After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

The Comparison Method The Automatic Gauge Method Variation of Automatic Gauge The Nail Gauge Nail Gauge Variation Mario's Favorite The Faro Check Mechanical Estimation Effects The Magic Card "Think I'll Stop Here" Chosen Card Count Down The Tipoff Reversed Card Out

Probably the first source to record the principle of Estimation is Downs' Art of Magic where it is looked upon as a simple process of locating a card but the reader is cautioned that, "The bungling and unobservant perfomer will meet his Waterloo in this experiment. The keen-eyed, ready-tongued and adroit performer; however, will experience no difficulty whatever in this method, the secret of which lies in locating the selected card by observing where the spectator breaks the pack."

Thus in a few words a principle of unlimited scope was handed to the magic world, yet in the fifty year period since its introduction very little has been added to the subject. Even as large a volume as Greater Magic has practically no mention of it; however, Charles H. Hopkins mentions the principle in his Outs, Precautions and Challenges. It is interesting to note that no mention of estimating the number of cards is made in either Art of Magic or the Hopkins' book but seems to follow the rule of observing where the pack is cut.

It is Expert Card Technique which first mentions estimating the possible number occupied by the card that is cut, plus an advance in the fact that now the estimated card's position is followed in the course of regulation Riffle Shuffles thus adding more deception but also adding the risk.

It is in Chapter Six of the present volume that this risk was lessened to some degree by the use of the Faro Shuffle, which gave more accurate results, as well as the introduction of Forced Estimation, plus its use in some effects other than just merely finding the card.

The following two Chapters, of Revolutionary Card Technique not only deal with Estimation but with effects as well. Mechanical Estimation is for those who may have never had much experience with this branch of card work and wish to be pretty sure of success.

The other subject was first briefly introduced in the New Phoenix in 1955 and is of a controversial nature in that many card men at that time, even experts, did not believe the principle to be practical. I doubt if many have changed their minds in the interim. It is what I term Natural Estimation and through its use some fantastic effects are possible, some of which have been included in this work.

I can not think about estimation without recalling two names in the field, namely a character called Moe, who apparently made use of the principle of estimation in arriving at some of his card miracles. Also Bert Allerton with his Estimation Stab, on which I based several of my impromptu versions, a couple of which are released here for the first time.

In all the effects I have tried to stay away from the "Let's play estimation" type of thing so common among magicians, wherein they try to guess at what number in the deck a noted card lies. This obvious estimation carries no mystery and should be avoided as you would avoid displaying a secret sleight. While there are effects in which numbers are involved it must be remembered that these are apparently arrived at by chance or seem to be predetermined which is akin to a prediction of sorts. I'm sure that the student will find much to fascinate him in the material to be presented.

Mechanical Estimation

Object: To determine as closely as possible the number of cards cut off by a spectator.

The usual means of estimation is to guess the number of cards cut off by spectator by actually looking at the cut off portion or by looking at the remainder of the deck to determine the number of cards left behind. From this it was possible to guess how many the spectator had cut off. While it is possible to master this basic procedure the following ideas will give one more accurate results with less practice. Some of the methods are designed to accurately give the number of cards cut off by the spectator as well as two other portions.

First Method:

The Comparison Method

1. Having had the pack shuffled by the spectator he is requested to table the cards and cut them but not to complete the cut.

2. When the cards are cut the two packets are normally side by side as in Figure 1 with the ends of the cards towards performer.

3. Notice packet A of Figure 1 as well as the two arrows. This is what you estimate. In other words you estimate how many more cards one packet has than the other rather than trying to determine the actual number of cards in the cut off portion.

4. Assume that you have estimated that one packet contains twelve more cards than the other. In Figure 1 the packet A would have twelve more cards than packet B. Next, halve this number to give you six. Now deduct six from 26 to give you 20 or the number of cards in packet B. Naturally the packet A would have 32 cards.

5. Try this method of Comparison Estimation and you will find that it can be done quite accurately within one or two cards.

AUTOMATIC GAUGE METHOD

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