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Brad Burt
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Hello all!

The following essay and effect were mailed some time ago to my private list. In the process of going over that material looking for things that I thought would fit the purpose of this column...I was again taken by what I consider one of the best tricks you can do with a deck of cards, Mentalism or otherwise. There is nothing new here as such. A multitude of ways of using the basic concept have circulated in one form or another for as long as the Si Stebbins stack has been available. What I think might be of interest, especially to the relative beginner is the analysis and philosophy of the trick. This is a wonderful trick to cause one to really, REALLY thing through the HOW of the critical parts and actions that take place. In this case the glimpse of the bottom or key card and leaving the impression that you NEVER touched the deck even though you may have.

A worthwhile exercise and one that I would highly recommend is to attempt to come up with as many methods as possible to glimpse the key card. See what you come up with. Why is one method better than another? Etc. Questions or comments are always welcome. -Brad

The Mindreader's Holiday or How to Magically Find a Card on $15 a Day!
By Brad Burt

Effect: Magician mixes up a deck of cards and sets them on a table off to one side. A spectator is asked to cut the deck anywhere, placing the top half off to the side and taking the card to which he or she cut from the top of the bottom half.

They are then asked to not only look at the card, but to place it in a pocket where it can not be seen. The magician then concentrates and with all due drama tells the spectator what card they selected!

Method: This is old. In fact it is as old as the Si Stebbins stack. What I have added is the method of getting the glimpse of the KEY CARD at the bottom of the top half that was cut to expose the card that would become the selection.

If you do not know the Si Stebbins stack then you will have to look it up and get it down! To make that easier here is an excellent write up:

The nice thing about the Si Stebbins set up is that it is so easy to do the basic Key Card part. Basically the cards rotate in sequence three higher than the card before and in CHaSeD order. Thus the 2C would be followed by the 5H and so on thru the deck. Thus if you KNOW what card is next to another you know what the 'another' is going to be going either way thru the rotation by either adding or subtracting three.

The Steps: You begin by removing a deck from the box (secretly in Stebbins order of course) and mix it up. If you are at a table with a close-up mat this is the perfect time to give it your best Zarrow Shuffle and a quick False Cut. See my Zarrow Shuffle and More DVD and Basics of Expert Card Technique vol. 1 for all the moves you will need for this presentation and many more!

Or, ANY other in the hands sequence that you know to make the deck look as if it is mixed. Remember the set up is circular so you can straight cut the deck as many times as you wish without messing anything up! In a pinch just straight cutting the deck five or six times will convince most lay folk that the deck is mixed.

Next, you are going to lay the deck on a table, counter, etc. and turn away from it. See description above. You ask a spectator to cut the deck and remove the card from the top of the bottom half. They are now to look at it and place it in any pocket they wish.

Note: The selection process is the time you put all your psychological moves in play. You MUST emphasize that there is no way you could see what the card is, etc. Put emphasis upon the fairness of the selection process.

Next, ask that they complete the cut by putting the bottom half of the deck on the top half. As they do this you turn just enough to take the deck from the table and picking it up you glimpse the bottom card of the deck and then keeping your head turned you place the deck in the box and toss aside.

Since you know what the bottom card is, you know the next card in the sequence! In that sense the trick is done. From this point you are going to play it up as much as you like.

Have the spectator concentrate upon the card selected, etc. Eventually you name the card and sit back grinning and looking humble hoping against hope that they will think you are one of those mutants on the new T.V. series Heroes! Cool.

For those who may have not worked tricks like this before let me assure you of the strength of the effect. It is also an excellent time for the relative beginners among the seven or eight thousand people on this mailing list to experiment with differing concepts in getting the glimpse that tells you the name of the selection.

I also highly recommend that you analyze the various psychological factors involved in getting a glimpse in full view of the audience, but having them NOT remember that in fact you ever touched the deck after it was placed on the table. Is that possible? Yep, and it has to do with Time Misdirection or that time that elapses between an action and the end of the trick or routine.

Questions you have to ask yourself are: What would be the best way to handle an action that essentially I want the spectators to forget happened later? What mind-set is best when executing these types of actions? Is there anything that I can do after the routine has concluded that will help in the strength of the misdirection used and why?

Tearing a routine apart in an attempt to understand what makes it work and why is an important part of the process in making your magic stronger. Even if you succeed in performing a routine successfully try to pick up cues from your audience that will tell you places in the routine that YOU feel are weak and then figure out WHY? I guarantee that if you keep yourself truly sensitive to what is happening you WILL note times in a routine that just bug you. They make you uncomfortable and are worrisome. The most important question that any magician can ask is WHY. Not how, not when, not where, but WHY?

Why impinges upon virtually every thing that makes a magic routine strong and successful. Why am I using this sleight over this one? Why is the routine this long? Why am I turning this way instead of that in the course of doing this over here? Why is the audience silent at this point when everything in me tells me they should be reacting in a more overt manner to what I do at that point? And, so on and on you go. I give you another guarantee: If you ask why on a continual basis you WILL become a better performer and magician. It HAS to work. Why is that?

Your friend and buddy,

Brad Burt
Brad Burt
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