Method and Handling

Start by giving the deck a casual false shuffle. Ask a male spectator to stand to your left. While he is getting in position, empty your right front pants pocket and turn the pocket inside out to show it empty. Leave the pocket hanging out.

Spread through the deck, asking the spectator to touch the back of any card. When he does so, outjog the card and split the deck at that point, the outjogged card becoming the lowermost of the right-hand cards. Toss the outjogged card face down on the table and place the right-hand cards under the left-hand cards. (In effect, you've cut the deck at the point from which the selected card was removed.)

It's important that the audience appreciate that this is a free selection. For that reason, I always give the

spectator a chance at this point to change his mind and choose a different card. If he wishes to, just drop the first selection on top, cut the deck to bury it, and go through the selection process again. (I always show the face of the first selection to the audience before burying it. The fact that the new selection proves to be a diilerent card further underscores the fact that it is a free choice.)

Tell the spectator to look at his card. As he does so, casually give the deck a faro shuffle. This shuffle is comparatively easy and can be " 7 I.

truly casual for two reasons. First, the bottom card of the deck keys the split. Just cut so that the bottom cards of the two halves are mates. In other words, glance at the bottom card as you start the shuffle. If, for example, it's a red seven, cut the deck so that the other red seven becomes the bottom card of the upper half. (You'll have twen-ty-five cards in the upper half and twenty-six in the lower half.) Second, the shuffle does not have to be even close to perfect. As long as you cut at the right point, all that matters is that the top card of the bottom half becomes the top card of the deck at the end of the shuffle.

In fact, once you've split the deck at your key card, you can, if you prefer, simply cut the deck, rather than shuffle it. I just feel that the shuffle looks more disarm-2. ^ Lng, particularly since the hand positions for glimpsing the key are perfect for following through with the shuffle. The shuffle will bring the mate of the spectator's selected card to the top of the deck.

Instruct the spectator to place the card in his left pants pocket, being careful not to let you see it. As he does so, palm the top card of the deck. I use the Vernon top palm (originally titled "topping the deck"). Start by holding the deck with all four fingers on the side and the thumb cocked back as shown in illustration I. Place the right hand over the deck with all four fingers on the outer end and the thumb at the inner left corner. Straighten your left thumb, angling the top card over. This will cause the outer right corner of the card to overhang the front of the deck. This is shown in the X- ^-----3.

ray view in illustration 2. Press down on this overhang with your right fourth finger. This will lever the top card into your palm. At the same time, raise the deck to the left fingertips. (See illustration 3.) This will get the left thumb out of the way so you can complete the palm. Note that you slide your left thumb straight down until the tip is at the left edge of the deck. You don't

just yank it out of the way. The natural way in which the thumb is extracted from between the palm and the card being palmed is the great strength of this move-

Explain that in a moment you will place the deck in your pocket. As you say this, point to your right pants pocket with your left hand or, if wearing a jacket, use your left hand to push the jacket aside and expose the pocket. At the same time, glance down and "notice* that your pocket is still reversed. Take the deck in your left hand and push the pocket in with your right hand, leaving the palmed card behind.

This load is perfectly safe since the action is completely motivated and, if you did the palm correctly, no one should suspect that you have a card in your hand. You can give yourself even more cover, however, by applying the Slydini/Tamariz "crossing the gaze" con-j l^J ^c<J v cept. What this boils down to is that, if your hand moves in one direction at the same time that your head and eyes move in the opposite direction, the audience will follow your eyes and ignore your hand.

To apply the technique here, proceed as follows. Glance down at your pocket and notice that it is inside out. Look up at the spectator. As you look up, your right hand travels down and pushes in the pocket. Your head and hand move in opposite directions. Your hand goes down and to the right as your head moves up and to the left. See illustration 4.) You really have to see this in action to realize how irresistibly it pulls the audience's eyes away from the hand. You can., however, sense it during your performance.

Hand the deck to the spectator and instruct him to shuffle it thoroughly. While he is doing so, point out to the audience that you cannot locate the spectator's card in the deck because it's not in the deck; it's in his pocket. Instead, you will attempt to locate the one card in the deck that matches the spectator's card in color and value. Give the audience a couple of examples so they're clear on the concept. Explain that if, for example, the spectator chose the ace of hearts, a red ace, you will locate the ace of diamonds, the other red ace.

As soon as the spectator has finished shuffling, place the deck in your right front pants pocket. However, place it on its side so that it is cross-wise to the previously loaded card. (Illustration 5 gives an x-ray view of the situation at this point.)

Explain that you're going to have a Western-style showdown with

the spectator. You will count to three and on the count oi three the spectator is to plunge his hand into his pocket and remove his card as fast as he can. At the same time, you'll plunge your hand into your pocket and go through the deck card by card until you find the one which matches the spectator's selection^whose identity is still unknown to you—'and pull it out.

On the count of three, reach into your pocket, grab the card which is sticking out beyond the deck, and pull it out as fast as possible. Transfer the card to your left hand, keeping it back toward the audience. Once the spectator has removed his card, remove the deck from your pocket and drop it on the table. I ribbonspread the^ deck as I comment about how many cards I had to run through before finding the one I was looking for. Have the spectator reveal his card to the audience. Finally, turn your card toward the audience to reveal that it is, indeed, the mate of the spectator's selection.

Performance Tips

& Don't underestimate the importance of the "guniight" presentational angle. It adds gready to the entertainment value of the effect. Over time you'll find various ways to play off the premise in your patter.

Although it isn't vital, this effect will play more strongly if you beat the spectator to the draw and pull your card out before he pulls out his. A couple of factors should guarantee this. The first is that you empty your pocket at the start but you don't instruct the spectator to do the same. The odds are that he has a comb, keys, or other objects in his pocket that will get in his way. In fact, the faster he tries to move, the more likely these things will give him trouble. (In one performance, in the spectator's haste to win the draw, he pulled out a cellophane packet of Kleenex instead of the card. It took him a moment to realize his error, much to the amusement of the rest of the audience.)

The second, and more important, factor is that you do the counting. This gives you a slight edge since you know when you're going to say "three" before he does. In all the times I've performed this effect, the spectator has never even come close to beating me to the draw, I drive this point home by saying to the audience, Tf these were six-guns instead of j>laying cards, thsy*d be measuring David for a pine box right now." Since you had the far harder task, the fact that you finish first makes the effect that much more amazing.

^ The fastest way to get into a Si Stebbins setup is to use my Si Stehhins Secret. You can find this technique on pp.137-9 of Darwin Ortiz at the Card Table or on my Back at the Card Table video.


This effect was inspired by an effect of Andrew Wimhurst's called Dirty Harry that appears in his lecture notes Low Down Dirty Tricks. The presentational angle of framing things in terms of a gunfight also comes from his routine. Andrew's effect was, in turn, partly inspired by my own Harry in Your Packet from Cardshark.

The ruse of loading cards in the act of righting an inside-out pocket is an old one usually associated with the Cards to Pocket plot.

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