Mental Preparation

This effect is for those very few who have a mastery of both mnemonics and riffle stacking. In the description that follows I'll assume that you're familiar with these two areas.

This effect can be performed with any shuffled deck of cards, including a borrowed one, as long as it's complete. However» while the cards are not prepared in advance, your mind is. By mental preparation I mean that you must memorize certain material prior to performance. This material consists of two elements. The first is the setup of the cards. (I'm using the term "setup" loosely here. The cards are not arranged in advance. Rather, you set them up under the audience's noses during the performance. That's why you have to commit the sequence to memory.)

The setup is as follows from the top down: king, ace, ace, king, ace, ace of spades, queen of spades, king of spades, jack of spades, ten of spades, nine of spades, eight of spades, queen of hearts.

The last queen doesn't really have to be a heart. It can be any queen other than the spade, which is needed elsewhere in the setup. However, you'll have to cull the necessary cards during performance while pattering. I think youll find it iess confusing if you always cull the same queen rather than having to make a decision under fire. Similarly, the setup uses every king except one. I always skip the king of hearts, I find it easy to remember that, other than in the spade run, the only queen I cull is the heart and the only king I skif> is the heart.

The second thing you must memorize is a list of key numbers, one for each of the nine ranks of poker hands.

Later, this list will tell you how many cards you need to move in your setup to arrive at the desired poker hand. The list is as follows:


~ full house


~ four o( a kind


~ three of a kind


~ two pair


~ one pair


~ royal flush


~ straight flush


~ flush


~ straight

Assuming that you're already familiar with mnemonic techniques, you'll need two things to memorize this list. The first is a peg list for the numbers zero through eight. If you use a memorized stack or do memory demonstrations, I suggest you use something other than the standard phonetic alphabet number pegs in order to avoid confusion with your other memory work. You'll find an ideal list—the one I use myself for this effect—on p.101 of Harry Lorayne's How to Develop a Super Power Memory.

The second thing you'll need is a set of symbols to represent the various poker hand rankings. Just make up your own. This is an easy task. For example, to represent a royal flush I use an image of a crown. To represent three of a kind, I use an image of Moe, Larry, and Curly. To represent a pair, I use an image of.« Well, you get the idea. Once you've created such a set of images for yourself, simply link the images for the poker hands to the images for the numbers zero to eight in standard mnemonic manner.

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