Crack Card Switches

Edward Marlo First Method

This is based on a packet switch that was originally done with a Stripper deck. These techniques use a regular deck.

Method: The top three cards of the deck are secretly injogged. Your right hand holds four Aces fanned and face down. The injogged cards can be overlapping the deck for about a quarter of an inch. In this case, the deck is tilted toward the performer. If you want to work in a finessed manner, the cards can be injogged for only the width of their white borders, allowing you to hold the deck level.

Your right hand displays the four Aces and your left hand then takes Aces one at a time onto and flush with the deck. After having taken three of the Aces, your right hand momentarily holds onto the last Ace. (Fig. 1)

Your right hand now places its Ace face up and flush with the injogged cards. Unless you use the finessed method, your right hand comes above the deck as it is lowered into view. Your left thumb should lie along the left side of the deck, with your opposing four fingers at the right side of the deck. Your right first finger is curled on top, but your right second, third, and fourth fingers are extended across the front end of the deck, covering it completely. Your right thumb is at the inner left corner of the injogged packet.

Your right thumb then moves to its right, pulling the lower left corner of the injogged packet, angling the packet. (Fig. 2) Your right hand then moves or slides the entire deck forward so that your left thumb and the base of your left forefinger can pinch or exert pressure at point X, which also shows all the finger positions.

With the cards as shown in Figure 2, your left hand has a firm grip on the deck and your right hand has a firm grip and good control on the angled packet. All that remains is for your right hand to slide its packet off the deck and onto the table. The face-up Ace adds greatly to the illusion. Since the Aces were added cleanly to the top of the deck, the switch is very puzzling.

This method, although not as good as the First Method, has certain redeeming merits and is included for the sake of completeness.

Method: A break is held under the top three cards with your left pinky. Your right hand displays four fanned Aces. The deck is held level and as each Ace is shown, it is taken onto the top of the deck in your left hand in the angled position. (Fig. 3) Note that the deck is held in a Mechanics Grip.

3 top cards are injogged

Second Method

The last Ace is turned face up and is placed flush in perfect alignment with the rest of the deck. (Fig. 4)

Your right hand grasps the face-up Ace and the three indifferent cards, with your right pinky coming onto the outer right corner. Your right thumb will be at the inner end, coming between the angled cards at the center. Your right first finger is curled on top and your left thumb moves over to the outer left corner and onto the exposed corner of the three Aces. (Fig. 5) Your right second and third fingers are at the front end of the deck. Your left first finger also moves alongside the right side of the deck with your second, third, and fourth fingers.

With the deck and packet in this condition, your right hand swings its cards so that the angled three Aces move into alignment with the rest of the deck. Your left thumb, pressing on the upper left corner of the three Aces, keeps them in place as your right hand moves away with its packet of supposed Aces. This packet is tabled in preparation for the effect you are going to perform.

This is the Stripper Deck approach as it is applied to a regular deck.

Obtain the situation outlined in the First Method; however, in this case the packet is left injogged as your right hand moves to take the injogged cards by their lower ends between your right thumb and second finger. Your first finger remains curled on top. The entire action simulates the Stripper Deck handling, except that a regular deck is being used. This description is rudimentary and brief, but this idea can take many variations, which will be detailed in future writings.

The basic principle underlying this method is not new. It does, however, make a good exchange of four Aces for four indifferent cards.

A break is held under the top four cards. Your right hand, which holds the four fanned Aces, now squares them against the top of the deck and in an outjogged condition for half their lengths. This whole action sequence is made with the deck and Aces facing the audience. (Fig. 6,which also shows the right-hand finger positions after your right hand helps square the outjogged Aces into a neat packet.

Fig. 4 top Ace plus 3

cards above break

Third Method

Fourth Method



With the deck still facing the audience, create the illusion of having pulled the Aces off the deck with your right hand as follows: Your left first finger pushes down on the Ace-packet. Your right hand simultaneously pulls inwards on the Aces and the four indifferent cards above the break. As the Aces go flush with the top of the deck, both hands are lowered. By the time the deck reaches this lower position, your right hand is away from the deck and is holding what appears to be the Ace-packet at the inner end.


This method is off the beaten path compared to those previously described. In fact, it closely resembles switches from Marlo's Notes of 1956. This switch can be done with any number of cards, including one. This explanation uses four Aces and four indifferent cards.

A break is held under the top four indifferent cards of the deck with your left pinky. Your right hand is holding the four Aces face down in a squared packet from above and by the ends. Your right first finger is curled on top. (Fig. 7) Your right hand approaches the top of the deck with its packet, which is carried past the left side of the deck. Your left pinky, along with the other left fingers, simultaneously straighten out. This moves the cards above the break over the right side of the deck. (Fig. 8, an end view.) Your right hand covers this moved section from above. (Fig. 8) Notice how the base of your left thumb has clipped the by-passed Aces at the left side as your right fingers and thumb grasp the four indifferent cards.

Without any hesitation, your left hand moves the deck to place it face down to the left. Your right hand remains stationary, then your left hand comes back to take the packet from your right hand. Do this by having your left thumb go under the packet to turn it face up. Then the cards are fanned or spread between both hands in the standard manner to look at them.

This switch is fast, easy, sure, and silent. If done properly, the usual swishing sound accompanying such switches is absent. The switch can also be done standing or sitting at a table. The by-pass action is very important. Study it carefully.

September - 1958

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