Garage sale

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This is not something I usually use in strolling work, this is more for parlor or formal close up shows. This is from Harry Anderson's book Wise Guy.

Set up

The first thing you need is a memorized stack, any stack will work that allows you to no the position of any card in the deck. You could also use any calculated stack, the joyal stack, osterlinds breakthrough card system. I use the Aronson stack.

Also needed is a nail writer or boon writer. Personally I prefer a thumbtip writer, as it is easier to find in my pocket.

Finally I use Larry Becker and Lee Earle's Insight wallet. This is a peek wallet. You could alternatively use John Cornielius's Thought transmitter or even a billet switch. I place the Insight wallet in my top jacket pocket.

The deck is placed into the case, on the back of the card case place a sticker (like the kind used to price items at a garage sale) then on the left side of the sticker make a cent symbol using the nail writer to maintain consistency of the penmanship.


I address one of the spectators, lets say his name is John.

"John, I have been doing a little survey to see what card people think of when asked to name any card in the deck, John I can tell you are a creative guy and will come up with a card more interesting than the Ace of spades or the joker. John do you have a card in mind? Great write the name of the card on the back of the business card"

He does so.

Using the Insight wallet I find out the card John is thinking of, lets say it is the four of diamonds. I know in the Aronson stack it is the 31st card. I bring out the card case (not exposing the sticker on the Back).

"As I left my house today, I saw that my neighbors kids were having a garage sale. They had a deck of cards for sale, they said they where magic cards. I looked at the cards and couldn't find anything magic about them".

While speaking I write 31 next to the cent symbol on the sticker. The writing does not need to be good just readable, because it was supposedly written by kids.

"I bought the deck anyway it was pretty cheap 31 cents to be exact".

I turn the case over showing the 31 cent sticker on the back .

"Maybe it wasn't that deck that was magic, maybe the price. John take out the deck from its case. 31 cents, hmmm Maybe maybe"

I say this as though I am thinking outloud

"Count the cards one at a time face up, stop at the 30th card."

John does this and I take the 31st card face down from him. I look at him, then the card as though I am thinking.

"John what was the card you where thinking of?" John states it was the four of diamonds. "Maybe they really are magic cards"

I turn the card around, accepting the praise that is now heaped upon me!

Memorized Twenty One

Sometimes when working we all get the Spectators who want to show you a trick, whenever this happens to me I say is it the one where you make three pile of seven cards, usually it is. In these situations this is the trick I use. It uses a memorized deck, and a peek at a card that is very well motivated.


Have a deck in memorized order, I use Aronson's stack, If you are interested in memorized deck work I highly recommend all of Simon Aronson's books. You can also find his essay on the memorized deck on his website, The idea of using the duck and deal procedure for the twenty one card trick came from Andrew Wimhurst.


I will leave the patter up to you, and explain the handling. I false shuffle the cards while chatting with the spectator, The false shuffle I use frequently is Lennart Green's In the hand false shuffle taught on his DVD series Green magic.

When done "shuffling" the deck I place it on the table and let the spectator cut the cards, letting them, more like encouraging them to cut the deck repeatedly. Once the deck has been cut I have them hold the deck in dealing position and deal three piles of seven cards. As they deal all I need to do is watch the order the first three cards are dealt in, Most people will deal the cards left to right. They continue to deal three piles with seven cards in each.

At this point I emphasize what has happened so far.

"The cards have been shuffled and cut in fact you yourself mixed up the cards by cutting them many times, right?"

In reality I shuffled, they only cut the cards which does nothing to the deck other than changing the starting and ending point of my stack. The way the statement is phrased it gives they idea that they have mixed the cards. Then I tell them I even want things to become more random, and have them pick up any of the three piles. When they pick up their Pile I just need to note in my head which pile they picked up, the first one dealt the second or third.

Using the duck and deal procedure they will pick one card in the pile they picked. The duck and deal procedure is very simple. Have them take the top card in the pile and place it on the bottom of the pile, the next card is then discarded to the table. This is repeated, card under the pile, card discarded to the table until only one card remains. This card will be the card originally at the bottom of the pile.

I have them remember the card they are left with. And shuffle it back into the pile, as an after thought I have them shuffle all twenty on cards they dealt into a pile. At this point I don't have a clue what card is theirs, but I will in a moment.

I ask the spectator to fan the cards out, faces towards me so I can see all the cards. To demonstrate what I want them to do I fan the rest of the deck that has been sitting on the table, when fanning I mentally note the card at the bottom of deck. That's all the information needed to know their card. Lets say the bottom card is the three of clubs, the 40th card in Aronson's Stack and they picked the second pile the card they picked would be 40 + 2(second pile) 42 which is the Nine of hearts. One more example lets say they picked the third pile and the card peeked at the bottom of the deck was the seven of spades (19 in the stack) 19+3 (third pile) = 22 the ace of hearts.

Now I know the card is the Nine of Hearts, I act like I am memorizing all the cards they are fanning in front of me. Turning my head so I can no longer see the cards I have them turn the fan towards themselves and I start to call out the cards in my stack from the after the bottom card of the deck (three of clubs in this case) skipping over the selected card. I have them hand me each card as it is named, placing them into my hand which resets the stack. When there is one card remaining it will be the card selected. Later I can place this card back to its place in the stack.

After performing this version of the trick they wanted to show me, they change their mind, sparing me and all watching a horrible fate.

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