Simon ARONSON on Memorized Deck Magic
Magician Makes Good (Michael Vincent and Simon Aronson) Effect: The performer offers to find four-of-a-kind, each in a magical way. To make things harder, the particular four-of-a-kind will be determined by a random cut of the cards. The deck is cut and the card cut to is turned over to reveal, say, a Nine. The performer then successfully produces two more Nines, but on his final attempt he fails, producing a Two instead.Undaunted, the performer instantly changes the first three Nines to Twos, thus successfully meeting the challenge of producing a four-of-a-kind. Working: This effect is made possible by the fortuitous positions of three of the Nines, each of which is immediately preceded by a Two, in the Aronson stack. This will become clear in the following description. To prepare, with your deck arranged in Aronson stack order, secretly crimp one corner of the 3C. You’re ready to begin. 1) False shuffle, as you explain the nature of the challenge to your audience. Optionally, you may want to cut the deck to centralize the crimp. Cut the deck at the crimp, sending the 3C to the face (see comment 1 for alternative procedures). Double turnover to reveal the 9H, and announce that this means you’re "going for Nines." Turn the double face down and deal the top card (really the 2S) face down off to the side of the table. 2) Give the deck one or more false cuts (a double undercut works fine) and explain that since you’re going for Nines, you’ll count to the value, Nine. Count off nine cards from the top, using the Basic procedure (left hand thumbs off the cards singly face down into the right hand, each going under the previous one so that stack order is maintained). At the conclusion of the count, drop the right hand’s nine cards in a pile on the table. Double turnover the "next" card, to reveal the 9D. Turn the double face down and deal the top card (really the 2C) face down off to the side of the table, partially overlapping the 2S. Drop the balance of the left-hand cards onto the tabled nine cards, and pick up the entire deck. 3) Say, "We don’t have to count to Nine. Instead, we could spell Nine." As you explain this, give the deck another casual false cut. Then spell N-I-N-E, again using the Basic procedure to take four cards into the right hand, and drop them in a pile on the table. Double turnover the "next" card, revealing the 9S. Turn the double face down and deal the top card (really the 2H) face down to the table, overlapping the other two Twos. Pick up the tabled pile (of four spelled cards) and replace them back on top of the lefthand cards. 4) Ask, "That’s three Nines so far, one more to go. Do you happen to remember which suit is left?" As you wait for a response, or supply it yourself, double undercut the top card of the deck (it will be the 9D) to the bottom; this action should conform to the false cuts you’ve done previously. Say, "We still need the Nine of Clubs. Let’s spell its full name." (Happily, at this point the entire deck is now in complete Aronson stack order, minus the three removed twos). Spell N-I-N-E-O-F-C-L-U-B-S using the Basic procedure to take eleven cards into the right hand, and drop them onto the table. Act triumphant, as you turn over the top card of the deck (just a single here, no further doubles are needed). It will not be the expected fourth Nine – instead, it will be the 2D. Look distraught, as you take the face up 2D into your right hand. 5) Suddenly remember the original challenge: it was to magically produce a four-of-akind. Use the 2D to flip the three overlapping cards (supposedly three Nines) face up all at once, revealing that they’ve now changed to Twos! You have successfully produced all four Twos.
Clean Up: The effect is over, but it’s fairly easy to get back into Aronson order. First, replace the 2D (which you’re still holding) on top of the left-hand cards, pick up the tabled spelled cards, and drop them on top. With your left thumb casually push off the top few cards to the left, just enough so that you can obtain a break below the third card from the top, and square up. As you do this, pick up the 2H with your right hand and insert it into the deck from the rear, apparently sticking it into the center of the pack, but actually inserting it into the break. Pick up the 2C with your right hand as you obtain a break above the bottom card of the deck with your left hand (buckle, or pinky pull down); then similarly insert the 2C back into the deck, really inserting it in the break, above the bottom card. Finally insert the remaining 2S back into the deck, really inserting it immediately below the crimped 3C. You’re back in Aronson order. Comments: (1) In step 1, you can arrive at the first Nine (which supposedly determines which four of a kind you’re going for) in several different ways. Instead of cutting to it yourself, you could let the spectator apparently determine the card, by riffle forcing. Or, pre-set the deck by cutting the 3C to the face; then, put the deck on the table and use the Cross Cut force. (2) The spelling and counting productions in the text are virtually automatic, but if you’re willing to introduce some modest sleight of hand, there are many other visual ways of producing each of the (doubled) Nines; I’ll leave it up to you to apply your own favorite productions. Credit for noticing the happy pairings of the Nines and Twos belongs to my friend Michael Vincent, of London. Michael wrote me of this discovery while Try the Impossible was already at the printer; he had a quite different way of using these paired cards. I worked out the above productions and routine and showed it to Michael on a recent visit to London. He liked it a lot, and our joint work is a happy combination.
Thoughts on the Triple Poker Routine (contributed and written by Dennis Loomis) With the publication of Try the Impossible, it's possible to reset the stack after the Draw Poker demonstration. However, there are certainly times when upsetting the stack is a small price to pay in order to do a more powerful routine. Even when table-hopping, working a hospitality room, etc., you always have that last show of the evening. Occasionally this will be for the person who hired you, or some other important individual and their party. This is the time to do a powerful effect that destroys the stack. My first choice is the complete three-phase poker demonstration from pages 120123 of Bound to Please. Start with the Stud Deal, then do the 10 card routine with the Jonah card, and end with the Draw routine (and that Royal Flush in Spades!) When you have the time to do it, and interested spectators, this is much stronger than just the Draw Routine by itself. With that in mind, I'd like to share some embellishments I use when doing this sequence. You need to do some preparatory work when picking up the hands after the Stud Demonstration. The effort will pay off with a couple of nice "touches" during the Draw Routine. At the end of the Stud routine, you will have three hands of cards face up on the table, along with two discards face down. The last card you deal yourself will be the 7C. Instead of placing it on the face of your hand, put it between the AH and the 7S. (Your hand, from the face will then be the 7H, the AH, the 7C, the 7S, and the 7D). As you pick up the cards used in the Stud Deal, contrive to keep your hand on top of these gathered cards; the rest of the dealt cards can be in any order. Place the remainder of the deck on top of these cards and you are ready to continue. Now perform your favorite version of the Ten Card Poker deal, using the next ten cards (stack numbers 29-38, with the KH as the Jonah card). When you finish, put these ten cards on the bottom of the deck. For the third and final phase, deal out five face-down hands of Draw poker, exactly as per Simon’s stack. After you have dealt the five hands, your previous Stud hand (with the four 7's) will now be on top of the deck. When you show the first hand of the Draw routine, it contains three sixes. You comment that most poker players would discard the two indifferent cards. Remove the KC and 3H, and deal the two top cards of the deck to that hand. Now, comment that this guy is going to be very surprised when he gets another pair on the draw, upgrading his hand to a full house. Turn the 7S and 7D face-up to fill the full house. Proceed to the second hand, and explain that this will be a club flush. Before you turn it over, mention that it's "almost a straight flush." Comment that one card, the QC, keeps it from being a straight. Turn up the hand, to reveal that you were correct. As you remove the Queen from the hand, explain that only a mediocre poker player would discard the Queen, trying for the straight. After all, there are only two cards, which can fill that straight, the 2C and the 7C. You might mention that all the hands should be good to ensure a big pot. Get ready for a double lift as you explain that without your help, this guy will doubtless ruin his flush. State that he’ll probably get some random card like...the AH. After you name it, turn over the double and the spectators will, see the AH. You turn the card(s) down and comment that you don't necessarily have to deal him that card from the top. Doing your best impersonation of a second deal, you deal the top card and reveal that it's the 7C. This completes the straight flush in clubs. You reveal the third hand is a full house. Then you reveal that the fourth hand is four of a kind... in nines. Mention that since the fifth card is an ace, the hand can't be improved, but that most poker players would draw one card, to make their opponents think they
have two pairs. The card you deal will be the Ace of Hearts. That validates your "second" deal, since the Ace should be on top if you had dealt a second. (Or a bottom, for that matter.) All that remains is to reveal your royal flush in spades. I like to call the cards just before I turn them over. I say: "The 10S," and deal that card to my left. Then I say: "The AS," and deal it to my right. I then say: "The JS," and deal it down next to the ten. Next: "The QS" and it's dealt next to the Jack. This should leave an opening for just one card. You then name the KS, and place it down into the open spot. This finishes what I feel is one of the great card routines of all time. My little additions are certainly minor compared to Simon's original creation. But, give them a try anyway, I think you'll find them worth while. Comments: (1) If you do a second deal, you can easily incorporate it into this sequence. When you finish the stud deal, place the 7C between the 7H and the AH, and pick up the cards as described above. When you reach the 2nd hand of the Draw poker routine and discard the QC, you can legitimately turn over the AH on top of the deck. Leave it face up, and second deal the 7C from beneath it to complete the straight flush. (2) One of the strengths of the three-phase sequence is that a spectator gets to deal the cards for the middle phase. They will remember that you beat them even when they dealt the cards themselves. However, experience has taught me that you want to be very careful in choosing your helper, and in controlling the situation. You want a card player who has some experience dealing so that they don't drop the deck, and so that the deal doesn't take very long. But, you also want a friendly, cooperative spectator who is unlikely to suddenly cut or shuffle the cards on their own initiative. It's important that you stay in charge of the situation and that you get the deck back as quickly as possible after the deal is complete. I like to say: "Let's play a little one on one game" as I begin to hand them the cards. Before the cards are out of my hand, I say: "Deal one card right here," as I point to a spot on the table in front of myself. I then point to a spot in front of the spectator as I say: "And one here." Then I tell them to: "Keep going, until we each have five cards." Be sure to keep count yourself, and when they deal the tenth card to themselves, say: "Great," or "That's fine," as you reach for the deck. Don't tell them that they are going to deal two five-card poker hands before they start. An experienced card player may just automatically cut or shuffle the cards before they begin. It's still possible that the spectator will cut the deck right after they finish the ten-card deal. That's not a problem if you remember that the 6H has to be on top when you start the draw demonstration. Just look through the face up cards quickly, commenting that they are well mixed, but you'll shuffle them a bit more. Spot the 6H and cut it to the top, going right into a false shuffle and a false cut. I mention this possibility because it happened to me. I didn't remember where I had to start the draw routine, and I had to end the sequence without the "payoff" of the draw demonstration. (Isn't it convenient that the three cards, which have to be on top, to begin the three poker deals, are the 5H, 4H, and 6H?)
Prediction Shuffle-bored (Alain Nu and Simon Aronson) Effect: This isn’t a new effect. Rather, it’s a way of getting into another one of my effects, "Shuffle-bored," directly from the Aronson stack. I’m going to assume that you already know "Shuffle-bored." (If not, the complete "Shuffle-bored" manuscript can be found in Bound to Please). Indeed, I’m going to assume further that you’re familiar with the popular presentation for "Shuffle-bored," the multiple prediction ending, usually utilizing a sheet of folded paper that, when unfolded, reveals successive predictions, each stronger than the former. (If you’re not familiar with this effect, you’re missing one of the strongest pieces of magic that I’ve ever created. See comment 1 for some history). The prediction version of "Shuffle-bored" requires a partial deck stack, so normally you would have to either carry a separate stacked deck with you, or set it up on the fly. This "transition" eliminates the need for a separate deck, and makes "Shuffle-bored" practical and always available for the commercial performer (if you use the Aronson stack). You can now do whatever sequence of memorized, jazz, or built-in effects you want with the Aronson stack, and then climax with "Shuffle-bored." It makes for a very strong set. Working: All you’ll need to prepare is your folded prediction sheet, which, when opened, should reveal the following successive predictions: 1. There will be 23 cards face up. 2. The face-up cards contain 16 black cards. 3. All of the face-up Red cards are Hearts 4. ...except the Six of Diamonds. The precise choice of words used to write the prediction is up to you, depending on your particular choice of presentation. (I don’t actually label the folded paper as a "prediction" because I want to preserve the surprise until after the various shuffles, exchanges and turnovers are complete). Whenever you’re ready to present "Shuffle-bored," it’s very easy to get your deck into the necessary arrangement for "Shuffle-bored." Here’s how. 1) Hold the deck (in Aronson stack order) face up in left-hand dealing position. 2) Casually start to spread the cards from left hand into right, until you spot the JD. Obtain a left fourth-finger break above the face up JD (i.e., between the JD and the 4S) as you close the spread. 3) Hold the deck with the back of the left hand toward the audience. Rest your left thumb on the top card of the face-up deck (the 9D) in readiness for a slip cut of this single card. You’re now going to apparently give the deck one cut, as follows. With your right hand, grip the upper portion (the cards above the break) from above. With your left hand, undercut all the cards below the break and deposit them onto the right hand packet – but as you perform this cut, your left thumb applies a slight pressure on the face of the 9D and peels it off onto the left-hand cards. (It’s sort of a backward slip cut, where the uppermost card (the face-up 9D) remains as the top card, both before and after the cut. That’s why you’ve held the deck with the backs facing the audience). Situation check: the deck is still face up, with the 9D still the uppermost card. Immediately below the 9D is the JD. The top card of the deck (the one whose back is closest to your left hand) is the 4S. That’s it. As far as the audience is concerned (assuming they’re even watching) you’ve simply given the deck a single cut.
4) Casually spread through the face up deck, until you spot the 6C. It will be slightly beyond the center of the deck. Injog this 6C slightly, square up the cards and flip the pack face down bookwise. Table the deck face down, with the injog toward the rear end of the deck. 5) When you’re ready to perform "Shuffle-bored," casually cut the deck by lifting up at the injog (so the 6C becomes the face card of the upper half). Hand that top half to Spectator 1 and give the rest of the cards to Spectator 2. Believe it or not, Spectator 1's packet contains the requisite 23 cards that exactly fit each of the prediction requirements. So, during the course of the various "Shuffle-bored" shuffle, exchange and turnover procedures, all you have to do is make sure that Spectator 1's half is the one that ultimately winds up face up. This is virtually automatic, and of course is completely under your control. Naturally, you could omit the step of tabling the deck, and simply divide the cards into two portions while they’re in your hands. I prefer to leave the deck on the table for a moment, just because I think the time delay and the dead cut on the table makes it seem a bit more "hand’s off." 6) Once you run through the above steps a few times you’ll see how easy it is. But in fact it can be done even more efficiently. You see, in the above description I’ve broken it down into several separate actions so that you can see exactly what needs to be done, but in actual practice these actions can be combined so that all of steps 2 - 4 occur in one smooth cut of the deck to the table. Try the following: With the deck held face up in original Aronson stack order, quickly spread through and injog the 6C (you’ll know exactly where to find it, at position 8 from the top) and then spread the cards near the middle to obtain your left fourth finger break between the JD and 4S. Now perform the slip cut/peeling action described in the text – but, instead of depositing the left-hand cards onto the face of the right hand packet to complete the cut, simply turn your left hand palm down and place the left hand’s packet face down onto the table. Your left hand now takes the right-hand cards, turns them face down, and drops them onto the tabled packet, to complete the cut. The 6C will remain secretly injogged at the rear of the tabled deck. Clean Up (after "Shuffle-bored): There really isn’t one. When this effect is over, the deck has been shuffled many times by the spectator, so don’t plan to get back into Aronson order – nor do you need to. "Shuffle-bored" is something I regularly use as a closer, and it doesn’t need anything to follow it (but see comment 2). Comments: (1) Background and Credits. The idea of creating a transition from the Aronson stack directly into "Shuffle-bored" is the brainchild of my friend Alain Nu. Several years ago Alain showed me the simple slip cut described at steps 1-3, that accomplishes pretty much all you need. I thought it was a wonderful idea, and told Alain so – and he replied, "Hey, it’s just a combination of two of your own effects!" That may be true, but it makes "Shuffle-bored" so much more accessible. After doing the slip cut, Alain took a different route from that described in the text. Instead of dividing the deck at the 6C, Alain split the deck at the AS, and used the following set of predictions: 1. There will be 21 cards face-up. 2. 6 of them will be red cards. 3. All of the Red cards will be even numbered cards... 4. except the 9H.
I worked out the variation described in the text, which has a couple of benefits: the 23/29 card split is a bit more even, and it’s easier for the spectators to instantly recognize that the red cards are all Hearts, instead of having to think about their individual numerical values. It’s also a nice subtlety to mention the Black cards in prediction 2 instead of the red cards, because this focuses attention away from the Red cards until you get to the supposedly final prediction 3. I discussed a number of specific methods for performing "Shuffle-bored" as a prediction in my original manuscript (1982), but the dramatic and entertaining idea of revealing several successive predictions on a folded piece of paper is the creation of Ali Bongo. Ali’s presentation has quite deservedly caught on, and has been used (and even lectured on) by certain professionals – often justifying their exposing my "Shuffle-bored" procedures and secret on the pretext that "their" multiple prediction ending is what makes it so commercial – with no credit to Ali Bongo. I thought Ali deserved to get the credit for this presentation, so I expressly mentioned him in Try the Impossible (interview, p. 278). (2) Retained Groupings. Surprisingly, after performing "Shuffle-bored" the deck is NOT fully randomized. Indeed, it’s in a "divided deck" condition that could be used for some very strong locations. If you visualize the Aronson stack cyclically (i.e., stack number 1 follows 52), you’ll see that the two separated halves at the end of "Shufflebored" in fact comprise two groups, easily distinguished by stack numbers: one half contains stack numbers 37 through 8 inclusive, and the other includes stack numbers 9 through 36 (with the sole exception of stack number 52, which is the only card in the "wrong" half. That’s the 9D that you slip cut). As long as you remember this 9D exception, you can use this secret division to advantage. (See, for example, my essays "General Observations on the Memorized Deck" and "Memorized Math," my discussion in the "Shuffle-bored" on memorized deck and selection applications, and my multiple selection "High Class Location"). (3) Eliminating the Slip Cut. I developed an alternative way of making the transition from Aronson stack into "Shuffle-bored" that completely eliminates the slip cut. Indeed, this method produces a multitude of possible sets of predictions. The price you pay is a slightly more convoluted prediction. Just cut the Aronson stack so that the 10C is at the face. That’s it. Now, believe it or not, you can divide the deck anywhere above the KD (which is now located 31st from the top of the deck) and you will be able to use the upper portion for the multiple predictions in "Shuffle-bored." Let me give you an example. Let’s suppose you divide the deck below the AS. Since the AS is (now, after cutting the 10C to the face) the 23rd card from the top, obviously the predictions will take this into account. Here is the set of predictions, for this particular cut: 1. There are 23 cards Face Up. 2. 15 of the Face Up cards are Black. 3. All of the face-up Red cards are Spot cards... [or, alternatively, None of the face-up Red cards are Picture cards...] 4. ... except for the Jack of Diamonds. The neat thing is that there exists a comparable prediction for the top portion of cards no matter where you divide the pack (as long as it’s above the KD). That’s because, with the 10C cut to the face, there’s only one red picture card among the top 30 cards, the JD, and since it’s the very top card, it will always be included in the top portion. The fact that the pack can be cut anywhere (above the 31st card) presents an intriguing possibility – you could theoretically allow one of the spectators to "divide the deck in half." Once she does, if you glimpse the bottom card of the packet she cuts off (or the
top card of the remaining half) you’ll know just where she cut, and can calculate the correct prediction accordingly. (I consider this flexibility somewhat theoretical because, frankly, if you’re doing the folded paper prediction, you’d undoubtedly want to have the prediction prepared beforehand).
Transition to Active Aces In a note in The Aronson Approach (p.35) I briefly mentioned that the location of all four Aces among the top 22 cards in the Aronson stack lends itself to an Ace assembly. Even if the top 20 cards or so get mixed, the rest of the deck would still remain in complete stack order, and, as we know, there are a lot of strong memorized deck effects that can still be done with a "half" deck. Effect: That note was appended to one of my favorite Ace routines, something I called "Active Aces" (The Aronson Approach, p. 29). Briefly, it combines the Stanley Collins Ace Vanish (to make each of the Aces disappear) with the Henry Christ Fabulous Ace routine (to reproduce the Aces one at a time, each in a different way). There’s a lot of magic happening, from start to finish. In "Active Aces" there is a minor set-up required, which involves getting two cards whose values total 11 into the fifth and seventh positions from the top. You also need to reverse a 7 on the face of the deck. Conveniently, I’ve discovered an easy and efficient way to get into this situation and perform "Active Aces" directly from the Aronson stack. If you try this transition, you’ll see how simple it is, and you may be tempted to take another look at "Active Aces." Working: 1) With the deck in Aronson stack order held face down, casually double undercut the top card (the JS) to the bottom. 2) Turn the deck face up in your left hand. You’re going to spread the cards between your hands, ostensibly to remove the Aces. Spread the cards into your right hand, making no attempt to hide the faces. You can spread fairly rapidly until you reach the middle of the deck. As soon as you see the 7H, continue spreading just enough so that you can obtain a left fourth finger break beneath the 7H, and then place your left thumb on the left edge of the face of the 7H, holding it onto the left-hand cards. With your right hand, flip over all the cards above the 7H (i.e., the ones that have already been spread) bookwise, face-down onto the left-hand face up portion (the JS thus falls facing the 7H). Immediately the right hand now changes its grip, and in a continuing motion comes over from above and lifts up all the cards above the break and puts them in a face-down pile on the table. Apparently all that’s happened is that you’ve spread
through half the deck, haven’t found any Aces yet, and have placed this half aside; in fact, the 7H is now secretly face up, on the bottom of the tabled pile. (This method of reversing the 7 is, I believe, Vernon’s, and was originally described in my "Meditation on the Christ Aces," Sessions (1982), p. 113). 3) Continue spreading through the rest of the face up deck, where you’ll of course find the Aces. Upjog each one as you come to them, and then strip them out and toss them face up in a row on the table. Turn the balance of the deck face-down and drop it onto the tabled pile, thus assembling the deck. 4) Arrange the Aces from left to right in S-C-H-D order, and you’re set to perform "Active Aces." (The 3H and the 8D are now at positions 5 and 7 from the top respectively, exactly where they’ll be needed for the 11-count total). I won’t repeat the description of "Active Aces" because it’s exactly the same as in the text. Comments: (1) At the end of the routine, you’ll find that the deck is divided in two approximate "halves," one consisting of stack numbers 1-25 (which will be all together, but out of order) and the other consisting of stack numbers 26-52, all in order. You could thus follow with any "divided deck" location, or with any memorized deck routine that uses only a half deck stack. (2) It would, of course, be ideal if you could start an Ace assembly or similar routine from Aronson stack order and at the end the deck would still be in full stack order. I’ve worked on this problem off and on, but since the Ace effect ought to be a strong one in its own right, thus far I’ve found the trade-off of maintaining complete stack order too high a price. (Consider this a challenge, if you want).
Matching the Cards (created by Norman Beck, written by Simon) This routine is an interesting counterpoint to "Magician Makes Good," and proves there’s more than one way to look at things, even within the constraints of the Aronson stack. Effect: A card is selected and placed aside face down, unseen. The performer offers to try to cut to the mates of that unknown card. The deck is cut and the card cut to is turned over to reveal, say, a Ten. The performer then successfully cuts to two more Tens. This means the unknown card should be the fourth Ten, but when it is turned over it turns out to be a Jack. After a moment's consternation, the magician gets an idea. He makes a magical gesture over the three Tens, and they are turned over and shown to have changed to the remaining three Jacks. Working: This effect is made possible by the fortuitous positions of three Tens and three Jacks at stack numbers 32 to 37 in the Aronson stack. In creating the stack I [Simon] originally arranged these cards together to facilitate performing the Ten Card Poker Deal (see A
Stack to Remember), but Norman has made an ingenious use of their proximate positions to create this entirely different effect. Let’s assume, as is usually the case for those who regularly work with the Aronson stack, that the bottom card (the 9D) is a tactile key (either a short card, or crimped, or whatever). To prepare, with your deck arranged in Aronson stack order, cut the 10D to the top. Then, secretly transpose (exchange) the order of the top two cards (so the top card is the JC). This is the work of an instant, and can be done while idly toying with the deck. You’re ready to begin. 1) False shuffle, and then obtain a break below the 9D. Force the JS (immediately below the break) by your favorite method, and place it aside on the table, unseen. 2) Give the deck one or more false cuts (a double undercut works fine). Double turnover the card you’ve apparently cut to, revealing the 10D. Turn the double face down and deal the top card (really the JC) face down to the table. 3) Double Undercut the top card to the bottom. Double turnover to reveal the 10C. Turn the double face down and deal the top card (really the JH) face down to the table, with the other supposed Ten. 4) Again, Double Undercut the top card to the bottom. This time triple turnover to reveal the 10H. Turn the triple face down and deal the top card (really the JD) face down to the table, with the other two supposed Tens. 5) Explain that this means the unknown card that was initially selected must, of course, be the remaining Ten. Turn it over, but act distraught when it is seen to be not a Ten, but the JS. Make a magical gesture over the three supposedly Tens, and then turn them face up, revealing that they’ve now changed to Jacks! Clean Up to Restore Stack Order: The effect is over, but it’s fairly easy to get back into Aronson order. Cut the 10C back from the bottom to the top. With your right hand casually pick up the JH, JC and JD, in that order from the face. Your left hand, holding the rest of the deck, secretly obtains a left pinky break beneath the top card, the 10C. The right hand flips its three cards face down onto the top of the deck, and immediately does a small packet Slip Cut of the cards above the break. That is, the left thumb peels off just the top card, the JD, as the right hand moves to the right with its three card packet, and then immediately drops those three cards back on top. The net effect is simply to place the JD back into stack position beneath the 10C. All that remains is to cut the 9D back to the bottom, and replace the JS back on top. If your 9D is a tactile key, you can do this without looking at the faces. You’re back in Aronson order. Background: The foregoing plot follows the classic Vernon "Matching the Cards" routine, which the Professor used in his Magic Castle close-up act (Dai Vernon’s Inner Secrets of Card Magic, p. 22; see also Vernon’s Tribute to Nate Leipzig, p. 167). Originally Norman had a somewhat more convoluted way of beginning the effect, and it was Jamy Ian Swiss who suggested the pre-set exchange of the 10D and the JC, which greatly simplifies the procedure. The clean-up that restores stack order is the same as used in my "Jack Coincidence" (Try the Impossible, p. 213).
Christ-Aronson Aces (Simon Aronson) Henry Christ’s Fabulous Ace Routine has long been one of my favorite impromptu performance pieces for laymen. Indeed, over 20 years ago in Sessions I wrote up my version of this routine, which simplifies the original layout by eliminating all undercuts during the "Ace burying" sequence. I’ve now worked out a handling of this great routine that captures all the benefits of Christ’s original routine and my additions – and yet starts and ends with the deck in complete Aronson stack order. If you have a deck in Aronson stack order handy, you now can perform the Christ Aces at any time and then continue with your favorite memorized deck effects. Indeed, there are two ancillary benefits that come from performing the Christ Aces with the stack. First, any secret counting of piles is now unnecessary, because known key cards instantly tell you where to divide the packets. Second, the haphazard handling throughout the routine, with cards being continuously separated into various piles, dealt, counted, spelled and reassembled, is a strong convincer that the deck has been hopelessly mixed up. Effect: The four Aces are removed from the deck, and the rest of the deck is divided into four piles. The Aces are each placed on a packet and the packets are then reassembled, thus burying the Aces in four different parts of the deck. The performer then reproduces each Ace in a different magical way, in the same order in which they were initially lost in the deck. Working: Start with a deck in Aronson stack order. The original Christ routine, and my Sessions version, does in fact disturb the order of the deck in a number of places. In what follows, by changing just a few minor procedures (that are inconsequential as far as the effect appears), the entire stack order is preserved. The Layout: 1) Hold the deck face up, and announce you’ll use the four Aces. Begin spreading the cards from the left hand into the right; as soon as you reach the 6D (near the face of the deck) secretly cull it under the spread. Continue spreading casually, apparently looking for the Aces and secretly re-insert the 6D back into the spread between the 3C and the 6H. This displacement of just this one card is the only secret preparation needed, and fits naturally in the action of spreading to look for the Aces. (In Christ’s original routine a 7 (or a 6) gets reversed, but that 7 gets displaced to a different part of the deck at the end of the routine. Here, we’re going to use the 6D as that reversed card, so I’m simply presetting the 6D out-of- place stackwise, so that at the end of the routine it will actually return to its correct stack position.) 2) Continue spreading rapidly through the faces, until you reach the first Ace, the AH. Separate the spread at that point, with the AH at the face of the left hand cards, and thumb off the AH face up onto the table at the left. (You’re going to form a row of the four face-up Aces, depositing them onto the table in the exact order they appear). Put your hands together, continue spreading until you reach the AD, and deposit it to the right of the AH. Continue in the same fashion to place the AC and finally the AS in the row. Once you deposit the AS at the right end of the row, casually place the remaining five cards that are in your left hand (JS through 9S) onto the face of the right hand cards, and square up. 3) You’ll now quickly spread through the deck again to divide it into four piles. Try to make this look as casual and offhand as you can, as if it doesn’t matter how many cards are in each pile. The stack helps tremendously in this regard, because you really don’t
need to do any counting. The specific key cards will tell you instantly where to separate the packets. Here’s the detail. Start spreading the cards face up rapidly, and split the spread between the QS and the QC (just watch for the pair of Black Queens). Flip the right hand cards bookwise so they fall face down onto the face up left hand cards, but the left thumb prevents them from fully coalescing with the deck. The right hand then changes grip to take this facedown packet from above and deposits it below the AH. (There will be eight cards in this pile). This flipping action is completely fair, but the handling sets the stage for a similar action at step 4 below. 4) Continue spreading until you reach the pair of Red Sixes. Obtain a left finger break under the spread between the Sixes, as your left thumb above the spread lightly rests at the left edge of the 6D, just to temporarily hold it in place. The right hand again flips all the cards above the 6D face down bookwise, so they fall onto and coalesce with the face-up 6D. As before, your right hand changes its grip to take all the cards above the break, and deposits this pile below the AD. This is the standard Vernon reversal technique. The similar looking 6H now showing at the face of the left hand cards helps minimize any momentary visual discrepancy (which is why we loaded the 6D immediately next to it). (This pile contains nine face-down cards, followed by the 6D which is secretly face up on the bottom). 5) Continue spreading rapidly until you see the 7C and 4H. Split the spread between these two cards, and turn both hands, each holding their respective cards, palm down. Simultaneously place the left hand packet face down below the AC and the right hand packet face down below the AS. This is a perfectly natural and efficient way of placing the final two packets on the table. (What goes unnoticed is that this handling has actually reversed the order of these last two packets from the order in which they appeared in the spread. This is one of those minor adjustments I mentioned that maintains the stack order at the end of the routine.) [Situation check: the top cards of four face down packets, from left to right, should be the QC, 3C, 3H and 4H. There will be a total of 19 cards in pile #3. You don’t need to remember any of this, but the number of cards comprising pile #3 is what controls the discovery of the final Ace. Comment 2 explains this in detail, and offers some variant endings]. Burying the Aces: 6) You’re now going to bury the Aces face down, as you reassemble the deck. Explain that you’re going to lose the Aces in different parts of the deck. Ask the spectator to remember the order of the Aces as you bury each one, because later you’re going to magically produce the Aces in that exact order. (It’s not absolutely necessary to emphasize this, but I find it adds an extra quantum of apparent difficulty, that you’re not just finding any Ace each time, but a specific Ace.) Pick up pile #1 (below the AH) and fan it face down in your right hand. With your left hand pick up the AH and insert it face down above the third card from the bottom of the fan, for about half its length. Lift up the fan to flash the faces, showing the AH clearly going into the middle of the fan, close the fan, and push the AH flush into its packet. Deposit this pile #1 back in its position on the table. Pick up the AD (reminding the spectators that "Diamonds are next") and drop it face down onto pile #1. Pick up pile #2 and cleanly drop it onto pile #1, burying the AD. (This secretly places the reversed 6D immediately above the AD). Pick up the AC and drop it face down onto pile #3. Pick up the combined pile (#1&2) and cleanly drop it onto pile #3, burying the AC.
Finally, pick up the AS and drop it face down onto pile #4. Pick up the combined pile (#1&2&3) and cleanly drop it onto pile #4, burying the AS. 7) I now give the deck a table cut, cutting approximately 3/4 off the top, and then completing the cut. As I do, I comment, "Just in case anyone knew where the Aces are approximately, let’s cut the cards." The sole purpose of this cut is to centralize the reversed 6D, which makes the revelations of the first two Aces more aesthetic. I make it clear that nothing untoward is happening, and sometimes I’ll even let the spectator do the cut. (This step 7 is completely optional, so if you don’t care about whether the 6D appears centered, you can dispense with the cut.) Place the deck at the left side of the table. Finding the Aces: 8) Announce that you’ll "try to magically locate each of the Aces, in the order in which they were lost." Ask, "Which was the first Ace?" Either the spectator will remind you "Hearts," or you can mention it yourself. Make a magical gesture and give the deck a wide ribbon spread across the table from left to right. The 6D will appear face up in the center. Act surprised. With your left hand start to scoop up the spread from the left end, until you reach the 6D. Put your left thumb on the 6D, holding it as the top card of those in the left hand, and use this left hand block of cards as a lever to flip the balance of the ribbon spread face up on the table in a pile. (The QS will be the face card of this the face-up tabled pile). Square up the left-hand cards, secretly obtaining a left fourth finger break beneath the second card (the AD). With your right hand, pick up the two cards above the break and deposit these cards, as one, face up directly onto the QS. As you do this, explain, "This six must be an indicator – it indicates we need to count six cards." Deal off the next six cards from the left-hand portion, one at a time face up directly onto the 6D, counting aloud. Pause before you count "Six" and then dramatically reveal that the sixth card is in fact the desired AH. Deal it face up in its original position toward the left side of the table. As the spectator’s attention is drawn toward the AH, turn your left hand palm down, placing its cards directly onto the balance of the tabled pack. Turn the entire deck face down and place it at the right side of the table. 9) Remind your spectator that "the next Ace was the Ace of Diamonds." Give the deck a wide ribbon spread across the table, this time from right to left. The AD will appear face up in the center. With your right hand scoop up the spread from the right end, until you reach the AD. Split the spread at that point, holding the AD with your right thumb on top of the right hand portion. Move your right hand forward and thumb off the AD to table, to the right of the AH. Casually drop the right hand cards on top of the remaining face-down table spread, and square up the deck. 10) Hold the deck in left hand dealing position. I explain, "The next Ace is the Ace of Clubs. That’s the educated Ace. It watches Sesame Street and has learned to spell its own name." Deal cards off the deck one at a time, turning each face up to form a face up pile on the table, as you spell aloud one letter for each card dealt: A-C-E-O-F-C-L-U-BS. Pause before the "S" and then dramatically turn over the "S" to reveal the AC, and toss it to the right of the AD. With your right fingers, flip the face up just-spelled cards face down onto the table, and dribble the balance of the pack onto it. 11) Pick up the deck as you comment, "On Sesame Street the Aces also learn basic arithmetic. Look, today’s show is brought to you by the numbers…." Here pause to deal off the top card from the deck (the 3H) face up at the right side of the table, glance at it, and say "Three…." Continue dealing the next card (the 6C) face up, overlapping the 3H toward the left. Look down at it and announce "Six…" and finally deal a third card (the 8D) overlapping the 6C, saying "…and Eight." It appears as if these three spot cards just
happen to be there by chance, and this apparent impromptu randomness – the impression that they might just as likely have been different values – is enhanced if you act as if you’re really just learning those numbers yourself, for the first time, as they’re dealt face up. Point to the three dealt cards and recite, "Three, plus Six equals Nine, plus Eight, that’s a total of Seventeen. Let’s see how talented these Aces really are." Deal cards off the deck face up one at a time rapidly, to form a face up pile on the table, as you count aloud from 1 to 17. Pause before the final card on "17" and then dramatically turn over the 17th card to reveal the AS. Toss it face up next to the AC, to triumphantly end the routine. Clean Up to Restore Stack Order: Without the Aces: At this point, if you drop the sixteen face-up counted cards onto the three face-up "total" cards (the 3H, 6C and 8D), you can then flip these combined cards face down and replace them back on top of (or under) the rest of the remaining face down cards still in your left hand. The entire deck will be back in Aronson (cyclic) order, minus the Aces which are still out on the table. This allows you to use the Aces for some other packet effect (Twisting the Aces, Daley’s Aces) and then replace them back into proper stack position at a convenient later time. Including the Aces: I actually go one step further, because I wanted a way to restore the deck to full Aronson order, including the Aces, at the end of the "Christ-Aronson Aces." It takes just a tiny bit more procedure, at the very end of the routine, to accomplish this. Here’s what I do. At step 11, as you count and deal off the cards into a face-up pile, deal the first seven cards into a somewhat squared pile, but for count #8 deal that card (the 7S) sidejogged to the left for about half its width (so the 3S still remains visible, for about half its width). Continue the dealing/counting with the same rhythm for counts #9 and #10, dealing those two cards directly onto and square with the 7S. Count #10 will be the QD. On count #11 deal that card (the 8S) onto the QD, but again sidejogged to the left for about half its width (so the QD remains visible). Then complete the dealing/counting from count #12 up to #16, dealing those cards directly onto and square with the 8S. Per step 11, reveal the next card (the 17th) as the final AS. The foregoing two "sidejogs" are quite easy, and should be done without breaking rhythm as you deal and count. It appears as if you’ve simply dealt 16 cards face up in a somewhat messy pile; in fact, the resulting pile on the table contains two "steps," immediately above the 3S and the QD. These two visible steps will allow you to easily and nonchalantly insert the Aces exactly where you need them when you gather up the cards. All you need to remember is to step the pile on counts #8 and #11; all other cards are dealt/counted directly onto and covering the preceding card. And it doesn’t matter if the rest of the dealt cards land a bit askew; that adds to the messy, casual look. Once you’ve produced the final AS, you’ll clean up as the spectators are marveling at your feat. Pick up the AH and casually insert it among the dealt cards, actually using the visible step so that it gets inserted immediately above the QD. Take the AD and stick it back among the dealt cards, this time above the 3S step. Next take the AC and use it as a scoop to pick up this entire pile of dealt cards, turn them all face down and drop them onto the balance of the face-down left hand cards. Finally pick up the AS and "notice" the three "total" cards off at the right side of the table, still in an overlapping face-up row. Use the AS to scoop them up, turn them face down and replace them on (or under)
the balance of the deck. The stack is back in complete (cyclical) Aronson order. If you use a tactile key for the 9D, you can easily cut the deck back to original stack order. Let me emphasize that this final step, of inserting the Aces back into their proper places in the stack, takes only a moment, and is done in a very nonchalant and apparently inattentive manner. It’s almost as though you’re "tossing" or stabbing the Aces back among the dealt cards, and it’s natural that they would land or get stuck into the places where the pile was most open or askew (i.e., the steps). Background: (1) Background and Credits. I learned "Henry Christ’s Fabulous Ace Routine" as a teenager when it appeared in Cliff Green’s Professional Card Magic (1961), p. 48. Later I worked out my alternative layout procedure that eliminates any need for undercuts, and published that method, along with other ideas, in my essay "Meditations on the Christ Aces," Sessions (1982), p. 112. An integral part of my layout procedure is a new way of dealing with the final Ace, by secretly controlling the number of cards that comprise the third packet. This is discussed extensively in my Comments in Sessions, pp. 117 - 119 with many variant endings; in variation (v) I described the idea (used above at step 11) of using the apparently random "total" cards to locate the final Ace. Dai Vernon’s description of Christ’s classic effect did much to popularize this great routine (The Vernon Chronicles – Volume 2 (1988), p. 242). (2) Alternate Endings. Step 11 is my preferred way of discovering and producing the fourth Ace – but it is certainly not the only way. As mentioned above, the variations I introduced in Sessions could all be applied to the Aronson stack version described here. Indeed, the use of the stack makes this concept even more efficient, because the necessary "counting" of cards for the third packet can be planned beforehand, and the use of a known key in the face up spread as the dividing point for the final packet obviates the need for any actual counting during the presentation. Those who have Sessions will understand the flexibility of this procedure, but since that book isn’t in everybody’s library, let me offer a brief explanation and an illustrative example. When we initially laid out the four packets, the reason for my choosing to divide the third and fourth packets between the 7C and 4H at step 5 was to control exactly 19 cards into packet #3 (the three "total" cards at the top, plus sixteen more cards which will ultimately go on top of the final Ace, thus controlling it to the 17th position). By varying the number of cards that comprise packet #3, we can control the final Ace to any specific position we want, for either a count, or a spell, or an estimation, or a lie detector, or whatever revelation you elect. (John Bannon uses my placement procedure in connection with a reverse faro elimination, in his "Beyond Fabulous"). For example, here’s a simple, quite different ending that illustrates this flexibility. Suppose you know beforehand the name of one of your spectators, say, Ginny Aronson. Her name spells with 12 letters, so if pile #3 contains a total of 11 cards (which will wind up on top of the final Ace), then you could spell your spectator’s name to discover the AS. So, how can you control pile #3 to contain exactly 11 cards? The stack allows you to plan this outcome beforehand. The stack runs consecutively from the top down starting with the 3H (because during the initial layout we cut five cards to the face), minus the Aces. Either a physical count or a mental calculation (before you begin the trick) informs you that the 11th card from the top is the 7S. So, at step 5, just divide the last two packets between the 7S and the 5S (instead of between the 7C and 4H), and this will automatically put 11 cards into pile #3. You would then present the entire routine, exactly as written, but dispense with the three "total" cards at step 11. Instead, after
spelling the AC at step 10, say, "Just as the Ace of Clubs knows how to spell its name, we can spell any name. For example, what’s your name?" On getting a response, spell G-I-N-N-Y-A-R-O-N-S-O-N dealing the cards into a face-up pile, and the AS will appear on the final letter. Here’s one more alternative ending, where you apparently find the last Ace at whatever number is named by a spectator. At step 5 just divide the third and fourth packets between the 8S and the 3D; this will place 14 cards into pile #3, thus controlling the AS to position 15 at the climax. Early in the routine ask a spectator to name a number, "somewhere between 10 and 20." At the end of step 10, by simply undercutting a few cards from top to bottom, or vice versa, you can secretly adjust the final AS from its position at 15 to whatever number the spectator has mentioned. Once this casual cut and placement has been done, turn to the spectator and ask, apparently because you’ve forgotten, "What number were you thinking of?" When she replies, count down to the spectator’s number, to reveal the final AS. (The simple adjustment undercut maintains the cyclical nature of the stack). Experimentation will show you the flexibility of this procedure. Personally, I like the Sesame Street patter and the use of the three "total" cards, just as written.
Castillon Challenge Aces (written by Gene Castillon) [Note from Simon: Gene sent me the following Ace routine. It's a production of the four Aces, followed by a three phase Ace assembly. It starts and ends with the deck in Aronson stack order. Gene modestly named it the "Aronson Challenge Aces" (because he was responding to a challenge I had set) but I've renamed it to more appropriately credit its creator. Except for some minor organizational editing, and the inevitable typos, I've left it in Gene's own words.] Simon Aronson has revolutionized and popularized memorized deck magic with the publication of the Aronson Stack (A Stack to Remember) and his innovative approach in Try the Impossible to design effects which maintain Aronson stack order. On his website (www.simonaronson.com), Simon states, "It would, of course, be ideal if you could start an Ace assembly or similar routine from Aronson stack order and at the end the deck would still be in full stack order. I’ve worked on this problem off and on, but since the Ace effect ought to be a strong one in its own right, thus far I’ve found the trade-off of maintaining complete stack order too high a price. (Consider this a challenge, if you want)." What follows is my attempt to answer Simon Aronson’s challenge. It borrows heavily on Mr. Aronson’s groundbreaking techniques and procedures in maintaining stack order and features the magic appearance of the four Aces prior to the assembly phases. Set-up: Start with the deck in Aronson stack order and cut the KC to the face. Production of the Aces: 1. Explain that gamblers have always wanted the ability to cut to the Aces in a deck of cards. You have decided to take a different approach. You have spent six months educating and training you pet deck. The cards will do the work for you.
Spell F-O-U-R, reverse dealing one card for each letter into a FD pile on your left. Spell A-C-E-S, reverse dealing one card for each letter into a FD pile to the right of the first dealt pile. Place the remainder of the deck FD to your right. Simultaneously turn up the top cards on the two FD dealt packets to reveal the black Aces! Leave the Aces FU on top of each dealt packet. 2. Grasp both packets in Biddle grip with your palm down left and right hands, lift both packets off the table, and turn your hands palm up to reveal the 5C and 3H. Explain that your trained deck cannot only spell but can also do math. Five plus three is eight. Turn your hands palm down and replace the two packets back on the table. Pick up the remainder of the deck and count down eight cards one at a time, reverse dealing the FD cards into a third packet to the right of the first two. As you deal the eighth card, flip it FU onto the third packet to reveal the AD! 3. Explain that you will find the last Ace by a combination of Math and Spelling. Spell M-A-T-H, reverse dealing the FD cards one at a time into a fourth pile beneath the middle (AC) packet. Place the remainder of the deck FD to your left. Pick up the fourth packet and perform an UNDER/DOWN DEAL. Spell "H" as you move the top card under the packet. Spell "E" as you deal the new top card FD to the table. Spell "A" as you move the new top card under the packet. Spell "R" as you deal the next card FD onto the FD card on the table. Spell "T" as you move the next card under the packet. Spell "S" as you deal the next card FD onto the fourth packet. You are left with one FD card in your hand. Flip it FU to reveal the AH and place it FU on top of the fourth pile. You have found all four Aces! 4. Pick up the fourth (AH) pile, spread to show 3 FD cards and the FU AH, take the top two cards spread in your right hand, and hold the remaining two FD cards spread in your left hand. As you bring your hands together, allow the FD card in your right hand to slide between the two cards in your left hand while you retain the FU AH in your right hand. Table the AH FU back to the spot on the table where the fourth pile was as your left hand drops its three cards FD on the FD deck. Simultaneously pick up the AS with your left hand and the AC with your right hand. Slide the AS onto the AC, holding both in your right hand. Drop both black Aces onto the tabled AH. Pick up the FU AD and drop it onto the other FU aces. As you pick up the three piles of FD cards, you will position the cards for the Ace assemblies to follow. With your right hand pick up the top FD card of the seven-card (AD) pile and use it as a scoop to pick up that pile and put it into your left hand. Repeat this scoop action with the second (AC) packet and the first (AS) packet, dropping each packet on top of the packet in your left hand. Drop the left hand assembled packets FD onto the FD deck. Assembly – Phase One 5. You are ready to begin your first Ace assembly. Explain that the Aces are accomplished magicians and would like to demonstrate their magical skills. Flip the FU Aces FD on the table in a squared packet. Pick up the FD deck, spread over the top three cards, take them into your palm up right hand (without reversing their order), turn you right hand palm down to show the faces of the three spot cards, and then place the three cards as a unit FD onto the tabled Aces. As you place these cards onto the Aces, down jog the 2H. Fan over the next three cards of the deck, take them into your palm up right hand (without reversing their order), flash their faces to the audience, and place them FD on the tabled cards. Repeat this action two more times, placing three, six, nine, twelve indifferent cards onto the Aces. The audience will see eleven spot cards and one face card (KD). These cards will represent close up spectators to witness and monitor
the magic. Discard the rest of the FD deck (in Aronson stack order) out of your performing area. 6. Pick up the tabled FD sixteen card packet, turn it FU sideways, and secure a right little finger Erdnase break under the FU 2H (easy to do due to the down jog). You are holding the packet from above by the ends in your right hand, secretly maintaining the Erdnase break. Your left hand will now thumb off apparently the four Aces into your left hand, really executing a packet switch. Fairly thumb off the FU AD FU in your palm up left hand. Return to thumb off the AS FU onto the FU AD. Return once again to thumb off the AC FU onto the Aces in your left hand. As you return to thumb off the AH, you will leave the three Aces under the FU packet in your right hand and take all the cards above your right little finger Erdnase break. It will appear to your audience that you simply thumbed off the four Aces into your left hand. Flip the left hand cards FD sideways with your left thumb and deal the four FD cards in a square formation onto the table—first card to your upper left, second card to your upper right, third card to your lower right, and fourth card to your lower left. You are now going to deal three spectators (indifferent cards) onto each magician for safekeeping. You are holding the FU packet in your right hand in Biddle grip. Thumb off the 8D into your palm up left hand. As your left hand comes back to thumb off the 3H, leave the 8D under the FU packet, securing an Erdnase right little finger break above the 8D, and come away with the 3H. Fairly thumb off the 6C onto the 3H and place these squared cards FD on the Ace (?) at your upper left. You have apparently thumbed off three spot cards and placed them on the first Ace. In reality you placed two spot cards on another spot card. Fairly thumb off the next three cards (KD, 7D, 8C) and place them FD on the second Ace (?) at your upper right. Apparently thumb off the next three cards and place them FD on the Ace at your lower left. In fact, you will execute a switch for 3 Aces and the 2D. Thumb off the 10S and then the 5H into your palm up left hand. As your left hand returns to take the 2D, leave the cards in your left hand under the FU packet and take all the cards above your right little finger Erdnase break. Place this squared packet FD on the Ace (AH) at your lower left. Fairly thumb off the last three cards (8D, 5H, 10S) from your right hand into your left hand one at a time (reversing their order). Place this squared packet FD on the Ace (?) at your lower right. You have apparently covered each Ace with three indifferent cards. In reality, there are three spot cards at your upper left, four indifferent cards at your upper right, four indifferent cards at your lower right, and five cards at your lower left (the four Aces & 2D). 7. Explain that it will difficult for the Aces to perform their magic surrounded by spectators. Pick up the FD four-card packet at your lower right. Hold the packet in Elmsley (Ghost) Count position in your right hand. (I am a lefty and Elmsley Count from my right hand into my left hand. Reverse the description if you count from left to right.) Simulate the actions of your Elmsley Count, but fairly remove the top three cards one at a time into your left hand. Place the final card FD in the center your square array. Place the three cards in your left hand FD back into their position at your lower right. Explain that the first Ace has been positioned in the middle of all the spectators so that no trickery is possible. Pick up the FD packet at your upper right and repeat the exact same actions. Hold the packet in Elmsley Count position in your right hand, reverse take the top three cards into your left hand, and place the remaining Ace (?) FD in the center of the square with the first Ace (?). Place the three FD cards in your left hand on top of the packet at your lower right.
Pick up the FD packet at your upper left and hold it in Elmsley Count position in your right hand. Your are going to count this three-card packet as four cards by performing an Elmsley Count. Place the last card of the count FD into the center with the other Aces (?) and drop the cards in your left hand on top of the cards at your lower right. 8. Explain that these three Aces will disappear on the count of three. Count to three and turn the three FD cards in the center of the square array FU as a packet. Spread the cards, taking the 9S and 5C into your right hand (without reversing their order) while retaining the 3H in your left hand. Turn both hands palm down to display the backs of the three cards, turn your hands palm up to display the faces, slide the 3H into your right hand above the other two cards, and drop the three FU cards back to the center position in a fanned condition. The Aces have vanished! 9. Point to the FD packet at your lower right. Pick it up, flip it FU sideways, and spread the cards between both your hands in a haphazard fan. Explain that, when you asked these spectators if they saw where the Aces went, they responded that they were totally mystified. Partially square the fan so your left hand can hold all the cards and use them as a scoop to pick up the three FU cards on the table. (The three FU cards will naturally slide to the face of the FU packet.) Square up the FU packet and place it to your lower right. Pick up the FD packet at your lower left. You are going to show that this packet contains just the four Aces. Hold the packet FD in dealing position in your left hand. Push over the top card to the right, grasp it with your palm down right hand (fingers on top and thumb underneath), revolve your right hand palm up turning the AD FU end for end, and deal it FU to the table. Repeat this Stud Deal action to turn the AS FU, but slide it under the FU AD as you deal it to the table. Repeat this Stud Deal action to turn the AC FU and slide it under the AS as you deal it FU to the table. Grasp the last two cards aligned as one in Stud Deal fashion and use this double to scoop up the three Aces on the table, sliding the double under the AC. The Aces have accomplished their first assembly! Assembly – Phase Two 10. Explain that the Aces vanished all at once. Would your audience like to see them vanish one-at-a-time in slow motion? Fan out the four Aces (holding the last two cards as one). Flip the fan FD sideways, allowing the Aces to fall together into a squared packet in your left hand. You are going to place the Aces in "T" formation this time using slow, deliberate movements (slow motion as promised). Thumb over the top card to the right (2D), grasp it from above with your palm down right hand (thumb on lower edge, second and third fingers on upper edge, first finger resting on the middle of the card), and slowly place it FD on the table at your upper left. Take the next card (AH) in the same manner and place it FD to your upper center in line with the first FD card. Repeat the same actions with the next card (AC), placing it FD to your upper right in line with the other FD cards. Grasp the last two cards as one and place the double directly below the center FD card to complete your "T" formation. The deliberate (slow motion) placement makes handling the double very easy. 11. You are now going to cover each Ace (?) with three spectators for safekeeping. Perform these placements in a slow, deliberate manner, simulating slow motion. Pick up the FU cards at your lower right and hold them in Biddle Grip in your right hand. Thumb off the 3H into your palm up left hand. As you return to thumb off the 9S, leave the 3H under the FU packet. Return to thumb off the 5C. Turn you left hand palm down and drop the squared two-card packet on the double card in your formation. Proceed to cover the remaining Aces (?) from left to right by fairly taking three cards one-at-a-time into your left hand (reversing their order) and dropping them FD on each Ace (?).
12. Pick up the FD packet at your upper left and hold it in Elmsley Count position in your right hand. Reverse count the top three cards one at a time into your left hand, simulating the actions of your Elmsley Count. Move your left thumb under the three FD cards in your left hand and flip them FU sideways into a three-card fan. Your audience will see three spot cards. Place the remaining FD Ace (?) FD on the FU fan. As you square up the packet, secure a left little finger break under the 8D. Explain that you will leave the first Ace FD among the three FU spectators. Cut the top 2 cards (above your left little finger break) to the bottom of the packet. Explain that you will surround the first Ace with the FU spectators to prevent any trickery. Flip the squared packet FD, grip the cards in Elmsley Count position in your right hand, and tap the packet momentarily on the lower edge of the lower packet in your "T" formation. Reverse count fairly the four-card packet one at a time into your left hand, simulating the actions of your Elmsley Count. Your audience will see three FD cards and the FU 2D. The first Ace has vanished while surrounded. Use the top two FD cards to flip the 2D FD in place, flip the packet FU sideways into your left hand, and take the FU packet into Elmsley Count position in your right hand. Fairly reverse count the four FU cards one at a time into your left hand, simulating the actions of your Elmsley Count. Spread the cards in a FU fan between your two hands. Take the top two cards (5H & 10S) into your right hand (without reversing their order) and retain the 8D & 2D in your left hand. Use the Bob Stencel wiggle action in each hand to display four single cards. As you bring your hands back together, slide the two right hand cards between the two left-hand cards, bringing the 2D to the face of the packet. Square up the FU cards and return them FU to the upper left position in the "T" formation. You have shown backs and faces to prove the Ace has vanished. 13. Pick up the upper center FD packet and hold it in Elmsley Count position in your right hand. Flash the AH on the face of the packet by turning your right hand palm down. Explain the AH will be the second Ace to go. Apparently reverse count the top three cards one a time into your left hand, retaining the AH in your right. In reality, you perform an Elmsley Count which switches the AH to the top of the three-card packet in your left hand and leaves the KD in your right. Use your left thumb to flip FU the squared three-card packet in your left hand. Place the FD Ace (?) on top of the FU packet, slightly down jogging the 8C. As you square the packet, lift up under the down jogged 8C and cut the top two cards under the packet. The 7D will show on the face of the FU packet. Flip the squared packet FD and take it into Elmsley Count position in your right hand. Tap the packet momentarily against the lower edge of the lower packet in the "T" formation. Fairly reverse count the four cards one at a time into your left hand, simulating the actions of your Elmsley Count. Your audience sees three FD cards and the FU KD. The AH has vanished. Use the top two FD cards to flip the FU KD FD in place and then flip the packet FU into your left hand which keeps the cards squared. Grasp the FU packet in Elmsley Count position in your right hand. Apparently reverse count all four cards one at a time into your left hand, showing one KD and three spot cards. In reality, perform an Elmsley Count to show three spot cards and one KD. (The 8C is seen twice during this Elmsley Count but will pass unnoticed since the audience is looking for the missing AH and sees only one KD in its proper position.) Return this squared FU packet to its upper center position in the "T" formation. The second Ace has vanished surrounded by spectators! 14. Pick up the FD packet at your upper right and flip it FU in your left hand which keeps the cards squared. The AC will show on the face of this packet. Explain that the AC will be the third Ace to go. Use Brother John Hamman’s no get ready double turnover from a small packet to apparently turn the AC FD. Cut the top three cards
under the remaining card of the packet, simulating a random cut. Flip the squared packet FD and Elmsley Count the cards into you left hand. Your audience sees three FD cards and a FU AC going third from the top. Grasp the packet in Elmsley Count position in your right hand, momentarily tap this packet against the lower FD packet in the "T" formation, and perform an Elmsley Count, simulating reverse counting the four cards into your left hand. Your audience sees three FD cards and a FU 3H. The AC has vanished! During your Elmsley Count, take the FU 3H into an out jogged position (so that the first Heart pip is fully exposed). You will secretly reverse the FU AC (which is on the face of the packet) as you openly turn the 3H FD, using a variation of the ChristAnnemann Alignment Move. You are holding the packet in left hand dealing position with the 3H out jogged. Your left fingers are at the right edge of the packet and your left thumb is lying along the left edge of the packet. (This grip assures proper alignment during the move to follow.) Bring your palm up right hand to the packet, placing your right thumb on the FU 3H, your right forefinger at the forward edge of the 3H, and your right middle finger on the FU AC at the bottom of the packet. As your right thumb begins to push the 3H forwards, your right middle finger slides the FU AC forward under the cover of the 3H. (Your left fingers and thumb keep the jogged cards aligned. If the FD card above the AC moves together with the AC as your right middle finger slides it forward, you can single buckle the FU AC with your left forefinger prior to the move and hold a left little finger break. Now when you execute the move, only the AC will slide.) Stop moving the 3H forward when its second heart pip is fully exposed. Start to push the 3H back down with your right forefinger until it aligns itself with the AC and then pull the double card forward, turning it FD end for end as it clears the packet in your left hand and falls on top of the packet. You have apparently turned the 3H FD on the top of the FD packet. Thumb over the top FD card of the packet and take it in your palm up right hand. Thumb over the next FD card and take it on top of the card in your right hand. (You have apparently moved the 3H to second from the top.) Both hands now hold two FD cards. Perform the Bob Stencel wiggle with both hands to display four FD cards. Replace the cards in your right hand on top of the cards in your left hand, square the packet, and flip it FU sideways. Perform an Elmsley Count to show four spot cards. The Ace has vanished! (During the Count the 6C is seen twice but will be unnoticed because your audience is looking for the Ace and sees the 3H exactly where it should be--third from the face.) During this Elmsley Count you will set up the AC & 2H for a Gambler's Cop. When you take the 2H (really a double) into your left hand, position both cards in Gambler's Cop position. Count the remaining two cards into your left hand, maintaining a separation between them and the copped cards with your left fingers. As your palm down right hand grasps in Biddle grip (your right fingers at the forward edge and your right thumb at the rear edge) the two cards above the copped cards in your left hand, your left hand drops naturally to your side in rest position concealing the copped cards. Drop the FU cards onto the FU packet at the upper left of the "T" formation and then pick up the combined FU packet and drop it on the FU packet at the upper center of the "T" formation. Explain that the Aces have vanished one at a time from one, two, three groups of different spectators. 15. As your right hand approaches the four FD cards in your "T" formation, bring your left hand with its cards in Gambler's Cop behind the FD packet. You are going to turn the FD packet FU end for end, allowing the packet to fall FU into your left hand (directly on top of the copped cards). Your palm down right hand contacts the FD packet with your right thumb in the center of the packet, your right fingers sliding under
the upper edge of the packet. Revolve the packet FU end for end into your waiting left hand, allowing the packet to fall squared on to the copped cards in your left hand. Immediately Elmsley Count the packet to show four FU Aces. (The AD is seen twice during the count but will pass unnoticed.) The Aces have assembled a second time! To prepare for the final phase, as you count the last two Aces into your left hand, secure a left little finger break under the AC & AD. Assembly – Phase Three 16. Explain that every time the Aces come together many spectators suspect you are using more cards than just the four Aces and twelve indifferent cards. With your palm down right hand spread the top four or five face cards of the FU packet in the upper center of the "T" formation down towards you. Scoop up the FU indifferent (?) packet and flip it FD end for end near you. Use your right hand to turn the FU Aces (?) in your left hand FD sideways. Your left little finger break will cause the AC & AD to angle jog under the remaining four cards (Marlo's Book Break Technique). Grasp the packet from above in your right hand, fingers at the upper edge and thumb at the lower edge. Your right hand should be directly above the FD indifferent packet on the table. You are going to Direct Add the two angle jogged Aces onto the FD packet as your left hand takes the cards above the angle jog and places them on the table in a spread fan to display four FD cards. Your palm up left hand approaches the FD Aces (?) in your right hand, grasping the cards above the angle jog at their left inner corner between thumb on top and first and second fingers underneath. As your left hand moves forward to the center of the table, spread the four FD cards between your left thumb and fingers. Your right hand drops on top of the FD indifferent (?) packet adding the two Aces directly on the FD packet. As your left hand drops the spread Aces (?) in the center of the table, your right hand picks up the FD indifferent (?) packet and places it FD in dealing position in your now empty palm up left hand. 17. You will now prove that you are using only sixteen cards—the four Aces and twelve indifferent spectators. Use your right hand to spread the four FD Aces (?) more widely in the center of the table, displaying four single cards. You will now count the FD packet in your left hand into your right hand one at a time, taking each card under the previous card (thus not disturbing their order). Down jog the fourth card counted. When all twelve cards have been counted into your right hand, drop the slightly spread packet FD near the edge of the table closest to you. Use both hands to scoop up the spread Aces (?) and hold them in dealing position in your left hand. Explain that the real secret of the magic Aces lies in the power of the AS. Perform a three-card turnover from the bottom of the packet, flipping the AS FU sideways onto the single FD card on top (a Brother John Hamman technique). Turn the FU triple FD as one card and deal the AS (really 9S) FD to the center of the table. Deal the next card (5C) FD to the center upper position of a new "T" formation. Take the next FD card (AS) into your right hand, flick it against the last FD card (2H) in your left hand, and deposit both cards into the "T" formation, your left hand placing its card at the left upper position and your right hand placing its card at the upper right position. You are going to perform a third assembly with a twist. Explain that the master AS will act like a magnet to attract the other Aces. To prove the power of the AS you will cover each Ace with three spectators. 18. Pick up the FD twelve card packet near you and flip it FU sideways into your palm up left hand. As you grasp the packet from above in Biddle Grip with your right hand, lift up on the down jogged card so you can secure a left little finger break above the Aces. You will now use the Veeser Technique to exchange three spot cards for the three Aces. As you thumb off the 6C into your palm up left hand, take the three Aces under your break along with the 6C, maintaining your left little finger break between the 6C
and the three Aces. Thumb off the 3H onto the 6C and then thumb off the 2D onto the 3H. You have apparently counted off three spot cards. Momentarily allow your lefthand cards to go under the FU packet in your right hand. Grasp all the cards above your left little finger break with your right hand as your left hand turns palm down and deposits its three cards FD on the AS at your upper right. Fairly reverse count the next three cards one at a time into your left hand and drop them FD on the Ace (?) at the upper center of your "T" formation. Fairly reverse count the next three cards one at a time into your left hand and drop them FD on the Ace (?) at the upper left of your "T" formation. Fairly reverse count the last three spot cards one at a time into your left hand and drop them on the master AS (?) below the upper row of your "T" formation. 19. Pick up the FD packet at your upper left. Simulate the actions of an Elmsley Count, reverse counting the top three cards FD into your left hand one at a time. Lever these cards FU sideways with your left thumb to display 3 spectators. Insert the FD Ace (?) above the KD and pull it to the right away from the fan. Drop the FU indifferent fan to the left of (and in line with) the FD master packet in the center of the table. Flip the FD 2H FU in the upper left position of your "T" formation. The Ace has vanished! 20. Pick up the upper center packet of your "T" formation and hold it in dealing position in your left hand. You are going to Stud Deal the top three cards to the table one at a time, explaining that this time you will get rid of the spectators guarding the Ace. Stud deal the 5H FU to the upper center area of your "T" formation. Stud deal the 10S FU and slide it under the 5H. Stud deal the 8D FU and slide it under the 10S. Give the last FD card a Through the Fist Flourish, turn it FU to show the 5C, and deal the 5C FU under the 2H at your upper left. The second Ace has vanished! 21. Pick up the FD master packet in the center of the table and hold it in dealing position in your left hand. Explain that the AS must be a very powerful magnet. Wave your right hand over the packet and make a tossing motion toward the audience member directly before you. Explain that you have transferred the magic magnetism from the AS to the audience member. Stud deal the 2D FU and drop it onto the 5H at your upper center. Stud deal the next card (3H) FU and drop it below the FD packet at your upper right. Stud deal the next card (6C) FU and drop it on the 3H. Turn the last card (9S) FU and drop it on the 2H at your upper left. The AS has vanished! 22. Have the audience member with the magic magnetism wave his hand over the FD packet at your upper right and reveal that the Aces have assembled for a third time! Reassembling the Deck: 23. Pick up the KD-7D-8C packet and drop it on the four-card packet at your upper center. Scoop up the upper center combined packet and drop it on the 3H-6C packet at your lower right. Pick up this combined pile at your lower right and drop it on the 3card packet at your upper left. Return all these cards FD onto the FD deck. The deck is Aronson Stack order except for the Aces. Do a trick using just the four Aces (Dr. Daley’s Last Trick, Vernon’s Twisting the Aces--or its many variants, Phil Goldstein’s Overture, The Asher Twist, etc.) At the conclusion, fan the deck with faces towards you and insert the Aces into their proper positions in the Aronson Stack. Proceed with your favorite Aronson Stack miracles. COMMENTS: (1) Credits. The multi-phase assembly plot was directly inspired by Brother John Hamman's Final Aces. The first assembly phase is a minor variation on Marc DeSouza's Ace Assembly from his lecture notes. Phases 2 & 3 were derived from my unpublished exploration of Ace Assemblies (Some Assembly Required). The visual changes in Phase 2 use Elmsley's Four Card Trick as a starting point. The initial production of the Aces from Aronson Stack order was derived from Aronson's Aces Awry. Of course, Simon
Aronson is directly responsible for suggesting that an Ace Assembly could be done maintaining stack order. Without his explorations in maintaining stack order (Try the Impossible), this trick would not exist. (2) [Note from Simon: Gene also sent along some routining suggestions for combining all or parts of the above with my Christ-Aronson Aces. Gene's first combination is to use his Ace Production (steps 1 - 3) as an entry to my routine; his second suggestion is to present a combination of both routines, beginning with his routine, and concluding with mine. There are a few minor variations that are needed to make these transitions (e.g., doing some of the spelling FU to preserve stack order, or culling the 6D to its place next to the 6H beforehand), but practitioners should be able to quickly recognize what needs to be done. If you want to see Gene's full descriptions, you can email him directly at [email protected]
Simon Aronson on Memorized Deck Magic In addition to his writings specific to the Aronson stack, Simon has written extensively on Memorized Deck magic generally. Key to Publications: KAB = Kabbala (the Simon Aronson issue, April 1973) CI = The Card Ideas of Simon Aronson (1978) STR = A Stack to Remember (1979) SB = Shuffle-bored (1980) AA = The Aronson Approach (1990) BTP = Bound to Please (1994) (a compilation of Aronson's early works, including KAB, CI, STR, SB and other items) SS = Simply Simon (1995) TTI = Try the Impossible (2001) Essays General Observations on the Memorized Deck (CI p. 88, BTP p. 84) Memorized Math (AA p. 113) The Open Index (SS p. 222) Effects Some People Think (KAB p. 57, BTP p. 3) Lie Sleuth (KAB p. 58, BTP p. 5) Group Shuffle (KAB p. 59, BTP p. 8) Two Card "No Touch" Location (CI p. 95, BTP p. 88) Four Stop Intersection (CI p. 100, BTP p. 92) Histed Heisted (CI p. 104, BTP p. 95) S-D Plus (CI p. 111, BTP p. 100) Center Cut Location (CI p. 117, BTP p. 105) Shuffle-bored (memorized deck applications) (SB p. 14ff, BTP p. 160ff) Bait and Switch (AA p. 85) Any Card, Then Any Number (AA p. 93) Four Part Harmony (AA p. 101) Past-Present-Future (SS p. 153) Lazy Memory (SS p. 162)
Everybody's Lazy (SS p. 167) Two Wrongs Make It Right (SS p. 173) Taking Advantage of One's Position (SS p. 179) Self-Centered (SS p. 187) Madness in Our Methods (SS p. 194) Topsy Turvy (SS p. 203) High Class Location (SS p. 216) Twice as Hard (TTI p. 46) Two Beginnings (TTI p. 171) The Invisible Card (TTI p. 175)