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the fritz
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Ah, Svengali deck! I really need to buy one of those. I love working with normal decks as well, but there are just some things you can do with a plain, old-fashioned Svengali deck that are just great. Good ideas for this effect. I'm still playing with some ideas in my head. Also, if you have the book "Scripting Magic" by Pete McCabe, the entire description of effect and method are in there followed by McCabe's self-working method for the effect. He essentially took the Open Prediction route for his method. It's worth a look.

I'm excited about the possibilities for your thought of card at thought of number effect. Who doesn't love a good version of the Berglas effect?
craig fothers
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This self-working challenge prompted me to go back and take a look at the original.

In the video 'Routines', Guy actually suggests that the force and vanish of the card could be accomplished via a Svengali deck and a Himber Wallet- but, since he is Guy Hollingworth after all, he goes on to attempt the most technical means he can find.

Well done Andys! - its nice to see a more self working approach to this excellent routine begin to materialize. Its quite amazing to see how a simple prediction trick, with some dressing, can become something quite special.
Dark Knight
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The Cut Deeper force is a classic self-working solution to this and similar card plots like "Open Prediction" and "The Last Card." You could eliminate duplicate cards and sleights if you simply stick with the Hollingworth presentation, but use a slit envelope, with the slit being a jagged one cut on the non-seam side of a coin envelope larger than a deck of cards. You basically reverse the procedure for the typical card to envelope.

This version also eliminates the initial force, since no duplicate card is needed (you will force the same card initially freely selected by the spectator). Simply have the spectator select any card from his own thoroughly shuffled deck. After the selected card is shown and remembered, you insert it face down into your trick envelope while the envelope is steadied on top of the deck (it is seam side up). The card goes right through the jagged slit and is deposited right back onto the deck! A different card (Joker, etc.) could already be inside the envelope, if you wanted one inside the envelope. The envelope is sealed and placed under some object or the spectator's hand. (I'll leave it to you to work out a similar method with a card box.)

When you later open the envelope, you tear it open along the jagged slit, destroying the evidence. There could be some message from Cassandra herself inside the envelope, a Joker or some other surprise.

As for the "Last Card" selection procedure, the spectator could do the Cut Deeper procedure, but place the top face up card after the first cut into the discard pile. After the second cut, all the face up cards could be discarded to move the process along. The first face down card would be placed (still face down) in front of the spectator for the final elimination procedure.

The spectator would seemingly repeat the cutting procedure, but the double cutting of the Cut Deeper force would NOT be employed. Instead, the spectator would simply cut off half the cards, turn the cut portion face up and replace the face up cards back onto the face down cards. The face up cards would be spread or counted and discarded, placing the first face down card lined up with the first face down card. You'd repeat this until you have 4 cards face down (the few remaining cards are turned face up and checked--of course they are not Cassandra's predicted card, either).

With the final 4 cards on the table, Equivoque force the correct card on the spectator: Ask the spectator to pick up 2 cards (you turn the remaining cards face up and put them with the discards) and hand you one of them (or the spectator picks up 2 cards and turns them face up and discards them, then hands you one of the remaining two cards). If the card you're handed is the force card, have the spectator turn his card face up, saving your card for the final revelation. If the card you're handed is not the force card, turn it face up and discard it. After the envelope is ripped open and found empty, the "last card" is revealed.

Another option would be to show the chosen (force) card in the spectator's own deck and switch it for an indifferent card, inserting it into a "WOW!" device that can show the force card before it changes to a blank-faced "GONE!" card (or something similar). The "WOW!" device would convince everyone that the card selected by the spectator is the one inserted into the device. This would require the initially chosen card to be forced (it would have to match the card showing in the "WOW!" device).

Finally, the best version of the "Last Card" I've ever seen is the self-working version used in the last phase of a Triple Prediction routine in Café member chrismatt's book, "Little Nicky & Other Oddities." With some slight changes it can be converted into a completely impromptu and wonderful version of "The Cassandra Quandary."

Hope this helps.

DK
Dark Knight
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Query: In my version above, would you have the selected card signed before placing it in the envelope?

BTW, if you wanted to use a duplicate card with the slit envelope, there's a way to "subtract" the card as you insert the card into the envelope away from the deck. Imagine doing a card to pocket in reverse, but with a tablecloth or mat or book cover instead of a pocket!

Also, a "bottomless" envelope could neatly dispose of a card inserted into it via lapping if seated and a well or servante if standing. You could even make a double envelope with one of the compartments bottomless if you wanted a different card to come out of it at the end!

Finally, do you think CQ is the playing card analogy to Pegasus Page?

DK
Rev
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Right, I'm new to these forums and this is going to be my first post, but I love what is going on here. One of my favourite things to do is read up on sleight heavy tricks and try and simplify them down to the point that I can do them whilst drunk/half asleep/with my eyes closed.

I had a brainwave as to how I would do this straight away as I read through the thread, but in the interest of keeping as close to the original as possible, I had a quick read of Guy's method before posting. Just to compare what the spectator sees and what you use and do in Guy's method to my own:



Guy's Method

Needed: Normal pack of cards, 'gimmicked' stack of envelopes, normal envelopes, 26 duplicate cards, Pen, the ability to perform really hard sleights as well as the master that is Mr Hollingworth.

Effect as spectator sees it: Card is shown and placed in envelope, which is signed and held by spectator/placed in full view. Cards are eliminated, half the cards at a time until one card remains. Envelope is then shown to be empty. Card is shown to be card that was initially in envelope.




My Method

Needed: Normal pack of cards, normal stack of envelopes, one duplicate card, pen, the balls/presentational skills to do the selection procedure. Nothing worthy of the name ‘sleight of hand’


Effect as spectator sees it: Card is shown and placed in envelope, which is signed and held by spectator/placed in full view. Cards are eliminated, half the cards at a time until one card remains. Envelope is then shown to be empty. Card is shown to be card that was initially in envelope.


In my opinion, my method looks pretty much the same. I was worried initially as mine required a stack of envelopes to be used, but upon looking up guys method, so did his. I will try to explain the actual mechanics without resorting to exposure in a public forum, so you may need to fill in some gaps yourself. I will provide references where necessary.

The only real setup is that the pack of cards needs to contain a duplicate of one card. Doesn’t matter where it is as long as you know what it is, you could even perform your usual set before doing this trick. You also need a stack of the small pay envelopes (I’m sure you all know kind)

When you want to do the trick hand the deck out to be shuffled one spectator and remove the stack of envelopes and hand the top one out to be examined by another spectator. As you take the envelope back, you need to place it in position as you would if you were performing Mark Leveridge’s ‘Credit Scare’ which is one of his marketed items and also appears in his book ‘The Strolling Magician’ (don’t ask me the page, I actually learnt it from an older version of the book about 10 years ago).

You take the pack back and remove one of the duplicates whilst at the same time placing the other in the correct position to be f****d. In the interests of secrecy I’m not going to say where this is but when you see the elimination procedure you will know! Show the card you removed (one of the duplicates) making sure the spectators all see what it is and slide it cleanly into the top envelope. The flap is then signed and the envelope removed and placed on the table. In reality, the signed envelope on the table is empty and the duplicate card is still in the top envelope of the stack. I’d just like to say that this probably reads very much like a se***d d**l has occured, when in reality it is actually much simpler than that, and anyone who knows Mark’s ‘Credit Scare’ routine will know what I mean. The beauty is that the card goes in and the envelope is signed before you removed it from the stack. Once you remove it the envelope is still signed, thereby convincing the spectator that no switch could have possibly taken place. The duplicate card is safely hidden inside the top envelope of the stack which is placed away as it is now not needed.

Now for the elimination procedure. This is fair and allows half the pack to be eliminated every time. You do need two spectators and a lot of guts. Plus time misdirection plays a part. I won’t explain it, I’ll just show it to you and I’m sure you will all figure it out:

Ricky Jay’s Sword of Vengence
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX9adPALLzA


And that’s it! The card is shown, the envelope is empty yet still the signed envelope, and you’re done!

If anyone wants more detail on the envelope switch from ‘Credit Scare’ then please feel free to PM me and I will explain. I have tried to give enough detail for you to piece together how I personally would achieve this trick, but was trying very hard not to expose too much!

On a side note, I tried to come up with a method using only ‘normal’ items, but I absolutely LOVE the idea above about using the WOW gimmick and blank card. That would blow people away!

Cheers guys, let me know what you think.


Rev
BarryFernelius
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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you should consider the external reality, exactly what the spectator sees. Rev described it this way:

Quote:
Effect as spectator sees it: Card is shown and placed in envelope, which is signed and held by spectator/placed in full view. Cards are eliminated, half the cards at a time until one card remains. Envelope is then shown to be empty. Card is shown to be card that was initially in envelope.


I've had the pleasure of seeing Guy Hollingworth perform the effect in question. The actual external reality for Guy Hollingworth's Cassandra Quandary is a bit more involved.

1. The magician tells everyone that someone will take the pack of cards and make a series of fair choices, eliminating cards until one remains. That card will be the Two of Diamonds.
2. The pack is spread face up, and it is shown that there are no duplicates.
3. The spectator shuffles the cards thoroughly.
4. An envelope is given to the spectator, and the magician cleanly removes the one and only Two of Diamonds and hands it to the spectator.
5. The spectator seals the Two in the envelope, and the magician even has the spectator sign the envelope, which is placed on the table.
6. The spectator cuts the pack into two portions, and the spectator chooses one of the packets. The magician only handles the cards that are rejected.
7. The exact same selection procedure is repeated until one card remains. The procedure is such that no switch of the cards is possible.
8. Another spectator opens the envelope which has been in plain sight the whole time. The Two of Diamonds has vanished!
9. The spectator who eliminated all cards but one turns over the selected card. It is, of course, the Two of Diamonds.

It's all of the little details of the procedure that make the whole thing so fair and so amazing. The idea of a duplicate is introduced at the very beginning, and the procedure is designed to show that no duplicates are used. The elimination procedure is so fair that there's no way that Magician's Choice could have been used. The whole thing looks so incredibly fair when Guy performs it.

Magicians are fond of saying things like, "The procedure Ricky Jay used in his trick looks exactly the same to the audience as Guy Hollingworth's procedure. Nobody will know the difference." Or, someone might say, "The Cut Deeper Force is just as deceptive as Guy's procedure." Or, "Using a Himber wallet to switch the envelope creates the same effect." To all of that I have a one word response (slightly modified so that it will pass the Magic Café censoring mechanism):

NONSENSE!

Intelligent spectators can tell the difference. Spectators, in general, are much smarter than we think they are.

I have no problem with coming up with any number of 'self-working' or 'easy' alternatives to Hollingworth's routine. It's a fun exercise and a great way to test your creativity. Maybe someone will come up with a 'self-working' solution that's just as deceptive as Hollingworth's effect. Or perhaps not. I only ask that you take a look at all of the trade-offs and make sure that you're deceiving your audiences instead of deceiving yourselves.

Good luck in the search!
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
bblumen
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Quote:
On 2011-07-23 16:09, BarryFernelius wrote:
[snip]
Intelligent spectators can tell the difference. Spectators, in general, are much smarter than we think they are.
[snip]




To this I say:


NONSENSE!.

more to follow...
"Lulling the minds of your company is more important than dazzling their eyes." Ed Marlo
Dark Knight
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The trade-off I'd be reluctant to make is having the deck examined and shuffled at the beginning by the spectator. I think having the deck start out in "new deck" order is a wonderful touch that eliminates all thoughts of duplicate cards. My impromptu solution above can retain both those important features. My "duplicate card" variation also could retain those features if the duplicate force card were simply added to the deck (for example, from under the stack of envelopes) after the spectator initially examines and shuffles the deck.

In my no duplicate card, jagged slit envelope version, the force card could actually be inserted into the envelope face UP if the card entered the deck under the top or top few) cards. This would happen almost automatically if the envelope is held so that the flap is at the outer end and the card is inserted into it (and through the slit) with the right hand, as the deck is held face down in the left hand.

Once you introduce a duplicate card into the trick, an envelope switch can be used to set up the climax. I'm not familiar with the "Credit Scare" references made by Rev above, but the so-called "Shaxon envelope" is probably what is being referenced. That is certainly one way and the flap can indeed be signed by the spectator, but only before the envelope is removed from the stack.

In my slit envelope method, I hope you realize that the performer would have to open the envelope, tearing the end right at the jagged slit. Make sure you don't tear the end completely away, as I find it much better to have the torn piece dangling as the card with the "Cassandra is NEVER wrong!" message is taken from the envelope (by the spectator).

I personally think that the Cut Deeper variation I mentioned above is very fair looking--better than the initial SOV procedure Ricky Jay employs (the final four cards are handled the same, however).

If doing this with a borrowed deck, it doesn't make much sense to arrange the cards into new deck order, so the duplicate card could be safely added to the deck right at the beginning. After the spectator shuffles it, the Performer removes one of the duplicates and Unit Culls the other force card to the top of the deck. However, I do think showing the cards in new deck order is the way to go, which probably means either borrowing a new deck or using your own.

As for Barry's list of 9 points, they are all good ones, except for #6. I believe Guy himself makes the first cut (it has to be precise) and then the spectator makes the rest of the cuts and choices. As I've actually used the Cut Deeper procedure in both "The Last Card" and "Open Prediction" presentations on many occasions, I find that the simple force is just as effective as the Hollingworth procedure...with the added benefit that there are no risks or worries about having the spectator holding, cutting and handling 26 duplicate cards!

One more thing: There are self-contained envelopes that can seal away whatever is inserted inside them so that when the envelope is later opened a different card or message is revealed. I know this because I use one!

DK
BarryFernelius
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Let's look at the trade-offs:

1. GH: Spectator can examine deck at the beginning vs. DK: Spectator can examine deck at the beginning.

So far, so good. Smile

2. GH: Single envelope is given to the spectator to examine vs. DK: Envelope cannot be examined. (Won't someone be suspicious, based on what happens later?)

3. GH: 2D is removed from the pack, and spectator puts it in the envelope and seals it vs. DK: 2D is removed from the pack, and Magician places it in the envelope--while the envelope is in contact with the deck.

This is a key difference that's very important, even to so-called 'laymen.' The magician and the deck are both physically separated from the 2D and its envelope in GH's version. Physical proximity of objects is one of the laymen's clues to figuring out a method. This is one of the important reasons why GH's version is a mind blowing piece of magic.

4. GH: The spectator signs her envelope vs. DK: Spectator can't handle the sealed envelope.

A gimmicked envelope that must stay in plain sight for a long time makes me more nervous than 26 duplicate cards. This could just be a personal quirk. Smile

5. GH: A very fair elimination procedure is used to isolate one card. (The first cut doesn't really require much precision. Think about it.) DK: A procedure is used to isolate the card, but it's just not as straight-forward and clean. The procedure is odd enough to call attention to itself, and it can be reverse-engineered. (That could never happen, could it? No, of course not.)

6. GH: When the spectator has a choice of one of the last two cards, the magician shows that the other card (the one NOT chosen) is not the 2D. (I forgot this little touch. It's not absolutely necessary, but it's nice.)

7. GH: The spectator tears open the envelope, and it's found to be empty. DK: The magician has to start the tear to open the envelope. If it's one of those 'self-contained' envelopes, the magician must dispose of it at the end.

Another trade-off, but GH's is better.

8. GH and DK: the isolated card is shown to be the 2D.

All's well that ends well.

If you could come up with a solution that eliminates or reduces the physical proximity problem, you'd have a much better effect. I'll try to come up with something, but I can't see an immediate answer.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
BarryFernelius
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One more thing. I'm not saying that all of the 'self-working' solutions are bad. That would be ridiculous. I'm just saying that these easier solutions involve trade-offs that make them less effective than GH's version.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

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Dark Knight
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Barry,

Guy's routine is beautiful, especially his presentation. However, I doubt that you yourself would present it in the Real World using his methodology. The methods I've discussed are to provide others the means and opportunity to present this great trick, including a way to do it almost impromptu.

As for trade-offs, Guy's actual methodology has several weaknesses, not the least being the difficult sleights that must be flawlessly performed and the careful angles that must be maintained during several of those sleights. Having the spectator handle and manipulate 26 identical cards is also a significant trade-off.

As for your various points:

Quote:
On 2011-07-23 18:44, BarryFernelius wrote:

1. GH: Spectator can examine deck at the beginning vs. DK: Spectator can examine deck at the beginning.

So far, so good. Smile

2. GH: Single envelope is given to the spectator to examine vs. DK: Envelope cannot be examined. (Won't someone be suspicious, based on what happens later?)


In my duplicate card variation, by using a Shaxon Envelope the envelope can certainly be given to the spectator. Even my slit envelope can be given to the spectator, as he covers it under his hand. Either way, the envelope can certainly be examined at the conclusion of the effect.

Quote:
3. GH: 2D is removed from the pack, and spectator puts it in the envelope and seals it vs. DK: 2D is removed from the pack, and Magician places it in the envelope--while the envelope is in contact with the deck.


Again, my duplicate card version solves the proximity problem (envelope to deck). Either the slit or Shaxon envelopes can be signed by the spectator, too. In GH's, the performer has to TAKE BACK the envelope after the spectator inserts the card and then perform a switch of the envelope with a palmed duplicate envelope, while in the act of having the envelope signed. I'm afraid this is quite a significant "trade-off" that would prevent most magicians from ever performing the trick!

Quote:
4. GH: The spectator signs her envelope vs. DK: Spectator can't handle the sealed envelope.


I disagree. The spectator can "handle" (and does) either envelope (slit or Shaxon). The envelope is actually signed and "held" in either case (see above). I also described a different type of envelope--one that was bottomless (the card inserted falls right into the lap!), but this envelope can be prepared so that its bottom is self-sealing (sorry, but I can't reveal the details here).

Quote:
A gimmicked envelope that must stay in plain sight for a long time makes me more nervous than 26 duplicate cards. This could just be a personal quirk. Smile


You should try both and then let us know! ;-)

Quote:
5. GH: A very fair elimination procedure is used to isolate one card. (The first cut doesn't really require much precision. Think about it.) DK: A procedure is used to isolate the card, but it's just not as straight-forward and clean. The procedure is odd enough to call attention to itself, and it can be reverse-engineered. (That could never happen, could it? No, of course not.)


We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. The way I handle the Cut Deeper Force is very fair and deceptive. As for the first cut in the GH version, what do you do if the spectator doesn't cut off enough cards?

Quote:
6. GH: When the spectator has a choice of one of the last two cards, the magician shows that the other card (the one NOT chosen) is not the 2D. (I forgot this little touch. It's not absolutely necessary, but it's nice.)


In my version, the performer shows that EACH AND EVERY CARD DISCARDED is not the force card. And the deck doesn't have to be rushed out of play--it ends up being a regular deck!

Quote:
7. GH: The spectator tears open the envelope, and it's found to be empty. DK: The magician has to start the tear to open the envelope. If it's one of those 'self-contained' envelopes, the magician must dispose of it at the end.


Not if you use a Shaxon envelope with my duplicate card version! And the spectator removes the card in either envelope. (Even my special self-contained envelope allows the spectator to open it. There's absolutely nothing to find. Sorry, but no description of this envelope can be given here!)

Quote:
8. GH and DK: the isolated card is shown to be the 2D.

All's well that ends well.

If you could come up with a solution that eliminates or reduces the physical proximity problem, you'd have a much better effect.


I did just that with my duplicate card solutions (slit card, Shaxon Envelope, self-contained switching envelope, etc.--there are other ways, too, with a Himber Wallet and other switching devices).

Anyway, thank you, Barry, for a very challenging and thoughtful response. I think the best way to judge the merits of these alternatives is to actually try them out with real audiences--something I intend to do!

Thanks again,
DK
Rev
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Quote:

I'm not familiar with the "Credit Scare" references made by Rev above, but the so-called "Shaxon envelope" is probably what is being referenced.



I don't know what a Shaxon Envelope is, but if it is anyway a prepared/gimmicked envelope then that's not what I was referring to. The switch is accomplished using no sleights (per se) and the envelopes are all normal and unprepared. You just take advantage of the way envelopes are made in order to have it signed and switched without any fuss.

Rev
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Without a doubt, the single most difficult part of Guy Hollingworth's handling is the envelope switch. It requires guts, major sleight-of-hand chops, and finicky angles. The half deck switch that he describes is actually not that difficult to execute deceptively, and it is not nearly so angle sensitive. It does require that you build a gimmick, but it's not that hard to do.

My not-self-working-but-within-my-technical-abilities solution uses Guy's method for ringing in the cards required for the very fair elimination procedure. (If you choose to use DK's elimination procedure, you only have to bring in a single duplicate.) I'm using a Teleport Envelope for the vanish of the card. This still allows the spectator to put the card in the envelope, seal it, and sign the envelope. It also is a good solution to the proximity problem. (See Ted Lesley's Paramiracles for details about the construction of the envelope.) A Teleport Envelope makes me much less nervous than a slit envelope.

This solution eliminates the envelope switch, but leaves you with a 'dirty' envelope at the end. Because of how the climax of the effect is constructed, devising a clean-up shouldn't be too difficult.

It's all about trade-offs.

I have a hard time giving up Hollingworth's elimination procedure. In my opinion, the utter fairness of the procedure is one of the major selling points of the routine. (By the way, when the cards are set face down on the table, the extra cards are on TOP. If you cut 26 cards or less from the top, everything works out fine. If it makes you nervous to have the spectator make this cut, you can always make the first cut yourself. The rest of the procedure is so fair that this won't cause a problem.)

Still, it's worth examining other solutions. DK has described his elimination procedure using the Cut Deeper actions. The Rev has referenced the procedure RIcky Jay uses in Sword of Vengeance. Andy Moss mentioned Bill Simon's 64 Principle. Does anyone have any other ideas about the elimination procedure?
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

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Dark Knight
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Quote:
On 2011-07-24 13:19, BarryFernelius wrote:

I'm using a Teleport Envelope for the vanish of the card.


I was referring to the Ted Lesley idea when I wrote on page 1 of this thread that:

Quote:
There are self-contained envelopes that can seal away whatever is inserted inside them so that when the envelope is later opened a different card or message is revealed. I know this because I use one!


As you know, I prefer to use the Cut Deeper idea to eliminate the cards. If you want to keep the envelope completely away from the deck, so that the envelope (or stack of envelopes) is not used as cover either to add a duplicate card or re-deposit the original predicted card, please consider this:

Start with a deck in "new deck" order, however insert a duplicate 2D that is roughed on its face behind a card that is roughed on its back and is around 26 cards away from the 2D. When you spread the deck faces up on the table, the spectator checks to make sure there are no duplicate cards and either removes your prediction (the 2D that he sees) or you take the deck and remove the 2D. The spectator then vigorously mixes up the deck. The 2D will very likely still be clinging to its roughed mate. However, if the duplicate (roughed) 2D had been cut a little short, it can easily be separated from its mate and cut to the top, ready to be ultimately forced as I've described above in detail.

The card in envelope vanish could be accomplished in a number of ways: slit envelope (pay or regular envelope), Teleport-type envelope, Shaxon envelope, Himber Wallet, etc.

I suppose you could bribe a store clerk to sell your spectator a new-appearing deck with the duplicate (roughed) card already in it as a kind of "challenge."

Have fun!

DK
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