Effect: Each of three persons is asked to choose a playing card. To speed the selection process, which is designed to assure random choices, roughly half the deck is discarded and the remaining half is used. Each person in turn deals the packet into two piles, peeks at the top card of either group and drops the other pile on top to bury the selection.

When all three spectators have chosen a card, the performer brings another playing card from his pocket. This, he explains, is a prediction. He turns the card around, exposing its face. Clearly written there are the names of three cards—the very three cards Just chosen by chance.

Method: Mr. Elmsley came to devise this trick while contemplating the possibilities of Hofzinser's classic plot, "Remember and Forget", as a presentational avenue for improving the appearance of a simple one-out-of-two choice. Nothing of the Austrian genius' presentation remains in "Auto-predictton", but it was the spark that fired its creation.

Elect twenty-one cards to serve as your selection bank. They can be any cards, though they should represent a random selection of suits and values. The only other restriction is that eight of these cards must sport a fair amount of blank space at their centers: twos, fours, sixes and sevens.

Arrange the twenty-one cards into a random-looking order, but place the eight blank-centered cards at positions six through thirteen from the top of the packet. Make a list of the order you have settled on. This serves as a reference when you need to restack the setup.

The white space in the centers of cards six through thirteen serves as space to write eight different predictions. The names of three cards from the packet are written in each of these (Figure 55). The predictions are restricted to the centers of the cards, permitting the

Card No.

packet to be fanned and displayed without exposing the writing. Each of the eight prediction cards bears the names of cards at particular positions, and these are listed in a particular order. The chart at the right shows how the cards are prepared. The cards in the first column are the eight prediction-bearing cards. The three cards in the second column are written on the face of the card in the first column. These are listed in the order the names must appear. Cards in both columns are identified by the positions they hold in the packet, counting from top to face.

Names Written



- 3

- 18



- 4

- 19



- 1

- 20



- 2

- 21



- 3

- 14



. 4

- 15



- 1

- 16



- 2

- 17

Once the eight predictions have been prepared, stack the twenty-one cards in the order you have chosen. One last bit of preparation: make the bottom card of the packet a corner short.

Place this packet on top of the deck and you are ready to perform. Bring out the deck and give it a casual false shuffle, preserving the top stock. Then thumb riffle down the corner of the deck to the corner short and cut off the twenty-one-card setup. Set the rest of the pack aside.

Fan the packet and display it briefly, fronts and backs, as you explain that you will use only half the deck to speed things up. Close the fan and hand the packet, face-down, to your first helper. Have him deal cards alternately into two face-down piles, until the packet has been divided in half. Then ask him to peek at the top card of either pile he likes and remember the card. When he has done this, have him bury his selection by dropping the other packet onto it. Finally have him hand the reassembled packet to a second person.

This spectator performs the same actions, dividing the packet into two piles, noting the top card of one arid burying it. The packet is passed to a third person, who chooses a card in an identical fashion. If you believe the three spectators can carry out your instructions correctly, you can turn your back as the selections are made. However, wisdom suggests that you monitor their actions to avoid errors and misunderstandings.

Only after all three spectators have made their choices do you touch the packet. Retrieve it and casually cut the top two cards to the bottom. Do not flash the bottom of the packet before or after the cut, as one of the prediction cards rests there.

The cut has brought to the bottom of the packet the precise card that bears the names of the three cards just peeked at, listed in the order they were chosen. Palm this card from the packet and pretend to remove it from your pocket, back outward. Explain that the card carries a prediction you made hours before. Ask each spectator to name his card, starting with the first and working to the last. Then turn over the card you hold, and reveal the written names.

The card now on the bottom of the packet is unprepared and its face can be casually flashed as you place the packet onto the discarded portion of the pack.

When alone, you can reset the packet without referring to your written list by following this procedure: Return the prediction card to either the top or the bottom of the packet. Then deal the cards alternately into two face-down piles. Set either pile onto the other and repeat this procedure twice. When you have reassembled the packet for the third time, cut the corner-shorted card to the bottom and the packet will be restored to its original order.

In 1982 Phil Goldstein and Stewart James published some interesting ideas based on the principle used in "Auto-Prediction". These can be found in Mr. Goldstein's booklet, Thunday (see "Cumulative", pp. 5-6, and "Cuemulat4e", pp. 7-8). In the next trick this principle is applied to a small packet of design cards.

March 1958

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