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IN AN early "Jinx" (and I am too lazy to get up and search for it), Theo Annemann described an idea which he considered " a reasonable betting proposition." It consisted of allowing anyone to freely select three cards from a shuffled pack, and the operator would then bet that amongst the three cards would be either an ace, deuce or Jack.
Whether Annemann was aware of it or not the game is known as " Ace-deuce-Jack," and in his book "Scarne on Cards," John Scarne refers to it as a 10 per cent, certainty for the dealer.
With this as a background I dressed up ths presentation, altered the rules slightly, and gave it an additional twist to guarantee the dealer 100 per cent. But first the general effect. The performer explains that he intends to demonstrate a little gambling game, for amusement only, and to show his intentions are strictly dishonourable he will provide the necessary stakes.
A quantity of poker chips or counters are introduced and divided amongst the various spectators, and some retained by the performer.
A pack of cards is genuinely shuffled by the performer (otherwise the " banker "), and spread face downwards on the table.
The spectators are allowed in turn to draw out of the pack any three cards from different positions in the spread. Before these are turned face upwards the banker offers " evens " that the three cards contain either an ace, deuce or Jack (or any three denominations chosen by spectator). This procedure is repeated with other spectators. If each spectator is encouraged to stake generously it should not be long before the " banker " wins back most of his chips.
It may eventually dawn on someone that the "banker" is having the best of the bargain, and he will offer to take the "bank." (If this proposition is not made, the performer can suggest it himself). He thereupon shuffles the cards, names his three denominations and withdraws three cards. He wins, of course, and continues to win until he secures all the chips, for he bets generously and compels the " banker " to cover with the same amount. Three or four rounds are sufficient.
Required : a quantity of poker chips. A one way pattern pack.
The pack should be of a fine pattern with the distinguishing oddness at the extreme edge of sides or corners.
Set the pack with " evens " one way, " odds " reverse. (Count Queens as " even.")
In this condition the pack may, of course, be shuffled overhand or table riffled providing the relative position of the pack is not disturbed. If the shuffling habits of anyone present are known, he may be allowed to shuffle also.
To present, shuffle pack and ribbon it on the table. Invite a spectator to name three denominations and withdraw three cards from the spread. As stated, the odds in his favour allow the banker to win comfortably most of the time. (When turning the three cards faces up turn them sideways, so as not to disturb the one-way arrangement, and return to pack. Alternately, if turned end for end push them together afterwards, and turn the three over together in the same way and deposit them on pack).
When the spectator takes the " bank," divide all the counters into two portions and give him one of them and retain the other. Shuffle the cards and secretly note the bottom card as you spread the pack face down and check with its back to get a clue to the way the " odds and evens " lie in the spread. Name three " even " cards, such as deuce. Queen, 10 spot, then proceed to draw out three " odd " cards.
Obviously, under this ideal arrangement, you are bound to win all the chips ultimately.
Naturally, at any time you can change your call to three " odd" denominations; the court cards conceal the principle fairly well.
If challenged vou may truthfully give your word that the cards are not marked in any way.
A little comedy may be introduced by having a telescopic rod with a flat piece of metal soldered on at one end similar to a croupiers' pallet. Produce this from your vest pocket, extend it and rake in the chips from the furthest spectator.
Incidentally it is a good plan ¡0 have ready a similar patterned pack with a contrasting coloured back, also arranged. If the first pack should become disarranged change it for this with the remark " Perhaps a fresh pack will bring butter luck!"
" Matters of fact well proved ought not to be denied because we cannot conceive how they can be performed. Nor is it a reasonable inference, first to presume the thing impossible, and then to conclude that the fact cannot be proved. On the contrary we should judge of the action by the evidence and not of the evidence by the measure of our fancies about the action." Joseph Glanvill, D.D., F.R.S., " Saducismus Triumphatus, London. 1681
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