Method and Handling

You will need a full deck of exactly fifty-two cards. Hand out the deck for shuffling. Take it back and ask a spectator to name any four of a kind. For the sake of the explanation. Til assume that he names nines. Remove the four nines from the deck. Hand the rest of the deck to another spectator to shuffle. (Logically, this procedure of having the deck shuffled both before and after removing the four of a kind is redundant. I find it an effective way, however, of driving home the fact that the cards are thoroughly mixed.)

While this second spectator is shuffling, lay the four nines in a face-up row in front of you. In order to make the explanation easier to follow, 111 assume that the nines are in clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds order from left to right.

Retrieve the deck. You must now divide it into four packets of twelve cards each. The effect will be much stronger, however, if the audience thinks that the exact number of cards doesn't matter and that you don't know how many cards each packet contains. There are a number of ways of accomplishing this. 111 describe the way I do it.

While pattering about how you're going to demonstrate a little-known method of controlling cards for card cheating purposes, pinky count twelve cards. (The pinky count is taught on pp.11-4 of Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table and on the At the Card Table video.) Cut off the twelve cards above the break and place them directly behind the nine at your left (the nine of clubs).

As you continue to patter, pinky count another twelve cards. Place this packet behind the nine of hearts. As you place this second packet down, your right arm will cross in iront of your left hand. Under this cover, thumb count another twelve cards. I find it easiest to do this count in groups of four. By the time your right hand returns to the deck, the count should be finished. Cut off the thumb-counted cards and place them behind the nine of spades. Finally, place the remaining cards behind the nine of diamonds.

Turn to the spectator who chose nines and ask him to help you bury them in the deck. Have him cut off a portion of the left-most packet and place it in your left hand. Stress that he can cut off as lew or as many cards as he wishes. After he has placed some cards in your hand, give him the option of adding more or returning some frum your hand to the tabled portion.

Once the spectator is satisfied with the number of cards he has handed you, place the nine of clubs face down on top of the cards remaining on the table. Instruct him to cut off another group of cards—as few or as many as he wishes—from the second packet (the one behind the nine of hearts) and drop it on top of the nine of dubs.

As he does this, take advantage of the misdirection to crimp the inner left corner of the bottom card of the packet you're holding. I do it as follows: Bring the right hand over the packet to square it. At the same time, your left forefinger buckles the bottom card so that it separates from the packet at the inner end. Engage this separated edge with the tip of your right thumb. Slide the thumb over to the left and bend the corner inward as shown in illustration I.

As soon as you've put in the crimp, place the packet aside to your left. The inner left corner of the packet should be angled toward you to hide the crimp from the audience.

Instruct the spectator to square up the packet containing the nine of clubs. Mime the action so he understands that he should square the cards while they lie on the table, rather than pick them up. Now is the time to stress the fairness of the conditions so far. "Bob,^ I point out, "determined how many cards are. in this pile, how many cards are under thé nine of clubs, and hou? many cards are uboue the. nine of clubs"

Place the nine of hearts on the packet behind it. (These are the cards remaining after the spectator cut some off to place on the nine of clubs.) Instruct the spectator to cut off any number of cards from the third packet {the one behind the nine of spades) and drop them on the nine of hearts. When he has done this, have him square up this packet as before, "So that the nine of hearts is really lost"

Drop the nine of spades on the cards behind it. Have die spectator cut off some cards from the filial packet and drop them on top. Then have him square the packet.

Finally, place the nine of diamonds on the cards behind it. Take the cards you placed aside earlier (the ones with the crimped card on the bottom) and drop them on the nine of diamonds. As you do so, point out that the

spectator also determined how many cards this packet contains since you gave him the option earlier o£ adding more or taking some back. Square up this final packet.

Point out that there is one nine buried somewhere in the middle of each packet. Pick up the packet on the right and place it on the next packet, injogged about a half inch. Pick up this combined packet and place it on the next packet, injogged about a half inch. Finally pick up this three-tiered packet and place it on the 2.

final packet, injogged about a half inch. At this stage the deck will look as in illustration 2»

Have the spectator square the deck with the cards remaining on the"

table. You can mime a squaring action at the diagonal corners to indicate what you want him to do. (See illustration 3.)

Ribbonspread the deck lace down. Again you can point out the stringent conditions: "The four nines are toe 11 separated, buried in different parts of the deck. Bob determined how far each nine is from the to]) of the cUch, how fax each nine is from the bottom of the deck, as well as " how far each nine is from each of the other thre£ nin^s." As you speak, you can illustrate your comments by gesturing toward various parts oi the spread,

Your statement seems undeniably true. Yet, thanks to Gene FinnelTs free cut principle, there are exactly twelve cards between every two nines. If you're not familiar with this principle, you may want to experiment with the procedure for burying the nines to see why this is so. No matter where the packets are cut, the number of cards in the packets at the beginning will be the number of cards between the nines at the end. The process of combining the packets after the cutting undoes the effect of the spectator's cuts.

"But in a gam£," you continue, 'They hee$ things honest by giving the cards a cut Bob, would you cut over a Jjortion of the deck?" Allow the spectator to do so and then complete the cut yourself.

Explain that you will also shuffle and cut. Pick up the deck and take it in position for a faro shuffle. From this position you can easily see your corner crimp. Casually cut the cards to bring the crimp about a half-dozen cards from the top. (Illustration 4 shows this action in. progress.)


Now give the deck two in-faro shuffles (i.e., the top and bottom cards of the deck get buried on each shuffle). These must be perfect cuts (i.e., exactly twenty-six cards in each half) and perfect shuffles (i.e.. no discrepancies at any point).

After the first shuffle the crimp should be about a quarter of the way down. After the second shuffle it should be somewhere around the middle. All that matters is that the crimp be in the top half prior to each shuffle and that it not be too close to the top or bottom after the two shuffles. You, therefore, have great leeway in initially positioning the crimp. Consequently, you should be able to perform that first cut without hesitating.

When you finish faro shuffling, table the deck as for a riffle shuffle, the crimped corner at the inner right.

Explain that you're sometimes able to cut to one of the four nines. As you say this, give the deck a square cut, cutting the crimped card to the bottom. (When first tabling the deck, you can glimpse the position of the crimp. This makes cutting to it a combination of touch and estimation, making the action both fast and surefire.)

Reach over with your right hand and grasp the right end of the deck, thumb at the inner corner, second finger at the outer corner, and forefinger curled on top. Riffle up with your thumb until you feel that you have exacdy four cards. This will take a litde practice to master, but less than you might think. You may find that it helps to steady the other end of the deck with your left hand. (See illustration 5.)

Lift the foulard packet. Allow it to snap off the second finger. (This leaves you pinching one corner between forefinger and thumb.) At the same time, turn your wrist so that the face of the 6. packet faces the audience and fan the cards between the thumb on the face and the first and second fingers at the back. This will leave you in the final position shown in illustration 6.

As you perform these final actions, explain that sometimes you can cut to all four nines. My patter line is, "On a good duy, J con usually cut to one of the /our ninfiS- But mi a very good day, I can cut to all four of them."

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