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After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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Effect: The four aces are honestly buried at various depths in the pack and the cards are shuffled and cut. The name of the first ace, the ace of clubs, is spelled while one card is dealt for each letter. The ace of clubs turns up on cue at the end of its name.

The pack is given another shuffle and the ace of hearts is cut directly from the middle of the deck.

The deck is given a third shuffle and a cut. The top card Is turned up. It is a four. Counting down four cards from the top, the ace of spades is found.

One more shuffle is performed and the deck is ribbon spread. There, face-up in the center, is the final ace, the ace of diamonds.

Method: The plot is essentially that of Henry Christ's Ace Trick (ref. Cliff Green's Professional Card Magic, pp. 48-54; Epilogue, No, 20, Mai". 1974, pp. 8-9; orThe Vernon Chronicles, Volume 2, pp. 242245); but the method has been completely altered through the application of faro shuffle techniques.

The only preparation required is to install a concave bridge down the length of the face-down deck. This bridge is needed to assure that you can cut quickly and unerringly to a card reversed in the pack. Such a bridge can be created by giving the cards a face-down, edgewise, dovetail shuffle; or by performing the spread flourish (ref. The Card Magic of LePaul, p. 36).

Spread through the deck and remove the four aces. As you do this, also cut or cull a four of any suit to a position sixth from the face of the pack. Flip the deck face-down and quickly form four piles of cards. Push off four cards from the top of the pack to make the first pile. Push off seven more for the second pile; six for the third pile; and nine for the fourth. Spread the cards off in groups as you count them silently, making the procedure look casual and uncalculated. Do not mention the number of cards In each pile. By the way, the peculiar title of this trick is a mnemonic cue to the setup and layout. Those familiar with the mnemonic alphabet used in the Nikola

Card System (ref, Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, Hugard revision, p. 387) will quickly see that "aRaB RoTo-PacK" translates into 4-6-4-7-6-9. The first two numbers (4 and 6) remind you that a four must be positioned sixth from the face of the deck. The remaining four numbers (4, 7, 6 and 9) indicate the sizes of the four piles.

As you form the piles, lay them out in a row from left to right. Then position the aces in front of the piles, in a face-up row with suits running in CHaSeD order from left to right (Figure 236). This suit order is adhered to when, later, the aces are produced during the trick. Thus, there are built-in mnemonic aids for the entire procedure.

The piles and aces are now gathered, burying the aces at various levels in the pack. Start at the right end of the rows and work leftward. First place the ace of diamonds face-down onto the talon. Drop the nine-card pile onto this ace, but catch a left fourth-finger break beneath the pile. Lay the ace of spades face-down onto the deck and bury it with the six-card pile. Onto this place the ace of hearts, the seven-card pile, the ace of clubs, and finally the four-card pile. Square the deck,

"The aces are now separated in the pack, There is no question of this. You can see so for yourselves." Here cut off all the cards above the break and fan them face-up in the right hand. This is done as a gesture of display. Only three of the aces are present in the fan, but it is not exhibited long enough for this to be ascertained. As you call attention to the fanned cards, push the top card of the left-hand packet slightly to the right and form a fourth-finger break under it. This card is the ace of diamonds. With the aid of the left hand, close the face-up fan over the face-down deck and steal the ace of diamonds

under the right hand's cards. This is easily done: While the fan is closed, the tips of the right lingers simply enter the left fourth-finger's break and clip the face-down ace to the underside of the face-up packet (Figure 237),

Move the packets a few inches apart and smoothly flip the left hand's cards face-up. Then drop the right hand's packet onto them. It appears that you have merely turned the deck face-up in two portions, but the ace of diamonds is reversed near center.

Turn the deck face-down and give it one perfect out-faro. Then cut the deck by its ends, bringing the reversed ace of diamonds to the bottom (it is eighth from the bottom after the shuffle). The bridge aids you in making this cut.

"The first ace was the ace of clubs. To find it, all I need to do is spell its name: A-C-E O-F C-L-U-B-S." Deal one face-down card for each letter as you spell—then turn up the top card of the deck. It is the ace of clubs. Put the ace to one side and drop the deck onto the dealt cards.

Perform another perfect faro. Since the deck contains only fifty -one cards, this must be a straddle faro. It does not matter if you cut the top portion at twenty-five or twenty-six. Just weave the smaller portion into the larger: the top and bottom cards of the large portion become the top and bottom cards of the deck.

"Finding the ace of hearts is even easier. You just cut to it." Square the deck and set it face-down onto the table. Then, with the right hand, cut the pack by its ends, immediately below the reversed ace of diamonds (which lies somewhat below center). Once more, the bridge makes accurate cutting possible. With the left hand, turn up the top card of the portion on the table. It is the ace of hearts. Toss it aside to join the ace of clubs.

Drop the right hand's packet back onto the tabled portion and pick up the deck. Give it an out-faro shuffle and cut the ace of diamonds to the bottom (it rests twelfth from the top after the shuffle). Then turn up the top card. It will be the four you set at the beginning of the trick.

"The ace of spades is the hardest to find. You have to use detectives. This one is a four. So if I count down four cards..." Set the four spot on the table and count four cards onto it in an overlapping column. Turn up the fourth card. It is the ace of spades. Place this ace with the preceding two. Then turn the four face-down onto the dealt cards and drop the deck onto them.

Cut roughly ten cards from the top of the deck to the bottom; then perform one more faro shuffle. This can be of any sort and need not be perfect, as it is done only for the sake of consistency.

'The last ace is the ace of diamonds. It's a rich card and likes to stand out in a crowd." Set the deck face-down on the table, pause a moment, then ribbon spread it with a dramatic sweep of the hand. The ace of diamonds is seen face-up in the middle. Set it with the other aces and conclude.

March 1958

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