Presentation

Since the whole point of this item is the presentation, I think it's best (or you to read my presentation first. The point oi this is, of course, not for you to copy this presentation verbatim, but rather to understand how you position and interpret every element of the effect for the audience.

One of the most effective methods of cheating at cards is a sleight-of-hand switch called "the brush" It's used whenever two card cheats u>orh as partners in a poker game. If you and I partnered up in a game, we would be constantly communicating through secret signals. If I had a card that would improve your poker hand, I u'ouid su/itch it into your hand; if you had a card that ujould imf)roue my poker hand, you would switch it into my hand. It doesn't matter -which of us wins since u>eYe going to split the profits afterwards.

You might ufondifr hou> card cheats could suntch cards between two hands without the other players suspecting. Well, it s done by means of the brush. Haue you ever been in a game where, the discards were over here, a player throu/5 in his hand and it fails a little short of the discard pile, so another player helpfully pushes the cards into the deadwoodt That can be a cover for the brush. Have you ever been in a game where the dealer is dealing around, one player's hand falls a little out of his reach, so another flayer helpfully pushes it over? That can he a cover for the brush.

I think the most effective tuay for me to show you hou* deceptive the brush can be in a game is to demonstrate the exercise I use to practice the brush when An practicing sleight of hand at home.

We wed a group of cards to form poker hands, so 111 use these red cards. It doesn't matter what we use because there s only going to be one good poker hand in this game, a hand of four of a hind consisting of the king of shades, the king of hearts, the king of clubs, and the king of diamonds,

When you actually use this technique to cheat in a game you would never do it more than once in any round of play. But, when I firactice it, for the sake of practice, I always do it three times in rafïid succession. So thats the way 111 do it now, three times in rapid succession.

Ill take one, two, three, four red cards to form one poker hand; one, two, three, four red cards to form a second

poker hand; one, tu?o, three, four red cards to form a third j>oker hand; and the last four red cards tuili form the final poker hand.

J say they form a poker hand hutT of course, they don't form a complete ftoker hand since we only have four cards. So, III take one of the four kings and add it in to give us a complete hand, ill add another king to this hand to giue us a complete five-card hand. This hand also needs a fifth card, so III add a king. And the last king urill complete my poker hand.

So we have one king in each of the four poker hands. One king here, one king heret and one king here. Did I mention that fives are tuild? No, I don't need a wild card to urin this hand because I have four kings. And that is the brush.

Method and Handling

Remove the four kings irom the deck. As you do, contrive to ensure that the heart and spade are at the face. For the sake oi the explanation, 1*11 assume that the order oi the kings irom face to back is spades, hearts, clubs, diamonds. Before proceeding, you should explain the concept of the brush and establish the premise of the effect as indicated in the patter. Finish by dropping the kings in a facédown pile on the table.

Remove sixteen red spot cards from the deck. I do this by spreading through the deck and upjogging all the red spot cards from threes through tens—in other words, everything except the aces and deuces. I then strip out the jogged cards. Doing it this way requires very litde concentration and eliminates the need to count the cards. This means that you can concentrate on pattering while removing the red cards rather than concentrating on the process of removing them.

Spread these cards between your hands as if checking to make sure you got the ones you wanted. In the process, maneuver two cards of the same suit and adjoining values to fourth and fifth from the face. (I always use either the eight and nine of hearts or the eight and nine of diamonds.) This will, at most, involve doing a spread cull of one card from one position to another followed by casually cutting the packet. Ribbonspread the cards face up on the table as you explain that you'll use these cards to form poker hands.

Gather up the face-up spread into left-hand dealing grip, taking a left fourth-finger break under the fourth card from the face. Turn your hand palm down and pick up the four kings under the packet. Turn your hand palm up and immediately take all the cards above the break into right-hand Biddle grip. Square the sides of the packet between your left second finger and thumb. As you do so, allow the bottom card of the packet to spring off the right thumb and hold a thumb break above it.

You're now going to display and name each oi the lour kings as you explain that they will represent the winning poker hand. In the process, you'll perform Ed Mario's face-up switch to steal out two of the kings. Peel the king of spades onto the red packet with your left thumb. Thumb over the king of spades and take it under the kings packet. Square the king under the packet by running your left thumb along the right side of the packet. (You will now be holding a right thumb break above two cards.) Peel the king of hearts onto the red packet, then take it under the kings packet as before.

You will now peel the king of clubs onto the red packet. In the process, however, you will load the three cards below your right thumb break under it. When you bring the kings packet directly over the red packet in order to peel off the king of clubs, your left fourth finger engages the cards below the right thumb break and retains them on the red packet. This is, of course, concealed by the king of clubs, which is retained on the red packet by the left thumb as your right hand pulls its packet to the right. Take the king of clubs under the right-hand packet as you did with the previous two kings. This will reveal the king of diamonds on the face of the packet, completing your display of the four kings.

During the face-up switch, the face card of the red packet will change. It's to conceal this discrepancy that you earlier positioned two similar cards fourth and fifth from the face of the red packet. I guarantee no one will notice if, for example, the nine of hearts changes to the eight of hearts.

Take the kings packet in your left hand, held above the red packet, thumb on one side and the second and third fingertips on the other. Turn your hand palm down and deposit the kings packet face down on the table to your left. (The audience believes this packet consists of the four kings. In fact, it consists of three red cards sandwiched between two kings.)

The red packet contains two kings directly behind the face card. As you patter, you'll bring these kings to the top by means of a casual overhand shuffle. Position the cards for the shuffle, backs toward the audience. Start the shuffle by pulling a few cards into the left hand with your thumb. At the same time, your left fingers retain the bottom card so that it goes under these cards. (This is similar to the action in the standard milk-build runup.) Continue the shuffle, running the last couple of cards singly. This will leave the two kings on top.

Turn the packet face up and hold it in dealing grip. Obtain a fourth-finger break above the two bottom cards (the two kings). I do this with a forefinger buckle.

You're now going to use a Bob Veeser idea to divide the red packet into four four-card piles, apparently showing the face of each card in the process. Take the packet in the right hand in Biddle grip, your thumb taking over the break. You're going to apparently peel four cards off the face of the packet into your left hand. The reality is a little more complicated.

Peel the face card into your left hand. At the same time, however, steal the two cards below the thumb break under this card, maintaining a fourth-finger break between the red card and the two stolen kings. (Be sure to tilt your left hand down to hide the extra thickness.) Immediately peel another card onto the first and a third one onto those. You now peel a fourth red card into your leit hand. In the process, however, steal the three red cards above the break to the bottom of the right-hand packet.

The initial peel where you hold three cards as one (with a break in-between, no less) may seem bold. Keep in mind, however, that you're only in this vulnerable position for a moment before giving yourself more cover by peeling the next card onto them. Once you've tried it in front of an audience a couple of times you 11 realize that it's perfecdy Bafe.

Turn your left hand palm down and deposit this packet face down in front of you. {The audience believes that this packet consists of four red cards. It actually consists of only three cards, two of which are kings.)

Peel off four cards from the face of the right-hand packet into the left hand, (Your actions should, of course, appear identical to what you did the first rime.) Fan out these cards to display four red cards, then deposit them in a facedown packet to your left. Repeat the process to deposit a third four-card packet some distance in front of you. Finally, spread the remaining four cards between your hands. (Since you're not calling attention to the identities of the cards, no one will realize that they saw three of these cards go into the first packet.) Deposit them face down to your right. You 11 be left with the layout shown in Ulitstratûm 1.

While creating the four packets, you've been explaining that each will represent a poker hand. Spread the right-hand packet on the table as you comment that, of course, the packet needs one more card to constitute a full hand. Pick up the kings packet that you had previously tabled to your left. Hold it face down in right-hand Biddle grip. Peel three cards into your left hand. This will leave you holding a double in your right hand. Place this double sidejogged on the left-hand packet, your left thumb holding it in place. Perform a double turnover, catching a wide break under the double with the base of the leit thumb as shown in illustration 2. (This is Art Airman's card trap idea.)

This will display the king of diamonds. Push your left thumb base to the right, enabling you to grip the right side of the double, and flip it face down, square onto the packet.

The point of the card trap is that it speeds up the process of turning the face-up double face down again. This is desirable because you're going to be showing the king of diamonds and the king of clubs twice each. So you don't want to expose the face of each one longer than necessary. The audience should already be convinced that the packet consists of the four kings, so a brief flash should appear a logical action to just confirm what they already know. Don't, however, perform the double turnovers in a guilty or suspicious manner. They should be fast but not rushed, casual and done with complete confidence. (After you've performed the effect a few times you will be completely confident. You'll know from experience that the discrepancy flies.)

Take the top card, supposedly the one you just showed, in your right hand and slide it under the spread packet on your right, squaring it in the process. Repeat the same actions to show another king—thjs time the king of clubs—and slide it under the far packet. Of course, in this case the kings packet supposedly contains only three cards, so just peel off two before sidejogging the remaining double.

Pause and patter a few seconds to give the audience a chance to forget the identities of the two kings they just saw. You will now show a third king. You can use exactly the same handling as before, this time peeling only one card off to setup for the double. I prefer, however, to use a slightly different handling this time. With the forefinger at the outer right corner of the packet, 1 push the top card up and to the left very slighdy with my thumb. (The forefinger ensures that only the top card moves.) This allows me to pinch the two bottom cards at the outer right edge between my right thumb and forefinger. I pull this double to the right until it clears the top card, then flip it face up on top, catching it in an Altman trap. This again shows the king of diamonds.

Flip the double face down and slip the top card under the packet on the left. Finally, flip over the double remaining in your left hand, exactly as if doing a double turnover onto the deck. This will show the king of diamonds again. (Naturally, throughout this sequence jr you should never refer to the kings by name. Talk instead about 'this king* or 'another King.")

J/ Grip the double at the right edge between your

// right thumb above and first and second fingers below. Flip the double face down onto the packet jS lying directly in front of you. This i6 done essen tially as if flipping a double face down on the deck. If you position your left fingertips along the left you can keep the double from spreading.

[The above sequence is my handling of Daryl's "Rising Crinvt display. On pp.39-40 of 21^ Century Card Magic, Jim Swain describes Larry Jennings' excellent handling. I have, however, found it unreliable with brand-new cards. If you usually work with older cards, you may want to check it out.]

As soon as the double lands on the packet, spread the tabled cards with your right fingertips. (This action accompanies your statement that adding the king completes your poker hand.) The fact that five cards show seems to prove both that you dropped only one card onto your packet and that the packet consisted of four cards although, of course, neither is true.

Remind the audience that each packet contains one king. As you say, "One htng here, one king here, and one king hera," push each of the three poker hands, other than your own, away from you using exactly the same actions you used when talking about the brush move earlier. Then pick up the packet in front of you and turn it lace up. This is when 1 deliver the "fiues [or whatever the face card is] are urikP line.

edge of the tabled packet as in Utustration 3,

Turn your poker hand face down and deal the top iour cards, the kings, face up in front of you. Immediately use the remaining card to scoop up the other three poker hands and ribbonspread these fifteen cards face up. The appearance of the kings in your hand is so starding that some people may have a lingering suspicion that you're using duplicate kings. The ribbonspread immediately kills this idea.

Performance Tip

In pushing the other poker hands away, then immediately picking up your own, you are, of course, trying to suggest that you performed the brush three times to steal the kings into your own hand. Don't ham this up and make it look movey. After all, if you're going to make it look movey, you may as well really do the move.

I've seen magicians perform a fake demonstration of bottom or second dealing and let their guilt lead them into performing the top deal so awkwardly that it looked far worse than a real bottom or second would. The purpose of a pseudo-demonstration is, after all, to do something more amazing than you could for real. Make them think you couldn't have done anything, then show them the proof that you did.

Analysis

# Over the years I've seen coundess attempts by magicians to provide the classic ace assembly with a gambling-related presentation. The effect seems a natural for a gambling premise. Yet, in my view, none of these attempts would be at all believable to anyone who knows the slightest bit about card playing. Some of them were great magic tricks, but no one would ever take them seriously as gambling demonstrations.

A gambling presentation that lacks credibility does more harm than good. It calls into question your expertise and casts doubt on anything you might say on the subject in any other effect.

Because of my persona and performing slant, I felt that having a credible gambling presentation for an ace assembly would be a very good thing. When I tried to come up with one I realized why others had failed. The action of an ace assembly doesn't match anything a card cheat would ever do in a game. It eventually struck me, however, that it might match something a cheat would do in practicing for a game. At that point, I had the key to solving a problem that had stumped me for years.

& Even if you don't use my gambling presentation, one thing you might want to consider adopting from the above handling is the idea of revealing the kings in the leader packet immediately rather than going through a long series of "vanishes" first. The major advantage of Daryl's routine over other assemblies is that the moment you finish distributing the kings among the four packets they're already in the leader packet. If you then go through a laborious process of showing each king gone from the follower packets you throw away that advantage.

Credits

This is a minor handling variant of Daryl's Diamond Bary The Collected Almanac, pp.236-8. As mentioned earlier, what I'm presenting here is primarily a new presentation.

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