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Position Check: There are four face-down piles on the table. There is a face-up Jack in front of each pile (figure 3). There is an Ace on the bottom of every pile.

Phase Two—Blackjack

3. Ask the spectator to place a Jack on top of each pile. They remain face up. Now tell him to gather the piles together in any order. Once the deck is assembled, there will be a Jack on top. So tell the spectator to give the deck one complete cut to lose it. If he cuts to another Jack, tell him to cut again.

4. Continue, saying, "Okay, I have proven to you that the Jacks really are travelers. However, here's something even less known among mortals. Most people think there are only two Black Jacks in a deck of cards. This, in fact, is a popular misconception. Again, allow me to enlighten you."

Spread the deck across the table to show all four Jacks face up throughout the deck. Slide out each Jack along with the card immediately above it. This results in four face-up Jacks each with a face-down card on top of it (figure 4).

Say, "Actually, the truth is that there are four Black Jacks, watch." At this, turn over each facedown card onto the Jack, as you say, "Here we have Blackjack, Blackjack, Blackjack, and Blackjack! Four hands of Blackjack. What did you think I meant?"

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An even packet of cards develops rather odd credentials, despite the fact that the spectator seems to be in control of everything.

I based this effect on a Karl Fulves concept, called "Parity Prophet," that appeared in Rigmarole No. 4. The principle was intriguing, but it did not easily lend itself to a magical effect. After some experimentation, I came up with this idea.

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1. Spread through the face-up deck and remove the two Black Jacks. Transfer each Jack face down to the rear, as you come to it. Close the spread and turn the deck face down. The two Jacks are now face up on top. Draw attention to the Jacks by spreading them over and saying, "We'll use these two Jacks in a moment." Square the Jacks and obtain a little finger break below the first face-down card immediately below them. Lift off the three cards above the break as a unit and place them neatly onto the table or across the card case.

2. You will now hand the deck to a spectator but, before doing so, you must demonstrate how he is to count the cards. Hold the deck face down in dealing position and push over the top two cards (figure 1). Do not reverse the order of the cards. Drop the pair of cards onto the table. Push off the next two cards and drop them on top of the first pair (figure 2). Do this one more time to ensure that the spectator understands, which he will, because it is an easy thing to do. You explain the reason for this unusual way of counting, saying, "It is important that we have an even number of cards. Rather than keeping a count as you deal, here is a way to do it which guarantees an even number without having to think about it" At this point, you carry out the above demonstration.

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