Let's switch to a more general situation. From a well-shuffled deck, have the spectator deal a small number of cards on the table, say a dozen or less. Also make sure he deals at least five cards: any less diminishes the effect.
Silently count the cards to yourself as he deals them. If there are a prime number of cards: five, seven, or eleven, then proceed as in the original Sands effect. But note that the spectator was able to deal off as many cards as he wanted.
If the number wasn't prime (and wasn't ten—we'll come back to that), have him spell a five-letter word that fits the situation: MAGIC, ROBIN, PETER, or perhaps the spectator's name spells with five letters. It won't work with ten, since ten is a multiple of five. So if he deals off ten cards, have him spell a three-letter word like WOW or ZAP, or a seven-letter word that seems appropriate.
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