This effect is essentially a combination of two elements, a plot by Dai Vernon (vfirrum's Aces, Close-up Card Magic, pp.162-5) and a concept from Gene Finnell (Gene FinnelTs Free Cut Principle, published in 1967).

When Harry Lorayne was collecting material for Afterthoughts (published in 1975), he saw me perform this routine and asked permission to include it. I was initially reluctant because, although I'd been doing the effect for about four years, I'd always figured it was the kind of thing that had probably occurred to others. Harry prevailed and the trick appeared under the title Combination Aces. My fears were realized when, while Harry's

book was still at the printer, Martin Nash's Ever So Sleighdy arrived at the magic shops containing an effect called Vernash's Aces. Vernash's Aces and Combination Aces were virtually identical.

In the intervening time other versions have appeared in print. Roger's Thesaurus contains one by Roger Crosthwaite called Free Count Aces and Jim Swain published a version in Genii entitled Shuffle Tracking that incorporates an excellent kicker. Andrew Wimhurst's The Natural in Down Under Deals is also related.

As the above suggests, at this point this routine is hardly new and groundbreaking. However, since it's still a valuable part of my repertoire I thought it worth recording exactly how I perform it today.

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