Figure I

Exagerated snapshot of the pivot action.

view from the side of the right hand contacting the second card.

As soon as the pad engages the corner, the right hand moves diagonally backward to the right as shown in figure 4. As it does, your right hand pulls the card along with it. Several incorrect things will probably happen at this point.

You may find that cards under the second card will want to slide along with it. This is the problem I most frequently encountered and it is cured by doing two things. First, you will want to minimize the friction between the second card and the cards underneath it. You can do this by pushing downward on the near left corner of the card you are stealing. This will lever the card upward so that its face and back are not on the same plane with the cards above or below it as shown. The card will slide more freely because it does not contact another card face to face or back to back.

This same downward pressure allows the card to lever up and over the left thumb pad. The card is levered over the thumb pad, using the rear edge of the pack as the fulcrum.

The second thing you can do to control the rest of the pack is to apply pressure on the edges of the remaining cards (all of the cards not stolen) with your left fingers and thumb. This pressure on the far side of the long edges is critical to keeping the deck stationary while you steal the single card second from the face. If you are using a deck in rough condition, you will find this pressure to be even more critical than with a new deck.

Another incorrect event which may occur as you slide the card out is that it will ram into the base of your left thumb. Again, the same action which minimizes the friction between the stolen card and the others will allow the card to leap over the thumb. That is, downward pressure applied by the heel of the right hand on the near edge of the card.

There is one final problem you may encounter as you steal the card and slide it up your left wrist. You may find that friction causes it to catch on your left hand. This is because some people's palms are naturally sticky (and you know who you are). To minimize this problem, you will slide as much as possible on the back of the hand and wrist (on the hairy part). Try to avoid the inside of the wrist and the palm.

As soon as you have a grip on the card and have started its trek under cover of the right hand, the left fingers squeeze the top block, the card(s) above the stolen card back flush with the pack. No further break is held. It is important that this squaring action occur as soon as possible after you have stolen the card so that the action is covered by the right hand. If you wait too long, the right hand will be covering the left wrist and the squaring action will take place in full view.

The Slide. You never actually take full possession of the stolen card in your right hand. You share possession. That is, you slide the card up along your left hand and wrist until the right hand is completely clear of the left. See figure 5 for the spectators' view. At this point, you are ready to brush your right hand

The audience's view of the change as the right hand slides up the performer's left wrist.

The audience's view of the change as the right hand slides up the performer's left wrist.

back over the pack, depositing the card. None of these actions should be rushed. Moving smoothly and deliberately are important here. Rushing the action will only make you pause unduly if you run into a problem executing the change. (If this occurs, be sure to tell them you read this in Apocalypse.)

Sweep your right hand forward and diagonally to the right until the stolen card is above the pack. A s the stolen card passes over the pack, it is deposited on top. Note that it is not dropped, it is placed— softly and quickly. Your right hand need not slow down. The right hand keeps moving over the left as the left fingers form a trap to catch the card and halt its forward motion. When the card encounters the left fingers, it comes to a sudden stop directly on top of the pack. The right hand continues its deliberate action to the right.

What you do with your right hand after depositing the card depends upon how you are using the change. (I will describe different actions in the tricks which follow. For an example, consult The Juicer.) If using it simply as a color change, you want a little time misdirection after the depositing of the card. This will allow them to think the color changing action is still in process and takes the heat off the moment the change actually occurs.

For this, continue the right hand's movement diagonally forward to the right. As soon as the palm of the right hand is directly over the left forefinger, rotate your right hand palm up and curl it into a very loose fist which encircles some of your left fingertips. Continue the movement to the right releasing your left fingers and gracefully open your right hand. I do it as if rubbing off some of the ink I picked up during the change.

Swivel Alternative. While Harry has originated several variant handlings, I will be merciful and only make you read through one. This is an alternative handling to the swivel action above which can be used when you are going to steal the second card from the face. It works only when one card, the card on the face, has to be swiveled out of the way for the steal.

While this is an effective alternative, it works only for occasions when you are stealing the second card. For this reason, I always use the swivel action above. It can be used for stealing a card at any reasonable position. Idescribe this alternative forcompleteness.

Hold the deck in the left hand as above. No break isrequired. Bringyourrighthandoverthepack. Use your right fourth finger to apply pressure to the far right corner of the pack. Push that corner forward, causing the card to pivot on the left thumb. This little finger push is not unlike the action used in the one-hand top palm.

This uncovers the near left corner as was done in the swivel above. The heel of your right hand at the base of the thumb is now free to steal the second card from the face and complete the change as described above.

Multiples. Using the Swivel method above, you can pivot five or ten cards out of the way and steal the next card out for the change. This opens up new possibilities which will be explored shortly.

Assume you want to change the card on the face of the pack to the card fourth from the face. Start by pinky counting the top three cards with your left fourth finger. Grasp these three cards in position for the swivel action above. It takes about the same effort to swivel three cards as it does to swivel one. As the three card group pivots out of the way, it will expose the near left corner of the fourth card. This card is stolen with the right hand and replaced on top as before.

Taking Possession. There are times when sliding the card up the left wrist may not be adequate. These are times when you may wish to actually take full possession of the stolen card in the right hand.

The first difficulty you will encounter in trying to palm the stolen card is the position of the card in the right hand. To steal the card with the pad of the right thumb means that the rear of the card will be at the base of the hand. In a large hand, very little of the card will overlap the fingers. In a regular card palm, most of the card overlaps the fingers.

This is easily overcome. Simply, don't palm the card. Try this. Steal the card as before. Asitemerges from the break the middle of the right forefinger comes to rest on the far left corner of the stolen card. This occurs just as soon as this corner is free of the break. The card is now "pinched" between the middle or base section of the right forefinger and the heel/base of the thumb.

The left side of the card emerges from the break before the right side does. This allows you to take possession of the left side of the card as explained in the last paragraph. Note that you should have full possession of the card, just by controlling the left side. When the right side of the card (still under the top card(s)) emerges from the break, there is no need to take control of it. It will hang loosely a quarter of an inch away from the hand.

As with the previous method, slide your right hand up your left wrist, but this time not directly in contact with the left wrist. Now draw it back down and over the pack, depositing the pinched card in the process.

This is my favorite method of performing the change because it feels the most natural for me. I have described it as the cards fit in my hands. You may have to experiment with the positions to make it work for you.

Trouble-Shooting Checklist

No action starts in left hand without the right hand's cover.

- Keeping the cards square in the hand during the stealing action is a combination of minimizing friction and pressure applied by the left fingers.

- Square the balance of the pack as soon as the right heel has purchase on the stolen card. This is so that the squaring action is completed before the right hand cover moves away.

- Smoothness before speed.

- Too much noise - Cut the resistance by applying downward pressure as you steal the card. Use high quality cards with a high quality finish.


Background. This started back in 1982 when Dorian Sagan (Carl's son) showed Harry what was literaly the Erdnase change done sideways. That was the impetus which led to this version which is performed diagonally.

If you do take the time to learn this, you should also thank the following people. Without them, we would never have been able to explain the change. This is because Harry has been doing it for so long that the many details have become blended into the complete routine.

Analyzing it, Paul Chosse realized that Harry was applying downward pressure on the card being stolen which allowed the other side of the card to lever up over the base of the left thumb. As explained above, this provides the added advantage of lowering the resistance and decreasing the chance that the moving card will drag others with it.

Tim Conover figured out that the locking of the left second finger and the thumb was a critical point to making the change work and in keeping extraneous cards from moving when the card being stolen moves.

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