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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The words we use » » Schrödinger's Monte (my warped Color Monte routine) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Joshua Quinn
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Following is an original presentation idea for Color Monte which, I admit up front, would serve only to confuse and alienate most people you're likely to perform for. However, if you happen to find yourself performing for engineers or sci-fi/RPG/comic book geeks, this will elevate the effect from a throw-away to the one they'll be talking about later...


Schrödinger's Monte

A Color Monte presentation using a Queen, two (ahem) Jokers, and a Seven.

So I ran across a guy throwing a three card monte on the street, and even though I knew better, I decided to try my luck with it. The guy said, "All right, the game is very simple. It uses two Jokers and a Queen..."

[Continue as usual until you've lost seven dollars.]

At that point I threw my hands up and said, "That's it, I give up, that's all I can afford to lose. I'm going home." So the guy said, "All right, look, I wouldn't normally do this, but since you're not doing so well, I'll give you a chance to win your money back. Here's a Joker, here's a Queen, that leaves one card face down. For double or nothing, what do you think that card is, a Queen or a Joker?" And that was his mistake.

I said, "Well that's too easy. You've just let me win my whole seven dollars back." He said, "What do you mean? You haven't even guessed yet." I said, "Exactly. That's because neither of us has looked at the card. And quantum theory tells us that until one of us does, the possibility that it's a Joker and the possibility that it's a Queen coexist simultaneously -- not as actual events, but as the superposition of two probability waveforms. Much like Schrödinger's fabled cat that resides in a state that's both alive and dead until we look inside its box to see which it is, so too does the unobserved card exist in an indeterminate state. Only by turning it over and looking at it can we collapse the waveforms and resolve the probabilities into actual events. So if you had asked me what it will be once you turn it over, well, that I couldn't tell you. But you asked me, is it at this moment a Queen or a Joker? And at the quantum level -- and therefore at all levels -- the answer to that question is: both. Or, depending upon your perspective... neither."

And as my words sunk in, his eyes narrowed and rage filled his gaze, because he knew I had him. And with a scowl on his face and a loathing of all things non-Newtonian in his heart, he gave me back [flip over card] all seven dollars.

Quinn
Every problem contains the seeds of its own solution. Unfortunately every problem also contains the seeds of an infinite number of non-solutions, so that first part really isn't super helpful.
landmark
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Very, very nice.

Thanks,
Jack Shalom
marko
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That's great, Quinn Smile
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Jonathan Townsend
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Quinn,

If you introduce the notion of inference earlier in the presentation this could play for a wider audience.

The first time I saw a seven over on the top, so I knew my odds were 50/50 that the queen was in the middle.

The second time I saw a seven on the queen on the top but he made a quick move so I had to guess again.

With a bit more work on the patter, the presentation could build up to the 'aha' about the card not being certain to him till he looks at the face, and still uncertain to you till it gets shown fully face up.

So these cards would be Bosons or Fermions?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
0pus
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It might be nice to turn over that last card casually and show a half-and-half queen/joker as you are speaking, top change, and say, "Of course, that's just theory," and show the remaining joker.
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