The Nail Gauge

This uses the Nail Gauge attributed to Zingone. Its use here is quite different to any in print.

First of all, you have to test your thumb nail as follows: Hold the deck on its side in the left hand. The right thumb nail is now dug into the top side of the deck as seen in Figure 10. How you do this is important. The tip of the thumb should be pressed straight and firmly against deck so that its nail rides over the top side of the cards.

Now, while maintaining the right thumb's pressure, you bend the thumb, and with its nail you clip off a batch of cards. Count these cards to see how many you got. Now repeat the same procedure of Nail Cutting and count the cards again. The object is to get a consistency in the amount of cards cut. There should be not more than a one card difference at any time. In other words, it is all right to consistently cut ten cards but once in a while get nine. If your thumb pressure has been up to its maximum in order to get 10 cards, then you should not be able to get 11 but you may, due to easing up, get 9. At any rate, you will eventually get a consistent number of cards. Assume that 10 is your most consistent number.

2. Spectator having shuffled the pack, have him table it and cut off a portion. This portion he is asked to shuffle.

3. Meantime, pick up the rest of the deck in order to give it a series of Drop Cuts. Actually, you use the Thumb Nail Gauge, as per Figure 10, and drop each packet onto each other in a series of apparent cuts. Count each cut as a unit rather than trying to add up each ten count or any number that you may be working with. In this example, of course, the number ten is used.

4. Suppose you have cut 3 packets and find the last is just a few cards. You merely spread these and quickly note how many there are as you drop these last onto the rest of cards. Suppose these last few cards totaled six. You dropped 3 Units of 10 or 30 cards. This plus the six cards make a total of 36 which deducted from 52 gives you 16 or the estimated number of cards cut off by the spectator.

5. During the Nail Cutting you can spot the bottom card of the first packet cut off. Later, the spectator, after noting the bottom card of his packet, drops it onto the tabled cards. Now he can give the whole pack several straight cuts. Later, on getting the pack, you relocate the original bottom key card and cut the deck there to bring the spectator's card back to its estimated number from the top.

6. Always be sure to check your thumb nail just before doing this method as the growth of the nail, as well as the clipping of the nail will naturally affect the number of cards you will be able to cut off at that particular performance.

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