I use a different switch of the packets during the first count from the one suggested by Bob. My switch was inspired by the one used in Edward G. Brown's, Wandering Card, in Willane's Complete Methods for Miracles (London: Davenports, 1985). This switch makes it much easier to keep the packets square (and not prematurely show the hidden black cards).
Begin by holding the (17) face-down cards in the left hand. The left thumb pushes the top card to the right and it is taken by the right hand, with fingers at the top narrow end and the thumb at the inner, bottom narrow end. The card is then held up so its full face is displayed to the audience.
The left thumb then pushes the next card to the right. Again, the right hand comes over and takes it below the first card. The two cards are squared by moving them to the left and squaring them against the left thumb. The right hand then moves away and displays the full face of the second card.
After the 6th card has been taken, the right hand packet moves over the left hand packet and slightly to the left. Two things now happen at once. First, the left thumb pinches the top packet, thereby holding it in place. Second, the right 3rd finger releases its grip on the upper packet and takes hold of the lower packet. In one continuous action the right hand moves away to display the Queen of Hearts to the audience. The 10 black cards are held squared behind the Queen. This happens as the performer says, "She was number 7."
After the first two cards are discarded (from the face of the deck), the 15 cards are false counted as 13, with their backs toward the audience.
I have also eliminated the repeat counting of the cards by the spectator since I envisioned this as a stand-up piece performed without audience assistance.
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