The Professional

"A d^mmistmtimi of card sharping akoays appeals to the spectators, even more so than card conjurmg or manipulatlon. No matter how expert you are with cards, if someone steps in and does a hit of card sharping his denumstration urili steal the shorn*1

Tom Sellers this routine builds on ideas from two Andrew Wimhurst routines to provide a dazzling impromptu display ol your ability to cheat at both poker and bridge. However, the spectators don't need any familiarity with either game to appreciate the real message of this demonstration; you have uncanny control over all fifty-two cards.


After handing the deck out for shuffling, the performer offers to show how a card cheat can beat any game by controlling desirable cards. First, he shuffles the deck and deals himself four kings at poker. Then he takes the concept to the limit by shuffling and dealing four bridge hands. The performer receives all thirteen spades while giving the other three players respectively all thirteen clubs, all thirteen hearts, and all thirteen diamonds.

Method and Handling

The Poker Deal

Begin by handing the deck to a spectator to shuffle. As he does so, you explain, "Regardfess of the method, all card cheating ultimately comes dawn to controlling certain cards. The more cards you can control, the stronger the edge you can give yourself. At the same time, euen just controlling a couple of cards can make a hig difference. Pll gif e you an illustration at each end of the spectrum.*

By the time you finish this introduction, the spectator should be finished shuffling. Take the deck back and remove the four kings as you explain that you 11 use them to give an example of cheating at poker. As you spread through the face-up deck to remove the kings, however, you must also secretly separate the minor suits (clubs and diamonds) from the major suits (hearts and spades).

This you accomplish by means of the underspread cull. (The underspread cull ie taught in Ultimate Oil & Water.) Spread through the deck until you spot a king. Casually cut the king to the top. If necessary, rearrange the cards at the face of the deck so that you have at least two or three spades and/or hearts at the face. (These cards will provide cover for the first cull.) Resume spreading through the deck. Every time you spot a club or a diamond (other than a king), cull it under the spread. Every time you spot a king, toss it on the table.

The king that you initially cut to the top will ensure that you must spread through the entire deck to find the four kings and, therefore, have the chance to sort the entire deck. At the conclusion, all the hearts and spades should be on the face of the deck and the clubs and diamonds at the back.

As you remove the kings, you can explain that, in a game, you would gain control of the kings by spotting them during previous hands. But for the demonstration you'll just start with them together. Explain that you Ye going to demonstrate how a card cheat can stack four of a kind in a poker game so as to deal them to himself.

As you talk, give the deck a casual overhand shuffle. In reality, you do a Laurie Ireland shuffle. Start shuffling in the normal manner. As you near the center of the deck, start running cards singly until you're certain that you've passed the midpoint, Then finish the shuffle in the normal manner! (If your estimation is decent you shouldn't have to run more than seven or eight cards.) This has the effect of keeping the two halves of your setup intact but reversing their positions. The minor suits are now on the face and the major suits on the top.

Drop the kings face up on top of the deck. You now perform the Erdnase four-card stock shuffle for five hands. If you re familiar with Erdnase's overhand shuffle terminology, the following brief explanation should suffice: Peel off the top king and toss the deck on top. Undercut slightly less than half the deck. Injog the top card. Run eight cards. Outjog the next card and shuffle off, running the last few cards to bring the bottom king back to the top. Cut at the outjog, taking a break at the injog. Run four cards. Throw to the break. Run one card and injog the next card. Run eight cards. Outjog the next card and shuffle off. Cut to the injog and throw. Cut to the outjog, run four cards, and throw. (This runup is taught in detail in The Expert at the Card Table. If you Ye not familiar with it, that'3 the best place to learn it.)

The above is not only the explanation for the stacking sequence, it's also my patter. I tell the audience that I'm going to teach them how to stack four of a kind for a poker game. I explain that I'll leave the four kings face up to make it easier to follow. I then narrate the Erdnase runup as I perform it. This is a very old idea, but still a great one. The patter sounds like doubletalk and the audience doesn't know whether you're serious or pulling their legs. Either way, they find it highly amusing, (It also makes it a lot easier to do the runup without getting distracted and making a mistake.)

Let me stop for a moment to discuss the present condition of the deck. (If you're interested only in how this effect works and not why, you can skip this paragraph.) TC you spread through the deck face doum, you'll find that the kings are now fifth, tenth, fifteenth, and twentieth from the top. In other words, they Ye stacked to fall to the dealer in a five~handed game. If you spread through the deck face up, you'll discover that your divided deck setup is largely intact. You should find about a dozen hearts and spades, followed by all of the club6 and diamonds, foDowed by the remaining hearts and spades, (You may find two or three clubs and diamonds mixed in with the top slug of hearts and spades. Don't worry about that; you'll correct this in a few moments.)

The setup survives because of the nature of the Erdnase runup. Remember that you began the first shuffle by undercutting slightly less than half the deck. You then ran ten cards singly. This makes the shuffle, in effect, a Laurie Ireland divided-deck shuffle. The second shuffle of the runup also functions as a Laurie Ireland shuffle, undoing the effect of the previous shuffle. The final shuffle serves only to, in effect, cut about a quarter of the deck from the top to the bottom.

Oi course, you don't have to leave the kings face up during the runup. Tou can, if you prefer, drop them on top face down. This is, of course, more authentic. You'll find, however, that audiences End watching the kings jump around the deck to the accompaniment oi your technospeak patter amusing.

Give the deck any deceptive false cut that appears consistent with card table procedure. (I use the Jay Ose cut from Close-Up Card Magic, pp.93-4.) Deal out a five-handed game of poker. You will receive the four faceup kings. Stop dealing once each hand contains four cards.

The Bridge Deal

You will now pick up each of the poker hands and insert it into the deck. You must ensure, however, that cards of each suit go into the appropriate portion of the deck. Casually flip the deck face up. (There should be about a dozen hearts and spades at the face followed by about twenty clubs and diamonds.) Pick up the first hand. Turn it face up and casually spread the cards. They will either consist of all hearts and spades or there may be one or two clubs/diamonds at the back. Push the four cards into the side of the deck, ensuring that any clubs or diamonds go into the bottom two-thirds of the deck, the hearts and spades going into the top third. Repeat this with the second, third, and fourth hands. (Done off-handedly while pattering, this will attract no attention.) Finally, insert each king into the proper half of the deck. (By this point, the cop half will be hearts and spades while the bottom half will be clubs and diamonds.)

Explain that you will now attempt to control all fifty-two cards. As if to illustrate your comment, ribbon-spread the deck face up. This provides a chance to check the setup, Spot the dividing point between the major and minor suits and glance over the five or six cards on either side of it to see if there are any out-of-place cards. There shouldn't be. But, if there are, they'll be somewhere in this central area.

Gather up the spread. If you did spot one or two out-of-place cards, casually spread the face-up deck between your hands as you patter and correct the errors by means of an underspread cull.

Give the deck a Laurie Ireland shuffle as you explain that you will shuffle the deck before trying to control all iilty-two cards. Split the deck at twenty-six for a faro shuffle. Start to perforin the shuffle. (This allows you to do a faro check to ensure that you do, indeed, have exactly twenty-six cards in each half.) As if struck by a sudden inspiration, unweave the cards and hand the original top half to a spectator on your right. Ask him to shuffle the cards thoroughly. Hand the other half to a spectator on your left with the same request.

If youVe got more than two people in your audience, I recommend using spectators other than the one who shuffled at the outset. The fact that three different spectators have taken part in shuffling the cards dramatizes the fact that you're working with a thoroughly mixed deck. As the two spectators shuffle, explain that to control all fifty-two cards you must first memorhe the order of the deck.

After the spectators have finished shuffling, take the two halves, riffle shuffle them together, and give the deck a cut. In actuality, you perform a push-through shuffle. Take the right-most spectator's cards in your right hand and the left-most spectator's cards in your left hand. After the push-through and strip-out cut, you'll have the clubs and diamonds on the face of the deck. As you shuffle, comment that, now that there can be no doubt that the cards are thoroughly mixed, you'll memorize the deck.

Ask for a spectator who's wearing a watch with a second hand. While locating one, shift a couple of cards around at the face oi the deck, il necessary, to ensure that you have at least two or three clubs at the lace. Instruct the spectator to time you as you memorize the deck.

Spread through the face-up deck, pretending to memorize the order. In reality, you perform an underspread cull to finish sorting the deck by suit. Cull every diamond and spade that you see. (For the first half of the deck you'll be culling only diamonds; for the second half, only spades.) At the conclusion you'll have the entire deck separated by suit. From face to back, the cards will run clubs, hearts, diamonds, spades. Have the spectator announce how long it took you to "memorize" the deck.

Give the deck two in-laro shuffles and any ialse cut. Both shuffles require perfect cuts. If necessary, however. you can use the suits as keys. The first time, you'll be splitting between diamonds (at the face of the top half) and hearts (on top of the lower half). The second time you'll be splitting between a spade (at the face of the top half) and a club (on top of the lower half).

As you shuffle, patter along these lines: "Of course., in order to memorise all /ifty-tujo cards, you have to be flaying a game in which all fifty-two cards are ejc^osed during the course of f>lay. That doesn't happen in poker. But it does happen, for example, in bridge. So III use bridge to shou; you xuhat can be accomplished if you can control all fifty-tu?o cards."

Deal out four bridge hands (i.e., four hands of thirteen cards each). Deal your own hand face up. The audience will see that you receive all thirteen spades. As you deal, you can explain that spades is the highest-ranking suit in bridge; thirteen spades is an unbeatable hand.

As you conclude the deal, say, frBut, I hrunu what you're thinking. You Ye saying to yourself, 'He said he tuas going to control all fifty-two cards, but he's only controlled thirteen cards, all thirteen spades/ Actually, I also controlled all thirteen clubs, all thirteen diamonds, and I gave my partner the second highest-ranking sait, all thirteen hearts." Accompany these comments by turning over and spreading the first hand, then the third hand, and finally the second hand. (This is the hand opposite you, which would constitute your partner's hand in bridge.)

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