Pocketpick

Effect: The performer draws a card from a shuffled deck and perches it, back outward and in full view, at the top of his breast pocket.

Someone now chooses any card in the pack, notes it and returns it to the center of the deck. The deck is set down and the performer directs everyone's attention to the card sitting prominently in his breast pocket. He then shows its faceā€”it is the very card just chosen and buried in the pack!

Method: Explained in the barest terms, the card in the pocket is switched for the chosen card, which has been stolen from the pack. Arthur Leroy may have been the first to have suggested setting the card in the mouth of the performer's breast pocket to effect a switch. This ploy appeared in his "Self Control", marketed in 1933 (see Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, Hugard revision, pp. 27-28). In "Pocketpick" Mr. Elmsley uses an exquisitely refined handling of the breast-pocket card switch to bring about an extremely direct version of "the card that wasn't there" plot.

Begin by drawing a card at random from the face-down pack. Do not expose the face of this card to the audience. However, as you slip it partially into your outer left breast pocket, glimpse its face and remember it. Cant the top end of the card to your right as you position it in the mouth of the pocket, leaving as much of the card in view as is possible.

Now gather the deck and fan it face-up as you ask someone to remove any card he likes. If he takes the mate to the card you have placed In your pocket, the effect immediately becomes one of precognition and nothing more in the way of instruction need be written. Assuming, however, that the card chosen lies on the other side of happenstance, you must do something to make the card in your pocket more presentable.

Have him show his card to everyone in the group. Meanwhile, you square the deck and turn It face-down. Then have the spectator insert his selection face-down into the center of the pack. Apply a subtle pressure with your left thumb on top of the deck to prevent the card from going completely flush. You then finish squaring it into the pack, catching a left fourth-finger break above it in the process.

Now casually turn the deck face-up, executing a turnover pass to bring the selection to the back of the deck (see Volume I, pp. 112113, for a handling of this sleight). On completing the pass, your right hand should still grasp the deck by its ends from above, as you perform a casual squaring action. The right fingers are aligned along the front of the pack, while the right thumb lies on the inner end, near center.

"It is most peculiar," you now assert, "that, given any card in the pack, you should pick the six of diamonds." Here you name the chosen card as you gesture with your left hand toward the person who made the selection. This leaves the deck for a moment in the right hand alone. When the left hand returns to reclaim the pack, its fingertips contact the back of the deck and pivot the outer end of the rear card rightward and under the right hand, until the end of the card lodges against the hypothenar of the right palm. The index corner of this angled card should rest just below the base of the fourth finger (Figure 131, an underview). This secret action is similar to that of the standar d side slip.

The left hand now grasps the deck in the fork of the thumb and carries it away from the right hand. In this action the right thumb swings in a tight arc around the inner end of the deck to a position parallel with the forefinger. In doing so, it stretches across the inner left corner of the angled card and bends the card convexly, inward, against the palm. The left fingertips can aid in the palming action by pressing upward on the back of the card as the deck is drawn aside. The card now rests securely caught by its ends between the thumb and the edge of the palm, in a hybrid of the lateral Tenkai palm and the rear palm (Figure 132). The angles that need guarding here are very like those of the rear palm. Because the right hand is conveniently near your body, the palmed card is well protected from view.

With your left hand, table the face-up deck, or ribbon spread it. When doing this, direct your gaze to the left hand's activity, misdirecting from the right hand. Figure 133 shows the audience's ^ view of the situation.

As the left hand sets down the deck, move your right hand toward your breast pocket. In this action, curl in the fingers and clip the palmed card by its upper non-index corner (Figure 134). This frees the thumb.

Alle Religion Malen

As the right hand reaches the pocket, it is an easy matter to insert the free index corner of the curled card into the top of the pocket, just in front of the indifferent card that rests there. At the same time, behind the right hand, the thumb contacts the top of the indifferent card and pushes the card down, completely into the pocket (Figure 135). In this action the thumb can also contact the face of the palmed card and push it deeper as well.

Now bend the first two fingers in and clip the upper index corner of the palmed card. In almost the same motion, turn the hand palm outward, exposing the back

of the card to the audience. The switched card is seen to rest in the same canted position as the card before it (Figure 136). This substitution is extremely deceptive. The card is blocked from the spectators' sight for only an instant, and the action of the switch perfectly replicates the natural action of grasping the card in the pocket. Of course, the sleight must be practiced until it can be done smoothly and without hesitation.

At this point you should have just finished saying, ".. .you should pick the six of diamonds..You now conclude the switch and the trick by drawing the card from the pocket and dramatically revealing its face as you say, "...for that is the one card I removed from the deck at the very beginning!" Of course, should they look through the pack on the table, the selection is no longer there.

If you need a full pack of fifty-two cards for tricks scheduled to follow "Pocketplck", the card that is initially placed in the pocket and left there can be a joker, pencil-dotted at opposite diagonal corners so that you can Identify and remove it from the shuffled pack. Doing this relinquishes the possibility of a lucky hit, but does allow you to proceed without the card left in the breast pocket.

Of course, Mr. Elmsley's breast-pocket switch has far wider utility, and if the reader experiments with it, his delight in the illusion it creates should stimulate the creation of further ideas.

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