meen 'Wnve

91

Mrse

Et

ScEne

A SMnLL Ser.Up
From anl, reguiar deck, set-up the follorving nine cards from the top of the deck
6f6s7nq721d-an indifferent card, the I(ing, Queen, Jack and Ten of Spades, in anv
order, followed by the Aces in an1, order, but with the Ace of Spades at the face, that
is, the ninth card from the top of the deck:
X, S, S, S, S, A, A, A, AS
This is a telatively simple set-up that can be achieved "under fire" or certainif in some
preliminarl, "tof ing" with the deck.

or Lift Shuffles work we1l. If I


have a surface, I often use a Nlike Skinner ploy for retaining a top stock-riffle shuffle
From there, false shuffle

as much as )rou care to. Jog

the cardsface-ap.In this manner, the audience can see the face card

of the deck change

it is childt play to simplv not shuffle into the stacked block.


Even a sizable stock can be preserved this rvar,.

w-ith each shuffle, and

Cur Txe Sluc


The "Siug" concept is a switch strategv I came up with plaf ing around with "Fractal" Wild Card routines. The idea is to begin with more cards than you need-sari a
packet of blank s21cl5-1e count off the number vou need, face-up of course, and
then to place the remainder aside. Using a simple Hamman Count action, taking off
eight cards and switching the packets on the count of eight, is .vety efficient and
^
deceptive switch. And, because the unused cards are the ones iust switched out, thev
are examinable as well. Overall, it's an effective switch strateg),.

First, you need a "slug" of cards. You rvill need a break beneath the top sixteen cards.
There are a number of ways to get this break; the most direct wav is to push over five
groups of three cards, followed b1, 6ns more, as you are talking about the trick and
apparently spreading the cards.

it to appear that the sixteen-catd block was randomly cut from the
of the deck, as follows. With your right hand, grasp the deck from above and
transfer the break to your right thumb-de n61 actually pick up the deck. ril/ith 1,our

Now, we want
center

right forefinger, pretend to swing cut the sixteen-card packet into 1,our left hand. Actuallr', lvith your right forefinger in position, ),our right hand pivots the cards above
the break to the left so you can clip the packet with your left thumb. (Photo 1.) This
action looks exactl1, like a swing cut, but is actually precisell'controlled.

Now hold the remainder of the deck with your right hand as 1,our left hand slides
the sixteen-card packet to the left. With 1,our right forefinger, swing cut about half
of the remaining cards onto the left-hand packet, but with )rour left little finger hold
a break between the packets. Drop the remaining righrhand cards onto the table. In

92* Jonn Bnuruoru

with your right hand, cut off the left-hand cards above the break
and drop them onto the tabled packet. (fhese actions are identical to the well-known
Frank Thompson false cut, except that the size of the first packet is controlled.)
a continuiflg action,

Now with your right hand, flip the remaining left-hand cafds face-up (these afe the
original top sixteen cards) and take the now face-up packet ftom above in Biddle (ot
End) grip in position for a Hamman count. It should aPPe^r that this is a random
packet of cards cut from inside the deck.

Txe CovenED SLUG SWITCX


Hete, because we are using a regular deck, a slightll'2l1s1ed approach to the Hamman count "slug" concePt is used. Using non-identical cards and a Hamman Count
methodology, the card counted as the seventh ends up on the face of the packet of
remaining cards aftet the switch (a discrepant prize fot the truly observant). While
probably not necessary 90o/o of the time, it is easl' enough to use a "covered" SlugHamman-Count procedure to remove the discrepancl'.

holding a sixteen-card packet that was apparendy cut from the center
of the deck, a "random" packet of cards. Before actualllr removing the packet from
your left hand, do a buckle or a pull-down so )rou can get a break above the lowermost
card with your right thumb. This is the indifferent card that was part of your initial
Oka1,, l,en are

nine-card stack.

You are now ready for a "covered" Hamman-tlPe switch. I originaliy saw this in a
Bruce Bernstein thought-of cards acfoss toutine I put in the Linkingking"Card Corner" back in the da1, (circa 1990-91).

With your left thumb, pull the top card of the right-hand packet into y6111 left hand.
Continue pulJing cards into your left hand, counting them aloud, "one" through "seven." On the count of "eight," set,eral things happen. As you bring your left and right
hands together for the "take," the card beneath your fight thumb break is added to
the face of the left-hand packet, and then as the eighth card (the Ace of Spades) is

Mecn'Wave

93

apparentl)r taken, the left-hand and right-hand packets are exchanged. (See Photos 2
& 3.) This is standard Hamman count technique, r.vith the addition of the extra card.

There is

knack to it that mav require a Jittle practice e\ren

if

,r'ou are otherwise famrl-

iar with the Hamman. Essentialll', your left littie finger disengages the

and pulls

it onto the face of the left packet

broken-off card

as the packets are exchanged.

It appears that seven indifferent

cards and, fortuitouslli the Ace of Spades have been


counted from the right-hand packet into 1,e111 left hand. Actuall1,, the packet consists
of the eight stacked cards. With your right hand, deposit the remainder of its packet
face-down onto the tabled deck.

Flip the left-hand packet face-down and spread it. Place the top four cards in front of
you-these are the Spade flush cards and will be "),our" hand-and place the lower
four cards to your left and forward a little-these are the Aces and will be Eddie's
cards.

Now you can let the "cheating cofltest" begln.

Frve !oenncAl AcEs


Remark that, in this chearing contest, \,ou went first. Pick up "),our" four-catd hand.
Sa,v that you noticed that Eddie had been dealt the Ace of Spades. Slide away the
Iowermost card of "Eddiet" four cards-it will be the Ace of Spades. Show the Ace
and piace it face-down on top of your packet. Shuffle the Ace to the position second
from the bottom. The simplest wa1, i5, in an overhand shuffle, take the top and bot-

tom cards on the first "chop" and shuffle off. Second-from-the-bottom, the Ace is in
position for a diminishing lift sequence.

Hold the packet in

left hand. With vour left thumb at the extreme left edge of
the packet, squeeze to the right all of the cards except for the bottom card. At the
same time, with 1,our right fingers underneath and thumb ofl top, pinch the right side
of this block and flip all four cards over onto the left-hand packet. It appears as if you
turfled the top card of packet face-up to show an Ace of Spades. Repeat this "block
turnover" technique to apparently turn the Ace face-down. Deal the top card of the
packet onto the table. That's one Ace of Spades.

94

1,e1r.

Joxr.r Bnruruor

Repeat the block turnovers to shorv a second Ace


tabled card. Repeat for the "third" Ace.

of

Spades and deal

it on top of the

For the fourth Ace, simplr' flip the top card face-up. To show the last'Ace" with an
in-the-hands Nlexican Turnover, tufn I'ouf right hand palm-do'"vn and take the Ace
with i'our right thumb underneath. (Photo 4.) Turn I'out right hand palm-uP, turning the Ace face-down. Slide the face-down Ace under the remaining left-hand card.
lf ith I'our right hand, momentafil\' pinch both cards and drag the pair toward the Ieft
fingertips. (Photo 5.) As 1'ou do this, i'our right fingers push the lor.ver card (the Ace)
to the left. In an continuing action, faise vouf right hand sharplv upward and allorv
the lauercardto furn face-up. This is the classic Nlexican turno\rer technique. (Photos
6-7.)

Drop the face-dorvn card in vour right hand onto the tabled cards. And drop the
remaining Ace of Spades face-up on top of Eddie's cards. You have apparentli'borros.,ed the Ace of Spades, used it to change all four of 1'our cards to Aces of Spades,
and then returned it.

Nor An OccupnnoNAL

HAZARD
Continue \-our stor\.: "Eddie said a hand rvith four identical Aces is an occuPational
hazard." Pick up Eddie's cards and flip the face-up Ace face-do\\,fl. Take the top two
cards in vour right hand and the lower nvo in vour left and rub each pair back-and-

Mecn'Wnve

95

forth a few times. (Photo 8.) This is the traditional "squiggle" flourish. Then put the
dght-hand cards underthe left-hand cards and square the packet in vour left hand. The
Ace of Spades is now third from the top.
Now we'll use one phase of the 'Asher Twist" but call it a "change." Using a block
turnover, turn the top three cards face-up, as one, to show the Ace of Spades. Now
without pausing (time misdirection is definitely notwanted here), do the Asher TVist
move to shovu'that all of the cards have tutned face-up and that now they are all Aces.
I have

a slighdy different handling for the Asher Twist. The otiginal move uses a sideto-side spreading action to hide the half-pass reversal of the bottom card (this move
is the essence of the trick). I use an up and down, almost "squiggle" action to cover
the move, like this:

After you've turned the Ace face-up (a triple card), pull down on the lowermost card
of the packet with y,our left little finger. If 1,ou continue to pull down this side of the
card, eventually it wrJl turn all the way over in a half-pass action. (Photo 9.)

95

Joxn

Bnruruoru

To cover the move, as the puil down occurs, with your dght [21i-1[s6b on top,
fingers beneath-pinch the right side of the packet. Now move ),our right thumb
forward and fingers backward, simultaneousll, spt.rd'rrg the toP three cards in a
forward-to-backward spread. (Photo 10.) At the same time, do the half-pass move.
There is a lot of cover here from many angles.

In a continuing action, reverse the right-finger movements, collapsing the now four
card spread. Take the top and bottom cards into your left hand and the middle two in

your right. Continue with the "squiggle" flourish. (Photo 11.)

Even though the other three cards "magScally" turned face-up, because they were presumed to be indifferent cards the appearance of the Aces is a surprise. The whole sequence feels like the cards not onl), turned face up, but instandl, and visualll, changed.
This is a vetlz sffsstire use of the Asher Twist mechanics.

(f

you are adept with the Asher TVist, ,vou cari leave the Ace of Spades face-up on
top and do the sequence three times to turn each of the other Aces face-up. As before, there is an extra dimension of change, as well as revetsal, that is si'nergisticalheffective.)

Senoes, Nor Aces


fout Aces of Spades, Eddre made fun of 1,ou and showed all four
Aces, and now it's )rour turn again. Pick up vour cards. Then pick up the Ace of
Spades from Eddre's hand and add it to your cards. Time for the tag line: "Eddie, you
may think I shorved vou Aces, but I know for a fact I showed ).ou SPades. And Eddie,
where I plav cards..."
So, \,ou showed

Spread vour cards before vou like a poker hand and then, card-b1'card, reveal the
. . a Roval Flush beats four Aces any dat' of the week."

Ror-al Flush. ".

Mecn'Wave

97

Posr MoRren
Bncronouuo Auo CReorrs
Start with Frank Garcia's "\Wild Card" routine. Speed it up with Flip Hallema's "Flip's
\X/ild Card Routine."
fl. Racherbaumer, Kabbala fDecember 1972].) Add some J.C.

Wagner thinking (h.is 'rVild Thi.g'). Shake vigorously, give the plot a hard twist,
then slow it down a litde. In 1993, I ended up with "Call of the Wild." Its use of
logical groups of cards as change "targets," and the unexpected double-take climax
makes COTSf's "Wild Card" roots bately tecognizable. The group-based restructuring, moreover, opened new avenues for logical and coherent presentation5 2s lvsllsomething that some believe (that is, me) was never satisfactorily overcome by an1
presentation of this classic plot.

98

Joxr Bnurolr

Snonr ArrENTtoN ScnN4


"Short Attention Scam" re-mixes one of the tricks in the marketed Fractal Card Magic series, "The Ro1,al Scam," into a densely-packed, fully loaded, 45-second magic-fest.

PnEcrs
The performer cleady shows nine red-backed Aces of
Four

Spades.

the Aces are placed aside. Immediately, the remaining five Aces turn into

of

Royal Flush in Spades.

The four Aces that have been set aside have also changed into completely diffetent
cards. The1, are still Aces, but each one is from a different deck, and now each Ace has
a completely different-colored back.

AII the cards are examinable.

Mrse En ScEue
Right-thinking magicians who are famitar with "The Royal Scam" understand that,
far from being tedious and repetitious, the initial face-up and face-down sequences

of conviction that the cards are all Aces of Spades and are
That conviction, in turn, enhances the quality of the surprise when the

establish a ueryhigh degree


all red-backed.

Royal Flush and Coloted Backs are revealed. That said, here we skip those sequences
and opt for a faster, flashiet handiing. The trick, so to speak, is to create the maximum

amount

of conviction in

the minimum amount

of

time.

Ser-Up
You require the following nine cards which, not coincidenta\! ate the same cards
supplied with "The Ro1.al $.r-." The cards are not gaffed in any way, so even without
"The Ro1,al Scam" you can cobble together the requisite set. In ordet from the face

of

the packet, the cards are:

Odd-backed Ace

of

Spades

:k Odd-backed Ace of

Spades

Mecn'Wrve

99

*
*

Odd-backed Ace

of

Spades

Odd-backed Ace

of

Spades

*F Red-backed Ace

*
*
*
*

of

Spades

Red-backed Spade

Royal Flush card

Red-backed Spade

Royal Flush card

Red-backed Spade

Royal Flush card

Rtd-backed Spade Royal Flush card

Put the cards in one

of

those plastic packet-trick wallets and you are all set.

OVCN-HnuMAN I NTRoDUcTIoN
To perform, bring out the packet face-down and apparcndy grve it a few overhand
shuffles. Actually, you apply the "Over-Hamm n" shuffle/count approach introduced
in "Call Of The Wild" (1993). Essentially, this is a Hamman Count made to look like
an overhand shuffle. It has the added advantage of retaining the cards in ordet.
With your right hand, hold the packet in position for an overhand shuffle. With your
left thumb, pull the first three or four cards singly into yout left hand. (Photo 1.)
On the fourth or fifth "take," steal back the first gtoup of cards into your right hand.
(Photo 2.) At the same time, with your left thumb, pull off the entire packet. (Photo
3.) Now, shuffle the remaining three or four cards singly onto the left-hand cards.

One

of the things that must be done in this effect is to thoroughly

establish that the

cards are red-backed-without over-playing your hand, so to speak. The Ovet-Hamman shuffle helps to do this. As I do ofle or two "shuffles," I say something like: "I
have a small group of cards here. They're all the same. If you cafl guess what they are,
I'll do a tdck with them. No g-uesses? Here's a clue: it's one of my favorite cards..."

100

* Joxr,r Bnrurou

Usually, someone will guess 'Ace


they're all Aces

of

of

Spades."

If

not, just tell them: "Thatt right,

Spades."

Now turn the packet face-up and give it a Hamrrran count to show nine Aces of
Spades. I do not actually "count" the Aces as I do the moves. Once you have shor.vn
the Aces, flip the packet face-down.

Foun 0ru Tus Sroe


You will now place the four odd-backed cards into a face-tp row on the table. ril/e'Il
use this opportunity to again subdely emphasize the redbackcolor. Begin a face-down
Hamman count by pulling face-down cards into )rour left hand. As usual, make the
exchange of the left-hand and right-hand cards on the count of "frve," then stop. Use
the right-hand packet to flip the left hand cards face-up. These Aces have iust been
shown to have red backs.
N7ith yout left thumb, push the first four Aces

off

the packet into a row on the table.

As an added convincer (perhaps too subtle), after each Ace is thumbed off, turn 1'e111
left hand palm-down, and use you left forefinget to "adjust" the position of the Ace.

(Photo 4.)

Of

course, the real reason is to flash the red back

of

the packet.

Mecn'Wnve

101

You are left with the red-backed Ace in r-our left hand. Use the right-hand packet to
flip this card face-down. Dtop the right-hand packet on top of the left-hand Ace.

Senoes, Nor Aces


You will now casuallv shorv the packet as consisting of fir,e Aces, then change the
cards into a Roval Fiush. As vou chattet (patter, taik, whatever), casuallv give the packet a Flushtration count. Briefl1', take the packet from above with vour dght hand. Turn
vour hand palm-up to flash the Ace on the face of the packet. (Photo 5.)

Turn your right hand palm-down, and with ),our left thumb, pull the top card of the
packet into 1'our ieft hand. (Photo 6.) Repeat this three more times. In any event,
show the Iast card as an Ace and place it face-down onto the left-hand cards.

Now, we'll "change" the Aces into a Ro1,2l Flush by using the Asher Twist, just like
we did in "Fractal Re-call." Take the top two cards in 1,our dght hand and the lower
three in ),our left and rub each group back-and-forth a few times. This is the ttadi-

102

Jortt

Bnruuon

tional "squiggle" flourish. Then put the right-hand cards underthe left-hand cards and
square the packet in vour left hand. The Ace of Spades is now fourth from the toP or
second from the bottom.

Using a block turnover, turn the top four cards face-up, as ofle, to show the Ace
of Spades. \il,'ithout pausing (time misdirection is definite11' notwanted here), do the
Asher T$ist to show that all of the cards have turned face-up and that nov/ thev are
a Ro1,2l Flush. Like this:

After 1,ou'r.s turned the Ace face-up (a quadruple card), pull down on the lowermost
card of the packet with vout left little finger. If you continue to pull down this side of
the card, eventuallr' the card rvill turn all the rvav over in a half-pass action. To cover
the move, as the pull dorvn occurs, with r-our tight hand, thumb on top and fingers
beneath, pinch the right side of the packet. Nor'v move vour right thumb forward and
fingers backrvard simultaneouslr; spreading the top three cards in a forward-to-backward spread. At the same time, do the half-pass move. There is a lot of cover here
from manr- angles. (See "Fractal Re-Callr" Photos 9-11.)
right finger movements, collapsing the now four
card spread. Take the top and bottom cards into vour ieft hand and the middle tu'o
into your right. Continue with the "squiggle" flourish. The instant aPpearance of the

In

a continuing action, reverse the

Spade flush card is surprising and magical.

Deal out the Roval Flush in order into a row on the table.

BlsY's Gor Bncr


Gesture toward the rorv of Aces on the table. Remark that to the untrained e1'e, it
looks like nothing has happened, but that the Aces have changed into completelv different cards. Nos, turn over each one to shorv ther"ve changed into four Aces ftom
four completeh' ditferent decks.

Pneserurnrron
This trick is meant to be a straightforrvard "s,atch this" effect, so onlv minimal "presentation" is reallv necessar\-. I generallr- like to gir-e some conte\t, so I'l'e emplol'ed a
mish-mosh of different ptesentation ideas:

"I

har.e a small group

of

cards here. Ther're ail the same.

If vou can guess what they

ate, I'11 do a trick s,ith them. No guesses? Here's a clue: it's one of mv far.otite catds
...Thatt right, therrre all Aces of Spades. You mar ask s'hat do I do with identical
Aces

of

Spades.

"I'11 put these

I use tl-iem to practice one particular, fantastic mot'e."

tbur aside and s.e'll get to them later. Did r-ou knorv that a card trick can

change the s,orld? The one particular, fantastic me1's-cl6ne cottectll-q/1 .ornpletelv change r-our rvorld, and these cards. I{eep \-our e\-e ofl \'our rvodd."

Meon'Wnvs

103

"Did that look okay? The wodd, as we know it, is different now: This Ace is the same,
rot-^ Royal Flush, not a bad poker hand."
but these
^re

"To the untrained eye, it looks like nothing happened to these Aces, but they have
changed into completely different cards. You see, they changed into Aces from four
completely different decks of cards."
"All from one particular, farrtasic move."

Posr Monren
BncrcRouND AND CReoIrS
Any righrthinking packet trick architect should periodically revisit some of the eady
classics. I keep coming back to Flip Hallema's wild-card routine, which was a super-compact and fast routine for the Garcia "lfild Card" plot. fl. Racherbaumer,
"Flip's Wild Card Routine," Kabbala [December 1972).) During a recent re-visit to the
trick, I thought I might be able to streamline "The Royal Scam" in a similar way, with
the added fractal advantage of ending clean. As set forth above, I had already come
up with many of the construction elements, and the only real challenge was raising
"back-color consciousness" sufficiently. The "one fantastic move" patter lifle is from
Steve Draun's

104

ttick of the same name.

Jorru Bnrruor

MAG.7
One of my eadier "proto-fractal" forays was an ungaffed "Wild Card" routine called
"Return Of The Magnificent Seven." (J. Bannon, Smoke dv Mirrors 119921atpage 127.)
While that trick did, and does, have a lot of things going for it, here is a strearnlined
handling using some recent fractal techniques (in particular, the "Slug" concept). I still
have no good presentattonal approach to seven-of-one-card-changing-into-seven-ofa-different-card, so this is mainly an adventure of the proPs. It moves along briskly,
the changes work well, it's not diff,cult, and it ends clean.

PnEcrs
The performer shows a packet of blank-faced cards and a solitary Queen of Spades.
Seven of the blank cards are taken. One-by-one, as each is brought into contact with
the Queen, the blank cards change into dupl,icate Queens of Spades. Everything is
examinable.

Mrse Eu ScErue
I've used blank cards and Queens of Spades for maximum contrast. Of course, using
this method ),ou could change anything into anything-cards, symbols, words, pictures, letters, anyttr-ing.

You need seven blank-faced cards and eight Queens of Spades set-up in the following
order (from the face):

Three blank-faced cards

*6 Queen

of

Spades

lK Four blank-faced cards

lk

Seven Queens

of

Spades

To begin the trick, with the packet face-up spread the first several cards. Blanks and a
solitary Queen will show. Remove the Queen and set it on the table. If you'd like (and

Mecn'Wnve

105

I'd recommend), give the blank packet an "Over-H^mrn n Shuffle" (as described in
"Short Attention Scam").
Then, say that you will demonstrate $/ith seven blank cards. Take the packet with 1,es1
right hand from above. With your left thumb, pull six blank cards one-at-a-time into
your left hand. As you apparendy pull off the seventh blank card, howevet, switch the
entire left-hand packet for the right-hand packet as in the well-established Hamman
count. After the switch, set the right-hand cards to one side.

while you apparendy have counted off, and now hold, seven blank cards, you really have seven Queens covered by a single blank card. The notion of beginning with
more cards than you need, counting off some to use, and setting the rest aside is a
So,

switch strategy

call the "Slug concept."

Continue by turning the packet face-down and dealing four supposed blank cards into
a face-down pile on the table.

Pncrer Crnruce
You ostensibly have three blanks temaining in your left hand. \il1'e'll change them
one-at-a-time. Turn the packet face-up. Take the Queen and slide it face-up under
the packet. The packet nov/ apparently consists of three blanks and one Queen. Give
the packet a "twist" (or whatever) and then an Elmsley count. TVo blanks and two
Queens will show.

Give the packet another "twist" and then a reverse count. I take the packet with my
right hand ftom above and pull off three cards into my left hand in a spread condition. The last two cards are placed as one, completing the spread. (Photo 1.)
Close the spread, but as you do, get a break above the lower two cards. Make a magScal
gesture and spread the packet, holding the last two cards as one (the break makes this
easy). (Photo 2.) Reverse count the fout cards into yout tight hand and then flip the
packet face-down back into your left hand.

of

the three blanks have been changed into a Queen. Deal the top
three cards face-up onto the table (showing both sides of the cards).

Apparendy, each

106

Joxr

Bnruuon

Orue, Tnen

Au

lcti s-ith a thcc clos-n dor-rblc carcl in r'onr lett hancl. Thcrc arc four face-dos'n
"blanks" on rl-rc table. \\'itli vour risht l-rencl, pinch thc richt siclc of the clor-rblc ancl usc
it to scoop up the initialh -tablcd "blank" carcls. Place tl-rc packct into r-our lcti l-rand
and, s'ith a block turn()\-er, flip or-cr ali but thc bottom carcl as ouc (a quintuplc IifQ.
The uppcrn-iost card appcars blanli. Tr-rrn tl-rc bkrcli thcc-clos-n, rclrl()\-e the top card
ancl s'ar-e it or-er t1-rc tablccl Queens. Sl-ros' tl-rat it, too, has tr-rrnccl into a Queen. Flasl-t
both siclcs ancl toss this carcl s-ith tl-rc tablccl (],-rccr-rs.

\bu

arc

I senerallr-pich up tl-rc pacc a bit l-icrc. \\'itl-r rrrr-rr risht thnmb, pinch thc risllt sicic oi
thc packet ancl pusl-r ovcr all but thc botton-i card oi tl-rc packct. Use tl're rernaining
bottom card ro flrp the r-rppcr carcls thce r-rp into lrrur lcti hancl. (Photo 3.) ,\ blenk
carcl shos-s at thc face

Pausc briellr', thcr-r

of

flip

the paclict.

tl-rc risht-hancl carcl, a (]ucen, thcc-up ()nto

tltc packct. Int-

mecliatcll back sprcad as firllos's: Takc thc paclict tr<rrn abovc s'ith ror-rr right hrr-rcl.
ancl rest tl-re packct o11 \'oLlr pah-t-r r-rp lctl finqcrs' \\'ith tl-rc sicle of yrlur lcfi tirrcfingcr'
the lr>u'cr-ruost carcl to thc lcti. \\'iti-r tl-rc tip oi rrrr-rr left tirrcfingcr, cor-ttrtct ti.te
scconcl-ti'om-the bortom carcl ancl pull it, too, t() tl-rc lcft. Irir-ialh, s-itl.r t1-rc tip ttf roLrr
let1 seconcl fin.gcr:, pull tl-rc tl.rilcl-fiom thc-bottom calcl to the lctt as u'ell. (Photo 4.)
pr-r1l

.ry7

Meon'WnvE

107

The upper two catds are held as one. (Photo 5.)

Txe Tnrcr Wrrn A Queer

Aro

BlnruK CARDs

Hold this display, then flip the cards face-down into your left hand. Deal the top three
Queens face-up onto the others, once more showing the faces and backs of the cards.
You are left with a double card in your left hand. The trick, however, is over. You have
changed seven blanks into Queens. The dealt cards are presumably those that were
previously blank. The remaining card (a double) is presumably the Queen you started

with. To clean up, drop the double face-up onto the blank packet you set aside at the
start, unloading the extra blank card. Spread the blank packet, and place the Queen
fourth from the top of the packet, outiogged a bit. (Ihis display is reminiscent of the
opening display.)
Place the blank packet on the table, sJightly spread with the Queen outiogged. You are

done and everything is examinable.

Posr MonreNl
Pmy Ser
of the fun of

Part

this trick, at least for me, is that after you've counted

off

the "seven

blank cards," there are myriad ways to go. The series of shows, lay downs, changes,
and clean ups are infinite. You can have a lot of fun (and challenge) trying to figure
out how to get the most mileage out of the solitary blank card, and then, what to do
with it at the end. I have given the sequence a number of tweaks, but the basic framework is the same as the one I came up with back in the "Magnificent Seven" days.
The "slug" is new and solves a number of issues. Some ma1, prefer to take the balance
of the slug (after the switch) out of play altogether. That approach, in turn, creates
clean-up ls5uss-fe1 all of us but the "just cop it off at the end" school. It would be a
straightforward matter to put the slug away, to do the tdck and to gambler's palm the
blank as you retrieve the plastic wallet (or whatever).

108

Joxu Bnrruou

Fnncrnl Jncrs
the four-Jack deal that I believe was fitst concocted by
Ron Ferris. (A. Sharpe, "Royal Aces," E xpert Card M1'steries [Sharpe, 197 5] at page 82.)
Traditionallr; the trick was done with three Jacks and was based on the discrepancv

This is a "fractal" version

of

did not turn up each time. I beLieve the trick is generally known as
"the three-Jack deal." Ferris modernized the plot and the ptoblem significantly In his
trick,fourJacks are placed on top of the deck, two hands of four catds ate dealt, and
the performer's hand has all fourJacks. This is repeated. The third time, however, the

that the

same Jacks

spectator gets the Jacks, but the performet has the Aces.

Itt

a cool plot and one that has not been ovetlooked. Dave Solomon has the best
fuli-deck solution I've seen. (D. Solomon & E. Burger, "Poker Pait," Solomoni Mind
fPro-Print, 1997] at page 73.) I have attacked this problem manl' times ot ef the ),ears,

the deck, and alwat,s unsuccessfullr'. Finalll', when I tried it with


iust eight cards, the Jacks and Aces, I worked out this appealing handling relatively
alwavs

off

the top

of

quicklr,.

PnEcrs
The performer spreads a packet

of eight cards. He

tables the bottom fout and shows

the top four to be theJacks.

He drops the Jacks ofl rop of the tabled cards, picks up the packet and deals the cards
back and forth into nvo piles.
"Ordinarih', ',ve'd each have two Jacks. Norv I am sure I'ou didn't see me do anything,
but I must have done something, because I har,'e all of the Jacks." He picks up the
dealer's pile and shorvs fourJacks. "Let's do this again.TheJacks are on top. . ."
The performer drops the Jacks on top of the tabled cards. Once more two hands are
dealt, apparenth. verv fairlr'. He picks up the dealer's hand and once more shows four
,tgain, I am sufe \-ou didn't see me do anvthing, but I must har,-e done someJacks.
thing, because . . . Let's do it one more time. The Jacks are on toP . . ."

Mecn'Wnve

109

Once more, the Jacks are placed on top of the other four cards and tu,o hands ate
dealt. "I deal slowlv and fhidr; but I must har-e done something. This time I gave vou
theJacks." He turns over the other hand and spreads the cards; ther- are the fourJacks.
"I kept the Aces for mvself." The dealer's hand is turned or.er to shorv the four Aces.

Mrse Eu ScErue
ConrRoveRstAr
Using onll' eight cards changes the dramatic dlnamic in an unexpected r.var-. Ordinarill', the trick purports to be a demonstration of dealing skill-seconds, thirds, and
even fourths. In mr' ftactal r-ersion, ho\r,ever, I don't shorv the other four cards until
the verv end. This allorvs the spectators to lead themseives dos'n a "garden path" of
sorts. When the Aces shor.v up, thev realize thev har.e been theorizing up the r.vrong
tree, so to speak.

Something like this: On the first deal, ther- understand the effect, and begin wondering how it is done. On the second deal, seeing nothing in the dealing, thev conclude
that there must be more than fourJacks. Ho,,v eise can the trick be accomplished? B1,

round three, thev believe thev completeh'understand rvhat's happening. That's when
vou show that vou have no extra Jacks and the other four cards are Aces. Their theory destroyed, ),ou get a lot of retrospective credit because now thel' rea[ze that they
teally had no idea how'r-ou did it.

I really like this construction, but reasonable minds

mar- disagree.

In fact, in the Chi-

cago Session, both Simon and Dave disagreed. From their point of view, the Aces are
no surprise and nothing magical happens because I never showed the other four cards
to begin with. The other four cards could be anvthing, and thel'happen to be Aces.
Both recommend that four indifferent cards be shorvn, and then switched for the
Aces. That wari the appearance of the Aces is surprising and magical.

on this one. If vour spectators believe that 1,ou have


four Jacks and four indifferent cards, the trick will plav verv differentlr'. While the
appearance of the Aces rvill be a magical surprise, the trick',vill seem more like a
dealing trick. If the other four cards are unknor,vn, \.our spectators quickll, come to

I am going to stick to mv guns

the conclusion that vou have dup)icates. So, the other cards cannot be an1'four cards,
some of them, if not all of them, must be Jacks. The surprise is realll. the absence
of duplicate Jacks (and the total destruction of their proposed solution). Using Aces

rounds out the story a little.

Think about how this trick would pla1, if vou used Jokers instead of Jacks. Obviousll,,
you lose all of the Elmslev count discrepancies, but a spectator is almost compelled
to adopt the extra Jokers theorr'. This is probab\, a preferred "fractal" handling, but
withJacks, you can use the cards from a regular deck.

110

Joxru Bnnnoru

Wonrrncs
On-ly the Jacks and Aces are used. Arrange them in the following order

of the face-down

*
*
*

from the top

packet:

BlackJack
Ace
BlackJack

*r RedJack
*r Ace
lX Ace

Ace

*r RedJack
The color of theJacks matters, but the color of the Aces does not.

FrRsr Rouuo
To perform, spread the packet face-down. Retain the top four cards and drop the
lower four onto the table, loosely squared. Square the cards in your hands, turn the
packet face-up and give it an Elmsley count. Four Jacks will show.
Drop the Jack packet face-down onto the tabled cards. As you deal, you will need to
make a subde displacement. Pick up the combined packet and deal it into two piles,
one in front of the other, the second pile being "youf" hand. Deal feul s21d5-twe
to each hand-and then stop.
Comment that, after two rounds, each hand should receive truio Jacks. \X'ith your dght
forefinger, spread the two dealt cards in the first hand so that two cards ate completely
frorr, each other. (Photo 1.) After your remark, square the hand by placing the
^part
frst dealt card (the original bottom card) on top of the second. In this way, you have
reversed the order of these two cards.

Mecn 'Wnve

111

You have fout cards left to deal, so deal out the rest
Pick up "your" hand, turn
Jacks will show

it

face-up, and give

of the cards, two to each hand.

it anothet Elmsle,v count. Again, four

Secoro Rouruo Sunurse


Turn the packet face-down and drop it onto the other packet-no displacement necessary. Pick up the combined packet and deal it into two hands. Pick up "1'our" hand,

tutn it face-up, and give it another Elmslel, qesnl-1[[5 time, horvever, the last card
goes to the back of the packet (the so-called "underground" Elmsley count). Yet
again, four Jacks will show. (Serendipitousll', the colors of the Jacks automaticalll,
work for the successive Elmslel, counts.)

Txrno Rouruo SuRpRrse


Turn the Jack packet face-down. There is one last displacement to make. First, as a
display gesture, spread the face-down Jack packet, then close the spread very loosely---do not square the packet. As you do this, sidejog the lowermost card of the packet. Hold theJack packet with your right hand on the right side. (Photo 2, exposed.)
NTith your left hand, pick up the tabled cards and spread them slighdy. You

will now

slide the left-hand cards undet the right-hand cards, again apparendy placing theJacks

on toP.

As you do this, however, allow the top card

of the left-hand packet to

slide above

the bottom sideiogged card in the right-hand packet. (See Photo 3, exposed.) This

effectively switches the top card


upper packet.

of

the lower packet with the bottom card

of

the

Deal two hands one more time. This time, the first hand gets all four Jacks. Show the
spectator that shet got them. Pause a bit, and then show that you have four Aces.

112

Joxn Bnrunon

Posr MoRret"r
Ever Monr Fnnctnl
As I mentioned eadier, this trick has an interesting

dynamic. You can almost see the

spectator's thought process as the trick Progresses. The degree you can and do guide
her down the "garden path" is remarkable. It really is a form of magic iudo where the
spectator's owo processes are used against them.

To make the trick a stand-alone fractal "packet" trick, consider using four Jokets,
instead of Jacks, and four Aces (or four blank cards with virtually anything wdtten/
flot even presumPprinted on them). Using a stand-alone packet (that is, cards that
^re
tively removed from a deck) and usingJokers significandy strengthens the psychology
of the trick. As a bonus, too, you get rid of those pesky Eknsley count discrepancies.

My set uses four Tally-Ho Jokers and the Aces. However, no "iolly iumping Jokers"
patter. But you arc really limited by your imagination. That being said, all manufacturing dghts (including, but not limited to, those versions with cartoon animals) are
reserved.

Mecn'Wnve

113

Wr cKED

I (TnnNsPoslnoN)

This is a variant handling inspired Jack Parket's "I I(now I(ung Fu" take on Paul Harris' "Grasshopper" plot. A. Gladwin, 52 Munoriu (Gladrvin 2007) at page 9. Basicalll,,
a card placed betqreen the trvo black Queens vanishes and appears between the red
Queens. I tried to streamline the handling a bit by keeping the first phase in the hands.
The second phase provides an unexpected ending (aiwa1,s a good thing in a purported

"repeat').

Mrse Eru ScEre


Begin with the face-up Queens and a frfth card, say the Nine of Diamonds, in this
order: black Queen, black Queen, red Queen, red Queen, face-down Nine of Diamonds.

Frnsr TRnnsponrATtoN
With your right hand, take the packet b1, its right side, thumb on top, fingers underneath. Now do the followingJack Parker switch.
tX/ith your left thumb, pull

off the upper black Queens and use the packet to lever the
left hand. (Photo 1.)
face-down
into
your
Queens

114

Joxtt Bnruuon

Now- pull

off the first red Queen

face-up onto the left-hand cards (that is, do not flip

it face-down). Apparendy,, you wi-ll pull off the second red Queen, but actually slide
the left-hand cards under the right-hand cards, and with lrour right thumb, push to the
Ieft all but the bottom card of the packet. Take these cards with your left hand. This is
a'Jordan Count" mechanic and should look like you are just peeling off the Queen'

You are left with a single face-down card in vour right hand-presumably the Nine
of Diamonds. The card is actually a black Queen and the packet is in this order (from
the top): face-up red Queen, face-down Nine, face-up red Queen, face-down black
Queen.

Hold the packet at )rour left fingertips, with )rour left forefinger cutled beneath the
packet (sort of "Chaiter" position). Tilt the outer edge downward slighdy. N7ith your
dght hand, pretend to slide the face-down Nine into the packet, but really hold it
against the bottom of the packet with 1,es1 left forefinger. (Photo 2.) This is like the
insertion in Paul Harris' "Bizare Twist," but done on the end of the packet. Leave
the supposed Nine outjogged about one-third of its length.

Lower the packet back into dealing grip. \{1th vour left little finger, pull down the back
right corner of the lorvermost card (actualll the second-to-lowermost, because of the
outjogged card).
'ff,'ith 1'our right hand from above, pick off the three cards above the pulled-down
card in Biddle grip. (Photo 3.) These are: the Nine, sandwiched between the two red
Queens. The outjogged card temains in place and should not interfere with this. It
should
that r-ou have removed the upper red Queens from the packet.
^ppe^r

Mecn'Wave

115

Drag the right-hand packet over your left fingertips to sidejog and show the lowermost Queen. (Photo 4.) Then, with your left thumb, push the sidejogged Queen
flush.

yout hands. With your left forefinger, dramatically push the outjogged
card-presumably the Nine-flush into the left-hand packet. Using your left hand,
revolve the packet face-up and spread it. Only the black Queens show; the Nine has
Separate

"vanished."

Now with your tight hand, revolve its cards face-down (using a stud-deal type of motion) and spread them to show the Nine benveen the two red Queens.

Secouo TnnrsponrATroN
As the applause dies down, arr^nge the packet as follows (ftom the top, all facedown): black Queen, black Queen, red Queen, red Queen, Nine of Diamonds. In case
aflyofle was watching, kill a Iitde time for time misdirection purposes.
Now you will apparendy turn the top two Queens face-up. With your right hand, take
the top card and move to the righq novz in taking the "second" card, with your left
thumb, block push-off all but the bottom card. With your right hand, flip over the
single card and the block onto the left-hand packet. The top single card will coalesce
with the block as the cards turn over. (See Photo 5.)

Now with your left thumb, push over the uppermost face-up Queen-the two red
Queens are seen. Repeat this sequence to apparendy turn the red Queens face-down.
Remove the top two cards and place them to one side. I usually set them crosswise
on the card box.
You can

see

where this is going.

Now spread the three face-down cards in yout left hand. \X/ith your right hand, take
the lowermost card and turn it face-up. Of course, it's the Nine. Slide the face-up
Nine between the face-down cards-presumably the black Queens-2nd square.

116

* Joxr Bnruruor

Claim the Nine has once again traveled. Spread the left-hand cards and the Nine will
show. Apparendy nothing has happened. With your dght hand, pick up the cards on
the box and show they are the black Queens. Now, slowly tufn youf left hand palmdown to show that the Nine now resides between the red Queens.

Posr Monren
TnnrusposrrroN PResenrnrl o ru
In any transposition, it's important that the

spectators know which cards are whete.

Here, the second phase is essentially a transposition of the red and black Queens.
Accordingly, it's particular\ important in phase two that the audience know which
Queens are where. To that end, I have adopted a Burger-esque "Wizard of Oz" presentation. The black Queens afe the "wicked" witches and the red Queens afe the
"good" witches, and the Nine (or whatever) is "Dorothy." Believe it or not, this simple labeling really makes it easy for spectators to have a better sense of which Queens
are where. It's up to the "good" witches to fescue

"Dorothy" from the clutches of the

"wicked" witches, blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.

Mecn'Wnve

117

BULLET PARTY

The rules are simple: they Jie to us, u/e know theyte
lying, they know we know they're lying, but they
keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe
them.

Elena Gorokhova

Mountain of Crambs

Bu

ltrr

Pnnrv

Here we present a modertized offshoot

of

a granddaddy

of such "fractal" card tricks,

AIex Elmsley's seminal "Four Card Trick." Nluch has changed, but the roots are there.
Practitioners like us are abit iaded with respect to effect; civilians not so much. The
simple effect of a card tutning over, or changing, on its own is as remarkable today
as

it was 50 years

ago.

This is currendy my favorite opening trick. A lot of magic happens with only a few
basic Elmsley counts; the pain-to-glory r^t1o is quite low. Overall, lots of fun. \7elcome to the part1,.

PnEcrs
In a faux cheating exhibition, the spectator is asked to keep track of an Ace of Spades
among three Jokers. Initially, the performer demonstrates a series of changes ftom
Joker, to Ace, and then back to Joker, together rvith some other business.
the Aces of
the drama:

of explanation, the other thtee

cards are shown to be not Jokers but


suitably inscribed with its role in
and
Diamonds-each
Clubs, Hearts,

Then, by way

The first Ace has written on its face, 'Another Ace."


The second Ace has written on its face, "Extra Card."
The third Ace has written on its face, "Secret Assistant."
Finalll,, the Ace

of

Spades is revealed

also suitably marked, 'Ace

of

to have a completely different colored back-

Spades."

Everything is examinable.

Buuer Pnnrv

121

Mrse Eru ScEue


Pncrer Regursrres
Red-backed Ace

of

Spades; blue-backed Aces

of

Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds; blue-

backed Joker.

On the faces of the blue-backed Aces, r'vith

a marker, s,rite the follos-ing:

Clubs: 'Anothet Ace." Hearts: "Extra Card." Diamonds: "Secret Assistant." (Photo
1.)

On the back of the red-backed Ace of Spades, rvrite: "Ace

of

Spades" (Photo 2.)

Arrange the cards in the following order (from the top down): AD AH, AC, Joker,
face-up AS. It works best to insure that the pips on each Ace are oriented in the same
$/ay.

A Tnrcx Wrrn Foun Cnnos


First, an introduction:
'?eople ask me
wa1 ap

front

ltow iti

done.

if I can cheat at cards.

l-.et me show a game

of

The answer is: Absolate!.

chance, cheat

wanted to get that oat

a little, and then I proruise

I//

of

the

exp/ain exact/1

Soandfair?"

Holding the packet in left-hand dealing position, with 1'our left thumb push off the
top three cards one at a time into your right hand. With yout right hand, take each
card under the ptevious one in a spread condition. (Photo 3.)
Place the last trvo cafds, as lne, ofr top

of the right-hand

cards. Four face-down cards

have been shown. Square up the cards back into left-hand dealing position.

'A game of

chance with

four

cards.

"

Square the cards and give the packet a twist or spin. This time, spread/count the top

122

Jonu Bnruruor

three cards into your right hand, keeping the last two, as one, in your left. A face-up
Ace of Spades wrll be the second card from the toP, apparendt' having magically
turned face-up. (Photo 4.)
'lYhen

do this . . . the

Ace of Spades turnsface-up-did

tartts ilP because the Ace is the cardltou ruast keeplour

e1e

I tellya I

was going to cheat? The

Ace

0t1."

of the packet in
set
"Triple
Plal/'Displal'Sequence,
preparation for an Elmslev Count. Execute the
forth be1or,v, showing the packet as consisting of the Ace of Spades and thtee faceSquare the packet and, rvith vour right hand, pinch the right side

down Jokers.
"The Jokers

are jrrst to

distractloa."

"TRtPLE PLAY" Dtsplnv Segueruce


Pull the top card of the packet into vour left hand. (The face-up Ace of Spades will
sho,nv as the next card in the packet.) Turn t'our ieft hand palm-down to show the

If

r-ou pinch the Joker between \-ouf thumb and forefingef, )rou can fetfact \-our
fingers for a clear displat'. (Photo 5.)

Joker.

Turn your left hand palm-up and continue the second "count" of the Elmslev Count,
apparentlr- taking the face-up Ace of Spades onto the iust-shown Joker. Because of
the Elmsley Count exchange that occurs, ho'uvever, the Joker is norv at the face of the
right-hand packet. (Photo 6.)

Bulrer PnnrY *

123

to show the Joker at the face. Now- lor.ver the cards and
take the top card onto the face-up Ace in ,vour left hand. This is a "Flushtration"
maneuver. Finally, show the iast right-hand card-aJoker-and place it on top of all.
Raise the right-hand cards

(Photos 7 & 8.)

As one mirror tdal will convince 1,ou, this is a very deceptive sequence, especially
the distance between )rour left and right hands is somewhat far apart.
'\f,/hen the Ace isface-up,

itI

easl to keep track

of it . The Jokers are nlt

mrlch

if

of distraction . . ."

As a general matter, I firmly believe you should resist the urge to "count" cards as you
show them. For example, I would not sa)r, "There are lne, two, three Jokers." That kind
of na rattve patter is generally unnecessary and serves only to fill the silence. I try to
follow E.B. V/hite's near-universal admonition: "Omit unnecessary words."

This is especially true in a situation like this whete you are showing the 'Jokers" in
deceptive, but sq,lized way So, instead

of counting theJokers, I've tried to invest them

with an understated importance, and I do the display slowly and deliberately. This is
the only time you wiil display "three" Jokers, so make the most of it.

CxnNGe,

CttNce, Cxnnce

Position Check: Joker is face-down on top, Ace of Spades is face-up, third from the
top. riTith your left fingers, slide the top tq/o cards down to show the face-up Ace.

(Photo 9.)
Square the packet and make a"magtcalgesture" (I give the packet a twist, or a "spin").

Now give the packet an Elmsley Count to show four face-down cards. The Ace has
apparently turned face-down. (As an extra bit of finesse, )rou can show four complete
face-down cards by doing a Buckle Count.)

124

Joxru Bnrruou

'tsut

if I do this, itl a little

harder to tell. Did

I tellyu I

was going to cheat?'

Flip the top card face-up-a Joker. With your right fingers take off the top two cards
the packet and slide them under the left-hand packet.
Joker face-up and buried it. (Photo 10.)

of

'It's all aboat

sleight

of

hand. Sometimes,

Ill

It appears

secretfi switch a Joker.

as

if

you turned

."

Give the packet a twist, then an Elmslel' Count' Thtee face-down catds and one faceup Ace of Spades will show: It appears that the face-up Joker has turned into the Ace.
". . .for the

Ace oJ

Spades . . .

"

After the Elmslel, couflt, spread the packet, holding the last two cafds
face-down cards and the face-up Ace will show. (Photo 1L.)

as one. Three

it another twist, and then another Elmsley Count. Three facedown cards and one face-up Joker lvill show; outiog the Joker when you come to it. It
appears that the face-up Ace has turned back into the Joker.
Square the packet. Give

"Or,

soruetimes,

ll/

swilclt the Ace af Spadesfor a Joker. Yoa rea@ don't staad a chance."

This is an impressive series

of changes-from

Joker to Ace to Joker-done onl)r with

Burler PnRw *

125

successive Elmslev Counts.

sequence like this has ahvals been mv favorite part

of

the seminal "Four-Card Ttick," and a part I reallr'rvanted to maintain in this trick.

Cnscaoe MnrusuveR
Remove the outjoggedJoker and place it face-dou.n on top

of the packet. $7e are now

going to clean up the packet bv gettrng rid of the Joker, but at the same time trr- to
convince the audience that we actualll' did not get rid of the Joker. The means: Walton's devious Cascade Double Feint.

of

the packet is a Joker. Shorv it and place it face-dov,n in "tent vanish"


position. (Photo 12.) Norv cover the Joker rvith lour right hand in palm position.

The top card

(Photo 13.)

However, you are not going to do a "tent vanish," where ),ou supposedlt, take the
catd, but actually do not. Instead, do Ro1, Walton's Cascade Double Feint: Pretend to
do a tent vanish, but actualll' take the Joker into palm position, and put it into your
pocket. Audiences do not know about the tent vanish, so act furtive just enough so
the audience believes that you mav not have, or did not, actually take the card. Your
spectators should think the1, are ahead

of

,vou here.

But, you reallv did take the Joker and put it into 1,e111 p66ks1-it's just that no one is
sure that 1,ou did and likelv believes the Joker is still in the packet.
'We can also

moue cards

fu, secret! pa/ming one

in and oat of

of

the

the

Jokers and

packet. For example,

putting it into

m1

can

try to make it easierforlow

pocket."

Bring attention back to the packet. Give the packet a twist and an Elmsley Count,
counting each card aloud.
'Bttt

I can also secretlt palm the Joker back into the packet. Su, I stil/ haue one, two, three,foar

cards.

Did

I tellya I

Q\otwithstanding

was going to cheat?"

m1,

prior diatribe, you more-or-less have to count the cards at this

point.)

126

Joxru Baruruon

Give the packet a final twist and a final Elmsley Count. This time, after the exchange
on the second "count," spread the left-hand cards and count the Iast trvo cards onto
them in a spread condition. The Ace of Spades will appear face-up. (Photo 14.)
'"fhatJ

because this is agame

of

chance

with threeJokers and theAce of Spades."

Wxnr You Snro

if the trick v/as ovef. Then, move to the multiple-climax finale. You
rn
are
great position here. Everyone believes you have the Ace of Spades and at least
a couple of Jokers. Of course, ),ou are now squeaky clean.

Pause a beat, as

'I

toldlou

was

going to cheat.

And

anotherAce.

the1he

And I toldya I'd showloa

ight.

how

itJ

done. Some people

think

haue

.I haue anotherAce."

((urro,6.t
Ace," show the uppermost face-down card. It is the Ace of
After you salr
Clubs with the words 'Anothet Ace" written on it. (Photo 15.) Place it onto the table
or hand it to a nearbv spectator. The words ofl the card should echo the words just
spoken bi, the performer.

"sontepeop/e

thinkl

use an

extra card. . . Thel're ight, /oo.

do ase an extra card."

Shou, the lowermost face-do'nvn card. It is the Ace of Hearts with the words "Extra
Card" written on it. Place it onto the table to the dght of the 'Another Ace" card.
"Sonte peop/e

actual!, think

haae a

Shou, the last face-dor.vn card.

setet assistant. Wel/ . . .

do harc (t ficret assistant."

It is the Ace of Diamonds u'ith the words "Secret As-

sistant" on it. Place it face-up onto the table.


'Andsoruepeoplegosofarast0accilrerueof usingntarkedcards.And,l'oaknow...the1
too.

do

use

reight,

marked cards."

Buuer Pnnrv

127

Slowly turn over the Ace

of

Spades to reveal the different-colored back and the rvords

'Ace of Spades" marked on its back. (Photo 16.)


"So nowlou know all

of

the

ycrets."

Posr Monren
BncroRouND AND Cneotrs
A bit of history here. Start, of course, with Alex Elmsley's seminal "Four Card Trick."
This is the trick that introduced the "Ghost Count," now the "Elmsley Count," and
literally rocked the magical world. See S. Minch, The Magic Of Alex E/ms/e1, Vo/. 1
(I-&L PubJishing, 1991) p^ge 23 (the trick apparendy was im,ented in 1954 and
^t
released in 1959). The "Four Card Trick" used three blank cards and aJoker, ar,d at
the end, the back of the Joker was shown to have a different color.

In the eighties, Peter Marshall had a fun, important variation in '"vhich he essentialy
dupiicated the "Four Card Trick," but without showing the face of one of the other
three cards. So, at the end, not onl1, could he show the back coior change, but he could
also get a second change, "another Queen." See "Off-Coior Monte," H.Lorayne, Best
Of Fnend5 Vo/ume 2, Q,oravne, 1985) at page 58.

plaved around with these tricks off-and-on for the next twenty )'ears or so without
really getting anywhere. The goal was to have all four cards change in some v/ay, but to
end clean with no palming. The Elmsley trick seemed to me to require just four cards;
it wasn't until I broke that rule that I made an)r progress. Roy Waltont Cascade Double Feint maneuver provided a"fractaizine" approach. But, it wasn't until I developed
the "Triple Play" Displav Sequence that I felt I had a viable approach to emulating the

"Four Card Trick," but changing a/lfour

cards

at the end.

In201,0,Paul Gordon put forth an odd r.ariation

128

Joru

Bnruruoru

of

the Marshall routine in which the

word "extra" rru'as written on one of the blank cards-an interesting, if half-baked,
norion. Thinking it through, however, I thought to label each and everv card with its
supposed purpose in the swindie, using words that echoed those iust spoken by the
performer. The label,ing, of course, added no additional requirements to the trick-I
already had the four catd change I was after.
A long time coming, welcome to the parq,, the "Bullet Parry."

Fernr PRnrse
of

will not like the Cascade Double Feint either mechanicalll,, theoretically,
it's great. I like the kind of laveted misdirection the ploy provides as
well as the "con man" attitude it requires. \7e can argue about it over a beer someday.
Some

),ou

or both. I think

There are, however, some alternatives.

Mutant. Another approach is a Bob Farmer gambit from his Cascade variant, "Mutanz." With the Cascade plo1, v6., need a convenient pocket. Here, you need a convenient sleeve; that is, ),ou must be wearing a iacket or sport coat. So, what happens is:
that
You take the Joker with 1'our right hand and snap it so 1'our spectators are
^ware
itt only one card. Put the card inside ),our coat and into ),our left inside breast pocket
(or your shirt pocket). Without pausing, move your hand further and pretend to put the
card into ),our sleeve.

You can call attention to this, sa1,ing, 'I'll take the Joker and pretend to pat it in m1 pocket,
ltwt rea$

put it in

m1, s/ssyr.

That wa1, wbeneuer

need the Joker back,

can shake m1

arm and the

" Suit actions to your words and shake your left arm
just vigotouslv enough that it's almost plauslble that vou reallv did re-load the Joker
onto the packet. Now, pick up u,ith the Elmslev count, showing four face-down cards.

Joker gets /oaded l.tack onto the packel.

Ttaditional. Or there is the traditional approach: Take the Joker and openlt- Put it
into yout pocket. Now give the packet a four-as-three count, showing ),ou have three
cards left. Silith vour right hand, pinch the packet along the right iong edge. With r-our
left thumb, drarv off the upper card back into vout left hand. With vour right thumb,
push off the next two cards as one; this double is taken on top of the first card. The
third card is taken on top of all.

"If I pat one Joker into ng,pocket, that /eaues nte with on[ three

cards. (Jn/ess

do this [insert
vour preferred magic gesture heref. Then, the Joker contes back, and once again I haue four
cards: three Jokers and tlte Ace of Spades"

Elmslev count the packet as fout cards, hiding the face-up Ace.
There is nothing s,rong s,ith this approach either, though thinking spectators mar- begin to s.onder horv manr- catds vou reallr- have. The endrng is so unexpected, horvever,
that their musings rvill not get them veri'far. In other rvords, as the audience begins to
s,'onder about the number of cards, r'ou short-circuit their musings with the shocker,
so to speak, climax.

Buurr Pnnw

129

No SrnnuceRs
In the interest of completeness,

the Ace of Spades does not need to be from a different-colored deck. Since you are boldly marking the back of the Ace, the color-change
is somewhat redundant. You could make up a set of cards with four Aces and aJoker
from a red-backed deck. That said, it's way more dramattc to have the color change
and,

if

you can, you should keep it.

Ler's Ger SrRnuce


Of coutse, the other three

cards don't have to be the other Aces with writing on


them-they can be anything you want. For example, "another Queen" could be a picture of Queen Elizabeth (or Elton John); the "extra card" could be a facsimile of an
American Express card; and the "secret assistant" could be a prctq gid in a bikini. In
fact, the structure of this trick lends itself to a whole range of goofy, cartoon-y tl?e
packet tticks. I guess I am a card trick purist and find coherence in having the cards
change into the other three Aces, with the writing as icing on the cake, so to speak.
Nevertheless, all rights are reserved.

130

* Jonru Bnruror

Bu LLET CnrcH ER
This fast, easy-to-do Ace production elaborates on a production sequence I originally
designed fot use in a color-changing deck routine, "Strangers' Gallery." (Smoke And
Mirrors 11,9921.) The procedufe appeafs as if the performer is reversing and outiogging certain cards at certain positions in the deck. The produced cards, however, are
actually taken off the top of the deck.

have not published the Strangers' Gallery procedure as a straight-forward Ace pro-

duction, so I am a litde surprised that in the intervening tweflty yeats "those who
publish theit 'takes' on othefs' mateiTal" have not co-opted the procedure, used it with
Aces, or whatever, and called

it their own.

In any event, the illusion is quite good. Good enough that,

as you'Il see,

I play the

production for real, as if actually spotting each Ace and cutting to it.

PnEcrs
The performer shuffles a face-up deck a few times. He then slowly riffles the outer left
corner of the deck, intent\ watching the indices flipping by
'lfhe worst thing abowt getting
like this, spot

He begins
up deck.
'These da1s,

older is that m1 eysight is going.

the Aces, and then

cil

each zne

lat of

the deck.. .

a running, in-the-hands cut, and isolates

rf I

used to be able to

iffle

the deck

"

four cards-face-down in a face-

am luc,p14 lll get one or hvo Aces. How did

do?"

He spreads the deck and raises it so the faces of the outjogged cards can be seen. He
has found all four Aces.
'IfaL,en't done thatfor a while."

Buuer Pnnw

131

Mrse Eru ScErue


of the deck. Turn the deck face-up and shuffle it a couple
times, being careful to keep the Aces at the back of the deck. If \-ou use in-thehand shuffles ( use an off-center "weave" shuffle with a cascade), the whole production can be done standing.
Begin with the Aces on top

of

To do the production, take the face-up deck with,vour tight hand from above, fingers

in front, thumb in back-this is the well-known "Biddle Grip" or "End Grip."


You are about do a running swing cut of five packets. So keep this in mind
on; each packet should have eight to ten cards.

as 1,ou read

\X/ith your right forefinger, Iift up a small packet of catds and swing cut the packet
into your left hand. In a continuing action, and starting a rh1rfi6, turn ),our right hand
palm upward. \7ith 1,6tr1 left thumb, pull off the now topmost face-down card of the
right-hand packet onto the face-up left-hand packet. Howevet, pull off the face-down
card so it is outjogged about one half its length. (Photo 1.) This card is one of the
Aces.

Try to estabJish/maintain arhlafim as you repeat these actions for a second card. Turn
your right hand palm downward. Swing cut another small packet onto the left hand
cards (burying the face-dovin outiogged card); turn your right hand palm-up and, with
vour left thumb, pull another face-down card onto the left-hand packet.
Repeat this sequence two more times. You

hand. Place

will be left with

a small packet in your

right

it face-up oflto the left-hand packet.

Your left hand is holding the face-up deck in dealing position with four face-down
cards protruding from various places. (Photo 2.)
When this is done with dispatch and in rhythm, the illusion is very stroflg that the
outiogged cards were revetsed from various places in the middle of the deck.

132

Joxru Bnruruou

Spread the deck between your hands and slowly raise the spread to show the faces

of

the outjogged 621d5-1hs), are the Aces. (Photo 3.)

Posr MoRreu
PnRnuc Sxors
in "Strangers' Gallety." In that
trick, I needed to produce three seemingly random catds without showing theit faces.
From the ml,riad ways, I ended up at this one. I reahzed at the time that the illusion
was quite good and periodically have used the procedure as an Ace production. Over
the 1,e215, others have used the "strangers' Gallery" procedure for a number of differAs explained, the sequence is essentially the same

as

ent applications. Notabl1,, the estimable John Guastaferro has some very clevet apps
in his excellent collection, One Degree (Vanishing Inc., 2010).

Pnesentnttol,t
I piay this trick for

real; that is, as if

actually spot the Aces during the riffle and cut

them out of the deck. The "Bullet Catcher" illusion, I believe, is good enough to
suppoft that claim. I partrculady like explaining that because my eyesight is going,
the feat becomes more and more difficult. SVhich, whjle true for other moves, is not
true here.) This kind of candid confession, played straight, can be an effective "look
behind the curtain" and can generate interest. Your mileage m y v^ry.

FnoM A

SrurrleD

DEcK
I often use the following gambit (from "Unlisted Aces" rn Dear Mr. Fantasl fBannon,
2005] to get cofltrol of the Aces. First, have the deck shuffled by a spectator-really
shuffled. Then, say that if )'ou wanted to find the Aces, there are trvo ways to do
it-the "eas1',6'^r"' and the "hard wa1"'-and ask the sPectator to choose. While most
of the time the "hatd wav" is nominated, my answer is always, "Thanks for coming."
This Bob I(ohler line is particulatlt' apt where, as here, you are going to get ahead
during a demonstration

of the "easy

wa)'."

Bulrrr

Pnnrv

133

Explain that the "easy way" would be to look though the deck and remove the Aces.
Here, spread through the deck and openly outiog the Aces wherever they may be.
There must not be an Ace, however, too close to the face of the deck. In a minute,
we'llbe using the Elias Multiple Shift, and while my handling allows considerable latitude, it can be awkward if an Ace is too close 1e ths fxss-say within the first eight to
ten catds. If an Ace is too close, you cafl quickly close the spread and give the deck a
quick overhand shuffle, or simply openly displace the wayward Ace.

After upjogging the Aces, commeflt on how the spectatort shuffles placed the Aces
in random positions throughout the deck. Close the spread, leaving the Aces outjogged. Turn over the deck and re-spread it face-down.Agrir commeflt on the random dispersion of the Aces, close the spread and apparendy push the Aces square
with the deck. However, you push them "square" in readiness for the Elias Multiple
Shift. A thorough description of the Elias Shift, including a useful touch to it, was
first discusse d in Dear Mr. Fantasl, but for completeness I've included the description
on page 186 of this volume.

On the next off-beat, execute the shift and follow through vrith a false cut (I would
suggest the "Flytrap False Cut," on page 1,92).You are now in position for the "Bullet
Catchet."

134

* Joxr Bnruror

Dnop TnnGET Aces


This routine was somewhatof a Holy Grail for me. Those of you who have read
Dear Mr. Fantay fl. Bannon, 2005) may recall my waxing enthusiastic about a Lennart
Green trick in which each of the Aces was successively buried in an accumulating pile
of cards. The last four cards in his hands, howevef, turfled out to be the Aces. You
may also recall my bemoaning my own skilI set with respect to this trick.
Lennart's trick was a prime example

of off-beat timing

and was a maiot inspiration

for my "Bullet Train" set of Ace AssembJies. "Drop Target Aces" comes close to capturing the look and feel of that trick and retains all of the timing aspects I admired.

of all, however, this trick


"Drop Sleight."

Best

is easy to do, relying almost exclusively on the venerable

The Drop Sleight is seldom used, most Jikely because it can be awkward to attain the
necessafy position in a nattraT-appearing way. Here, the sequence of events combines
in a fluid and natural application of the sleight.

PnEcrs
Three of the Aces are buried in the deck by dribbling a packet of cards onto them.
As the fourth Ace is about to be treated similady, the last few cards in the petformer's
hands are thefoarAces.

Buuer Pnnw

135

Mrse En ScEne
Foun Teur,tc
The Aces should be in plal' aheady. Hold the deck in left-hand dealing position, and
the Aces in your right hand in a face-up spread. I like to have them in alternating colors, with the Ace of Spades at the back of the spread. (Photo 1.)
The trick is direct and quick, so vou may opt for little or no patter and an "adventutes
of the props" presentation. Here I use a quick set-up Line in order to foreshadow the
surprise ending.
"Since

I haue the Aces, I

am going to use them to te// thefuture.

PloYrS cards to tellfortunes and to predict thefutare.

Aslou knoq

people haue ased

Infact, /f 1ou know ltow to interpret

them,

thefature /ooksjust like this."

As

I say the word

"this," I gesture with the Aces. In less than a minute, the trick will

end with exacdl, the same gesture


Place the face-up spread

Dnop

Aro

of

a face-up spread

of Aces onto the

of

Aces.

table.

Grve Twexrv

Pick up the uppermost Ace,

sa1,

the Ace

of Diamonds,

and place

it face-up onto the


of the deck

deck. As ),ou do this, with ),our left litde finger, pull down the bottom card

and get a break above it.

Gtasp the deck with your right hand from above, taking over the break above the
bottom card with your right thumb.

With your left thumb, riffle down the upper left corner of the deck and riffle off
twenty e1 5e 62161s-ysry tearly half the deck. !7ith your dght forefinger, swing cut
the upper portion into left-hand dealing position. Retain the balance of the deck in
your right hand. (Photo 2.)

135

Joxtt Bnnron

face-up Ace of Diat'our right hand from above, and 1,s11 have a

At this point, about half the deck is in vour left hand with the
monds on top. The other half is held

b1,

right thumb break above the bottom card. Perfect position for the Drop Sleight.
'Diamonds is the sait of monel Spent."

With 1,our left thumb push the Ace of Diamonds to the right. Use the right-hand
packet to lever the Ace upward and to the left so it falls face-dou,n onto the left-hand
cards. (Photo 3.)
Furthermore, as the right-hand packet comes directlv over the ieft-hand cards, release
the right thumb break so the bottom card falls directll' onto the Ace of Diamonds.
(Photo 4.) V/ith the correct timing, this addition is imperceptible-visuallll and ps)'
chologicallr'.

In a continuing action, thumb off the top catd of the left-hand packet (ptesumablt'
the Ace of Diamonds) onto the table. Dribble the right-hand cards on toP of the
tabled 'Ace," burving it. (Photo 5.)

Buller PnRw *

137

Dnop Slercxr CLue


Pick up the next Ace, the Ace of Clubs, and place it face-up on top of the left-hand
cards. You will repeat exactly the same actions as before: Get a break above the bottom card; riffle off about half of the cards; swing cut the upper section back into i,our
Ieft hand, taking over the break with 1rcur right thumb; finall1,, flip the Ace face-down,
executing the Drop Sleight.
"Clubs is the suit of hard work."

off

of the left-hand
right-hand cards on top of it.

Thumb

the top card

packet onto the tabled packet. Dribble the

HenRr Tnncer
At this point, the Aces of Diamonds and Clubs are the top two cards of the packet
remaining in your left hand.
Place the next Ace, Hearts, face-up on top

of the packet. As before, get a left Jitde-fin-

ger break above the bottom card.

Riffle

off

exacdy three cards with your left

thumb-the

face-up Ace

of

Hearts and
two cards beneath it. Alternately, spread the small packet and, in squaring it, get a right
thumb break under the top three cards.

In a continuing action, with your right forefinger, swing cut the three riffled-off cards
into your left hand. (Photo 6.) Clip the angled packet with your left thumb.
'S7ith

your right hand, re-gr1p the lower packet, takrng over the break above the bottom card with your right thumb, and take the packet to the right. (Photo 7.)

As before, flip the left-hand Ace face-down, executing the Drop Sleight. Thumb off
the supposed 'Ace" onto the tabled packet and dribble the right-hand cards on top

of it.
'tfearts is

138

tbe

ruit of

loue.

Lnst."

Joxr Bnruuor

ReMet4aenrruc Txe Furune


Pick up the remaining Ace of Spades and place it face-up onto the left-hand packet.
Resist the urge to grin broadly, because you are actually holding the Aces.
"Spades is the suit

of resolution."

FJip the Ace face-down onto the packet and bring the trick home.

ago-in the past-I


would look an awfwl lot. . . like this."
'Remember, a minute

said

f ya

cowld

prEerfi innrpret

the cards, thefature

I turn the cards toward

myself and fan them so the audience can see there are four
cards. I want to give them a short opportunir"y* to catch up with the trick. Then I lowet
the fan, showing the Aces, and gesture with them as I did at the staft

of the trick.

Posr Monrrn
Bncrcnouro
Sleight Aces" from an excellent Jack Carpenter approach to
Bill N[alone's Presentation of Darl'l's "Diamond Bar" assembly ttick' Jack's routine,
"shipwrecked Express," is quite a bit diffetent in method and has not been published
per se,butwas performed by him on YouTube. Jack's method is ptactical and typically
devious. In watching his routine, however, it occurred to me that the trick could be
choreographed using the Drop Sleight, and I immediately began working it out.

I got the idea for "Drop

to solve my Lennart Green ptoblem in such an efficient and easy


way. (And chagrinned that such a direct and simple solution did not occur to me years

was very pleased

ago.)

first learned the move in Expert Card Technique,but aPP^fendy the "Drop Sleight,"

a/k/a "Tip Over Change,"

has been ultimately attributed to Jack Medin.

Lono-Up Atrenrunrtve
Drop Sleight three times in a row, or if you just
want to mix it up a bit, I often throw in a different move for the second,\6s-*I6 r{6s
of Clubs. Instead of the Drop Sleight, I use a switch attributed to l7esleyJames as the
"Load-Up Move." (I learned this move at an impressionable age from Frank Garcia's

If

1.e11

are uncomfortable doing the

Saper Sabtle Card fuIiracles 119731.)

Buuer PnRw

139

Ftom the Drop Sleight position-see Photo l-bring 1,our right hand over the lefthand packet. With the tip of your dght middle fingeg push the top card of the lefthand packet forward about an inch. (Photo 8.)

At this point, the dght-hand packet is direcdy above the left-hand packet. Now, with
your left fingers, pull the broken-off card onto the iower packet.
In a continuing action, turn your left hand palm-down, showing the face of the outjogged Ace. (Photo 9.) Extend vour left forefinger and place the tip of it on the outer
edge of the outjogged Ace.
Now, push the outjogged card flush as you turn ),out left hand back to dealing posi-

tion. (Photos 10 &

11.)

Immediately, thumb off the top card of the left packet onto the tabled pile. Presto.
The retention-of-vision aspect to this switch is remarkable.

140

Jonn Bnrror

Foun Snnoow Aces


This is the first

of three Ace Assemblies of the "classic" all-at-once variety.

While

straightforward in execution and effect, I think you may find it pleasandy sophisticated in construction and method-a little-known Mado switch wrapped around an R.
Paul lTilson subtlety that's one of the freshest Ace Assembly ideas I've seen in years.

In addition to being quick and mystifying in its own right, "Four Shadou. Aces" sefves
an important function. The second and third Ace Assemblies in this series are somewhat, shall we say, unconventional We start with ".vaftfllz-" assembly-where every^
thing is normal and goes as planned-which also educates your spectators as to what
the routine is sapposed to look like. This way, in either or both of next two routines,
you and youf spectators have a framework to refet to. Believe me, you'll need it. But

first ...

PnEcrs
The performer offers to demonstrate a classic magic trick. He points out that the
"Aces start out togethef," then prompdy sePafates them. The performer keeps the
Ace

of

Spades, and the other Aces are placed

into a face-dowll row.

Exactly three additional cards are placed on top of each of the Aces. The three piles
with the other Aces afe stacked togethef. The pile with the Ace of Spades is tapped
against the combined pile.

The performer explains that each packet now has four cards and reminds the audience that "the Aces started out together ..."
The Aces are flow vrith the Ace

of

Spades in the performer's packet.

Mrse Eu ScEue
The set-up is quite simple. The Aces are pulled out in any order, with the Ace of
Spades at the back

of

the packet.

Buuer Pnnw

141

(If

vou are going to follorv rvith "Flipside Assembh'," or "Big Fat Bluff Aces," or do
all three assemblies, see the discussion in this volume, "The Bullet Catcher Routine,"

for some routining tips.)

Foun To Mnnlo
We'll start rvith

little-kno\\rn, but very efttctive Nlado srvitch, the "Bold Substitution

Laldq$/r," from l[arloi ]Iagaqine, Vol. 2. Begin rvith the deck in left-hand dealing
position and the Aces fanned face-up in r-our left hand. (Photo 1.)
You will apparenth'place the Aces in the ciassic "T-formation"; that is, three Aces in
a face-down rorv, and the Ace of Spades behind (to'"vard vou) the middle card of the
row. $7e will leave the Ace of Spades face-up for nos:

Flip the Aces face-dowfl onto the deck, but


der them.

simp11,

as

flip them over downjogged

vou do, get a left little-finger break una

littie and, in squaring, get the break.

Now with vour tight hand, thumb on top and fingers underneath, take the top card
(the Ace of Spades), bdeflr' flash its face, then flip the Ace face-up onto the deck.
(Photo 2.) In an immediate and continuing actiofl> with vour right hand from above,
pick up all of the cards above the bteak as if one catd. Your right fingers should completely cover the front of the Ace to hide the thickness.

142

Jorru

Bnnruoru

Without pause, once the face-up Ace of Spades is taken, move youf left hand to the
table and thumb off the top three cards into a rough row (Photo 3.)
The row must not be too neat, because now the 'Ace" is replaced on toP of the deck,
and with )/our right hand, slide the three tabled cards into fleater row. This subtext
^
that motivates the whole sq7i16[-"Q1, I need to straighten these Aces"-is 1's11r
effective.

To end, deal the face-up Ace of Spades onto the table in classic "le^der" position.
(Photo 4.)
What a great switch-out for an Ace Assembly
ceptive. Sure beats doing a Braue Addition.

Itt

fast, efficient, motivated, and de-

R. P. Txnee
Okar; three Aces have been switched out and are on top

of the deck.

Give the deck a false-cut, if yss lip.. I like to do a false cut here because it puts more
psvchological distance between the supposed Aces and the aPPafentl)'random cards
placed upon them. I do a quick in-the-hands cut where vour right-hand forefinger
swings the top half of the deck into 1'our left hand.
The left packet is turned perpendicular, and the two hah,es are tapped together briefly.
(Photo 5.) The right-hand half (the lower half) is put out of plat- to 1'our dght.
Then, with the left-hand packet, push over fifteen cards without calJing attention to
the precise number. I push over five groups of three catds each'

Ftip the fifteen cards face-up on top


Iast three cards

of this

of

the deck. (Photo 6.) The Aces are now the

face-up group.

Buuer Pnnw

143

Thumb over the first three face-up cards and, with vour tight hand, flip the cards
face-down, and hold it benveen )rour extended left thumb and vour left fingers at a
45-degree angie to the deck-in other words, in "tent vanish position." (Photo 7.)
Place this face-down packet onto the leftmost'Ace."

Repeat this process to piace three face-down cards on the middle 'Ace." Then, repeat

it

again for the rightmost 'Ace."

There are six more face-up cards on the deck-three indifferent cards, and three
Aces. Bring your right hand to the deck and get a break beneath the top six cards. I
simply lift off the face-up catds in a cutting action using the nar.)ral break, then replace the packet, getting my left little-finger break. The subtext is that, you took the
cards, then rcaitzed you'n/anted to turn the Ace of Spades face-down first.
Changing the pace a litde, with your right hand, turn the Ace of Spades face down
in place. Now, spread over the top three cards-shov/ing indifferent cards-and flip
all six cards above the break face-down onto the deck. Without pause, spread off the
top three face-down cards (the Aces) and place them on top of the Ace of Spades.

This lay-down stratagem is quite deceptive and shows a lot of indifferent cards bet$/een the switch-out and then the switch-back-in of the Aces. The sequence was
shown to me by the estimable R. Paul \)Tilson at the 2010 Blackpool convention. Paul
calls the ploy (with a different initial Ace switch) "Royal Road Trip," which appeared
in Peter Duffie's 2009 collection,The Celtic Cabal (Duffie, E-Book, 2009).

Pne

Oru

The tdck, for all practical purposes, is over. I have always found it fun to point out
the "obvious" reason that three cards are added to each Ace, that reason being so the
packet will have a total of four cards. Of course, your spectators will have no idea why
fout cards are "obvious."

stack the three non-leader piles into one pile. Then, I pick up the leader pile and tap

144

Joxru Bnrunoru

it against the combined pile. Then I explain that there have to be exacdy four cards in
each pile in order to do this. Now, I turn over the leader pile and spread it, showing
the assembly of the Aces. (Photo 8.)

Q.Jot so coincidentally, this end game resembles the structure


the seties, "Flipside Assembly".)

of

the next assembly in

PResenrnrrou
Ace Assemblies, even the classic ones, are difficult to explain, much less to arive atarr
acceptable presentation. Do the Aces "vanish and reappear," or do they "transpose"

with the indifferent cards? While transposition makes the most analyical
ishing and reappearing ate far easier to talk about.

sense, van-

Motivation-why you are doing this-is more difficult still. I prefer not to resort
to "Birds Of A Feather," "Gathering Of The Clans" or "The Elusive Coterie" approaches (a personal problem). I tend to go with presentational strategies that embrace the "adventures of the props."

of the trick by holding it out as "a clasof magic, one of the oldest tricks with playing catds and one of the best." A "classic" has withstood the test of time and, accordingly, must have some intrinsic merit.

Strategies like: Showcasing the intrinsic worth


sic

Another strategy involves your image and persona. If you have an image and Persona
like David Blaine, then that alone may carry the Presentational burden: "Hey, watch
this. NTatch this." Here, we could add, "It is one of the first truly expett tricks." Accordingly,

if

you are doing the trick, you must be an expert, right?

Finally, \r/e can use a strategy that gives the audience a "peek behind the curtain." Bv
this I mean seeminglv letting them into the culture and practice of the hidden magic
world. For example , "\l fact, this is one of those tricks that magicians show eacb other

Buuer Pnnw

145

when they get together in secret." I have found that, if you cafl pull it off, this kind
thing can cre te high degree of interest among your spectators.

of

Put togetheq these strategies create a framework of interest in which the "props" may
propedy have "adventures."
"Since we haue tbe Aces,

I'd like to sbowloa one of tbe claric tricks of magtc It ma1 not be the
itl one of tbe best. Infact, tbis is one of tbe tricks ruagicians sbow each

'oldut trick in the book,' but

61/1s7-wbsfi thry get together in recret."

lfith

build up like that, who wouldn't want to see it? From here on, with the framework established, the patter is essentially naraive, but I like to make ctyptic comments along the way that the end will v/rap up in a ftopefully) interesung way.
a

'I\ow
rne

the

Aces start out together. Ba/,

III

keep the

Ace of Spadu and separate the otbers. IYith

sofar?" (I\[ado switch.)

'I){ow we'// put sorue cards on top of

each

Acq it's important

to

put exactfi

tbree cards on each Ace.

"

(Fifteen catds turned over.)


'T\dot

hto." (First pile.)

'Not foar." (Second pile.)


'But

three.

Exact! three." Qhud and target piles.)

'Do1ou know

wh1

'Because then,

each

placing three cards is so important?" (Set the deck aside.)


packet has a total of four cards in

it " (Stack the non-target piles; tap with

the target pile.)


'Remember the Aces started out together

'A

classic

..

" (Show the assembled Aces.)

of magic."

Qursgurs.
lot; civilians are not so much. Even when I show that each pile has
a total of four cards-they still do not kriow what to expect-they do not see the
assembly coming. I have found, howevet, that beginning and ending with the phrase,
"Remember, the Aces start [started] out together . ." helps create two levels of
surprise: First, when they "get" the trick-that is, understand what is supposed to
happen; second, of course, a half-second later uzhen it does happen.
\X/e are a aded
f

146

Joxr,r Bnruruon

Posr MoRreDl
Bncrcnouro Atto

CReotrs

I began playrng with Steve Reynolds' myriad Ace Assembly concepts and ideas and
eventually ended up with the next two routines, "Flipside Assembly" and "Big Fat
Bluff Aces." As you will see, these routines are bit odd. They are fine on a stand^
alone basis for magScians. For civilians, though, you need to show them what the
Ace Assembly is supposed to look like so that they can appreciate (or, in the case of
"Flipside Assembly," even understand) whatt going on. Not hard to do. Simply start
with a quick, tight, traditional all-at-once assembly. To do that, all you really need is a
good switch-out of the Aces.
famtltar with the Marlo "Bold Substitution Laydown" switch for a while
(but didn't knorv what to call it). Recendy, the incomparable Bill Malone used it in his
version of Marlo's "Bluff Ace Assembly." Malone on Mar/0, Vol. 1, (I-&L Publishing

I had been

2009). Initially, I was content to su/itch out the Aces and to distribute the cards
face-down. Combined with Paul Wilson's layout idea, howevef, the trick was no longer
iust a stfaw man, but a stand-alone, soPhisticated piece of work. Not iust a footnote.

DVD

Buuer Pnnw

147

Fu PSIoe ASSEM BLY


This Ace Assembly, based on Steve Reynolds' "TS Aces," is just plain weird. (S. Reynolds, Seek 52 [Vanishing Inc. D\rD, 2009]). Every time I watched Steve's trick, I saw
the assembled Aces, I sensed magic had happened, but could not explain exacdy what
was sapposed to have happened. The closest I got is: "Indifferent cards assemble with
indifferent cards in the master packet, leaving behind the four Aces." Weird, right?

That said, there's a definite magqcdtry in there, and, with a litde extra thought, the
occurrence can be made clear, even logical. Basically, I substituted a moivated l-t
Tenps-qpe switch instead of the Vernon transfer Steve prefers. Flowever, in order to
motivate the switch,

almost necessarily clarified the effect.

never do this trick without first pedorming "Four Shadow Aces." Never. You'll see
that the handJing here is justified by reference to what occurred in "Four Shadow
Aces." "Flipside Assembly," moreove! makes a perfect follow-up to "Four Shadow Aces" because, as you'll see, the lay-down is squeaky clean. Furthermore, "Four
Shadow Aces" helps to justify the added procedure after the lay-down-which is, of
course, how the trick works.

PnEcrs
The performer offers to repeat the classic Ace trick. Very faidy, the Aces are separated
on the table; thtee cards are placed on each Ace. Three of the Ace piles are stacked
together, and the Ace of Spades in the remaining pile is turned face-up.

The performet cautions that, "Nothing has happened yet." Meticulously, he shows
that the combined pile contains the other three Aces, each spaced

three cards.

^partby
And, the Ace of Spades' pile contains the Ace and three indiffetent cards.

The performer takes the single Ace of Spades onto the conbined pt7e. After a purported "magical squeeze," the combined pile is shown to consist of only the four Acesthey've "assembled" in a manner of speaking. The indifferent catds are found in the
Ace of Spades' original pile.

148

Joxu

Bnruruon

Mrse En ScEue
I told you this was a litde rveird. Previewed with "Fout

Shadow Aces," though, the

twist at the end is sutprising, magical and not entirell, illogical (not entire!).
There is no set-up.

Foun Down
At the conclusion of "Fout Shadow Aces," after showing the

assembly, do the trick

again, onJf in slow motion.

Take the combined pile face-up in left-hand dealing position. Slide the Aces face-up
into T-formation. From the left-hand pile, place three face-up cards onto the left Ace,
and turn the pile face-down in place. (Photo 1.) Place three more cards face-uP onto
the middle Ace, and turn the pile face-down in place.

Repeat with the right Ace and, with the last three indifferent cards, with the Ace
Spades. This is about the cleanest ia,v-down ),ou'll see.

Now, stack the front three Ace piles and turn the top card
face-up (this should be the Ace itself).

of

the Ace

of

of

Spades pile

The patter should be similar to "Four Shadow Aces": 'Aces start out together . .

three cards on each Ace . . ."

This, coincidentall),, is the same as the ending position of the previous trick, "Four
Shadow Aces." It is not unlikeh' that some of 1,out audience may anticipate that the
assembly has alreadv occurred. Given the clean lay-down, however, thatt obviously
not possible. That anticipation, however, gir.es you the perfect excuse to review and,
in the course of that revieur, to secredy accomplish the impossibie. So say out loud:
"I know whatlou're thinking, bat nothingl happenedlet."

Buuer Pnnw

149

Revrewrruc Tre Srrunnor


Pick up the assembled packet and hold it face-up in vour right hand from above, fingets in front, thumb in back-that is, in Biddle grip.
\il/ith your left thumb, pull the first three face-up cards into vour left hand. The fourth
card is an Ace, so as you pull it onto the left-hand packet, get a left Jitde-finger break
beneath it. (Photo 2.) Novz as vou pull off the fifth card, steal the Ace to the back of
the packet in the classic Biddle Steal manner. (Photo 3.)

Continue pulling the sixth and seventh cards onto the left-hand packet. As vou pull
the eight c rd-an Ace-get a break beneath it. As vou pull the ninth card, steai
the Ace to the back of the packet. Continue with the tenth and eleventh cards. The
"trvelfth" card is actually three cards, all Aces. Place this "c^rd" on top of the lefthand packet, but get a left little-finger break beneath it.
Ostensibly, you have shown the packet to be copacetic, with the Aces distributed
throughout. I tend to use explanatoqr patter. "Here we haue three carh and an Ac6 three
more cards, arud anotherAcq three more and again an Ace-nothing's happenedlet."

With your tight hand, grasp the packet with 1,our middle finger at the top and 1'our
thumb at the rear. With 1,eg1 left hand, turn the packet face-down !1, pulling down
on its right side, allowing it to pivot between 1rcur right finger and thumb. (Photo 4.)

150

Joxtt

Bnruruoru

will almost automatically


sidefog the three Aces at the face of the now face-down packet. (Photo 5.)

Because you are holding a left litde-finger break, this action

Re-take the packet with your left hand and, using the automatic sideiog, get a break
above the lowermost three cards (Aces). (Photo 6.) I know this technique as Mado's

"Book-Break" technique.

See, e.g.,

E. Mado,

The Cardician (IVIug. Inc., 1953).

Now, with your right hand from above, pick up the Ace of Spades'pile and flash the
indifferent card at the face. Nothingb happened there yet, either.

A Sran oF LE Teups
Now all you need to do is to unload all of the indiffetent cards above the break onto
the Ace of Spades'pile as you apparendy take the Ace of Spades onto the combined
pile in the left hand.

I try to change the moment by doing a number of feints and unloading the indifferent
cards right in the middle of them.
Tap the left-hand "combined pile" with the right-hand 'Ace

"nothing's happened yet." Rub the Ace

of Spades

of Spades'pile."

pile on the combined

Say that

pile-still

nothing.

Italkalongthelinesof 'IfltaptheAcepile...notbinghappens.IflrubtheAcepile...
nothing happens. If I take the Ace of Spadu and shake . . ."

Buuer Pnnw

151

This is where the dirfl, work happens. Bring ),our left hand over to 1'our right (vour
right hand will sta,v fair\, still during this patt). \With vour left thumb, pull the face-up
Ace of Spades onto the left-hand packet, but as vou do, steal all nine cards above the
break onto the bottom of the right-hand pile in the classic Biddle fashion. (Photo 7.)

In a continuing action, move vour left hand to the left and, u,-ith a broad side-to-side
motion, shake the supposed "combined" packet; actuallr'\'ou norv hold onlv the Aces
and all of the indifferent cards are in vour right hand. (Photo 8.)

"...nothinghappens.lflsbakethecardsthiswal...nothinghappens.Iflgiuetltecardsa
squeeqe.

."

Focus attention on l,our left hand, and casuallv place the right-hand cards onto the
table. I(eep both hands moving norv. With your right hand, flip the face-up Ace of
Spades face-down onto the packet and cover the packet. From this "cupped" position, shake the cards in a broad up-and-down motion. (Photo 9.) Now, from this
position, pretend to squeeze the packet. Pause here a bit to slow dorvn and change
the timing, and then candidll'admit to ),our spectators that the trick has been done.
". . . ue//, now all

of

the

Aces are here, and the other cards are a// oaer here."

Show the assembled Aces in vout left hand and the twelve other cards in the tabled
piie. (Photo 10.)
Weird, but oddly consistent.

b\r

152

Joxru Bnuruox

Posr Monren
BncrcRour,ro

Aro

Cneorrs
I mentioned in the intro that this tdck was direcdy inspired by Steve Reynolds' "IS
Aces." The odd approach and plot arc aL Steve's. As I said, along with some minot
handling changes, I substituted a Biddle steal for a Vetnon Ttansfer. As a result, the
endgame handling changed quite a bit. The eventual "assembly''is not as abtupt, and
in context, the occurrence is mote undetstandable, and iust as surprising.

Buuer Pnnw

153

Bra Fnr Blurr Aces


I tend to like tricks in this class where you reallv don't do anything and nothing really
changes or moves, yet it sure looks and feels like a magc trick. Of course, I am exaggerattng a litde-there are principles and deceptions at v/ork. Nevertheless, here is a
low-cost Ace assembly with a Hitchcock-type cJimax and a reverse assembly kicker.
You may amuse yourself with this one-I know I do.

PnEcrs
Repeating the classic Ace trick, the 'Aces start out together" and are separated. The

of Spades, designated as the performer's Ace, behind the row. Three cards are placed on each Ace. All done very faidy.

Aces are placed into a face-down row, with the Ace

Each of the first three packets is deliberately shown to have an Ace and three indifferent cards. The Ace is isolated face-down on the face-up packet. Everything seems
fair here, too.
Each

of

the three Aces vanishes (that is, becomes an indifferent card). Not possible.

The perfotmer's packet consists

of . . . the fout

I(ngs!? The performer is dismayed

because "the last thing this world needs is another 'four-king' card

tick."

The four packets are turned face-down, and with a wave of the hand, an Ace appears
as the top card of each pile. W'here did they come from?

Mrse Er ScEne
You need to start with the Aces out and three Kings on top of your packet of trvelve
indifferent cards (or on top of the deck) in this order: blackKing,Iing of Diamonds,
blackKing.
Pick up the Aces (with the Ace of Spades at the face), flip them face-down onto the
packet and deal the top three cards into a row, and the fourth card below ths 1ev/-

154

Jonru Bnruott

"T"

forrnatlon. These are the Aces and this could be done more faid1,, but I
want to inject a little uncertainfi' hsls-ne1 much, but a little. (Photo 1.)
classic

of the Aces, beginning with the Ace of Spades.


on it, and the others have three indiffetent
three
I(ngs
The Ace of Spades has the
cards. This appears fair, because it is-imagine that.
Place three face-down cards on top

Txe JB-Stvn Vnrutsx


of the first thtee packets to consist of an Ace and three indifferent cards. At the same time, r'ou will set-up for both the Ace vanish and its eventual

You will norv shor.v each

re-appearance in what appears to be a fair, deliberate manner.

Pick up the leftmost packet and place it in left-hand dealing position. Turn your left
hand palm-down to show the Ace at the face of the packet. (Photo 2.) Cd[ attention
to the Ace. Turn vour left hand palm-up, and rvith vout right hand, take it along the
right side in position tor an Elmsle)'-g'pe count. ft\'e ate going to do the mother of a1l
such counts, the Siva fesnl-2 combination of Elmsler- and Jordan counts.)

Buller Pnnw

155

With your left thumb, pull the top card of the packet into I'our left hand and turn
your left hand palm-do.wn to show the face of the indifferent card. (Photo 3.) Call
attention to the value of the card, bat not the sait. Turn \-our left hand palm-up.
As you apparently take the next card, execute the Elmslev count exchange, iust as in
a regular Elmslel. count. In other words, the first card is loaded onto the face of the
right-hand packet as )rour dght thumb pushes off and ),our left hand takes two cards.

(Photo 4.)

Turn your left hand palm-down to show a second indifferent card. (Photo 5.) Again,
call attention to the value, but not the suit. This is very discrepant because the card
just taken is on top of the left-hand cards, not on the face. Nevertheless, the face card
is different and the discrepancy flies.
As vou apparendy take the third card, execute the Jordan count exchange, just as in
the regular Jordan count. Both left-hand cards are added to the bottom of the righthand packet and your right thumb more-or-less simultaneously pushes over all but the
bottom card, as your left hand takes away the three-card block. (Photo 6.)
Turn your left-hand face-down to show a third indifferent card, and again call attention to the value of the card. (Photo 7.) The same discrepancy flies past again.

Having shown the third indifferent card, maneuver the left-hand packet face-up.

156

Jorru

Bnruruou

Heret the cooi part: Your spectators have seen three indifferent cards and believe the
remaining right-hand card to be the Ace shorvn at the beginning. Actualll', the Ace has
been switched for an indifferent card, and is now at the back of the left-hand packet.
Place the remaining right-hand card face-down onto the left-hand packet, sideiogged
to the right, and table the packet in this configutation. (Photo 8.) Repeat this process

with the next two packets. There will be three face-up packets, each topped with
face-down card believed to be an Ace.

little co1, 2n6 show the Ace at the face, but sa)'you'll save
thatpacket forlater. Take the top two cards into 1'ourrighthand andgive the packet
the venerable "squiggle flourish" and replace the right-hand cards underthe left-hand
cards. This puts the Ace of Spades second from the toP, and places the I{ing of DiaFor the "target" packet, be

monds at the face. Table the target packet face-down.

Vnnrsn x

You rvill now "vanish" the Aces. With vour dght hand from above, pick up the first
face-dor.vn supposed Ace and hold it slightll'above the tatget packet. Squeeze the
cards, allouring the outer end to snap off vour right fingers against the tabled packet.
(Photo 9.) You are now holding the card at the inner end benveen t'our right tlrumb
and forefinger. With a fonvard "peeling" action, tutn the cafd face-up to sho"v that
the Ace has "r,anished." (Photo 10.) Drop the card face-up on toP of its packet. Repeat this s,ith each

of

the remaining two face-dorvn cards.

Burrer Pnnw *157

Fon Ktncs

If vour audience has seen Ace assemblies before (or if vou har.e preceded this trick
with, pethaps, "Four-Shadow Aces'), thev are ahead of vou here and expect the target
pile to contain all four Aces. You will alreadv be given credit for this expected inplud
assembly

Pick up the target pile and fan

it torvard vourself. Look a little surprised, square the

packet, Iowet 1,our hands, and do an Elmslev courit to shorv fout I{ings. Given the
expectation of assembled Aces, the unexpected appearance of I{ings is almost as if
the Aces changed into

I try to downpiay
'And in

tbe

I(ings-almost, but it cost vou nothing.

the I{ing surprise as an unintended occurrence.

targetpile. . . uh,1or're notgoingto

belieae

this. . . ne'aegot thefotr. . . Kings. This

is not good at all. The /ast thing the world needs is another 'foar King' card

(Feel free nzt to

tick."

lse the 'four ICng' joke; it's not for evervone.)

After the displal', place the I(ing pile face-up on the table with the others.

Fon Aces
Pause briefl1, as

if

),ou were trying

overplay the "magician in troubie"

to figure out how to remedy the situation. Do not


16ls-ne one really, bu1's it an\va\'.

Then, with purpose, turn the piles face-dowfl two at a time. A dramatic pause-oka1,,
a short, dramatic pause. Time for the reverse assembly Now turn over the top cards of
each of the piles to show the Aces have returned. (Photo 11.) Fabulous.

158

Joxtt Bnnruor

Posr Monren
Bncrcnouruo Aruo Cneotrs
"Big Fat Bluff Aces" was inspired bt'Steve Ret'nolds'

"N'Ionk's Assemblr'." S. Re1'n-

DVD, 2010). In that trick, he adopted an Elmsley maneuver for isolating a supposed Ace face-down in the packet. Not surprisinglt', the maneuvef relied upon an Elmslev count. In plavrng with this, I discovered that bv using a
Siva count instead of an Elmsle)', \'ou could shorv a different card on the face of the
packet after each card was supposedlv taken. The use of the Siva count, while discrepant, greatll, increases conviction that the last face-do'nvn card is, in fact, the Ace.
olds, Seek 52 (Vanishing Inc.

Steve's trick also used some tr.vo-as-four counts to Present an assemblli then a change,
then a revefse-assemblr,. Furthermofe, to use the two-as-four count, Sterre had to Set

one-ahead. To that end, he added a second Ace to the master packet, but then l-rad to
move it back to its packet for the re\rerse assemblv ending,

of two-as-four counts in this situation, m1'ending is considermore


ably
streamlined. Bv leaving the initial assemblv implied, I could get a Hitchcock-ti,pe ending rvithout ant' two-as-fouf counts and uitltont getting altead at a//. The
result is a complete bluff of an assemblli but a lot of magic.

Not

a convinced fan

The "Hitchcock" ending, rru'here the assembled Aces change into a difttrent four of
a kind, is variouslv atttibuted to Danvin Ortrz and \il'esler-James. The term, I believe,
is Darwin's.

Tre BuLtET CATcHER RourtNE


the foregoing tricks can be done bv itself. But, I tend to do all fir-e oi tl-rem
seiatiru and to think of the set as the "Bullet Catchet" routine. With just a little attention to logistics, the tricks do plal nicelv together.
Each

of

PRoouce, LosE, Re-Pnoouce


To start, har-e the "black Ir'rng, I{ing of Diamonds, black I{ing" combo on toP under the four Aces. Produce the Aces using "Bullet Catcher." Then, do "Drop Target
Aces."

Ott To Assel{elv Lnruo


I als,ays do "Four Shadorv Aces." Then, I s'il1 at least end s-ith "Big Fat Bluff Aces,"
and often rl-iil stick "Flipside Assemblrz in the middle.

Duting the preceding tricks, the Krng combo rvill get lost in the deck, but it is unLikelv
that the I{ings ri-ill get split up. Betbre going on to "Four Shadorv Aces," srmplv look
through the deck and casualh' cut the I{ing combo to the top.

Buuer Pnnw

159

Perform "Four Shadow Aces." At the conclusion, the Kings in the combined pile are
four cards
the 4th,8th, and 12th posltons.
^partat
To go direcdy onto "Big Fat Bluff Aces," lay out the Aces and then, instead of placing
three cards on top of each Ace, deal out the combined packet so the Kings are dealt to
the Ace of Spades'packet. Simple. Now, perform "Big Fat Bluff Aces."

If

you want to insert "Flipside Assembly," forget about the ICngs and do the trick.
At the conclusion, you will have to go through the packet of indifferent cards and
move the Kings to the top-with the ICng of Diamonds in the middle. Obviously,
you will want to do this casually, without too much fiddling with the deck. I usually
cull the ICngs and make any necessary adfustment to the top three catds with the
packet face-down.

Now finish the routine with "Big Fat Bluff Aces." The appearance of the Kings after
all-Aces-al1-the-time is a nice change of gears, and the return of the Aces makes for
a satisfiring, complete ending.

160

Joxu Bnrunot

BOx JUtvrpER
Simon Aronson's trick "Switch Hit" that appeared in
MAGIC in August 2010. Simon's trick was a cool, well-thought-out transposition of
1'u/6 621d5-\fi/ell, sort of a transposition. It's what I call, art "indirect transposition": A
selected card is lost in the deck. Anothet selected card is set aside. The cards change
places. Not quite as straightforward as rwo isolated cards changing places, but the
structure allowed more control over when the actual effect could be made aPparent to
the audience. The trade-off was a litde bit less clariry for a little more control. I liked

This is

a personal variatton

of

it from the beginrung.


I have not changed the basic structure, iust used different moves in order to clarify the
transposition, to dress it up, and make it work the way I want it to wotk. (For example,
to eliminate a double-lift.) I think the trick flows seamlessly and deceptively.

PnEcrs
A card is chosen and returned and left sticking out of the lower half of the deck.
From the remaining half, the performer selects a card, known to everyone, and places
it into the card box.
The deck is assembled, and in the process, the spectatort chosen card is squared into
the deck.
The perfotmer spins out a card from the center of the deck. Presumab\1 it's the spectator's card, but it turns out to be . . . the perfotmer's card. The selected card is now
cleanly removed from the card box.

Mtse

Er,r ScEue

No dupJicates; regular shuffled deck. Ideally, begin with a somewhat easy-to-remember card on the bottom of the deck-an Ace, a Queen, or at least a face card. Let's
say

itt

the Ace

of

Clubs.

Buller Pnnw

151

Cnno 0ne lu Tue Decr


Shuffle the cards, leaving the "memorable" Ace of Clubs on the tace. Have a card
selected and noted. Let's say it's the Nine of Diamonds. \\'e'll control the selected card
with a little-known, but highlv deceptir-e and disarming Nlatlo move, "The Flexible
Switchout." E. Nfarlo, l[arloi llaga7,1ne, No. / (1,97 5) at page 1 5.
Spread the top half

of

the deck and break the spread so the selected card can be re-

rurned on top of the left-hand half of the deck. The upper spread, held bl vour tight
hand, should be spread fairh'er-enl1', especiallr- near the end, so that the edge of each

of

the last several cards is cleadv discernable.

Almost as an afterthought, place the selected card at the left end of the right-hand
spread where it is held bv vour right fingers. Lift the spread so the face of the seiected
card can be seen. (Photo 1.) To motivate these actions, remind vour audience not to
forget the selected card.

Now comes the cool part. Raise vour left hand as if to take the face card of the
spread back on top of the left-hand portion of the deck. Actually though, with your
Ieft thumb, chp huo cards at the end of the tight-hand spread. (Photo 2.) Now lower

162

Joxtt Bnrunon

both hands, separating them

as

i'ou do.

It

appears that the top card

of the left-hand

portion is the just-shown selected card, but it's not. This little-known maneuver will
fool everyone who does not know it.
To use as a control, insert the apparent selected card into the middle of the right-hand
spread, but leave it sticking out a little. (Photo 3.) \flith t'our right hand, place the
spread on the table, squaring it somewhat but not enough to lose sight of the supposed selectsd 621i-1hs wodd's easiest "con','incing" control.

Cnno Two ltt Tne Box


You are left with the left-hand half, which has the selected card on top and the "memorable" Ace of Clubs on its face. Do an overhand shuffle, taking the top card singli,
shuffling off, and running the last card singll'. This shuffle switches the positions oi
the top and bottom cards as rvell as giving the packet a mix. Also, I think the sl-rutfle
provides some psvchological distance betr.veen the first and second selections. Finallr,

the shuffle takes the heat

off

the top

of

the deck-the last known rvl-rereabouts

of

the 6rst selection.

Now s,e'll use a Drop Sleight to show the Ace of Clubs and to
ed card, the Nine of Diamonds.

srr,'itch

it for the select-

\\'ith I'our left little finger, do a pull-dorvn of the bottom card and get a break

above

it. \\'itl-r r-our right hand, take the packet from above, taking over the break with I'our
right tl-rumb. Nos; with vour right forefinger, swing cut about half the cards back into
vour left hand.
Use the right-hand cards to flip the top catd

of

the Ieft portion face-up onto the

packet. (Photo 4.)


tl-rumb, push the top card to the right. Use the right-hand Packet to
Ier-er the card ups-ard and to the lett so it thlls face-dorvn onto the left-l-rand catds. As
the right-l-rand packet comes directlr- over the letl-hand cards, release the right thumb

\\'ith r.our left

Buuer Pnnrv

153

break so the bottom catd falls directl,v onto the top card. (Photo 5.) \\1th the correct

timing, this addition is imperceptible-visualh' and psvchologicallr:

\Without pausing, pick up the card box with


1,our right hand benveen your thumb and
third finget so the box can be held crosswise, almost perpendicular, to the right-hand
packet.

Now with yout left thumb, insert the top card-supposedl,v the just-shown Ace of
Clubs-into the card box. (Photo 6.) Place the box onto the table to the left, or close
it and give it to a spectator to hold.

PRoouce Depnnrueur
Drop the left-hand half onto the tabled half. Slowly square the deck, including the
protruding card believed to be the selected Nine of Diamonds. Lett pause and reflect
on how far ahead we are. The Nine is already in the box while quite convincinglv
apparently lost in the center of the deck. The card that is supposed to be in the box,
the Ace, is on top of the deck.

164

Joxu Bnruuor

So let's sa1 we'17 produce the selected card. '"fhe object here isfor me to locate and i.rolate
lour card." But, produce the Ace instead. Nlost of the time, I v'ill use the iustifiablv
classic Benzais Spin Out. (At other times, I r.vill use the "Fallout" move, described in
the notes.)

Turn the deck parallel with the table edge. \W-ith I'our left thumb and fingers, grasp the
upper part of the left short side of the deck. With 1,6s1 right thumb and fingers, grasp
the lower part of the dght short side of the deck. Lav 1'our right forefinger across the
top of the deck. (Photo 7.)

left hand pulls the upper half to the 1eft, and t,our right hand pulls the
Iower half to the right. Your right forefinger, however, pu1ls the top card of the upper
packet to the right as rr"'e11. (Photo 8.) Once the top card has cleared the left fingets,
sharplv arc thefu respectiye halves fonvard and to the side with both hands. At the
same time, r'our right forefinger kicks the top card fonvard, spinning it awa1, ftom the
No'nv vour

deck. (Photo 9.)

\\'ith r-our right and left

hands, fe\-erse the actions, bringing the respective halves back

together, and square them. The iliusion that the card rvas spun out
the back has s-ithstood the test of time and is iust fabulous.

of the middle of

Buuer Pnnw

165

Blurr

TRnrusposrrroN

You have apparentlr' located the selected gall-'a1 least attempted to. Norv comes
the fun part of the toutine. Pick up the card, look at it, and ask lour spectatot what
card she selected. Think about this for a second. Why s.ould vou ask this question
if you didn't think vou v/ere holding the selection? In fact, if r-ou reallv did have the
selection, wouldn't 1-ou reveal it iust like this, bv asking for its name before shorving

if

your audience has concluded that vou are at least competent, then
they are expecting the card to be the selection. In other v-ords, ther- expect that the
trick worked.

it? Furthermore,

Now, let's leverage the audience expectation. Your spectator replies, "Nine of Diamonds." Look at the face of the card, nod slightlv and silentli; and sav something
crlptic )tke,'\'ou are notgoingto lte/ieue this."

Now execute vour favorite magical gesture on the card. Slos,'h' turn it face-up. It

is,

of course, the Ace of Clubs. Because of the expectation, it's almost like vou had the
Nine of Diamonds and then did something to change it into the Ace of Clubs. You
get the moment

of transposition for free.

After the briefest of pauses, sat',"He1, wait a minute, thatl n4, card." The pause lets the
least catch up.
audience get a little ahead of 1'ou here-er,to
^t

And continue, "If ,u)


Table the Ace

card is ouer here

of Clubs.

. . . tbenltoar card mttst

be

. . . in the card Ltox."

Pick up the card box, gentll' shake it, pull out the selected

card and show it.

A super-nice touch I learned long ago fuomLarr\,1')7est: After removing the card from
the box, turn it face up and put it back into the box, but protruding about half wat'.
(Photo 10.) This wa)r $'e provide a constant reminder that the card came from the
box. V/henever I produce a card from the box,I alway do this.
The ending displal, ptacticalll'tells the whole story (Photo 11.)

166

Joxr,r Bnrunoru

Posr MoRrepl
Bacrcnouno
Simont originai routine, in addition to providing the basic structure, has some interesting asPects )'ou ma)I want to check out. For example, he gets a glimpse of the
first selection, so after the Benzais Spin-Out, he can miscall the card as the selected
card without an,v input from the spectators. The miscall is no doubt deceptive and
effective.

THE "Fnttour" Move


As fabulous as the Benzais Spin Out move is, some space and a decent surface ale
required for smooth operation. For other circumstances, I developed the follos-ing
"Fallout" move. Like this: With the deck in left-hand dealing position, bring t-our
right hand over it in Biddle grip. (Photo 12.) Raise the cards a httle higher than usu-

al-about shoulder height-to just

sh1,

of

eye-level. Now all you wili do is essentiallr

a sl,ip cut.

\With your right thumb, riffle the back end of the deck a couple of times, then stop,
opening a break about the center of the deck. As )'ou do this, pretend to be studf ing
the deck and the riffle-as if 1,ou were looking for something. Now, your right hand
holds the upper portion, \'our left hand holds the lower section, and vour left thumb
l-ies across

the top card

of

the deck. As the halves sepafate, hold the top card in place

with l,our left thumb. (Photo 13.)

Nor.v s',ving both hands dor,vnrvard, each taking its portion of the deck. As this is
done, s,-ith vour left thumb, pull the top card to the left, freeing it. Let the top catd fall
straight dou,n benveen the n'u'o separating packets and land flatlv on the table.

Bulrer Pnnw

167

The actual action is that your hands separate and at the same time sharplv arc downward in a semi-circular motion. (Photo 14.) Because the top card is held in place
by your left thumb as the action commences, it should fall straight down, flatl1, and
gendy, between 1,our hands.
Presumably, the card comes from the middle

158

Jorru Bnuuott

of

the deck. The illusion is quite good.

Fnr Crw RevtstrED


"Fat Citl?'originall,v appeared back in the day See "Fat City," Smoke and Mirrors @annon, 1,992) p^ge 35. The idea was to have everv catd except the selected catd appear
^t
between the sandwich cards. Not a bad plot at all, but even back then I cautioned,
"For lay persons, it's probably better to introduce the sandwich concePt fitst before
springing this strange version on them."

came up with this streamlined, two-phase routine: First time, the


card appears; second time, the whole deck aPPears. The mechanics are based on Reinhard Muellert seminal "Hal'e A Sandwich" from Jon Racherbaumer's The Hierophant.

Sometime later,

Happilv, however, here no ATF'US is used. (Hoorar'. As I've said elsewhere, I don't
intend to do another ATFUS.) Even better, vittualli'no moves are used at all. Really.
Just a couple of Doubie-Undercuts, a Chaiter cut, and a Pull-Down Move-znd a

litde audaciti'.

PnEcrs
"Mostperformers won't te/l1oa what thel're goingto do before thel do it.
most perfornters, so

an going to

tellya

a card and we'l/ lose it into the deck. Then,


card

will appear between

tlte

exact/1 what is going to happen.

I//

toss the Jacks

am not as isk-adrerse at

In a minute,.l'orr//

into tbe deck, iffe the

edges,

rltoose

attdl'otrr

Jacks."

The petformef cuts the two, face-up black Jacks into the deck, riffles the deck, and
spreads it to drsplay theJacks in the center of the deck.
The Jacks are set aside lvhile a card is selected, and cut into the deck, and the deck is

shuffled.
"Retnerulter what

I vid. \bu'll

take a card and we// lose it in the deck, rilfe the edges andlour card

a,i// appear betueen t/te Jacks."

The performer duplicates his previous actions, but this time when the deck is spread,
one face-dos,n card appears betrveen the face-up Jacks. The performer correcdy divines the name of the selected catd, rvhich is the card between the Jacks.

Buuer Pnnrv

159

"Concentrate OilStsx1v cad. The Six

of Spadu? Is tltat ight?

5'hon' ererybo$'.

TheJacks are set aside again and the seiected card is cut back into the deck.
"Mostperfornters uon't repeat tlte sarue hick.

this again. This time

uon'l cri

tlte Jacks

I'n

not at isk-adt'erse a.r ruostpetJbrnery so lets h1'

into the deck. Il/jrrst u'ate t/.teru ot'er ilte deck /ike tltis,

and dolou know what ltappens? Tl:e entire deckjmQs l.telt.een tlte Jacks!"

The Jacks are spread on the table, and sure enough, r'irtuallr- the entire deck is between them. Onlv one card is in left-hand dealing position-the selected card.

'Al/

exceptfor one card, this

cail. Vlhat uas),onr

card? Tlte Six

of

Spades."

Mrse Eu ScErue
No set-up at all. Use anv deck and take out the nvo black

Jacks (or rvhatever vour


favorite sandwich cards ate; as vou'll see, face cards mals,ork a little better).

Txe "lr-A-MTNUTE" No-Swrrcx Fnce-Up Swtrcx


Hold the deck in vour left hand and the Jacks face-up in vour right. Begin a Charlier
one-handed cut, and as the cut is completed and the "V" condition begins to close,
insert the Jacks into the gap and allorv the deck to close. (Photo 1.)
(Alternatelli vou can drop the Jacks face-up on top of the deck and give the deck a
cut. I have amarglnal preference for the Chadier handling, because it helps to disguise
the fact that the sandwich cards are going benveen the top and bottom cards of the
deck.)

Now spread the cards to show the face-up Jacks in the middle. (Photo 2.) All of this
is done b1, way of explaining rvhat will happen "in a minute." (I am a fan of the "in
a minute, I'm going to . . ." demonstration plov when it can heip save a lot of work.)
Square up the deck and get a left pink,v break between the two face-up Jacks.

170

Joxru Bnnruoru

In a con-

tinuing action, immediatelv cut the deck at the break, apparentll' cutting the Jacks
to the top. Now with youf fight hand, come ovef the deck and pick off the toP two
cards. (Photo 3.)
Use nvo "picking" motions with vour right thumb, as
of the top card and then the second from the toP.

if

1,ou rvere Lifting

up the back

Place the two cards cross-wise on the cafd box. Do not woffv about keeping them
square. But aiso do not let them spread too much. (Photo 4.)

appears that you simplv cut the Jacks to the toP, and then set them aside. But look
what reallt' happened: \With virtuall\, no moves r.vhatsoever, one of the face-up Jacks

It

has been switched out

of

the pair and moved to the bottom

of the face-down deck.

(This is the same ending position of the initial sr,r,itch-out in the Mueller routine
which emplol-ed (i) an ATFUS displai'/srvitch of the Jacks [which itself required an
add-on, a card steal, a Biddle-displav, and an unload], follorved bv (ii) double-undercutting the top t\\,-o cards to the bottom

Drvrrue

of

the deck.)

Satowtcx

Spread the cards and have one selected. Of course, no revetsed Jacks show in the
spread, rvhich at some ler-e1 reinforces the previous removal of the 'Jacks." This card
rvill need to be controlled to the bottom under the face-up Jack. There are a number

of

rvavs to go here, but this is rvhat

do:

fuffle dorvn the side of the deck and har.e vour spectatof stoP you. Cut the deck and
har.e the card replaced on top of the lor'"'er, left-hand half. Set the right-hand portion
onto the table. Nos, s,irh r-out right hand, pick up the selected card and caution l'es1
spectator to remember it. Replace the card on top of the left-hand half and, tvithout
pausing, double undercut it to the bottom.
Nos,, u,ith r-our right hand, pick up the tabled half and reposition the cards for an

Buuer PnnrY *

171

in-the-hands weave-tvpe shuffle. Tutn vour left hand dos,n a bit so its packet is perpendicular to the floor and tap it against the tight-hand ha1f. (Photo 5.)

This action squares the cards for the upcoming shuffle, but it also gives lou
logically-invisible opportuniq'to glimpse the bottom, chosen card.

psr-cho-

\7eave shuffle the halves together, taking care to leave the bottom tu,o cards (the se-

Iection and the face-up Jack) in place.

Now just repeat the same actions you did during the "demonstration." Begin a Chadier cut with your left hand as vou pick up the "pair" of Jacks with r-our right hand and
insert them into the deck as the cut closes. (Photo 6.)

Spread the cards between vour hands. TheJacks are in the middle, but this time a face-

down card is between them

For no better reason than that you can, you now divine the identrq, of the selected
card. To confirm, have the spectator remove the card between theJacks and "show it
to everybody" (ot to "take a look").

ENteRr,rc Far Ctw


Here comes a sneak,v part. We'll use the same no-switch switch again.Vhtle )/our spectator is involved with the selected card, close the spread, getting a break between the
Jacks, and as before, without pausing cut the deck at the break, apparently cutting the
Jacks to the top. Again with your right hand, come over the deck and pick off the top
trvo cards. Place the two cards cross-wise onto the card box. Believe me, this switch is
strong enough to be repeated.
Take back the selected card from your spectator. Drop

it

face-down on top

of the

deck. Apparently losing the card in the deck, double- or triple-undercut the card to the

bottom (under the face-upJack). Emphasize that the card is lost by spreading, then
squaring the deck.

Now, holding the deck in left-hand dealing position, get a break above the bottom

172

Joxn Bnunoru

c rd-^pull-down will do the trick. With

your right hand, pick up the supposedJacks


from above. Several things now happen at once. Bring theJacks over the deck while,
at the same time, you shift the pack slightly to the left. (Photo 7.) Once theJacks are
over the deck, pick up all of the cards above the break (that is, the whole deck except
for the selected card). Immediately begin moving your right hand (with theJacks) in a
clockwise circuiar motion around the supposed deck. (Photo 8')

After two or three revolutions, move your right hand to the table and spread its cards.
The whole deck will be between the two Jacks.
N7ell, except

fot the single card remaining in your left hand.

of the deck, call attention to the remaining card. Have


After the surprise
^ppe^r^flce
it named again and then show it with a flourish, conclusivell. proving that this time all
the cards except the selected card have been "sandwiched."

Posr Monren
DeMoNsrnATroN Swtrcx
Do not ovedook the efficacy of accomplishing the switch in the course of a demonstration. Very high degrees of efficiency can be achieved. I have used this approach to
avoid an ATFUS-qpe switch for a long time. In my handling of the late, gteat, Jack
Birnmani fabulous "Dragnet" routine, "New Jack Cily," Smoke and Mirrors (DVD
2004; VHS 1.994),I used a Biddle technique combined with an "in a minute ."
demonstration technique to avoid an ATFUS and to streamline the opening sequence.
course, discrepant. The uppermost Jack will change. The moment
is good and the discrepancy is never lelissd-sven b1' 1[e56 who should know better. I've employed this krnd of discrepant sandwich switch all the way [2sp in Mirage
(1986). Obviouslli though, if 1.ou use identicalJokers as sandwich cards, there will be

The switch is,

of

no discrepancl, at all.

Burrer Pnnw *173

Evortcol,t Mule :)
The "demonstration" switch is also an effectir e and etficient set up lbr Rov \\/alton's
classic sandwich effect, "The Smiling Nlule." Do it just as described abor-e.
"In a mintrte, Ill askl,oa to tbink oJ' a catd, tbet I'11 toss tlte Jacks inlo tlte detk,
tlte cardlou are thinkingof ui// appear bettt,eett tlte Jacks. Hott'alsott tltat?"

ilfe

tbe edges, and

Hold the deck in vour left hand and the Jacks fhce-up in r-our right. Begin a Chadier
one-handed cut, and as the cut is completed and the "\/" condition begins to close,
insert the Jacks into the gap and allorv the deck to close. Not, spread the cards to
show the face-up Jacks in the middle.
Square up the deck and get a break bets-een the two face-up Jacks. In a continuing
action, immediatelr, cut the deck at the break, apparenth' cuttiflg the Jacks to the top.

Now with 1,our right hand, come over the deck and pick off the top rrvo cards. Use
two "picking" motions lt'ith vour right thumb, as if vou rvere lifting up the back of
the top card and then the second from the top.
Have 1,6s1 spectatol think of acard. Drop the'Jacks" on top of the deck. fuffle the
edges and claim that her thought-of card has appeared betrveen them. (This r.aries
from what ),ou iust said rvould happen "in a minute," but just keep going-no one rvill

notice.) Ask for the name of the card, then spread to shos, that et'eryt card is between
the Jacks; b1' necessin; so is hers. (Photo 9.) While surprising, this is a fairll' lame

joke/effect.
You can continue on with the classic Walton handling or anv
tions." :)

174

Joxru Bnruron

of the man.r"varia-

Poren PnlRADox Reoux


Okal; most of thrs trick appeated in A'tega \f,'/at'e, titled "Poker Pairadox." I am tot
re-c1'cling a trick to add volume to this l,o1ume, so to speak. The onlv real complaint
I got about the trick s,as that it did not reset easilv enough. In preparing fot the Billet
Par4, ]|y|., I revisited the reset problem. The solution, rvhen I finallv arrivecl at it,
was painless and easl', and I wondered wht'it hadn't occurted to me soonet. Gettins
older, I guess. Anyrvali rvith the excuse of putting evervthing in one place, here's the
temix, Redax.
Basicallv, this is an extended version of Nick Trost's "Nfatching Court Cards" (a/k/a
"Court Card Conclave"), with a slight gambling spin' While it is based on "poker," the
presentation is not "hear,1r' and the effect is not exactlv poker-like, but it actuallv ties

in somewhat nicelt'u,ith the rvildlv populr g me of Texas Hold 'Em.


As I get older, I seldom get interested in tricks that require an1'kind of extensive stack
or set-up. So, rather than stack a deck, I'r'e removed the requisite sixteen cards from
a souvenir casino deck and rvrapped a nvo-doilar bill atound the packet-making this
the "fractal" r,ersion. In this fashion, I probabll do the trick more often than I s-ould
the full-blor.vn stacked deck version.

As befits a classic, Trost's trick has been s,orked and re-rvorked bv manv or-er the
r-ears.'$flhat vou get here is ml particular selection and combination (and re-invention)
of brts and pieces, rvrapped in a nes,, topical presentation.

PnEcrs
The perfotmet takes out a substantial packet

of

cards that have been taken from an

actual casino deck.


"Wl'or/dn't it
exact/1,

bll

be

good iJ'l,otr cor/d infrcnce tlte resrrhs

infuencing hatt, ilte catds

ttrn

otrt. Let'.r

in a garue

oJ' rltance, like

poker?

llot

clteating

t5' an expeittent'"

The performef counts the face-dorvn cards onto the table nvo cards at a time.

'ILat

ercry'body, heard oJ' a

gatte cal/ed Texas Hald 'Etu?

In

Texas

Ha/d 'Ent,ltoa

onl1t

Bulrer Pnnrv

get tuto

175

cards. So
bands.

haue enourt cards herefor

lfie, hr0, three,four,

ftv, six, sercn, eightTexas Ha/d 'Eru

"

"Sincelou on! get two cards,


cards here, jast

a good

hand a'oa/d hat'e hto higlt catds. TlsatJ n/1, I1v got tlte high

the Aceq kngs, paeens, and Jacks."

The performer shorvs the faces of the high cards; ther- are in no discernible order.
He squares the packet and holds it face-dou,n in dealing position. He shorvs the top
two cards.
"Cood hands haue hyo higlt cards in theru. The best hands haL'e a pair of higls cards. Htgb pairc are
ca/led

prentiam' hands. l,,etl

see

ff

ue haue ary high pairs."

The top two cards are high, but not paired. Ther- ate placed face-dorvn onto the table.
The next pair is shor.vn, again nvo unpaired high cards. Ther- are placed on top of the
first pair. This is continued until ail eight pairs are shorvn. None of the eight hands
consist of paired high cards.
'B,emember

I said,

actua@ cheating?'

\N/oaldn't

I\oq

it

be

good if 1,ou could infaence how the cards would

tarn oat withoat

no one has cheated. W'e /ooked at each hand, fair and square."

The performer picks up the tabled packet and spreads it so the spectator can select

card from the center.

'lI'e know

a good

band has two high cards, and a rea@ good hand has a higlt pair."

The selected card is waved ovet the packet. The top two cards are now pairedmatched in value and, while not necessary in poker, matched in color, too. The1, a1s
tossed face-up onto the table. The next tlvo cards consis t of a matched pair of high
cards-value and color. And the next rwo. And the two after that. Accelerating his actions, the performer turns over each of the remaining four hands, and all are matched
pairs

of high

cards.

Mrse Eru ScEue


Arrncr Txe Srncx
You must,

of

course, set-up the sixteen high cards. For the "fractal" version,

I like to
with

take the cards from a casino d66[-1h6ss decks are available as souvenirs (usually

or drilled cotners) and are somewhat interesting. Arange the Aces, Idngs,
Queens andJacks into a series of matched pairs (value and color). As 1,ou do this, be
sure to keep pairs of like value (for example, the ICngs) at least one pair
ftom
^pa:.t
the other. Also, ttr, to var1, the colors of the pairs. Here is one sample arrangement:
cJipped

of

of Diamonds
)X Queen of Spades, Queen of Clubs
Ace

176

Hearts, Ace

Joxru Bnnruoru

Jack

of

Hearts, Jack

of Diamonds

l* Ace of Spades, Ace of Clubs


*r ICng of Spades, I{ing of Clubs
*r Queen of Hearts, Queen of Diamonds
of Spades,Jack of Clubs
;Yr ICng of Hearts, ICng of Diamonds
*r Jack

Now, turn the packet face-down and move the top card to the bottom. This is essentiallv the odginal Trost stack, now including the Aces.

rvrap a two-dollar bill around the packet. (Photo 1.) There is no good reason for
don't refer to it in the presentation-but just like the use of casino cards, it
helps makes the scene a little more interesting.

ttus-I

lru Puce
To perform, take out the packet and,

as t'ou explain the Texas Hoid 'Em asPects,


count the number of "hands" bv dropping the cards two at a time into a face-down
pile on the table. This rer.erse count modifies the Trost stack to make it unrecognizable and indiscernible.

As lou remark that vou onll have the high cards, spread the packet face-up on the
table so the audience can see the cards. Take a look at the faces of the catds and see
l6sz good this arrangement looks.
The above sample arrangement norv Iooks like this:
KD, AH,JC, KH, QD,JS, KC, QH, AC, KS,JD IS, QC,JH, AD, QS
Even if \-ou are familiar rvtth the trick, r-ou still '"von't rccogruze this stack as applying
to that trick. The stack is Norm Houghton's variant stack. It will r.vithstand examination, and this displar', I feel, takes the Trost trick to the next level-one of m1'favotite

Buurr Pnnw

177

As you talk about high pairs, square up the cards and hold the packet face-down in
dealing position. Be deliberate so your audience knows you aren't doing anl,thing
sneaky.

of the eight pairs one at a time, show their faces to the audience-each will
of two high cards, but no paired s21d5-21d drop them into a face-down pile
on the table. (Photo 2.) Point out that none of the two-card sets consists of a pair
of high cards. This slow, fair display restores the packet to the original Trost stack.

Take each
consist

\l

)
rJ

Drs-Pmce
Pick up the packet. Now, in order to match all of the cards, a simple displacement
is necessary-one card needs to be moved from the top to the bottom or from the
bottom to the top. However, now is the worst moment to make any kind of move. In
fact, you need to be calling attention to the complete absence of any handling. The
effect, after ail,, is that the packet mysteriously reartanges itself.

The following application of the Bill Simon "Business Card Prophesy" move to secretly displace the cards is .very clevet idea by Ryan Swigert. Spread the packet
^
face-down and have the spectator touch the back of one of the catds. Outiog the
nominated card about half its lengh. (See Photo 3.)

178

Joxtt

Bnnruoru

You will now apparendy turn the outjogged catd face-up. With your right hand, take
the spread cards above the outiogged cards. Turn your right hand palm-down and,
with your right thumb, clip the out,ogged card beneath the spread cards. (See Photo 4.) At this point, note the face card of this group of cards and remember it (the
"glimpsed card'). Now, turn your right hand palm upwatd and, in a continuing action,
place the right-hand cards under the left hand cards. (Photo 5.) The outiogged card
is now face-up and the packet has been secretly cut. The actions ate highly motivated
and the mechanics are effectively psychologically invisible. This highly deceptive sequence is a thing

of

beaury.

Txe Mone Txtttcs CHANGE . .

The trick now has two slighdy different ways to go depending on whether the outjogged card is the same as the glimpsed card (which is now on the bottom of the
packet).

Outjogged Card Is Different Ftom The Glimpsed Catd

If

the outjogged card is different from the glimpsed card, have your spectator take the
of the packet and wave it over the top of the packet. Take

face-up outiogged card out

the top catd of the packet and show that now it matches the selected catd perfectll'
in color and value. (Photo 6.)

Buuer Pnnw

179

Deal off the next seven hands to show that thev are now all high pairs (the fact that
they are matched pairs is somewhat meaningless in poket, but it does make the trick

look better).
Outiogged Card Is The Same As The Glimpsed Card.

If

the outjogged card is the

same as the gJimpsed card, the procedure is just a litde different. As before, have

1.e111

of the packet and'nvave it over the top


of the packet. This trme take the top two cards of the packet and shorv that now thel'
spectator take the face-up outjogged card out

match perfecdy in color and value.

Now deal off the next six hands to show that now they are all high pairs. You will be
left with one remaining card. Give it a flick and show that it matches the selected card
perfecdy, bringing the trick to a successful conclusion.

Posr Monrepr
lrusrnnr Reser
To reset the packet, simply assemble the pairs and move the top card to the bottom.
That's it. lVtap the $100 dollar bill (ot whatever) around the packet and put it av,tay.
The initial reverse count b1, pairs transforms the Trost stack to the Houghton stack,
rvhich in turn pairs the cards as the1, 21s dealt to the table a second ume.

BncxcnouND AND CRrorrs


While it is undeniably a self-working classic, I always thought that the original Trost
"Matching Picture Cards" trick had a number of problematic aspects. See "Matching
Picture Cards," The Card Magtc Of I'Jick Trost (L&L) (heteinafter, "Trzst, LdzL)) at
page 52. Specifically, the court cards had to be handled face-down (because the stack
was too transpafent), the "unmatched pairs" were shown and then ducked under the
packet (a little too cozy for me, again method-driven due to the nature of the stack),
there is a necessary displacement that can be problematic (without returning to the
deck or adding some setious sleight-of-hand to a self-working trick), and finallli the
ever-present and ever-goofy presentation of "royal marriages" or "matchmaking."
One Saturday, during the Chicago Session, we spent most of the day taking the trick
apart and putting it back together again. As it tutns out, we ended up basically reinventing most of what appears to be Trost's last version of the trick, "Court Card
Conclave." SeeThe Subtle Card Creations Of I'lickTrost, Volume

after,"Trost

/ (H&R,2008)

(herein-

HbK').

I had wanted to be able to show the "unmatched pairs" and to place them in a pile on
the table rather than ducking them undet the packet. Norman Houghton aPParently
had already figured out how to do that. SeeTrost, LdvLat page 53. To my surprise,
the to-the-table set-up procedure resulted in a stack that did not look like the Trost

180

Joxu Bnrunor

arrangement at all. Even

if

you were fami\ar with the Trost trick, looking at this new

arrangement, you would not recognize or exPect that trick.


Finally, a good displacement procedute was needed. This was a srumbling block for a
long time. Then through the exclusive and eclectic internet forum, The Second Deal,
I received its unofficial, but annual book of tricks, The Acronlm: TFD In OKC. Pure
serendipiq,, I'm sure, but this year's edition included Ryan Swigert's really good idea to
use the Bill Simon "Business Card Prophesy" move to accomplish the necessary displacement. R. Swigert, "Skal-ini Tim e," The Aronlm (M. Tams 2009) at page 10. I(udos
to Mr. Swigert for most subde and effective application of the "Prophesy" move.
^
It wasn't until I arrived at the notion of adding the Aces and the Texas Hold 'Em

presentation (finally getting rid of the dreaded "royal marriages" theme) that I had a
trick. The next step was a nod to m)' o\un proclivity against stacked-deck tricks-the

"fractal."
The Reset came later. Steve Rel,nelds sent me his method for providing for a reset,
which, while clever, lost the opporruniqv to displal, the Houghton stack. Finallli I had
the belated observation that if I simpll, counted the number of "Texas Hold 'Em"
hands at the beginning of the trick, I could arrive at the Houghton stack in real time.

Buuer PnRw *

181

EsnoN Zeno

Qu

This is actually a "bluff" thought-of card trick. A card is really selected mentally, and
then revealed by the performet with ruo questions asked.Wel,, sort of. In any event, don't
Iet the simple method put you off. This has been a "secret weapon" of mine for a
while now.

This tdck is more-or-less a sneak preview from a wotk-in-progress on mental card


m^glc, tentatively tided, "Mentalissimo." I have included it here because it uses the
"Fallout Move" described in "Box Jumper" and the Elias Multiple Shift described in
the notes to "Bullet Catcher."

PnEcrs
From

a borrowed, shuffled deck, the spectator removes any five cards.

No force. The

spectator thinks of a particular catd and shuffles the packet so that even she doesn't
know vzhich card is the one of which she's thinking. The cards are returned to different parts of the deck. The deck is squared and briefly shuffled.

After concentrating a bit, the performer gives the cards


out

of

a cut causing one card

to spin

the deck.

The performer says, "l%e//, I

do haue to askltou one question.

IYhat card areloa thinking of?'

He turns over the produced card; it is the thought-of card.

Mrse Eu ScEne
The foregoing is actually a fair description of what happens. You can use a botrowed,
shuffled deck-it doesn't even need to be a complete deck. Then, apply large amouflts

of guile.

182

Joxr,r Bnruuon

THe SuareRFuGE
A-llow the spectatof to shuffle the deck. Make a big deal out of this. As we all know, it
helps to emphasize the non-essential and de-emphasize the necessary.
"OkEt,1ou

shffid

the location

of

the cards, right?

an1 card

No doabt that it

was

afair shffie. No

one

couldpostibfi know

in that deck,fair?"

Spread the cards and have her remove five cards from an)'where in the deck. The
catds do not need to be together. Once she has het cards, have her shuffle the packet.
Norv comes the part that makes the trick work. Tell her to look at the cards and to

remember the highe$ card in her hand.


'LYe're going to p/a1 a game

Of

course, a litde context helps.

of mentalpoker. You haue a hand of cards. I wantlou to look through


inlour band. That will beyzr 'ho/e' card."

the cards and to remember the highest card

Add

"If

litde sell.

there is more than one card witb the

highut ualue, remember either

one

of them."

And the closer.


"Got one? Good, now

shffi

the cards so euenllxl don't know which orte

islour card."

The final shuffle misdirssl5 away from the "highest card" instruction. Be casual about
the "highest card" part, but emphasize the fur shuffle part. She kruows that she doesn't
know where her card is, and accordingly, she knows that neither cafl you. The bona
fde sil;uratton more-or-less trumps the limited choice. She did think of acard,btta
card from a field sf ens-shs "highest" card. In context, and especially with some
misdirection, the limitation is not as obvious as you might think, especially if we add
some more layers.

Sow Renp Peer


Take the packet of cards and insert

of

the deck. Apparently push the cards flush, but actually execute an Elias Multiple Shift. (This trick
is a good application of my "touch" on the Elias Shift, which is described in the next
each card into a different part

section.) So far, so good. The spectator's fir,'e cards are back on top.

Here you can simpll, do


five cards ofl top.

an1,

number

of

false cuts or controlled shuffles, but leave the

I do a Lift Shuffle: In an overhand shuffle, chop off a small packet of

cards, but more

than five. As you do the second "chop," steal the first packet behind the deck, by essentially grasping it between your ring finget and the base of 1,our thumb. The deck
and the stolen packet are held in a "V" formation. (Photo 1.)
Continue shuffling off until you reach the end of the deck ptoper and toss the stolen
packet back on top. I like the one-shuffle "lift" approach here because it's fastet than

Buller Pnnw

183

the nvo-shuffle jog shutfle. AIso, those magicians s'ho knos-the joe shutfle mtv be
puzl.led bv the lack oi a second sl-rutflc.

After the shuffle, rotate the deck into

a face-up position and, keeping the backs

of the

cards torvard vour spectator, eivc thc deck a thumb fan (or finger thn). Nlake tl-re tan
so that the indices of tl-re top fir-e cards are r-isible. Time r-our shuifle and thn actions

to c()rrespond s,itl-r

a remark like the

tbilosrns:

"I\aqrre/, rigltt non,,-1,orr are tbe onl,per.rou itt tlte t,orld r/.to corr/d po.r-rilt/1' kttott'n'ltaf catd-yot are

lhirHry ol. 'f/tatlr

trtre, i.rn'l it?

And

no one carrld

knol' t,ltere //ttt nrd

i.r

in tlte deck. Tltuli ltLrc

lao, rigltl?"

As vou emphasize that no one could knos'rvherc tl-re card is, eestute s-ith the tanned
deck ancl look al t/te top .lile mtds. Al\ ou hm'e to do is see s'hich of tl-re fir'e cards is the

hishest-obvioush' that's her catd-and note its position tlom the top. (Photo 2.)
Once vou have the glimpse, immediatelv close tl-re fan and hold the deck in face-dos'n
dealing position.

CorurRol ANo Cot,tN4nHo


the higl-rest card of the fir'e is alreadr- on top, smile to r-ourself.

If

Otherrvise, to control the selected card to the top, s,hile I a1n "concentrating" I uive
the deck one more "lift" shuffle. As follos,s: First, tun cards singlv until r-ou har-e run
the selected card. For example, if the card rvas third from the top, run three; if fourtl-r
t}om t1-re top, run four.

\os,

"chop," steal tl-rc cards behind the deck. Shuffle off, and
tl-rros- the stolen packet back on top. The selected card is on toP.

\bu

as vou

do

tl-re second

har-e just controlled a mentaih-seiected card

control was, as these things go, efficient, there are


the most direct.

to the top of the deck. Because the


lots of \\ravs to go from here. Heret

Produce the cudface-dan'n tn r-our favorite mannel. It must be face-dorvn because t'ou
apparentlv do not knou. s,hat it is r-et, and vou don't rvant to spoil the sutptise. If I

184

Jonru Bnuruou

sometimes use the classic Benzais Spin-Out move. Most


use the "Fallout N{ove" (described in "BoxJumper," page L61).

have a tabie,

I'll

I'll

of the time,

After the catd is produced, I like to ask one question which isn't necessaf\r and, because the card is alreadv on the table, won't be perceived as such.
"Raque/,

do haae to

asklor

one question.

What card are)tla thinkingof?'

It's just better drama if everyone (even if it's only you and her) knows the identiq,
the card before the tabled card is revealed.

of

Reveal the card in a dramatic fashion.

Posr Monren
Conrruoencres
Ever). now and then, when you glimpse the top five catds, there will be two cards of
the highest value. It won't happen very often. A pair is not unhkell', but for the paL to
be of the highest value is more remote. If it does happen, \rou can remember both positions, do a quick fish, and shuffle to the correct card as set forth above. Or, secretly
the cards so one of the pair is on the bottom and one is on the top. Do the
^ff^nge
perenniai cross-cut force to give vourself two outs. The outs ate better than the fish,

but that approach requires

little more tap-dancing.

If

vou get three cards of the highest value, t'ou are not having a good day This is
hightl'unlikel1', but can happen. In either case, \'ou could iust fish and reveal (that is,
without the production).
Or, be a true pfofessional and let her shuffle the cards, ask for the name of the card,
go through the deck and cull the card, palm it, and produce it from 1'our pocket. The
old favorite. "\'ou couldn'tpossib/1 haue thought of the l{ine of Diamonds. Tltat cail is ttot itt
the deck. That card is in nry pocket..." Gwould probabl,v start a shuffle and "accidentlr"
ln or move on.)
scatter the cards all over the table, apologze, then either st^rt

^g

BncrcnouND AND

CREOITS

I first sarv the "think of the highest card in i'our hand" gambit in Nfado's The Unexpected Card Book (E. Nfado, "simplex Blindfold Dea1s," The Unexpected Card Book, 1974, at
page 23.) Nlado used it verv effectir.eit' in a variation of the "Blindfold Poker Deal."
It's still one of mr- favorite methods for that p^rtio)I^t effect. The Mado routine,
holvever, did not allorv for the extra diversion of "nor.v shuffle the cards so even you
don't knorv rvhich one is t'our thought-of card."
I r.vorked our this trick'n',,hile brainstorming various possible appJications of the "think
of the highest card in r-our hand" gambit.

Buuer Pnnw

185

Tn

r EunS M U LTI PLE SN rr


I

Bannon signaled the waitress. The oblivious, slender blonde ignored him.
he was beginning to lose patience.

I could tell

"Elias," he said, his tone suggesting I should har.e kno'nt'n this move. "The Neil Elias
N{ultiple Shift is one of the best-if not the fs51-in-1h.-hands Alultiple Shift. Because it brings face-down cards-which ma1'be knor'vn ot unknorvn bi'the performer-to the top of the deck, it's also one of the most versatile shifts around. The rvar'
the move is usuallr. described, however, requires that the four Aces be insetted in
various places in the uppet portion of the deck. I'r,e made a minor change in handling
to allow the cards to be more evenly distributed thtoughout the deck."
Bannon inserted each of the top fil,e cards into the outer end
outjogged about one-half its length. (Photo L.)

of the deck.

Each was

"Oka11 first you need to sidejog the cards as thev are apparentlv pushed flush into the
deck. You do this b1'angling the cards to the left as vou push them into the deck with
your right hand. This leaves the outer left corners of the cards protruding from the

Ieft side of the deck.


"The outer right cotners are protruding from the upper end of the deck. Here's what
it looks iike." (Photo 2.) "Now, two things happen at once. With vour left thumb,
push the angled corners of the target catds to the right, into the deck.

185

Joxru Banruoru

'At

the same time, rr,'ith vour right httle finger, push the uPPer cofflets
cards dorvn and to the right. (Photo 3.)

of

the target

"The result is that rhe target cards end up sidejogged on the right side of the deck for
about one-half inch. It's a faidv easv technique to get. The moves can be done quite
slorvlr- and deliberatelr'. The illusion that the cards are actuallr' squared into the deck
is verv good. The sidejogged cards, moreover, afe r,r,e11-cor-ered bv t'our right hand."
(Photo 4.)

He s,as right, the cards defrnitelv looked lost. \\'hat separated the trlias shift ftom
most of the others s'as this moment betbre the shift is done rvhen the cards seemed
lost and unconttolled. As Bannon rvould point out to me later, a short delar-benveen
the moment the cards are
difference.

^pparentlv

pushed flush and the actual move made all the

to do is take the deck with vour risht


hand from abor-e and, s,ith a Srving Cut, cut a packet of catds into vour left l.rand. ,\s
you do this s'ith vout right torefinger, \-ouf left ring and pinkr- fingers hold back t1-re
sidejogged cards, s'l-rich get stripped out of the 'srvung' section of thc deck. As the
Su,ing Cut is completed, the target cards end up on toP. There is a catch. The packet
that is 'ss,ung' as,av from the deck must be large enough so that all of the taliret cards
rvill be propeth- stripped out. In other s-ords, the lorvermost cald of tl-re 'srvung' pack
et must be belos- the los-ermost target card. Is that clear?"
"Okar', nou, tbr the shitl. \\'hat

lou

are going

",\s mud," I replied. Then it das'ned on me. The ker- to the shitl \\ras the fifst s\l/ing
cut and that cut must be made belorv the los'etmost cafd. "\\hit, I see. That's rvhy vou
are usualh-told to put the target cards in tl-re upper portion of the deck, so the Swing
Cut packet rvill be guatanteed to be greater than the los,ermost tareet card, right?"
"Eractlr'. But I ner-er liked the constfaint of having the target cards in the upper portion oi tl-re deck, so I came up rvith this technical r-atiation," he sard. "Once the cards
are sidejogged, s-ith r-our lett hand, tilt all of the cards beneath the los,ermost target
card r-en- slighdv to the lefi.

Burrer Pnnw

187

"The sideiog makes it very


"This slight tilt cteates

easy

to tilt exacdy these cards." (Photo 5.)

cards.

See? Now, because of


lift the perfect number of

litde step at the outer end of the deck.

the step, you can reach down with your right forefinger and

Do the Swing Cut from this position and you are all set." He very slowly and

deJiberately did the move. (Photo 6.)

"I get it," I said. "The step takes the guesswork out of the Swing Cut. And since you
know that you are always going to nail the cut, it doesn't really matter where you insert
the target cards. S7ow."

188

Joru Bnrruou

CnocoDItE

Fnsr Cur

Here is a quick, eas\., not-too-flourish1,, in-the-hands f2156 s111-2nd you can't kno'uv
too many of them. In the course of the cut, the deck goes from being face-dor'vn to
being face-up, and aice-uersa. So, ),ou ma)' consider doing the cut twice in a row.
Take the deck face-down from above with 1'our right hand. With your right forefinger,
lift up about a thitd of the deck and swing the packet to the left. (Photo L.)

Nor.ri use the lorver nvo-thirds of the deck to lever the upper third over so it falls into
your left hand face-up. (Photo 2.) In the course of this levering action, the right-hand
packet comes directlv or-er the left-hand packet.

Buuer Pnnw

189

As this happens, with l,our tight forefinger, lift up another third of the deck. (Photo
3.) This horizontal "V" configuration looks [ke a crocodile opening its mouth (sort
of, in an imaginative war,).

In

continuing action, move )rour right hand forward an inch or two. Deposit the lower
of the horizontal "V" face-down onto the face-up left-hand packet, out,ogged
an inch or so. (Photo 4.)
a

packet

With your dght hand, flip the remaining third face-up onto the left-hand cards, aligned
with the lower face-up packet. (Photo 5.)
AII that remains is to pull the outjogged face-down packet straight out from the middle and to revolve it face-up on top of the left-hand cards. (Photo 6.) Done. Repeat
as necessafy.

Alternately, you can use your right middle finger to spin the center packet out and
around your left fingers to the right. (Photo 7.) Once the packet is parallel to the lefthand cards, with your right hand, simply flip it over face-up onto the deck. (Photo 8.)
Despite the minimum number
odd. Give itatry.

190

Jonr

Bnruuon

of

moves, the cut is visually deceptive and only a litde

Burler Pnnw

191

FrwnAP Fnse Cur


Here is another quick, easy,, not-too-flourishli in-the-hands false cut. It first appeared
on my Bullets After DarkDVD @ig Blind Media, 2009). "Flytrap" rvas the onlv bit on
the

DVD that hadn't been in print, either previousll, or concurrently (with the publiof Six. Impossible. Things. fBannon, 2009)). So, we're fixing that here.

cation

happen to like this a lot. And,


this cut over and over.

if

idly handl,ing

a deck

of

cards,

I will often be doing

Take the deck from above with 1,our right hand. With your tight forefinger, swing cut
the top third into your left hand. Hold the packet in straddle grip between vout left

first and fourth fingers. (Photo 1.)

\\'ith vour right forefinger, lift up the next third of the deck. (Photo 2.)
Now, in a circular motion, turn your right hand palm upward and your left hand palm
downward over your right hand.

From this position, with your left fingers and thumb, pick off the previousl), lower
third of the deck. (Photo 3.) Return your right and left hands to their normal posi-

192

Joxru Bnnruoru

tions. (Photo 4.) Nos, tl-re tbllorving actions happen

once.

^t
In vour leti hand, the packets are beins held at roughlv a 45-degree angle, toughh- in
position tor a C1-rarlier-t\-pe cut. (Photo 5.) So, rvith vout Iett iorefinger, pusl-r the lower packet ups'ard until it clear:s the upper packet. (Photo 6.) Don't close the cut, \'et.
As r-our lett l-rand does tl-re Chadier-n-pe cut, turn vour rigl-rt hand tonvard and allorv
the face of the packet as the Packet tufns face-up.
r-our right thumb to slide
^cfoss

(Photo 7.)

Buuer PnRw *

193

Once the right-hand packet is face-up, move your hands together and flip the righthand packet face-down, book-wise, betrveen the two left-hand packets as the Chadier
cut is closed. (Photos 8 and 9.)

This cut is not at all hard to do, but may take a litde work to get the parts working
smoothly.

194

Jorr,r Bnnruoru

TRIABOLICAL

I actuallv do the thing:


therefore onlv pretended to pretend.

To pretend,

have

Jacques Derrida

B'RRrN rAc
(BnunorlMounrn)
The performer places a packet of playing cards wtapped with a dollar bill onto the

A spectator chooses one of the Aces-for example, the Ace of Diamonds. The
bill is removed from the packet and the packet, is shown to have one face-up reversed
621d-1hs named Ace of Diamonds.
table.

The performer then states that he was so sure that the Ace of Diamonds would be
chosen, he didn't bring the other Aces along; the rest of the packet i.s shown to be
blank.

Finally, sensing the spectator's skepticism in advance, he made sure to get the Ace
of Diamonds from a different deck; turning the Ace over reveals a different-colored
back!

The performer openly ponders, "What would have happened

if

the spectator had

named a different Ace?"

'I

arzt sare we could haae worked something

oat."

The three previously blank-faced cards now suddenly become the remaining thtee
Aces.
thing we know for sure, whicheuer one
dffirentfrom tbe rest!"
"Orue

of

the Aces

1oa thoaght oJ . . .

it

would haue

been

The Aces are tutned face-down and each has a different-colored back.

Of

course, everything is clean and examinable.

lruceprroru
Liam was an eaiy adopter of the Bullet Party Display with a numbet of clever applications. I sent him an early draft of a work in progress which used the set of cards
from "Spin Doctot" and the Bullet Parq'Display. This handling began with a show
of a face-up Ace in a packet v'ith three, face-down blank-face cards.
Liam sent back a slighdl. revised handling, but with a fantasic presentational spin:

TnrneoLrcAL

197

Max Maven's "B'wave" gone wild. I loved the concept immediately. Liam says, "After
seeing a face-up Ace in a packet of (apparendy) face-down blank cards, the idea of the
'B'wave' as a presentational point occurred almost immediately." Not to me it didn't.
Clever bastard.

But we weren't done yet. Liam's routine began with an equivoque to force one of the
,{s6s-1hs Ace of Hearts. I have always thought thatpart of the appeal of "B'wave"
was the seamless equivoque down to two cards. It seemed to me that we ought to be
able to devise a handling th t allowed either of bsTe Aqs3-1he Ace of Hearts or the
Ace of Diamonds-to be selected, significandy stteamlining the initial equivoque a

/a"B'wave."
As you'll see, the handling we artived at has a farrly braz n "fiddle" when the Ace of
Diamonds is selected, but it is easily covered. Happily, other than the "fiddle," the
handJing is pretty much the same for each of the Aces.
Beware the B'rainiac.

Reurx
with a set of Spin Doctor cards (that is, four Aces with different backs and
of Spades). Arrange the cards in the
following order (from the top down):
1. Begin

one blank-face card whose back matches the Ace

Face-Down Ace
Face-Up Ace

Spades

of Heatts

Face-Down Ace
Face-Up Ace

of
of

Clubs

of Diamonds

Face-Down Blank-Faced C rd
Taking a tip from Eugene Burget, who uses a rubber band, I would wrap dollar bill
^
around the middle of the packet. The bill invests the packet with a little interest, and
tacidy says that no manipulation of the cards is possible.
2.

To perform, take out the packet. If you like, place it onto your spectator's open

palm as y,ou have her "choose" one of the Aces. Through equivoque, however, you
rvill limit that choice to Hearts or Diamonds.

Egurvogue
3. I use a procedure modele after the one in "B'wave."
'With lour imagination,
monds.

wantlou

to

pictare

the

four Aces: Clubs, Hearts, Spadu, and Dia-

Hauelou done that?"

The implication is that


packet as you continue.

198

the

* Joxr Bnruuor

acket consists

of

the Aces. Do not explicidy refer to the

'Again withyar imagination,


lYhich Ace:

didyu

remoue either the red

Aces or the blackAces. Hauelou done that?

remoue?"

The word "remove" is the central ambiguity, and probably one of the best' Ate you
"femoving" the cards to use them, or to discard them? The ambiguity is not resolved
until you know which color was selected.

If

the spectator says "red":

"Good. The Heart and Diaruond. Now imagine turning either the Heart or the Diamondface-ap.

Haueloa done that? IYhich Ace didyu tarn oDer?"


Necessarily, she will answer either "Hearts" or "Diamonds."

If

the spectator says "black":

"Good. That leaues the Heart and tbe Diarnond. Now iruagine turning either the Heart or the
Diamondface-ap. Hauelou done that? IVhich Ace

didyu tarn

ouer?"

A slight emphasis on the words "that leaves . . ." resolves the ambiguity nicely in an
unforced (so to speak) way. Necessarily, she will answer either "Hearts" or "Diamonds."
So, after you spectatot has "freely chosen" one

of

the Aces, the trick can start.

4. Remark that you had a feeling eaiier that she would name that particulat Ace. Pick

off

the bill wrapper. The ptocedure is slighdy different depending upon whether Hearts or Diamonds was named. At the risk of redundancy,
I'll describe each alterrrate in detail, but with a few practice funs, you'll see how close

up the packet and slide

the two procedures are.

lr

Txe Ace

0r Hennrs ls Nnueo

A face-up Ace of Hearts will show among thfee


face-down red-backed cards. Place the last card on the bottom of the packet (the socalled "underground" Elmsley count).
5. Give the packet an Elmsley Count.

"I had afeetingthatloa would

narue

theAce of Hearh. So, earlierl tarned itface-up in thepacket."

6. Using the Bullet Party Display Count, show the packet as consisting

cards and a face-up Ace

of

of

three blank

Hearts.

TnrnsolrcAt

199

Buuer Pnnrv DrsplnY Courur


Pull the top card oi the packet into r-our ieft hand. (The face-up Ace of Hearts s'ill
show as the next card in the packet.) Turn r our leti hand palm dos'n to shos' the
blank-faced card. If vou pincll the blank-thced card betrteen vour thumb and iorefin
ger, \'ou can retract vour fingers for a clear displar: (Photo 1.)
Turn vour left hand palm-up and continue the second "count" of the Elmslev Count,
apparentlv taking the face-up Ace of Hearts onto the iust-slros-n blank thced card.
(Photo 2.) Because of the Elmsler- Count exchange that occurs, hou-er-er, the blankfaced card is nor.v at the face

Raise the right-hand cards

of

the rieht-hand packet.

to shorv the blank-faced card at the face. Nos- lou'er the

cards and take the top right-hand card onto the face-up Ace in vout left hand. (Photo

3.) This is a "Flushtration" maneuver. Finallv, shorv the last right-hand


faced

card-a biank-

card-and place it on top of all. (Photo 4.)

The Ace

of

Hearts is face-up, third from the top

of

the packet.

As one mirror trial u,i1l convince 1'ou, this is a r-erv deceptive sequence, especiallv
your left and right hands are kept somes,hat fa.r apart.

200

Joxr,r Bnnruoru

if

know what you're thinking. You'te thinking that I used sleight-of-hand to secredy
turn over the Ace of Hearts. That would not have worked because the Ace of Hearts
is the only Ace I have. The rest of these cards are blank."

"I

6. Nfith your right fingers, pull the top t$/o cards downward about one-third of their
Iength. Now, do the Christ-Annemann AJignment move: Place 1,our right middle fin-

gertip onto the Ace and, with your right thumb, push the downiogged catds flush
with the packet. As you do this, your tight middle fingertip pushes the Ace outward.
(Photo 5.) With your right hand, remove the face-up Ace of Heafts from the packet.
Turn the Ace of Hearts face-down to shov/ its back.
'Yoa're sti/l skeptical and

I knewlou

would be. That's wfui

also made szre the Ace

of Hearts had

a dffirent-colored back!"

I always

include it. \X/ith your right hand, slide the


at the packet's inner end. N7ithout overpacket
face-down Ace of Hearts under the
doing it, be unclear whether the card is going under ot into the packet. Now give the
packet anothef Elmsley count. The odd-backed card will show among three facedown red-backed cards. Outjog the odd-backed card as )'ou come to it.
7. This next step is optional, but

turn the Ace of Hearts face-up. \7ith your left hand, get
break under the top card of the packet. (Photo 6.)
8. Nfith your right hand,

"I know wbatlou're thinking. IVhat

would haue happened

if

yu

didnl think of

the

Au

of

Hearts, batloa thought of a dffirent Ace?"

TRrneoucAr

201

Now, place the face-up Ace of Hearts on top of the packet. \\'ith r-our right hand, lift
both cards above the break as one. Place the double-card into vour shitt pocket rvith
the Ace side facing outward. Without pausing, leave the back card-the blank-and
bring the Ace halfwav out. (Photo 7.)

Turn attention back to the packet. The Ace of Diamonds is face-up at the back of
the packet. Give the packet a "trvist" or "spin." Noui buckle the bottom card-the
Ace-and with your right hand, slide the top two cards back as a unit, exposing the
Ace of Diamonds. Take the face-up Ace and place it on top of the packet. (I iike to
do a fake Alignment Nlove here, pushing the Ace of Diamonds fonvard a little with
my right second finger.) (Photo 8.)
9.

'What if ya d thlilght 0f the Ace of Diaruonds? In that


the Ace of Diamonds isface-up."
10. Take the face-up Ace

up-the
"If

ya

Aces

of

four face-down,

2O2* Jorru

would harc done this

[qin]. And

and use it to flip the remaining two cards face-

Spades and Clubs. Sptead the cards widelr,.

thoaght of one

11. Take the Ace

of Diamonds

case,

of

the black Aces,

Chbs or Spades, we could haue worked something out."

of Hearts from your pocket

sho'nving that each has a

BnruruoH

and place

it with the others. Turn all

diffetent color and back-design. (Photo 9.)

"One lhing

u.,e

knot,.fbr srrre, r.,lticltet'er one

dilferent J)'ort the resl!

lr

Tne Ace

oJ- the Aces1,611

iltorgltt

ol . . . it

tt.'orr/d

lnrc

been

"

0r Drnvouos ls NnMeo

\\ith

the cards in the original order, give the packet an Out-Ot-Position-Elmsler-Count (the "OPEC count"). The OPEC count is exactlt'like an Illmslev Count,
excepr that for the count of "one" r-ou take the bctttoru card of the packet instead of
the top card. This is done openlr'and not 5s61s1h'-1-eu are not tr\-ing to hide anvthing. (Photo 10.) Tl-re rest of the count continues as in an Elmslev (-ount. A face-up
Ace of Diamonds rvill s1'rorv among three thce-dorvn red-backed catds.
12.

As vou complete rhe count, get a break beneath the thce-up Ace of Diamonds,
rvrll be second ftom the top atler the count.

''I ltad a feeling thil.1orr

n'arr/d nane lbe

Ace oJ' Diattond.r. 5'0, ear/ier

u.l-ricl-r

I ttrrned it.face-tp

in

tlte

patket."
13. Time to do the fiddh-part, \\'ith vour rigl-rt hand, slide the trvo cards above the
break dos-ns-ard about an inch or so. Nos; do the Christ-Annemann r\lignment
mor-e: Place r-our right middle finueltip onto the back of the third (face-dou.n) card
and, s'ith r-our right thumb, push the dos'njogged cards flush r.vith the packet. (Photo
11.)

TRrneolrcAL

203

As you do this, your right middle fingertip pushes the upper card outwatd. Remove
the outjogged card and place it on the bottom of the packet. (Photo 12.)

'I

know whatlou're tbinking. Yot're thinking that

of Diamondsfrom

the

ared sleight-of-band to secretll remoue the

packet, to turn it ouer, and place it back into

the

Ace

packet."

Interestingly, your words do not match your actions, but appear to explain and justi$,
them. It is a necessary fiddle, but iustified in this way, it goes by.
14. Using the Bullet Parry Display Count, show the packet as consisting

cards and a face-up Ace

of Diamonds

of

of three blank

Diamonds. Be sure to place the last card on top. The Ace

is face-up, third from the top. (See Step 6.)

"Sleigbt-ofband would not haue worked because the Ace of Diamonds is the on! Ace
rest

of tbue

cards are

haue. The

blank."

15. \X/ith your right fingers,

pull the top two cards downv/ard about one-third of

theit length. Now, do the Christ-Annemann Alignment move: Place your right middle
fingertip onto the Ace and, with your right thumb, push the downjogged cards flush
with the packet. (See Photo 5.) As you do this, your tight middle fingertip pushes
the Ace outward.

With your right hand, remove the face-up Ace of Diamonds from the packet.
'YouTe still skeptical and

knewloa woald

be. That's wh.1

also made sure the

Ace of Diamond:

had a dffirerut-colored back!"

Turn the Ace of Diamonds face-down to show its back.


16. This next step is optional, but I always include it. With your right hand, slide the
face-down Ace of Diamonds under the packet at the packet's inner end. N7ithout
overdoing it, be unclear whether the card is going under or into the packet. Now give
the packet another Elmsley count. The odd-backed card will show among three face-

204

Joxtt Bnruuor

down red-backed cards. Outiog the odd-backed card

as

you come to it.

your dght hand, turn the outjogged Ace of Diamonds face-up. rJ7ith your
left hand, get a break under the top card of the packet.
17.

lfith

"I know whatlou're thinking. lVhat would haue


moruds, butloa thought of a dffirent Ace?"

happened

if yu didn! think of

the

Ace of Dia-

Now, place the face-up Ace of Diamonds on toP of the packet. lfith your right hand,
lift both cards above the break as one. Place the double-card into your shirt pocket,
the Ace side facing out. l7ithout pausing, leave the back card-the blank-and bring
the Ace halfway out. (See Photo 7.)

of Hearts is face-up second from the


"spin."
Now, do one more Alignment
"twist"
or
top of
Move. Slide the top card back and place your dght middle fingertip onto the Ace and,
with your right thumb, push the downjogged card flush with the packet. As you do
this, your right middle fingertip pushes the Ace outward. Remove the Ace from the
18. Turn attention back to the packet. The Ace

the packet. Give the packet a

packet.

'What

1ou'd thlilght 0J

the

Ace of Hearts? In that

case,

woald haue done this [t?in/.

And

the

Ace of Hearts woald haue beenface-up."


19. Take the face-up Ace of Hearts and use it to flip the remaining trvo cards faceup-the Aces of Spades and Clubs. Spread the cards widely.
'And
or/t.

f ya thought of one of the blackAns-Clubs

or

Spades-we coald

haue worked something

"

20.Take the Ace of Diamonds from your pocket and place it with the other Aces.
Turn all four cards face-down, showing that each has a different color and back design. (Photo 13.)
"One thing we know

for

sare, whicbeuer one

of

the Aces

1ou thought of . . .

it

would haue

been

dffirentfrom the re$!"

TRrneoLrcAr

205

Snonr ArrENTroN Sprtt


(gnn noru)
Four cards are shown: three blank-faced cards and an Ace of Hearts. The perfotmer
asks a series of questions to see if his audience was paying attention. The Ace vanishes ftom the spectator's hand and mysteriously returns to the packet. Then, the blankfaced cards change into the other three Aces. Finally, the backs change and each card
has a different-colored back.
Everything is examinable.

lucepnou
In early 201,1,,Pad Gordon put out a packet trick called "I(iller Observation Test." A
demo might still be on YouTube.
The "Observation Test" presentation strategy is by no meafls new. Mr. Gordon's trick
moves very quickly to an initially-stunning, but ultimately unsatisfiiing, ending: Fout
identical blue-backed Eights of Diamonds are shown, then a fifth odd-card appears
in the packet, and then each of the five cards has a different-colored back. One of
the cards, however, is a double-backed card, and accordingly, the cards could not be
examined.

While I liked the sudden ending, I was not crazy about the illogical plot, the unsophisticated handling, and the fact that the cards were not examinable. Due to my work
on "Spin Doctor," I was very famitar with packets using rainbow back designs. As I
had guessed when I first saw it, I was able almost immediately to make the uick more
logical, and end clean and examinable. This, howeve:--is notthatvalation.

I began from scratch, adding the Bullet Party Display to


the "Spin Doctor" set of cards. As a result, I ended up with a satisSring, sophisticated
handling that ended clean. This expression of the trick now has very little in common
with Paul Gordon's original-in either method or effect. Hete, the faces, as well as
Instead, continuing to tinker,

the backs, all change.

205

Joxru Bnruuor

Reurx
1.

You'll need the four Aces, each with a different-colored back, and a blank-faced

card whose back matches the Ace of Spades. Happily, these are the exact same cards
that^re provided with the fractal packet trick, "Spin Doctof." Arrange them in the

following order (from the top down):


Face-down blank-faced card
Face-up Ace

of

Hearts

Face-down Ace
Face-down Ace
Face-down Ace

of

Spades

2. Using the Bullet Party Display, show the packet as consisting


and a face-up Ace of Heatts. (See "B'rainiac," Step 6.)
'Ibe gotfour cards here: a blank, an Acq a blank and a blank.

of thtee blank

hopelou

were

pqting attention.

wil/ asklou fue que$ions, and depending on how we//1ou do, I'll know how much
with. fuad1?"

(f{ote that I

say,

"I

catds

can

get awalt

hope you were paying attention," afterthe Bullet Party Display. The

display is done casually and without too much attention on it.)

top card, a blank, show it and move it to the bottom. This is a gratuitous
the last "blank" in the display
count on the bottom. Howevef, this transfer provides both a small time delay-so
the spectator's undetstanding of the make-up of the packet can solidi$,-as well as a
3. Take the

transfer

redisplay

of a card which can be avoided by placing


of

the blank face and the red back.

'You saw the blank cards, but dolou remember what suit

the

Ace was? Right. The Ace of Heafts."

4. With your right fingers, pull the top card downward about one-third its length.
Now, the Christ-Annemann A1ignmeflt move: Place your right middle fingertip onto
the Ace and, with your dght thumb, push the downjogged card flush with the packet.
As you do this, your right middle fingertip pushes the Ace outward. (See Photo 5,

page 207.)
5.

Sfith your right hand, remove the outiogged Ace. !7ith your left hand, flip the pack-

et face-up. Place the Ace on the face

of

the packet.

TRrneolrcAL

207

tip from "Spin Doctor." Ask )'our spectator to hold out her
hand. Turn your left hand palm-down. With your left fingers, gJide back the lower
card of the packet. With 1,our right hand, remove what is apparendy the lowermost
card of the packet-the just-shown Ace-but actualll, take the second card from the
bottom. This is, of course, the venerable and traditional Glide. (Photo 1.)
6. \)7e will now take a

7 . Place the card onto your spectator's palm. Claim that you will make the Ace vanish.
This is a nice moment because apparendl, nothing can happen in full view.

"Second question. Here, hold

outlour hand. Ill giueloa the Ace of Hearts. Now I wi// make the
see it happen? To the untrained e1e, it looks like notbing happened,

Ace uanish. puestion is: Didya


but the Ace did . . . uanish."

Pause a beat, and then show the blank f2ss s21fl-1he Ace, indeed, has "vanished."
Snap the blank card a few times to highlight its singuiarity and put

it in your pocket.

8. With your tight hand, take the packet and wave the packet over the pocket in which
you placed the Blank. Place the packet face-up in your left hand-the Ace of hearts

shows.

'Third puestion: Does arryone think

these are

tick

cards? The

Ace of Hearts is back."

(I really enjoy bringing up the notion of "trick cards" here, especially as the audience
is considedng the possibility, if not now, then after the two major cJimaxes. But we
are aheady clean and examinable, so the more they think about so-called "ttick catds,"
the better.)
9. Now make all

of

'Fourtb puestion:

I knowlou

the Aces appear:


saw these blank cards, but

arelou sare thel aren'tAcet?"

Spread the packet and immediately take two Aces into each hand and "squiggle" them

back and forth. (Photo 2.)

208

Joxu Bnuuol,r

The appearance of the Aces comes as a complete sufPfise. This is a nice moment.
The vanish and reappearance of the Ace was surprising, but admittedly, a litde unusual. The trade-off, however, is definitely \r/orth it. Just as the spectators are putting

f, derailing their
the supposed vanish and the reappe rarlce togethef, the Aces
^pPe
have
a similady Jinear
not
into
Aces
do
change
chain of thought. The pocket and the
connection, which causes a disconnect and a deflection. How cool is that? The best
part is that the real climax has yet to occur. The third change further minimizes and
deflects the tactic. For those spectators who get back that far, they should be unable
to figure out what,

if

anything, that action had to do with subsequent everits.

10. Place the right-hand cards onto the left-hand cards and square the packet in your

left hand. This places the Ace of

Spades inside the packet. Reveal the back color

change in a dramatic fashion.

"l-zst question. How manl noticed that the cards were marked? Didya notice that tbe back of
each card was a slight! ffirent shade of color? Please bold outlour hand. Oncelou know what to
lookfor, it's easl to tpot."

The cards are examinable and that should be encouraged. TVo maiot, unexpected
changes have just occurred: Aces and then rainbow backs. The cards are screaming
to be examined. Do not be deluded by thinking that spectators don't want to see the
cards.

to believe that
(I continue to be surprised at the number of performers who
^Ppear
audiences do not wantto examine the cards. AII because of the open brilliance of their
performance of "magjc" and spectators'inherent desire to experience "wonder" and
"dofl't tell me how it's done; I don't want to know." Yeah, right. That's thinking like a
maglcian, who's thinking Jike a maglcian.)

TRrnao!.rcAr

209

MONTI NATOR

5.0

(Morun en)
The performer offers to demonstr^te a g^me

of

chance that is "impossible to lose."

He displays a packet of cards remarking that the backs are marked. Three blue-backed
cards have the word 'Joker" boldly marked on their backs. One red-backed card is just
as boldly marked "Queen." The "Queen" card is shown to be the Queen of Spades.
'The cards are marked: Joker, Joker, pueen, and Joker. Guess which zneJla haue to keep track
of? The pueen? Absolutefi right. The paeen of Spadu is the cardloa haue to keeplour e1e on."

The cards are mixed and then counted again. This time the faces of the 'Joker" cards
are shown and, sure enough, areJokers.
'You

see

lose. In

howlou can't

lose.

Each of

the Jokers

h marked and

fact, there's no wa1 to make it an1 easier, except, ma1bq

so

tf

is

the

paeen.

ItI

I got rid of one of

impossible to
the

Jokers."

The performer takes one of the "Joker" catds, cleanly shows it, and places it into his
pocket. The packet is counted to show two 'Joker" cards and one "Queen" card. The
top 'Joker" card is placed onto the table, revealing the "Queen" card.
"So

alllou

haue to do is choose tbe

'pueen.' Tempted? I7A! As


to

LOSE

becomes the game

sooru

pueen of Spadu, which coruuenient! is marked witb the word

asloa

choose the card

marked 'pueen,'

that is impossibleforyou to

tbe game

that is impossible

WI\i!"

He spreads the packet, which now consists of three red-backed cards marked "Queefl."
These catds prove to be the Queens of Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds. The money
card, the Queen of Spades, is found to be the blue-backed "Joker" card.
'As

soon

becaase

ttlne are
bere.

the 'paeen' card, IA ask which pueen. And it doev't natter whichlou pick
pueen of Heartq thatl the pueen of Clabs, thatl tbe pueen of Diamondspaeen of Spadn That's becaase Jokers are wild . . . and the paeen of Spadu is ouer

aslou

thatl
the

chose

the

"

Everything comes crashing down at once. All four cards apparendy change. BIuebacked "Jokers" change into red-backed "Queens." The red-backed "money" card, the
Queen of Spades, changes into a blue-backed 'Joker." Evetything can be examined.

210

Joru

Bnrunon

lrucepttott
Once again, Liam's deviousness is showing-I can't imagine coming up with this
routine. Liam says he was inspired byJack Parker's "Visual Acuity" (52 Memoies,page
150). In playlng around with the trick, he saw an application for the Bullet Party Display. With a little engineering, he eliminated the gaffed cards and double-stick tape
from the Parker routine, but kept the full packet change of back desrgns and combined it with the full packet change of faces from the "Bullet Parqr" ttick. The coordination of the names on the backs of the cards with the faces shown in the Bullet ParW
Display makes the whole thing extra-deceptive. According to Liam, "H^ppy times!"
I have slightly customized Liamt basic routine to bring about a slighdy different series
of changes which simplifies the routine just a bit. (I-iam has a number of variations
of this trick, but this is my favorite and the one I do all of the time. See Liam's site,
w w w. tri c ktas ti c. co rn.)

ReMrx

Alpxn
1. This trick is all climax. After the initial set-up and display phase, evefything happens
at once. That is, as soon as you've established what the cards are, you immediately
shov, that they've all changed into something else-a functional kick in the head.

Recognizing that there can be different approaches to performing, we're offering two
"establishment phase" handlings. The "Smooth Jazz" handling is simplet and mote
deliberate, but has an extta displacement. The "Hard Core" handling is slightly more
technically demanding, but is tazor sharp.
Take your pick.

"SMootx lAzz" Hnrouttc


a.

You will need the following cards in the following order (from the top down):

Blue-backed Queen

of

Spades

with 'Joker" on its back

Blue-backed Joker with 'Joket" on its back


Red-backed Queen

of Hearts with "Queen" on its back

Red-backed Queen

of Clubs with "Queen" on its back


of Diamonds with "Queen" on its back

Red-backed Queen

The bottom, thtee, red-backed "Queen" cards can be in any order.

TnrneoLrcAL

211

'Joker" and one


red-backed "Queen" catds will show. Outjog the "Queen" card as you come to it.
(Photo 1.)
b. To perform, give the packet an Elmsley count. Three blue-backed

c. Remove the outjogged "Queen" and place it on top of the packet. As you do this
get a break below the first'Joker" card. Double lift (or turnover) the top two cards
as one. (Photo 2.) Apparently, the red-backed "Queen" card is the Queen of Spades.
Replace the double card face-down onto the packet.

d. Cut the top two cards, "Queen" and'Joker," to the bottom of the packet-make
it look like a random cut of the packet, as if losing the Queen.
e. Now, do the Bullet Party Display, apparendy showing the faces and backs

of

the

three "Joker" cards, and also the back of the already-shown "Queen" card. One try
will demonstrate that the combination of flames on the backs and the faces looks
really, really good.

"HARD CoRE" Hntoultc


a. You will need the following cards in the following order (from the top down):
Blue-backed Queen

of

Red-backed Queen

of

Hearts with "Queen" on its back

Red-backed Queen

of

Clubs with "Queen" on its back

Red-backed Queen

of Diamonds with "Queen" on its back

Spades

with "Joker" on its back

Blue-backedJoker with 'Joker" on its back


The three, red-backed, "Queen" cards can be in any order.
b. To perform, give the packet an Elmsley count. Three blue-backed'Joker" afld ofle

red-backed "Queen" cards will show: As you complete the count, get a litde finger
break under the last two cards (the blue-backed ones).
c. Cut the packet at the break, brioging the uppermost "Queen" card to the top. Do

212

JoNn Bnruruor

all but the bottom card of the packet. (Photo 3.) Apparendy,
the red-backed "Queen" card is the Queen of Spades. Repeat the block tulnovef to
apparendy turn the Queen of Spades face-down again.
a block turnover

of

d. From this position, you will do the Bullet Party Display, but begin the count by taking the bottorz card of the packet, showing the Joker on its face, and then continuing
as

in the basic display. This is like an "OPEC" variation of the Bullet Patty Disp1ay.

It works especially well here because the Bullet Party Display has a natural pause after
each "beat" of the Elmsley count when the face of the card is shown.
e. So, do the OPEC-BulIet Party Display, apparendy showing the faces and backs

of

the three 'Joker" cards, and also the back of the already-shown "Queen" card. One
try will demonstrate that the combination of names on the backs and the faces looks
teally, really good.

0uecn
6. Remark that there is no way to make

it

of

the packet is the legitimate Joket card. Take the legit


front and back, and put it in your pocket.

use fewer cards. The top card

Joker, show

it easier for the sPectator-except, perhaps to

"EYE" count to show one redbacked "Queefl" between t'wo blue-backed'Jokers." The "EYE" count (from Edward Victor) is a three-as-three count. Take the packet in a dght-hand pinch grip (rt
for an Elmsley count). On the count of "one" (verbal or silent), with your left thumb,
take the top card of the packet into your left hand.
7. This is optional, but

always give the packet an

TRrneoucAL

213

of the right-hand cards are taken


and exchanged for the first card. (Photo 4.) The "third" card, actually the first card,
is placed on top of the left-hand cards. (Photo 5.)
As you apparendy take the second "Queen" card, all

8. Everything up to now has been explanatory and reasonably quick, leading up to


the unexpected climax. Set the top 'Joker" aside and remark how, if the spectator
goes for the "Queen" card, she will lose. Spread the packet, showing three red-backed
"Queen" cards. A big surprise. A big enough surprise that the factthat now four cards
are in play, instead of three, is not really noticed. (Photo 6.)

9. Show that in afly eveflt, none of the "Queen" cards is the "mone)r" card. Then,
finally show that the Queen of Spades is now the blue-backed 'Joker" c rd-^ fTn l
surprise that also logically completes the four of a kind. (Photo 7.)

214

JoNr Bnruroru

ONE OFF

Eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin,


we're gonna do what they said can't be done.
Jerry Reed, from
Smokry ArudThe Bandit

Acrs 0vrn

EnsY

This trick appeared in Peter Duffie's Card Magic USA (201.0).It is a simplified handling of Larry Jennings' "LJ Double-Undercut Aces." Unlike the original, Jennings'
eccentric double-undercut (where the top and bottom cards are exchanged) is not
used. Instead, we substitute a Mado production idea and a couple of regrrlar double-undetcuts for a sophisticated, yet really easy, Ace routine.

PnEcrs
In the course of an overhand shuffle, the performer shuffles off four
then shows an Ace on the face of each packet.

packets. He

One by one the Aces are cut back into the deck. The deck is spread and the Aces are
together, reversed face-up in the center.

Mrse En ScErue
A Mnnlo Ace PnooucnoN
Begin with the Aces on the face of the deck. Start an overhand shuffle by taking both
the top and bottom cards of the deck on the first "chop" (a/k/a "milk build'). Shuffle off only about one-fourth of the deck and table the shuffled-off packet. Because

of

the milk, there will be an Ace on the face

of this packet.

Repeat this process for a second packet.


Repeat the process once again, but this time, table both the right- and left-hand packets. You have apparendy divided the deck into four random "shuffled" packets. However, there is an Ace on the face

of

each packet.

Ser Up A DrscnepnncY
Pick up one of the packets (one that's not too thick)

and hold it face-down. Do a bot-

Ore

0rr *

217

tom double Jift, turning the double card ovet onto the top of the packet. An Ace will
show. I use a very simple technique. First, I get a break above the bottom two cards b1,
spreading, then squaring the packet. Then, with my right hand from above, I slide the
deck (that is, the cards above the break) back about a half inch. This leaves the double
protruding outiogged from the front of the pack. Now, simply pinch the outiogged
double, pull it out, and revolve it face-up on top of the packet.
Apparendy, you cut to an Ace. Retairung this packet in t our ieft hand, dtamatically
turn over each of the tabled packets to show you've located all four Aces.

"LosE" Txe Aces


By now, your spectators will not recall the condition of the left hand packet and will
accept that the Ace is at the face of a face-tp packet (like the ones on the table). So. . .
You will apparently cut the Ace into the packet. Actualll,, in an undercut-like actiofl,
quickly cut the Ace to the bottom of the packet. Because of the small size of the
packet and the quickness of the action, the single-catd cut looks good. Because of
the double turnover, a face-up indifferent card will show on the face of the packet.
Now, pick up one of the tabled packets and place it face-up onto the left-hand packet.
Using a double-undercut, cut the face Ace to the back of the packet. Be careful not to
cut into the block of reversed cards.

Pick up a second packet and place it onto the combined packet in 1,our left hand.
Similady, double-undercut the face Ace to the back

of the packet.

Repeat this process

with the last packet.


Trte JenruINGs REVERSAI

of

the deck, preceded by a small (10 - 13) quantity of


reversed cards. Spread over a few cards atthe face of the deck and remark that thete
are no Aces near the face of the deck.

A1l four Aces are at the back

Turn the deck face-down. Cut

off

and flip over a little more than a third

(that is, several cards more than the reversed block). Sptead

off

of the deck

the face-up cards @e-

cause of the pre-reversed block, there wi-ll only about eight to ten cards) and temark
that there are flo Aces near the top of the deck. FIip the face-up cards face-down.
Thanks to the pre-reversed block, these actions reverse and cen:ualtze the Aces. You
onlv need to watch your angles a litde.
Pause briefly, make a gesture, and spread the deck

to show Aces unexpectedly face-up

in the middle.
The sequence has a satisfying flow to it and is easy enough to be done while drinking-you, your spectators, or all of the above. I usually talk about "magician's logic,"
and having found the Aces, it makes perfect sense to lose them back into the deck.

218

Joxu Bnnuor

Having found the Aces, then lost them, the only logical conclusion is to find them
agarn, al, at once, reversed, in the center of the deck.

0rr 0rr *

219

Oue oF THE Berren LosERs


The idea here was to combine "Ten Hand Poker Deal" and "Fast-Stack" concepts to
work out a Hold'Em poker deal. The appJicatron was somewhat easier because only
two cards need to be stacked for ten hands, but somewhat trickier because of the
Flop, Turn, River aspects.

have always approached poker deals as card tricks, rather than "demonstrations"
that may pass muster at a real card table. In other words, there must be some kind of
trick or plot twist. Simply stacking ten hands in Texas Hold 'Em is okay, but doing
it with "one cut, one shuffle and one more cut" is better. Further, stacking the Aces
only to have them beat by arr unexpected Royal Flush is as good as it gets-----especially
if you are dealJng with ten hands.

This is an evolved approach that works quite nicely. It is completely impromptu (the
small stack can be artarged in real time) and requires no difficult sleights (well, one
"irt" faro shuffle, but we offer some finesse to make it easier to do).
The apparent efficiency, moreover, is also part of the plot. \X/ith only one cut and one
shuffle, and one additional cut, the petfotmer deals ten hands, giving himself a pair
of Aces-but the best is yet to come.
You get a lot out of one shuffle. Besides, it is fun to deal out ten hands, making the
trick "large," and taking up a lot of table real estate. Sometimes, that's a good thing.

PnEcrs
From a shuffled deck, the performer removes the Aces. As a demonstration of Texas
Hold 'Em, he places the Aces ofl top and says with a cut, ofle shuffle, and another cut,
he'll stack the deck to give himself "pocket rockets"; that is, a pair of Aces.
As he promised, he cuts the Aces into the deck, gives the deck one shuffle, and then
one more cut. He deals out one round of ten hands, and deals himself an Ace. He
deals a second round and gets a second Ace. Pocket rockets! The best hand you can
have.

22O

Joxn Bnunon

On the flop, the othef two Aces show up. Four Aces are almost a sufe thing.
On the turn, the petformer

says, 'Just then, plaler number eight goes

All in!"'

The performer courits through the hands and isolates the eighth hand.
The perfotmer says that with four Aces, he has to call.

On the river, it is noticed that both the "tufn" card and the "fiver" cards are high
cards

of the same suit as the flopped Ace of

'FourAces is agreat hand, anlesslotl run into . '

Spades.

."

Player B's hand fills in a Royal Flush, beating the performer's quad Aces.
". . . a Rolal Flush. Then, a hand with four Aces is just one oJ the better

losers-

"

Mrse Eu ScEue
Txe Ensv Ser-Up
From

At the same time, cull the King, Queen, Jack


to the top of the deck, with thfee "x" cards between the top two

a shuffled deck, remove the Aces.

and Ten

of

Spades

In other words, from the top, like ttris: Spade, x, x, x, Spade,


of
the Spade flush cards is unimportant)'
order
cards.

Spade, Spade (the

This set-up is easily achieved using the "CulI De Stack" technique fuom Dear Mr.
Fantay. (See below)

From this position, you can now shuffle the deck, maintaining the toP stock.
Before proceeding, however, double undercut the top Spade card to the bottom. The
set-up is now, from the top: X, X, X, Spade, Spade, Spade, [rest of deck], Spade.
Alternately, you can simply start from this posrtron.

Aoornc

Oru

Ok, now we need to fe fl^nge the cards a litde. The easy way is to use the Braue Addifi6n-s1 a face-down Bfaue-rlpe addition (which is my prefetred approach).

Ideallll the Aces you just removed are face-down on the table. The Ace of
must be on the face of the Ace packet.

Spades

With the deck in left-hand dealing position, get a break under the top four cards in
preparation for a Braue Addition.
!7ith your right hand, pick up the Aces and flip them face-up onto the deck. Immediatelli grasp all eight cards above the break.

Ore

0rr *221

Do the Braue Addition: With vour left thumb, pull the top card of the right-hand Ace
packet about two-thirds of the wa1, off the packet. Then, use the packet itself to lever
the card face-down onto the deck. Repeat this with the second and third Aces.
In your right hand, ),ou are left with a face-up Ace with four face-down cards beneath
it. Place the last Ace (apparendl) on top of the deck and, with 1,our right hand, flip it
face-down.

Position Check At this point the cards are in the following order, from top: Ace, X,
X, Spade, Ace, Ace, Ace of Spades, Spade, Spade, [rest of deck], and Spade.

of

flip the Aces face-down onto the deck


the
top
three cards singll, onto the deck; drop
off
the last five cards as one on top. Like a Braue addition without the flippy stuff. Since
the Aces are staying put on top of the deck, this is a fine handling.)
(Instead

a face-up Braue addition, )rou can

and pick up above the break. Pull

0rur Cut, 0rue SrurFLE, AND

0rr

Cur

Get a break above the lower four cards. I usually spread the deck and then square it
to do so. At the same time, I make a remark about the game being Texas Hold 'Em.
Explain that you will stack the Aces with only "one cut, one shuffle, and one cut."
Cut four cards from bottom to top, apparendy losing the Aces.
four cards to the top in a quick cut as I reiterate, "one cut..."

I simply undercut

the

Position check, from top: X, X, X, Spade, Ace, X, X, X, Spade, Ace, Ace, Ace of
Spades, Spade, Spade, frest

of

deck].

Now, give the deck afl"ifl" Faro shuffle. The shuffle need not be complete or perfect.
Only the top fourteen cards must be perfecdy intedaced, allowing the use of a litde
finesse instead of a perfect "in" Faro.

With your right hand, cut off at least fourteen cards and interweave them into the
remainder of the deck. This must be a perfect intedace, but you will likely find this
easier than a perfect Faro shuffle.

Square the intedaced cards together and, as you do, get a right thumb break above

of the right-hand section (the original top card of the deck).


You will find this very easy to do-almost automatic. Now if you v'ere to cut off the
catds above the break, you would have the equivalent of an "out" Farc of the top
tbufteen cafds.
u,hat was the top card

To get the effect

of ar,"ir," Faro, allow one card above the break to riffle off

give the deck a quick cut at the break. Like the first cut, the cut will only be
cards.

If

and then

of

a few

done quickly and smoothly on an offbeat, it will appear to be a "real" cut. (In

the alternative, you can do a SIip Cut at the break, retaining the top card with your left

thumb, effectively adding a card to the lower portion

222

Joxru Bnuruoru

of the deck.)

So, as promised, you have given the cards a

clt, shuffle, and anothet cut. The wotk


^

is done and all thatt left is the dealing.

Srurrleo

Un, Aruo Denrr

Despite the minimal handJing, the deck is fully stacked for a ten-handed game of
Texas

Hold'Em.

Deal one round of ten hands-nine cards in a semi-circle and the tenth card to yourself. Pause briefly, then turn over your card to show 1,ss dealt yourself an Ace. Deal a
second round. Again, pause briefly before turning uP your card to show second Ace.
Explain that a pair of Aces-also known as "Pocket ftssks15"-is the best hand you
can get in Hold 'Em

Now deal the "flop," as follows: "Burn" the toP card by dealing it face-down to one
side. Then, deal three cards in a face-up row in the centet of the semicircle. TVo cards
will be Aces (one of which is the Ace of Spades). You have four Aces! Explain that
four Aces is a very difficult hand to beat, and lrou feel good about your prospects.
Now deal the "turn." Burn the top card by dealing it with the first "burn" card. Then
deal one card face up flext to the "flop" cards. Now there are two Spade flush cards
on the board, but it's not too obvious that four Aces are not "the nuts" and that a
Royal Flush is possible.

Explain that you were still feeling pretty good unt-il the guy at hand number eight
suddenly goes 'All in!" Count over to hand number eight and discard all other hands.
Explain that you have four Aces and you must cali and that you'd be crazy not to. Let
the more savr,ry observers speculate about the flush draw

Now deal the "river" by burning the top card and dealing a face-up catd with the
e1hs15-i1is the third Spade flush card.
Flip your hand face-up to shovu' "quad" Aces. State that four Aces is a fabulous hand
and for ail, pracical purposes should win every trme.

Now show hand number eight, which fills in a Royal Flush.


Now explain that a hand with four Aces is
Flush, and then

itt

just one

of

gre^t hand unless

"it runs into

a Royal

the better losers."

Posr MonreM
Cneorrs Ano BncrcRouND
Tlls trick is based upon my eadier routine, "Pocket Rockets" (2005), which was a
"fast stack" of four Aces. Dave Solomon helped figure out that you could set the

0re 0rr *223

cards

for a double, triple, or even quadruple "duke"-in other words, set several

hands during the stacking procedure.

mentioned eadier, stacking four Aces is really neat, but a double "duke" Royal
Flush is a trick. So, revisiting the "Pocket Rockets" trick, I set about exploring the
multiple duke aspects and decided that, while a multiple duke was possible, the double
duke was the most efficient. Even better, we could arr^flge this trick from a shuffled

As

deck.

This trick also appeared in an abbreviated version in Tom Frame's comptlaion, Hold

En

Magic (\/anishing Inc.,2011).

Drscurse
The Royal Flush is disguised best
theJack

top:

of

[(ng

Spades.

orJack

If
of

if

hand number eight has the ICng

of

Spades and

this set of events, the set-up would be from


^rrmrge
Spades], X, X, X, [King orJack of Spades], Spade, Spade.
you care to

224* Jorn Bnrruor

Cull

DE

Srncr

(Fnor'r Denn Mn. Fnrurnsv)


a short detour. The trick that closes the longer routine, "Beyond Fabulous,"
requires what appears to be a fatdy elabotate set-up: The l{ing, Queen, Jack and Ten
of Spades must be set at positions ofle, two, four and eight from the face of the deck.

And now

The "Cull De Stack" method allows this set-up to be obtained in real-time and on the
fly. It is quick, efficient, and accomplishes an awful lot in a shott period.

Txe Svsren
I'11

explain the concept in the context

of this overall routine. The notion of "Cull De

Stack" is based on Buckley's cull. See A. Buckleli "The Strip," Card Control (Gamblers
Book Club, 1973 foiginalll, published in 1,9461) at page 41..

Let's call the four Spade flush cards the "Target Catds." Pick up a shuffled deck and
hold it face-up. !7ith the faces toward ,vou, begin spreading the catds. When you see
the 6rst Target Card, spread three cards past it and downiog the right-hand cards at
this point. (Photo 1.)

With the cards in ttus downjogged condition, continue spreading the cards until r,ou
reach the next Target Card. When vou do, downjog two cards: the Target card, and
the card direcdv after it. (Photo 2.).

9r?
?-I

0ue

0rr *225

Continue spreading the cards, downiogging each


come to them. (Photo 3.)

of

the last nvo Target Cards as t'ou

Close the spread into 1'our left hand, and with .vour right hand grasp the deck in Hindu
Shuffle position. Strip out the downiogged portion of the deck and place it onto the
table. (Photo 4.\ In a continuing action, complete the apparent cut bv cutting a couple
packets

of

cards

ftom the left-hand packet and placing them on top, reassembling the

deck on the table.

Apparently you have run through the cards and then given the deck a cut. However,
from the top of the deck, the Target Cards are now at positions one, two, four and
eight. A simple overhand shuffle, running the first eight cards, will move the set-uP to
the bottom. (For now, leave the set-up on toP.)

You can see how this technique can flexibly set-up specific cards at specific locations
in the deck.

Txe Cneorrs
I have been using the "Cull De Stack" for a number of tricks and a numbet of
Howevet,

years.

later discovered that Nfado used a similar concept. The Mar]o routine

used a similar ptocedure to cull the Aces and two addinonal cards next to each Ace to
the top so the Aces ended up third, sixth, ninth and twelfth. Now with one Faro Shuffle, the Aces were stacked to fall to the dealer in a six-handed game. Nice application.

226

Joxu Bnnnou

ALL IN

'And the night got deathly quiet,


and his face lost all expression,
said,

'If

you're gonna play the game, boy,

you got to learn to play it right'."


Rodgers and Hart

"The Gambler"

Cn nou rc
"In the magical hietatchy, right below'Grand Wizard'is the rank of 'Master of Time
and Space,"'Bannon said with a bit of a twinkle in his eye. "Now, I'll admit that's as
far as I ever got. The only reason I bring it up is because this trick is about time, and
about oblects in space. Playing cards, of course."
Bannon looked around for the deck of cards, extended his hand and rettieved it from
the striking young woman on my left. She had noticed Bannon from actoss the caf6
and had hurried over to say, "Hello."

"Shuffled?" he asked. She nodded expectandy, cleady glad to be part

of this

show.

Bannon absent-mindedly cut the cards a few times as he set the stage for the experiment. "Liz,I am thinking of my favorite hour of the day. I d like you to think of an
[es1-i1 can be your most favorite, or your least favorite, ot just a random hour from
one to twelve. Have you done that?"

Liz paused briefl1; her

eyes

looking upward and to the right, then nodded again.

w^y I could know what


"Excellent, don't tell me what it is. Liz, be honest, is there
^rry
hour you are thinking of?"

"No,"

she said tentatively.

"That's right. Now I am going to show you some cards one at a


to remember the card at your selected hour, okay?"

i.iLlr:e,

and I want you

off the deck and showing us the faces of each successive


"That's one ... two ... three o'clock ... four o'clock ..." He paused and said,

Bannon began taking cards


card.

"Rock." No one but me understood the Bill Haley and the Comets allusion.
Bannon gave afl imperceptible shrug and moved on. "Five...six...seven o'clock...
eight o'clock. . thatt nine. . ten. . . eleven o'clock. . . and twelve o'clock."
.

"Iiz,you are thiflking of an hour and now a card at that hour, right? Be honest, any
way I could know what your card is?" He dropped the twelve-card packet on top of
the deck and gave the cards a straight cut to the table. "If I give the cards a cut, then

Au ln

229

even)tzlt don't know rvhere vour card is, right?" He quicklv gave the deck another cut.
'And if I cut the cards again, r'ou don't knolv even approximatelv rvhete \-our card is,

right?"

Liz nodded with each statement and soon began shaking het head from side to side
as an\r discovery

of

her card became more and more impossible.

Bannon handed Liz the deck. "Liz, I don't waflt vou to tell me s,hat hour lou are
thinking of. But I rvill teli vou m)' favorite hour. Itt se\-en o'clock. Not seyen a.m.,
thatt way too earir'. Seven p.m., thatt cocktail hour."
He continued,"Liz,I rvant t'ou add vour hour and ml hour together. No\r, whater.'er
the total is, deal that manv cards into a pile right here on the table. Got it?" Bannon
looked away from her as she dealt the cards.
Before turning back to her, Bannon asked, "Liz, be honest, is there anv wa\know-in advance-how many cards you rvould deal onto the table?"

I could

"No," appreciating Bannont hard sell. I'11 admit I u,as a little perplexed.
This was no ordinarr' "clock trick." Because Liz iniualll'had not removed "a number
of cards corresponding to her selected hour," the usual mathematical displacement
She said,

could not be at work.

Bannon picked up the dealt cards gave them a brief shuffle and weighed them in
his hand. "Looks like we'r.e got some time to kill. I'11 get rid of half the cards." He
quick-lv outiogged everv other card, stripped them out and discarded them back onto

the deck. "Let's sal,rve spend some time at the shoppingmall." Again, he outjogged
every e1hs1 card, stripped the cards out and discarded them. "Surf the internet."
Once more he outjogged and discarded some cards. "\X/atch T\l" He was down to
two cards. He asked Liz to polnt to one and discarded it.
"Let's

see

if

time is on our side. Liz, what card are vou thinking of?"

First, she just looked at him, and then whispered, "The TVo

of Hearts."

Bannon slowll,turned the last card face-up-the Two of Hearts. He held it up for the
applause cue: "Master of Time and Space."

il
Later, as she was leaving, Ltz gave Bannon a smiling but qttizzical look. "How did 1,611
knos' mv card?" she asked, and then without waiting for the answer, turned and ieft.

"I think I followed

the reverse faro at the end, but how the heck did
you control the card to the correct position?" He shook his head, srniled, and said,
said to Bannon,

"Trust me, not even cIose."

230

Joxru Bnruror

"Come on,"

I said, "I

know

a revefse faro when

I see one. It's some kind of

mathe-

matical placement."

"Mathematics has litde to do with it. Procedure has nothing to do with it. It's mainly a
bluff-a layeted bluff." Bannon smiled. I knew that these kinds of tricks were among
his favorites.

I asked. I was referring, of course, to the legion of


"mathemattcal"
or procedural displacement in which the
location tricks based on a
"thought of" cardwas either forced or moved to a known position.
"Really. It's not a 'clock' ttick?"

"WelI, I kept the'clock'premise of having the spectator think of a card located at


her favorite 'hour.'The 'clock'premise helps disguise the mere counting of catds and
grounds the trick in a more famitar envitonment. It's much better than using abstract
numbers. Instead of counting, you appear to be reciting a serial list of hours. It's an
effective diversion. Larry Becker has gone further and has had the spectator think
of her favorite month, and as he showed the cards, he tecited the calendar serially,
January, Febtuary,' and so on. I would have used months, except that I need to retain
the number feature."
"Because

of the addition?" A complete guess on my part.

Bannon nodded. "But other than the 'clock' premise, it's very different from the traditional 'clock' displacement methodology. For one thing, the spectator does not have
to 'remove the same number of cards as the hour she is thinking of.' Nothing taken
away, nothing to put back."

had noticed that eadier. "Speeds thungs up a bit, doesn't it?"

'Yes. And it removes that last bit of procedure from the trick. Let me show t'ou ..."
he said, as he reached for the cards.

"The basic location is very simple and ought to be transparent, but it's not. I am sure
the undedying principle is ancient. I call it the 'one plus one equals two' Iocation.
Remember, the thought-of card will be one of the top twelve cards of the deck. A1l
I have to do is put the same number of cards as my favorite hour on toP of those
twelve cards."
"That's it? That's all?"

asked.

"Yes, but let's be subde about it. I use a crimped key card." He gave the deck a cut and
then raised it so I could see the bottom card. 'A Joker with a downward corner crimp
so it can be cut to the bottom."

recailed that the basic crimp was a slight downward bend

in one of the index cor-

of an inch a'way from the corner. This way, the crimp


ftom behind, and easily cut to even without looking.

ners, malrbe about an eighth

could be easily seen

Au lu

231

also recalled that Bannon routinelv cdmped one

of

the Jokers (Photo 1) so

either be used, or taken out of pla1,, depending on the situation. But


could alwal,s iust crimp the bottom card on the flr'. (Photo 2.)

it could

suppose vou

"So the deck can be shuffled, if vou like. Then, cut the crimped card to the bottom.
Finally, cut or shuffle seven cards under it, so the crimped card is eighth from the
bottom. Now 1.su can shuffle as much as you want, as long as you don't disturb the
bottom eight cards." Bannon lifted off the top third of the deck and weaved it into
the back of the deck, but above the bottom eight cards. He cascaded the catds together with a soft "whirr." From rvhere I was sitting, it sure looked like a real shuffle.

"Okari now we are readv to do the trick."

ilt
Bannon quickly recapped the selection process. "Your participant thinks
between one and twelve, right? So, 1'ou show her twelve cards off the top
one at a time. I take the top card with my right hand and shorv it to her.

"Then, keeping my right hand still, I piace the next card in front
Ieft hand. (Photo 3.)

232

Joxr,r Bnruuon

of

an hour

of the deck,

of the first with m-v

"Notice the order of the cards is not fevefsed. Then the third, and so on. Only my
left hand moves, and that way there is no motion blur associated with the card she is
looking 21-!ss2u5s I keep my right hand still. This is much better than continuously
moving your right hand to get the flext card."
Bannon replaced the cards on top of the deck, cut off the top half of the deck to the
table, and placed the balance of the deck on top. Even knowing there was a crimp in
there somewhere, this straight cut to the table seemed fair and disarming.

'After twelve cards are shown, the cards afe put back and the deck is cut twice. The
second time, howevef, you cut at the crimped card. Cutting the crimp to the bottom
naturally leaves seven cards on top of the twelve possible thought-of cards."

Bannon handed me the deck, flashing the Joker on the bottom. He said, "I never ask
for the spectatof's selected hour. I don't have to. Instead, I ask het to add hs1 h6u1whatever it is-to my hour and to deal the total number of cards onto the table. Say
she adds her eight o'clock to my seven o'clock to get fifteen, and deals a pile of fifteen
cafds. Her thought-of card is now the top card of the dealt pile. Can you see that?"

I could. Because we put seven cards on top, those cards were dealt off first,
and then the number of cards equal to her "selected hour" were dealt as the total was
reached. Of course, the selected card ended uP o11 top of the dealt pile. It was vefy

Actually,

simple. Too simple.

"Okay,

see that one plus one equals trvo.

\7hy does this fool anybody?" I asked.

Bannon was ready for the question. "Three feasons, I think. First, the focus is only
on the total of two numbers, not on either individual number. It uzould appear much
more transparent if you said, 'Okay, deal my hour first. Now deal your selected hour.'
Of course, that is exacdy what happens, but focusing on the total obscures that a little.
"Second, the 'free' cuts afe very disarming. You can let the spectatof cut as many
times as she likes as long as you make the last cut. These cuts Put a psychological distance between the starting place of the deal and the initial group of cards that were
shown. The deal seems random and unrelated.
"Finally, there is what I call 'the hard sell of the immaterial.'This is the classic best
practice of emphasizing those aspects that don't have anything to do with the method, and not emphasizing those elements that do. Here, you don't know the hour, you
don't know the card, and neither you flof youf sPectator knows the location of the
card. This is all true.

"By having the spectator confirm these aspects, you afe not only selling the 'impossibility' of the trick, you afe misdirecting your audience from the only thing that matters: There is a relationship between the total number of dealt cards and her selected
hour. I should call it the 'two minus one equals one' location. I particulady like the
final statement, 'There's no way I could have known in advance how many cards you

Au ln

2)3

would deal, right?'Again, it's absolutely true, focuses on the total, and obscures the
undedying method."
As the trick became clearer to me, I realtzed that Bannon was right; the trick was almost a total bluff. AJI you really do is cut to the crimp. The rest is just layer upon layer
of bluff. Smoke and mirrors.

tv
I

I remembered Bannon had shuffled


the
selected card into the correct posithe small packet of cards. "I see, you shuffled
tion for the reverse faro, right?" I seemed to recall aKarl Fulves re\rerse fato location
called "Oracle." Later, I found it in the Pallbearerl Reuieat-Yolume 6, Number 1,
"So what's with the reverse faro?"

asked. Then,

November 1970.
Bannon smiled enigmatically, "'Well, no. And yes. AIl I did was shuffle the top card to
the bottom and keep it there."

He must have seen a ptzzled look on my face and chuckled a little. "There is one
final layer of deception and bluff: Simon Aronson's really clever 'Bluff Oracle.' Simon realized that in a reverse faro procedure, you don't necessarily have to rely on
mathematics to deliver the card to you. He simply controlled the card to the bottom
and then faked a series of reverse faros, simply discarded the packet that did not contain
the bottom card."
Bannon quickly spread the small packet and outjogged every other card. (Photo 4.)
"A1l you have to do is see where the bottom card goes, striP out the outiogged cards,
and discard the pile that does not contain the bottom card. Sometimes you may discard the outiogged cards; sometimes you may discard the other group of cards. Repeat this until you are left with just the bottom card. How cool is that?

2)4

Joxu Bnrruoru

"'When you get down to two cards, you can add an equivoque. Ask the spectator to
point to one, and whichever one she points to, discard the card that is not the selected
card. In other words, if she points to the selected card, you act as if she was choosing
the card to be kept. If she points to the other card, you act like she was choosing the
card to be discarded.

"To the uninformed, it looks like you are narrowing down the cards to some random
card in the center of the packet. To the informed, it looks iike you are using the reverse faro to narrow down the cards to a specific card in the center of the packet. Of
coufse, both camps afe wrong."

I was familiar with

the "Oracle" location and Lin Seades' multiple-Oracle location,


"Moracle" (also in the Pallbearerl Reuiew,July 1971). Bannon, in particular,had worked
with the principle culminating in his popular "Beyond Fabulous" from his 2005 book,
Dear MisterFantasl.But, Aronson's

Bluff Oracle was new to me and very devious.

Devious and efficient. Bannon was a fiend for efficiency. He was always trying to
make tticks shorter and more elegant. "Solves a lot of problems," I said. "Where did
Aronson pubJish it?"

"He hasn't. I(eep it close; don't tell anyone."

V
Recalling the very, minimal presentation,

of Time and

I asked Bannon,

"You've used that 'Master

Space' bit before, haven't you?"

"Pretty much in every clock trick I do. The 'Master of Time and Space' approach accomplishes a lot of presentational goals. Most obviously, it provides a context for the
whole 'think of your favorite hour'device. After the first sentence or tv/o, the script
is purell, naraive, either directing, describing, or commenting on what is happening-itt all 'adventures of the props.'But, despite its bad rep in certain circles, there's
nothing inherendy wrong with 'adventures of the props.' Here, it's okay because it all
happens in context."

"Context?"
"Context. You know me, I don't think tricks necessarily need to be meaningful, but
they should be interesting. Interest follows cofltext."
warmed up. I knew that Bannon spent a lot of time
thinking about how to present tricks in a non-jokey, non-condescending, non-fantas-

I could tell he was iust getting


Uc.way.

"Look what else 'N{aster of Time and Space' does for 1'ou. First, it uses a Presenta-

Au

lr *

235

call A peek behind the curtain.' Civilians are not familiar with how
we magicians end up with our abilities-what we had to go through, what our exPeriences are, what we do when we get together, that kind of thing. So, if we offet to
explain a litde of that, offer to give them a peek behind the curtain, it creates interest."

tional strategy

I remembered Bannon had used a similar approach to address the Ace Assembly presentation problem. He said somethiflg like, "Let me show you a trick that magicians
show each

otherwhen they get together." A peek behind the curtain.

'Anything else?"

asked.

"!7ell, another presentatiofl strategy is persona-based. With the right kind of persofla,
audiences will watch the trick just because you are doing it-no additional Presentation is required. Think of David Blaine saytng, W'atch this.' Here, you boost the

of

'Master of
Time and Space.'Then, when you add the candid, self-deprecating confession that
'that's as far as I ever got,'the persona elements are boosted even further."
persona elements by holding yourself out as having achieved the rank

"How many different'presentation strategies' do you have?"


Bannon looked at his watch. Okay, then, maybe later.

236* Joxr

Bnnnon

Bu F'D
Crummy hotel, crummy room, packed with bleary-eyed, grown men doing card

tricks-you

guessed it, a maglc convention.

I did a complete double take, which doesn't happen vety often. Bannon was not Particulady known for difficult sleight-of-hand, so I didn't exPect the simple two-card
transposition to end like this. I shook my head and looked at my fellow spectator. He
apparendy had seen the trick before and was fami\ar with my reaction. "You've been

'Bannon-ated,"' he said with a smile.


Yeah, right. By the "Bannonator?" Or whatever they were calling him. I knew Bannon

before he hooked up with stylish video mogul, Big BJind Media. Before he started
wearing those black T-shirts with skulls on them and started using those funky playing
cards. Give me a break.

Bannon had spread off the top several cards of the deck and lifted the top two to
show me their faces. "Can you remember nvo cards? The Ace of Spades and the
Queen of Hearts."

I nodded my head. "Sure."


Bannon flipped the two cards over onto the deck, face-up. "Good. I'1I show you a
riddle ... wrapped in a mystery ... inside an enigma. The riddle is: If I Put the Ace on
the bottom, the Queen's ofl top, right?"
He turned the Ace face-down and placed it under the deck, on the bottom. He took
the top card in his right hand and waved it gendy.
"The answer is a m1r5ts1y. Because the Ace is on top." He flipped the card in his right
hand face-up onto the deck-it was the Ace of Spades. Then, he slowly turned the
deck face-up. There was the Queen of Hearts. 'And the Queen is on the bottom."

"Do you know what the enigma is? The enigma is that the Queen is on top." He spread
the cards between his hands. \Tithout a move, the balance of the deck was now facedown beneath the face-up Queen! He slowly removed the bottommost face-down
card and snapped it face-up-the Ace of Spades! 'And the Ace is on the bottom."

Ar.r lru

237

didn't knou'rvhat to call it. A re-transposition? A kickback transposition?


Backfire? \)Thatever, I did not see that coming at a1l.
((ft6msrnfs1-1lls
\Vow.

Bannon then placed the face-up Ace on top of the face-up Queen.
Ace of Spades and the Queen of Hearts." He turned the cards face-dorvn onto the
deck, and repeated, "The Ace of Spades and the Queen of Hearts."

He turned over the top card, the Ace, and placed it face-dos,n onto the card box.
"\We'll place the Ace aside for nos,; and s,e'll put the Queen into the deck." He took
the top card of the deck, inserted it into the middle of the deck, and gave the deck a

of

coupie

cuts.

"How long do )rou think it r.r'ill take to find the Queen?" Purelv a rhetorical question,
because he simplv turned o1,er the catd on the card box. Not the Ace, but the Queen.
"Wheret the Ace?" Another rhetorical question. "Nlust be in the deck...it should be
easy to spot, if we look for clues." In the center of the deck r'"'ere three face-up Aces
with a face-down card among them. Of course, it rvas the Ace of Spades.
'Another m),ster]'. . . solved."

il
"Haven't seen that one before. Lotta'work."
Bannon stopped tryiflg to hail the on1r, rvaitress in the donut shop and just stared at
me across the table. "\flhat?" he said. 'A lot of work? There are onll'one and a half
double turnovers. That's it. Less than two moves."
"Really?"

said skepticallr'.

"Take out the four Aces and the Queen of Hearts," he said brusqueli'. 'Arrange them
so the Queen is the top card of the face-down packet and the Ace of Spades is second

from the top."

was scrambling, Bannon took out his deck-Bicvcle Vintage #5 "Cupids."


Bannon loved the deck de joar. Not a coilector, he just Iiked different-looking decks.

While

"Ever hear of Mado's 'Buffalo'd' principle?" Sounded famliiar, but I couldn't place
it. Turns out it was almost older than I am, Ibidem 15, December 1958, on page 288.
He turned over the top two cards of the deck. "Look, here are the Ace of Spades and
the Queen of Hearts, right?" he said, calling the top face-up card and the one undet

it. I nodded.

He flipped the pair face-down and dealt the top card onto the table. "The Ace of
Spades and the Queen of Hearts." He took the next card in his right hand and stopped.

238

Joxn Bnnruor

'And ... so ...?" I was p,tzzled until he showed me the catd in his hand was not the
Queen of Hearts but the Ace of Spades; the Queen was on the table.
"'Buffalo'd.'You call the face-up cards face to back, turn them face-down, and call the
face-down cards in the

"I

same

otder as you did when they were face-up."

get it. Because you turned the pair over, the order revetsed."

"Exactly. People )ust go with ,vou when lreg apparendy name the cards. Even Mado's
unadorned version can be very effective."

"You mean there's more to it?" I asked. Bannon smiled.

lr!
"This trick is an exploration of 'Buffalo'd' concepts. The first phase uses what I call
'BIuffalo'd."'
"Hilarious,"

said. Not.

packet? Is the Queen on top and the Ace of


packet on the face of the deck," he said
the
face-down
place
Spades second? Good,

"Do you have the Aces and Queen

impatiently

"The face?" Okay, I had the five-card face-down packet followed by the rest of the
deck face-up. It looked like I ,r,-as holding an ordinarv face-down deck. I began to get
a sense of how far ahead he realll, sra5.
Bannon continued. "You can push over as many as four cards before the true condition shows, so wh1, not sptead over four cards, square, now take the toP two with
your right hand. Show the pair by rurning 1'our right hand palm upward." (Photo 1.)

Ar.l

ln

239

'Ask your participant


face card, the Ace

of

if

she can remember tvu'o cards. Cal1 out the pair br- calJing the

Spades, first. Then, call the back card, the Queen

of Hearts."

Bannon flipped the two cards face-up onto the deck. "Put the cards face-up onto the
deck, squared, but with a left litde-finger break beneath them. Norv s,e need iust a
little time misdirection."
W'hen Bannon said "time misdirection," it meant one thing: Discrepancr-. One of
Bannon's kev rules of trick construction \\/as to "take advantage of human natute."
In other words, use your audience's perceptual and analvtical short cuts against them.
He called it a form of "judo." For example, people just don't pav attention to things
that aren't important, or don't seem important. So after a short amount of elapsed
time, thet, will take for granted that circumstances are as vou sav thev are-not as theracruall1, were a few seconds ago and still remarn.

"Here,

quote Winston Churchill's line about a riddle, rvrapped in a mr-sterr-, inside

an enigma. He was actuallr' speaking about the Soviet government, but it rvill do for a

card trick. Actualli,, the quote generallv sets a compelling scene and context for a trick.

And works particularll'well for this trick."


He looked directly at me. "Pav attention.
get it the first time. Ready?"

explain this to magicians and most do not

nodded.

"Okay. Remember you are holding a break beneath the Ace and the Queen, but onlv
the Ace can be seen. Now do a double turno\zer and turn both catds face-dou'n as
one. Take the top card and place it on the bottom of the deck-calling it the Ace of
Spades."

I looked at him. "So?"


"So, there's a huge discrepancli Both cards were face up, so when vou turfl the Ace
face-down, the Queen should still be face-up, but she's not. So after havrng placed
the Ace' on the bottom, r,ou take the top face-down card and call it the 'Queen.'And
everyone goes along for the ride."

had no doubt that he was right. The discrepancy with the 'Buffalo'd' miscall was

ver), deceptive.

"This one move-essentially half of a complete double flr1n6\rs1-cloes evervthing.


Sl-ros. that the Ace is on top. I like to snap the Ace face-up awa1, f16p the deck, and
then place it face-up on top. It puts a little more focus on the 'top' of the deck. Now,
lear-ing the Ace face-up-211other soon to be discrepancy'-slovily turn the deck endfor-end to show that the Queen appears to be on the bottom of the deck."
By itself, this would have been an effective transposition. But thanks to the set-up
deck, the final kicker remained.

"You only need a short pause here-for misdirection

240

Joxru Bnruruoru

^fld

dra,m

-before

moving

ofl. Right now, you have the face-up Queen, most of a face-down deck, three face-up
Aces, and a face-down Ace of Spades. Perfect. Now slowiy spread the deck and it will
r that the Queen is on top of a face-down deck. (Photo 2.)

^ppe

"Obviously, you can't spread into the face-up Aces, but I stop well before then. I
collapse the spread into a loose group and take it with my right hand. Now with my
left hand, I slide out the lowermost card-the face-down Ace of Spades-and turn it
face-up. Then,

slide the face-up Ace on top

of

the face-up Queen and square every-

thing back into left dealing position." (Photo 3.)

"Great trick," I said, considering the trickwas actually simple to do, but somewhat
complex in design. Bannon had layered a parially set-uP deck, with a verbal subdety,
with a discrepancy or two, and very minimal sleight-of-hand. I know he particulady
liked these kinds of tricks where most of the work was done in advance through
careful construction.

Au

lru

2t+1

IV
"You could end the trick there, I suppose. But I wanted a second phase to not onl),
build on the first phase, but to clean up the deck in an organic kind of way"
"FIow did you figure

1,ou could

top that first phase?"

"\flell, you can't really," Bannon repl-ied, "so instead of trl,ing to top it, I tried to complement the 'Bluffalo'd' phase. I figured the second phase needed to be quick, and it
needed to change gears-it couldn't be just a transposition, or even mainly a transposition, but should be at least a transposition. Does that make sense?"

"I

guess." Not.

think the basic 'Buffalo'd' strategy is a strong enough subdeq, that


you could get
with it twice. Because the set-up, for the most part, makes this an
^'w^y
opening trick, I thought an Ace production would be an effective close to the routine.
In particular, an Ace production would have some relevance without even attempting
to upstage the first phase."
"Fortunately,

"Makes sense to me,"

satd, realtzing how much analt,sis must have been behind

Bannon's short conclusion.

"So right no.\r/, we have a face-up Ace, a face-up Queen, the rest of the deck and three
face-up Aces on the bottom." Bannon spread thtough the cards and then squared
them.

"This time,

\il/e

want to try not to telegraph the upcoming transposition. So first we

Spades and Queen of Hearts." Bannon pushed over the


Ace so the Queen was also r.'rsible. "This time we turn both cards face-down, but keep
a litde-finger break under them. Now, as if merely repeating the names of the two

call out the trl/o cards: Ace

of

of Spades as you do a double turflover. Turn the double facedown and place the top card onto the card box. Now take the top card and mrscall it
as the Queen of Hearts."
cards, call out the Ace

"Okay,I see. It's the basic 'Buffalo'd,' but with a quick double turnover in the middle
of it." Later, Bannon told me that this was the formidable David Solomon's handling
for the 'Buffalo'd' subdety which appeared, among other places, in "Pure Vice-Versa,"
rn The Visdom of Solornon (2007) on page 8.

"Right. Now with your left litde finger, pull down the lowetmost card of the
one

of the face-up

deckit

Aces. Take the supposed 'Queen' and, while apparently inserting

into the back of the deck, insert it above the pulled-down card. This is a kind of reverse 'Tilt' or 'Depth lllusion' and looks best if the front of the deck is tilted upward
slightly as the card is inserted, and then downward as it is pushed square. (Photo 4.)

242*

Joxru Bnruuor

"Finally, give the cards a casual cut, or running cut, bringing the Ace and the reversed
Aces to the center. Show that the Queen, not the Ace, is on the card box. Run through
the cards 'looking for clues,'which ties in to the mystery context, and of course you
fin6l 56ms-the three reversed Aces. The deck is clean, the trick is over and, if you
Jike, the Aces are

in play"

V
"Love the trick," I said, "love the backfire transposition. Where did this come from?"

"The first phase was inspited by Dan and Dave Buck's 'Hedberg's Peak' from their
e-book, Sletght\ Magical, and it's also on their DVD cdledThe Trilogy." I never got the
whole flourisher branch of card magic, but Bannon seemed to resPect it and even
drd an occasional "Sybil" cut. More than the rest of us, he tried to stay somewhat
informed about "Cardistry."
"The interesting part, of course, was the instant re-transposition. The actual handling,
however, was quite demanding. The1, 51211s6 from a regular deck, but at one point
had to do a half pass of virtually the vzhole deck. I tried to simpJify the handling bv
essentially doing the half-pass in advance. At about the same time, Simon, Dave and
I were plalrng with impromptu handlings of the Scarne transposition with the beer
glass. 'Buffalo'd' naturally came up and seemed like a good fit with the Bucks' effect.
The rest is just work."

Au ltt

243

0nrGAMr PoKER RevtsrrED


Bannon had referred to the trick as "all things considered, probably, the best self-working tdck on the planet." Not bad, especially considering that Bannon was not one to
sing the praises of his own tricks; he preferred to let the merit (or the lack thereof)
speak for itself.

The evening we ran into Bannon's former studio audience, Liz,he said he wanted to
try something special. He put the deck back in its box, closed the box, and set it aside.
He reached into his pocket, brought out a small packet of catds wrapped around the
middle with a two-dollar bill, and tossed the packet onto the table. (Photo 1.)

ta

%.t

could only see the top card, and it looked like the casino cards you can buy at any
Las Vegas hotel shop and was an odd pinkish color.

I could tell that Lrz

was fascinated by the litde packet. She was not a stranger to card

tricks, but it was immediately obvious that this trick was different,

off

the beaten path.

"Liz,I have no psychic ability whatsoever. But I am a student of influence, a student


of the various forces that influence our actions and our behavior. Let's try an experimeflt in influence, shall we?"

244* Joxu Bnnron

Bannon picked up the packet, slid off the nvo-dollar wrapper, turned the packet faceup, and quickly showed the faces. Looked to me like a random collection of ten or so
high cards.

"I

have some high cards from a casino deck. They look mixed to me, but let's make
sure thev are as random as possible. V/e can shuffle like this." Bannon tutned the

packet face-down and gave

it a quick overhand shuffle.

"Shuffling alters the cards' locations. We can also turn some of them face-up and
shuffle those together." Bannon spread off about half the cafds, turned them face-up
and shuffled the face-up and face-down cards togethef. He spread the packet to show
the mix of cards.
"Shuffling like this alters the cards' face-up and face-do\rin orientations. Liz, can )rou
shuffle like this?" Bannon gave the face-up, face-down mix an overhand shuffle.

Liz nodded, Bannon handed her the cards, and she shuffled them. Bannon

said,

"That's good. Give the cards another shuffle." And so she did.
"There's also a way to mix the cards to r^ndomize both their location and their orientation." Bannon dealt the cards into three ro'nvs, each with four cards. (Photo 2.)

Of

course, some

of the cards rvere

face-up and some u'ere face-down.

wondered

r.vhere Bannon rvas going with this. After ail, both Liz and he had repeatedl), shuffled
ths 621d5-f2ce-up into face-dos,n. As far as I could see, it rru'as all on the up and up.

"Liz,imagne that these cards are a piece of paper. V/e are going to fold the cards back
into a packet bv folding over either a row or a column of cards at a time. And 1'ou get
to decide rvhich ro\\r or column of cards gets 'folded' over."
As he explained the process, Bannon mimed turning each of the cards in the left
column of cards over and onto the cards in the center column.

Atl ltt *

245

"Okay, are you with me? Which row or column do vou want to fold over first?"

Liz chose the lower row. Bannon turned over each of the four cards in that rorv and
onto its respective neighbor in the middle ro-',"'. If the catd u,as face-down, it would
get turned face-up in the process. If it was face-up, it would get turned face-dou'n. It
all seemed haphazard and uncontrolled.

Next, Liz chose the right column to be folded over, and then, the neu'rightmost
column. As the cards were folded, each remaining spot might have one, two, or more
cards occupying it, and when that spot $/as folded, ali of the cards u,ete turned over
as a unit. After a few more folds-at Liz's direction-1hs cards had been reassembled

into a single packet.


Bannon gave it one more "fold"

b1,

turning over the entire packet.

"So, how random is that? We each shuffled the cards, face-up and face-down, right?
Then, we did the crazy folding thing and you got to call all of the shots, right? So,
there was no way to influence the outcome of the mixing, \ilas there?"

No longer tentative, Liz agreed with each statement. As

a matter

of fact, so did I.

"No way to influence the outcome...unless we broke the law." Bannon said somewhat crlptically.
"Unless we broke a law of nature..." Bannon slowil, spread the packet. Five cards
were face-up. A royal flush in Spades! (Photo 3.)

II
"Nice trick," I admitted after the impromptu "show".\r/as over andLu and her husband left the caf6. "Do you really think it's 'the best self-working trick on the planet?"'

"It's right up there. No moves whatsoever. No real procedure eithet. S7otks every

246

Joxru Bnrruon

time. Will fool anyone who does not already know how i1 117e1[s-6v6n the person
performing the trick. The Royal Flush ending is dramatic and can be seen as a 'delayed
and self-referential' prediction structure. I7hen the Royal Flush shows up at the end,
everyone knows that this was the intended result. So it's like a prediction without a
prediction. Finally, only twelve cards are used, making this the leanest, meanest, and
most strearnlined Origami card trick yet. N7hat's not to like?"

I recalled that Bannon had done a lot of work combining the Hummer parity principle with the folding procedure he called "origami." Much of it was in his 2005 book,
Dear Mr. Fantay.

I picked up the cards and gave them the once over. "Hey, these are iust regular cards,"
I noted.
Bannon looked up from his e-mail on his smart phone. "So?"
"So you can do this using cards from your regular deck in play."
"So?"
"'$0'hat do you mean, 'So'? Isn't that better?"

"Not necessarily worse, but I like to dress this trick up a bit and make it a packet trick."
"Let me get this straight," I said incredulously. "You took
card trick and made apacket tick otx of it?"

perfecdy good impromptu

Bannon shook his head. "You clearly don't understand the theory of packet tricks,
do you? Many performers don't. You know, the kind that think it's weird to introduce
cards that are clearly different from the deck that you are using. They iust don't get it."
"So, enJighten me."

"Three main reasons, maybe four," he said. Again, Bannon was ready for the question.

"First, change of scenery. Different is better. A random packet trick allows you to use
interesting and different cards to perform different colorful effects. Tricks that you
ordinarily don't, or can't, do with a regolar deck. For example, if you do a color-changing deck ttick, you're basically done. On the other hand, if you do a color-changing
packet trick, then 1,ou're iust getting started."
"But isn't 'different' more suspicious?" I asked. "Don't people susPect the cards must
be trick cards of some sort?"

If

you are ready for it, suspicion can be a very good


thing, unless you really are holding a handful of gaffs. You need to pay attefltion to
"Suspicious isn't necessarily bad.

your construction and your management, that's

"lknow,fractal," which was Bannon's term for

a11."

packet trick that ends examinable.

Au In *

247

Bannon smiled. "E,xactlr'. The second reason is: change of focus. Packet tricks generalll, lsncl to be verl different kinds of effects from full-deck effects. Where regular
deck tricks tend toward finding or producing certain cards, packet tricks invoh'e smail
but important changes-a single catd magicalh'turns over in a packet. The emphasis
on just a few cards necessaril\'increases the degree of focus and attention bv the

spectators-it's a 'closer' form of close-up trick."

"Thitd, change of gears. Packet tricks provide differentiation among tticks, and this
can be a verl'good thing."

"I

have no idea what you're talkrng about."

I realh'didn't.

"Oka11" he sighed, "),ou knorv the adage that, if r-ou do a series of card tricks for an
audience, the next dai'all thev u,ill remember is that vou \\,ere good-hopefullv-and
that you did a bunch

of

card tricks? Card tricks tend to blend together in recollection.

I have found that to be true, ha\.en't vou?"

"I

guess so. Haven't thought about

it that much."

of a packet trick heips to interrupt the flos, of undifferentiated card tricks. The packet trick calls attention to itself among other card tricks.
The change in gears-so to speak-also helps break up the run of card tricks."
"So, the judicious application

thought about this somewhat unusual concept. "Let's see, so changing gears with
with luck, helps make each trick

a packet trick helps differentiate ser.eral tricks and,

more individually memorable."


Bannon nodded. 'AIl in all, packet tricks-espectalTy fuactal ones-are good things. It
really is lkdJ to take the packet out of a smali wallet in order to do the trick. You saw
thatLiz was immediate\'intrigued rvhen I brought out the packet."

"If

you say so. But let's talk about this trick before

forget what happened."

ilt
Bannon began arcangSng the cards. "You need twelve cards: Ace, ICng, Queen, Jack
and Ten of Spades, five red court cards and two Club court cards. While not strictll'
necessar),, you can substitute one of these last seven Court cards with a Ten. Thete is
no individual order, but the cards ate grouped like this."
He pointed at the fan of cards. "First, at the back of the face-up spread, you have the
Spade Royal Flush cards. They can be in any order.

"Next

are the other seven court cards.

Theri too, can be in

an1, q1fls1,

but I'd distribute

the two black cards among the red ones. Simple, realh'."

agreed. "So simpie. Impromptu, even. You could easilt, take them out

248

Joutt Bnruuon

of

a regolar

of your audience." I was not buying Bannon's packet


trick concept. At least, not with this trick.
deck and set them up in front

"Yeah, yeah," Bannon shrugged off my poke at him, "I use casino cards and wrap
a two dollar bill around the packet to increase the visual interest and the curiosityreally has nothing to do with the trick. I don't talk about the cards ot the bill. So to

perform, you remove the bill from the casino card packet, turn the packet face-up and
spread it, but not all the way. I(eep the last three or four cards bunched up.
"The spectator gets
a Ten." (Photo 4.)

a quick

look and

sees

paint-all

Aces and court cards, and maybe

recalled that the quick look seemed fair enough to me. I did not get the sense Bannon was hiding anything. He closed the spread, turned the packet face-down and took
it in position for an overhand shuffle.

with my left thumb, pull off the first five


catds one at a time. These are the Royal Flush cards. Then, without pausing, I shuffle
off the remaining seven cards. I try to make these last seven look messy and like a real
shuffle." (Photo 5.)
"First, we shuffle the packet. But all I do

is,

As he spoke, he did the shuffle. Looked good to mq but all that really happened was
that the Royal Flush cards got moved from the toP to the bottom of the packet.

"The face-up and face-down shuffle is the key to the whole trick-well, one of the
ke1,s. 5o* you spread off the top seven cards, turn them face-up and shuffle them
into the remaining five face-down 621d5-1hsse are the Royal Flush cards."
Bannon spread the packet. It looked like a random face-up and face-down mix. But
now I knew that the face-down cards were actually the Royal Flush cards. I had to
smile at the way these demonstration shuffles were actually concealing the Royal
Flush cards in what appeared to be a random mixing. But I still did not understand
how the trick worked.

All Iu *

249

'At this point,

of

you can overhand shuffle the cards as much as lou like, as long as none

the individual cards gets turned over. Here's the cool patt. Your spectator can

shuffle, too. She can overhand shuffle as much as she likes."

That was a selJing point. The spectator shuffles. But the


I was concerned, was the "folding."

rcallrv puzzbng Part, as far as

Bannon continued, "When shet done shuffling, take the cards back and deal the cards
into a three-by-four grid. There are two important details here. First, vou must deal
the rows in a back-and-forth 'snake' pattern. From left to right, then from right to
left, and finally agatn fuomleft to right. Second, \,ou must tilrn zuer euet)/ other card as ,tou
deal. Sometimes )rou will be rurning a face-up card face-down. Sometimes ],ou rvill be
turning a face-down card face-up."
forget. I numbered the
cards in the order they were to be dealt, and I put a litde asterisk next to each of the
even-numbered cards to remind me which cards should be turned over. As I under-

I grabbed a napkin and drew

a quick dtagram so

I wouldn't

stood it, reversing every other card is rvhat made the v,hole trick work'

12*34*
g*76'k5

10*

11

12*

*(ruRru THEsE ovER As You DEAI)


"This is the best part," Bannon exclaimed. "Once the cards are dealt, the grid is 'folded' back into a single packet, seemingly further mixing up the cards. Even better, the
spectator gets to direct the folding process. Let's see how this goes. Have your sPectator nominate an outside rov/ or outside column on the grid. Let's use the top row."
top row would be Catd 1 , Card 2, Card 3, and Card 4. To "fold"
the row, Card1, is turned over and onto Card 8; Card2is turned ovet and onto Card 7;
Card 3 over and onto Card 6; and Card 4 over and onto Card 5. (Photo 6.)
On my

250

diagrar:r,, the

Jonru Bnrruon

As the folding progresses, there ma1, be several cards at one place in the row or column which would be turned over as a unit onto the neighboring cards. Eventuall), the
"folded" cards will reconstitute themselves into a single packet.

"Have ),our spectator direct each step of the 'folding' of the grid. There is a feeling
of complete freedom here which is gratifving to me, at least, because it just doesn't
matter," Bannon said. I had to admit that the folding Process did seem free, but it
also seemed relevant because the cards were changing position and orientation in a
seeming\' unpredictable war'.

'As you complete the fold," Bannon continued, "tr1' 1o sPot a card that will end up
face-up in the final packet. If it is not one of the Spades flush cards, give the packet
a final'fold' b1' turning it over. Now al1 the Spade cards u'ill be face-up. Of course, if
the Spade cards are already face-up, t'ou don't need to make the final turnover."
Bannon spread the packet on the table. Onlv the Spade flush cards were face-up. To
this da1', this result stiil surprises me.

"One Iast detail; sl,ide the Spade catds out of the spread ia order. Who knows, maybe
your audience rvill misremember that the cards were in order when the packet was
spread." (Photo 7.)

IV
"Nfan, how did vou e\rer come up with this? It's so complicated."

"It's actuallr. even more complicated than it looks. And, I left mani' of the collateral
possibilities out of this r-ersion. It's all Bob Hummer's 'Cut and Turn Two Over'
principle-worked and re-rvorked. The trick, so to speak, is getting the cards in the
correct mathematical alignment u-ithout the cumbersome, undet-the-table 'CATTO'

Au lu

251

procedure and, then, performing the necessary sorting process in a non-transparent


way. I have a number of applicationsinDearMr. Fantaslt, but this one's completely
self-working."

"I

have no idea what you are talking about."

"Dofl't v/orry about it. In a nutshell, the controlled face-up, face-down shuffle followed by turning over every other card sets the packet in the correct Hummer condition. This was in the original 'Origami Poker'routine n DMF. The folding process,
which actually goes back to paper folding experiments by Dudenell is the functional
equivalent of dealing the packet into two piles and turning one of the piles over,
which is the final Hummer mechanic. That reahzation was the cornerstone for the
whole "Degrees of Freedom" chapter. As Edison would say, the rest is just perspiration."

252

Jortt Bnruolt

lott

Mnru

Her reaction was essentially silent. Her mouth opened involuntarily, but no sound
came out. She just stared at her palm. Blinked. Eventually she shook her head, laughed
a

little, and asked the usual "how did you do that" questions.

The most intrigurng thing to me was that Bannon had done a coin trick-worse,

mental coin trick.


Bannon began by bringing out an object from his pocket. He had folded one of his
business cards in half and secured it with a bulldog clip. Along one edge, he had
written "The Future." No playing cards in sight. What was wrong with this picture?

He turned to the shapely young woman seated next to him and placed the clipped
card onto the bar. "We'11 get to that in a moment. fught now, Sammie, I'd like to play
a

g me of imagination. First, cup your hands together like this."

She smiled and cupped her hands, eager to participate in Bannon's game.

Bannon continued: "Pretend that you are shaking three coins: a dime, a nickel, and a
quarter. Okay? \Ve're going to leave this up to fate. Let's say one coin accidentally falls
out of your hand and onto the table. Which one fell?"

"The dime," she

said.

"Good, you can keep the dime."


"Very funny."

NTas she amused?

Hard to teli.

"That leaves the nickel and the quarter. I want you to take one coin in each hand and
to close your fists. Now, open either hand. Which coin do you see?"
"The nickel."
"You can keep that one, too."

"Ha.Ha. Ha." Amused? Not.


"Open your other hand. What coin do you see?"

Au

lru

253

"The quarter."

"Look at the quarter and tell me if


She thought for a second.

itt

heads-side up ... or tails-side up."

"It's heads."

"You are imagining a qvarter on )rour hand, right?"

I sensed that Bannon was begin-

ning the recap.

"It might have

been a dime or a nickel, but

itt

a qvatter, right?" She nodded.

'And you also imagined that it was 'heads' up, too." She nodded again, looking down
at her open right palm.
'You might have imagined 'tails,' but you imagined 'heads'?"
Bannon picked up the folded business card and removed the clip. "You see the card
says,'The Future?' Let's see rvhat the future brings."
He moved the folded card over to Sammiet open paim.

'A

heads-up quarter ..."

Suddenly, a coin slid out from inside the card onto her palm.

It was a quarter. It

was

heads-side up.

I did not see that coming

and was as initially stunned as Sammie. Bannon tossed the

card onto the bar with the cJip.

'A game of imagination," he said quietly.

il
'A coin trick?" I

teased him after Sammie had finished her Cosmopolitan and left the

bar.

Bannon shrugged. "For some feason, Max Maven's 'Positive Negative' effect has
struck a chord among magicians and mentalists. A prediction is written and a participant 'chooses' an imagSnary 66i11-115s2lly one of three imaginary coins offered.
The chosen coin is then imaginarily 'flipped' and lands either 'heads' or 'tails' side
upward. It tutns out the performer has successfully predicted which imaginary coin
the partrcipant would select and whether the coin flip would result in 'heads' or 'tails.'
)Ientalists love this sort of thing-predicting a one out of six chance-which is the
same as one roll of one die."

I had a vagrre recollection that Max's trick was on hts VideoninlDVD set, Volume 2, I
think. Bannon later told me it was also in Lee Eade's S1rygy magazine, Issue 2.
"Sammie liked

it." I

said. So did

I, actually.

"That was not her first Cosmo. You, on the other hand, have no excuse."

25t+

Joxn Bnruuor

"So humor me and

I'll buy the next round." It would not be Bannon's first Martini.

"The methods generally take the same approach: An equivoque to force the imaginary
coin and a two-way out to deal with the heads/tails decision. The trick is how to end
clean."

He picked up the business card and the clip and took them underneath the bar. "This
version ends absolutely squeaky clean half the time. The other half it ends psychologically clean; the participant does not look for alternatives because none are suggested
by the presentation."

He had re-clipped the card, and placed it onto the bar. "Finally, this method is low
tech. No double-envelopes or switching dsvi6s5-1hs effect is simply flot strong
enough to warr^nt heavy weaponry."

"First, let's look at the equivoque, which I have tried to streamline. Second, we'll look
at the system

of 'outs'in

the performance context."

ilt
"Most equivoque is too elaborate, wordy, and often dumb." Bannon was not a fan of
those mentalists he believed "talked too much." He continued, "In an ongoing effort
to strearnLine equivoque generally, I opted for a different approach to the three-object
selection. Instead of having the participant 'choose two and hand me one,' I have the
participant start with all three imaglnary coins and 'accidentally' drop one on the table.
To me, it seems to go a litde smoother and maybe a little quicker, too."

recalled Bannon's opening statements: "Ptetend that you are shaking three coins: a
dime, a nickel, and a quarter. Okay? N7e're going to leave this up to fate. Let's say one

coin accidentally falls out of your hand and onto the table. Which one fell out?"

"Okay,"

said, "the coin

will be either the target coin-the quarter-or ofle of the

other two."
"Exacdy. If she says that the quarter fell out, you tell her she can keep the other two
coins and focus on the quarter. I ask her to pick up the imagSnary quarter, place it on
her open palm and tell me whethet it's heads-side uP or tails-side up."

I could

almost hear Bannon's direct minimal script. "Great. You can keep the other
two coins. Hold out your hand. Pick up the quarter and place it on your open palm.
Now, tell me whether the quarter is heads-side up or tails-side up?" Simple, without
the usual contrived equivoque frameworks, no swooping birds or burning buildings.

"If

coins fell out-like Sammie


did-tell her she can keep that coin. Then, have her take one imaginary coin into each
of her hands. Ask her to open either hand and to tell you which coin she sees."

Bannon continued,

she says that one

of the other

Au ln

255

This scenado was familiar because it was what had happened with Sammie.

She

dropped the dime, and then saw the nickel. Again, I could hear the tighdy collstructed script. "Good, you can keep that ofle, too. That leaves the quartet held in 1'our
tighdy closed hand. Open your hand and tell me whether the quatter is heads-side up
or tails-side up."
Bannon continued, " On the other hand, if she 'sees'the quarter, tell her she can keep
the other coin, whatever it is, and focus on the quarter. In every case, you want to end
with one open palm with an imagpnary quarter sitting on it."

Again,

I imagined

the scdpt would be something straightforward like, "Good. You

can keep the dime, too. Look at the quarter and tell me vrhether the quartet is headsside up or tails-side up."

I played through the vatious scenarios in my hs2fl. The key to a good equivoque is
ambiguity, but the ambiguity needed to be acceptably resolved

in either direction.

Procedure, too, should be minimized. Like Bannon, in the "pick up two and hand me

one" approach, I never saw the iustificatron for the irutial condition: "pick up trvo."

could see how Bannon's variation would play better.

IV
"So vze've got the quarter. How do you handle the 'heads' or 'tails' part?"

'As I think about it, when I did this for Sammie, I got all of the least-favotable outcomes. Every other possible outcome would have been a litde bit better."
Remembering Sammie's reaction,

I found that hard to believe. On the other hand,

she

did go through the equivoque the long way.


'An1way, to cover 'heads' and 'tails,'you need one ending and a contingency ending.
It's a two-way system. Here, the ending when 'tails' is selected is incredibly direct and
clean. The ending if 'heads' is selected is completely context-based and, I find, vety
satisfiring."

Bannon began digging in his pockets. "I arrived at this aftet watching Dave Forrest's
handJing for 'Positive Negative,' called 'Positive Thinking.'Dave fooled me with the
'tails' ending, and after a bit of thought, I concluded that his out for the 'heads' scenario must have been the attitude-and-context-based solution presented here. Tutns
out, Dave had avery good out for the 'heads' selection, but it was not at all like I had
imagined."

I remembered Dave Forrest, the proprietor of the Fall 52 internet magic shop. Bannon and I had met him at MAGiC Live 2009 in Las Vegas. I liked a lot of his stuff,
and knew Bannon considered him "one of the clever guys."

256

Joxr Bnuuolr

Bannon had placed a few items ofl the bar. "Okay, the trick is not impromptu, but it
is reasonably quick and easy to put together. And, you only have to do it once. First,
you need a business card with a blank back. Fold it in half width-wise with the blank
back on the inside. Open the card and turn it so the crease is running side to side. On
the upper half of the inside, write 'Tails Side Up."'
He placed a quarter onto the business card. "Okay, Put a quarter on the lower half of
the card, 'heads' side up. Now fold the upper half down to close the catd and cover
the quarter. And cJip a bulldog clip along the creased side, keeping the card folded and
preventing the quarter from falling out." (Photos 1 and 2.)

started to see how this was going to wotk. Two "outs" were at wofk, but two struc-

turally different "outs."

t^l:,t,

Ignoring me altogether, Bannon kept talking. "Finally, on the narrow edge opposite
the crease, you write an indication of a prediction. You can write something like
'Prediction,' but I try to v/rite something more comPelling like, 'The Future,' ot 'The
Truth.'As you will see, this additional writing is important because it subtly establishes that the folded card has a 'right-side-up."'

He looked up at me. "Shaken, not stitred." Observing my confusion, he continued,


"I'11 take that drink now:"

"Youte not done, yet. I think I get it, but let's play it out."
Bannon sighed. "Okay, to perfotm this 'litde mitacle,' take out the folded business
card and place it onto the table rvith 'The Future' side upward. No one should think
as just a folded,
or realize that the business card contains anything. It should
^ppear
clipped card. You can comment as much or a little as you viant. I keep it brief. You
remember, 'Let's play a Jitde game

of imagination."'

Au

lr *

257

'After the equivoque, \'our spectator s-ill l-rar-e selected the quarter and har-e pronounced it either 'heads' of 'tails,' right? And she s'ill be sitting tl-rere s-ith one hand
open and palm up
"Yes,"

as

if it had a coin on it, right?"

nodded.

"The secret is that \\re are going to approach the contingencr- in l\\-o \-er\- difttrent
va1's. NIv favorite is 'heads,' even though it's the 'out' that does not end clean. Instead,
)Iou get a rvondetful contextual moment. If she said 'heads,' then in \-our summar\vou must emphasize both the coin and its 'heads-up'otientation."
recalled the script he used s-itl-r Sammie eatlier. "Sammie, \ou are imegining a quxrter on vour hand, right? It might har-e been a dime or a nickel, but it's a quarter, right?

And vou also imagined that it was 'heads'up, too. You might har-e imagined 'tails,'but
vou imagined 'heads'? You see the card savs 'The Future'? Let's see s'hat the future
brings."
Bannon reached for the clipped business card. "Pick up tl-re tblded card and remove
the clip. As instructed, she should be holding out one of her hands, open palm up,
rvith an imaginarv quarter on her palm. \\'ith r-our right fingers and thumb, take the
card at the crease, preventing the quarter from being ter-ealed. Still no one should
suspect the card is actualh'concealing an object."
"Ho1d out vour hand," he gestured. "Bring the card over \-our particiPantt hand and
gentl), allow the quarter to siide out onto her hand, l.teads side rQ.This is a great, self-te\reiatory moment-\-ou need not, and should not, sa\'anything."

I remembered rvhen the coin slid silentlv onto

258

Joxn Bnuuol,t

Sammi6'5

[2nd-[6ads. (Photo 3.)

"Here's the cool part: Thete is no heat on the business card. None. Its purpose in
this little dramais also self-evldsnl-1e hide the quarter. You are psychologicail). clean;
there are no alternatives that would allow a different result."

Bannon picked up the quarter and re-configured the business card, quartet and cJip.
'And thatt not even the best ending. If she savs 'tails,'\'ou have a squeaki'clean little
miracle. In this case, \'ou emphasize the coin selection first, and afterward proceed to
its orientation."

l\[v hand rvas sdli open.


Bannon pattered, "Sammie, \,ou are imagining a quarter on \-our hand, right? It might
have been a dime or a nickel, but it's a quarter, right? You see the card sa1's 'The Future'? Let's see r.vhat the future brings."

"You see, this time I onlv talk about the quarter as the selected coin and not about the
heads/tails orientation. As before, I unclip the card and blng it or.'er the participant's
hand. TLus time, however, I hold the card several inches above her hand, sa1,, 'Catch,'
and drop the quarter into her hand. The emphasis is solelv on the correct coin, not on
the heads-or-tails orientation."

could see that, in this case, the

unexpected and surprising.

^ppearance

of a coin-the right coin-would

be

Bannon smiled, "Now fot the finishing move. A1l vou do is remind 1-our participant
about her choice of orientation."

if

performing, Bannon said, "Sammie, \'ou not onh'imagined the quarter, but you
also imagined that it r.vas 'tails' up, too. You might har.e imagined 'heads,' but instead

As

you imagined 'tails'. Let's

see

what else the future holds in store fot you.

"Perfect. All lou have to do is unfold the card, and sho'nv the written prediction.
vou like, read it aloud: Tails side up."

If

Bannon's Nlartrni had arrir.ed. He took a sip and said, "Either wa); there is a happv
ending. Not bad for a mental coin trick, eh?" He reached for the deck on the table.

I had alreadv slipped the coinf card/clip concoction into mv pocket and
the place for a suitable vicdm ...

rvas scanning

VI
"'Ion

NIan'? Are r-ou sure vou \vant to call this trick

'Ion NIan'?"

Bannon smiled, "Positir-eh'."

Au

lru

259

BnruNoN AT THE SIOEBAR


How many lawyers does it take to conceive, wtite, and publish a book of gteat card
magic? One, if his name is John Bannon. No joke. Even if you just do casual card
magic, you're probabl1, f2-11i^, with his work and Iikell, fl6 one or more of his tricks.
John is known for his popular books: Irnpossibilia (1990), Smoke and Mirrors (1992),
and Dear Mr Farutasl (2005). Aftet being out of the spodight fot a number of years,
he recently teamed up with the U.I('s avant-garde Big Blind Media to produce two
intetnationall), bestse[ing D\lDs, Balkts A"fter Dark and Ballet Par!. He has a r^nge
of "fractal" packet tricks and self-published a number of smaller, but nevertheless
acclaimed paperback books. Rumor has it that a book of mentalism is waiting in the
wings as well. He has developed arecogntzable "Bannon" trademark of creative, easyto-do, but deceptive card magic.
have known John since the late eighties, and I think we've discussed most of his
tricks. @,ven the ones that were not very good-but I'm under oath not to talk about
those.) His friends know him as a thinking man's card magician who prefers subdety
over sleight, and discrepancy over dexterity. John thinks about the "whole trick." He
and I have discussed at length not only effects and methods, but construction, context, Presentation, and impact.

In

Dear Mr. Fantasl,John departed from the standard magic book format and elaborated on the "bizate magjc" style of describing a trick in a narati:e fs1m21-ljks
a short story. The format found favor with quite a few. \X4ry? John thinks that the
medium allows him to not only explain the trick, but to put it in context, and to try to
get into the spectatorb head, in order to convey the overall experience. The traditional
form usually leaves much of this kind of detail up to the readet, who is left wondering
how much thought the writer gave to these elements. Already consideted a master of
the traditional form and one of magic's finest authors, John builds on that talent with
this format. Whether you think he succeeds or not, it's still a colorful, entertaining

expeflence.
So how does a high-powered,

John about the balance

250

full-time Chicago attorney have time for all this? I asked

of work,

Joxru Bnnruoru

family, and hobby. Apart from the weekly Chicago

with his pals Simon Aronson and David Solomon, when does he find time to
create and think about magic?
Session

'Actuall1,, having

c^reer and family makes

it easier in a way, because it takes away


I
te dy, when I think

the urgency I vzork at my ov/n speed and onl1, pubJish when

^m

I have somethingworthy. The alternative of having to'create' for frnancial reasons,


or under pressure, would not work for me at ail' I keep a notebook of proiects of
interest, but sometimes I am more productive than others. It goes without sayng, I
like thinking about and working on card tricks."
John's pragmatic outlook is one of the reasons that he seldom gives lectures or appears at conventions. He sa1's that, given his other obligations, itt often difficult to
commit very far in advance. I've booked him nvice for magic convention appearances

where he was the onlv performer who didn't sign a contract. What else would you
expect from a lauyer?

Intrigued by his recent output, I askedJohn about his creative Process.


don't really have a'creaive process.' I come at different tricks in different ways.
Sometimes a plot will catch my interest and I will start from scratch, or a good idea
buried in a weak execution will grve me a head start. Nlost of the time, the effort
involves cross-polJinating from one set of magical concepts to a different set and
developing the 'intersection.' In a nutshell, the skill is having as many nodes in your

"I

magic neural network as vou can, encouraging interacdon between them on conscious
and unconscious levels, and developing the judgment to dismiss or exploit the various
connections. I\Ian1. times,
ear series

of

I'11

come up with a trick that works well, but is simply a lin-

moves. That's just not interesting enough for me; there needs to be some

kind of twist for me to be truly happy"


John would be the first to affirm his status as an"amateur," in its original sense, from
the Latin amatlr, "lover." He doesn't believe that onl1, professional magicians have
something meaningful to sa1'. To the contrar)r, he bel,ieves the amateur has an important and challenging role in the continued evolution of magic, especially in the wake
of the current explosion of internet-driven information.

"There is alwavs room for a few mote good card tricks; like any discipline, magic
needs innovation and experimentation to evolve and improve. I'm just a tinkerer who
has been luckv enough to strike some chords that resonate."
Fortunateli', the narrative sq'le captures some of what it's like to session with John.
He mav not be arvare of it, but his depth, enthusiasm, and talent are a1l there, as well
as some of his idiosvncrasies. It tends to dng true. And the voice even sounds a little
familiar.

For those rvho haven't had the opportuniq'to spend some time with him, the accompanving article rvill let i'ou get inside Lrrs head until you get that chance in person. But,

Au

lru

261

as

you'll

see,

John doesn't take himself too seriously. He says, "Let's play.

If

you're not

having fun, what's the point?"

can't disagree. Now back to the session.

RajMadhok

252* Joxr Bnuuor

SHUFFLIN'

Tell all the truth but tell it slant,


Success in circuit Jies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth's superb surprise;
As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,

The truth must dazzle gradualll,

Or every man be blind.


Emily Dickinson

Spru Docron
displays self-similariry in a
somewhat technical sense, on all scales. The object need not exhibit exacdy the same
structure at all scales, but the same 't1,pe' of structures must aPpe r on all scales."

In mathemaics, a fractal is "an object or quantity that

In a non-mathematical

sense, tricks

with fewer cards than the entire deck would exhib-

it many of the same characteristics, but on a smaller scale. There would be self-similarity in the sense that the same "structures" (such as transpositions, color-changes,
divination

of

selected cards) could exist without needing the entire deck.

PnEcrs
You display a small packet consisting of four blue-backed Aces. Each time the facedou'n packet is given a "twist" or "spin," a different Ace is seen face-up in the packet.

After three "spifls," each of three Aces has turned face-up-Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds. Now, you deliberately turn the Ace of Spades face-up, and suddenly all four
Aces are face-up.

Now you place the Ace of Spades face-down onto your spectator's open palm and
you will make it vanish and appear between the other three Aces. The other Aces
held in your left hand in a face-up spread.

sar'

are

Nothing happens. At least, that's the way it seems. However, when you turn over the
'Ace of Spades," it's now blank-itt vanished. And, when yout audience looks back
at the spread of Aces, they see that the Ace of Spades has reappeared in the midst of
the other Aces.

Now you offer to make the Aces change in full view. Nothing happens. At least that's
the way it seems. But when ),ou deal each of the four Aces face-down into your
spectator's open palm, each Ace has a different back design 2n6l 6ele1-four different-colored backs.

Everl,thilg is clean and examinable. No palming ot difficult moves.

Sxurruu'

265

Mrse Eu ScEue
Soue AsseMeLY Regurneo
You will need to assemble four Aces, each from a different deck of cards. Preferablr',
each Ace will have a different back design and a diffetent back color. You u,ill also
need a biank-faced card that matches the Ace of Spades (because of this requirement,

use red-backed Bicvcles for these cards).

Arrange the cards in the follorving order, from the face

Face-up Ace

of

of

the packet:

Clubs

lk Face-up Ace of Diamonds


:k Face-up Ace of Hearts

;*

Face-up Ace

Face-down blank-faced card

of

Spades

The order is important

if

vou want the Aces to

^ppe

r in alternating red-black order.

Supen Suarle Sruple Ser-Up Svsrepl

If

vou like discrepancies, especialll, those that work all the time, r'ou'll love this. Hete,
we'll display the Aces and set-up for the nvisting sequence with no n1e1.ss-6n|1, a bit
of time misdirection and some chutzpah.

Hold the face-up packet with vout right hand from above, fingers in front, thumb in
of course, is the weil-known Biddle (or End) Grip.

back. (Photo 1.) This,

V/ith your left thumb, pull each of the first three Aces into your left hand. Place the
last two cards (the back-to-back Ace/blank) on top of the others as one. (Photo 2.)

266

Joxn Bnunoru

Pattef

for abeat or two, then and take the upper

face-up Ace

of Spades with I'our

right hand, {ingers on the face and thumb on the back. Raise vour right hand to show
the full face of the Ace of Spades to the audience. (Photo 3.)

Now iower your right hand, turning the r\ce of Spades tace-down in the process. A
face-dorvn card is on top of the left-hand packet, so it appears that the packet is facedown.
Slide the face-down Ace

of

Spades under the packet, siorvlv pushing

it

flush as vou

do so. (Photo 4.)

The packet is in tl-re follorving condition, from the toP do\\'n:

Face-dor.vn blank-faced card

*r Face-up Ace of Hearts


a* Face-up Ace

of Diamonds

#r Face-up Ace

of

Face-do-,r,n Ace

Clubs

of

Spades

Believe it or not, tl-ris sequence has gone Past eYeflone I'r.e shorvn it to. Er.err-one.
The beat or t!\-o of time misdirection causes \-our spectators to tbrget the actual state
of the packet. Accordingli, thev accept vour implied statement that the packet is facedorvn rvhen \-ou remor-e the Ace of Spades. Placing the Ace face-dorvn on the bottom
is the natural thing to do.

Frnsr SprH
\\'ith the packet in

face-dorvn left-hand dealing position, \-ou are norv readl' to give

the packet the classic "Ttisting tl-re Aces" spin: With r-our palm-up left hand, pinch

Snurrun'

257

of the packet

betrveen vour thumb on top and middle finger underneath.


Now, with your dght hand, "spin" the packet 180 degrees. (Photo 5.)
the middle

Re-grip the packet for an Elmslel, Count. You will do a slightll'modified vetsion of
the Elmsley Count: Do the first two counts (the top card and the exchange) and the
Ace of Hearts will show face-up. On the thitd card of the count, horvever, instead
of taking the top card of the remaining nvo righrhand cards, take the bottom one.
(Photo 6.) Do this by pulling the top card to the right with vour right thumb and
pushing the bottom card to the left with vour right fingers.
This small modification now avoids a gratuitous displacement later in the routine. The
tradeoff is simply to remember to do the Elmslev Count this r.vav the first time-a
small price to pa),. In any event, the first spin has caused the Ace of Hearts to turn
face-up.

Secoruo Sptw
On the heels of the first count, give the packet another spin and another Elmsley
[sgn1-2n ordinary Elmslel, Count this time. The face-up Ace of Clubs wi]l show: As
)rou come to the Ace of C1ubs, outjog it about half of its length. (Photo 7.)

268

Joxru Bnruuou

Hold the packet rvith the outiogged Ace in vour left hand. With t'our right hand, remove the Ace of Clubs and displav it to vour audience. You now reinsert the face-up
Ace into the back of the packet. To do this,'nvith t,our left fingers, buckle the lowermost card of the packet. (Photo 8.)

Now slide the Ace above the buckled card. Once the Ace has been inserted for about
one-third of its length, release the buckle. (Photo 9.) Siorvlv push the Ace flush.

Tnrno

Sptru

Continuing on, spin the packet a third time and Elmslev Count. A face-up Ace of
Diamonds u,ill shosi Outjog the Ace of Diamonds as it appears dudng the count.

\I'ith r-our right hand, take the top face-dorvn card and the Ace of Diamonds beneath
it and "squiggle" the two cards bv movins them back and forth a ferv times.
End the motion s,ith the Ace of Diamonds dos,njogged and slightll'to the right of
the upper card. (Photo 10.)
Finallv, sLide the left-hand cards benveen the right-hand ones; that is, above the faceup ,\ce of Diamonds. (Photo 11.) Square the packet into left-hand dealing position.

Snurrttn'

269

Txr DnucERous Ace 0r

Spnoes

of three spins, three Aces have turned face-up. You are iust getting
warmed up. Norv remark that r-ou'll do something difterent ri-ith the Ace of Spades.
So far rvith each

Flip the top card face-up onto the packet-it is the Ace of Spades. \\ith the face-up
Ace on top, give the packet another spin. Norv take the packet irom above s-ith vout
right hand, and rvith vour left fingers, backsptead the los-er three cards oi the packet
as follorvs:

Rest the packet on vour palm-up Ieft 6ngers. \\'itl-r the side

of vour lett forefinger, pull

the lowest card to the letl. (Photo 12.)

With the tip of r-our left forefinger, contact the second card from the bottom and pull
it, too, to the left. (Photo 13.)
Finallri with the tip of i'our left second finger, pull the third card from the bottom to
the Ieft as rvell. The upper trvo cards are held as one. (Photo 14.)

It

should appear that the Ace

of

Spades s'as turned thce-up and instanth' the other

three Aces turned face-up. (Photo 15.)

27O

Joxu

Bnruruoru

Clip the backspread packet betrveen vour left fingers and thumb so \rou can clip the
uppermost double card between vour right thumb and the base of vour right forefinger. (Photo 16.)
Pull the double card into vour right hand and, tvithout pausing, fevefse count the
remaining Aces into 1'our right hand. (Photo 17.)

Transfer the packet into left-hand dealing position. At this point, the Aces are faceup and the lou,ermost card is the face-dos,n blank face card. \&'hile there is a lot of
movement in this phase, it is not "mo\-e r'" and has a natural florv-flip, spin, sptead,
count, square.

Txe Vnrursneo
You will now cause the Ace of Spades 1s "1.xni5["-turfl blank-in a spectator'-s
hand. Ask a spectator to hold out her hand, palm-up. As vou give that instruction
and as vour spectator complies, do the following Larrr- \West clean-up mor-e. \\'itl-t
vour right thumb on top and fingers beneath, pinch the right side of the packet. In a
continuing action, move tl-re packet to the rigl-rt, along vour Ieft fingers to about the
first joint. (Photo 18.) \{'ith r-our right thumb, push all but the bottom card to the left.

Sxurrrrru'

271

Now use the bottommost card of the packet-the blank-to ler-et the other cards
over, face-do\\,n, into \-our Ieft hand. (Photo 19.) Retain the bottom card s,ith r-our
right fingers. This sequence should be done casualh', on the ottbeat, and out of frame.

Place the face-dor.vn right-hand card (the blank) onto vour spectator's extended palm.

Do not let go of it right a'uvav. Vru must allorv anv urge \-our spectator has to look at
the card to subside. If t'ou are at all, rvorried about r-our spectator, have her co\.er the
card with her other hand.
Explain that 1,ou will cause the card to vanish from vour spectator's hand. Your audience should be exceedinglv skeptical of this claim.

Furthermore, explain that the Ace, having r.anished, r.vill appear among the other
Aces. As \rou sav this, turn the left-hand packet face-up and take it with vout dght
hand from above. \With i-our left thumb, pull the first and second Aces into a small
spread in your left hand. Place the Iast rrvo cards as one at the right edge
Secure the small spread rvith 1'our Ieft thumb. (Photo 20.) The Ace
den beneath the riehtmost card.

272

Jorru Bnuruoru

of

of the

spread.

Spades is hid-

Give whatever build up you believe is necessary, and then claim to have made the Ace
Spades disappear. The claim should puzzle your audience because the card is still

of

visible and no one will anticipate that the card will be blank.
Reach over and turn the card on your spectator's palm face-up to show that the Ace
has indeed "vanished."

At the same time as you reveal the blank, with your left thumb slide the uppermost
card of the spread to the right, revealing the Ace of Spades. (Photo 21.)

None of your audience should notice this appearance, however, because all attention
should be affixed on the blank card-a surprising turn of events and a real curiosity.

After the "vanish" has registered, now cail attention to the return of the Ace of
Spades in the left-hand packet. Emphasize the reappearance by outiogging the Ace

bit. (Photo 22.)

Srurrun'

273

Txe Fneulous
The vanish and reappearance sequen6e-sssulling in a counterintuitive and unexpected war,-disorients vour audience. This a perfect time to make another highly
suspect claim: that vou will cause the Aces to change right before t'our spectatots'
eyes.

After a suitable build up, claim to har,'e succeeded. Again, )'our spectators should be
puzzled because apparendv nothing has happened.
Turn the Ace packet face-down and deal them face-down onto the blank card in vour
spectator's hand. Each Ace has a different-colored back and cleady has come from a
different deck. (Photo 23.) All of the cards ma1' be left with vour audience and are
fully examinable.

Pnesentetrott
Presentation is a personal thing. For tricks like this, I use a pdmarill. narat)ve approach, spiced up a little bv context, for example, referring to the Ace of Spades as
the "Death Card." For mt'own amusement, I like to mention trick cards only to immediately, disclaim the use of them. Since the cards are examinable, planting the seed
yourself is not at all dangerous. The goofy line about the "most eminent" cards in the
deck is from an Ellusionist ad.

A tick with the most eminent cards in the deck-thefourAces.

Clabs . . . Diamonds . . . Hearts

. . . and the dangerows Ace of Spades, a/so known as the "death card." In
uerJ rcdrJ card. IN/e'l/ saue

itfor

sotue cultares,

this is a

last.

lVatch the others. The Ace of Hearts. Jwst like magc.


The

Ace of Clubs. Just like a ruirage, shimmeing in the

The

Ace of Diamonds. Jast like

lJow, remember we saued

274

the

Au

Joxu Bnunoru

tick

desert sun.

cards. . . . Just kidding,

neuer wse

tick

cards.

of Spadesfor last. Thru interesting things with the Ace of

Spades.

Firsr,

tf I turn itface-ap, thel a// turnface-up.

Second, ho/d

outlolr

hand. The Ace will uanish

fronrloar

band. ..and appear back with the other

Aces.

To the antrained

e1e,

it

looks like nothing happened. Bat, the Ace has uanished.

And

the

Ace has

appeared ouer here.

The third interesting thing

III

change the

Aces into dffirent cards-in plain sight.

Nowi to the antrained ey it looks like nothing happened. But the Aces haue changed into dffirent
cards.

Ilot

thefaces, the backs!

The Aces changed into

That's one

of

the

foar

cards

from fotlr clmPleteb dffirent duks

of

cards.

mlstenu of thefourAces.

Posr Monrrn
Bncre RoUND AND CREOITS
"Spin Doctor" is primatil), based upon Detek Dingle's color-changing back "twisting"
routine, "Twisting the Aces," io Epilogue,Issue 15 (Fulves, J:uiry 1.972), which also appeared in The Coruplete Works Of Derek Dingle (Kaufman,1.982) under the name "!7e'1I
Twist, If You Insist." That routine employs five catds, and has a surpdsing back color
change for its climax. In its ou,n right, Dinglet trick is a fabulous, seminal "twisting"
trick that has been ripped off numerous times over the last thirty-five years (a true
testament to greatness). Because of its construction, however, Dingle's trick does not
and cannot end clean.

Also in mind, was Sam Schwartz's contemporary vav1a116n of the Dingle trick, "Backflip," Epilogae, Issue 19 (Fulr,es, November 1973), which has a double back-color
change that comes as two complete surprises. "Backflip," however, passes six cards
as four, which I believe 1121r push the envelope too far in this context. Further, it also
does not end clean and, like the Dingle toutine, cannot be made to end clean.

have worked on this trick longer than perhaps an) other. Nt1' goal was simple
enough: I wanted to make it end clean and, along the wal-, get rid of the awkward
Christ-Annemann alignment mo\res and gratuitous displacements upon which both
the Dingle and Schwartz routines depended. Nevertheless, these proved tough nuts to
crack, and over the )'ears, the trick has seen a numbet of incarnations.
First,

I borrowed from mv color-changing

deck routine, "Strangers' Galleqr"

If

the

climax was a "rainbow" finish where each of the four cards had different color backs,
then onlr. three of the four backs needed to be "changed"; one card of the original
color could remain. This wa1', the trick could end clean. "Strangers' Gallery" is in

Sxurruu'

275

Smoke dy Mirrors (1,992). (I-ouis Falanga also used a rainbow ending

leaving one
Magic

p&L

of

the cards unchanged, "Squaw Valley Twist,"

to

a twisting

trick

Nfaxwell, L-ake Tahoe Card

Publ-ishing, 1 9851.)

The next structural challenge was how to deal with the extta card (without simply
palming it off). Initially, I used Walton's "Cascade" subdefi- to get rid of the extra
card-a viable and interesting approach. Several years ago, horvever, it occurred to
me that I could get rid of the extra card in plain sight by using a blank-faced card and
otchestrating a "vanish." This approach is similar to Eugene Burger's handling of the
Gordon Bean/LaryJennings trick, "The Limited Edition."

With these two structural elements in place. the rest was engineering-a lot of it.
The set-up sequence at the start is efficient and satisf),ing, especialll' so, if 1,eu qqnsider the prior approaches to positioning the cards for the twisting phases. Dingle,
for example, used a Buckle Count follorved by a Mechanical Reverse followed bv a
TVo-As-Four Count. Because of this sequence, moreover, I have developed an even
gre ter appreciation for how inattentive the human mind can be and, accordingly for
the power of discrepancies. I've had magicians not see this discrepancy even when I
was explainingit to them-it's that effective. If 1,ou're like me, 1,ou'll smile to vourself
every time you do it.

Sprn Cvcle
The twisting routine set forth in "Spin Doctor" is very efficient and suitable for use
u,ith ordinary cards. Here is a vairadron:

After the Aces have been removed or produced from the deck, have a card selected,
control it to the top and get a pinky break beneath it. Flip the Ace packet face-up onto
the deck and immediately lift off all five cards above the break, adding the selected
card to the back of the packet. Set the deck aside.
Now proceed with "Spin Doctor" as written, but instead of placing the apparent
Ace of Spades ofl your spectator's hand (for the vanish and reappearance), place the
apparent Ace onto the table and have her cover it with her hand.
Claim to have made the Ace vanish. W'hen she looks at you, slide the upper Ace over
to expose the Ace of Spades, but do not call attefltion to it yet. Your spectator will say
she still feels the card under her hand. Insist that the Ace has vanished and now call
attention to the reapp e r^flce among the other Aces.

After suitable by-ptay, have the spectator lift her hand to reveal that a card is under
it. Claim to have made a completely different card appear. Ask for the name of the
selected card and have her turn over the card. Presto.

HrsroRrcnl NorE
This descdption is essentially the same

276

Jonru Bnuuol,t

as

in the e-book that was included on the SPin

Doctor

DYD. Since its telease in 2008, "Spin Doctor" has been widely acclaimed.
it "the best packet trick of all time," for which I am gratefirl. Spin

Some have called

Doctot was actually the fitst of the "fiact^\" catd tricks and originally was to be the
final chapter of Dear Mr. Fantay, but it iust didn't seem finished yet.
The basic set

of

cards, moreove! has proved to be versatile. Liam Mootier and

some different tdcks that used the same set

of

cards

the 201.7 joint

effot,

I put

Triabol-

ical.

Sxurruru'

277

Tne Powen oF Poren


(D. solouor,r)
!

Bannon had called it "a neady-perfect self-working trick." High praise indeed.

I'lI tell you this: It wasn't some variation of the Ten Card Poker Deal. No, this was
something different. It did use ten cards and involve nvo hands of Poker, but ...
Bannon removed and arrarged ten playing cards. He placed a one-doilar bill onto the
table.

He said, "I'm going to give you a chance to win this dollar bill.

I7e'11 play a game

of

Stud Poker. In this game, however, you get to make all the choices of who gets which
cards. If you get a winning hand, you get the dollar. If I get the winning hand, I get

lot of money. The reason I'm only offering a dollar


of the time I lose. You see, since you get to make all of
the choices, you get ten chances to completely screw up the trick. If I haven't anticipated every one of those choices perfectly, the trick won't work and I lose that dollar."
to keep it. I know

a dollar isn't a

is because, to be honest, most

'Yeah, right," I thought.

He dealt two cards from the packet face-down onto the table. 'A litde game of fivecard stud. First, we'll need hole cards. Which one do you want to be your hole card?

get the other one."

I pointed to the card on the left. He pushed it toward me and pulled the one on the
right toward himself. 'You can change your mind if you want," he said. I shook my
head, "No." I noted to myself that this was no equivoque, or "magjc:nn's choice."
"You can look at it,

of

Spades.

if

you'd like," he offered. I peeked under the card; it was the Ace

An auspicious start.

Bannon dealt two more cards onto the table. "Now I want you to choose one of these
cards for your hand. Which one do you want?"

pointed to the one on the left again. "Are you sure? Would you like to change
your mind?" he queried. Just to see what would happen, I pointed to the other card.

278

JoNr Bnurott

"Sure?" he asked.

I nodded affirmaively.

Bannon dropped the packet onto the card I did not choose. He turned over my selected card and tossed it onto my hole card. It was an Ace of Heafts. I now had a pait

of Aces. Not too bad.


He picked up the packet and dealt two more cards. "Choose another one for yout
hand." I did. Again he dropped the packet onto the card I did not select and showed
me my chosen card. It vias the Nine of Diamonds. I had to admit that the ttick
seemed very fair so far.

"Nov/ you need to choose some cards for my hand," Bannon said. Following the exact same procedure as befote, I selected a card for Bannon's hand. He placed it onto
his hole card without showing it. Then agatn,I selected another card for his hand. V/e
each had three cards.

"Let's choose a fourth catd for your hand." Again, he dealt two cards and I chose
one-no equivoque or magician's choice. It was the Nine of Clubs. Now I had two
pairs, Aces and Nines.
\Wow.

"Now choose another for me." I did and Bannon said, "So far you've made all of the
choices. They were very fair and I didn't try to influence your decisions in any way.
Isn't that right?" I had to admit that u/as so.

"Now there are two cards left. One wi-ll be mine and one will be yours. You get to
choose. In fact, I'lI even show them to you. \X/hich one do you want?" He raised
the two catds' faces toward me. The Ace of Diamonds and the Ten of Spades. The
choice was a real "no-brainer"; I took the Ace. Now I had a Full House, Aces over
Nines, a real powerhouse.
"So what'd you get?" he asked.

I turned

over my hole card.

'A FulI House!" he exclaimed. "You gave l,ourself a FulI Flouse, Aces over?! That's
good hand. Not many poker hands canbeat that. Let's see . . ."
Bannon took from his pocket one

of those "Rank of Hands At

Poker" cards that

comes with some Bicycle decks and pointed at it. "Looks like only a Four of A I(nd
or a Straight Flush will beat you. In fact, it looks Jike a Straight Flush will beat just

about anything."
Uh, oh. I suddenly saw whete this trick was going. But I couldn't believe it. I had made
all of the choices. There really were ten different choices I could have made. Don't tell
me this actually worked . . .
Bannon continued. "Even though you chose a FulI House for yourself, if you chose a
Straight Flush for me, I'd get to keep my dollar. Is that right?" He picked up his cards

Srurruru'

279

and began dealing them face-up onto the table: the Ni.ne, Ten,Jack, Queen, and ICng
of Spades. A Straight Flush

il
"Not bad, eh?" Bannon

said. "You get that result half the time. The other

half of the

time you get a better result, a Royal Flush."

"It's very cool,"

said, trl.ing not to look as perplexed as

I was. "Is this )'our trick?"

"No. Dave Solomon is the chief architect. He pubJished it in MACIC. Dave also
credits me and Tomas Blomberg for having a hand in the development, but itt his
trick; he put it all together and sruck with it. I am really fascinated b,v the depth of subdety in this trick. Fitst of all, it's completely self-working. Second, there is no equivoque or Magician's Choice to speak of. The spectator makes all of the choices. Yet,
you get this fabulous, predictable result. The spectator will alwal,s get a Full House of
Aces and Nines, and the performer will always get a Straight Flush and half the time
a Royal Straight Flush.

It's

reall1, inctedible.

"The basic plot derives from an AIex Elmsley trick called 'Power Poker.' Note that
this is no relation to the Ten-Card Poker Deal. Here, one player always gets a good
poker hand, the magician always gets a Straight Flush, and the exact makeup of both
hands can be determined in advance-more or less. The Elmsley trick was gtea;t
^
extra card and several Bottom Deals. You
ttick if you had the skill set. It used
^n
could get rid of the extra card by using an equivoque, but you still had the Bottoms to
contend with. This was an obvious trade-off.
"Okay, start with the Elmsley routine, lose the extra card, and add an equivoque. In
working on the trick, Dave employed a devious selection concept from BiIl Simon's
The Four Queens' to get dd of the bottom deals."

I went back to look it

all up. Sure enough, "Revised Mexican Poker" was in


76. I found "Power Poker" on
the August 1999 issue of MAGIC magazine
^tpage
Alex Elmsleyb first videotape, Tbe Magic Of Alex Elmslel, Volume One Q-&L PublishQ,ater

ing1997). The Bill Simon routine, I recalled, was in his excellent Mathematical Magic.
The routine dates to the first printing in1964, but I only had the 1993 Dover edition.
"The Four Queens" is at page 178. Bannon, Dave, and I all became aware of the trick
through an undetground routine making the rounds some years ago as "Mexican
Poker.')
Bannon continued, "But, the 'Four Queens'procedure required another equivoque.
Two equivoques was not an elegant, practical or good solution. So, he couldn't, and
didn't stop therc. Amazingly, Dave got rid of both equivoques through two additional
layers

280

of

subtlety.

Joxr Bnnuou

"First, the 'hole' card dodge hides a very subde principle. The choice is a free one,
but the outcome changes depending on the choice. That's why half the time you get
a Straight Flush, and the other half you get a Royal Flush. The spectator always gets a
Full House, but sometimes it's Aces over Nines and sometimes it's Nines over Aces.
"Second, by giving the spectator an opefl choice for the last card, the spectator logically picks the card that best improves his hand. In other words, of the last two cards,
only one represents a logical choice. So, no equivoque is required."
any sense to me since I still was
nice,"
I said, "but how does it work?"
completely fooled by the trick. "That's all very

was getting a litde impatient. None

of this made

"Okay, okay," he said. "But the layers


are rcal)y fas cinating."

of

"So tell me already and I promise

be propedy fascinated."

I'11

subdety and the total absence

of

equivoque

ilt
a packet of ten cards." Bannon quickly rearanged the cards
"You'll need to
^rrange
and spread them out on the table. He removed the cocktail napkin ftom under tr-is
drink and passed it over to me.

I took the napkin and wrote

down the order

of

the ten-card packet. From the top,

the cards were:

Ace

of

*F Nine

Spades

of

Spades

iX AnyAce

*r Any Ace

i* Any Nine
)* Any Nine

King of

Queen

Spades

of

Spades

*Jack of

Spades

l*

Spades, on the face

Ten

of

Bannon held the packet in dealing position and dealt two cards face-down onto the
table. "First is the hole-card dodge. You tell your spectator that first you must choose
a hole-card. Even persons who do not plal'have at least heard of the concepts 'fivecard stud' and 'hole-card.' Here, whichever one the spectator selects, the performer

Sxurrun'*

281

It doesn't matter s,hich one she takes. The first lar-er of subtletr- is that
b1, using both ends of the straight-flush that the performer s,-ill receir-e, the performer
gets the other.

can get either the Ace or the Nine and still get a straight flush. Similadl', because the
spectator will get a full house, either the Ace or the Nine rvill rvork. That's the second
Iayer

of

I could

subtle6,."
see

where this rvas going. Sort of.

'An1.wa1', she can choose either card, and vou get the remaining one.

alu,at's ask the

spectator to peek at her hole card. This is so she can monitor the progress

of

her

hand.

"Now comes the Bill Simon part and some additional, derious lavers of subtle6-. Here
the spectator u,i1l choose among pairs of catds for herself and for the performer, but
all the choices are illuson'! \fi/hen she chooses for herself, shet choosing from tw'o
of the Full House cards. \\'hen she chooses for vou, she's choosing from among two
Straight Flush cards. This procedure is exceedingh'clever, and as NIr. Simon himself
points out, \,ou'11 fool 1'ourself rvith it. Here's how it rvorks. . ."
He dealt two cards face-down onto the table, and asked me to choose one. "These
two catds are both Aces from the 'Full House Set' of cards. Whichever one you
choose, I drop the packet on top of the other one, and turn the selected card face-up.
I rvant to emphasize that the unwanted card is being discarded onto the bottom of the
packet without calling too much attention to it. Does that make sense?"

I nodded mv head. I was beginning to understand the diaboLical construction of

this

trick.
Bannon dealt two more cards face-down onto the table. Again he asked me to choose
one, dropped the packet on top of the unrvanted card, turned the selected card faceup and tossed it onto m), hand.
He did the procedure again, but this time asked me to pick a card for him. He dropped
the packet onto the unwanted card, but slid the chosen card over to his hand without
showing its identiq,.

"The way this procedure goes," he explained, "is that vou choose tu'o cards for 1'outself, two cards for me, one more for l,ourself, and one more for me. You do it the
same wa)/ every rime, and thanks to Bdl Simon, the trick works itself. The spectator
gets the Full House cards and the performer gets the Straight Fiush cards. It's reallv

flilliant."
Bannon quickly ran through the procedure three mote times, filling in the hands. \We
each had four cards, a hole-card and three others (mine were face-up, his face-down).
this point," Bannon explained, "there are two cards left, one from each 'set' of
cards. You have no reai control over which card from each set you lvill end up rvith,

'At

282*

Jorru Bnnnoru

but you will each have one. Now, you could do an equivoque, but as Dave figured out,
you don't have to. Yet another layer of subdety is added. You see, only one of the tu'o
remaining cards will improve your sPectatel'5 [21d-f1om either three-of-a-kind or
two pairs to a full house, a substantial improvement. So, all you really have to do is
show the cards to your spectator and ask her to choose the card that best improves
her hand. If she follows your instruction, she will pick the correct card. Very subde
at this point."

I was following the explanation, but something dawned on me: "Wait a minute. Can't
the spectator take the other card and screw up the trick?"
"Good point." Bannon smiled. "In that case, the spectator would have to deliberately
ignore your instruction to take the best card for her hand. If you picked a spectator
that would do that, well, it's your fault. But remember, you are showing the cards. So
you will know if she picks the wrong one. At that point, simply pretend to study the
cards yourself and point out that the other card seems like a better fit. You will have
to talk your way out, but I've never had a civilian try to trip me uP on this. Magicians,
yes; laymen, no.

"Okay, wete done. The cards are dealt, and the sPectator has made every decision. No
moves, no equivoque. Only now, you've got a Straight Flush, possibly a Royal Straight

Flush. She's got a Full Flouse. Not too shabby. I use the 'Rank Of Hands At Poker'
card to sell the climax. It's a handy prop when not every membet of your audience
knows vrhat beats what at poker. A Royal Flush is iconic; everyone has heard of it and
knows that it is
very good hand of cards. Straight Flushes and Full Houses ate
^very,
not
as firmly ingrained in the Ametican cuitural psyche.
more vague concepts,

.Whjle it may be obvious, if you are at alf concerned about the Poker knowledge of
your audience, )rou can always end with an iconic Ro1,al p1w1, by simply forcing the
Nine of Spades hole card through an equivoque. One equivoque wil.l not spoil anything. The no-equivoque version is simply more interesting. Questions?"

IV

"Not really," I

said. "Cool trick. You know,

bet

it would look good with

jumbo

cafds."

"Exacdy right! This trick is petfect for jumbo cards. Did


about jumbo cards?"

"I'm not sure," I

said hesitandy.

ever tell you my theory

Did I really want to hear another theory?

"Well, maybe later . . ." he drifted off.

forget," he said suddenly, "you could aiso prepare a prediction predicting


the outcome of the trick. Something like, You will get a full house of Aces and Nines,
"Before

Sxurruu'

283

but you will lose the game. You will give me a sttaight flush, the highest hand in the
game. Sorry, but I get to keep the dollar.'l7hatever. This may be a l-itde hear.1,-handed,
but actually quite effective."
fact," Bannon continued, "when I lectured on this ttick in Minnecards and a prediction kicker. You iust saw the
impromptu card trick version. When you dress this tdck up, it plays big and gets a lot
of attention. In fact, I know that at least one of m1, notable co-performers at the con-

'As

a matter

apolis

of

in 2001,I did it with jumbo

vention is now doing this trick in his formal shows-in fumbo, with the prediction."
$7e went on

to other topics.

As the evening drew to a close, I made a mental note to myself to dig out that deck
of jumbos I had somewhere and to try this baby out.

HISToRIcAL NoTE
Originally published in MAGIC Maga{ne n 1,999, "Po'il/er of Poker" was perhaps one
of the most acclaimed tricks from 2005's Dear Mr. Fantasl, and deservedly so. It went
on to inspire a number of variations and alternate paths of development. I still think
it's the best.

I still perform it in Jumbo form and with the prediction. Lately, however, I have reverted to regular catds, but I have the participant do all of the dealing. This way, the
audience is positive there is no "funny business" going on.

284

Jonn Bnnnoru

Tnr
nlrln

BNruNON TNIUMPH

Pmv It SrRntcnr TntuMPH

PnEcrs
After a card is selected, but not teplaced, the cards are thoroughly mixed face-up and
face-down. The perfotmer then causes all of the cards to turn face-down, except for
face-up in orden The
the cards of the same suit of the selected card, which
^ppe^r
identity of the selected card is determined by simply counting through the face-up
cards and determrning which card is missing.

Mrse Eru ScEue


I(ng of Clubs, in otI origina\ used Flearts, I now exclusively use Clubs.
bright lights-like in a formal |sstuls-*rs red suits tend to get washed out' I

There is a set-up involved. Arange to have the Ace thtough


der, on top

Under

of

the deck. (W4rile

Iearned this the hard way in making my first video, Impossibilia. It's not like the Heart

suit couldn't be seen, but the cards did not "pop" as they should have')
From thete, you can false shuffle as much as you like, preserving the stack. Jog or Lift
Shuffles work well. If I have a surface, I often use a Mike Skinner ploy for retaining
a top stock-riffle shuffle the cards face-up. In this manner, the audience can see the
face card of the deck change with each shuffle, and it is child's play to simply not
shuffle into the stacked block. Even a sizable stock can be preserved this way.
To perform you must first force one of the stacked Clubs. I like to do this using only
half of the deck. With your right thumb,nffle down the side of the deck and have
your spectator stop you near the center. Give the deck a swing cut at the indicated
spot, taking the top half into your Ieft hand. Retain the original top half of the deck
and place the bottom half onto the table.

of the retained packet and have your sPectator seof thirteen of twenty-six or so looks a lot better than spreading the top thirteen cards of a full deck. She will necessarily select one of the Clubs.
Spread only the top thi-rteen cards

lect a card. This spread

Reassemble the deck, Ieaving the CIub stack on top.

Sxurrur'*

285

You will now cut the deck into four approximately equal packets. The first packet
must contain on! the twelve remaining Clubs. Tilt the deck forward and riffle up the
back end of the deck until )rou see the I(ng of Clubs; cut the deck at this point. Because you are supposedl), seeking some precision, )rou can :I,ffle slowl,v at this point.
Place the packet onto the table to J,our left.

Cut the rest of the deck into three approximately equal packets and piace each into
row next to the Club packet. Note the following diagram:

The Club packet is at position A. Turn the packets at B and D face-up.


Using both hands, turn packets A and B longwise and spread them in vertical rows..
Now, square the packets and shuffle packet B into packet A. For better appearance,
ensure that the top face-down card of packet A (the Ace of Club$ becomes the top
card of the combined packet. Similady,, ensure that the bottom card of packet A (the
I(ng of Clubs) becomes the bottom card of the combined packet.
Spread packet C. As you do this, also turn over the combined packet AB. Squate pack-

it into the combined packet. Though not stricdy necessary, shuffle


packet C largely into the upper part of the combined packet and allow the top facedown card of packet C to cover the face-up ICng of Clubs at the top of combined
et C and shuffle

packet AB.

Now, spread packet D. As you do this, again turn over the combined packet ABC.
Square packet

D and shuffle it into the combined packet.

Pick up the deck and spread the top ten to fifteen cards to show the cards are mixed,
face-up and face-down. Replace the deck onto the table, but turn it over as you do
so. Because we were careful with our shuffles, the upper part of the deck will have a
higher percentage of face-down cards, making the cards seem even more mixed.

Of

course, because we shuffled face-up cards into the packet when the Clubs were

face-down and shuffled face-down cards into the packet when the Clubs were faceup, only the Clubs are reversed. Even better, the Clubs stay in order.

Ask fot the suit

of the selected card. Snap your fingers over the deck and spread it
of the Clubs are face-up and in order. Count through the

u,idely across the table. AII

Clubs to determine which one is missing. Announce the missing card as the selected
card. Presto.

286

Joxru Bnrruoru

PReseurRrlou
My approach has been to proceed as if I "forgot" to have the spectatof fetufn hef
selected card to the deck. Then, at the end, I point out that finding the selected card
is "impossible," pfesumably because of the mixed-up condition of the cards. Then in
a reversal that is often not entirely unanticipated by the audience, I acknowledge that
it is "impossible" because the card had not been retutned.
Raquel, please rdJ stnP. Great, take a card.

I knowlou'ue seen people shtffie like this. lA face-up, top-stock-presetving riffle shuffle.) Half the people shffi like this.
llJow,

Andloa'ue
Bat,

people

seen

people

betloube

shffie like this. lfun overhand iog or lift false shuffle.]

neuer ieen an)tlne

shtffie cards like the wa1

sbffie cards like this-magicians, drunk5

First, we'll cut the deck into four approximatelt

I am about to. Onfi thru kinds of

and crary people.


eqaal packets. Then,

turn two of them face up.


A and B.f Magicians

Shufie thue two together creatingaface-ap andface down mess. [Shuffle

[disapprovingly].
I'low

these two together.

And

these

You know,

fShuffle AB and C.] It't like a nightmare. Dranks [disapprovingly].

hto together. [Shuffle ABC and D.) It just

IH

keeps getting worse and worse.

Cra4t!

if I thourtt I could fndyur card in this mixed-up jambhd mett.


. . .-)0a neuerpwtltour card back into the deck.

haue to be crary

It's impossible. If,/h1? Because

Tellya what, tell me the suit of yar card-jast the


I can.
't the Clubs, IlJ ORDER There are the Acq Two, Threq Foar,
Clabs? IVatch. There are AI
Fiue, Six . . . wehe misstng tbe Seuen. Didya choose the Seuen? Show it to eueryone.
You thoughtl woaldn't notice, didn't1toz?

suit-and III

do the best that

Like I said, it's cra4t!

Posr MoRreu
(Tnruupx)'
As I have stated before,

the "Bannon Triumph" makes a perfect follow-up to Vernont original "Ttiumph." Have two cards selected at the outset, then have one of
them returned and do "Triumph'" Nfost of 1'ou should know that the "Triumph"
shuffle is a false shuffle. Now, go right into "Bannon Triumph," apparendy oblivious
to the fact that the second card was not returned to the deck. After all of the shuffles,
"notice" that the card has not been returned. Ask for the suit and conclude.

Sxurrun'

287

The synergies are good. First, aftet "Triumph," your audience will be watching closely-and with the "Baflnofl Triumph" they can. Secondly, if you are going with the
"because you never put your card back in the deck" apptoach, by the end of the routine there is a heightened chance that the second spectator will not remember that she
has not retwned her card.

HrsroRrcnr NorE
The tdck, originally titled, "Play It Straight (friumph)," first appeared in my first-ever
set of lecture ootes, CotmicDebis,in1987, and appearedagaintnlmpostibilia, l;a1991.
There is no doubt that this is one of my most popular and enduring creations. If I am
to be remembered for any card trick, this is Jikely it. In the last25 years, it has been
so widely adopted (without attribution) that in some circles it is simply regarded as a
"classic" way of doing the trick.

originally should have named it "The Bannon Tdumph." This re-branding effort
(which began in 2009's Six. Impossible. Tbingl and the Bullets After DarkDYD) is ntended to correct that oversight.

288

Joxu BANNoN

Fnncrnl R E-Cnu (nerrl tx)


A perennial favorite

since its introduction in1,993, "Call

Of The N7i1d" was my at-

tempt to bring some logic and cohesion to the classic "S7ild Card" plot. Over the
years, the packet trick has been consistendy well-received and, to this day, sells well
(which surprises me because, while not exceptionally difficult, the trick has a lot of
moves). Flete's a way to accomplish the same effect from a regriar unprepared deck.
A set-up is required, but after alogScal opening sequence, the deck ProPer goes away,
leaving only eight cards in play. Like its predecessot, a lot of magic happens here in a
surpdsing, but coherent way.

PnEcrs
The performer recounts his first meeting with a renowned Chicago gambler, State
Street Eddie. Eddie, it seems, proposed a cofltest in which the performer and Eddie
would each get four random cards and would take turns "seeing how well they could
do." In other words, it was a cheating contest.
The performer removes eight face-up cards from a shuffled desk-a random assortment. The packet is turned face-down and four of the cards are set to the side as
the performer's hand, and the remaining four are set aside as Eddie's, one of which
happens to be the Ace of Spades.
The performer goes first. Borrowing Eddie's Ace
four of his cards into Aces of Spades.

of

Spades, the performer turns all

Unimpressed, Eddie takes back the Ace of Spades and visually turns his four cards
into four different Aces-Clubs, Hearts, Spades and Diamonds.

The performer takes back the Ace of Spades. "Eddie, you may think I showed you
Aces, but I know for a fact I showed you Spades. And Eddie, where I play cards..."
The performer now turns up, one card at atime, a Royal Flush in Spades!

"...a Royal Straight Flush beats four Aces, every day of the week."

Sxurrun'

* 289

Mrse Eu ScErue
Ser-Up
From any regular deck, set-up the following seventeen cards from the face of the
deck: seven indifferent cards, Ace of Spades, indifferent card, the other three Aces
in any ordet, the ICng, Queen, Jack and Ten of Spades in any order, a reversed card
(ideally aJoker, or both of theJokers).
From the top of the deck downward:

rroP oF DECKI
[face-down DECK]
[face-UP Joker(s)]
[Spade flush card]
[Spade flush card]
[Spade flush catd]
[Spade flush card]

lA..l
[Ace]
[Ace]

[indifferent card]
[Ace

of

Spades]

[seven indifferent cards]

|FACE OF DECKI
t. As you'll see, the reversed Joker will act like
the natural break. From there, false shuffle as much as you

This set-up is simpler than it rn y


a crimped catd because

of

^ppe

care to taking care to preserve the bottom seventeen cards.

Cur Txe Sluc


The "Slug" concept is a switch strategy I came up with plal,ing atound with "Fractal"
Wild Card routines. The idea is to begin with more cards than you need-5 ay, a packet

of blank 621d5-1e count off the number you

need, face-up

of course, and then place

the remainder aside.


First, you need a "slug" of cards-basically an apparendy imprecise packet of cards
randomly removed from the deck. To do so, you will need abreak above the bottom
sixteen cards. That's where the teversed card comes in. The reversed card acts like a
crimped catd so you can lift up the upper portion of the deck, allowing the deck to
split under the reversed card. Now get a left Jitde-finger break below the reversed
cafd.

290

Joru Bnuuol,t

Now, we want it to appear that the sixteen-card block was randomlv cut from the center of the deck, as follows. With 1'qrrr right hand, begin cutting packets off the top of
the deck and dtopping then onto the table. After two or so packets, cut at the break,
Ieaving 1,ou holding the sixteen-card set-up in t'our left hand. Flip the packet face-up.

Tne VeeseR SwtrcH


Here, we are going to use a Veeser-tvpe switch to switch a packet
for the Spade Flush catds and the Aces.

of indifferent

cards

At this point, the sixteen-card set-up is face-up in your left hand, aPpafenthr a "fandom" packet of cards. You will need to get a break under the indifferent card that
is under the Ace of Spades. There is realh'no good wav to do this secfetl)'. Instead,
tilt the packet toward 1'ou (that is, "necktie" the packet), and quicklv spread the cards.
Spot the indifferent card, and then close the spread and lorver the packet, getting the
necessary break beneath it.

Bdng 1'our right hand over the packet and take over the break with your right thumb.
Now comes the srvitch. It looks best if you tilt the forward edge of the packet downward slightlr,. At this point, I'ou are going to apparendv pull eight cards off the face-up
packet into 1'our Ieft hand.

With 1,our left hand, cradle the packet so it is slight\'deeper in 1'elrt hand than usual.
Take over the break with your left little finger, locking the cards below the break in
place in your left hand. Now, rvith t'out left thumb, hold the top card in place and,
with vour right hand, move the cards above the break to the right. (Photo 1.) Hold a
break under this first card.

$/hile

actuall\'have taken eight cards and have


1,ou har.e apParentlt, taken one card, t'ou

a break under the top card. This is the Veeser Concept. Eight cards as one can be
scar1,. [1'5 important that once the count begins, bothhands remain in motion until the

count/switch is o','er.

Sxurrun'

291

\ffithout pausing, singlv pull the next six cards off the right-hand packet onto the
deck. I like to call out the values of the cards as I do this.
At ttus point, in your left hand I'ou have seven face-up cards rvith a break abor.e them
and seven indifferent cards. It appears that the top, seven, indifferent cards have been
counted from the right-hand packet onto the deck.

In your right hand, you have iust two cards: the Ace of

Spades and an indifferent

card beneath it. The downward tilt and the steady movement

counting helps cover the actual size


Call attention to the Ace

of

of

the hands during the

of this packet.

Spades and, as with the others, pull

it onto the packet. As

you take the Ace of Spades, however, steal all of the indifferent cards above the left
pinky break under the right-hand indifferent card in the classic Biddle-steal fashion.
(Photo 2.)

It appears that seven indifferent

cards and, fortuitousll,, the Ace

of

Spades have been

counted from the right-hand packet into vour left hand. Actualll,, the left-hand packet
now consists of the Spade Flush cards and the Aces.
To finish, with your right hand, flip its packet face-down and casualll, drop it onto the
deck.

This procedure is not as compJicated as it may seem. There is a logical rh1,fi- ,1rr,
carries you through it: You take some cards from the deck, count off eight of them
and put the unused catds back onto the deck.
Turn the left-hand packet face-down and divide it into two four-card hands. Place the
top four catds in front of you-these are the Spade flush cards and will be "),orrt"
hand-and place the lower four cards to your left and forwatd 2 [ftls-lhsse are the
Aces and will be Eddie's catds.

292* Jonu Bnruron

this is c[rl-lc, cxplain that a "chcatiug contcst" \\-xs Pl'()Posccl' Ilight ratltkrtr
carcls s<rr-rlcl bc takcn trrr-n thc clcck, anc'l cach t-ttln u-or-rlcl qct tirttr carcls to "clo tl'rc

,\s all

,f

bcst tl-rat hc cln."

Nos' r oll ctn lct

t1-rc

"cl-rcating c<lutcst" bcgtl-l.

FrvE IDENTTcAL AcEs


Rcmark tl-rat, in this chcetinu colrtcst, \'()Lr \\-cnt first. Picli up "rour" tirur-cercl 1-rancl'
Sar.that \.oLr n()riccd that ['.clclic hacl bccn clcelt the r\cc oi Spaclcs. S]iclc as'av thc
ios-crmosr carrl oi "lrdclic's" for-rr cercls-it u'ill bc thc ,\cc rlf Spaclcs. Shrliv tl-rc ,\cc
ancl placc it thcc ckrs-n on t()p of vour paclict. Slrutflc thc r\cc trl thc positiot-l scc<lucl
tl11rn tl-rc b9tt6r-r.r. Thc simplcst u-';n'is, in rn or-crhlncl sl.rr-ltIlc, to talic thc top ancl
b11tt<tm carcls 6n thc hrst "c[rop" ancl shutflc oit. Scconcl tiorn thc bott()m, tl-rc r\cc
is in position tirr a climinishing

lift

scqlrcncc.

tt thc c\trclllc lct1 cclqc r.,f


to thc right a1l of thc carcls cxccpt titr thc bottoln cattl. ,\t tl.rc

Holcl thc pacl<ct in rrrnr lctt hancl. \\'itl-r lour: lcft


t1.rc

paclie t, sLllrcczc

semc til-nc,

litfi ronr right fingcrs unclcrncath

thr-rr-rtb

rncl thr-tr-ttb on t()P, pinch tl-rc right siclc

this bftrcl< ancl flip all tirr-rr carcls or cr ()nt() tl'rc Ictt-hancl packct. It appcars as ii xru
turncd thc top cercl of paclict tacc-r-rp to shos'an r\ce of Spacics. Rcpcat this "bkrcl<

6i

to xpplrcnth' tr-rrtt thc ,\cc ticc tlrls-n. Dcal thc top carcl of thc
packct ()nt() thc tablc. That's ()r1c 1\cc oi Spaclcs. Rcpcrt tl-rc bltlcl' tlrrn()\'c1's to shos'
a scconcl ,\cc oi Spaclcs ancl cleel it on tt.rp oi thc teblcci clrcl. Rcpcrt tot thc "tl-rircl"
tnrnor.cr"

tccl-rnic1-rc

,\cc.

fol thc tirr-rrth r\cc, sirlph' flip thc top catil thcc up. To shos- ti-rc last ",\cc" t'irh
tlrr11 \()Lu'r'iqlrt l-rencl

in-thc-hlncis \Icxican Tntnrx'cr,


s-ith vour riqht thr-rntb ttnclcrttcath. (Photo 3.)

en

ptlt-n-clrln ancl talic tlrc ,\cc

Tnrri yonr right hlr-rtl pelrl up, trrrning the ,\cc thcc clou'n. Sliclc thc thcc clos't-t.\cc
gnclcr thc rcntainir1s lctt-hancl carcl. \\ ith r-our risht htr-rcl, ntouctttarih pinch both
cards encl tlrtg rhc plir tos'arcl thc lctl finucrtips. (Photo 4.)

SxurrlrN'

293

As you do this, your right fingers push the lower card (the Ace) to the left.

In a continuing action, raise your right hand sharply upward and allow the lower card to turn
face-up. This is the classic Mexican turnover technique. (Photos 5-6.)

Drop the face-down card in your right hand onto the tabled cards. And drop the
remaining Ace of Spades face-up on top of Eddie's catds. You have apparend), borrowed the Ace of Spades, used it to change all four of 1re111 cards into Aces of Spades,
and then returned it.

Nor Au 0ccupnrtoNAr HAZARD


Continue your story: "Eddie said a hand vrith four identical Aces is an occupational
hazard." Pick up Eddie's cards and flip the face-up Ace face-down. Take the top two
catds in your right hand and the lower two in your left and rub each pair back-andforth a few times. (Photo 7.) This is the traditional "squiggle" flourish. Then put the
right-hand cards under the left-hand cards and square the packet in your left hand.
The Ace of Spades is now third from the top.

294* Joxu Bnrtoru

Now we'll use one phase of the 'Asher Turist" but call it a "change." Using a block
tufnovef, turn the top three cafds face-uP, as one, to show the Ace of Spades. Now
without pausing (time misdrrection is not $zanted here), do the Asher Twist move to
show that all

of

the cafds have turned face-up and that now they are all Aces.

I have a slight\, different handling for the Asher Twist. The original move uses a sideto-side spreading action to hide the haif-pass reversal of the bottom card (this move
is the essence of the trick). I use an up and down, almost "squiggle" action to covef
the move, like thrs:

After you've turned the Ace face-up (a triple card), pull down on the lowermost cafd
of the packet with vour teft little finger. If you continue to pull down this side of the
cafd, eventualll, it will turn all the wa,v over in a half-pass action. (Photo 8.)

To cover the move, as the pull down occurs, with vour right hand-thumb on top
and fingers beneath-pinch the right side of the packet. Now move 1'our right thumb
forward and fingers backr.vard, simuitaneouslv spreading the top three cards in a forward-to-backward spread. (Photo 9.) At the same time, do the haif-pass move. There
is a lot of cover here from mant, angles.

Snurrun'

295

In

a continuing action, reverse the right-finger movements collapsing the nos, fbur

card spread. Take the top and bottom card in \-our 1et1 hand and the middle nvo in
vour right. Continue r.vith the "squiggle" flourish. (Photo 10.)

Even though the other thtee cards "magicalhP turned face-up, because thel rvere presumed to be indifferent cards the appearance of the Aces is a surprise. The r.vhole sequence feels like the cards not onh'turned face-up, but instantlv and visuallv changed.
This is a veri'effective use of the Asher Tkist mechanics.

(If 1,ou are adept r.vith the Asher T$ist, )'ou can leave the Ace of Spades face-up on
top and do the sequence three times to turn each of the other Aces face-up. As before, there is an extra dimension

of

change, as srell as rer.ersal, that is svnergisticallr-

effective.)

Senoes, Nor Aces


So, \'ou showed

four Aces of Spades, Eddie made fun of t'ou and shorved all four

Aces, and now it's )'our turn again. Pick up vour cards. Then pick up the Ace of
Spades from Eddie's hand and add it to vour cards. Time for the tag line: "Eddie, r'ou
mav think
r,vhere

showed vou Aces, but

I knorv for

a fact

shor.ved 1-ou Spades.

And Eddie,

I plav cards . . ."

Spread vour cards before vou like a poker hand and then, card-bv-card, reveal the
Roval Flush. ". . . a Roval Flush beats four Aces evety day of the lveek."

Pnrseurnrroru
I use a storv here to set up
llThen I

frct

ruoued

to Chicago,

Street Eddie.

296

Jonru Bnnruou

"Gambler Versus Nlagician In Trouble" scenario.

I bad tbe opporttrnifi,

to sit doun witlt the;fatnots garult/er, State

When E,ddiefoand out

knew afew things aboat cards,

he

propored

d "contert'"

He took oat a deck of cardg shffied it, gaue it a few cats, and said we4 need eight random

cards.

l-ttisee...herewehaaeafour,ahao,apueen,andanEight,athree,aten'aJack,andtheAce
of Spades.
IN/e eacb

gotfour cards, and

since

noticed that Eddie had the

was the guest,

was to

gofrst-

Ace of Spades and asked to borrow it.

First, I tlirt this zztlt)e t0 get not

on/1 one

Ace of Spadu, but two. Then,

did the "huist"

antt a foarth Ace. I gaue him back his Ace of Spades and said, 'Yoar turn,

For a long while,


where I

plal

rtidn't

see

was a

jast looked at me. Then,

cards, a hand with

he

said, "Son,

fue identical Aces is an

get a

third

tate .f treet E ddie.

"

don't know wherelou p/a1 cards, but

occupatiortal

halard. lYahh carefall1."

a thing, but sudden! Eddie had all four Aces. He said, "Son, that's how to get the

mone1, instead

he

to

of getting hospitatiTed. Come ltack and

see

me whenlou know whatlouhe doing."

I an a worldfamoas magician. I took back the Ace of Spadu. I


State Street Eddie. You mq,t think I showedloz Aces, but I know I showed

linle insulted. After a//,

said, 'Wait a minute,

a Royl Flush beatsfourAces euerl da1 of the week."


1oa Spades. And Eddie, where I plal cards,
We'ue beenfriends euer since.

Posr Monren
BncrcnouND AND Cneolrs
Start with Frank Garcia's "\)7ild Card" routine. Speed it up with Flip Hallema's "Flip's
wild card Routine." fl. Racherbatmer, Kabbala [December 1972].) Add some J. c.
S7agner thinking (his "Wild Thing"). Shake vigorousll,, give the plot ahard twist, and

then slow it down a [ttle. kt1993,I ended up with "Calf of the !flild." Its use of
Iogical gfoups of cards as change "tafgets," and the unexpected double-take climax,
makes COT$fl's "Nflild Card" roots barelv recognizable. The group-based restructur-

ing, moreover, opened new avenues fot logical and cohetent presentation5 25 1ilsllsomething that some (namel1,, me) believe was nevef satisfactorill' oYercome by any
presentation of this classic plot.

Smurrrrru'

297

OnrGAMt PREDIcnoN
A mathematical drive-by
Introducing

new self-working "engine" for setting up the "folding" card trick that

was first explored in Dear Mr. Fantay.I synthesized the CATTO and

"folding" aspects
into what I now call an "Origami" card trick and had a varieq of handlings in my
book, Dear Mn Fantasl (2005). The streamlined, self-working handling here is new and
is the easiest and most accessible method yet.

As

said

in "Degrees of Freedom," this is not just a card trick, it's a to1,. You will fool

yourself. And everyone else. Everl,one.

And, theret no sleight-of-hand required.

PnEcls
From

a shuffled deck, a small packet


down blltour spertatur.

of

cards is shuffled and mixed face-up and face-

Nevertheless, the perfotmer has predicted the numbet of face-up cards and the red/
black division of the face-up cards. A third prediction about the suits of the red cards
is

off by one.

Happily, an unexpected fourth prediction corrects the mistake and surprisingly


demonstrates that the performer was right all along.

Mrse Eru ScErue


A1l you need is a deck

of

cards and some cardboard and an envelope

to make the

prediction-which can be used over and over ag tn.

Murtt ple

Su ot

l,tc PReotcrton
of white

First, the prediction. Get a piece

298

Joxru Bnruruoru

two-sided cardboard and a top-opening

envelope that the card can fit into and easily slide up and down. The size is your own
personal preference.

On one side of the card, write the following three predictions. Space them out so the
6rst prediction is near the top of the card and the third prediction is near the bottom.

1. SEVEN CARDS WILL BE


TURNED OVER

2. FOUR
WItL BE

OF THE CARDS
BTACK

3. THE RED CARDS ARE


ALI HEARTS

4.

EXCEPT FOR THE

QUEEN 0F DIAMoNDS

On the reverse side of the cardboard, write the foutth prediction near the bottom.
Place the card into the envelope with the first three predictions facing away from the
flap-side of the envelope.

you can open the fr,ap and pull the cardpatt walr 6s1 of the enveloPe to
show the first prediction while the others remain hidden. I think you see what's com-

This

wa1,,

mg.

Finally there is one more ver)r small steP of preparation with the deck

of

cards'

POTENT PRIOR PREARRNUGEMENT


The top seven cards of the deck should consist of the following cards, mixed up in
anl, order (you wi-ll be dealing them face-up in a moment):
The Queen

Of Diamonds,

any two Hearts, any four Black cards, the rest

of the

deck.

Simpie, right? If you afe handy with cards, you could "to1r" -i11, the deck and set
this up right in front of ),our audience. A quick wav to do this is to simply upiog any
Spade, any Heart, and anv Club, then anothef Spade, another Heart and another Club.
AIso upjog the Queen of Diamonds when vou come to it. Strip out these cards.and
put them on toP. No sweat. These will be yout "target" cards'

Sxurrun'

299

lu Concenr
Place the prediction envelope in plain view.

Take the cards out

of

the box and give the deck a false cut. Here,

I like the Ja), Ose

False Cut. To make things simpler, see the following diagram.

So now, cut

Cut

off

off a third of

another third

of

the deck and place

the deck and place

Piace the last third at position

it

it onto the table


at position

at position '.A."

"B."

"C."

Now assemble the three card packets by piacing the packet at A on top of the packet
at B. Then, place the combined A/B packet on top of packet C.
(BeJieve

it or not,

the deck is in the same order as when you started. Looks good,

doesn't it?)

You can do other false shuffles and cuts, if you like.

Now, count off sixteen cards without reversing their order. You can spread them
the top of the deck or, if you'd like, deal themface-up onto the table.

off

Set the deck aside.

First the cards will be "mixed" b1, shuffling them. Pick up the packet in position for a
face-down overhand shuffle. As if 1,ou were actually, shuffling the packet, pull off the

first seven cards one at a time into your left hand. You
four, then pause, and then

may,

want to pull

off

(or

"run')

"fun" thfee mofe.

After you've run seven cards, 1,ou can shuffle the remaining nine cards for real. Al1
you've really done is move the top seven target cards to the bottom of the packet.

Fnce-Up Fncr-DowN Mtx Up


Spread the packet, secretly counting nine cards (these are the non-target, indifferent
cards). Turn the nine cards face-up and shuffle them into the remaining face-down
cards. There are a number

of ways to do this:

Jam the two packets together (this is knovrn as a "weave" shuffle); or

Riffle shuffle the packets together on the table; or


Flip the nine catds face-up on top of the face-down cards. Take the packet with your
right hand and, with 1,our left thumb on top and fingers beneath, pull off the top and
bottom cards of the packet at the same time and drop them onto the table. Continue
removing top-and-bottom pairs until there are no more.

300

Joxr,r Bnruuou

Once the face-up and face-down cards are mixed, begin overhand shuffling the packet. The cool part is that you can do this as much as you like, so make a big deal about
it. Turn over the entire packet and continue shuffling.
Here's the really cool part. Let your sPectator shuffle the cards, too'

As long as none of the individual cards get turned over, she can shuffle (overhand,
riffle, weave, or rvhatever) and cut as much as she likes. I have her overhand shuffle,
then tufn over the packet and shuffle some mofe. Turrung ovef the packet makes it
seemhke she has some control over the face-up and face-down orientation of the card,

but she does not.


'When

she's done, take the cards back. It's time for the ' .

Folou,tc Mnrnlx
You are now going to deal the packet into a four-by-four grid or matfix. But you need
to do it in the following \niay:
First, you must deal the cards in a back-and-forth "snake" pattern. Look at this diagram; this is the order in which you deal.

8
9
16

234
765
10 11
15 14

12
13

Second, 2s lreg deal, you must tufn ovef every other card. Sometimes you will be
turning a face-up card face-down. Sometimes you will be turning a face-down card
face-up. So, in the diagram,the cards at the "even" positions would be turned ovef as
they are dealt onto the table.

12*34*
g*76*5
9 10* 11 12*
16* 15 14* 13
*(runn rHEsE ovER As You

DEAL)

Snurrrrru'*

301

The best way to do this is to alternate bets'een


the card) and a stud deal (thumb on the face

of

a regular deal (thumb

on the back of

the card). (Photo 1.)

once the cards are dealt, the grid wiII be "folded" back into a single packet, seemingly
further mixing up the cards. Even better, \'our spectator lvill direct the process.
Have 1'es1 spectator nominate an outside ro$/ or outside column on the grid. Let's
use the top rou/. To "fold" the row over the next row: Card 1 is tilted over and onto
card 8; Card2 is tilted over and onto Card 7;Card 3 is ulted or-er and onto card 6;
and finallli Card 4 is ulted over and onto Card 5. (Photo 2.)

Next iet's

left column is chosen bv r-our spectator. Both catds at position 8


(originally Card 1 and Card 8) are turned orrer onto Card 7 ; Cald 9 is turned or.er and
onto Card 10; and Card 16 is turned over and onto Card 15. (Photo 3.)
sa)r the

Continue "folding" the grid in this manner until all of the cards are in one pile again.
of rvordplali offer vour spectator one last
opportunity to turn over the entire packet.

Because, as you'lI see, we've engaged in a bit

302

Jotru Barutoru

Norv, after reiterating horv manv different \\rai's the cards have been "randomized," u'e
can move to the big finale.

You Aneu't Gotruc To BeuevE THls


Spread the packet on the table. After all of that shuffling

and "folding," 1'ou are about


to make some amazing revelations. But first, the spread packet will have exactl)' nine
cards facing one wav and seven cards facing the other wa)'. Note which wav the seven
cards are facing. The easr'\\ray is to look for the Queen
then 1,9rr1 se\ren tafget cards are face-up.

of

Diamonds.

If

1'ou see it,

Now retrieve the prediction envelope. Open it up and slide the card part wa)' out of
the envelope to show onlv the first ptediction as vou (or vour spectator) read it aloud.
"Seven cards r.vill be turned over." This prediction is deliberatelv ambiguous as to
which wa), the seven cards '"vill be "turned ol.er." Point out that exactlv seven card
are "turned over" (either face-up or face-down). Slide the seven target cards from
the spread as if your prediction rvas

100%n

xccurate, and discard the other nine catds.

Puli the card further out of the envelope to shorv the second prediction. Read: "Four
cards rvill be black." Turn the seven cards face-up, if thel' afe not alreadr'. Four of
them willbe black-remove them from the packet.

Pull the card all the u,av out and place


flash the surprise prediction on the back

it on top of the envelope.


of

Be careful not to

the card. Shor.'u'and read: '411 of the other

cards are Hearts."

Uh-oh.

Of

the three cards remaining, onh- turo are Hearts. The third card is a dia-

msnd-1hs Queen of Diamonds.


Your audience s,ill no doubt point this out. Note that r-ou were almost right; thev
arc all Hea11s, "except for the Queen of Diamonds." Be sufe to sa\- the exact wotds,
"Except fot the Queen of Diamonds," out loud.
After a pause, "remembef" that vou have one more prediction . . '
Turn over the cardboard to shor,v the last prediction. Shori'and read "EXCEPT fot
the Queen of Diamonds" to thunderous applause.

Posr Monrru
BncrcRouND AND CReolrs
The underlr'ing mathematical trick is Bob Hummer's CATTO ("Cut Ancl Tutn T$o
Over") principie. The "folding" srems from paper-tblding experiments br- Henrv
Dudener-. The first to "fold" a grid of cards is not knos,n, but mar'l.rar-e been Nfartin
Gardner. I sarv it first in a trick bv Lennatt Green.

Sxurrun'

303

The multi-stage prediction with error correction is vatiously credited to Aldo Colombini and the late Ali Bongo. The "unfolding" multi-stage prediction, discussed below,
is

Ali Bongo's.

lTorking with the Origami techniques from Dear Mn Fantay, the m1,5161ieus R. Shane
came uP with the really good idea of controlJing for and utilizing the "unfolding"
prediction. R. Shane, 'lFolding Space," Automata (I-eaping Lizards,2006) at page 1 18.
The self-working method ptesented here is especially suited for situations in which
half or almost half the cards are "target" cards. It works quite well in the multi-stage
prediction application. The triple cut at the start is the fabulous Jay Ose false cut.

FneuLous Foloeo FuruRe


I originally used Ali Bongot folded paper approach fot the gradual, self-correcting
prediction.
First, the paper.

I'll

assume an 8.5

x 11" piece. In the middle of the paper, write the

following: "EXCEPT for the Queen Of Diamonds."

Now fold the papet in half, width-wise. In the middle of this area,write: "AIl of the
other cards are Hearts."
Fold the paper in half agarn and write: "Four cards are black."
Fold the paper in half once more and write: "Seven cards will be turned ovet."
Fold it once more and we're done with the preparation. You may want to papercJip
the folded paper closed. You can use this future prediction over and over.

Ore Exrnn lnyen 0r Deceprtot


As is, ttis trick will fool everyone who is not already fanitar with the "Origami"
synthesis. Everybody.

That said, to really fool the "v/ise guys," you can let the spectatoriffle shuffle the deck
before the sixteen cards are removed. The fabted Gilbreath principle works fabulously
in this application. A somewhat more extensive stack is needed, but only regular cards
ate used. Atrange the cards as follows:

Queen

Of Diamonds

Any Heart Card


Any Heart Card
Black Card
Black Card
Black Card
Black Card

304

Jour Bnutol'r

ftalf of the deckl


face-up Joker

Biack Card
Black Card
Biack Card
Black Card

Ani,Heart Card
Any Heart Card
[Rest

of

the deck]

In concert, take out the deck and give it a faise cut or two. Casually spread the cards
and "notice" the face-up Joker. Cut the cards above the Joker to the table. Put awav
the Joker. Place the rest of the cards onto the table next to the fifst packet.
Now offer a spectatof the opportuniq, to riffle-shuffle the two halves together.
Believe it or not, the top seven cafds will consist
Hearts and four black cards.

of the Queen of Diamonds,

two

is virtually impossible for this ltot to occur. $Tithout a dupi-icate Queen of Diamonds, howevef, there is a ver)r, ver1,, small chance that it won't work. If the lower
half (the one without the Queen) is over-shuffled more than seven cards into the
other packet-in other wofds, seven or more cards ue aboue the first card of the other packet-it won't work. On the other hand, the packet containing the Queen can
be over-shuffled anv number of cards. You can see it would take a tealll'lousy riffle
shuffle to mess this up; neveftheless be careful whom ),ou choose to do it. You can,
of course, do the shuffle i,ourself. If vou do, be sure to make a production out of it.

It

Hrsrontcnl NorE
When I originallr- wrote up this trick as "Four Fold Foretold" in Six. Impossib/e. Things.
(2009), I used Ali Bongo',s "unfolding" paper prediction. Usually applied to Simon
Aronson's "Shufflebored" toutine, the unfolding, self-correcting multiple prediction
was the tage for quite a lvhile.

of doing a gradual ptediction b1, using the sliding prediction.


\Wilson
had used a similar set-up for a vef)'I different PufPose
The estimable R. Paul
in his L&L DVD series. I especiaill'[ked that when the card was removed from the
Then,

had the notion

envelope, it looked and felt like the three predictions wefe "all she wfote," so to sPeak.
Luckrl1,,

had the idea literalll, as I was crossing the Atlantic Ocean to taPe the Billets

After Dark DVD. The DVD incorporates this notion.

The {rnal difference was the optional use of the Gilbreath principle to allow a fair
riffle shuffle. I don't use it all the time, but it's nice to know itt there if I need it.

Srurrun' *

305

!
/

, ,,il,,111., ll, ll[]il