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Magician Juggler Bubble Artist Emcee
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A Card Trick

While out getting hopelessly drunk during one of your regular Saturday nights, bring out your packet of pasteboards and offer the following piece of card chicanery to your well-loved companions. The trick is perhaps not really 'magic'. Indeed, it falls into a slightly unpleasant area of conjuring known as the 'sucker trick', which delights in exposing the spectator as a fool. Still, it should earn you a few free drinks.

Pick upon someone you wish to victimize, and have him shuffle the cards. It is worth making sure that you do not pick a skilled card-shuffler or closet croupier: if he performs anything other than a basic shuffle (avoid anyone who riffles the two halves of the deck together), have him pass the deck

to someone else for 'further shuffling'. Unless you happen to have caught either Dame Fortune or her unusual sister Mistress Providence during moody lady-time, you should find that this one move brings forward a suitably unimpressive shuffler.

Take the deck back from this unsuspecting person and turn it face up in your hand. This means  that, you make sure you are looking down at an actual card face on the top,  rather than the back of a card. However, the very second that you have seen this card, turn away and spread them a little in your hands to show your audience the faces of the deck. 'They are all different, obviously, and well mixed now,' you say, to justify this sequence which has afforded you a glimpse of that first card.

Turn the deck face-down before turning back around, and place it neatly and squared-up on the table. You have given the impression that you have not seen any of the cards, and while this is not terribly important at this point, it will help to create the surprise later. Do remember the bottom card you glimpsed: this is your 'key-card', and your ability to recall that card later will make all the difference between you seeming as much like a twerp or looking literally as clever as Jesus. Now, tell the person sat in front of you to cut the deck into two while you look away. Mime the action of removing a pile of cards from the top of the deck and placing it to your right of the remainder. You do want him to place his cut-off top-half to your right, but in case he places it to the left, make a note of the position of the deck on the table, so that when you turn back in a few moments you will be able to tell which half is which, in case of any confusion.

Turn away and let the person do as you so patiently told him. Tell him to remove the card he cut to (the top card of the bottom half) and have a good look at it. As he does so, turn back around and casually pick up the original bottom half of the deck (from which he would have just taken his card). This should be the pack of cards to your left. Normally, if you don't turn away completely, you can tell peripherally that he has placed it down correctly. Either way, do make sure that you are picking up the bottom half. The card on the underside, or 'face', of this half is of course the card you have remembered, but you'd be a fool to have to double-check. Hold this half above the other half (the original top half that he cut off), and tell him to replace the card. Without telling him to do so, you can make it clear that he is to place the card back between the two halves. It will seem a very natural thing to do, as he has just removed it from the middle of the deck and now appears to be putting it back in the same place. In fact, rather excitingly, his card is now next to the key-card. It is this secret fact that is soon to win you victory over the audience at large and secure you the intimate favours of any creature on this earth. Now, although it is vital that these two cards stay together, you are now very bravely going to ask the person to shuffle the cards. What's that? Won't that undo all our clever machinations? Have I separated myself from my senses? How could such a thing work? Am I simply mad? Perhaps at this point you are incontinent with rage at the wasted effort you have put into learning this so far; I merely say: bear with me and let me explain. It is for this reason alone, if you will just simmer down for a second, that you have chosen a poor shuffler. As long as he gives the deck a simple overhand shuffle, you can be rest assured that the two important cards – your glimpsed key card and his selection - will remain as a pair. You can subtly hurry him along and stop him from shuffling too thoroughly by extending your hand after a few moments and casually saying, 'Great - just so we don't know where the card is.' Also, asking him to 'mix them a bit' rather than 'shuffle' very often helps too. Take the deck back when he is done, and say that you are going to deal the cards face-up onto the table, and he is to try not to react if he sees his card. Hold the deck facedown, and start to deal cards from the top, turning them over one at a time. Make a rough pile on the table as you do so. You are - and I'm sure I don't need to tell you - watching out for your key card. The moment you deal that key card, the next card will be the very card selected. However, bat not an eyelid, and keep dealing past the chosen card, making sure that you continue to make such a rough pile on the table that the index of the actual chosen card remains visible to you. The person will of course be gloating with that quite specific smugness of one who believes his card has been mistakenly dealt past. Stop whenever you feel the moment is right, and proudly state the following: 'I bet you a pint/glass of wine/warm water with a slice of lemon/million bucks that the next card I turn over will be your card.' Look like you are poised to turn over the next card from the deck. Have the person agree to the deal, then reach forward, remove the chosen card from the pile, and turn it over. Climb onto the table and roar for applause before triumphantly urinating on the group.

There are a couple of afterthoughts regarding this trick which might be of use to you - crumbs from the table of a showbiz pro. Firstly, when you take the deck back after shuffling, just before you start dealing, take a look at the bottom (face) card of the deck. This can be easily done by tapping the deck on the table to square it, and just glimpsing the bottom card. It is conceivable, though very unlikely, that this card is your key-card. If indeed you do recognize it to be so, it means that the actual chosen card is on the top of the deck - the very first card you would deal. If this happens, you can remedy the situation by having someone cut the deck before dealing.

This will allow you to proceed with the trick as explained above, as it will bring the two cards back together in the middle of the deck. Alternatively, it does allow you to segue into a much more impressive trick instead. If you see that key-card on the bottom, I would suggest placing the deck face-down on the table and talking some nonsense about how when we choose a card we develop a kind of relationship with it, and that in something as random as a shuffle it is possible for us to express that affinity by unconsciously controlling it. If you feel like really lying, you could tell them that in a series of tests it’s been shown that particularly intuitive people will actually shuffle a card they're thinking of to the top of the deck without realizing it. Have them accept the seeming unlikelihood of such a statement, then sit back and let them take as long as they want to reach forward and turn over the top card for themselves. Secondly, dealing the cards to random positions on the table rather than into a pile offers you other opportunities to make this even more dangerously impressive.

Let's imagine that you deal past the key-card and you see that the selection is a four of hearts. Unless you are unfortunate enough for the selection to reveal itself near the end of the deck, you can now join up the scattered cards into a '4H' as you deal, and continue dealing. If you don't feel you have enough cards left to do this convincingly, it doesn't matter; the scattered dealing will just seem a mysterious part of the secret. But if you do manage to casually deal the cards into a giant representation of the selection, then you have what we like to call a 'kicker ending': after turning over the correct card, you can point out the arrangement on the table, which gives the impression that you knew the card from the very start.

Please note that the tricks have a very long description though every effort has been made to shorten it as much as possible without affecting it’s comprehension. Please do not let this discourage you from trying to master the tricks. Submit any questions to me via the contact page and I’d be more than glad to answer all your questions. Cheers..