Performance Tips

2. Your thumb is pressing down on the ace of hearts. Your first finger presses against the ace of diamonds. Your second and third fingers should contact the

In the case of the fifty-first card, I use Harvey Rosenthal's variant of Reinhard Muller's Three-Card Throw. Grip the deck in your right hand as shown in illustration

bottom card of the deck, the named card, (illustration 3 shows an exposed view of this.) Toss the deck into your left hand, retaining the cards your fingers are pressing against. You'll be left holding three cards, the aces and a facedown card between them. It remains only to show that the sandwiched card is the one the spectator named.

In the case of the second card, I take the two red aces into my right hand. (Just pull them off the outer end of the deck). I then take a left fourth-finger break under the top card of the deck (the named card). I drop the two aces face up on the deck and immediately pick up all the cards above the break in the right hand in Biddle grip. I now peel the face ace onto the top of the deck and retake it under the double in my right hand. This appears to be merely a redisplay of the aces. It now remains only to spread the aces to show that a card has materialized between them, then reveal that it's the named card. This is an old, standard sandwich handling. What makes it miraculous here is that it seems you could have done the same with any card.

ยง It's an easy matter to restore your stack at the end of this effect. At the conclusion, the deck is ribbonspread on the table, split at the point from which you removed the sandwich. Gather up the cards that were below the sandwich and drop them on the other cards. (This, in effect, cuts the deck at the point from which the sandwich was removed.) Pick up the deck and turn it face up. Drop it on the card that belongs on top. Drop the other sandwich card on the face of the deck, where it belongs, and take the face-up deck in dealing grip. Finally, pick up the named card. Riffle down the side of the deck with your left thumb to create an opening and insert the named card.

This last part is not as innocent as it seems. Calculate the card above the named card in your stack. Riffle until you spot that card. Since you know its numerical location, you can estimate when it will be coming up. Stop the riffle at that point and insert the named card. (If you're left-handed as I am, hold the deck face down instead of face up. Otherwise, you'll be looking at a non-index corner.) The deck is now back in order.

$ You'll find there are certain cards you'll be able to cull just by feel without ever having to glance down at your hands. Most obviously, you can do this with the card directly above or below your break and with any of the top half-dozen or so cards. (You'll discover other possibilities through experimentation.) Naturally, in these cases the handling is particularly disarming. The important thing, however, is that once you've put in enough practice, even the worst case scenarios will look just fine,

^ If there is no working surface available, you can easily do the effect entirely in the hands. The table comes into play only twice. The first is when you remove the two sandwich cards at the outset. Instead of tabling them, you can hand them to a spectator. The second is when you ribbonspread the deck to remove the sandwich at the end. You can instead spread the deck between your hands until you reach the sandwich. Make sure the audience can clearly see that there is one card between the aces, then outjog the card. Cut to bring the sandwich to the top. Take the three cards fanned in your right hand and tilt them up to reveal the named card. (The point is to make it clear that no switch or other manipulation occurs while spreading the cards or removing the sandwich.)

& It's common in descriptions of memorized stack effects to stress that you must know the stack by heart.

In this case, however, you must also know by heart which procedure you'll use to "get to" any card named. In other words, the moment a card is named you must instantly know both the card's stack number and the most efficient procedure for spreading to it.

Alter the spectator has named her card is not the time to ask yourself, "Hram, would it be faster to count down from the top or count up from the break?" The answer is to practice the various possibilities frequently and regularly. An effective way to do this is to shuffle a second deck. Turn over cards from that deck, and practice spreading to them in your stack.

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