Card Marking

August 12, 2017 | Author: Anonymous VJYMo8l89Y | Category: Playing Cards, Magic (Illusion), Line (Geometry), Gaming, Ephemera
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The PM Card Mark System Plus Assorted Miracles by Pete McCabe

No drawing skill required— if you can write, you can mark a deck.

80+ pages of easy-to-follow instructions and great tricks

Mark your own Bicycle deck with a Sharpie.

© Copyright 2010 Pete McCabe Version 1.1 • © Copyright 2011 Pete McCabe

Contents The PM Card Mark System! References! Materials Required! Understanding the System! Drawing the Marks! Key Card! Card Case!

4 5 6 7 8 12 13

Assorted Miracles! Stop Sign! Core Meltdown! Three Simple Miracles! Simple Miracle 1! Simple Miracle 2! Simple Miracle 3! The Rule of Three Prediction! Perfect Prediction! Seven Shuffles! Markus Maximus! Watchman! The Genie’s Peek!

14 15 17 22 23 25 26 28 31 33 36 40 43

Nothing But Script! Echoes! The Cincinnati Kid! My Favorite Things!

45 46 52 55

Added to Existing Tricks! The Tapping Card Location! The Mind Mirror! Two of a Kind! First Incantation! Twin Prediction!

59 60 62 65 67 71

Stacking the Deck! Simple Miracle 4! Love Connection! The In-Deck Index Plus Miracles! The Remembered Deck! Sylvania!

73 74 76 78 80 81

Last Word!

82

Click any trick name to go to that page.

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Also by Pete McCabe Scripting Magic Astonishing New Twists with Paul Harris’ Reality Twister Featuring Lubor’s Lens Web Test Pizza Every Day for a Month Bowling Every Day for a Month

Thanks to Bob Farmer and Richard Kaufman for their contributions. Rick Cowley for proofreading. Shawn McMaster for proofreading. Bill Goodwin for everything else.

Everything I do is dedicated to Pattie, Monty, and Robby.

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The PM Card Mark System The PM Card Mark System is an easy card-marking system that you can apply to a Bicycle Rider-back deck in minutes, for just pennies. I’ve been using it for twelve years now. It works. In this book/pdf/ebook/ibook/epub/torrent, you’ll learn how to put the PM Card Mark System to work for you. You’ll learn to mark your own decks quickly and easily. You’ll learn some great tricks using your new marked deck, many of which are coincidentally dead easy to do. I have some ideas for using your marked deck to strengthen tricks you already do, and a section on ways to use a PM-marked deck in memorized order to create absolute miracles. You’ll See The PM Card Mark System is the only one I know that has these three features: •! Mark it yourself with a Sharpie •! Value and suit are written in easy-to-read numbers and letters •! Marks can be read from a deck spread between your hands For many years I worked on a way to mark a deck of cards to meet these criteria, and twelve years ago I came up with the system you’re about to read. Now I mark every deck I use. It takes about 15 minutes and is incredibly powerful. Just try it once. Tonight, spend a half hour less online in a magic forum, and use that time to mark a deck of cards. See if you don’t fool the hell out of everybody.

Update v1.1 This is version 1.1 of this book, which means that it has a couple of new tricks and the occasional new idea for an existing trick. If you’ve already read it and are just looking for the new stuff, do a find for “Update v1.1” Or, read the whole thing again. You never know when a trick that you skipped over the first will look better the second time around.

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References The first card mark system I used in any meaningful way was Bob Farmer’s Farmarx system, which uses a Sharpie to… it’s a little tricky to explain, because some of the marks work differently than others. But basically you change part of the back design to create shapes that indicate the numbers and letters of the values and suits. I used the Farmarx system for years and it was the thing that convinced me to put in the time to create my own system. My primary goal was to move the marks closer to the corner so you could read them from a spread. But I was also influenced by Ted Lesley’s system, which was the second I used. Ted’s is the easiest to read—it puts the suit and value right on the card—but ultimately, it was too expensive for me to use it all the time. My system was created to do the same basic thing, but in a way that I could put on myself with a Sharpie. I have since learned that the idea of putting the suit and value right on the card was first published by Al Baker as “The Baker Readers” in Pet Secrets (1951). I also learned that the basic idea of creating the marks by modifying the card’s existing back design was also Baker’s. He drew white lines by scratching away the ink with the pointed corner of a razor blade. If only he had a Sharpie. I’ve also since learned that Harry Riser’s Marking System in The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser uses an ultrafine Sharpie to block out certain white parts of the design of the Bicycle back, so it resembles the index of the card. Thanks to Bill Goodwin for bringing this to my attention. Feints and Temps also has a couple of great marked-card tricks to add to your arsenal.

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Materials Required • A deck of cards The PM System is designed for Bicycle Rider Back cards and is specific to that brand. Once you get the idea, you should be able to apply it to many other brands (although I doubt you’ll be able to make it work with Bee-backed cards). • An ultrafine Sharpie You can use a standard blue Sharpie for a blue deck. I used that for years; it’s not a perfect match but it works. Fortunately, a few years ago Sharpie introduced a rainbow of new colors, and the “Navy” colored Sharpie is the exact color of blue Bicycle cards. You may have to go to an art supply store if your local Office Depot doesn’t carry them, or just go to officedepot.com. Get a couple. The standard red Sharpie is a perfect match for red-backed Bicycles. • A comfortable chair Use one that allows you to work comfortably leaning forward. • A desk or other clean working surface Clear yourself a little extra space the first couple of times you mark a deck. • A good light Don’t underestimate the value of good light, especially if—like me—you mark your decks at night, after everyone else in your family has gone to sleep. The marks are of necessity small, and applying them in dim light adds unnecessary stress on your eyes. I can mark a complete deck in about twenty minutes, but it’s twenty minutes of fairly close work. A comfortable, well-lit working environment makes everything easier.

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Understanding the System The first step in putting this marking system to work for you is to look at the angel, in the upper left corner of the standard Bicycle back design. All your marks are going to be written in this area. The value of the card will be written in the body of the angel, while the suit is written in the swoopy white thing under the angel.! Okay, let’s have a look at the mark for the Ace of Spades. I’ll explain how to draw the marks in a bit: for now let’s just have a look inside the two white circles. The A is on a bit of an angle, but even at a glance the A and S are immediately obvious and easily readable. Here’s the King of Clubs. Again, both K and C are very easily readable. Reference Points Now that you know what you’re looking for, have another look at the unmarked angel above. See the line formed between the crook of the right elbow and the armpit? Believe it or not, that line is the key to the whole system. I’m going to call it the arm line, and I’m going to call it that a lot. The next most commonly mentioned reference point will be the angel’s nipples. I swear you will never hear angel’s nipples mentioned so many times in your life, but they’re an integral part of the system. Just remember that when I say the left nipple, I mean the angel’s left, so it’s the one to the right from your perspective. Between the arm line and the nipples, you’re good to go.

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Drawing the Marks These instructions for drawing the marks might seem unnecessarily detailed. In fact, they have been called “insane” by a magician you and I both respect greatly. You probably don’t need them. If you can draw, you can just look at the marks and reproduce them, probably even better than I made them. If you can’t draw, like me, then you hate people like that. But you can still just look at the pictures and copy them. You’re not making art, just a readable mark. So feel free to skip ahead. The most important tip by far is: get into a routine. Put the deck on your table face up. Take the top card and put it on the table face down. Mark it, then stack it face down next to the (face up) deck. Doing this consistently will greatly reduce the number of times you will put the wrong suit on the back of a card. By the way, if you do mis-mark a card, immediately tear it in half, or maybe practice your Mercury Fold with it. Don’t take the chance of it getting into your deck. When you’re done, double-check the marks on every card, at both ends. You aren’t finished marking the deck until you have checked every mark on every card. Reference Card Here’s a picture of the angel again. Take a moment to notice the following details, all of which will be mentioned in the instructions that follow.

the left collarbone the right collarbone the left end of the arm line the point of the shoulder

the left nipple the right nipple the elbow of the arm line the place where the right breast line intersects the arm line

Suits are drawn in the swoopy thing that covers the angel’s lower half. I’m going to call it the swoopy thing. There are no parts. It’s just the swoopy thing.

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Ace Draw a line from the left nipple, through the right nipple, down to the point of the right shoulder. Draw a line from the left nipple, straight down through the elbow of the arm line and across the arm. Draw a line between the first two lines, filling in the arm line, making it more even. Two Starting from the elbow of the arm line and moving left, draw the curved bottom of the two. Going up from the left side of the curve, make the hook top. Three First a straight line across from the middle of the neck to the left nipple. Then a straight line from the left nipple down to the left end of the arm line. Finally a curve that starts along the arm line and then curves back under. Four First a line straight down through the left collarbone to just past the left end of the arm line Then a line straight down from the left nipple till it touches the solid blue under the arm. Finally a line connecting the two vertical lines, filling in the arm line. Five Start with a short vertical line, from the end of the arm line, up until you’re level with the left nipple. Now a short horizontal line from the top of the first line to the left nipple. Finally a curve that starts along the arm line and then curves back under. This is the same as the bottom of the three.

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Six First, draw a small circle that starts at the elbow of the arm line, sweeps left with the arm line, then curves down and circles back around. Now, starting at the left nipple, draw a curve that swoops down through the right nipple and merges with the left/ bottom of the circle. Nipple nipple nipple! Sorry, I… sorry. Seven A horizontal line from the right collarbone to the left nipple. The line should just touch the nipple. Diagonal line from the left nipple, through the place where the right breast line intersects the arm line, across the arm. This is a European 7 with the line across the stem. Eight Draw a circle that starts at the elbow of the arm line, sweeps left with the arm line, then curves down and circles back around—like you’re starting a six. Draw a duplicate circle above the first one. Try to incorporate the breast line. For God’s sake don’t stare at it. Nine The right breast is a quarter circle. Draw in the complete circle. Draw a vertical line that just touches the rightmost point of the circle, down across the arm to the solid blue. Note that the vertical line doesn’t blend into the circle; the left edge of the vertical line just touches the right edge of the circle. Ten Draw a line from the left nipple, through the place where the right breast intersects the arm line, across the arm to solid blue. Draw a line that thickens and extends the left half of the arm line all the way to solid blue on both ends. You’ve just drawn an X, a Roman numeral 10. The idea of using X for 10 goes all the way back to Al Baker.

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Jack Start by making a shallow u-shaped curve along the arm line. Then a vertical line through the left nipple. Horizontal line on top goes across into the angel’s left arm. Queen All you’ll be drawing is an oval. It starts where the right breast intersects the arm line, and goes up, following the right breast. It sweeps around, not touching solid blue anywhere, and comes back to the intersection where it started. The arm line makes the tail of the Q. King Vertical line from the left collarbone, through the end of the arm line, across the arm to the blue background. Diagonal line from the left nipple to the end of the arm line. Diagonal line that thickens the arm line then continues across the arm. Clubs Your c can touch the right edge of the swoopy thing at the bottom right, but not at the middle left or at the top right. Diamonds Make an uppercase D, and make sure the left straight side is straight. Hearts Lowercase h. The single line sticking up is an important visual cue for your eye.

Spades S. Meh. It’s an s. Don’t touch the edges of the swoopy thing.

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Key Card The last step is to corner mark the Three of Clubs. Here’s how: The Rider back design has a thin white border that runs all the way around the inside of the blue rectangular background. Fill in this line at the corner. Do all four corners. It may seem like overkill to mark a key card in a marked deck, but they really provide different functions and work extremely well together. This simple mark can be spotted in any spread much more quickly than a single card can be identified, and can be detected from a greater distance than the marks themselves. A lot of tricks get much easier or cleaner or stronger with just this simple mark on one card.

While we’re at it, put a breather crimp in the card. It can’t hurt, and quite often it makes real miracles possible. Most breathers I’ve seen are made with the thumbs on the back of the card, so the crimped card will cut to the bottom. I want to cut the key card to the top of the deck, so I can see the corner mark and know where it is. So I make the breather with the thumbs on the face of the card. Even if you decide that this marking system is too much work, don’t overlook the value of having this simple key card in your deck. If I go to somebody’s house, and there’s a deck of cards, I’ll corner mark the Three of Clubs with a ball-point-pen.

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Card Case When you are done marking a deck, the last step is to mark the card case. I mark every deck I use, but sometimes I’ll open a deck without marking it. So it’s pretty handy to be sure, before you even pick up the case, that the cards inside are marked. What I do is apply the key card mark to the image of the back design on the cardcase. Just fill in the four corners and you’re good to go.

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Assorted Miracles Like any magical method, a marked deck is only valuable if there are extremely strong tricks that use it. Fortunately, there are. Some of them are in this section right here. The value of the following tricks is that they are great tricks, well constructed. They are clean, direct, miraculous. What they aren’t is big original ideas; I use proven techniques combined and adapted to the capabilities of the marking system. So what the following may lack in novelty, they more than make up in directness and power. What else? Carl Ballantine used to levitate the lid off a basket, then take an oversized scissors and cut the invisible thread that had been holding it up, whereupon it would fall to the stage. He looked up at the audience with a shrug and asked, “how else?” There are a lot of magic tricks that suffer when considered from this perspective, and it is an especially important consideration when using marked cards. Almost everyone who has heard of playing cards has heard of marked cards. So if you do any trick with a marked deck, you want to keep the audience from thinking that a marked deck may have been involved. The best way is to combine the marked deck with another secret—a gaff, sleight of hand, or some other secret principal—so that the audience won’t even consider a marked deck, because a marked deck wouldn’t explain anything. Each of the routines in this book uses some other secret in combination with the marked deck. The secret may be an additional gaff, or a sleight, or a principle, or even, as we’ll see, just a compelling presentation. But there is always something to keep the idea of the marked deck from even coming up. Who is Alex? When I wrote Scripting Magic I used some standard names for spectators. Lee was anyone on your left, Chris was in the center, and Ricky was on the right. If the trick required a couple, the woman was Eve and the man was Adam. The most common name was Alex, which indicated anyone, either gender, sitting anywhere. When I started writing this book I figured I wouldn’t bother with this, especially since all I would require is Alex. But in writing up the descriptions it quickly became very awkward to write “the spectator” all the time. So every time there’s a spectator, I’m going to call him or her Alex. Alex. Remember that name.

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Stop Sign This is a severely clean version of the classic stop trick. You never touch the deck and most of the trick can be done with your back turned. No Setup Alex shuffles the deck and tables it. While this happens, make a show of warming up your mind-reading sensitivity. When Alex stops shuffling, say “I knew you were going to stop there. I’m warming up.” Rub your temples with your thumbs, as though this were difficult work, and while your hand shields your eyes, read the top card. Turn away. If you are not sure of Alex’s ability to correctly interpret your instructions, it may be better to move a small distance away, so it is clear that you cannot see the cards, but you can watch Alex and make sure your instructions are followed. Have Alex pick up the deck, saying “Deal cards one at a time into a neat pile on the table. Stop dealing any time when you have a card in your hand.” Alex looks at this card, memorizes it, and puts it back on the deck. The pile from the table is put on top and the deck is tabled. Have Alex cut the deck, then cut it again. Now Alex picks up the deck and begins dealing cards from the top, face up, saying the name of every card. “Please do not give anything away when you reach your card, just keep reading.” Listen for the card you saw on top of the deck. The next card is the selection—you can say “stop” right when Alex names it. Or Let Alex go two cards past the selection, and say “Wait a minute—you just said it. I didn’t notice your voice change when you said it, but I noticed when it changed back. Repeat the last three cards.” When Alex repeats the selected card, that’s when you say “Stop! That’s your card, the three of whatever. Clubs! The three of Clubs!” Notes The idea of this script is that I am hearing something in Alex’s voice. So at the end, I don’t even know what card it is, because I wasn’t paying attention to what was being said, only how. This is just one possible presentation. Stop Sign is one of those useful tricks where the script is entirely separate from the method. You have to talk Alex through the process,

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but the magical power you are demonstrating can be many things. And you are very free to add details to that power—to make it more specific, thus more real—without worrying that the method won’t support them. I think this is because the underlying methods—marked cards and the key-card principle—are both very basic. By this I don’t mean simple, I mean fundamental. They are more powerful because they are at the base. In many ways the most basic assumption about playing cards is that you can not identify them from the back. That is the basis of all real-world uses of playing cards. Basic methods make it easy to develop presentations. The fewer requirements your method imposes on what you say, the freer you are to say what you want. I like that.

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Core Meltdown This trick started when Magic Castle librarian Bill Goodwin showed me an online demo of a Pit Hartling trick called “The Core.” In effect the spectator freely named any card, and Pit went through the deck and eliminated half of it, again and again, until there was only one card—the selection. With a marked deck, I realized, you could do the same trick but allow the spectator to shuffle at the beginning. Gradually the presentation expanded itself into the following which can involve up to five spectators. This really is a damned miracle. Look at it from the spectator’s perspective: they shuffle, they make a free choice of a card, they make all the choices to eliminate cards, and they end up with the chosen card. This trick uses the marked deck in combination with equivoque. This is not hard to do, but the process is not fun to read about, and even less fun to write. Just remember that any equivoque process takes many times longer to read than to perform. There are a number of ways to do a full deck equivoque, so if you already know one, use it. I’ll describe it for five spectators: Alex1 through Alex5. In the Variations section we’ll go over how to adjust to an audience of fewer than five. Go Hand the deck to Alex1. Alex1 shuffles or cuts the deck and names either red or black. Alex1 hands the deck to Alex2, who shuffles (or cuts, whatever) and chooses a suit. Alex3 shuffles, chooses even or odd; Alex4 chooses high or low; and Alex5 chooses a single value. Let’s say they end up at the Three of Clubs. So, and you might want to emphasize this, a single card has been named, in the fairest possible way, and the deck is thoroughly mixed. Now you’re going to have a card chosen physically. “To make it dramatic, we’ll do it like a game show, by process of elimination.” Now you pick up the deck and deal it into two piles on the table. Two things have to happen here. The first is that you have to read the marks so you see which pile the selected card goes into. The second is that you have to do it so casually that no one

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would ever suspect you were reading the marks on the back of the cards. Your script can cover both objectives. “Alex1, in a second you’re going to have to make a choice. I cannot influence you, it would invalidate everything, so I will not even look you in the face. (Look down, and start dealing.) But everybody else can watch, as you do your psychic warmup, so you can make a quick decision. What would a psychic warmup look like, anyway? Show us. Remember, you must not think. Can you do that?” This script justifies your looking down, but more importantly, it allows Alex1 to join in the fun of the show in a non-threatening manner, which absolutely commands attention. Often, while you are looking down, everyone else will laugh at some funny face Alex1 makes, which is a chance for you to say that you wish you could look, which will get a laugh while making a memorable reminder of the fairness of the trick. You end by asking if Alex1 can answer immediately, so you can play off of how fast Alex1 answers this question. At some point along the way, you will see the named card. Deal it slightly jogged to the right. Try to remember about how far down it is. Definitely remember what pile it’s in. This is the hardest part of the trick, by the way—delivering this short speech in a natural way while also reading the marks of every card. One thing that helps is to deal carefully, keeping both piles square. This very naturally motivates going at a slower pace. But what really helps is practicing this skill. Name any card, then deal the deck into two piles, delivering your speech. It makes no difference whether you memorize the script or improvise it every time—to do it effectively takes practice. How much? As much as you practice any sleight-of-hand sequence. When you are ready, turn your head towards Alex1 and say “Ready? Immediately, now —left or right?” If Alex1 says “Left,” you say “Left!” and pick up the pile that contains the selection. If Alex1 says “Right,” you say “Right!” and pick up the pile that contains the selection. In other words, no matter what Alex1 says, you repeat it, then pick up the pile you want. The deception works two ways—you don’t say if you mean your right or their right, and you don’t say if you’re going to eliminate or use the one they say. In equivoque, I believe, clever wording is nice, but what matters most is that you act as though you are simply executing the standard process of elimination, based on what Alex1 says. You don’t have to act, really. In fact, don’t act. Just repeat what they said to no one in particular, and pick up the packet.

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While you are picking up the packet, get a break over (or under) the selection. Take the 26 eliminated cards and hand them to Alex1. “Here, you voted these off the island, make sure the Three of Clubs isn’t in there.” While Alex1 is doing this, you begin dealing the 26 cards into two piles, one in front of you and the other in front of Alex2. This time you know exactly when the selection will come, so you can note which pile it’s in, and rightjog it, without paying attention to the dealing at all. Don’t look at Alex2, but look sideways at other people; this is at least a little funny and extremely disarming. At some point Alex1 will confirm that the Three of Clubs was not eliminated—react to that, you’re impressed. Turn back to Alex2. “Alex2, you have the next choice. Are you ready?” Again you have a chance to discuss the immediacy—or lack thereof—of Alex2’s reply. When Alex2 is ready you say “quickly: front or back?” Whatever Alex2 says, you pick up the pile with the selection, regaining the break. Hand Alex2 the eliminated pile to check, and turn to Alex3. Tell Alex2 to make sure you didn’t eliminate the Three of Clubs. The same two-layer deception as in the first choice works for you here as well. Tell Alex3 to do a quick psychic warm up as you deal out the 13 cards. Notice that each time you deal, it’s only half the time of the previous deal, so you have less and less time to prep each spectator for their psychic warmup. This natural rhythm is a very powerful thing, by the way. Ask Alex3 to pick up either packet; if it has the selection, continue by saying “and hand it to me.” If it doesn’t have the selection, nod, then pick up the other packet. Either way, turn and ask Alex4 to hold out both hands, and then, as an aside, remind Alex3 to “make sure you didn’t chop the Three of Clubs.” Deal your cards—either 7 or 6, depending on which pile the selection ended up in—into Alex4’s hands. Start dealing at normal speed, but speak fast, saying “Alex4 you need to warm-up quickly, because important decisions come upon you in life when you least expect it, and put down one group of cards!” Again, if the selection is put down, you pick up that packet. If Alex4 holds the selection, nod, and reach out for the packet. When you turn to Alex5 you are left with either three (usually) or four cards, depending on the selections in the previous two stages. For three cards I use the following, which I believe was Annemann’s preferred procedure. Hand all three to Alex5 and say “Quickly, hand me back any two.” If Alex5 keeps the selection, you say “You eliminate these two. If they are not the Three of Clubs…” turn them both over, then direct Alex5 to turn over the card in her hand to climax the miracle. If you get the selection, nod at the card Alex5 is holding and say

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“eliminate that one, turn it over.” Alex5 does; it’s not the Three of Clubs. Now take one from me.” If Alex5 takes the selection, you wave the card you are holding and say “eliminate this one,” show that it is not the Three of Clubs, and toss it to the table. Keep staring at the card in Alex5’s hand until it is revealed, then lead the reaction. If Alex5 leaves the selection in your hand, nod at the card Alex5 is holding and say “eliminate that one, turn it over.” Wait until Alex5 does so, then look at the card in your hand, smile, and reveal the miracle. For four cards I use a sequence from Gary Ouellet’s book Close Up Illusions. Pick them up, mix them around until the selection is third from top, then spread the four. “Pick up the first finger of your right hand and touch any card…” Usually Alex5 will touch the selection (second from your left), in which case say “We eliminate these last three,” turn them over, and conclude as above. If Alex5 doesn’t touch the selection, just continue “… and with the first finger of your left hand, touch any card.” Now at this point if Alex5 is touching the selection, you eliminate the two cards not being touched. Otherwise you eliminate the two cards being touched. At this point in the routine you are basically just mumbling “eliminate those,” like it’s not necessary to repeat but you’re just saying it for completeness sake. Either way there are two cards left. Hold one in each hand and say “take one of these.” If Alex5 takes the selection, you turn your card over and toss it on the table, saying “eliminate this one.” If you are still holding the selection, nod at the card in Alex5’s hand, say “eliminate that one,” and then reveal the miracle. Whew! One of the things that is difficult to convey in print is how energetic the equivoque part of this process is. Every deal is twice as fast as the one before, so the pacing is built into the routine. And each selection spins off a side eddy of activity as the eliminated pile is searched and—still good so far!—doesn’t have the Three of Clubs. The drama builds automatically and people can’t help but get swept up in it. When the final card is turned over, the release of tension is tremendous. Variations If you are doing the trick for fewer than 5 people, some of the people are going to have to make more than one choice, both in selecting a card and in the elimination phase. With two people you can just have one pick a suit and the other a value. I will leave it to you to adapt to any number between 2 and 5. But I will say this: make the selection process conversational. Talk to the people about the choices they make. Talk to them about whether they choose to shuffle or cut the cards, and how they shuffle. Ask if they play cards. Talk with them. This trick has tremendous potential for you to interact with the audience. That’s one of the strongest features of the trick. That plus the fact that it’s a miracle.

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At several points you pick up half the deck, obtaining or reestablishing a break over the selection. You can eliminate the need to reestablish the break by the simple expedient of not squaring up the cards. Just pick up the partially unsquared packet, and deal without squaring. If you try this you’ll see that it looks very fair. Ace Proofreader Rich Cowley suggests corner crimping the selection when you locate it, so you can keep track of it and grab your breaks more easily. Credits As mentioned, this was inspired by Pit Hartling’s “The Core,” which uses a different method. You can download the video of Pit’s trick at www.vanishingincmagic.com, or read it in Steve Beam’s Semi-Automatic Card Tricks Volume 7.

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Three Simple Miracles This is a trio of closely related applications of a marked deck to one of the very best and most powerful things you can do with a deck of cards. In effect, Alex freely chooses a card, and you divine it. The reality is almost exactly that clean. This basic effect is the first trick you might think of for your new marked deck. But if you don’t do it carefully, it’s pretty easy for your audience to come up with the very same idea. For example, if you just have people choose a card from a spread, and you read the back, and divine the card, it won’t take too long before somebody says “Aw, those must be marked cards.” Because of the way these tricks are done, a marked deck will not occur to your audience, since it wouldn’t explain anything. In fact, in all of these tricks there is a moment where you can mention that some people will think you are using a marked deck, specifically to cancel that method. Any of these tricks can be done by itself or in combination with other tricks, but they are written to do all three in a row. They are just different enough that they can be presented as demonstrating the same psychic power under increasingly strict conditions.

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Simple Miracle 1 This is very possibly the best trick in the book. The effect on the audience is very strong. The handling is incredibly clean and it looks very much exactly like what real mentalism would look like. I mention this because it does not read like the great secret in magic you’ve been looking for. Just try it. Setup Start with your key card Three of Clubs on top. Go Shuffle if you like, keeping the key card on top. Or you can shuffle freely and then at the end, cut at the breather crimp to bring it to the top. Either way it’s very easy to shuffle casually, completely disarming, and end up with the Three of Clubs on top. Put the deck on the table and ask Alex to cut off any number of cards and hold them together. Alex now looks at the face card of the cut off packet (i.e. the cut-to card) and remembers it. Alex cuts the packet, and then lifts up some of the cards still on the table to bury the packet in the middle. You can turn your back for some or all of this procedure, but just keep in mind that if Alex doesn’t follow your instructions, the trick won’t work. At this point you recap how extremely fair that selection and return process was, and it sure was. The selection was completely free, and it is well and truly lost—neither you nor Alex have any idea where in the deck it is. But there’s one thing you do know: you know that it is directly above your key card. The Three of Clubs starts on top. Alex cuts off a packet, which has the Three of Clubs on top, and remembers the bottom card. When this packet is cut, the selection ends up directly over the key. You are now going to read the marks in the context of a completely natural action, which the spectators will not remember as part of the process at all. What happens is, while you are talking about how fair that selection process was, you pick up the deck. “A lot of magicians, when you pick a card, they spread the deck,” and here you pick up and spread the deck, “and some of them can make you pick a certain card. But you cut anywhere,” you continue, as you retable the deck, “so I couldn’t possibly force you.” To the audience, this little interlude is nothing more than an illustration of an alternate process that wasn’t used in this trick. So no one remembers it.

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But it’s actually the method. Because when you spread the deck, you find the key card, and then you read the mark of the card just above the key. Take your time and don’t stare. Spread until you catch a glimpse of the key, then look up to the spectator as you are talking. Now, as you mention that other magicians “can make you pick a certain card,” look back at the deck as you take the card above the key and outjog it, as though pretend-forcing it on the spectator. Put the deck down, making a point of having your hands off it when you get to the words “so I couldn’t possibly force you.” Now you read Alex’s mind. I hate to tell you, after this dead easy method, that this is by far the hardest part of the trick. If you can make it seem that you are reading Alex’s mind, the trick will be a miracle. If it seems like you somehow knew the card, that will be a great trick. But not a miracle. So it’s worth practicing pretending that you are reading someone’s mind. Variation A simple variation of the selection process is to hand the deck to the spectator and have them pull any card out of the middle, memorize it, drop it on top, and then cut the deck. I don’t like this as much because I think that no matter how clearly you explain it, some spectators will want to stick their card back into the middle. But it is entirely in the hands, so it’s good to know.

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Simple Miracle 2 Setup Start by cutting the Three of Clubs back to top. You did put in a breather crimp, didn’t you? Go Go through the same selection process as Simple Miracle 1, pointing out all the points of fairness. Ask the spectator to cut either high or low, “just to add even more randomness.” If you didn’t turn away during the first selection process, you can do it now, since the spectators know what to do and are much less likely to screw up (talk them through it, though, just to make sure). At this point, to repeat the whole explanation of how some magicians can make you pick a certain card would be extremely suspicious. So instead, when Alex leaves the deck on the table, you lean in and try to get a telepathic link. But what do you know, you’re not getting it. Take a guess at the color, and then, right or wrong, say you think Alex needs to see the card again, to solidify the visual image. Pick up the deck and hold it in front of Alex, backs to you of course. Spread the cards as you explain “even though I couldn’t know where the card is, don’t react when you see it.” While spreading, spot the key and read the card above it. Ask if Alex saw the card; Alex will say “yes.” Hmm. Still not getting it, so hand Alex the deck to find the card, and cut it to the face. Now, when Alex is staring at the card, you finally start getting an image. Slowly you name the card.

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Simple Miracle 3 Setup None. This trick begins with Alex shuffling the deck, so it’s fairer than Simple Miracle 1. But the revelation is not quite as direct. Just a trade off you’ll have to consider. Go Have Alex shuffle the deck and table it. You can talk about test conditions, or how somebody must be suspicious. Now lean in as you explain what Alex is going to do: “You’re going to cut some cards, from the middle. Pick up some cards with your left hand” Mime doing this as you explain, reaching out with your hand towards the deck and pretending to lift up some cards. As you do this, read the top card. Remember; if you have the corner marked Three of Clubs with a breather crimp, often this card will be right on top, which you can see as the spectator puts the deck down on the table, so you don’t even have to lean in. While looking away, direct Alex, through a combination of words and hand gestures, to cut off a group of cards with the left hand, then use the right hand to cut off another group of cards, which comes from the middle. The group in the left hand goes back on top. Cutting from the middle, you explain, is the fairest possible way to cut cards. Now have Alex look at the bottom card of the packet, remember it, drop the packet on top of the rest of the deck, and cut the cards. The selection is now above the card you read, which you can’t just spot in a spread, like you could the Three of Clubs. So you’re going to have to go through a little different process to find it. First, though, ask Alex to think of the card, while you try to read it. But again, it’s not coming through. So you ask Alex to imagine the face of the card, and hold that image. And you pick up the deck, and turn the top card over, holding it in your right hand, right above the deck, so only you can see it. Stare at it for a second, then shake your head and throw it on the table. “This isn’t your card,” you proclaim, and then, just in case, look at Alex and say “right?” When Alex agrees, you turn over the next card and repeat the process. Turn, look, toss on table. Each time you toss a card, say “no.” Don’t take too long with each card.

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What you are really doing, each time you turn up a card, is reading the mark on the next card, on top of the deck. When you see the card you read during the selection process, you know that the card facing you is the selection. Announce “This is it,” holding the card up back to the audience. Ask Alex to name the card, and then turn it around to reveal that you have succeeded one last time.

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The Rule of Three Prediction This simple trick combines the marked deck with one of the most reliable forces in all of card magic. It’s a lot of fun to perform. You get to do a little acting, but it’s not critical to the trick. In other words, if your acting doesn’t fool them, the trick still will. So it’s a good trick to work on your acting skills without any pressure. Remember—a conjuror is an actor playing the part of a magician. A few years ago, Allan Zola Kronzek asked me if I would contribute to a book that would teach magic to disadvantaged youth and adults. I thought this was a great and noble idea. I contributed this presentation, which is fun to do and fools the hell out of people. Since Allan’s book, The Book of Powers, is for beginners, I described a non-marked-deck version, with the performer openly looking through the cards before making three predictions. But it is even better with a marked deck, as you never handle the cards. The basic effect is that Alex shuffles the deck, you write three predictions, and Alex cuts to three different cards. The predictions are revealed; the first two are just gags, but the third is a miracle. This is an extremely durable structure for comedy magic: the first gag is funny because of the surprise, then the second makes people suspect that the whole thing is a put-on, which makes the third into a real stunning surprise. Go Have Alex shuffle the deck and place it face down on the table. While that is happening, take out three small pieces of paper—or one piece and tear it into three pieces. When the deck is placed on the table, do not look at it. Instead, stare at Alex’s right hand and take a slow, deep breath. Take one of the pieces of paper and write, so that no one else can see, “Unexpected.” Fold this and put it down next to the deck. Stare at Alex’s left hand, then take the second piece of paper and write “Funny.” Fold this and put it next to the first prediction, and while you’re doing that read the top card of the deck. Let’s say it’s the Three of Clubs. Write “Three of Clubs” on the third prediction, fold it, and put it on the table. Now you’re going to talk Alex through the Cut Deeper force. This is not hard, but it’s worth remembering that many spectators are not familiar with playing cards—certainly not as familiar as you are. So be careful how you word your instructions. If you say “cut

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off half the deck,” Alex many not quite understand, or may just hear “cut” and pick up and cut the deck. To avoid that, say “With your right hand, pick up less than half of the deck, turn it face up, and put it back on the rest of the deck.” Alex turns over a block of cards, revealing a random card—let’s say it’s the seven of hearts. Look surprised and say “With your right hand you cut to… the seven of hearts? I did not expect that! Just remember—two out of three is still a miracle.” Take the seven of hearts and put it on the table, next to the first prediction. Return your attention to Alex and say “Now with your left hand, pick up more than half the deck and turn it over.” Alex turns over another group of cards, revealing another random card—call it the queen of spades. You react by laughing “Ha—that’s funny. Your left hand cut to the queen of spades.” Laugh again, then stop and say “To me, anyway.”Slide the queen of spades over next to the second prediction. Now spread the deck across the table. The top half is face up, the bottom half face down. Slide the face up cards aside and point at the top card of the face down half, saying “Let’s take the card both your hands cut to.” Without showing it, slide that card over next to the third prediction. Pause for a moment to build a little drama, then say “All three of my predictions are correct! Your right hand cut to the seven of hearts. My prediction was…” Reveal the first prediction and say “Unexpected! You remember, I said, I did not expect that.” Pause for a second here. Just to give everyone a chance to laugh (maybe), or to groan (which means they’re hooked), but mostly so they realize that you are just playing. Continue “your left hand cut to the queen of spades. My second prediction was…” Turn over the second prediction—it says “Funny.” Immediately: “You remember the queen of spades—that was funny! (Laugh) To me, anyway.” This mini callback helps make sure that everyone realizes that the whole thing is a joke. You are about the pull the rug out from under that idea, of course, but before you do, make sure that everyone is standing on it. Open the final prediction and look at it for a second—this pause helps set the hook “My final prediction says “Three of Clubs.” Pause again—not long, but just a beat, before you continue “Wouldn’t that be a miracle, if the card you cut to, with both hands…” Turn over the final card. It’s the three of Clubs!

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Notes I hope I don’t have to explain, to a magician buying a manuscript of a method for marking your own deck, the Cut Deeper Force. Let me repeat my suggestion that you pay close attention to the wording of the instructions you give Alex. You don’t have to say what I say, but whatever you say, pay close attention. And if Alex does it wrong and the prediction card is lost, don’t panic. Just apologize—always apologize, even if it’s Alex’s fault—and start the whole trick over. At most you have to change one prediction. This trick is a good example of misdirection. The script talks about cutting with the right hand, then the left hand, then finally the card cut to with both hands. It makes no difference which hand the spectator cuts with. But at the time, the spectators are so busy with each individual cut that they can’t follow what’s really happening with the cutdeeper procedure. By the time you spread the deck at the end for “the card both hands cut to,” it’s too late. The spectators have no chance. This is what misdirection really is. It’s not getting people to look the other way so they can’t see you do the secret move. It’s getting people to focus on something else, so they can watch everything and not see anything. That way you can relax during the trick— you can’t get caught! You can have two different people cut the cards, and just change the script: The card you cut to, the card you cut to, the card you both cut to. Variations You can change the first two predictions. Any two gags will work. For example when the spectator turns over the first card you can say “the seven of hearts—no!” Then, after the second card, say “Queen of spades—Yes!” The predictions say “No” and “Yes.” Anything that calls back to what you said when Alex cut the cards. The trick is to make a big enough deal about it the first time so people will remember it later on, but not so big that it becomes obvious that you’re setting something up. Buy the Book Allan’s book is called The Book of Powers, and it is part of Hocus Pocus, an outreach program run by Bill Kalush and the Conjuring Arts Research Center. Find out more at www.conjuringarts.org.

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Perfect Prediction Effect You jot a prediction on a piece of paper. Alex freely shuffles the deck and slides out one card. Your prediction reads, say, the five of hearts. Alex turns over the card and it’s the five of hearts. It’s exactly that clean. No force, no switch, no nothing. Method You only pretend to write on the paper. Spread the shuffled deck across the table and ask Alex to slide a card half way out—not all the way, half way, and slowly. Demonstrate as you do this by sliding any random card half way out. Explain that Alex can switch to a different card; push the card back in and slide out another. But when the card leaves the spread and is no longer touching the other cards, the decision is final. Saying this you point at the end of the card where it last touches the spread. Now Alex will slide out a card, and either switch or not; this is fertile ground for interaction with and about Alex. When the card finally leaves the spread, everyone will be looking at the end of the card where it last touches the spread. This is when you read the mark. Let’s say it’s the three of Clubs. Direct Alex to leave the card on the table without looking at it yet. Pick up the paper, pretend to read it, and say “my prediction was the Three of Clubs. What card did you pick?” While Alex is turning over the card, you nailwrite 3C on the paper. It’s a miracle. Toss the paper to the table as though it were unimportant. Let someone else pick it up if they want but please resist the temptation to suggest it. The Details The idea of combining a marked deck with a nail writer is old. Harry Riser’s aforementioned Feints and Temps of Harry Riser has a classic version, which features a terrific way of having the spectator choose and return their card while your back is turned, delaying the reading of the mark in an extremely well-constructed way. Definitely worth looking up.

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Riser’s trick uses a construction which is standard, but which I think has a serious drawback. In it, Alex picks a card and looks at it; you read the mark. Now, before Alex announces the selection, you pick up your prediction, nail write the card, and hand it out for a spectator to read. I think this is the wrong time to do the nail writing. Once Alex knows the selection, all attention is on the prediction. But if Alex doesn’t know, when you miscall the prediction, all attention goes to the selection. So the nail writing is much better covered. If you’re new to nail writing, this is a great first nail-writing trick. If you fold your prediction, when you unfold it, turn it upside down before pretending to read it. This is a great subtle convincer. Don’t say anything about it. You’ll ruin it. This is another great example of the power of combining two secrets. They perfectly cancel each other; neither a marked deck nor a secret writing device would, by itself, explain the uncanny prediction. Variations David Regal thinks you don’t need a nail writer for this trick. He thinks that instead of pretending to write a prediction, you write your initials on the paper. After you announce the prediction and it is proven correct, mumble something about initialing the prediction, and that’s when you write in the value. I think this is a tantalizing idea, but I don’t know when you would do it. Doing it after you announce the prediction seems to call unwanted attention to the fact that you’re writing on the prediction, right when Alex wants to see if it’s right. Initialing the paper after the card is revealed seems strange and unmotivated. If you could solve it, and you didn’t need a nail writer, that would be a plus. I’ve considered just dropping my hand with the card into my lap—all attention is on the face down selection—and write the name of the card against your leg. I never tried it— the idea of putting the slip out of sight makes me uncomfortable—but perhaps you could make it work. I continue to search for an impromptu, no nailwriter version. I know I have said this already in this book, but imagine the effect on the spectator. You write a prediction. They shuffle and select one card. The prediction is revealed, the card is revealed, they match. This trick by itself is worth learning to nail write.

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Seven Shuffles A number of years ago, Persi Diaconis published a paper in which he proved that it takes seven shuffles to really randomize a deck of cards. The paper is highly technical and few magicians have read it or understand more than the most basic ideas. Fortunately, whether you understand this paper or not, or even if you’ve never heard of it—it makes for an interesting presentation for this supremely direct miracle. Effect You spread the cards, showing that the deck is in new deck order. Alex shuffles the deck seven times and puts it down; you watch the shuffling like a hawk but do not touch the deck. Alex names any number from 1 to 52. You do a few mental calculations and announce: the Three of Clubs. Picking up the deck, you count down to Alex’s number, and the card there is the Three of Clubs. Setup Deck in new deck order. Go First, spread the deck face up to show that it is in original order. Now hand it to Alex, with instructions to give it seven riffle shuffles. You watch these shuffles very carefully, while you explain that a magician and mathematician named Persi Diaconis once proved that it takes seven shuffles to really randomize a deck of cards. But, even though the cards will be randomized, an expert grifter can still track three or four important cards—the aces, say—even across seven shuffles. It’s whispered that some people can track the entire deck, even after seven shuffles. Alex finally squares up the cards and tables the deck. Reach out and very obsessively square up the deck by slowly drawing your fingers over the sides. What you are really doing, of course, is reading the top card. Let’s say it’s the Three of Clubs. Ask Alex to name any number from 1 to 52; let’s say it’s 23. Furrow your brow, and mentally divide 93 by 7. When you have the answer, announce “Three of Clubs.” Now you’re going to count down to the 23rd card, and show it as the Three of Clubs, which is currently on top. If you can do a great second deal, you’re all set. I can’t even do a bad second deal, so this is what I do: The Move to be Named Later Start with the deck in dealing position: Take the top card in your right hand, thumb above and fingers underneath, and say “one.” The card is lifted up and to the right as it is drawn away, but it is not tilted to show its face.

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Take the next card underneath the first, slightly to its left and say “two.” As your right hand comes back for the third card, it slides the top card of the two to the left, until it’s leftjogged by about twice the border. Don’t forget this—it makes the steal much easier later on. Each card after that gets shoved in between the bottom card and the right fingers. As you get closer and closer to the number, as a gesture of fairness, you gradually begin raising each card up higher and higher, until Alex can see the face of the last two or three cards. By the time you are ready to count the 22nd card (n-1), your right hand is coming up fully vertical in front of Alex. Your left hand brings the deck up, and Alex clearly sees the 22nd card fairly coming off the top of the deck to the face of the cards in your right hand. What Alex doesn’t see is that your left thumb takes the top card of the right hand packet and slides it back onto the deck.

Hold your right hand where it is. The left hand pushes the Three of Clubs off the deck right as you say “23” and put it under the cards in the right hand. Notes I worked out the sequence that lets you show the top card at any number about six years ago. I first learned the basic idea of the sleight—counting cards one under each

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other, then sliding the top card back onto the pile—in The Secrets of Brother John Hamman (Kaufman, 1989), where it’s called the Undercount. Hamman used it to count four cards off the deck and steal one back. At some point I worked out the card at any number version, and later came up with the shuffle tracking presentation you see here. Just as this ebook was being proofread, Bill Goodwin handed me the July 1944 issue of Genii magazine. In it is a trick by Sylvan Barnet called “At A Mentally Chosen Number.” It’s the exact same procedure I worked out a mere 65 years later. But it was my idea to put it in an ebook for $20. That doesn’t answer what to call it, though. I’ll be using it again later in the book, so I have to call it something. I’m going to call it the Sylvan CAAN. By the way, in 1940 Genii published a letter to the editor from Barnet, who was 13 at the time. This means he was 17 when he published this move, and 19 when he had two tricks in J.G. Thompson’s classic My Best. This move makes a sliding sound, as the right half slides out from under the top card. I can’t stop this, so every time I count a card off the top, I slide it off. This is another example of the power of combining a marked deck with something else —in this case the Sylvan CAAN—which cancel each other. The resulting trick is wonderfully clean and direct.

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Markus Maximus By Bob Farmer Before releasing this ebook, I sent a copy to Bob Farmer, ostensibly to make sure what I wrote about his Farmarx system was correct, but secretly to get him to contribute a great trick. Also to make sure the word ostensibly means what I thought it did. My plan worked to perfection. Bob originally created this trick using a gaffed deck—it was called AGAOG, but I don’t know what that means—then ten years later created the marked deck version you are about to read. Instead of me telling you how great this is, just read the effect. Effect Three spectators assist: Alex1, Alex2, and Alex3. You hand a deck to Alex1 and turn your back. Alex1 shuffles the deck freely, then chooses any card and hides it in a pocket without looking at it. Hand the deck to Alex2 and repeat this process, again with your back turned. Alex3 does the same. Now, while your back is turned, the spectators memorize their cards. Each spectator now shuffles their card freely back into the deck. While your back is turned! Now you take the deck and spread it face down across the table. Asking the spectators to concentrate, you wave your hand over the spread, picking up the psychic vibrations from the cards. Now, you get two quick impressions about the chosen cards, i.e. two of you are thinking of red cards, right? Two of you are thinking of odd numbered cards, right? Right and right. Finally you turn to Alex1 and name the card he or she selected. Ditto with Alex2 and Alex3. You are correct every time! As Bob says: No sleights. No memorization. Never fails. No outs. The spectators cannot screw you up. The cards are genuinely shuffled and you have absolutely no idea what the cards are or where they are until you get your impressions. No confederates. No union soldiers.

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The Method, Basically The spectators make their selections from a marked deck, but they return their cards to an unmarked deck (don’t worry—the switch is easy). When you spread the deck, you find the three marked cards and learn what they are. Then Bob has a great thing where you can tell who has which card. The Details Set up by putting a marked deck in any handy pocket on your right side and an unmarked deck—minus any three cards—in the same pocket on your left. Take out the marked deck, and do a few tricks with it. This is a closer. Hand the deck to Alex1, and turn your back while he or she shuffles, picks a card without looking, and hides it. Now you take the deck and hand it to Alex2 for the same process. Repeat with Alex3. Your back is turned while all the important actions are happening, but you occasionally turn back as needed to help out with the basic procedure. The spectators will simply remember that your back was turned. After Alex3 is done, you take the deck and give instructions that all three spectators should wait until your back is turned before they look at their selections. As you are turning your back, casually put the deck in your right pocket. Wait a few seconds, then ask if everyone has memorized their card. When they say yes, take the deck from your left pocket and hold it, behind your back, so Alex1 can take it. Direct the three helpers through the replace-and-shuffle-freely procedure. Like all good deck switches, this is based on boldness. But it’s covered by strong misdirection. When you put the deck in the pocket, all attention is on the selections. And there’s time misdirection between putting the deck away and taking it back out. Take the deck and make a very wide face-down spread across the table. Do this smartly and don’t stop to read the marks—just notice where the marked cards are. Now you go back and adjust the spread in a couple of places, as if you are making sure each card is equally exposed. This is when you read the marks. Stare at Alex1 and wave your right hand over the length of the spread, pretending to feel a psychic vibration. Don’t forget this part—the pretending. Actually pretend to feel a psychic vibration. How does this feel to you? Is it weird, or are you used to it by now? Is it slightly uncomfortable? Answering these questions will make this moment more effective. Whatever you choose, repeat with Alex2 and Alex3.

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At this point you know the names of the three selections, but you don’t know who chose which. You’re going to get this information using Bob Farmer’s Impromptu No Nos Fishing system. Basically you announce something that is true about two of the three cards, and when the spectators confirm that you are right, that tells you where the third card is. You make a different statement that uses the same principle to isolate one of the other cards, and when you know where two of the cards are, this tells you where the third card is. It’s easy, but you have to figure it out on the fly, so you’ll have to practice a few times to feel comfortable. Here’s a typical example: Let’s say the three cards are the Two of Clubs, Three of Diamonds, and Four of Hearts. That’s two red and one black, so you say “I can tell that two of you are thinking of red cards. Who’s thinking of a red card?” Let’s say Alex1 and Alex3 raise their hands. This tells you that Alex2 has the two of clubs. Now you say that “two of you have even numbered cards, is that right? Who has an even numbered card? Alex1 and Alex2 raise their hands. Since Alex2 already has the Two of Clubs, Alex1 must have the Four of Hearts, and that means Alex3 has the Three of Diamonds. Now that you know who has which card, look each of your spectators in the eye and dramatically read their minds. Notes Bob’s Impromptu No Nos Fishing is great, but the need to improvise makes it seem a little uncertain for some people. Really the process is both simple and foolproof. Just remember that the audience does not know that you are planning to make two statements. If you have to make a third statement, go ahead. Or if you can’t figure it out, just announce the names of the three cards, and say “if I named your card, sit down.” This is a fine and miraculous ending. But you should never need to. Since you are never wrong, every correct claim you make will seem like a magical event. By the way, when you are thinking of these statements, you are apparently concentrating on using your mental powers to read psychic vibrations. So don’t worry if you have to pause to think, as that is completely in line with the presentation. Update v1.1 This is a practical trick, since all you need is your marked deck and a matching unmarked deck. But if you can dedicate a specific deck to take the place of the unmarked deck, you can easily make this trick easier, cleaner, and stronger. Take the matching unmarked deck and corner short every card, using a $10 corner rounder you can buy at any office supply or craft store. This way, after the spectators have returned their (marked) cards, you can find the three selections at the corners and

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get them to the top by doing a casual overhand shuffle, holding back the selections by their extended corners. This is very similar to using a stripper deck. Read their identities, then put the deck in your pocket. Now you have a double finish. First, the original climax: do your no-nos fishing, and name the cards. Follow this by reaching into your pocket and pulling out just the three selections! While the audience is reacting, you reach into your pocket to remove the rest of the deck, but of course you pull out your marked deck. You are now reset: the three selections go back in the marked deck and the corner shorted deck is in your pocket. This corner-shorted deck is only used for this one trick, and will last a long time. It’s really very practical, and the effect! They shuffle, they choose cards themselves, they shuffle them back into the deck. You put the deck in your pocket, divine the selections, and pull them out blind. It’s a closer.

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Watchman Update v1.1 This is the first trick I added to the book in the year or so since it first came out. It’s my new favorite trick—if someone asks me to show them a trick, this is the one. The method is so simple, but there is an irresistible throwoff built into the presentation that makes everything completely impenetrable to the audience. And after the amazing climax, an even more amazing second one. Effect You take the Jack of Diamonds out of the deck, calling it the Watchman. Alex shuffles, after which the Jack is put into the deck face up. With your back turned, Alex cuts the deck, looks at the card freely cut to, and loses it back into the deck. You remove Jack and hold him to your ear. Jack names the chosen card—and announces where it is in the deck! Method Take the Jack of Diamonds out of the deck and while Alex is shuffling, explain that Jack is the Watchman. Take back the deck and say that you are going to insert Jack face up. Let the audience see that the Jack is going in face up, but when you do the actual insertion, hold the deck so no one can see where it goes. This is done openly—it should be clear that the audience isn’t supposed to see where the Jack goes. In fact, slide the Jack under the deck so it is face up on the bottom. Hand the deck to Alex and turn away. You’re going to give some instructions which Alex needs to follow precisely, but you want to make it seem like it’s all very casual. As mentioned previously, you don’t have to use my exact wording, but whatever you do say should be figured out in advance. This is a bad time to wing it. Also make sure to act out with your own hands exactly what you want Alex to do. “Cut off about half the deck and put it on the table. If you cut to the Jack, just put the cards back and try again. (pause) Done that? Okay—the cards in your hand, just peek up the corner of the top card and memorize it. (longer pause) Really memorize it. Done? (wait for a yes) Okay, now, take the cards in your hand, and give them a cut, so your card is buried in the middle. Now put your cards on top of the deck. Pick up the entire deck and give it a cut.”

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At this point you turn back to Alex. “Now I couldn’t possibly have seen your card. But Jack was face up. He saw everything.” Spread through to find the face up Jack and cut it to the top. Read the mark of the card below the Jack. That’s the selection—again we’ll use the three of clubs as an example. “The Jack tells me your card is the three of clubs.” Pause. “What’s that? He says it’s the 12th card down.” Reverse count 12 cards into your right hand and slam the entire packet face up on the table. The three of clubs is on the face! Notes The dodge of reverse counting the packet and slapping it on the table is very old and most magicians disdain it because they know it. But it works terrifically well on real people, especially if you follow the basic principles of misdirection: Count twelve cards, pause while you ask Alex to confirm the name of the selection, then put the packet down, saying the name of the selection again. Asking Alex to confirm the selection provides more than enough of both time misdirection and mental misdirection. However if you are working for fellow magicians who might know that bit, you can use the Sylvan CAAN to find the card at the 12th position. I’ve tried that and it’s a bit cleaner, but at this point in this trick, I don’t need nor want to focus on the cleanliness of the handling. The revelation of the selection is so remarkable—given how fair the selection process was—that if you count briskly and put the packet down with a triumphant attitude, no one will notice. For this trick I choose pace over cleanliness. I can’t urge you enough to give this a try. The revelation of the identity is really very stunning, and calling the number explodes people’s minds in a very pleasant way. At least, it’s certainly pleasant for you. Alternate Ending This works if Alex is sitting down and you are standing or sitting to the right. When you spread through to remove the Jack, hold the jack in front of Alex’s face for a moment, lightly resting your left hand on Alex’s chair as you do. Now place the Jack on the table, and thumb off the top card of the deck as you do. The selection will slide down to the seat cushion behind Alex. Announce that Jack told you the card, reveal its name, and bask in the miracle. During this time your left hand casually comes off the chair, so that by the time attention

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returns to the deck it is in front of Alex. Now announce that Jack is telling you the card is gone from the deck. Deal the cards face up one at a time onto the table next to the Jack —there will be 50. Pick up Jack and announce “51—the Three of Clubs is gone.” At this point you pretend to hear something from the Jack which you are holding. “Jack says you will find your card if you stand up.” When Alex does, say “He says you should look at what you were sitting on.” When Alex stands up the card will have fallen flat on the cushion, where everyone will assume it was before Alex stood up. More Alternate Endings 1) After you cut Jack to the top, put it on the table. Square the deck, palm the selection off the top, and put the deck down. You can now proceed as above but with the Jack appearing anywhere—well, anywhere you can load it from a palm, at least. 2) You can have the Jack change into the selection. When you take the face-up Jack off the deck, do a double lift. Reveal the name of the selection, then do any of a number of moves to change the Jack into the selection. The age-old Snap-Over Change—where you rub the card(s) on your arm and flip it over—is a natural. Many years ago Al Leech taught Tommy Wonder, and Tommy taught me, and I’m telling you: this move is both easier and more magical when you do it under your arm rather than over. There are many variations of this move, including ones where you hold the card(s) at the corners to keep them aligned, and ones where the cards aren’t even taken away from the deck. You can even do Looy Simonoff’s Flippant without taking the Jack off the deck. The Original Ending Although these alternate endings are fun, it’s worth considering that they have nothing to do with the basic premise of the routine, which is that the Jack sees everything. The original ending is plenty impossible and the most consistent with the basic premise of the routine. Many magicians don’t care too much about that, but I do. It’s at least worth considering.

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The Genie’s Peek By Richard Kaufman Update v1.1 Several months after this book first came out, Richard Kaufman—Editor and Publisher of Genii Magazine—mentioned this handling in his “Genie Speaks” column and I immediately asked him for permission to include it. It’s exceptionally clean and direct: the spectator shuffles the deck, freely selects a genuinely random card without touching it, and you immediately put the deck aside and then read their mind. It’s totally natural and completely easy. These kind of tricks are worth their weight in gold. Go Hand Alex the deck to shuffle, while you go through some pre-mind-reading ritual. The key for things like this is not to overdo it. Pick some small thing, like rubbing your temple, or maybe clean your glasses. Don’t say anything or call any attention to what you are doing. If the spectators feel you are doing it for their benefit it will not help the trick. Just hand over the deck and pay no more attention to Alex until you are done. Take the deck back and hold it just below eye level in your left hand, facing Alex, as though you were going to do a spectator peek. Bevel the cards so your finger can reliably release cards one at a time. Ask Alex to say stop anytime, then begin riffling slowly and steadily. When Alex says “stop,” do so, and pull open the break to reveal the index corner. Pull it back far enough that you can see the mark on the card below the break. But don’t remember this card. When you are sure Alex has had time to remember the card, say something like this: “That’s a free selection—you could have gotten any card.” As you finish this sentence, casually let two or three cards slip past your finger. This looks completely natural—you are just showing a few other cards Alex could have ended up with—but it’s the entire secret. Because the first card released is the selection, and when it slips past your finger, you can read the mark on the back. Immediately put the deck away and forget all about it. If you have done a pre-mind-reading ritual, now is the time to do some echo of that movement, but again without calling attention to it. If you rubbed your temples, rub them again. If you cleaned your glasses, adjust them.

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Read Alex’s mind and name the card. The Other Half of the Trick This trick creates the effect of reading someone’s mind to learn the identity of a card they are thinking of. The method has two parts. The first is the marked deck and peek handling that lets you secretly learn the card’s identity. But that’s only half the method. The other half is pretending to read their mind. And the better you are at this, the better the trick will be. Many magicians don’t really think of this as method. But it is. Consequently it’s worth taking seriously—by which I mean, practicing it, and thinking about the best ways to do it. That doesn’t mean overdoing it, in a cartoonish way. Just the opposite—undersell it. Don’t say anything that sounds like it is for the spectator’s benefit. Don’t explain what you are doing. Just do it, and let the results stand for themselves.

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Nothing But Script So far we’ve used a variety of magical secrets to cancel the possibility of a marked deck. These next three don’t use any additional secrets. In essence, the spectator picks a card, you read the mark and name the card. In these three tricks, the What Else—the thing that keeps the spectators from thinking of a marked deck—is the presentation. These three scripts are designed to fascinate the audience so that they not only don’t think of marked cards, they don’t think about the method at all. Each of these presentations is designed to be more interesting to the audience than trying to figure out the trick. I’ve done each of these tricks for knowledgeable spectators, both magicians and otherwise, and never been called on the marked cards. But I never do more than one trick like this in a performance, mostly because the effects are too similar. These are written as scripts, in screenplay format. There are no notes on method: the method is you read the mark. Each of these scripts was first published in Scripting Magic. Think of them as a bonus, rather than a cynical repackaging of old work.

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Echoes Int—Living Room—Evening Pete sits at the table with his friend Alex, shuffling a deck of cards. Pete Echoes never die, really. Anytime energy goes out, it bounces off something and comes back. It doesn’t come back as strong, so it fades. But it never goes away completely. It just gets so faint we can’t hear it anymore. Pete takes the deck and spreads it face up on the table. Pete This deck is in a random order, mostly. But it’s not completely random. Because it started in new deck order, and since then it’s been shuffled, I don’t know, hundreds of times, probably. Pete picks up the deck and gives it a few more shuffles. Pete And with every shuffle, the original order gets fainter and fainter, but it never goes away completely. No matter how many times you shuffle, an echo of that order will remain in the deck. I’ll show you. Pete spreads the deck face down across the table. Pete Alex, if you would, please touch any card, but don’t move it out of the spread, that’s crucial. Alex touches the back of a card. Pete Okay, leave that one face down. But we’re going to turn up four cards on each side.

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Leaving Alex’s card face down, Pete turns over four cards above and below it. Pete looks at the cards for a few seconds. Pete Well, it’s a Club. Pete begins repeating the names of the cards surrounding the selection, to himself, over and over. Pete (to himself) Let’s see, Three of Diamonds, Four of Clubs, Ten of Spades, Queen of Spades. Three of Diamonds, Four of Clubs, Ten of Spades, Queen of Spades. (pause) Three of Diamonds... Four of Clubs... Ten of Spades... Queen of Spades. The echo is very faint, but that must be the Seven of Clubs. Alex reaches for the card. Pete Or maybe the Eight. But probably the Seven. Alex turns over the card. It’s the Eight of Clubs. Pete Let me do that again. You shuffle this time. Alex shuffles the deck. Pete Because this probably looks like a card trick. You shuffle, so you know... Great. Thank you. Pete spreads the shuffled deck across the table. Pete Touch any card—doesn’t have to be from the same part of the deck. It’s not any easier or harder. It’s the same echo. Alex touches a card.

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Pete See if we can do it with just two cards. I usually close with this, but I got four cards pretty well, so let’s go. Pete turns over two cards on either side of the touched card. He draws his breath in sharply, as if he does not like what he sees. Pete It’s... a black card. Pete studies the two face-up cards. He takes a deep breath, and tries to relax. Pete (very calmly) If you force it, you get nothing. (pause) That is either the Four of Spades, or the Jack of Clubs. It’s the Four of Spades. Alex turns over the card—it’s the Jack of Clubs. Pete Damn. Pete turns over a few more cards above the selected card. Then he turns over a few cards below the selection, where he finds the Four of Spades. Pete (to himself) Below? Pete frowns—he does not understand what went wrong. Pete Well, I hope that was close enough that you’ll let me try one last time. Alex Of course. Pete Shuffle three more times. Pete gives the deck to Alex, who shuffles three more times. Pete Spread them across the table.

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Alex spreads the cards across the table. Pete Touch one. Alex touches one. Pete Now don’t turn over any cards. Count all the cards above the card you touched. Alex counts. Alex Eighteen. Pete So you touched the nineteenth card in the deck.. Alex Yes. Pete Okay. You could never do this first, just count to a number, tell you what card that is. But because I’ve seen, what... half a dozen cards during the last few phases. And I know where every one of them is in the original deck order. Pete takes three rapid breaths in and out, then one last huge breath in, which he lets out very slowly. Suddenly it comes to him, and he looks up with a smile. Pete It’s the Nine of Diamonds. Pete turns the card around. It’s the Nine of Diamonds. Pete picks up the deck and begins shuffling. Pete And because the original order is still echoing around in the deck, if your fingers are very sensitive, it is possible to reverse the effect of all the shuffles that

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have come in between, including the four or five shuffles you gave. Pete spreads the deck face down across the table. Pete Echoes never die. If you listen hard enough... He slowly turns the spread over. The entire deck is back in new deck order. Pete ...you can still hear them. The End

Notes This is just tantalizingly possible. That’s the key—people want this to be true. But to have this work for you, you have to act as though you are doing exactly what you say. You do not have to be a great actor. You’re not pretending to experience the depths of human emotion. You’re just pretending to make some calculations. If you want to be a method actor, actually do some calculations. Divide 363 by 7, in your head. By the way, studies show that when people do math in their head, they tend to look up and to the right. This script invites the audience to be profoundly silent at the end, so it may not generate loud applause. But the profound moment will resonate long after the applause would die down. You’ll get that applause back at the end of the show, with interest. Echoes is a great script for people who do not have a great deal of experience acting. The acting requirements are really very straightforward—you can do it, and if you can’t, you can learn how. But the acting is vital to the trick. You can’t pretend, you have to act as though you were actually doing it. A lot of magicians, when they come to a moment that requires acting, just pretend to be doing the thing. Audiences can immediately tell the difference. And, by and large, they’re not interested in watching people pretend. So if you’ve always wanted to try acting, to see what it can do for your magic, grab a marked deck and give this a go. Method If you use the (optional) new-deck-order climax, you’re obviously going to have to switch decks, then do a few false shuffles until you want to reveal the climax. I’ve used

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a deck shell for the switch, so the stacked deck is concealed on the table during the entire routine. All the best deck switches I know are all based on scripting. In this trick, you act as if the trick is over. At that point, you could just put one deck in your left pocket and pull the other one out of your right pocket, and it would fly. In fact, the best deck switch I know pretty much works exactly like that. The climax is optional. I’ve done this without it, and the final phase, where you determine the card just by its number in the deck, is a good finish.

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The Cincinnati Kid

Int—Living Room—Evening Pete sits with his friend Alex. Pete There’s a scene in the movie “The Cincinnati Kid;” Steve McQueen plays a great poker player, and this woman, the love interest, asks why he’s so good. He says, “I’ll show you.” He has her pick a card, and then he looks at her and says “Three of Clubs.” And she nods, like that explains everything. But I thought— that doesn’t make sense. Do you play poker? Alex I used to play in college. Pete So you know that if you just pick a card at random, not even the greatest poker player in the world can tell what it is. The card doesn’t mean anything. Only when you’re drawing to a hand can an expert read your tells. Pete begins running through a deck and removing a few cards. Pete Did you win, when you played? Alex I broke even. Pete My dad told me: The definition of a gambler is someone who says “I hope I break even—I need the money.” Pete shows the cards he removed: the Six, Seven, Eight, and Ten of Hearts.

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Pete This is your hand. Okay? You’ve got an inside draw to a straight flush. Now shuffle the deck, give it a cut. Alex shuffles and cuts the cards. Pete Now, deal yourself one card, onto your hand. Alex deals the top card onto the four Hearts. Pete Now, I want you to imagine that you’re playing poker, and you’ve just drawn one to an inside straight-flush draw. Go ahead and see what you’ve got, but don’t give away anything about your hand. Alex slowly squeezes out the last card. Pete watches closely. Pete Okay, square up the cards and put them down. Alex puts the cards on the table. Pete keeps watching, closely. Finally, Pete relaxes, satisfied. Pete Okay. At first, you thought maybe you got the flush, so it must be a red card, but then you didn’t get it, so it must be a Diamond. And you didn’t get the straight, but it did make your hand better, just... not that much better. You must have paired up. But you were mad that it was the lowest card you could have paired, so it must have been the Six of Diamonds. Alex shows the card—it’s the Six of Diamonds. The End

Notes In this script I’ve written in a brief exchange about Alex’s previous poker experience. In an informal situation we could talk about poker for quite some time.

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Obviously this routine will only play if both you and Alex are pretty conversant with poker. Alex has to know poker to appreciate what you’re doing, and you have to know poker to be able to improvise a credible explanation of what thought process you are detecting. Credibility is the reason this script plays. If you recited a list of fake tells — “your left eye twitched, which means it’s a Diamond”—It wouldn’t be nearly as effective. By describing Alex’s thought process, you make the trick about Alex, rather than the poker hand. And you’ll find that quite often at least one of your comments will match very closely to what Alex was thinking. You only have to get one such comment right on and the effect on Alex will be tremendous. And even if you get them all wrong, only Alex will know, and when Alex shows that you have nailed the card, everyone else will assume your analysis was equally right. Adaptation One night, while Jon Armstrong was trying this at the Magic Castle, he was talking with a spectator and found that the man was more familiar with blackjack than poker. Jon immediately improvised a version where they were playing multiple hands of blackjack, and Jon read the man’s tells when he looked at his down cards. This man got a unique customized performance from Jon Armstrong. That’s one benefit of using a marked deck — it’s easy to adapt the presentation like this on the fly.

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My Favorite Things Int—Living Room—Evening. Pete hands his friend Alex a deck of cards. Pete I want you to pick out your three favorite cards. Now, I know a lot of magicians. And you can ask a magician his three favorite cards, and he’ll actually have three favorite playing cards. But you are a relatively normal person, and so I believe that you will not have three favorite playing cards, or one, even. So I want you to go through the deck and pull out whatever three cards appeal to you most right now. Okay? You’re not necessarily saying that these are your… (air quotes) ...“favorite” cards. But I do need you to pick three cards that appeal to you the most right now. If you pick three random cards this will not work. Alex pulls out three cards. Pete Put your favorite here, second here, third here. Alex places three cards on the table. Pete Now, if I can name your favorite card, that’s pretty good. But most people’s favorite card is pretty obvious, like the Ace of Spades or Queen of Hearts. Second favorite card is much harder, although sometimes it’s just the other of those two. But if I can get your third favorite card, that would be a miracle. Pete rubs his forehead to get ready. Pete And so, let me ask you this: What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

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Alex Rocky Road. Pete How long has that been your favorite? Alex Long time. Pete You know, no one ever says vanilla, but it’s the bestselling ice cream in the world. Cup or cone? Alex Cup. Pete Interesting—what kind of toppings? Alex Strawberry syrup and whipped cream. Pete Yeah, that wouldn’t work in a cone, would it? Nuts? Alex No. Pete Well, those are all popular answers. In that case, I believe that this will be the Queen of Hearts. Pete turns over Alex’s favorite card: the Queen of Hearts. Pete As I said, that’s not that hard—the Queen of Hearts is a very popular card. The second card is much harder. Unless it’s the Ace of Spades, but I can already tell you didn’t pick the Ace of Spades, because it’s too obvious. Let me ask you this: What is your favorite day of the week?

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Alex Saturday. Pete And your favorite month of the year? Alex December. Pete Because of the holidays, or snow? Alex The holidays. Pete What’s your favorite hour of the day? Alex Eight to nine PM. Pete frowns. Pete I had you, until the hour. That just means I need your second favorite card to be either a Diamond, or a Nine. If it’s the Nine of Diamonds, then I can not only tell you what your third favorite card is, I can tell you your PIN number. (pause) If it’s a Spade I’m completely screwed. Pete turns over the second favorite: the Eight of Diamonds. Pete Close. Okay, I’m pretty sure I know what your third favorite card is, but let me ask you one last thing: What is your favorite song of all time? Alex “Somewhere” from West Side Story. Pete I’ve always loved that song, but I love it even more

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now, because it confirms what I suspected: Your third favorite card is the Three of Clubs. Pete turns over Alex’s favorite card. It’s the Three of Clubs. The End

Notes This is my favorite of these three tricks. Actually, the presentation in “Echoes” appeals more strongly to my personal aesthetic sense; the notion of patterns hidden in randomness, of echoes that grow fainter but never die, the idea that you can extract meaning from chaos. But I understand that these are fairly esoteric subjects. To many people these ideas are mathematical and a bit confusing — they’re things the average person hasn’t thought much about. “My Favorite Things” will resonate with more people. I also think it’s better because it involves the audience more directly. You can see that just by comparing the scripts—“My Favorite Things” has more lines by Alex than either “Echoes” or “The Cincinnati Kid.” In an informal setting you can talk about Alex’s favorite month, or ice cream topping, for ten minutes, and then go back to the trick. Adaptation Obviously, you can replace all the questions I ask Alex with your own questions: What is your favorite movie, car, soda, vegetable, bread, condiment, Beatle, food, animal, color, TV show, shoe, etc. Most people will have a ready answer for any of these categories, but you can also ask people questions that will require them to think. For example, what is your favorite knot? Most people don’t have a favorite knot, and many might not know the names of different kinds of knots (square knot, slip knot, granny knot, shoelace knot, double knot, etc.). So you explain the choices, and ask them which they like. I would avoid asking people what their favorite number is, in case they say seven and one of their favorite cards turns out to be the Seven of Hearts.

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Added to Existing Tricks It is a rare card trick that is not improved, even a little, with a marked deck. Some of the improvements aren’t visible to the spectators. For example, in any trick where you have a card selected, with a marked deck you’ll always know what the selection is. So if you lose the card, you can either get it back or change to an alternate effect very easily. And if you control it to the top, you’ll know for sure that it got there. These benefits are automatic, and you get them without changing any of the tricks you already do. But there are a lot of tricks that are already good, or even great, but which can be made even better if you add a marked deck. That’s what you have here: strong tricks improved to take advantage of a marked deck. Now, many classic tricks have been improved to the point where they utterly suck. But I think you will see that each of these tricks is more miraculous, fairer, or more direct, or some combination of all three. As a bonus, all of these tricks already use some magical technique to fool people. So none of them will scream “marked deck” to the audience; the marked deck is already covered. By the way, now that you have a marked deck, it’s well worth your while to reread any books of card magic in your library and see if you can find some tricks that can be significantly improved when done with a marked deck. There are tricks in this section from 13 Steps to Mentalism, Expert Card Technique, and Stewart James in Print; great books all, filled with proven material. There are many thousands more that wait only for you to find them.

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The Tapping Card Location Original by Alex Elmsley, Ton Tremaine, and Tony Corinda This trick is an overlooked gem from Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism. It’s a great trick in its own right, and is a perfect example of a trick that improves from a marked deck. Go Direct Alex to shuffle the deck, draw out just one card, and look at it. Read the back when you can. What I do is have Alex spread the deck and push one card halfway out of the spread, then give Alex one last chance to change cards—”once the card is removed from the spread, you can’t change.” When you say “removed from the spread,” sweep your hand across the spread, and read the selection. Now have Alex take six more cards from the deck and add them to the selection. “Mix them up until you don’t know where your card is.” When Alex is done mixing, say “Now, I think you do know where your card is. After all, you shuffled the cards—you made every decision that mixed the cards. Somewhere in your brain, you know which of these is your card. So what we’re going to do is arrange a sort of subconscious detector.” Take the seven cards and arrange them in a line across the table. Don’t overlap them— each card should be separated by about the width of a card. While you are doing this, find the selection and remember where it is. Turn your back, but stay close to the table. Tell Alex to start at either end and tap each card, in order, “two or three times, how many you want. When you get to the right card, you will tap differently. It will happen automatically; you won’t be able to help it. But I should be able to hear it.” Now close your eyes and listen. You don’t know how many times Alex is going to tap on each card. But if you listen, you will find that you can easily tell which card Alex is tapping on by counting the pauses. This is hard to explain but dead easy in practice. What you’ll hear is “tap tap tap (pause) tap tap (pause) tap tap tap tap” etc. Each pause is when Alex moves to the next card. You will also find that you can easily hear which end of the line Alex starts on. And so when Alex taps on the selected card, you will know. Say “Stop. Tap that one again. Now the one before that one. Now that one again. That’s it—that’s the one.” Have Alex name the card before turning it over.

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Notes This trick is better if Alex taps the cards with a pen than with their finger. Credits In the original version of this trick, on page 41 of the collected 13 Steps, the card is forced and controlled to 4th from top. The deck is (false) shuffled, and then you deal 7 cards off the top. This way the spectator can start at either end and the 4th card is the selection. There are three things I never understood/liked about the original. First, why force a card? Second, you apparently shuffle the selection into the deck and then just deal off 7 cards, and proceed as though the selection is among them. This seems to me to suggest quite strongly that you know where the card is. Finally, the card is controlled to 4th position so no matter which end Alex starts from, you can count to the fourth card. But thats not necessary—with your back turned you can easily tell from which end of the line Alex starts tapping. This marked-deck version is much fairer; no force, and you only touch the cards to spread them across the table. You can have Alex do this, but it won’t make the trick better and the pacing will suffer as you explain what you want Alex to do. Pep Talk Sound reading is one of those things you have to take on faith the first time you do it. You can’t practice it by yourself. You just have to try it. All I can say is that I was skeptical, until I tried it the first time. It was totally obvious. After that it almost seemed too obvious. Remember, the audience has no idea where the card is, and they don’t think you know either. It really is a miracle.

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The Mind Mirror Original by Jack McMillen This appears in Expert Card Technique by Hugard and Braue. Just to give you some idea how old this book is, here is the first sentence of this trick’s description: This is one of the few really good tricks depending upon a set-up. This is a great trick. If you don’t already know it, I wish you could be fooled by it, like I was, before reading this description. The writeup in ECT includes an optional repeat phase, and it is here that we are going to apply our marked deck. Setup I’ll tell you later. Go Hand the deck to Alex with the following instructions. “Slowly deal cards on the table, one at a time, into a neat pile. Stop at a random card, don’t let me see it. Memorize that card. Put it back on top. Bury it under the pile of however many cards you dealt, back on top. Now give the deck a riffle shuffle. One more—that wasn’t good enough. Much better.” At this point you take the deck and find the card. Now if you don’t already know this trick, you might well be wondering how you could possibly find the card after Alex stopped anywhere and shuffled the deck twice; Alex will be wondering the same thing. It’s time I told you about the stack. You start with all the Clubs on top, with the corner-marked Three of Clubs on the very top. Alex deals cards into a pile; since the Three of Clubs is the first card off the top, it will be the bottom card of this pile. Alex stops sometime in the first 13 cards, which means a club. This is why you tell Alex to deal slowly. Alex puts the selection on top, and buries it under the pile of dealt cards. This means that Alex’s card is the first club below the Three of Clubs. Two riffle shuffles will distribute the Clubs throughout the deck, but the selection will still be the first club below the Three of Clubs. Try it, if you don’t believe it. Now you’re going to look through the deck and find the selection, but at the same time you’re going to set up the repeat phase, using a sleight called the Count Cull.

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The Count Cull Pick up the deck in your left hand, facing you, so no one else can see the faces. Look at the first card, mumble “no,” and take it away in your right hand. Repeat with the next card, and keep going through the deck. Your eyes stay riveted on the deck in your left hand—the right hand just kind of flits in and out of your field of view as it takes away the cards. If you try this, you will find that you can fairly easily learn to take the card at the face of the group in your right hand, or at the back, and no one can tell which you are doing. It makes the same sound, and no one pays any attention, for two reasons. First, you are staring at the cards with extreme concentration, which is a very unusual and compelling thing, especially since it seems really impossible that you will find the card. But mostly they don’t pay attention because the cards in your right hand are not the selection; they are inherently uninteresting. Anyway, while you are running through the deck, you are secretly separating the cards. This may seem fantastically bold, but it’s really nothing at all. What you do is take every card on the face of the right hand packet, but every 5, 7, and 9 goes to the back. When you practice, alternate taking cards on the front and the back, and try to make both motions as similar as possible. You’ll find they are pretty close. Hesitate at every club, as though it might be the selection; these hesitations help conceal the secret separation. Don’t forget that the 5, 7, and 9 of Clubs go to the back. When you get to the Three of Clubs, pause, then put it on the table. Then, as if you’re not sure, back up and find the previous club, and put that on the table as well. Run through the rest of the deck, as if you’re just making sure, but keep culling cards. When you’re done, pick up the Three of Clubs, shake your head, and put it back on top of the deck. Have Alex name the card, then show that you are right. Repeat Take the selection and put it back in the deck. Note: if it is a 5, 7, or 9, stick it back in the top 10 cards. Otherwise shove it in near the bottom. Whatever you do look casual. You are now all set to repeat the trick in even more amazing fashion. Instead of the Clubs, the top 12 cards are all the 5s, 7s, and 9s. Have Alex, or a different spectator, repeat the selection process. The potential problem here is that Alex (or whoever) may want to go deeper into the deck, so here’s where you need to ask that the deal be done extra slowly, so that Alex stops before 13 cards go by. The card is memorized, back on top, buried under the dealt cards, two riffle shuffles.

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Now you take the deck and spread it, face down, across the table. Find the corner marked Three of Clubs in the spread. The selection is one of the four or five cards below that. Now you close your eyes and wave your hand across the deck, which remember is spread face down. Pretend to read the psychic vibrations, and then finally lower your hand about where the Three of Clubs is. It should be pretty easy to put your hand down somewhere over the Three of Clubs, even with your eyes closed. Open your eyes and say “it’s near here.” Now you’re going to push away all but the five or so cards your hand is over, and separate those few cards widely across the table. While you are doing that you read the marks and see which is the first 5, 7, or 9 below the Three of Clubs. That’s the selection. Remember where it is. Repeat the closed-eyes waving and detecting fake psychic energy, and bring your hand down on the selection. Have it named, show it, and take a bow. Notes I don’t really have any notes on this trick. The original is great. The marked deck version, with the face down repeat phase, is even greater. This is one of those tricks where the idea of a marked deck is so utterly buried that it is impossible for any spectator to stumble onto it. Oh, here’s one note. I came up with the Count Cull many, many years ago. I used to take a borrowed deck, count them, and separate into reds and blacks, then do Out of this World. I have never read it nor seen anyone else do it. It’s one of those things that sounds like it would be so obvious to the spectator that maybe nobody ever tried it. In any event, I can’t really tell you if it’s original. I can tell you it works beautifully. While we’re at it, if you learn the Count Cull you can do the original Mind Mirror with any borrowed deck. Take the deck, and quickly count the cards before you do the trick. While counting, cull all the Clubs to the top, remember which is on the very top, and away you go.

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Two of a Kind Original by Terry Guyatt This is another overlooked trick from Corinda’s seminal 13 Steps to Mentalism. It’s possible it was overlooked because it requires a full deck stack. The PM marked deck version eliminates the stack and can be done anytime, anywhere you have two decks, one of which is marked. It also enhances the conditions by allowing the spectator to shuffle both decks—it’s really very impossible. This is a great trick to do for someone who is already holding a deck of cards; i.e. any magician at a convention or local club meeting. Setup Not any more, there isn’t. Go Have Alex shuffle the non-marked deck while you shuffle the marked one. Trade decks —say something like “you probably don’t trust me, so you shuffle my deck.” Glimpse the bottom card of the (non-marked) deck you are holding. Tell Alex to do the same as you do, saying “Hold the deck behind your back, pick out any card, reverse it, and stick it in the middle anywhere.” Although you say to pick out any card, really you take the bottom card—the one you glimpsed—and reverse it in the middle. Put your deck down on the table, face up. Pick up Alex’s deck and explain that there should be only one card reversed, let’s just make sure. Spread the deck face up across the table, revealing that yes, only one card was reversed. Outjog this card, and read the marks. Let’s say it’s the Three of Clubs—a popular card, it seems. If the card you glimpsed and reversed is the Three of Clubs, you’re done. Congratulations. If the real miracle didn’t happen—and this happens surprisingly often —you’ll have to make one. Spread your face-up deck between your hands, showing that you too reversed one and only one card; outjog it when you come to it. At some point you will see the card Alex reversed, and cull it under the spread. It doesn’t matter if you reach it before the reversed card or not, since you have to spread through the whole deck anyway to confirm that only one card was reversed. Usually with a trick like this you worry about

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spectators seeing their card in the spread before you cull it. But in this trick the spectators don’t know what their selection is. This makes me smile every time. Close up your deck and strip out the outjogged face down card with your right hand. Flip the deck in your left hand face down (using just your left hand). Ask Alex to draw out the face down card out of the tabled spread, but don’t let anyone see what it is. While Alex is doing that, Top Change the card in your right hand for the top card of the deck. Ask Alex to hold the card just like you are. Reveal the miracle—Alex shows first, then you. Notes To keep the heat off your spread cull, do not let anyone peek at the cards as Alex is reversing one. This is easy to justify—you don’t want to be accused of having someone tell you the card. If you don’t want to do a Top Change Drop your outjogged card on top of the deck, then do a double turnover. You’ll want to have a break under the top card before you do this. But really, this is maybe the best covered top change you will ever have the chance to do. There is no heat on any possible change of your card, because nobody knows what it is, nor Alex’s card—why would you change it? Alex’s card is the focus of attention. You know what? Just do the Top Change. Update v1.1 The top change is extremely well covered because nothing in the process of this trick suggests to the audience that you might want to change the card. But after doing this trick for a few months, it occurred to me that the cover could be even better if we borrow an idea from “Perfect Prediction” earlier in this volume. Originally I did the top change while Alex was removing the reversed card from the spread on the table. Now what I do is look at the face of the card I’m holding and say “I reversed the Three of Clubs. What card did you reverse?” In other words I miscall the card I’m holding for the one that I’m going to top change. Then I do the change while all eyes are on Alex turning over the card from the tabled spread. I’m not convinced this is necessary, but it doesn’t cost you anything and it can only help. Just make sure that when you look at the card you reversed, don’t let anyone else see it, since it will not be the Three of Clubs.

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First Incantation Original by Stewart James This trick, in its original form, already used a marked deck. All I added was the use of the corner-marked card. A small improvement, certainly, but it allows you to begin with the spectators shuffling the deck, which produces a big increase in the audience’s reaction, which is the ultimate test. Besides nobody knows this trick and it’s fantastic. It is in The James File, Volume One, page 1,171. Effect Two spectators shuffle a deck. You make two predictions on business cards, and the spectators use random numbers to select two cards. The first prediction matches Ricky’s card. The second prediction matches Lee’s card and is not written—it’s printed on the back of the business card. Most of the tricks in this collection combine the marked deck with something else. This trick uses three deceptive principles—the marked deck, one ahead, and a very well concealed mathematical force—all canceling each other. There is just no way a spectator can penetrate the layers of deception. It really is a very, very impossible trick. Fortunately it’s dead easy, and very straightforward for the audience. Business Cards Make up a stack of business cards, half of which are preprinted on the back with “Three of Clubs.” The easiest way to get this that I know is to buy some laser printer business cards. These are designed to go through your inkjet or laser printer, and then you separate them yourself along pre-cut lines into 10 business cards. Setup Breather crimp the Three of Clubs so it will cut to the top. Put the Three of Clubs 27th from top. If you’re handy with a faro, you can do this trick anytime: cut the Three of Clubs to top, faro check, and cut the top half to the bottom. This trick requires two spectators, one to your left, and the other to your right. To keep them straight I’m going to call them Lee for left and Ricky for right. Sorry, Alex. Go Spread cards and casually give Lee the bottom half, including the Three of Clubs, to shuffle. Now give the top half to Ricky with the same request. It should look like you’re

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just giving them both about half, and you don’t care if they each get exactly half. The corner mark and breather crimp make it easy for you to do this casually. Take back Lee’s half first, and check if the Three of Clubs is on top. If you’ve used a breather crimp on the card, often it will be anyway. If not, cut it to the top. What I usually do is say “you shuffled. Did you cut?” If not, I say “I’ll do it” and give the deck a simple Charlier cut, which brings the breather to the top. I usually act like I think this is impressive, and then laugh at myself. If Lee did cut the cards, I say “was it a fancy one handed cut like this?” and do the Charlier. Either way it seems like a joke and not part of the method. Take back Ricky’s half and put it on top of Lee’s. The Three of Clubs is now 27th from the top. This will be forced in a most diabolical manner. Put the deck on the table, and ask Ricky to take less than half the deck. Avert your eyes, and ask Ricky to make sure it’s less than half, “or we won’t have enough cards later.” By the way don’t bother saying “cut off”—the word “take” is more casual. Now ask Lee to take some of Ricky’s cards. Again you avert your eyes. “Okay, so you both have some random number of cards, which nobody knows how many. Count them, but don’t let me or anybody else see how many.“ While they are doing this, pick up the remaining slightly-more-than-half the deck and deal it into a row across the table. Start to the left of center in your performing space and deal an overlapping row to the right, across your performing surface. Secretly you count as you deal, and space the cards so that when you have dealt 26, you just reach the right edge of whatever your space is, so you have to deal the last few under the cards on the left edge of the spread. Give this a few tries in practice and you’ll find it’s not hard and looks extremely casual. By the way, that was half the method of the trick. Because whatever the total number of cards Ricky cut off, the Three of Clubs is now that many cards from the right edge of the spread. If you doubt it, try it. Like a good chain letter, this works whether you believe it or not. Take a pre-printed Three of Clubs card and stare at Ricky. Gradually go through a time warp, then write Lee’s name (note: not Ricky’s), and pretend to write a prediction. Fold it and put it down—make sure it will not unfold and reveal the typed prediction. Now have Ricky reveal the number of cards he or she counted; let’s say it’s 13. Count clearly and fairly from the right edge of the spread, and push out the 13th card; Let’s

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say it’s the Queen of Hearts. Leave it face down in front of Ricky, “for drama.” Don’t forget it. Now turn to Lee. Pick up a blank business card and write down Ricky’s name, and the name of the card you just pushed in front of Ricky. Fold this prediction to match and toss it next to the first one. Count down to Lee’s number and push out the Three of Clubs. You may thank Stewart James for this, silently, every time you perform this trick. Check the mark, by the way; you might have counted wrong or something could have happened. It’s not too late to switch Lee’s card for the Three of Clubs, which you can easily find in the spread. Pick up both predictions, hold them both in your hand, and ask Ricky and Lee to turn over their cards. While this is happening, slide the predictions in your hand, switching their relative positions. Take the second prediction, open it but don’t look it. “You randomly chose the queen of hearts. I predicted: queen of hearts.” Show the prediction to the audience and let them react. This is pretty impossible, you have to admit. Open the other prediction towards you and turn to Lee. “Your card was the Three of Clubs. This says Three of Clubs. And it’s printed.” Turn the prediction to the audience and hold it out until someone takes it from you. Notes Do not say anything about the fact that you wrote the spectators’ names on the predictions. Don’t say, to yourself, “let me just put your name on it” while you’re writing it. Don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t. There—if that doesn’t stop you, I don’t know what will. With a nail writer you can make both predictions while the cards are being shuffled. This is basically Perfect Prediction from a few pages ago combined with the Stewart James force. I’ll leave the details to you. Impromptu Version You can do the trick without the pre-printed business cards, and it is a very clean and impossible double prediction. The beginning changes a bit: Give Ricky and Lee each 26 cards; don’t worry about the corner marked card. Read the top card of Lee’s half before Ricky’s cards are put on top—that’s the 27th card and thus the card you predict for Lee. Predict Ricky’s card using the one-ahead method, as above. Voila—a completely hands off double prediction from a shuffled deck with no preparation beyond having the marked deck.

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History The idea of having the second prediction printed on the paper was taken from another Stewart James trick. I can’t remember which one it is, but if you take just a few moments and read The James File you’ll find it.

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Twin Prediction Original by Dani DaOrtiz Update v1.1 In the November 2011 issue of Genii, Dani DaOrtiz published a very neat trick called Twin Prediction. I immediately liked it—the effect is clear and impossible, and the handling is very clean and fair. His original version is available on his outstanding Utopia DVD. You should look it up even if you don’t like my trick, just to learn the wonderfully bold two-card force he’s come up with. Quickly I realized that this was a perfect trick for a marked deck, as the handling becomes very hands-off and inexplicable, with the spectators doing everything at the climax. Along the way I made it a single deck trick. Effect A spectator shuffles the deck and cuts it in half. One half is cut into two quarters. A card is chosen from the half deck. Now the spectators turn over the top top cards of the two quarters. The values are added together, and the spectators count to that number in the half deck. There they find the selected card. No Setup Have Alex shuffle and table the deck. Now reach over and square up the deck, as though you had OCD. You can even say, “I don’t want to touch the cards. But I do have OCD.” Direct Alex to cut the deck in half. Reach over and square both halves as before. Alex chooses either half and cuts it into quarters. Reach over and square both quarters; read the top cards of each half. Let’s assume you see the 3 of Clubs and 8 of Diamonds. There are some slight variations in procedure depending on what cards these are, but most of the time you’ll do the following. Add the values: 3 plus 8 is 11. Pick up the half deck (i.e. the half that wasn’t cut into quarters) and Classic Force the card at the 11th position. Now, you do not have to be able to do a Classic Force to do this trick. I know, because I can not do a Classic Force, and I do this trick just fine. It helps that Alex shuffled the deck, which eliminates the idea that you could be forcing a specific card. What really helps is that it doesn’t matter if you hit. If you do, great—

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outjog the selection half its length as you square the deck. If you miss, have the selection removed, and while Alex is looking at it, casually separate the deck between the 10th and 11th cards. When the card is returned, take it in the spread but square the pack with the selection outjogged half its length. Flash this card one last time to Alex and then push it square as you close the deck. This will leave the impression that the card was never removed from the deck. Put down the deck and square it in OCD fashion, ending with a hands-off gesture. Have Alex turn up the top cards of the two quarters. Add them together. Have Alex count to that number in the half deck. The card at that number will be the selection. The 10% Solution From time to time you will find that the top cards of the piles add up to an undesirably high number. For example, about 10% of the time they’ll both be ten-count cards. I wouldn’t like to force the 20th card in a half deck—that would look weird. The solution is easy; Whichever is the higher number, force the card at that number. Then ask Alex to “take away either half,” and use Magician’s choice to force Alex to turn over the number you desire. If both numbers are the same—say two 10-count cards—have Alex freely choose either packet and turn over its top card, then count to that number.

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Stacking the Deck Many magicians have explored the use of marked cards. And stacked decks have never gone out of style, from simple rosary stacks like Si Stebbins to today’s highly developed field of memorized deck work. But the idea of combining the two seems to have been largely overlooked. That’s a shame because, well, just read this chapter and see what you can do. Try to imagine how incredibly clean and direct everything looks. Memorized Deck I tell you this: a marked, memorized deck makes possible some sensational magic. I can say this despite the fact I have not yet memorized a deck. Now there is a long and unfortunate tradition of magicians releasing tricks that haven’t really been tested in the real world. But in fact I have tested all these tricks in the real world. Not as many times as I would have liked, but enough to see that they work, and are extremely powerful. Just read the chapter. If you use a memorized deck, you will know immediately how much a marked deck can add to your repertoire. If you don’t use a memorized deck, read “The Remembered Deck.” You can use it to try out any memorized deck trick, to see if it works for you.

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Simple Miracle 4 Let’s start with a trick that uses a stack you don’t have to memorize. Setup Stack your deck in Si Stebbins or Eight Kings or Jackass Ate Live Tree order. Go Spread the cards to show that they are all different. The spectators will see that the deck is also shuffled, but don’t say anything about it. First phase: Put the deck on the table and ask Alex to cut off any number of cards but only lift them up an inch or so. While Alex is holding this half-deck, you point out that the face of the card is not visible and neither is the back. Naturally you look at the deck while saying this, and that’s when you read the mark on the card below the cut. Let’s say it’s the 5 of Spades. Turn your head away and ask Alex to look at the card cut to, and then replace the half on the deck. The looked at card will be the one just before the card you read. So if it’s Si Stebbins, and you read the 5 of Spades, the selection is the 2 of Hearts. Read Alex’s mind and name the card, but don’t get it completely right. Get it close, sure, make it seem tantalizingly amazing, but maybe you can’t get the suit, or you can only narrow it down to two cards. The problem, you say, is that the card was randomly chosen, so it didn’t mean anything. You will repeat the experiment with a different card. Ask Alex to think of any card, not an obvious one like the Ace of Spades. Hand Alex the deck, and turn your back completely. These instructions have to be followed accurately, but you really don’t want to make it seem that way. So talk casually, but spend some time beforehand thinking about exactly what you are going to say. Most of all, mime what you want Alex to do as much as possible. “Alex, spread through the deck until you see the card you are thinking of. Can you see it? Separate the cards so your card is at the front of the left hand cards. Put the rest behind the deck. Okay, stare at your card and count silently to three. (pause, counting silently to three.) Good—take your card and put it in your pocket or hide it somewhere. Put the rest of the deck down on the table. Is your card hidden? Okay.” Turn back to face Alex. Recap the fairness of the procedure, including some mention of the fact that Alex could have chosen any card in the deck. As you say this, tap the deck

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sitting on the table, and that’s when you read the top card of the deck. The selection is the card before that in the stack, so if you see 7H, and you are using Si Stebbins, the selection is the 4 of Clubs. Notes I say this a lot in this book, but think of how impossible this is to the audience. The selection is completely fair, and you the magician don’t do anything at all. If Alex plays cards, you can give your instructions differently. In the repeat phase, you might say “Find your card in the deck, and cut the deck so your card comes to the face.” This is a very casual and minimal instruction. History The basic idea of using a marked deck in Si Stebbins order goes all the way back to Al Baker, who casually tosses it off as a variation on a simpler, stackless version.

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Love Connection This is a great example of the power of adding a marked deck to memorized deck work. Here’s the effect: You approach a couple, she names any card, you spread the deck, and he touches any card; it’s the named card. It’s just that direct. You can do it for a single spectator, who names a card and then touches a card and they match. But it really shines for couples. Give a big presentation about the love connection, and if you have it you can do miracles, etc. When he hits the card she named, you will know that you have helped the guy get laid. Many professional magicians have written about the importance of managing the boyfriends of the women you are performing for. I am not a professional magician, but I promise you this: If you get the guy laid, he will be your biggest fan. I’m going to call the man Adam and the woman Eve. No reason. Setup Deck marked and memorized. Go Eve names any card. If she names a card very near the top or bottom, you’ll probably want to casually cut the deck before you spread. It makes it a little easier to recalculate the selection’s position if you cut at 26 each time; you’ll know immediately if you hit it, of course, another benefit of the marked deck. Turn to Adam and spread the deck, saying “Please lift your right index finger.” Spread down to about where the named card is in the deck. You’ll find that it’s easy to spread the cards enough that you can read the marks. This allows you to very quickly hone in on the named card. Now ask him to “lower your finger and just touch the back of any card.” As his finger comes down, you helpfully raise the deck, and try to Classic Force the named card. If you hit it, great! (Obviously) If not, you switch to Gary Ouellet’s Touch Force. Very simple: outjog the touched card, and close the spread, grabbing a break below the force card. Your right hand approaches the deck in biddle grip, thumb at the near end, fingers at the far end of the outjogged card. Pull the outjogged card into the deck and just as it comes flush, lift up all the cards

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above the break and turn them towards yourself. Smile and show the named card to the couple.

Notes This is a damned miracle. Just think of how direct and artless this is when compared with 99% of card magic. Eve names a card, Adam touches a card, bang! To me, the most annoying thing about the Classic Force is all the magicians who suggest that you do the Classic Force and if it misses, just switch to another trick. I always felt this was extremely unhelpful advice. Gary Ouellet’s Touch Force is the perfect out, because it allows you to continue with the effect you were already doing. An alternate handling is to cut the selected card near the top, then do the MC Spread Force from Workers 2 by Mike Close. The ability to read the marks in a spread means you don’t have to worry exactly how close you get the selected card to the top. Credits The Touch Force is in Close Up Illusions by Gary Ouellet. This is a great book, by the way. Still available from Camirandmagic.com. If you learn this force and use it, find a copy of Dear Mr. Fantasy by John Bannon. Read “Out of Touch” and see what he does with the Touch Force. If you like the trick “Out of Touch,” imagine it with a marked deck. When you spread at the beginning, you can upjog specific cards to make the order easier to remember. You never have to look at the faces of any cards. And right before the Touch Force, you don’t have to remember anything—you can see which card is the selection. This all makes sense if you buy Mr. Bannon’s book.

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The In-Deck Index Plus Miracles Love Connection showed one of the best features of the PM Card Mark System, which is that you can read the marks from a spread. That’s what lets you find and force the named card so directly. But you don’t have to force the card. If you can get control of any named card, you can do truly mind-blowing versions of the of the most classic effects in magic. Alex names any card. You hold up the deck and the named card rises. Alex names any card. You give the deck a riffle, and then reach into your pocket and pull out the named card. Alex names any card. You cut off half the deck, turn it face up, and shuffle into the face down half. But when you spread the deck, all the cards are face down except for the freely named card. Take the red queens and put one on top, one on bottom, face up. Alex names any card. Both queens vanish and appear in the center of the deck, with one card between them: the named card. The In-Deck Index Hold your marked, memorized deck in your hand and ask Alex to name any card. Let’s say it’s the 9 of hearts. Now you say something about that being the fairest possible way to pick a card. “A lot of magicians, when you pick a card, they spread the deck,” Here you spread the deck between your hands. “Some magicians can make you take the card they want.” Close the spread. “Not here. This is a completely fair selection.” In this course of this demonstration, you get a break at the named card. This is quite easy and fast, because you know how far down it is, so you just spread to the general vicinity of that number, then read the marks to find the card. The entire spreading process flies by completely unnoticed, since it’s a demonstration of the procedure you didn’t use. This same psychological concealment is also used in Simple Miracle 1. Of course this is just one way of getting control of the selection. A simpler way is to casually cut the deck while talking about anything, trying to cut the selection to the top. Read the top card to see if you missed and by how many; double-undercut the required number up or down. If you use a memorized deck, you have probably already tackled the task of cutting to any named card. Whatever your technique, a marked deck makes this easier.

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Finishing Now that you’ve got a break under a freely named card, you can take your pick of miracles. You can control it to top or bottom, but before you do, take a moment to imagine the effect on your spectators if you simply hold the deck up and their named card rises from the pack. This is very directly accomplished if you corner-jog the card while closing the spread, then do any sleight of hand card rise. Ken Krenzel’s “On the Up and Up,” from the liketitled book by Richard Kaufman, is classic. If you don’t read, Chris Kenner’s “Schwing” is similar and available from Theory11.com. It’s not that hard to injog the card above and below the selection—do this during the spread sequence—then use Jack McMillan’s Plunger principle. Think about this for a sec—how much do people pay for gimmicked decks that do this trick and nothing else? If the rising card doesn’t appeal to you, you can bring the card to the top by cut, pass, the side steal, or just do a spread pass as you are closing the initial spread—this is extremely well covered. Once it’s on top, palm off and produce from your pocket. You can control the card to the bottom even more easily—just do a spread cull as soon as you find it. You can go into a Triumph routine—you’ll be the only one doing an any-named-card Triumph routine. Just make sure your Triumph handling doesn’t destroy your stack. You can do a face-down version of the great Roy Walton’s “Smiling Mule.” Bring out two Jokers, drop them face up on top of the deck, and cut them into the middle. Spread to show them in the middle and get a break between them. Ask Alex to name any card, and say the Jokers will magically surround that card. When the card is named, do a pass at the break to show the Jokers have ended up on top and bottom of the deck. The pass brings the deck back to its original order, so while you’re spreading the deck to explain the joke, (i.e. that all the cards are between the Jokers), find and cull the named card under the spread, to the bottom. Another pass anywhere near the middle vanishes the Jokers, which are found back together in the center, with the named card between them. This is a very straightforward and clean version of this trick. I like it because the passes are used as visual changes, so you can use Steve Draun’s Midnight Shift, the only pass I can do.

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The Remembered Deck I don’t use a memorized deck. But when I first thought of putting my marked deck in a memorized order, it really seemed like it would be a powerful tool. So I put the deck in an order I could remember, and tried out a few memdeck tricks. It works. It’s not really a full-time replacement for a conventional memorized deck. But it works, and it’s very very easy. And maybe it will inspire you to memorize a deck. From the top down: A–K of Clubs A–K of Diamonds A–K of Hearts A–K of Spades That’s it. Name any card and you can spread to it instantly. By the way the suits are in Bridge order. You can put them in CHaSeD order if you like. The potential problem is that if you do a trick where somebody names a card, and then magically that card appears, and it later turns out your deck was in order, that’s going to seem like a dead giveaway. For a professional this isn’t that much of a problem—you can walk around false shuffling a deck, and have people name a card, and it rises from the deck, that’s pretty cool. But at some point you need to show your audience the faces of the cards. Here’s an idea: create a short routine that starts with some named-card miracles. Maybe a named-card rise, produce one from your pocket, etc. Now do Love Connection. Say something about how maybe you know what cards the spectator will name, so we’ll pick one at random. Then do Simple Miracle 4. Now let Alex shuffle and do Simple Miracle 3. That should hold you until you memorize a deck.

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Sylvania The combination of the In-Deck Index and the Sylvan CAAN create an extremely direct version of the popular Any Card at Any Number. Setup Marked and memorized. Go Alex names any card. This time we’ll use the Three of Clubs as the example. Find it as explained and control it to the top; a method that cuts the deck will make it easier to reset. Now Alex names any number from one to 52. Let’s say it’s 23. Are you sure? You’re sure. All you do now is the Sylvan CAAN procedure used in Seven Shuffles on page 33. This will very cleanly show that the 23rd card is the Three of Clubs. Notes If I wanted to hide this trick in print, this is exactly how I would do it. Minimal description, no pictures or illustrations, perfect.

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Last Word Obviously, I hope you use this system. Or at least, give it a try. Most of the tricks are physically easy, so you should be able to get a good idea of what this can do for you without a large investment of time or effort. I can tell you that I’ve used it for 10 years, and I have never regretted it. This system has served me very well indeed. If you like this book, and you like me, I hope you don’t just pass this pdf around to all your friends. Let a couple of them buy it. If you have an idea for any of the material in this book, I hope you’ll send it to me at [email protected] I’d like to include some of my readers’ good ideas—with credit—in a future version of this ebook. If you bought this pdf, you are entitled to a free copy of any future revision that’s also released as a pdf. I am saving the email address of everyone who orders, so you should receive any revisions automatically. But if you hear of an update and you don’t receive it, email me at [email protected] and I’ll take care of you.

When we start in magic we do the simple things, because we don’t know anything else. Then we go through complications, because we think this is the way to progress. Eventually we come back to simplicity, because this is the way of purity. —Roberto Giobbi

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