The Left Hand Peek Steal

This steal is based on a move of Tenkai's. John Carney offers a variation in his book Carneycopia (Tenkai-esque, pages 208-211) and Ed Marlo describes the move in the Side Steal booklet (Left Hand Side Steal, pages 16-18). In both these sources the move is accomplished by moving the top half of the deck forward. I have always thought this was an action that could be discerned by the audience and would arouse suspicion. In the following handling the bottom half of the deck moves, an action that cannot be seen by the spectators. I have also added a combination right thumb/left hand action that moves the card into palm position rapidly. [John Carney demonstrates and explains his palm on the recently released DVD, Carney on Palming. Done in a stand-up or parlor situation, the motion of the upper half of the deck cannot be seen, and the palm would certainly be effective in such performing situations.]

The position of my hands and body is this: I have made a slight turn to the left (presupposing the spectator is to my right) and my hands are extended out to the right side of my body. I turn my head away as the spectator peeks at a card. By having the hands and body in this position it is possible to steal the peeked card during the action of turning the body to the right and returning the hands to the center of the body. Here's how it works:

The deck is held in the left hand for the spectator to peek at a card. The lower left corner of the deck must be at the Pivot Point. This is important. The cards are slightly beveled to the right, and the left thumb lies on top of the deck along the left side and has a death grip on the cards (Figure 11). It was Harry Riser who first taught me the importance of the left thumb when doing the spectator peek. The

Figure 11

Figure 11

left thumb grip is very firm, so firm in fact, that a person should not be able to pull the deck out of your grasp. This grip insures that no gaps will appear at the front and left edges of the deck after the peek.

The right first finger riffles along the upper right corners, allowing the cards to flip past. The spectator says stop. Halt the riffle at this point; the spectator memorizes the card. The right forefinger is still at the upper corner, holding back the upper portion of cards.

When the spectator has memorized the card, the hands move down, taking the edge of the deck out of the spectator's line of sight. The right forefinger riffles off one card (the spectator's selection) and the left little finger moves against the right edge of the deck, holding a break above the selection as the right forefinger allows the remainder of the cards to riffle off.

The hands move toward the center of the body, about waist high. The right hand shifts position so that the right thumb lies at the end of the deck near the left inner corner. The right forefinger curls on top, and the third, fourth and fifth fingers extend over the front edge of the deck, providing cover from the front.

Under the cover of the movement of the hands (that is, their movement back toward the center of the body) the left little finger pulls in and down on all the cards below the break. This exposes the back of the selected card (which is the top card of the portion below the break). At the same instant, the right thumb curls in so that the tip of the thumb can contact the back of the selected card near the inner left corner (Figure 12).

Two actions now happen simultaneously: the left first and second fingers return the bottom portion to its original position, and the right thumb straightens out. The result of these two opposing actions will be that the selected card will swivel out to the right (Figure 13). (It is necessary for the left ring and little fingers to relax slightly to allow the card to pass over them.)

Due to the Pivot Point Principle the card will be in the perfect orientation to be palmed in the left hand. All that remains to be done is for the right hand to remove the deck from the left hand as described in The Left Hand Diagonal Palm. This can be a simulated squaring action, or the right hand can remove the deck and table it, or hand it to a spectator.

Figure 12
Figure 13

What is remarkable about this sleight is the astonishing speed at which it can be executed. This speed comes from two factors: a surety of placement because of the Pivot Point, and the opposing forces exerted by the right thumb and the left fingers which cause the selected card to pop out almost like a switchblade. Be aware, however, that speed is not necessary to make this move deceptive. Practice for smoothness and the speed will come with time.

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