Method and Handling

In this effect, I use two casino chips, a red (five-dollar) one and a black (hundred-dollar) one, as color indicators. This fits my presentation (and, incidentally, explains the trick's title). This is not, however, necessary. If you prefer, you can use the traditional approach of employing two indicator cards (for example, the ace of hearts and the ace of clubs). If using chips, start with them in a pocket accessible to your right hand. If using aces, place them to one side of the table at the outset. In the following explanation I'll assume you're using casino chips.

Begin by removing ten red spot cards and ten black spot cards from the deck. I suggest doing it as follows.

Spread through the face-up deck. As you do, upjog all the black cards from six to ten in value and downjog all the red cards from six to ten in value. (This will be easieT if you start by making sure that the face card of the deck is not a six through ten.) Strip out the outjogged cards and place them on the face of the deck. Now strip out the injogged cards and place them on the face.

The advantage of this approach is that it allows you to remove the needed cards without having to count them. In fact» with a little practice you'll find you can do this with hardly any conscious thought. This means you can patter as you do it. This should be more interesting for your audience than having to sit in silence as you sort and count cards.

Once the red cards are on the face of the deck, rearrange them so that the lace card and the fifth card from the face are an eight and nine of the same suit. (It doesn't matter which is which.) Next, spread two cards past the lowermost eight or nine that you've just positioned. You should see exactly three red cards remaining. (This acts as a check to ensure that you do indeed have ten reds. If there is any number other than three, you made a mistake in injogging the red cards or you're not working with a full deck.) Make sure there is no duplication in values among these last three cards. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that's the case, (Most of the time, of course, none will be needed.) Finally, spread the red cards face up in a vertical row on the left side of the table.

Rearrange the black cards exactly as you did the red cards and spread them face up in a vertical row on the right side of the table. Place the rest of the deck aside; it won't be needed again. (All of this takes a great deal of time to explain but very little time or concentration to do once you're used to it.)

Scoop up the red cards, taking them into left-hand dealing grip. As you do, take a fourth-finger break under four cards. There is no need to count; just look at the face card of the spread, then look for the pseudo-mate. (If the face card is the nine of hearts, the pseudo-mate is the eight of hearts.) This card will be fifth from the face; simply take a break above it as you gather up the spread.

You will now apparently scoop up the black cards and take them in your right hand. Here is what really happens. In gathering up the blacks, your right hand steadies the right end of the spread as your left hand scoops up the cards. As soon as they're gathered up, take all the cards above the break in right-hand Biddle grip. (You're now holding fourteen cards in your right hand and six in your left hand.)

As soon as you pick up the cards above the break separate the hands widely. I patter about the difference in weight between red cards and black cards and illustrate the comment by performing a balance-scale weighing gesture with my hands. This justifies holding them well apart. The point is that you want to emphasize the separation of the two packets and de-emphasize the moment when they touched.

Table the red cards face down on the left. Transfer the black cards to your left hand and take a fourth-finger break under the top four cards. I do this by pinky counting. An equally good approach is to continue pattering about the characteristics of the different colors and, to illustrate your comments, spread the top four cards of the face-up packet. Then take your break as you re-square.

Take out the two casino chips. (It's during this action that I perform the pinky count to get my break.) Place the black one on the table to your right. While looking at the audience, start to table the red chip to your left. At the last moment, look down and notice that the red packet is in the way. Your left hand turns palm down and picks up the packet under the cards it already holds, but outjogged about an inch. Your right hand drops the chip where the packet was as your left hand turns palm up. At the same time your left forefinger pulls the out-jogged packet square with the other cards. Take all the cards above the break and place them face up behind the red chip.

This sequence relies for its deceptiveness on acting rather than technique. The important thing to understand is that you're not concerned with the cards; you're concerned with the chip. You want to place it in the correct position. Picking up the packet and putting it down again is an incidental action needed to make room for the chip. {This is an application of Ascanio's in-transit action principle.)

The packet on the table consists of six red cards with four black cards behind them. The packet in your hand consists of six black cards with four red cards behind them. At this point I throw in a small subtlety that also depends on acting. While looking at the audience, start spreading the black packet between your hands. In fact, you can only spread over five cards (i.e., show six cards). Any more would expose a red card. Therefore, as you push over the fifth card, look down and notice that the black chip is slighdy out of position. Square up the cards and reach down with your right hand to adjust it. The notion you want to convey is that you could have spread through the entire packet, and you would have, had you not noticed the mis-positioned chip- (If you find this notion daunting, just leave it out. It is, however, both easy and convincing.)

You will now perform a Hamman count to show the cards in your hand as all black. This is a well-known move; however, you almost never see it done deceptively. Therefore, I think it's worth describing how I perform it.

Hold the face-up packet in the right hand, with your thumb at the inner right corner and the outer right corner clipped between your second and third fingers, first finger curled on top. (See illustration 1.) With your left thumb peel the face card into left-hand dealing grip. Peel the next card onto the first. Repeat this with the third, fourth, and fifth cards. Each time, the inner left corner of the right packet

should first contact the left thumb base at exactly the same point as the left-hand packet's inner corner as shown in illustration 2. The right packet then swings left from this pivot point until it aligns with the left packet. At that point the left thumb contacts the face card and peels it off.

On the count of six, the two packets are secretly exchanged. This time, once the inner left corners of the two packets have connected, the right-hand packet swings to the left a litde farther than before, just slightly beyond the point where the two packets align. This allows your left thumb to pinch the right-hand packet. At the same time, your right third fingertip grips the outer right corner of the left-hand packet and your right second finger eases its grip on its packet. The two hands separate and the packets have been exchanged. (Although the right hand's grip on its packet is now slighdy different, this difference is imperceptible even to a careful observer.)

You now continue the count fairly for the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth card. The tenth card is actually a double. Ii you hook your left second fingertip against the right edge of the double, you can pull it onto the packet with your left hand rather than placing it on with your right hand. This looks more consistent with the han* dling of the other cards.

To avoid cluttering the above description, 1 left out a couple of small but important points. First, at the moment of the exchange I recommend having the inner left corner of the right-hand packet contact the left thumb base about an eighth of an inch forward of where the inner corner of the left-hand packet rests. This is. because the exchange tends to leak at the outer end of the packets. This offsetting will hide that.

Second, only the left hand should move throughout the action. The right hand should remain motionless. Moving both hands in any display count makes it difficult for the audience to follow what is supposed to be happening. Therefore, when I spoke above about the right-hand packet moving, it's only relative to the left-hand packet. In absolute terms, only the left-hand packet moves.

Finally, it's vital to strive for a consistent rhythm throughout the count (as in any false display count). However, here is a tip to help cover any slight break in rhythm that might occur at the moment of the switch. If you count in a one-two rhythm, a slight pause will occur naturally after each even-numbered card. In other words, the count should be one-two, three-four, five-six, seven-eight, nine-ten. Please keep in mind that Irm talking about only the slightest of pauses. As long as you don't exaggerate it, this one-two rhythm is a very natural way to count.

Count the cards aloud as you perform the Hamman sequence; your supposed purpose in counting is to show that you've got exactly ten cards, not to show that they're all black, (Your real purpose is, of course, just the opposite.)

Follow up the count by observing that, "Of course, the block cards go behind the black chif>." As you deliver this line, as if to illustrate and emphasize it, you casually peel two cards off the face and drop the rest of the packet on them. At least, that's what you appear to do. Start by obtaining a left fourth-finger break above the bottom card of the packet and a third-finger break above the second card from the bottom. (You can do this by buckling, pulling down, thumb counting, or any combination thereof. I buckle to get the fourth-finger break, then thumb count to get the third-finger break.)

Take the packet into right-hand Biddle grip as you simultaneously peel off the top card and the bottom card hidden behind it. Come back and peel off top and bottom cards again onto the double you're already holding. Then drop the remaining cards on top. Place the packet face up behind the black chip.

Pick up the red packet. Perform a Hamman count followed by the double peel exacdy as you did with the other packet. The peeling accompanies the observation that, TVaturally, the red cards go behind the red cht£>." Place this packet face up behind the red chip.

You started by spreading out ten red cards face up on the left and ten black cards face up on the right. You then performed a couple of casual and well-motivated actions. Most importantly, however, you finished by show ing every card in each packet. In doing so, you establish that the situation remains as it started, reds on the left and blacks on the right. The Hamman counts effectively erase the handling that occurred between the initial spreading of the two tabled packets and the present moment. The audience should be a hundred percent convinced that one packet consists entirely of red cards and the other entirely of blacks.

Turn each packet face down. You will now openly exchange the positions of the two packets. You move one packet from behind the black chip to behind the red chip and the other packet from behind the red chip to behind the black chip. It's imperative that the audience be absolutely clear on what you've done. I do it as follows. I pick up the packet on the right with my left hand from above. I then slide the packet on the left over to the right. Finally, I drop the packet in my left hand on the spot vacated by the other packet.

You certainly don't have to do it this way. You must, however, do it in a way that creates neither confusion nor suspicion. In particular, I believe it's important that the two packets never go anywhere near each other during the exchange. Bringing them close together risks either confusing people as to which is which or leading them to think you did something sneaky in the moment they came near each other- You'll be exchanging the packets repeatedly throughout the effect, I suggest you do it the same way each time.

Pick up the top card of the left packet and toss it face up in front of the red chip. Pick up the top card of the right packet and toss it face up in front of the black chip. Despite the exchange of packets, the color of each card matches its chip.

Exchange the two packets just as before. Pick up the top card of each packet in turn and toss it face up in front of its respective casino chip on top of the card already there. Again the colors match.

Exchange the two packets a third time. Again pick up the top card of each packet in turn and toss it face up in front of its respective chip on top of the other face-up cards. Again the colors match.

Exchange the two packets again. This time, after the exchange, take one packet in each hand, with a palm down grip. Turn your hands palms up, revealing the face card of each packet. Deal each face card on to its respective discard pile in (ront of the chips. Replace the packets face down in their original positions. Pick up the top card of each packet in turn and toss it face up onto its respective discard pile.

This time the audience has seen three cards from each packet, the face card, the card exposed when you deal off the face card, and the top card. Despite the exchange of packets, all three of these cards match their respective casino chips.

Exchange the two packets again. Toss the top card of each packet face up onto its discard pile to show another match.

Exchange the two packets again. Pick up the packet on the left, turn it face up and perform a Jordan count to show four red cards. Replace the packet face down in its original position. Repeat this process with the packet on the right to show four blacks. Deal the top card of each packet face up onto its discard pile.

This sequence is why you earlier ensured that the three rear cards oi each color group contained no duplication in values. Those are the three cards that show during the Jordan count. If there were, for example, two tens among these cards, they might show as three tens in the count. As long as you avoid that problem, there is no chance anyone will realize that they saw the same card twice during the count.

Exchange the two packets again. Deal off the top card of each packet face up onto its discard pile. This is one of the strongest moments in the effect, so don't throw it away. The audience just saw the face of every card in each packet, then saw you cleanly exchange the packets. The colors can't possibly match, yet they do. You can afford a small dramatic pause after switching the packets and before revealing the two top cards.

Exchange the two packets again. After the exchange, take one packet in each hand, with a palm-down grip. Turn your left hand palm up and spread the two cards to show that they match the casino chip. Then do the same with the cards in your right hand.

Lilt these cards faces toward you and interlace them so they run red, black, red, black from face to back. (Don't try to hide this interlacing, but don't draw attention to it either.) Turn the cards face down and take them into your left hand in dealing position.

Take the packet in your right hand in Biddle grip and peel the cards one at a time into your leit hand. In doing so, take a fourth-finger break under the last two cards. (You could eliminate the peeling action if you alternated the cards black, red, black, red instead of red, black, red, black. However, in a moment you're going to show two cards by means of double turnovers. The colors of the cards won't match their true positions. Interlacing the cards, then reversing their order ensures that no one will keep track of what colors are where and thereby spot the discrepancy.)

Perform a double turnover. This will reveal a black card. Turn the double face down and deal the top card behind the red casino chip.

You will now perform a double turnover of the bottom two cards onto the top of the packet, (This is the same

__action as the last part of the Gemini count.) With your left

3. ^ forefinger positioned at the outer right corner of the pack et, thumb the top card up and to the left very slightly. The forefinger ensures that only the top card moves. (See illustration 3.) This allows you to pinch the two bottom cards at the outer right edge between your right thumb and forefinger. Pull this double to the right until it clears the top card and flip it over. This will reveal another black card. Turn the double face down and deal the top card onto the one already behind the red chip. Drop the two remaining cards behind the black chip.

Pick up the two cards behind the red chip in your left hand and turn them face up. Pick up the two cards behind the black chip in your right hand and turn them face up. Again the cards match their respective chips. Finish by tossing each pair on its discard pile.

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