The Js Count

Several years ago, while experimenting with a pretty one-card switch shown to me by Bill Malone, the following count was devised. The switch-move that makes the count so deceptive is one of the most versatile I have found, and can be used for virtually dozens of different effects.


Hold three cards in your left hand face down. The card you want to show as all three is the middle card of the packet.

Perform a double-turnover, displaying this card (say the AD). Turn the double facedown, and deal it to the table.

Now turn the actual AD face-up onto the packet. Grasp the two cards with the right hand as if you are about to perform an Elmsley Count (see illustration #1).

To the audience, it will now appear that you flip the face-up AD face-down, and deal it to the table on top of the card already there. In fact, you will perform the first part of the Elmsley Count, pushing the face-up AD to the left a fraction with the pad of the right thumb. With the right fingers pushing up from beneath, use the card beneath the AD to snap the AD face-down into the left hand, while the card from beneath stays in the right hand, still face down (see illustration #2 for a view of the move in progress). Deal this caxd to the table, then turn the card in the left hand face-up to show a third AD.

The key in making the switch look real is a split-second before the switch is made, the right hand drags its cards onto the bases of the left fingers, then instantly performs the move.

This mechanics of the switch-move is not original, but in fact is Richard Kaufman's, and can be found in his book Cardmagic, in the explanation of his excellent Radical Change.

TO PERFORM BROTHER HAMMAJSPS GEMINI COUNT: Say you wish to show two Kings as four. Arrange a packet of four cards as follows, from the top down: X card, red King, black King, X card.

Do the count as follows. Perform a double-turnover, showing a red King. Turn the double down, dealing an X card to the table.

Perform a second double-turnover, showing a black King. As you go to turn this card over, perform the J.S. Switch, dealing what was the bottom card (an X card) to the table.

Cleanly turn over the next card, showing a supposed third King (the red King). Now show the black King again to complete the count.

The illusion will be greatly enhanced if, after the switch move is performed, your left thumb spreads the two cards in its hand the moment they are snapped face-down onto the left palm.


The J.S. Count allows you to add a colored card to a small packet and show all cards to be the same without there being a discrepancy as the count is performed.

For example, you have three red-backed cards, the middle of which is the Queen of Diamonds. You also have a blue-backed Queen of Diamonds, which you want to add to the packet, then show all four cards to be the QD.

Hold the three red-backed cards in the left hand, obtaining a left pinky break above the bottom card. Pick up the blue-backed QD with the right hand, and pretend to add it to the bottom of the packet, secretly inserting it into the break. Square the cards. The order from the top will be: X card, QD (blue-backed), QD (red-backed), X card.

Perform the Gemini Count the same as above. The odd backed card will only appear at the end, as it should.

For a practical application of this move, see Brother Hamman's "The Magic Cards" in The Magic of Brother John Hamman.

TO PERFORM DARYL MARTINEZ'S DIAMOND BAR: This very pretty switch was originally described in Secrets of a Puerto Rican Gambler, and later gained popularity in the routine Diamond Bar.

Have a five-card packet consisting of the following cards from the top: X card, X card, red King, black King, X card.

To perform, do a triple turnover, displaying a red King. Turn the triple face-down, dealing it to the table.

Perform another triple turnover, showing a black King. Perform the switch move, dealing what was the bottom card (an X card) to the table.

Perform a double turnover, showing the red King again. Turn the double face-down, dealing an X card to the table.

Snap the double card in your hand (two Kings) face-up, showing the black King once again. Proceed as in original routine.

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