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After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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Full house 4-7C 5-9D

You are now in position to give the method a dry run. Imagine you have been requested to deal a flush in a four handed game. With the pack towards you start to run through the pack and look at the two of hearts. At the side of FLUSH there are the numbers 3-4-5. Note the name of the card which follows the number 4 (the number of players), it is the AC. Continue to run through the pack until you find this card. In actual performance at this point you would pause and ask which player they would like to receive the chosen hand. Suppose they say No.3. Counttthree cards including the AC as you push the cards from the left hand into the right in the usual manner when running through the pack. Cut the cards at this point. If you now deal out four hands player No.3 will get AC (key card) followed by the King, Queen, Jack and Ten of Clubs.

The working is simplicity itself. Find the relevant key card and cut at the point to the left of it so that it falls to the player chosen to receive the specified hand. The rest happens automatically regardless of the kind of hand or number of players the spectators request within the options you have given them. So much for the 'bare bones'. Here are some pointers which may help in getting as much as possible out of the effect. To simply take the pack from the pocket and perform it right away without first doing a couple of other tricks would not be very convincing as audiences would be apt to suspect that there was some pre-arrangement of the cards however much you tried to prove otherwise by false shuffling, cutting etc. etc. they would still have their suspicions.

Apart from switching packs, a method will be given later, it is possible to perform a couple of card tricks which do not destroy the set-up, or if it did only to an extent that it would be easily possible to restore the arrangement without arousing suspicion. If you feel equal to memorising the order of a full pack, not at all difficult if taken in easy stages, the answer may be found in

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The Nikola Card System under the heading 'A Subtle Game' which will not be given here. It can be found in Hugards Ency. of Card Tricks which is readily available.

The switch now to be explained is not new, but the way in which it is presented leads nicely into the poker demonstration.

The stacked pack is placed in the ticket pocket of the outside coat on the right side, face of the pack towards the body. From the matching pack you have been using for earlier tricks force any card which is a duplicate of one in the stacked pack and in a position somewhere, say, from about the sixth to twelfth position. The forced card is lost in the pack which the spectator shuffled. You now hold open your pocket containing the stacked pack, fingers or pocket flap covering the opening of the ticket pocket, ask that the pack be dropped inside. Announcing that by sense of touch you will find the selected card. Showing your right hand empty you plunge it into the pocket, produce a card and put it face up on the table. It is the wrong one. You then try a couple more times but still fail to find the chosen card. Each card as it is produced is placed face up on top of the preceding one. At this point you say, "The last time I did this trick it was the fifty-second card." Continue to take cards from your pocket until finally you succeed in producing the right one. The object of these repeated failures is to produce a little fun which tends to reduce the critical faculties of the onlookers as they are being amused at your continued failure to produce the chosen card. The cards you have been producing are of course, from the stacked pack in your ticket pocket. The switch is complete when you remove the remaining cards from your ticket pocket, after producing the chosen card.

Remarking that the effect just performed depended largely upon a fine sense of touch and your difficulty was due largely to the fact that you forgot to sandpaper your fingertips this morning, explaining that card sharpers resort to this ruse which enables them to distinguish one card from another. This, you tell them, is something you will now demonstrate to show one of the methods used by cheats to win when playing poker.

Explain that one method of cheating used by card sharpers is to remember the position of certain cards as they are picked up following the previous hand. They are then able to shuffle the cards in such a way that these remembered cards can be dealt either to themselves, or to any other] player as desired.

'Come along, now. Don't be such a babv

Saying that it would take too long to show what happens by actually playing a game, and in any case you only play for money, a remark that some people seem to find amusing. Continue by saying, "As you do not seem anxious to play, it will be necessary for me to get the information I require by having a glance through the pack, but first tell me how many players, 5, 6 or 7, the kind of hand, royal flush, four of a kind, or a full house."

Having made their choices you look through the pack in order to 'memorise' the positions of certain cards. You then proceed to 'shuffle them' in order to get the result they have requested.

When you are supposedly memorising the positions of the cards you find the key card which has been ascertained from the two of hearts and when it comes into view enquire which player is to receive the kind of hand chosen. On being told, the cards are cut at the appropriate place in such a way that the spectators do not realise it. With part of the pack in each hand look carefully first at the cards in the right hand then at those in the left and finally at the audience remarking that "It's rather a tough one." Place the cards in the right hand UNDER those in the left hand and immediately run through the pack once more as if you are making a final check.

You now give the pack a few false shuffles which retain the order at the same time telling the audience you are shuffling the cards required into position. Should your false shuffling be less than perfect provided you maintain the set-up it will not matter. The spectators will assume that you are doing what you claimed you would do and if your shuffling looks a little contrived it will help to convince them that you really are shuffling the cards into position.

Having stacked the pack, deal out the hands required turning the cards falling to the chosen player face up.

The effectiveness of the demonstration depends on how well it is sold as a feat of skill. It is not difficult technically and there is nothing to remember as all the information required is on the two of hearts which can be studied at leisure as the positions of the cards are being memorised. There are only nine key cards and if they are committed to memory the necessity for having ^hem written on the card ci^be dispensed with, ind you could work clean.;:

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This is my version of 'Seven Keys to*—' Baldpate'. I like to think that it is somewhat more entertaining than most other presentations using this theme. Also, whilst being suitable for inclusion as a light interlude in a mentalist's programme, it is sufficiently magical and amusing to be performed in any magical patter act.

There is nothing new in the method, it is the presentation that matters. For this reason, I will first explain the presentation and give brief details of the working afterwards.

At some point in the programme the performer removes his wallet. As he opens it a hotel key falls out. This is a normal yale key attached to a tag which bear a room number on it. Explaining that he is supposed to leave the key at the reception desk on a board provided for the purpose when he goes out, but is reluctant to do so because it is very easy for anyone to steal keys from the board and gain access to the rooms of other residents. So saying, the performer reaches into his pocket and pulls out six or seven similar keys each with a tag attached bearing a different number. He calls attention to this fact by casually looking at, and calling out a couple of the numbers and as he calls out, say number seven remark, "That was the room with the smashing blonde" which is always good for a laugh.

The magician returns his own key to his wallet which is left in view. Then advancing to a young lady in the company he asks, "Would you like to spend a weekend in a good hotel? You can have any room you like. Just take any key."

As he says this, the performer holds the stack of keys by the tags so that the numbers are concealed and invites the young lady to pull out one of the keys. When she has done so, he asks he£ which room she will be sle'eping in, and she telis him the number of the chosen key.

The performer then exclaims, "Well, isn't that remarkable! Of all keys you could have chosen, you have picked the one to my room." Here he removes his own key from the wallet and shows that the numbers match.

It will be apparent that there are endless opportunities for comedy in this routine. You 5n make jokes about the hotel and the other Quests and the climax is- sur^of a big laugh.

As for the working it is just another application of the old label force, used so effectively by Maurice Fogel in his "Cheating the Gallows" routine.

Yfeu will need sixjorseven similar yale keys. To each attach a ta&made from stout cardboard. The exact size of these is not important, mine being the length of a playing card and about three-quarters of an inch wide. All these tags bear the same number. Each tag is provided with a cardboard sleeve which fits neatly over it and these tags bear a DIFFERENT number.

Near one end of the tag is a hole which is reinforced with a linen washer, obtainable from good stationers. The holes in the tags should be so positioned that the edge of the washer just reaches the edge of the tag and the sleeves should have cut-outs at the end so that the washers are left visible. -The tags are attached to the keys with a piece of string.

Fig. One shows the key attached to the tag which is numbered 35 as are all the tags, and the sleeve numbered 16 with the cut-out at one end enabling the washer to be visible when the sleeve is covering the tag. The numbers on the sleeves, remember, must be all different, and when in position on the tags you appear to have a number of different room keys, which can be freely shown and provided they are well made can be handled by the audience.

The working is simplicity itself enabling the performer to give his whole attention to the presentation, which, as we said at the beginning is the important part. Just hold the tags squared with the keys dangling at the front (Fig. Two). Invite the lady to pull out a key, and as she does so exert a gentle pressure on the tags which will cause the tag of the selected key to be pulled out of its sleeve which is left hidden in the stack.

That is all there is to it. Your own key bearing the same number has been in the wallet all the time.

keys held for spectator to remove one

IBM (BRITISH RING) CONVENTION 1976