Speak Of The Devil

After signing a pact with the Devil, the unwary victim is frequently offered a chance to double his money. The bet is simple. The Devil removes the 13 spades from the deck. He picks one of these cards for himself. A simple process of elimination is used to discard all of the remaining cards except one. If this card is higher than the Devil's card, the victim wins. Otherwise he loses. The ace is low; the king is high.

"Obviously, if I picked the king," the Devil says, "You couldn't pick a card that beats me. If I picked the seven, you would have an even chance of beating me.

"If I picked the six or the five, then you would have a better than even chance of choosing a card that beat me. But to make it an attractive offer, I'll choose a really low card, the three of spades."

The Devil (ably played by the magician) removes the A3 from the packet, leaving the other 12 spades.

"All you have to do is get a card that's higher than A3," the Devil says, "And well leave the process of elimination in your hands."

The process is this. The remaining 12 spaces are mixed face down. The spectator withdraws any two face-down cards. The magician chooses one of these two cards and discards it. Then the magician picks up any two cards. The spectator chooses one of these and discards it.

The process continues until just one card is left. If it beats the A3, the spectator wins. Otherwise he loses.

The bet seems simple, honest and completely aboveboard. When the magician takes two cards from the deck the spectator can freely discard either one. When it is the magician's turn, he must withdraw one of the two cards offered to him by the spectator. Thus on every round the spectator is in complete control.

Needless to say, he loses.

Mhthod: This ingenious force was devised by Roy Baker. The only preparation is lightly to pencil-dot or otherwise mark the back of the A 2. With this card in the pack you can perform other tricks, since the marked A 2 does not interfere with other stunts you may want to perform. When ready for "Speak of the Devil," proceed as follows.

Remove the 13 spades from the deck. Explain the bet. Then place the A3 aside, face up. Remark that the ace is Sow, the king is high.

The remaining 12 spades are mixed face down. The spectator goes first. He takes any two face-down cards. You choose one and discard it. Always choose a card that is not pencil-dotted. Discard that card. The other card goes back onto the pile.

Then it is your turn. Pick up two unmarked cards. The spectator chooses one of these and discards it. The remaining card goes back onto the pile.

Continue in this way, always following the simple rule. When the spectator offers you a choice of either of his two cards, pick the unmarked card. When you take two cards from the pile and offer the spectator a choice, take two unmarked cards.

At the finish there will be only two cards left. One will be marked. This card is the 4*2. The spectator offers you a choice of either card. Naturally you choose the unmarked card. This leaves him with the A 2 and he loses.

The trick may be expanded. If there are two force cards, either of which is equally acceptable (two deuces, for example, if you are doing a variation of the above trick) then mark both cards. At the finish there will be two cards left. Give the spectator a choice of discarding either card. Of course he must then be left with one of the force cards.

The approach works just as well with objects other than cards. Put blank pieces of paper in each of 12 envelopes or matchboxes. Put a $5 bill in the remaining envelope or matchbox and secretly mark this container. The spectator mixes the containers. Twelve of them are discarded, leaving just one for you. The spectator gets to keep the contents of the other 12. He gets 12 pieces of paper and you get the $5 bill.

Continue reading here: The Stapled Card

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