Freer Chance

Stephen Tucker Effect

Six cards are shuffled and dealt into a face up row. You explain that they will choose one of the cards and you will also choose one, but you'll try to influence their choice. Point out that there is only one court card, so they may choose that card because of this fact or avoid it for the very same reason. The joker isn't really a playing card at all, so this may attract or repel them. One of the cards has the name Fred written across it. You won't explain why this is so, but if they know someone by that name, this might make them choose it... or not. The other cards are fairly nondescript and they may be attracted to one of them... or not.

You now ask someone to name any one of the six cards. Let's assume that they name the joker. You remind them that you too have to choose a card. You say that you were going to choose the joker, but now you can't make your mind up between the 9 of spades and the 5 of diamonds. You ask them, "Which one of these do YOU think I should choose? They reply, "The 5 of diamonds." You set the five of diamonds with their chosen joker to one side, pick up the remaining four cards and show that they are all blue backed.

You ask them to flip over the two freely chosen cards and... they are the only two red backed cards present!!!

I came up with the following routine after seeing Bill Goldman's 'Free Chance' routine, from his DVD Two For The Money. My method makes the desired outcome 100% certain - something that the original handling most definitely did not. A similar effect worth checking out by Peter Duffie, currently marketed by Aldo Colombini, and which IS 100% is "Pick me - Pick me Not."


Three red backed cards and three blue backed cards. The actual values and suits are not important, but an ideal set would be... a blue backed queen of hearts, 6 of diamonds and 4 of clubs plus a red backed 9 of spades, joker and 5 of diamonds.

Preparation: With a marker pen write a name (Fred) on the face of the 4 of clubs (Fig.1)



1. The three blue backed cards are all even value cards (Queen = 12). The red backed cards have odd values (the joker is a very odd card). This fact allows you to shuffle the six cards, deal them in a row and be able to differentiate, by the values, the red backed trio from the blue backed trio.

Basically, whatever card they choose, you say that you were about to choose that very card. You continue that you now can't make your mind up between here you name the other two cards that have the same back colour as their card. You ask them to decide for you and set the two chosen cards to one side together.

2. You now pick up the remaining four cards and position the odd backed card (from the same group as the two selections) second from the face with the cards face up.

If you now flip the packet face down and perform an Elmsley Count, all the cards will appear to have the same coloured backs (say blue). It only remains for you to have the spectator flip the two chosen cards face down to discover that they too have the same coloured backs, but the colour is completely different to the four that were not selected (say red).

To reset: Simply gather all the cards together, being careful not to flash the odd coloured back in the group of four cards that were not chosen, make sure that they are all face up and replace them into your breast pocket or wherever you choose to carry them.

End Notes

If you study the original Goldman routine, you will appreciate the thinking behind the above method. When the spectator thinks about it later, he will say, "But I had a completely free choice of my card AND... I even decided on which card he should choose!?"

I prefer to make a face down split-Elmsley Count i.e., count the first two cards across, making the switch, and immediately flip them face up and drop them as a duo onto the table. Next count the remaining two cards across, flip them face up and drop them onto the other two. The split-Elmsley Count was published by Roy Walton in Pabular in an effect called The Witchdoctors. Try it and you might even fool fellow magicians using it?

Finally: As a youth I recall buying a trick from The Supreme Magic Company that used three blue backed and three red backed cards. One was FREELY selected and the other five (via a Hamman count) were shown to have the same coloured backs, whilst the chosen card was the only odd backed card present. To my shame, I can't recall the originator, however, I am certain that this must have been the inspiration behind the Goldman routine.

Finally, finally: I am a great admirer of Bill Goldman's magic, but I can't for the life of me understand why he allowed 'Free Chance' to be published, especially on DVD, when it was, so obviously, flawed.

Jon Allen

Since the age of 9, Jon has been fascinated by magic. This fascination became a hobby and grew into a career. Since turning professional in 1988, Jon Allen has entertained tens of thousands of people over thousands of performances for celebrities, royalty, high-power business people and the general public.

Jon is a previous holder of "The Magic Circle Close-up Magician of the year" award. Jon is the only magician in England ever to win the prestigious worldwide IBM Close-Up Magic Competition since it began in 1928. Jon has also won the IBM British Ring Close-Up Magic Competition. He is the only magician in the world to ever achieve this treble of prestigious awards.

He was invited to perform for the very first "All British Week" at the world famous Magic Castle in Hollywood. He is one of the youngest members of the exclusive Inner Magic Circle. He is one of the few close-up magicians who regularly perform for The Magic Circle public shows. He was chosen to represent The Magic Circle for national TV publicity in America. In July 2000, he was the only overseas artiste selected to perform in the close-up magic show at the international magic convention in New York.

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