Method and Handling

Begin by explaining that you're going to give the audience a lesson in the poker players' art of bluffing, an essential skill in winning at the game. Have two cards selected, the first by someone on your left, the second by someone on your right. Hand each spectator a marking pen and have each sign his or her card on the face while you turn your back.

You must now have the two cards returned to the deck and control them to the top, the second (right-side} spectator's card above the other. In terras of both speed and subtlety, a pass works best here. (I use the Ortiz shift, taught in Darwin s Ambitious Card.)

If using a pass, spread the cards between your hands and break the spread at about the middle. Have the spectator on your left replace his card on the lower portion. Square the deck, taking a break above the selection. Turn to the spectator on your right. Spread the deck between your hands and separate the spread at your break. Have this spectator replace her card on the lower portion of the deck (on top of the other selection). Square the deck, taking a break above both selections. Perform your shift to bring the two cards to the top. (Whatever method of controlling the cards you use, the right-side spectator's card should be on top with the left-side spectator's card under it.)

Obtain a left fourth-finger break under the two selections. Turn to the spectator on your left and ask, Did you bring any money?" Under cover of this misdirection, palm the selections in your right hand. I use the Erdnase top palm. (This move is taught in Smart Money, the effect that follows.)

Regardless of the spectator's response, say, "Fortunately, I did" As an apparent follow-through to this comment, your right hand goes to your inner left jacket pocket as your left hand tables the deck. If working with the topit, release the two cards as soon as your hand is out of sight. (They should fall faces toward your body.) Then reach in your pocket and take out the hundred-dollar bill. If working with the card chute, drop the two palmed cards down the chute and then bring out the bill. The easiest way is to put all four fingers in the pocket, thumb remaining on the outside. Release the two cards, and then bend the first and second lingers inward to clip the bill and pull it off the paper clip. Once it's out, unfold the bill and drop it on the table.

Touch the deck with your left fingertips as you explain that this causes spectator number one's selection to travel to your outer left jacket pocket. Touch the deck with your right fingertips as you explain that this causes spectator number two's selection to travel to your outer right jacket pocket.

Allow the audience to clearly see your left hand empty, and then reach in your outer left jacket pocket. YouH find the two cards you dropped down the chute. Remove the outer one of the two (the one farther from your body). Keep the face of the card hidden. Look at the card and announce that this is spectator number one's selected card.

Allow the audience to clearly see your right hand empty, then reach in your outer right jacket pocket, and remove the joker you previously salted away there. As before, keep the face of the card hidden from the audience. Look at it and announce that this is spectator number two's selected card.

You're now holding one card in each hand. You're going to put the cards back in your pockets. In the process, however, you're going to place the card that came out oi the left pocket into your right pocket and the card that came out of die right pocket into your leit pocket. And, thanks to an ingenious Peter Duffie concept, no one will realize the exchange. Here's how.

Having claimed that the two selected cards have traveled to your pockets, you now say to the audience, "Unless, of course, lm bluffing. That's where the hundred dollars comes in.'1 As you say this, look down at the bill, then pick it up with your right hand. To do this, you have to transfer the right hand's card to the left hand. (This is an application of Ascanio's in-transit action principle.) Do this so that the cards end up in a V, the card originally in the left hand pointing toward the right and the card from the right hand pointing toward the left. (See illustration I.) This must not look deliberate, however. The audience shouldn't be paying any attention to the two cards at this point since you've directed their attention to the bill.

"After all," you continue, "You know these cards can't f>ossibly be the same cards they chose. Their cards are somewhere in the middle of the deck. Let s £ut it this way. Either you i^e just seen the mast amazing demonstration of sleight of hand ever or I'm lying through my teeth. So herd's your chance to call my bluff." As you say this, drop the bill back on the table and replace the two cards in your outer jacket pockets. Take the card pointing to the right in your right hand and put it in your right pocket. The other card (the joker) goes in your left pocket, closer to your body than the card already there. (Throughout all this, you must guard against flashing the face of either card.)

Continue pattering along these lines, '7 m willing to bet a hundred dollars that Tm telling the truth. Any takers?" You can develop this any way you want and as much as you think appropriate. I don't beat it to death because I don't want to turn this into a personal challenge. When I don't get any takers, I offer ten to one odds, my hundred against ten dollars. You still won't get any takers, but you'll often get various joking comments that you can play with as appropriate.

If someone did offer to accept the wager, there are numerous ways to handle the situation. The details depend on your style and personality. The important thing, though, is that the audience is uncertain whether to believe you—it is an amazing claim—or to conclude that you're giving them a lesson in bluffing. Let them savor that ambiguity for a moment.

Finally, say, "Well, I can see that I'm dealing with smart gamblers who know when someone is not bluffing."

Have the spectator to your left name his card. Reach into your left pocket, remove the card farther from your body, and show that it's his selection. Have the spectator on your right name her card. Then instruct her to reach into your right pocket, remove the card, and show it to everyone. After a moment, retrieve the card from her. With one card in each hand, you're in perfect position to accept applause.

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