The Tower Bridge

This is an ornamental cut of the cards. The action is similar to that of the Charlier one-handed pass, but with both hands simultaneously working to create a symmetrical formation with the cards that is pleasant to the eye. Before attempting the cut, first inspect your pack and remove any bridges in it. Such bends can cause the edges of the packets to catch on one another as they pass. To avoid a stumbling cut, the pack should be flat.

Begin with the pack lying vertically on one edge, supported on the interlaced fingertips of both palm-up hands. The tips of the second, third and fourth fingers are alternated, right with left; and the forefingers are curled in, their nails lightly touching the top and bottom of the pack. The tips of the thumbs lie on the upper edge of the pack, near its center point, steadying it. Figure 1 depicts the starting posture.

The thumbs now divide the pack near center, as if opening a book, until the upper edges of the halves are approximately one and a half inches apart and the pack has assumed a V-fonnation (Figure 2).

The forefingers straighten to clear a path for packets to drop, and the thumbs release roughly half their respective cards. These quarter-deck packets are allowed to fall flat onto their respective fingers (Figure 3).

The thumbs close the two quarters of the pack they still hold, bringing them together once more in a vertical position; and the forefingers curl under the fallen packets, where they straighten, forcing the central sides of these packets to rise toward the thumbs while the outer sides remain steadied on the palms (Figure 4). When the raised edges of the packets meet the upper edge of the vertical half deck, the thumbs bend down slightly, engaging them, and the forefingers straighten outward.

The thumbs break the vertical half deck at center once more and allow each of these quarters to drop onto their respective fingers (Figure 5). The thumbs then rise, letting the two quarters of the pack they control drop flat onto the previously released packets (Figure 6),

The forefingers curl under the two horizontal halves and straighten, pushing the outer sides of the packets upward (Figure 7). The halves hinge on their adjacent edges until they come flush together in a vertical position, and the book first opened is now closed. The thumbs come down on the top edge of the pack, steadying it. This completes the cut, returning the deck to the same position in which it began (Figure 1 again).

What this cut accomplishes is the exchange of the top and bottom quarters of the deck for the two central quarters. When smoothly and neatly executed, it is a pretty maneuver, fascinating to watch.

April 16, 1949

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