Snap Count Lost Ace Ian Land

Inspiration and points of reference:

I have developed upwards of one hundred versions of what has become known as Hofzinser's Lost Ace Problem. So far, only one of these has seen print, and can be found in Abracadabra 1889 (10th April 1982) under the title "Surface Tension". Like the routine in A bra, this routine is fairly simple in effect, and does not embody any additional effects such as "Twisting the Aces" or others. In this respect it is quite rare in my collection — most of my versions are fairly complex in structure and contain numerous ideas fashioned into a (hopefully) smooth sequence. However, this item contains several strong points and is very effective for laymen and magicians. In most of my versions I try and vary the standard climax of having the same-suit-Ace reappear face up in the face down deck. Thus this routine has a finish believed to be new in such routines. As the title suggests, it uses a form of Karl Fulves' Snap Count, which will be fully described for clarity.


1) Run through the necktied deck and throw out the four Aces face down on the table, in C—H—S—D order from top to face. Have a card selected, noted, and replaced in the deck. Control it to the top of the deck and glimpse it. We will assume it is the 6H.

2) Reach for the face down Aces with the right hand and at the same time obtain a left little break below the top card of the deck. As you pick up the packet you must manoeuvre the same-suit-Ace to the face of the packet. In this case it is the AH because a heart was chosen, and you would use the top two Aces to scoop up the lower two. This brings the AH to the required position. Flip the four Aces face up onto the deck and immediately lift off all five cards above the break as four, in right hand Kardyro-Biddle Grip, standard Add-On fashion. Table the deck.

3) Peel the face Ace (AH in this example) into the left hand with the left thumb. Similarly peel the second and third Aces, one at a time. Place the double remaining in the right hand onto the face of all, as one card. As you turn the packet face down you must reverse the AH. This is accomplished by the left fingers pushing the lower card of the packet to the right slightly. This is covered by the right hand, which isholding the packet in K B Grip. See FIGURE ONE for further details. Revolve all the cards above the side-jogged card face down in a side-wise manner as shown in FIGURE TWO. Ultimately the packet is revolved completely face down and onto the side-jogged card, which ends up at the bottom of the packet, square with the other cards. This is a standard move.

4) Twist or flex the packet and then perform the following variation of Karl Fulves' Snap Count from Epilogue Special Number Five (1976). The packet is held in left hand Mechanic's Grip. Buckle the bottom card of the packet. The left thumb pulls the top card of the packet to tbe left as shown in FIGURE THREE. Note also the position of the index finger. Grasp the three card block between the top and bottom cards with the right hand and pull it to the right and clear of the packet as shown in FIGURE FOUR. Simultaneously the right thumb performs a two-card pushoff, and the left fingers push the lower card of the left hand pair to the right, resulting in a spread as shown in FIGURE FIVE. Grasp all the cards in the left hand and remove the right hand, resulting in a one-hand spread. An Ace has apparently magically turned face up. Ask if the Ace is the same suit as the selection. You will receive an affirmative reply. Square the packet and turn it over.

5) Single Buckle Spread showing the situation from the other side. Remove the face down Ace(?) and drop it face down onto the table. Square the remainder of the packet, without displacing anything, and place it face up onto the table. Ask for the name of the selection and flip the tabled Ace(?) face up to reveal the change.

6) Pick up the face up tabled packet and perform a Single Buckle Spread to show three Aces once more. Square the packet and hold it face up in the right hand, thumb on face and fingers on back, at the lower right index corner* With the left hand riffle up the back end of the tabled deck. Half way through the riffle toss

the squared face up packet into the deck. Square the deck and Ribbon Spread to reveal the Aces have "caught" a card. Disclose this card as the missing Ace.


1) Instead of the Snap Count at step 4 (which is actually a spread and not a count) you can use a straight Elmsley Count and then continue as written. However, the actions of the Snap Cbunt look magical and fit particularly well to this application. _^

2) An alternative to the Back End Riffle action at step 6 is to dribble the deck and toss the face up Ace packet through the dribble, the packet landing in front of a spectator in a slightly spread condition. Have the spectator remove the face down card and display it to finish. The dribble action looks particularly good: for other dribble "catches" see "In the Pinch" from Secrets of a Puerto Rican Gambler (1980) and A1 Smith's "Asque" from Pabular Volume 6 Number 9 (September 1980).

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