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Dealing with a Bridge Deal by DR. J. SCOTT INGLIS

(Note.—Following "The Mathematician's Poker Game" in the February "Magic Magazine", readers may be interested to read how the Doctor has tackled a game of Bridge, using a somewhat different set-up. George Blake).

As will be realised from the Poker Game described in the February issue, I have been playing about with effects that could be performed with a pre-arranged pack after a not-too-thorough overhand shuffle. This is one of the ways in which the idea can be used.

Set up a pack entirely in pairs—i.e., a pair of black threes, a pair of red queens, and so on. The order of the pairs does not matter, so that the set-up can be made very rapidly. Now run through the pack and arrange that the face card of each black pair is the spade and the face card of each red pair the diamond.

To present the effect, hand the pack to a lady (ladies shuffle overhand) or to anyone except a confirmed card player, and invite a shuffling of the pack. Immediately turn to someone else and say, 'By the way, what is your favourite suit?'

As soon as that person answers, turn to the lady and say, 'Would you cut the pack, please?'

This procedure ensures a short shuffle without the performer apparently taking much interest in what is happening to the pack. Take it back and deal four bridge hands, dealing the cards singly. Turn to the person who made the choice of suit and invite him to choose any hand from the table. When he does so, you also pick a hand up and glance at it carelessly, but immediately lay it down again. You invite him to think of any card of the chosen suit that he holds in his hand. From then on your procedure is dictated by circumstances. You may either slowly reveal his card in the usual fashion of the mentalist, or you may name all the cards of that particular suit which he holds in his hand.

Just what you do to achieve this result, which is bewildering even to those sophisticated in conjuring wiles, is better understood by performing the effect privately with the set-up pack unshuffled. It will be found that if the first hand contains the eight of clubs, the second hand will contain the eight of spades. Any card of the club suit is duplicated in spades in the following hand. Similarly any heart will be found to have a diamond of corresponding value in the hand following.

When the pack is given a short shuffle, very few of these pairs are disturbed. You can prove this by setting up the pack, shuffling briefly, cutting, and dealing as described. Pick up any hand. If it contains the six of hearts, then the six of diamonds will be found in the following hand dealt. If it contains the eight of spades, then the eight of clubs will be found in the previous hand dealt.

This may seem very involved, and it is certainly rather difficult to explain, but fundamentally it is very simple. It means that if someone picks up any hand, you can find the hearts and clubs which he holds by examining the diamonds and spades in the hand following. You can find the diamonds and spades he holds by examining the hearts and clubs of the previous hand.

The working of the effect now becomes clear. While the pack was being shuffled you asked for a suit to be named. If that suit is hearts or clubs you know that the information you require is in the hand following that picked up by your assistant. If diamonds or spades is chosen, you know that you have to pick up the previous hand.

A very brief glance is all that you need. In fact you can lay the hand down again before your assistant has finished examining his cards. In a brief glance you memorise the cards of the required suit. It is surprising how frequently there is only a single card. For example, if your opponent has selected spades, and you find that your hand contains only one club, the three of clubs, you must play for drama. Put your hand down, and ask him to think of any spade in his hand. 'I have an impression that you are thinking of rather a small card. It's below the five, isn't it? It isn't the two. it isn't the four—it must be the three of spades'.

Frequently one card may be so obtrusive that it is likely to be chosen—a variety of force, really. An ace is likely to be selected. A leading question will commonly provide the answer. If you have no lead, name all the cards of the suit and watch your victim for any reaction.

It will be seen that the idea is a principle which could be employed in many ways. As its success depends on statistical factors it could fail but so far this has not happened to me.

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