The Ringmaster


1. Openly spread through the face-up deck and upjog the Ace, Two and Three of Hearts. Ideally they will be in that order from back to face. If not, simply move them in the spread so that they are—it's not a secret.

After displaying them to the audience, use the Vernon Add-on to add a card behind them as you strip them from the deck. Place the packet faceup on the table for a moment as you spread through the deck again and remove the Jack of Spades (or Joker if you have one) and place it face-up on top of the tabled packet.

Set the deck aside face-down to your right.

2. Pick up the packet and spread, keeping the last two cards as one, to show the Ace, Two, Three and Jack, saying, "A one, two and three—the Jack is the Ringmaster. He controls everything." Turn the cards facedown into dealing grip.

3. Ask two spectators to help you. Do a Double Turn-over to display the Ace. Try it this way: Grasp the outer right corner with the right second finger, the inner corner with the right thumb, then back-spread the bottom three cards with the left finger (Fig.1). Turn the Ace face-up on top as you close the spread. Repeat to turn the Ace face-down again, then deal the top card onto the palm of Spectator A (on your right). Have her cover it with her other palm, as you say, "You've got the Ace of Hearts."

Repeat with Spectator B (on your left), supposedly putting the Two on his palm. "You've got the Two of Hearts."

Double Lift and turn over again to display the Three. "And I've got the Three of Hearts oh, and of course the Ringmaster," as you flip your cards over to show the Jack then back again to leave the Three of Hearts face-up on top. "So the position is very simple—Ace of Hearts'—pointing to spectator A— "Two of Hearts"— pointing to spectator B—"and Three of Hearts"—pointing to the face-up Three of Hearts on your left hand.

4. Have the two spectators turn the hands that cover the cards palm-up. Take A's supposed Ace of Hearts and transfer it to the open palm of B,

then the supposed Two of Hearts and transfer it to the open palm of A (Fig.2).

"Let's mix things up. You take her card and she'll take yours. Cover them up again so they can't get away."

5. "But I've still got my original card."Turn the double face-down and ask B to once again turn his covering hand palm-up. Take your top card and place it on his empty hand, then pick up his card and place it on top of the Ringmaster in your hand, saying, "I'll take your card and you take mine." Have him cover the card he holds again (see Fig.3).

6. "I'm not sure who has what card now, but no one has their original card. Right? We need someone with a bit of authority to sort this out."

Slide out the bottom card of your packet and turn it face-up square on top, saying, "This is where the Ringmaster comes in. Spent all his life keeping the circus ring in order—this mixed up triangle that we now have should pose no problem to him."

Buckle the bottom card and lift off the top two as one by the inner right corner, thumb on top and fingers below. This is the face-up Jack with a face-down indifferent card below. Now tap the back of spectator A's hand, saying, "One," then tap spectator B's hand, saying, "Two," and lastly tap your card, saying, "Three." Finally discard the double, dropping it on top of the deck, saying, "Let's see how the Ringmaster has done."The double is in constant motion here so it's quite safe to move it around like this.

Ask A to name her original card. When she says the Ace of Hearts, have her uncover her card and turn it face-up to show it's returned. Repeat with B. Finally have the audience name your card, and snap it face-up to show the Three of Hearts.

An alternative handling and presentation, in this case no Ringmaster is needed.

The working is the same as above through step 4, except that you don't remove the Ringmaster, only the Ace, Two and Three of Hearts (plus the hidden card). There is no mention of the Ringmaster in your patter, just a clear identification of who has what card. Now continue as below:

5. "But I've still got my original card."Turn the Three of Hearts (a double card) face-down on your left palm and ask spectator B to once again turn his covering hand palm-up. Pick up his card from above in Biddle grip then come back and do the Christ/Annemann alignment move as you supposedly just injog his card and outjog yours (Fig.4). "I'll take your card and you take mine." Take away the outjogged card and place it on his palm. Have him cover it again.


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