# Poker Challenge

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This routine of Harry's is described in his own words.

I saw a poker effect performed where the magician had to force one particular card and hand (third card in third hand). I know this because I saw it performed a few times. I believe the effect is in print. I wanted to do it without a force of one particular card. In trying to work that out I may have inadvertently come up with a new idea.

It will be easier to explain the effect and method at the same time. Get the five high spade cards (royal flush) to the top, in any order, preferably during a previous routine. After a few shuffles, keeping the flush on top, start talking about poker, and cheating at poker. "To avoid cheating, professional gamblers shuffle like this." Do two In Faros (top card is lost each time). Then Double Cut one card from bottom to top.

You're all set. If you don't want to Faro and Double Cut you'll have to set the cards into proper positions in advance. They are fifth, ninth, thirteenth, seventeenth and twenty-first from the top. In either case, follow up with a Jog Shuffle and-or a False Cut.

Deal out five hands of poker — in a horizontal row — one card on top of the other, in the usual manner. Spread each hand downward so that the cards overlap. See Figure 1.

1

Say that in order to demonstrate how cards can be manipulated and controlled in poker, you want him to remember one card. The easiest card to remember would be the first card in the first hand — indicate the top card of the first hand; the second card in the second hand — indicate the second card from the top in the second hand; the third card in the third hand — indicate the center card of this hand; the fourth card in the fourth hand — indicate the second card from bottom; and the fifth card in the fifth hand — indicate the lowermost (bottom) card in that hand.

It doesn't matter which he selects because the five high spades are at those positions! Check it. So, let him have a free choice of one of the five positions.

Let's assume that he selects the fourth card in the fourth hand. Turn up that card (let's also assume that it's the King of Spades). Name it; stress that he remember that the King of Spades is the fourth card in the fourth hand. Manage to flash the other four cards in that hand. Keep the King of Spades in its proper place; do not disarrange the cards. Replace the hand.

Pick up the five hands from left to right; first hand onto the second hand, these two onto the third hand, etc. Place them all on top of the deck proper. Patter: "Most capable professionals can control a card during a shuffle. Every once in a while, however, something happens that upsets the apple cart. For example, if a cheater has 'set' the deck for a five-handed deal, and just as he's about to deal, someone sits down, and says, 'Deal me in' - he's got a problem. He has to deal six hands now. Only a few experienced pros can handle that."

While talking, do an Overhand Shuffle or two. All you have to do is to shuffle three cards onto the top twenty-five card stock. (You always shuffle one card less than the selected hand onto the stock.)

"Let's see what I can do." Deal a six-hand poker layout. Deal the sixth hand beneath the horizontal row of five — as if dealing that hand to yourself. As you deal, count the hands aloud, stressing that you're dealing six. When you deal the fourth card to the fourth hand, stress that, and place it above (out of) the other cards of that hand.

There's a little subtlety here. When the card (and hand) is originally selected, the card you indicate as, say, the first card in the first hand is really the fifth card that was dealt to that hand. In other words, except for the third card in the third hand, it was all reversed. Now, during the second dealing, it really is the fourth card in the fourth hand that you must show. For the one in a hundred spectators who may just spot that discrepancy — placing the card out of the hand takes care of it. No magician has ever caught it. It isn't necessary to do it if the card the spectator selects to remember is the third card in the third hand.

All right; finish the dealing. Indicate the fourth hand, and say, "Here's the hand - and the card position - you selected. Let's see what we're playing against." Turn up each of the other hands. Take advantage of any good hand that may appear. Act as if you knew it was there! Finally, turn up the card you placed out of the fourth hand. It's the King of Spades — first climax. "But, if you're a pro, you've got to do more than that. Look!" Turn up the other four cards of that hand, to display a royal flush!

Afterthoughts: I'm quite pleased with this routine. Presented properly, it always gets a great response, particularly from poker-playing laymen. I think magicians will have a hard time "backtracking" it. Don't forget to Double Cut one card from bottom to top, if you use the Faro Shuffles.

The new idea — so far as I know, that is — is the dealing of six hands after dealing five hands. That was the only way I could get it to work out, so I took advantage of it. It fits perfectly into the patter line, the presentation, because it seems logical.

I call this "Poker Challenge" because, originally, I presented it that way. I would say, "There was one guy in the room who knew I was stacking the deck for a five-handed deal. So, he sat in at the last minute, and said, 'Okay wiseguy, deal me in.'" He was trying to "throw" me, of course. That's the "challenge."

You might try that presentation.

This item has appeared in print before, in Harry's publication Apocalypse.