If I have learned any one significant lesson when working for laymen, it is that the more they handle the cards (or other props, for that matter), the more baffling the magic becomes.
This is why the classic force has been a staple of so many commercial card-workers for so many years.
The following force is simple and appears perfectly fair. I have often used it while performing a four Ace revelation, or when trying to locate a chosen card.
EFFECT: A spectator is asked to give a shuffled deck a cut. Despite the spectator's perfectly free cut, the selection is forced.
SET-UP: Overhand shuffle the cards, memorizing the bottom card and bringing it to the top. In the act of squaring the deck, side-jog the bottom card for approximately one third its width to the right. This will be hidden by your right hand from above. From below, your left pinky presses sharply against the lower right corner of the side-jogged card, wrapping that corner around the side of the deck. Release your grip and square the cards. The bottom card will have a pronounced upward crimp in its lower right corner (see illustration #1, right hand removed for clarity).
Cut the deck so the top card is approximately'35 cards from the top. Of course, your crimped card is directly above the memorized card. You are now set to start.
As with most forces, it is preferable if these actions take place well before the trick begins.
TO PERFORM: Invite a spectator to help you. Balancing the deck on your left palm, fingers extended, casually ask them to give the cards a straight cut somewhere close to the center. Don't mention anything about taking a card.
As the deck is cut, keep your right hand down at your side (body language is important here). Make the spectator feel that the cut is free (which it is).
After the cut is made, run your left pinky down the right back corner of the cards you are holding. You will find it a simple matter to get an immediate break above your memorized card owing to the large crimp directly above it (if it's not simple, then go back and make the crimp larger). This must be done without dropping the deck from the spectator's view. To cover this action, reach out with your right hand and take the spectator's cut cards in a Biddle Grip and say, "Thank you very much."
In one smooth action, bring the right hand back, while simultaneously bringing the left hand forward, allowing the packets to momentarily kiss. It is a simple matter for the right hand to pick up all the cards above your left pinky break. Without any break in the action, bring your left hand forward and, using your left thumb only, push off the top card of the packet onto the table or into the spectator's hand, saying, "Please memorize the card that you cut to."
Once the card is thumbed off, bring the hands back together and reassemble the deck. This will prevent anyone from noticing that the cards you are holding in your right are somewhat thicker than the cards the spectator originally cut.
FINAL NOTES: This sleight has worked very well for me when done casually. If the spectator cuts past your crimp, complete the cut thank them, and find another spectator. It is a simple matter to put your crimp back in the right position for the force by giving the cards another cut
When performing this force as a revelation in a four Ace routine, I will often say, "I believe the last Ace is exactly twenty six cards from the top. Here, see how close you can cut to it."
Now proceed with the force and reveal the Ace, complimenting the spectator on their remarkable touch.
The Free Cut Force Illustration 1
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