Presentation: Ask for the assistance of a member of the audience and position him at your left. As you remove the deck from your pocket, say "Good evening, Sir. Do you play cards?" Regardless of his answer, you continue, "Don't worry. All you have to do is cut the pack. Just like this."
Al Koran would demonstrate "THE EXACT WAY TO CUT THE PACK" two or three times. He believed you must leave no room for error on the spectator's part, since this is the ONLY part of the trick that can go wrong.
Holding the pack on your outstretched left palm with your fingers curled slightly to hold the deck in place, go through the action of cutting the cards saying, "Just take some off the top and place them underneath, like this." Remember, do this at least two or three times, or until you are absolutely certain the spectator understands what needs to be done.
Now, hand the pack to the assistant, saying, "Cut the pack. Thank you. Now cut once more. Thank you." At this point, you will know the spectator will follow your direction.
"Now, I want you to cut once more, but I want you to wait until I have turned my back and can't see. Right. Have you done that? Good." While your back is still to the assistant, say "Now take the top card from the pack.. .don't look at it, just place it in your pocket."
You now turnaround and take the pack back from your helper, saying "You cut the pack three times and then put the top card in your pocket. Is that right?"
The spectator will agree and by questioning him, you are reinforcing for the audience the fairness of what has transpired. You now turn and face the audience. In a clear, audible voice, say, "You have a card in your pocket that no one here knows - not even you, yourself."
That statement is not quite true, since with the Si Stebbins system, all you need to do is glimpse the bottom (reference) card to identify the card now in the spectator's pocket. But don't look at it right away. There's plenty of time.
Ask the spectator, "How many times did you cut the pack?"
Whatever answer the spectator gives, say, "I'll cut them just once." As you are saying this, reach into your pocket and produce a large dinner knife. This usually gets a laugh.
"I cannot find your card, sir, because it is in your pocket. But I'll tell you what I am going to do. Whatever card you have, I'll find the opposite. If you have a spade, I'll find a club. If you have a heart, I'll find a diamond. That is to say, if you have the King of Clubs, I'll find the King of Spades. If you have the Three of Diamonds, I'll find the Three of Hearts. And remember, nobody knows the card in your pocket."
This is where you pause and play it big. Hold the pack in the left hand and the knife in the right. The pack is held with the bottom card facing to the right, the fingers at the top and the thumb at the bottom edge. Facing you is one long edge of the pack. Now glance at the bottom card and work out the card in the assistant's pocket. Since the spectator took the top card, the opposite of his card - the card of the same value and color will now be in the 25th position from the top of the deck. For example, if the spectator has the Five of Spades in his pocket, the Five of Clubs will be 25 cards from the top.
All you have to do is plunge the knife into the center of the deck on the long edge. By tilting the blade, you can read the index of the card above the knife. If you scored a direct hit, the Five of Clubs will be above the blade. See Photo 51. If you see, the Two of Hearts, you know the Five of Clubs is underneath the knife.
If you miss, pull the knife out and ask the spectator, "How many times did you cut the pack?" Whatever he answers, reply, "Well, that was my first!" This will not happen very often, just aim for the center as if the deck was a block of wood.
You are now ready for the climax of the trick. Hold the deck high in your left hand with the knife stuck in one side and out the other. Look at the spectator and say, "I said that I would cut the card opposite to yours. Is that right? And no one could know the card in your pocket."
Your right hand now takes the handle of the knife and the cards above the blade - splitting the deck in half. Turn the cards with the knife face up in the right hand showing the card. Say, "By pure chance I have cut to the Five of Clubs." Reassemble the pack and place it in your pocket with the knife.
"I said that I would find the opposite card, and by chance I cut the Five of Clubs... So if I am right... What card should be in your pocket?" Let the assistant work this one out for himself. When he answers, "The Five of Spades," tell him to take the card from his pocket and show it to the audience. "The Five of Spades!" Take the card and hold it high for all to see.
Although Al Koran's patter and presentation is designed for a formal venue, with a few modifications you can easily adapt it for use in more casual performance settings.
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