This is a great routine for either close-up or cabaret and... it doesn't use playing cards!
You'll need two blue balls and two white balls (I use 2.5cm diameter opaque marbles). You also need a cloth bag (mine's 13cm square) with a rectangular hole cut at the lower left corner (my hole, if you'll excuse the expression, is 1cm x 3.5cm). I have stuck a piece of clear acetate over it, on the inside of the bag, to prevent anything from falling through. Finally, you'll need a £1.00 and a £2.00 coin.
Place the two white balls and a blue one into the bag. Place the £1.00 coin and the other blue ball in your right side pocket and the £2.00 coin in your left side pocket.
Tip out the three balls, from the bag, onto your hand. Keep the hole at the lower left corner of the bag facing you at all times! Explain that you have two white balls and a blue one and offer to play a game. The object is for you to wager some money that you can locate the ODD coloured ball.
Drop the balls back into the bag and give it a shake. Ask someone to reach in and remove one but... they must keep it hidden within their fist. Two other people do the same. Due to the hole in the bag, you now know who has the ODD coloured (blue) ball!
Keep hold of the empty bag in your left hand as your right goes to your pocket and picks up the £1.00 coin. After due concentration place it on the back of the fist you know contains the ODD (blue) ball.
To build suspense, have the other two people open their fists (one at a time) and they will have the white balls. Remove the coin from the third person's hand, pocket it, and then have them show everyone the blue ball.
Take back the balls with your left hand, having passed the bag into your right, drop them back inside and repeat this first phase.
Next, take back the £1.00 coin, with your right hand, and place it back into your pocket. Once your hand is within, pick up the blue ball and keep it finger-palmed. As you pass the bag from your left to your right hand, contrive to end up holding onto the bag with the blue ball pressed against the INSIDE by your right fingers and your thumb on the outside.
Take back the balls with your left hand and APPEAR to drop them back into the bag. In reality, you keep a white ball finger-palmed and only drop the blue and one white ball inside. As you shake the bag, allow the blue ball, under the right fingers, to drop inside with the rest. Go to your left pocket, ditch the finger-palmed white ball and pick up the £2.00 coin. Offer to increase the stakes by wagering the £2.00 coin that you can locate the ODD coloured ball yet again.
The bag now contains two blue balls and one white but... the audience THINKS there are still two whites and one blue. The three people each remove one again and, this time, you spot who takes the WHITE ball.
Place the £2.00 coin on the back of his fist and, when the first of the other two people opens his fist... there is a blue ball! It looks as if you have lost! However, when the second person opens his fist... he too holds a blue ball! It only remains for the third person, the one you designated as holding the ODD coloured ball, to open his fist and... bizarrely, you HAVE managed to find the ODD coloured (WHITE) ball!
For close-up, two people can assist with one taking two balls and the other taking one or, if performing to one person, they can take two balls and leave the third in the bag! If you make this up with larger (or smaller) props... just remember that the hole in the bag must be just big enough to allow you to see TWO balls (when there are two) within.
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