Method and Handling

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

Encyclopedia of Card Tricks

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Start with the card case off to your left. Explain that you're going to give the audience a lesson in the fine art of bluffing as practiced by top poker players. Take out the hundred-dollar bill and drop it on the table with the comment that it will be important later.

Have three cards selected, the first by someone on your left, the second by someone directly in front of you,

and the third by someone on your right. Have the spectators sign their cards on the face while you turn your back. (You can get this done quickest if you carry three marking pens on you. Frankly, I just carry two. So I band these to the first two spectators and ask whichever one finishes signing first to pass their pen on to the third person.)

Have the three cards returned to the deck and control them to the top in two, three, one order from the top down. The goal here should be to get this over with last, so I suggest using the quickest deceptive multiple control you know. I use the Neal Elias multiple shift. (This is taught in Hitchcock Trawlers.)

Obtain a left fourth-finger break under the top three cards. Tell spectator number one to pick up

1. ^ J - 1 J the card case. As she does so, palm the three selected cards. I use the Erdnase top palm. Your right hand grips the deck from above, all four fingers at the front and the thumb it the inner left corner. At the same time, your left fourth finger shifts so that the side of the finger is pressing against the inner edge of the cards above the break near the right corner. (Illustration 1 shows this position.) You now straighten this finger to bring the three cards up to the right palm. (See ilhistratum 2.) Once your left fourth finger is fully extended, drive the cards the rest of the way into your palm with your left third finger as shown in illustration 3.

You should be finished palming the cards by the time the spectator has the card case in her hands. Hand her the deck with your left hand as your right hand drops to your side with the palmed cards. Instruct her to place the deck in its case, close the case, and hold onto it.

With your right hand reach into your inner left jacket pocket.

3. _____Push the two lower palmed cards down the chute with your thumb as you retain the top card (the one against your palm). Pull this card out, apparently having retrieved it from your pocket. Don't let the audience see the face of the card. Look at it yourself, however, and announce that this is spectator number two's selected card. Place the card, back outward, in the outer breast pocket of your jacket so that about a third of the card remains sticking out.

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. Again keep the face of the card hidden. Look at the card and announce that this is spectator number three's selection.

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

You're now holding one card in each hand. You're going to replace the two cards in your pockets. In the process, however, you're going to place the card that came out of the left pocket into your right pocket and the card that came out of the right pocket into your left pocket. And, by employing a Peter DufEe idea, you're going to do it without anyone realizing the exchange. Here's how. (I've already described this sequence in Pocket Money, the previous effect. If you've read that, you may want to just skim the next couple of paragraphs.)

Having claimed that the three selected cards have traveled to your pockets, you now say to the audience, "Unless, of course, Im bluffing. That's where the hundred dollars comes iruw 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. 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. This should 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 fenow these cards can't possibly be the same cards they chose. Their cards are in the deck, in the card case, in Janes hani Let's put it this xua> Either you^e just seen the most amazing demonstration of sleight of hand ever or Im lying through my teeth. So here 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, Tm trilling to het a hundred dollars that Fm telling the truth. Any takers?" You can develop this anyway 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 T don't get any takers, I offer ten to one odds, my hundred against ten dollars. You won't get any takers, but youTl 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* J con see I'm dealing urith smart gamblers who know when someone is not bluffing." Have the spectator to your left name her card. Reach into your left pocket, remove the card farther from your body, and show that it's her selection.

Have the spectator in front of you name her card. Remove the card from your breast pocket and show that it's her selection. Finally, have the spectator on your right name her card, then instruct her to reach into your right pocket, remove the card herself, and show it to everyone. I finish by retrieving the card from her and holding all three selections in a shamrock pattern as in illustration 4 to cue applause.

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