The Piston

This is an easy finger-flinger (if that's not an oxymoron). On one of the Super Session tapes, Lennart Green does an incredible piece of finger-flinging he calls "The Windmill." Basically it accomplishes either a Top Change or a Double Lift, depending on how you look at it, in the course of the card being displayed in a circular, windmill fashion. It is a typical Lennart Green move, in that probably only Lennart can do it successfully.

But the basic idea was fascinating: display the top card to the audience, slide it secretly under the second card, so that you can continue the display with a Double Lift, then when you turn it face-down again, you've switched it for the second card. Here is an adaptation that is much easier, yet still looks nifty. It's called The Piston because, in contrast to Lennart's version, the cards go up-and-down, rather than side-to-side.

1. Hold the deck in normal dealing position. Your right fingers push the top card forward almost half its length (Fig. 1). Your left hand now tilts up to the vertical, with the right fingers remaining on the cards. When it hits vertical, your right thumb slides the second card down slightly, so it becomes downjogged (Fig.2).

2. Your right hand slides upward (not moving anything), until your thumb aligns with the inner end of the top card, your fingers with the outer end. Slide the top card forward, gently grasped between thumb and fingers, until it passes the second card (Fig.3 - next page). Now push inwards sliding it under the second card (Fig.4 - next page), then continue pushing down with the right fingers.

The thumb momentarily releases its hold and the fingers continue to push the top card toward your body (Fig.5 - next page). The cards are held in place by the left thumb and fingers at the side of the deck.

Note: contrary to what is depicted in Figs 3 & 4, the right thumb should remain at the inner/lower end of the card, with the middle finger supporting the card at the outer end, but the positions shown below will work as well.

3. Your fingers slide the card down until it aligns with the second card (which is now on top). By this time, your right thumb is at the inner end. Pivot card over book-fashion to the right, pivoting on the left fingers at the side of deck, held between your right thumb and second finger (Fig.6). When fully face-up, slide the double to the left until it aligns with the left side of the deck, then forward until the card is again outjogged in front of deck.

4. Your right fingers change to grip at the front end and turn backwards onto the deck, pivoting on the inside of the left first finger. Finally push card off to the right with your left fingers, and take it with right hand. It's changed to the second card.

The whole sequence takes about ten seconds. You can precede it if you like by simply pushing the top card to the right, grasping it with the right hand, fingers on top, turning the hand over to display the card, then flipping it face-down again. Then, into the Piston.


1. Push the card forward—raise your hands as you kick the second card back (injog). Show the card and slide it under the outer end of the second card. Now in one fluent action:

2. Lower both hands as you push the card square with the deck— your right thumb is at the inner end of the injogged card and your right first finger comes back and grips the injogged card at the inner end. In other words—when the injogged card comes into view you're holding it by the inner end as if you dragged it off the top (Fig.7). Then you immediately pull it off and insert it into the middle of the deck at the inner end.

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