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With the deck assembled as outlined above, there should be an Ace on both the top and the bottom of the deck.

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1. Give the deck a few false cuts. Hold the deck with the faces tilted toward yourself and cut at the exact midpoint, that is, between the two Queens at the middle. Hand the top half to a spectator and set the bottom half face down onto the table, as you say, 7 want to draw attention to the fact that this half of the deck is on the table before I have asked you to do anything. It will remain there and I will not touch it."

2. Ask the spectator to think of any value from Ace through to King. Once he has a number in his mind, point out to him the values of the Jacks, Queens and Kings. It is also worth mentioning that Aces count as one.

3. Ask the spectator to transfer that number of cards from the top of his packet to the bottom. He does this one at a time and stops when he has transferred the final card. You could look away as he does this, however, if you remind the audience of your promise that you will not touch any cards, then that should suffice. When he has done this, ask him to place his half face down onto the table beside the other half.

4. You now instruct him to use both hands to lift off the top cards of each pile (figure 1). He then turns them face up and places each card back onto the table in front of its respective pile (figure 2). Draw attention to the two values. If they are the same, tell him to place them to one side of the table. He then continues turning over pairs of cards. He keeps turning over pairs of cards until there are no more to turn. Both piles are face up on the table, except for the two matching pairs. All four cards will be the same value that the spectator thought of.

You cut the deck into two equal halves. You place one half face down onto the table and divide the other half between two spectators, so that each holds about a quarter of the deck. Both of them now think of any value from Ace through King. They each then transfer that number of cards from the top of their packet to the bottom. The spectators combine their two packets and place the combined packet face down onto the table beside the other half. One of the spectators turns over the top card of each pile simultaneously and continues until there are no more face-down cards. There will be only two occasions when two values will match. The first pair to match will be the same value that the first spectator is thinking of and the second pair will match the value of the other spectator's secret number.

The stack for this version is the same Mirror Stack that was used in the previous effect.

1. Cut the deck at the midpoint and place the bottom half face down onto the table. Again, remember that you will be cutting between the two Queens at the center, so this makes the cut easy to gauge.

2. Cut the half deck that you are holding exactly in half and hand a section to each of two spectators. Your gauge for the cut here is that there should be a Queen at the face of the upper portion when you cut.

3. Ask each spectator to think of any value from Ace through King. Again, remember to point out the numerical values of the court cards and that an Ace is a one.

4. Ask both spectators to think of their numbers and to transfer that number of cards from the top of their packets to the bottom. When they have done that, ask one of them to take the other's packet and place one packet on top of the other. Tell him to place the assembled half deck face down onto the table beside the other half.

5. A spectator turns over the top cards of both pile simultaneously and places each card face up in front of its respective pile (figure 1). He continues doing this until he exhausts the cards. When he hits a matching pair he places them to one side. There will be only two occasions when the values of two cards match. The value of one pair will be the same as one of the spectators' secret numbers. The value of the second pair will be the same as the other spectator's secret number.

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You take a random card from the deck, say the Two of Hearts, and secretly write something on its face. This prediction card is lost into the deck. You shuffle the deck and slowly riffle the cards in front of a spectator, asking him to think of any card. This is not a Riffle Force because he really does think of any of the cards. After further shuffling, you deal the deck into two piles. One pile is face down and the other is face up. You ask him if his thought-of card is in the faceup pile. If it is, you proceed. If it is not, you turn both piles over and proceed. You now remove cards simultaneously from each pile and ask the spectator to call "Stop" if he sees the card he is thinking of. He stops you. You take both cards into your hands. One card is face down and the other is his thought-of card (e.g. the Oueen of Spades). You now turn over the face-down card. It is the Two of Hearts bearing your message. That in itself is a good trick. The spectator now reads the message aloud, which says, "You will think of the Queen of Spades."

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For this you need a Svengali Deck and fifteen minutes with a marker pen. After that, you never need to prepare anything again as no cards need ever be replaced. You will see why shortly. I devised this effect at the same time as another that I published in my one-man parade in The Linking Ring (August 1995). In that effect, no card was predicted, nor was one thought of. It did appeal to me, however, and you might want to check it out. (Actually, it appealed to me a lot or I wouldn't have published it.)

Let us assume that the Force Card in the deck is the Two of Hearts. The Force Card must be a spot card with plenty of white space on which to write your message.

To prepare, place your Svengali Deck face down in front of you. Lift off the top pair and put them to one side for the moment. Lift off the next pair and, on the face of the short force card, write this message: "YOU WILL THINK OF THE_of_." You fill in the blanks with the name of the lower card of the pair. Place the Force Card back on top of the other card and set the pair into a separate pile next to the deck. Do this with every pair in the deck. Finally, place the unmarked pair on top of all.

The deck now consists of pairs of long and short cards with each short card bearing the same message which includes the name of the other card that forms that pair. The top pair remains unmarked.

There are two ways to shuffle a Svengali Deck. Here briefly are both techniques: Svengali Riffle Shuffle. Split the deck into two halves and hold both halves by their ends, between the thumbs and fingers. Your thumbs should almost touch together (figure 1). Riffle the cards together and square the deck. Ensure that the top pair falls last. Cards can become displaced with this shuffle so you should use it with caution. If one card moves from its position, the trick will not work.

Svengali Overhand Shuffle. This, in my opinion, is the safest shuffle. Hold the deck in readiness for an Overhand Shuffle, with the faces toward your left. The difference between this and a regular Overhand Shuffle is that your right first finger curls inward and presses against the back of the top card at the middle (figure 2).

Your left thumb does not pull off cards as it would in a regular shuffle. Instead, your right thumb releases small groups that spring off the deck into your left hand. You make it appear normal like this:

Press with your right first finger on the back of the deck and pull inward with your right thumb and middle finger (figure 3). Raise your left thumb, as if to pull off a portion of cards, and at the same time allow a few cards to spring off the face of the deck. You do this by relaxing your right thumb (figure 4). Raise your right hand as your left thumb pulls the packet into your left hand (figure 5).

Repeat these actions until most of the cards are in your left hand. When only a few remain, throw these back below the cards in the left hand. You must do this to retain the unmarked pair on top.

I have never lost a card with this shuffle because of the strict control by the right hand, if anything does go astray, you will know immediately because you will see a message card appear during the shuffle. I can offer no "out" if this happens but at least you will know to put the deck away and do something else!

1. Bring out the deck and shuffle it, using one or both of the above shuffles. Hold the deck face down in your left hand.

2. Turn over the top card showing the Two of Hearts. Take a pen and hold the deck up so that the face of the Two remains hidden from the audience, and say, "I will write a prediction on the Two of Hearts. I don't want you to see what I have written. All I will say is that it is the name of a playing card."

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