When Coijnttng is Better

There are a few tricks—for instance, (he unadorned Cards Across plot—where the identities of the cards are not important, but the number of cards is crucial. In such tricks, yes, one should count. But even then 1 don't believe in a steady rhydim. Suppose you are counting seven cards. Would the rhythm be one... two... three.. .four.. .five... six... sever?. I doubt it. A more likely rhythm would be one two____three.. .four.. .five____six seven. You see, when you count, you arc not concerned with the middle cards. The last card is the one that defines the total, and the total is what wc arc interested in. (In reality, of course, the third card, or the fourth or fifth, plays just as large a role in making the total as docs the seventh, but our minds don t normally think of it that way.) So the first two cards are counted at a normal, moderate speed. You then become comfortable with the actions of counting, so you speed them up. This acceleration also reflects your desire to know the total number of cards. The last card is dealt with a longer pause, to accent its importance, and possibly to stress the fairness of the count.

Therefore, when counting cards, a one two____three.. .four.. .five____six seven rhythm is far more natural than a steady, metronomic one.

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