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Nick Pudar
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Many people are unaware of a remarkable service that exists at
Please check out:
It contains a copy of the original articles.
Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Version 5.0 is available!
Dr. JK
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I was definitely unaware of it. Thanks, Nick! That's invaluable!!
- Jeff Kowalk, The Psychic CPA
Nick Pudar
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Sorry about the double post. I'm not sure what caused that... is the site that was created by Brewster Kahle. I met Brewster quite a few years ago, and I was blown away at the innovations he created to store all that data at a very low cost with high reliability. Anyway, at the center of the site is the Wayback Machine. If you type in any website address, it will show you all of the versions of that site over time. Brewster started scraping/crawling the entire public web back in 1996. It is quite remarkable, and it is fascinating to watch company sites evolve over time. If you work for a company, to back in time to see what your company's web presence looked like.

(edit) I just looked up the Café on the Wayback Machine, and this is from 2001:

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Version 5.0 is available!
Robert P.
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Sorry it's been a while since my last update, but if you want to read them before they are posted here, Nick posted the link. Smile

Thanks, Nick. That is where I've been getting these articles from, because I am still in the process of compiling them for myself as well. The wayback machine is a great resource.



The Dennis Loomis version of "The Subtle Game" and 
how to utilize a memorized deck in walk around.

The Eighth in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

My main topic this month will be setting up the memorized deck stack as part of an actual performance, and how doing this integrates with one or more effects that retain the stack and one or more effects that destroy the stack.

But first, I’d like to recommend a book which I received this month. It’s entitled “Mindsights” and was written by a former President of the Psychic Entertainers Association, Doug Dyment. It contains many wonderful ideas, effects, and routines, but of particular interest to the readers of this column is his “Quickstack.” It’s subtitled “a.k.a. The Half-Hour Memorized Deck.) After my first read through I am convinced that this claim is absolutely justified. So, if you are searching for a memorized deck to use which can be learned very quickly, this may be the answer. You can read more about the book and the stack on Doug’s sight at:

Or, you can purchase the book directly from Doug Dyment,1361 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. The cost is $25.00 postpaid. I ordered mine through Doug’s site, using Pay Pal, and he shipped it out the very next day.

My first exposure to memorized deck magic was the Nikola Card System which appears as the final chapter of Jean Hugard’s “Encyclopedia of Card Tricks.” I played with it a bit in my early teens, but never realized the power contained within the system. Like many, I may have been put off by the fact that some of the built in effects were outmoded because they were based on card games like Whist and Nap which were seldom played anymore. However, I did notice the final entry entitled: “A Subtle Game.” Of particular interest is the fact that you begin this effect with a thoroughly shuffled deck, but at the end, it is in the Nikola System Order. (Or any other memorized stack order.) Clearly this has many applications for those of us that use a memorized deck in our work. Should we find ourselves somewhere that a deck of cards is available, but no opportunity for privacy to set it up, it can be done right in the context of a performance.

I’ll briefly outline the procedure, using for my examples the Aronson stack order, and then suggest some alternative handlings. Cards 49, 50, 51, and 52 must be located and forced. Hugard suggests that the cards be palmed off the top and a spectator allowed to shuffle the deck. The cards are returned to the top when the deck is returned and the cards are forced upon four spectators. He does not suggest any particular method. Then, the cards are returned, but all controlled to the top in order. The entire deck is dealt into four piles (of 13 cards each) so that each of the spectators receives a pile that contains his selected card. They pick up the cards and fan them so that they can see the faces of all of the cards. The parties are asked to sort their hands into the four suits as if they were going to play a game of Bridge or Hearts. The performer now begins to name cards, and each spectator looks for the called card. When it is found, the spectator hands it to the magician who simply places it on the table in front of himself, building up a pile of 48 cards. The order seems to be completely random, but is not. The cards are called in stack order. And, at the conclusion each spectator is left holding just one card which is the card that they selected, an impressive trick in itself.

Hugard leaves much to the individual performer and no suggestions are made as to the patter, the particular force(s), or the controls, etc. So let me take over now and share some thoughts and discoveries.

First, the palming can be eliminated if you are not comfortable with stealing the four cards and adding them back onto the deck. If you have a box for the cards, one thing you might do quickly before starting your impromptu show is to locate the necessary four cards (In Aronson stack terms, that would be the Six of Diamonds, Queen of Clubs, Two of Clubs and the Nine of Diamonds.) and put them on top of the deck. The deck is then replaced in the box and you are ready to start. When you remove the cards for your first effect, you secretly leave those four cards in the box. Do a quick trick which involves having a spectator thoroughly shuffle the deck. Then replace the cards in the box, close it, and do a non-card effect. Remembering (?) another card trick, you again remove the cards from the box and go into the Hugard routine. Simply cut the block of four cards to the center, retaining a break, and use a riffle-stop force. At the point where the spectator supposedly stopped you, remove the four cards and hand them to four spectators. Once they memorize their cards, you return them to the deck. You can simply cut the cards at random, and retain the top half in your hand. Each spectator places his or her card onto the tabled lower half. When you reassemble the deck you hold a break and either use a pass or double undercut to return the block of four cards to the top. When you deal four hands of 13 cards to the spectators, each one’s selected card will be the bottom card of their block of 13. So, have them mix up the packet of cards before they even look at the faces. One effective way is to have each of them simply spread the cards around on the table, mixing them in this thorough, if inelegant, manner. They then pick up their packets, and sort out the suits.

You can suggest that you will call cards at random and see if you can identify the selected cards. As you call the cards and collect them, everyone will be waiting for you to name and identify the chosen cards. Surprisingly, this doesn’t happen. You call out 48 cards and stop. You ask each spectator if you have named his or her card. They will deny it. Then you ask spectator number one to name the card they chose. When they do so, have them show the remaining card in his hand to the audience and it will be his card. This is repeated with the other three spectators. Because all four spectators are looking for each card that you call, and because their hands are separated into suits, there is little delay when you name a card. Almost immediately one of the spectators will hand it to you and you can name the next.

You actually have two ways to proceed. You can names the cards, in order, from 1 to 48. Or, you can names the cards in reverse order, from 48 to 1. If you do the former, you build a face up pile on the table. With most memorized decks this will betray no discernable pattern and it certainly appears that you are just naming cards in a random order. If, however, you prefer to place the cards face down, you simply call the cards from 48 to 1. Either way, when you take the four selected cards in order from the spectators, you then can add the block of four cards to either the top or bottom of the deck. You are then set to fry your audience with one of the powerful routines with our favorite tool.

As Hugard points out, this is also a very good out if your memorized deck should become unexpectedly disarranged. Perhaps you or a spectator accidentally drops the deck to the floor. Or, a spectator suddenly shuffles the deck when you are not expecting it. Having “A Subtle Game” in your repertoire can salvage the situation.

If you wish, you can use your pocket instead of the card box. Simply remove the four necessary cards from the deck at an opportune moment and put them into your pocket. You put the deck away, and the four cards are added. If you do not wish to do an intervening non-card effect, try this: Have a card selected and returned. Control the card to the bottom of the deck, and offer to find it sight unseen. Put the deck into your pocket so that the four cards already there go on top. Then have the spectator name his card. Showing your hand empty, plunge it into your pocket and apparently dig through the deck, etc. Make it look difficult. Finally, just remove the bottom card and bring it out. It will be the selected card. When you remove the deck from your pocket, the four cards are now in place. If you want to get a little fancier, you spell the name of the chosen card. With each letter you remove a card from your pocket. They are coming off the top of the deck and you put each new card under the previous ones, retaining the block of four cards on top. On the last letter of the cards name, take the bottom card of the deck and it will be the card you just spelled. Alternatively you can spell the spectator’s name, or your own. Remove the deck from your pocket, place the block of previously removed cards on top, and you’re ready for “A Subtle Game.”

Finally, I’d like to suggest how this might be utilized in an evening of close up magic when you either table-hop or stroll around at a party or in a hospitality suite.

There are three different kinds of effects you can do: The Subtle Game itself which will set up your deck for you, effects which retain the order of the stack, and effects which destroy your stack. For my examples, I’ll use The Birthday Book from one of my previous Columns as the effect which retains the stack. And, I’ll use Simon Aronson’s powerful three-phase poker deal as an effect which destroys the stack.

Perhaps at the beginning of the evening you begin with your deck set up in Aronson stack order. You can now do either the Poker Deal or the Birthday book for your first group. That will depend on whether you have room to deal out the poker hands on a table, whether you need a shorter or longer routine, and what seems appropriate for the group at hand. If you do the Birthday book, you can continue on and do the Poker deal for the same group if you like. But you don’t have to. Perhaps you will prefer to do the Birthday book as the only card effect for this group. If so, you still have the same options when you reach the next group. However, once you do the Poker Deal, then it is necessary to do the Subtle Game routine as the next card effect. (At least with this deck of cards.) However, in strolling situations you still have some options as to how to go about this. You can finish your magic (or your card magic) for the same group by doing The Subtle Game. If you are concerned that an alert spectator might understand that you were setting up something when you call the cards out, it hardly matters. You will leave this group and go to the next before you do another Memorized deck routine. However, you can also leave the group with the cards mixed. For the next group you can do The Subtle Game as your only card effect if you prefer. So even though someone might suspect that you are setting something up, they will never have the opportunity to test that theory. When you reach the next group, you are now ready to do either the Birthday Book routine, or the Poker Deal, or both.

Remember, that there are other powerful effects you can substitute for the Birthday Book Routine which do not destroy your stack. You can, in fact, do several of these at any time you wish, and conclude with the Poker Deal. There are also many other powerful effects you can do which destroy the stack. Once you get comfortable with The Subtle Game, you need not worry about destroying your stack.

Incidentally, when I’m doing strolling close up magic, I often carry two decks of cards. I use the normal deck for the many routines that can be done with it. I’ll then replace it in its box and return it to the same pocket which contains my Aronson Stack deck. I can then do a coin trick and then, if I wish, remember (?) another card trick and take out the stacked deck. Occasionally I may do The Subtle Game with my “normal” deck and be in the strong position of having two decks in Aronson stack order. Then, if I like, I can do the Poker deal at a table, put the cards away, do a non-card effect, and then take out the other stacked deck and do the Birthday book routine. I’m now back to having one deck stacked and one not.

I would love to hear from other memorized deck workers. If you have any routines, ideas, or handlings on memorized deck work, I’d be happy to publish them here.
Robert P.
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The Berglas Effect (Any Card at Any Number) with 26 Decks

The Ninth in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

My friend Bill Nagler, M.D., an excellent magician, has had a long-standing interest in what has become known as "The Berglas Effect.” It’s the classic “Any card at any number” effect popularized by David Berglas, the great British magician and mentalist. In it’s pure form, a spectator names any card, and then any number from 1 to 52. The magician counts down in the deck to the designated number and the named card is there!

In some recountings of Berglas’ performances, the spectator is allowed to specify whether the counting is to be done from the top or the face of the deck, the spectator themselves do the counting, and the deck is in full view from the beginning. This “pure” effect is probably not possible. With the release of the Berglas book, it seems that Berglas took advantage of many different methods and circumstances to create different versions of the effect, occasionally getting very close to the “pure” effect itself.

Bill suggested to me that what he wanted was a version that allowed him, in his office or home, to have multiple decks positioned in various locations. Once the card and number were called, he would calculate mentally which deck was needed and then produce that deck. He wanted me to come up with a method to stack the decks and to determine which one was needed.

Here then, is my solution. To make it practical, the conditions are as follows:

1. The spectator names the card and the number BEFORE the deck is brought forth.

2. The performer decides whether to count from the top or the face.

3. The performer does the counting. (There is no sleight of hand, but this insures that the spectator will not make a mistake, or accidentally drop the cards.)

Using these conditions, we can achieve the effect with 26 decks. If the counting was always done from the top, or if the spectator can specify whether the counting is to be done from the top or face, then 52 decks would be needed. This seems far too many to be workable. Hiding 26 decks around your home or office will be a big enough challenge.

All decks are in Aronson stack order except that each deck other than the first has been given one straight cut. To keep things straight in your head, the deck number tells you the position of the Jack of Spades. (1 in Aronson Stack.) The decks are NOT 1,2,3, etc. Instead, they are 1,3,5,7,9, ... 51. That's because you don't need a deck where the Jack of Spades is second from the top. (Or any even number) The number "two" is covered by deck 51, but you count from the face. The Jack of Spades is second from the face, which is the same thing as being 51st from the top. One more example: Deck 19 has the Jack of spades at position 19. That was accomplished by cutting the deck between the Jack of Hearts and the Ten of Clubs and moving 18 cards from the bottom to the top. The result is a deck with the Ten of Clubs on Top and the Jack of Hearts on the bottom.

With the 26 decks hidden in locations that allow you to find the one you need, you’re ready to perform. The spectator names a card at random and then any number from 1 to 52. The first thing you do is to recall the stack number of the card named. There are two rules that you apply to determine the deck to bring into play. There is one additional rule that tells you whether to count from the top of the face of the deck.

RULE ONE. HOW TO DETERMINE WHETHER YOU COUNT FROM THE TOP OR BOTTOM ONCE THE PROPER DECK IS IN YOUR HANDS. Compare the stack number of the card to the number the spectator designates. If they are both odd or if they are both even, deal from the top. If one is odd, and the other is even, deal from the bottom.

This is very simple, as a few trials will show you. So once you finish the mental math that gets you to the correct deck, you can forget all the arithmetic and use this rule to remind you which end of the deck to count from.
Rules Two and Three tell you how to get to the proper deck. Interestingly, it also depends on whether the designated number and the stack number match or do not match as far as odd and even is concerned. You are actually going to apply either rule Two or Three first, and then use rule One. I gave you Rule One first because it’s easier to understand and helps you to grasp rules Two and Three.

RULE TWO. If the designated number and the stack number of the named card are both odd, or both even... Subtract 1 less than the stack number from the designated number. Should you get a negative number, add 52 to it. The result is the deck number.

RULE THREE. If the designated number and the stack number of the named card are one even and one odd, first subtract the designated number from 53. (This will always yield a positive number, of course.) Then subtract one less than the stack number from your result, adding 52 if your result is a negative number. This gives you the deck number.

Don’t let the concept of negative numbers throw you, or the seeming complexity of the calculations. After you work through a few examples, it becomes quite easy to do and to understand. If you have not worked with negative numbers before, here’s a brief review. If you subtract a number from a smaller one, you really just subtract the smaller from the larger and put a negative sign in front of your answer. For example, if you were to subtract seven from five, the result is –2. (This is said “minus two.”) For our purposes, and following Rules Two and Three above, whenever we get a negative number it is added to 52. For example, if you have a –2, when you add it to 52, you get 50. That’s because when you “add” a negative number, you subtract the positive value of the negative number from the higher number.

It’s easiest to understand this if you do a few examples. In fact, it’s not really necessary to understand why the rules work. Although you will probably be more comfortable with the whole procedure once you do understand.

EXAMPLE ONE. To ease into this: let’s assume that the card named is the Jack of Spades. Since its stack number is 1, the math is easy. Let’s say that the spectator wants it to be at position 25. First, since the designated number (25) and the Stack Number (1) are both odd, we know that we will be counting from the top. And, for the same reason, we will apply Rule Two to determine which deck we will use. That tells us to subtract one less than the stack number from the designated number and the result will be the deck we use. Since the stack number is one, one less than that is zero. We subtract zero from 25 and get 25. (This is obvious, of course, we defined Deck 25 as the deck that had the Jack of Spades in the 25th position.)

EXAMPLE TWO. Still assuming that the card named is the Jack of Spades, but this time the number called is 44. Because the Stack number (1) is odd, and the designated number (44) is even, we will be counting from the face of the deck. For the same reason, we will use Rule Three.

Following that, we are to first subtract the designated number (44) from 53. That gives a result of 9. Then, subtracting one less that the stack number (1-1=0), our final answer is nine. We get deck nine and count from the face. To test this, take a deck in Aronson Stack order and cut it between the Six of Spades and Four of Clubs. This produces “Deck 9, ” because the Jack of Spades is ninth from the top. But if you count from the face, you’ll find it at position 44.

EXAMPLE THREE. This time we’ll assume that the card named is the Eight of Diamonds. And the number designated is 31. Since the stack number of the Eight of Diamonds is 9 (odd) and the designated number is also odd, we will be counting from the top, and applying rule two to determine the proper deck. So, we subtract one less than the stack number (9-1=8) from the designated number. (31-8=23.) So, we produce deck 23 and count from the top. To check this, take your deck and cut between the King of Hearts and the Four of Diamonds. This puts the Jack of Spades at position 23, which is what makes it deck 23. Now, count down to position 31 and you’ll find the Eight of Diamonds.

EXAMPLE FOUR. This time, we’ll assume that the Jack of Diamonds is named, and the number designated is 25. Since the stack number (36) is even and the designated number (11) is odd, we’ll be counting from the face and we’ll be using Rule Three. So, we subtract the designated number from 53. (53-25=28) Next we are to subtract one less that the stack number (36-1=35) from the result. (28-35=-7). Since we have a negative number, we add it to 52 and get 45. In deck 45, the Jack of Diamonds is the 25th card from the face. You can check this using the same procedure outlined in the prior examples.

This may seem daunting at first, but I assure you that all that’s required is some simple arithmetic and after you’ve worked through several more examples you’ll find it much easier to do than to explain.

That having been said, I’d like to share a few more thoughts. The effect would obviously be far more effective if you could produce the deck in advance. While that’s not possible, perhaps we can create that illusion. Clearly, if we can have a deck in view, and then switch it for the proper deck undetected, we have a real miracle. One interesting solution is a rather complex mechanical device. In your home, you might have a coffee table with a wooden box sitting on it. Inside the coffee table there is a kind of jukebox affair which can locate the proper deck for you, and raise it up into the box mechanically. Perhaps you trigger it with a remote control on your person. When the box is opened, which happens after the card and number are designated, only one deck is seen and it was apparently in there from the start.

While this could be built, is there another way? Let’s say that you’re seated at a table. A deck of cards, which you’ve been using for other effects sits in it’s box on the table in front of you. If you can get the proper deck into your hand, you can pick up the deck that has been in full view, and switch it for the proper deck. This will not be easy since there will be attention on the deck, and how do you get the proper deck? One simple solution is to use a stooge. That person sits across from you at the table. He has, at his feet, a briefcase that holds the 26 decks and also a lazy tongs reaching device. Under the pretext of putting something away in his case, he grabs the proper deck, and uses the reaching device to deliver the deck into your hands or lap under the table.

Using the same basic technique, you can eliminate the deck switch. Your stooge gets you the deck that you palm in your hand. Standing up, you apparently pull the deck from a pocket. Now you can count to the named card. And, you really have no more decks on your person should anyone check.

If you do use the stooge version, the stooge might be able to consult a chart instead of doing the arithmetic. This would simplify the headwork, but the two of you would have to practice the delivery of the deck. Or, you could do the math yourself and signal the deck number to your stooge. Finally, it’s possible that your stooge can be in some hidden location. He locates the proper deck, and gets it to you in some sneaky fashion.

That’s our work to date. We are still playing with notions that will reduce the number of decks needed. Possibly to a point that you can carry them on your person. Rest assured, I will keep you informed in this forum.

Changing the subject entirely, I’ll like to point out that my good friend Ormond McGill is approaching his 90th birthday. (June 15th, 2003) Although he’s had some medical challenges in the past two or three years, he is still going strong. He came out, in the company of his friend Lee Grabel to see a show I did with Chuck Mignosa, Loyd Auerbach, and Robert Kane in Concord California on April 12. Ormond is known as the Dean of American Stage Hypnotists and is the author of “The Encyclopedia of Stage Hypnotism” as well as 32 other books. His autobiography is at the publishers awaiting a release in late 2003. He is truly a living legend and is known worldwide for his writings and his performances featuring Hypnotism, Mentalism and Magic.

Ormond will be performing and lecturing at the Masters Ultimate Stage Hypnosis Seminar coming up in Las Vegas. It will be held at the Boardwalk Hotel and Casino June 19th – 22, 2003. There will be an optional magic course on Monday, June 23rd as well. Other presenters at the Seminar include Jerry Valley, Tommy Vee, Chuck Mignosa, Serena Lumiere, and Christina Kaya.

And, feel free to visit my web site to see those commercial items that Loomis Magic has available.
Robert P.
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Preconceived Jazzin with the Aronson Stack
Bill Nagler, Scott Cram, David Harkey, Eric Anderson, 
Mike Close, Patrick Page and Dennis Loomis

The Tenth in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

This month’s column will combine thoughts and ideas from Scott Cram, Bill Nagler, Darwin Ortiz, David Harkey, Eric Anderson, Mike Close, Patrick Page and your scribe. The effect will have several versions and I’ll discuss how to decide which one to do toward the end.

This began when I received an e-mail from Bill Nagler. He had worked out a way to spell to most any card in a deck stacked in Aronson Stack order. (The exceptions are the two or three cards on top and bottom. They are revealed in other ways.) What follows is Bill’s list. A “+1” means that you spell down and turn up the NEXT card. When spelling a suit, you will usually use the plural form. (Diamonds not diamond.) The final letter will be an “s” and that’s what Bill means by “turn over s card.” In the case of the Queen of Spades and Four of Clubs you will use the suit name minus the “s.” (Spade and Club)

1-JS-turn over top card
2-KC-double lift
3-5C-triple lift
4-2H-spell two +1
5-9S-spell nine, +1
6-AS-spell spades, turn over s card
7-3H-spell hearts, +1
8-6C-spell six clubs, turn over s
9-8D-spell diamonds, +1
10-AC-spell ace of clubs, turn over s card
11-10S-spell ten of spades, turn over s card
12-5H-spell five of hearts, turn over s card
13-2D-spell two of diamonds, turn over s card
14-KD-spell king of diamonds, turn over s card
15-7D-spell seven of diamonds, turn over s card
16-8C-spell the eight of clubs, +1
17-3S- spell the three of spades, +1
18-AD-spell the ace of diamonds, count 1 card for ace, +1
19-7S-spell seven spades, count 7 cards, +1
20-5S-spell the five of spades, count 5 cards, turn over last card
21-QD-spell queen of diamonds, spell a 6 letter name, turn over last card
22-AH-spell ace of hearts twice, turn over s card
23-8S-spell eight spades twice, +1
24-3D-spell the three diamond twice, turn over last card
25-7H-spell the seven of hearts, spell a 9-10 letter name, show card
26-QH-spell the queen of hearts, spell a 9-10 letter name, show card
27-5D-from face, spell the five of diamonds, spell a letter name, show card
28-7C-from face, spell the seven of clubs, spell a letter name, show card
29-4H-from face, spell the four of hearts, spell an 8 letter name, show card
30-KH-from face, spell the king of hearts, spell a 7 letter name, +1
31-4D-from face, spell the four of diamonds, spell a 4 letter name, +1
32-10D-from face, spell the ten of diamonds, spell a 4 letter name, +1
33-JC-from face, spell the jack of clubs, spell a 5 letter name +1
34-JH-from face, spell jack hearts twice, show t card ?????
35-10C-from face, spell ten clubs, count 10 cards, show last card
36-JD-from face, spell the jack of diamonds, show s card
37-4S-from face, spell the four of spades, +1
38-10H-from face, spell the ten of hearts, +1
39-6H-from face, spell the six of hearts, show s card
40-3C-from face, spell three of clubs, +1
41-2S-from face, spell two of spades, +1
42-9H-from face, spell nine hearts, +1
43-KS-from face, spell king spades, show s card
44-6S-from face spell six spades, show s card
45-4C-from face, spell four club, show b card
46-8H-from face, spell hearts, +1
47-9C-from face, spell clubs, +1
48-QS-from face, spell spade, show e card
49-6D-from face, spell a 4 letter name
50-QC-from face of deck
51-2C-from face count 2 cards
52-9D-turn over bottom card

While this was an interesting exercise, Bill himself points out that some of these situations are not particularly strong because there is no good reason to combine spelling and counting, or to spell something twice. Still, just having any card named and then spelling to it is a pretty strong effect. I filed it away and made a note to come back to it one day and see how it might be strengthened.

Flash forward in time a few months. I received another e-mail... this one from Scott Cram. He shared another interesting idea. His thought was to combine the premise of Darwin Ortiz’ “Remote Control” from Card Scams and Fantasies with a spelling procedure that was devised by David Harkey and Eric Andersen for the effect “Outsmart” in their book “Ah-Ha.”

The Nagler concept was to just have a card named at random. This is, clearly, a very free selection. But, it’s clear to everyone that the magician knows the card. That weakens the effect, perhaps. In Remote Control, Darwin’s idea is to introduce a second deck into the proceedings. The spectator shuffles one, while the magician shuffles the other. One deck is boxed and placed into the spectator’s pocket. (This is the newly introduced deck, which the magician has false shuffled. It’s set up in a memorized deck order.) Then, the spectator is allowed to peek at a card in the deck he shuffled. It seems fair, but the magician gets a glimpse so that he knows the card. He then divulges the location of the card in the boxed deck that is in the spectator’s pocket. (Except in the case of the 51st or 52nd card. In those cases, he magically produces the card.) Scott’s idea was to spell the word(s) suggested by Harkey and Andersen to reveal the location of the duplicate of the peeked at card in the boxed deck. Here is the Harkey/Andersen list:

1 - Top Card
2 - Double Lift
3 - "IOU"
4 - "Fate"
5 - "Magic"
6 - "Magic"+1
7 - "Magical"
8 - "Illusion"
9 - "Illusion"+1
10- "Impossible"
11- "Impossible"+1
12- "Favorite Card"
13- "Impossibility"
14- "Impossibility"+1
15- "Our Favorite Card"
16- "Our Favorite Card"+1
17- "Your Favorite Card"+1
18- "My Very Favorite Card"
19- "Our Very Favorite Card"
20- "Our Very Favorite Card"+1
21- "My Favorite Playing Card"
22- "My Favorite Playing Card"+1
23- "Your Favorite Playing Card"
24- "Your Favorite Playing Card"+1
25- "My Very Favorite Playing Card"
26- "My Very Favorite Playing Card"+1

The bottom 26 are spelled with the deck held face-up (As you spell, turn the cards face-down, so that the deck will remain in your memorized stack order):

27- "My Very Favorite Playing Card"+1
28- "My Very Favorite Playing Card"
29- "Your Favorite Playing Card"+1
30- "Your Favorite Playing Card"
31- "My Favorite Playing Card"+1
32- "My Favorite Playing Card"
33- "Our Very Favorite Card"+1
34- "Our Very Favorite Card"
35- "My Very Favorite Card"
36- "Your Favorite Card"+1
37- "Our Favorite Card"+1
38- "Our Favorite Card"
39- "Impossibility"+1
40- "Impossibility"
41- "Favorite Card"
42- "Impossible"+1
43- "Impossible"
44- "Illusion"+1
45- "Illusion"
46- "Magical"
47- "Magic"+1
48- "Magic"
49- "Fate"
50- "IOU"
51- Glide
52- Bottom Card

Here, in Scott’s words are some tips on learning this list:

These phrases are memorized, along with the mental images used in the memorization of your stack. The trick here, since so many of the phrases are similar, is to create images for them that are vastly different, so as not to create confusion.

To distinguish between "Magic" and "Magical", for example, I picture my favorite magician performing a feat with my mental images to represent "Magic". For "Magical", I imagine a "magi-GAL" (an actual club, BTW!) modeling on or around the card/position images.

When it comes to all the "favorite card" variations, I use substitute words related to the initials of each phrase - "MFPC" for "My Favorite Playing Card", "YFC" for "Your Favorite Card" and so on - and then come up with images for them - "MaFia PiCK" (someone the Mafia has "picked" for good or bad), and then associate that with my card images. Anytime I see "MaFia Pick" in my mind, I know to spell "My Favorite Playing Card". "Your Favorite PaCK" becomes "Your Favorite Playing Card", and so on.

Once you have the words memorized, you need to find natural ways of using them when you need them. For "IOU", David Harkey suggests, "If I can't find your card, I owe you a deck of cards. As a matter of fact, spell I-O-U."

For the 1st, 2nd, 51st and 52nd cards, the original "Outsmart" routine suggests that you talk about their card being a lily pad (for the 1st or 2nd cards), or a rock (for the 51st and 52nd cards), in a pond. You tell them to imagine they are pushing down their lily pad, and watching it rise back up (or, conversely, they are watching their rock sink to the bottom of the pond). You then reveal the card appropriately.

Note that this list is not specific to any particular Memorized Deck, while the Nagler list above assumes an Aronson Stack. Since that’s what I work with, the rest of the article will assume that particular stack. However, if you work with a different memorized deck, you can still use much of what follows.

My first thought was that I could strengthen the Nagler list by substituting some of the Harkey/Andersen spellings. I also liked some of the “outs” that Mike Close uses in his routine “Jazzin” in Workers Five. And so I set out to create a routine that would combine the “best” of all of these into one.

First, for my work, I dismissed Darwin’s idea of having a card peeked at; with it’s subsequent glimpse. My feeling is that the important thing is that ANY card is FREELY selected. And having a spectator just name a card out loud is as free as it gets. Besides, since a spectator names a card, you are in a position to “assume” later that it’s his favorite if you will be using that word in your spelling to it. But, the idea of having the boxed deck in the spectator’s pocket is also good. So, I first ribbon spread the memorized deck which is already in play face up. I comment that it’s pretty well mixed up. Then, I give it a quick false shuffle, box it and have the spectator put it in a pocket for safe keeping. I now do one of two things to have the card “chosen.” First, a spectator is chosen in some random manner. (Tossing a ping pong ball works fine.) They then just name any card they wish. But, a “fun” way to do this is to introduce a second deck of cards, and have the spectator shuffle it thoroughly. Now, you get them to toss the deck high into the air and the cards just shower down onto the floor! It will take some coaxing on your part to get the spectator to do this. But it’s festive and memorable. Then, another spectator just bends down and grabs any card they like. (They show it to the entire group, of course, and that includes you.) Again, it’s clear that the choice is a free one. Now, you will retrieve the second deck from the spectator’s pocket and locate the duplicate of the chosen card in that deck. In most cases, you will be spelling to it in one way or another. So let’s look at my list, and some of the alternatives.

First, I really like to involve the spectators as much as possible. So, if one of the helpers is named Bob, and if you luck out and the card is 3rd or 50th (3rd from the face,) you can spell his name. I use one person to toss the cards and another to pick up a card at random because you double your chances of being able to spell their name. (If you used Bob and Mary, you can get to the 3rd card, the 4th card, the 49th card, and the 50th card.)

Of course, I can get several outs using my name as well. While my first name is Dennis, my friends often call me “Den” or “Denny”. That gives me cards at the third, fifth, sixth, forty seventh, forty eighth, and fiftieth positions. In the list below, understand that when I suggest that you can spell “Den” or “Denny” or “Dennis,” I’m suggesting that you can use a 3, 5, or 6-letter name. It can be your own, of course, or a spectators. You may want to use your full name. If I spell DENNIS LOOMIS from the Top, it takes me to the Five of Hearts. From the Face, I get to the Two of Spades. If I spell DENNIS RICHARD LOOMIS from the top, I get to the Seven of Spades, and from the face, I get to the Jack of Hearts. You may want to learn where spelling your full name, with and without the middle name will take you.

Of course, you can double the possibilities when you spell something by turning either the card on the last letter, or the next one. This is probably better when the deck is face down. However, there’s a nice alternative, when you are spelling from the face and would like to use the “next card” ploy. As you take the letters one at a time, table them, pocket them, or transfer them to the bottom. On the last letter, you act surprised that you are wrong. Offer to magically make it right and do the Erdnase Color Change to change the wrong card into the chosen one. This will leave two cards out of order in your stacked deck. One way to fix this is to say: “Of course this is just an illusion. The card really is ...” Then you do the Erdnase Color Change again and change the card back to what it was.

When working with the face down deck, an alternative to the “next card” ploy is attributed to Patrick Page by Mike Close. You turn up the card on the final letter. But, it’s incorrect. You act surprised. Then you do a top change. You then blow on the card, or some other “moment of magic,” and show the card your are holding has become the correct one. You’ll find this described in the “Jazzin” section of Mike’s book: “Workers 5.”

What follows is my annotated list of my “favorites” from the sources mentioned above. If you elect to learn this, you may want to look at the Nagler and Harkey/Andersen lists above to see if you prefer something else. In many instances, I will list alternative procedures.

1. Okay, they happen to name the top card of the deck, the Jack of Spades. If you cannot make this into a miracle, you may want to give up magic. I suggest not touching the cards yourself. Let a spectator just open the box and show the top card. But first, build it up with your patter!

2. You can apparently do the same thing, except that you have to handle the deck so that you can do a double lift turnover. Alternatively, do a big build up, take the top card into your right hand, and when you show it you are WRONG. Then do the Top change ala Patrick Page to “rescue” the situation.

3. Spell IOU. (See Harkey patter above.) or DEN.

4. Spell FATE. Or spell “TWO” (fourth card in Aronson Stack is the Two of hearts. Either turn next card or use the Pat Page Top Change out.

5. Spell MAGIC, DENNY or NINE +1 (The Fifth Card in the Aronson Stack is the Nine of Spades,) and turn next card or do Page Ploy.

6. Spell MAGIC +1. Or DENNIS.

7. Spell MAGICAL. or DENNIS +1 or HEARTS. (7th Card in Aronson Stack is the Three of Hearts.

8. Spell SIX CLUBS

9 Spell ILLUSION +1, or count 8 +1, (Card is Eight of Diamonds)

10 – 15. These cards are set to spell in the Aronson stack, so spell their name, omitting “the,” including “of,” and using the “s” on the end of the suit.

16. Spell THE EIGHT OF CLUBS +1.


18 to 36. For these, use the Harkey/Andersen word(s) above. Remember that once you pass 26, you will spell from the face of the deck, not the top. For the five instances (27, 29, 31, 33, and 36) in which you use the +1or next card ploy, I like using the Erdnase Color change to transform the “wrong” card into the right one.

Again, for the rest of the cards, you will be spelling or counting from the FACE of the deck.

37. Spell THE FOUR OF SPADES, +1

38. Spell THE TEN OF HEARTS +1




42. Spell NINE HEARTS +1




46. Spell HEARTS + 1 or MAGICAL

47. Spell CLUBS +1 or MAGIC +1 or DENNIS

48. Spell SPADE or QUEEN or Denny

49. Spell FATE or four letter name.

50. Spell IOU or DEN

51. You can use a glide to show that the card was on the bottom of the deck. Or, build up that the card is on the bottom, and when the deck is removed, you’re wrong. Then use the Erdnase Color Change to transform the Nine of Diamonds into the Two of Clubs.

52. See notes on 1. This is another miracle if you sell it properly.

In his description of Remote Control, Darwin mentions that he often gives away one of the decks, and continues to work with the stacked deck. It makes a good way to bring in a stacked deck. If you use my idea of having the deck tossed into the air, when you’re done, say: “If anyone will volunteer to pick up all of the cards, you may keep them as a souvenir.” If someone does, then give him or her the empty box.

All of these “outs” are not too hard to learn if you are used to thinking on your feet a bit The first nine are quite easy, and with numbers this small, you can “rethink” the procedure should you forget what to do. Simon Aronson has already taken care of 10 to 15 for you. For 16 and 17 are also the card names, but you add the word “THE” to your spelling and use the +1 ploys. . Cards 18 to 36 are the Harkey/Andersen word(s). The mnemonic samples from Scott Cram on learning the various “favorite” words or phrases will help. After the Harkey/Andersen phrases from 18 to 36, you go back to spelling the card names. As you are now working from the face, the patterns you use are getting shorter. Remember cards 37 to 45 this way: First, you have three cards ( 37, 38 & 39) where you go back to spelling the FULL card names. (That means you use “the” and “of” in addition to the value and suit.) For the next two cards (40 & 41) you spell the name, but leave out “the.” For the next three cards (42, 43, & 44) you spell only the suit and value. And finally, for the 44nd card you drop “the,” “of,” and the final “s.”

By the way, when spelling from the face, it’s not always important to know if you are going to end on the final letter or the next letter. If you get to the final letter and it’s not the card, you know that you are in a +1 situation. You can decide if you just want to continue directly to the next card, or to use the Erdnase Change ploy. Thanks why I didn’t bother you with whether or not you are in a +1 situation for the cards 37 to 45 above. It’s easier to remember the pattern, and then just spell. You’ll see as you get to the end whether the card on the final letter is the proper card or not. If not, use one of the +1 procedures.

Above 45, the numbers are so small that it’s not hard to figure out what you are going to do should you forget. But here’s a tip: Remember that to determine how far a card is from the face of the deck, you subtract it’s stack number from 53, not 52! For example the 46th card (the eight of hearts) is seven cards from the face, not six. Just keep that in mind and you’ll see that the numbers from 46 to 52 will give you no trouble.

Finally, you can decide for yourself whether you prefer to make this a single effect, and quit after the first selected card is found in the second deck. The alternative is to use this to begin a “Jazzin” session. You now continue by having another spectator pick up a card at random from the floor or just naming a new card. How long you want to go on is up to you. But, you really need to have a strong finish. For that, I can do no better than to refer you to Mike Close’s original Jazzin in “Workers 5.” Parts of his routine will vary, but he always knows how he’s going to end. His ending is a killer effect from David Williamson, but you’ll have to read “Workers 5” for that story. If you don’t have it, order it right now from Loomis Magic. At the same time, you better pick up Darwin Ortiz’s “Scams and Fantasies with Cards” and David Harkey and Eric Andersen’s book “Ah-Ha.”

If you already do "Jazzin," I hope that you’ve learned a few more outs.
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Amazing! I learned a lot from the original site.
It's a great thing you have done.
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I miss Dennis's posts. His knowledge, enthusiasm, and general good nature added much to this forum.
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Great tips, articles. Does anyone can post the others?

Thanks for sharing
Robert P.
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Nick posted the link to all of them earlier in the thread but I will try to post some more soon. My life has just been pretty busy lately and I kinda forgot about it.
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Strange Interlude
Giobbi-Hofsinzer Strange Harmony with the Aronson Stack

The Eleventh in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

Here's an addition to the "outs" in last month's article on Jazzin with the Aronson Stack. Outs for three specific cards, actually. Built into the Aronson stack are three natural "sandwiches." I'm referring to the set of three cards at positions 29, 30, and 31, as well as the set of three at 34, 35, and 36, and also the set of three at 48, 49 and 50. The first set is the King of Hearts sandwiched between the two red fours. The second set is the Ten of Clubs that’s sandwiched between the two red jacks. The final set is the Six of Diamonds sandwiched between the two black queens. If any of the three center cards in those sandwiches is named, you can, as an alternative to the spelling procedures, take advantage of the natural sandwiches. For example, let's say spectator names the King of Hearts. (Or that's the card picked up from the floor in my version.) You say "Oh yes... the King of Hearts. I always have great difficulty with the King of Hearts. But, the two red fours can always locate the King of Hearts. If I simply press down on the top of the deck, the four of hearts will travel through the deck and position itself right above the King of Hearts. And, if I press again, the four of diamonds will travel through the deck and position itself directly below the King of Hearts. They form a kind of "sandwich" with your card between them. I know that's hard to believe, but take a look." At that point, you simply turn the deck over and quickly spread down through the face up cards to the King of Hearts. You know it's at position thirty from the top, so locating it takes just a moment. You then remove it along with the two red fours on either side of it. That's about as easy as it gets. It's an interesting alternative to the spelling in the rest of the Jazzin' routine.

The new Robert Giobbi book, Card College 5, has recently been released. I recommend it highly to all students of card magic. It's full of strong routines. (Brief commercial: you can get it, at a great price from Loomis Magic at ) On page 1146, Giobbi presents an effect he calls "Strange Harmony." It's his solution to one of the Hofzinser card problems; one that has never before been properly translated into English. The effect is very straightforward: Someone cuts off a number of cards from a deck. A spectator chooses two cards from the resulting packet. Their values are added and the total equals the number of cards that's been cut off. About this effect, Giobbi says: "You will agree that this is a different effect, and although not an earth-shaking miracle, an interesting problem that can be made into a charming mystery if properly staged."

Exactly. A cute interlude between stronger effects. But, this "interlude" requires a special 26-card stack. I knew that I wouldn't be carrying a stacked deck just to do this. Perhaps there was a way to do the same effect with the Aronson Stack. I've found two solutions so far and there may be others.

To begin, cut the Seven of Spades to the bottom of the deck. (It’s nineteen down, of course.) One way to do this is my Haymow Shuffle technique described in a previous article. Now, you must get a break between the King of Hearts and the Four of Diamonds. One way to do this is to openly turn the cards face up and spread through to the King of Hearts, showing that the cards are well mixed. Simply sight the King of Hearts and get your break. You can injog the King of Hearts and then turn the packet over and catch your break at the injogged card. Or, you can get your break face up and do the Marlo "book" turnover catching the same break with the cards face down. Now, do a riffle stop force at the break. The top packet is placed in the card box; it contains eleven cards. The packet left has the Four of Diamonds on top, and the Seven of Spades on the bottom. In the Giobbi routine these two cards are forced in the following manner: Begin to deal cards from the top of the deck in a face down pile. Have a spectator call out stop at any time and you stop dealing when he does. The packet is left on the table and you offer to do the same thing again with another spectator. But, you suggest that perhaps it would be interesting to see the cards. So, you turn the remaining packet in your hand over and begin to deal cards down onto the table again. But, you turn the cards face down as you deal. The second spectator stops you at any point. You now turn the two packets face up and the Four and Seven are the cards on the face. Adding the four and seven, you get eleven. You show that the first spectator predicted this, because the cards in the box total exactly eleven.

Here's the other "solution" contained within the Aronson stack. Initially, you cut the nine of spades to the bottom of the deck. Since it's only five cards down, an easy way to do this is to just thumb count five cards and hold a break. Then double undercut to the break. Next, you need to catch a break between the Ace of Hearts and the Eight of Spades. (The Ace will be seventeen cards from the top.) Again, the easy way is to turn the deck face up and spread the cards, sighting the Ace of Hearts.) Now, when you do the riffle stop force, the top packet will have seventeen cards, and the cards at the top and the face of the resulting packet will be an eight and a nine.
Instead of the riffle stop force, you can also use Gary Ouellet’s Cabaret Force from his video series "The Best of Gary Ouellet." It€™s recently been made available as a 3-volume set of DVDs. (Also available at a good price from Loomis Magic.) If you use the cabaret force, you probably should do the version with the nine of spades on the bottom. The cabaret force to the 17th position works better.

As an alternative to getting your break by running through the face up cards, you can simply spread the deck between your hands and sight count. It's fast and easy, and appears to be innocent. As an alternative force of the top and bottom cards of the second packet, you can use the Bill Simon Prophecy move. This excellent force of two cards can be found in the book: Scarne on Cards. It's used in the effect "Double Prediction." It's also in the book Effective Card Magic by Bill Simon. It's used in the effect "Business Card Prophecy."

For this version, you write, on the back of one of your business cards "Count the Cards in the Box." After the packet of cards has been placed into the box, bring out the business card. Make sure the writing is on the underside. Have the second spectator plunge it into the remaining packet at any spot. Doing the prophecy move will put the credit card between the four and the seven. If you use this method, it's far easier to reset your Aronson Stack. After the four and seven have been shown, return them to the top and bottom of their respective packets and reassemble the packets with the four going on top and the seven on the bottom. After the eleven cards in the box have been counted (without reversing their order, of course) place the packet on either the top or bottom of the other packet, cut the Nine of Diamonds to the face of the deck, and your Aronson Stack is ready for your next miracle.

Hofzinser called his problem "The Strange Coincidence." Giobbi dubbed his version "Strange Harmony." So, let's call this one "Strange Interlude."

Next month, I'll share a procedure for resetting the Aronson stack from Andrew Wimhurst. It was pointed out to me by one of the faithful readers of Smoke and Mirrors and I'll also share some of his thinking on Simon Aronson’s great effect "Some People Think."
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Harry Lorayne's It's Not Easy To Lie
With the Aronson Stack

The Twelfth in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

This time we'll look at how utilizing the Aronson Stack in conjunction with a great Harry Lorayne effect can strengthen it. And, it gives us one more effect we can do with the Aronson Stack while keeping the stack in order.

In Harry's 2001 book, Personal Collection, on page 9 is a wonderful trick called "It's Not Easy To Lie." In our version, one spectator will choose a card, apparently at random, which will ultimately predict the location of a card picked by another spectator. Along the way some fun will be had with the premise of getting a spectator to lie. And, in this version, the magician is able to name the chosen card just before it's revealed.

In Lorayne's trick you start out by secretly getting a six spot into seventh position. While this is not difficult, our version eliminates having to look through the cards at all. Begin by simply double undercutting the top card (Jack of Spades) to the bottom. This places the six of clubs in the seventh position ready to go. You start out by explaining that you need just a few cards for this trick. As you do so, you spread over five cards and drop them as a group onto the table. You then say that a few more would be better. This time you spread over four cards and drop them as a group onto the packet of cards already on the table. At this time, the six of clubs will be the second card from the top. The remainder of the deck is placed aside and won’t be used in the effect.

Spectator A will now choose a card in an apparently random manner. But, he will end up with the six of clubs. To do this, you hand the packet to the spectator, and tell him that you're going to teach him the Australian Shuffle or "Deal and Duck." Ask him to deal one card from the top of the deck onto the table. Then he is to take the new top card and place it on the bottom. Again a card is dealt onto the table. This is kept up until the spectator has only one card. Ask them to either put it in their pocket, or cover it with their hand. It will come into play later.

Now the packet of cards on the table is handed to Spectator B. They are asked to shuffle the cards as much as they want and then to fan the cards like a poker hand. They are to look over the cards and just mentally choose one of them. Get them to really burn it into their memory. Then they shuffle the cards again and finally hand the packet of eight cards to you.

You now explain that you will ask the spectator three questions that can be answered by "Yes" or "No." Each time they are to LIE. You point out that it's hard to lie, but you really want them to do it. You will now do an in-hand reverse faro. Relax, it's a piece of cake. With the cards in your left one you spread them to the right one at a time, keeping the order intact, but out jogging the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth cards. Fan out the cards and tip the fan up so that the spectator can see the four outjogged cards only. Remind them that they are to lie and ask them if their card is one of that group. If they say yes, you strip out the four outjogged cards, maintaining their order, and place them on top. If they say no, you strip out the four outjogged cards and place them on the bottom. You will repeat this process three times, and the first and third time you will it exactly as described. However, the second time you do the in-hand reverse faro, you do it backwards. That is, if they say yes, you strip out the four outjogged cards and place them on the bottom. But if they say no, you strip out the four outjogged cards and place them on the top. This is a little confusing at first, but try it with the cards in hand and it will become clear. This automatically places the chosen card at the sixth position! You can end right here, by having spectator A reveal their card. It's a six, of course, and so you count down to the sixth card and it is the one selected.

However, we can strengthen the effect a bit, and reset our Aronson stack by doing it a bit differently. First, have Spectator A reveal their card. Since it's a six, count down in the packet to the sixth card and place it on the table in front of spectator B. Now, you hold the cards in your hand and turn up the top card. You study it and say to Spectator B: "No I don't think that’s your card is it?" Tell them they can return to normal and resume telling the truth. They will agree that it is not their card. You now table the card, but you start the simple process of restoring your Aronson stack. The cards in your hand are cards 2 to 10 except for the chosen card and the six of clubs. You will place the seven cards in your hand onto the table one at a time in an overlapping row. Each time, you state that the card is not the chosen card. Get Spectator B to confirm this. As you build this row, you are putting them back in stack order, but it appears completely haphazard to the audience. You will end up with a row of seven cards, in order except for the missing six of clubs and the selected card. You now state that clearly the six of clubs is not the card that B selected and pick it up and put it where it goes. At this point you can easily determine the selected card because it’s the one that missing from the run of 2 to 10 in stack order. To end the routine, you point out that Spectator A must have been right, since the remaining card has to be the one that B selected. But then, you ask: "Would I be right to say that the card you just thought of was the Ace of Spades?" (Or whatever it is.) Of course you are right and they will confirm it. For ultimate confirmation, you take the face down card and show it to your audience. All that remains is to replace that card back in order and pick up the row of cards from the table and put them on top of the deck. A double undercut can be used to bring the bottom card to the top of the deck and your stack is now right back in position.

It's a wonderful throw off, in memorized deck work, to do an effect like this that starts and ends with your stack in order. Remember that a spectator did some shuffling during the routine. While it wasn't a full deck shuffle, it leaves the impression that the cards are really mixed up. You can now continue with any other Memorized deck effect and a false shuffle is hardly necessary. It seems unlikely to your audience that a stack could have been maintained. If you then go into something like the Aronson three-phase poker deal, it will be very effective.

After you've done the phase of show the spectator four cards three times, and the chosen card is in the sixth position, you can further "shuffle" the cards. Just do the in-hand out faro action twice more, each time placing the outjogged cards on top. The chosen card will be right back in sixth position again, ready to conclude the effect.
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Nick Pudar's Raining Revelations
With the Aronson Stack

The Thirteenth in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

This is Nick's presentation for Simon Aronson's Center Cut Location from Simon’s book Bound to Please. This effect is based on a simple concept, and is quite easy to do. It's a most puzzling revelation of two selected cards.

Nick presents this as mentalism. He points out that the selection process is designed to make it is impossible for him to have any knowledge of the selected cards. And, it's impossible for him to have any influence over the selection of the cards.

Nick is an executive at General Motors and works in the Corporate Strategy department. He frequently gives presentations to large groups of people, and is always looking for ways to incorporate a magic effect into his presentations. Any effect he uses needs to stand-alone well, and be strong. This routine certainly fits the bill.

The routine is done as a stand up piece; to begin, get two spectators to come up to the podium/stage. While they are coming up to the stage, false-shuffle the deck, but pay no attention to the cards at all. Nick uses Dan Garrett's Underhanded Overhand Shuffle from Dan's Video: "Cabaret Connivery." (Available from Loomis Magic for $32.00 - )

Turn your back and then ask spectator A to hold the deck horizontally, by the sides, and get spectator B to pull out a block of cards. Spectator A is asked to put the remaining cards back in the case, and to put them aside for the moment. Reminds your audience of the completely random nature of what just happened. Then ask spectator B (who is holding the pulled out block of cards) to show the face card of the block to spectator A. A remembers this as "his card." Instruct Spectator B to look at the top card of the packet and remember it as "his card." Then ask one of the volunteers to thoroughly shuffle the block of cards.

Now, turn back to face the audience. Take the block of cards, and hold them up and look at the face of the block. The spectators concentrate on their cards. The rest happens in silence: Run the cards from hand to hand, one by one, and look for the lowest value card (B's card) and the highest value card (A's card). As the cards move from hand to hand, certain cards can be eliminated from consideration, and are allowed to fall to the floor, one-by-one, and sometimes even a few at a time. This does not need to be done quickly. As a matter of fact, it plays well if you do it slowly at first, and then build up the speed throughout. There is no rush. At the end, you will be holding only two cards. Still in silence, both cards are turned to face the audience, putting you in perfect applause pose for the finale of your effect. If you like, you can give the final to cards to your helpers as souvenirs.

It's ok to go slow on the reveal, because it gives the audience a chance to think about how impossible it is for what is about to happen.

Here's what Nick says about his presentational:

I present Raining Revelations by describing a rare magic book I was able to get on the Internet at a used bookstore in Argentina. The proprietor misspelled the name of the book and author, and I ran across it quite by accident. I describe it as a long lost book on mind reading, legendarily known by magicians as having "real" mind reading secrets. I describe that as seriously as I can, with a very slight twinkle in the eye. Later in the evening, I always get a few people wanting to know more about the book, and wanting to know how mind reading really works. That has been fun (and surprising) for me.

Nick feels that the only bad thing about this trick is that cards are left on the floor. It's undignified to have to bend down to retrieve them. I agree that it's awkward to retrieve the cards, and I'd just leave the cards on the floor! The cost of a single deck is not much compared to your fee for a show. You can get two decks for a buck from "Dollar" stores. That’s only 50 cents per performance!

There's something intriguing about seeing cards discarded and allowed to flutter to the floor. I remember vividly the image of Clarke Crandall doing that in his Six Card Repeat Routine and I haven't seen that in thirty years! (Or, I hadn't until I saw him do it again recently on one of the Don Alan Magic Ranch DVD's now available.)

In his write up of the Center Cut Location in Bound to Please, Simon suggests some alternative ways to select the block of cards. You may wish to check his write up and see if one of them appeals to you. And, he also suggests that just one spectator can be used and a single card is selected. This would speed up the proceedings considerably. Simon suggests another procedure, which will shorten the time, needed to zero in on the single selection. He has the spectator deal or cut the packet into three piles and then looks at them and hands you only the packet that contains their card. This reduces the number of cards to about a third of the size of the original block. My own preference is to use two selections because it puts you in position to strike a great applause pose at the finale. And, I think that the time it takes to weed out the cards from the typical block of twenty or thirty cards is dramatically well spent in Nick's version.

You may wish to fan the packet of cards in front of you, rather than spreading them from hand to hand. You can then look over all of them, spotting the highest and lowest stack numbers. Remember that the most fascinating moment for your spectators may be when you drop the very first card to the floor. I'd play this up by making eye contact with one of the spectators, upjogging one card, making eye contact again, and then pulling the card from the fan. Your spectators will assume that it's the chosen card. Then, without saying a thing, you let it fall! For drama, be sure to start eliminating cards slowly, dropping one at a time. Then gradually pick up the pace, occasionally dropping more than one card until you are down to the last two.

Thanks to Nick for contributing this for our Smoke and Mirrors readers.

Incidentally, Nick has created a free software program called StackView for memorized deck work. It's a remarkable tool. In case you haven't seen it, check out -- the recent new version (v 3.0) is now available.
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Memorized Deck Mastery

The Fourteenth in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

This month will be a departure from my usual practice of sharing tricks and routines that can be done with a memorized deck. Id like to share some thoughts on what constitutes true mastery of a memorized deck and how to achieve it.

It seems obvious that to memorize a deck of cards requires learning 52 associations. The first card is the Jack of Spades; the second card is the King of clubs, and so forth. And that is the starting point. But the truth is that there are four sets of 52 associations, or perhaps I should say mental processes, to learn. They are related, but still distinct.

When I first started to learn the Aronson stack, I used the mnemonic associations that Simon suggested and in two or three days I "knew" that number ten was the Ace of Clubs, number thirty three was the Jack of Clubs, and so forth. But I was slow. I made an audiocassette for drilling purposes. It would give me a number and then there would be a silence during which I would name the card associated with that number. And then the tape would say the card for confirmation. With practice I got faster at coming up with the card. I even recorded a new tape with shorter pauses so that less time was wasted. In a few weeks, I noticed that I was no longer using the mnemonic associations. I just knew that the Jack of Diamonds was thirty-six, for example. But, in practicing some of Simon's tricks with his stack, I noticed that I didn't seem to be as fast as I was when I was doing the drill tape. But sometimes I was.

I'm embarrassed to admit that it took quite a while before the light dawned. But the problem was very simple. I was fast at remembering the identity of the card when I was given a number. But I was much slower at naming the number when I was given a card. Of course! I was drilling only one way. Just because you can spit out "Seven of Spades" when you're given the number nineteen, it doesn't mean that you can quickly recall "nineteen" when you're given the "Seven of Spades." I think that learning the stack with mnemonics had obscured this simple fact. I had learned that the 24th card was the Three of Diamonds by associating the image of the Roman Emperor Nero to the image of a dime. (If you don't know the phonetic alphabet, you won't understand that association, but don't worry about it. You'll still get my point, I'm sure.) I used that mental picture in the beginning to go in either direction. 24 to 3D, or 3D to 24. But when, as Simon predicted, the associations dropped away, you're left with two different but related stimulus response patterns to practice.

And so, I made a new drill tape. Starting with the name of a card, then a silence during which I would give the number, and then the number spoken on the tape for confirmation. With these two different drill tapes, I thought that I was on the way to mastering a memorized deck.
Bound to Please - Simon Aronson $28.00

Incidentally, in writing this article, I went back to Simon's section in Bound to Please, to see if Simon had commented on this. And there it was... on page 138: "Practice going both ways in your translations..." He had even underlined the word both. But I had not understood the importance. I do now, and hopefully you do too.

And, I had taken a big step. Alas I was still missing half of the story.

Before I drop that other shoe, please allow me to digress for a moment. I just want to share something about the drill tapes. As you work with the tapes, you get familiar with the order and you may not be responding based on the stimulus alone. In time, for example, you know that the next example after the Three of Hearts is going to be the Seven of Diamonds. And, you may also be learning the response. You say "fifteen" after the Seven of Diamonds, but you may be learning that the next necessary response after the Three of Hearts is going to be "fifteen." So, it's necessary to change the tape from time to time. Make a new one when you begin to get familiar with the first one. Shuffle a deck into random order and record the new tape. When you have three or four of these tapes, you can just randomly grab one for each drill session.

"And now, for the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey is fond of saying. At one point, I started to work on Simon's Histed Heisted. This is a great piece of stand up Mentalism for parlor shows, and I recommend it highly. (It's in Bound to Please, by the way.) During the course of the trick you are going to apparently read the names of ten cards in order from the deck. You'll do it five times, but you are not reading the cards from the shuffled deck. You're actually just reciting the order of the cards in the Aronson Stack. It seemed to me that this was going to be a piece of cake. I was getting pretty fast on responding to my drill tapes. But there were hesitations, and my "thinking" was clearly showing when I tried to just rapidly names the cards in order. Again, it took a while to "see the light." The concept is simple; what I was doing, in attempting to recall the order, was a four-step process. I would say the "Ace of Hearts," for example, and then, I would have to think "eighteenth card... the next card is the nineteenth card... the nineteenth card is the seven of spades." Then I could say it. And that four-step process was slowing me down. Clearly, what was (and still is) necessary, is to know the order of the cards, without referencing their stack numbers. It's one thing to just know that the Five of Spades follows the Seven of Spades, but quite a different thing from knowing that the Five of Spades is the nineteenth card and the Seven of Spades is the twentieth card. And so I devised some new practice drills to work on this. One simple thing that can be done just about any time and anywhere is to just run through the entire deck, speaking each card out loud, or just bringing it to mind. You can do this standing in line, driving, while a commercial is on, etc. Just name the cards... but don't think of the stack numbers. You just know, for example, that the Jack of Hearts follows the Jack of Clubs. Not because they are number 33 and 34.

You can make up a drill tape, of course, and the recorder names a card at random, and you then respond with the name of the next card. Or, when you have a stacked deck in your hand, you can just cut to a card and immediately name the next card. You can then look at the next card for confirmation if you like.

At this point, I suspect that my readers may be one step ahead of me. But, I'll mention it anyway. You need to be able to move through the deck, naming the cards, in both directions. Just recite them out loud going backwards, or make a drill tape going backwards, or cut to a card and name the card above it, not the one below it. I practice the backward order when I reset a deck in Aronson stack order after it's been shuffled. I spread through the faces of the cards, looking for card number 52. (The Nine of Diamonds) When I come to it, I cull it to the bottom, using the Hofzinser Spread Cull. I then look for the two of clubs, then the Queen of Clubs, working my way down in order. When I'm done, the deck is set in Aronson Stack and I've also gotten quite a bit of practice on my spread cull.

There's a hidden piece of good news buried in this analysis. Advocates of other stacks and systems will sometimes suggest that with a memorized deck, you don't have a backup. If you forget your association, then you're just stuck. But, when you understand the different kinds of memory associations at work, you realize that you have not a single backup, but two. For example, let's say that you are trying to remember what the stack number is of the Five of Spades. You've just temporarily blocked and you can't recall. The solution is quite simple. Just see if you can recall the card, which comes before the Five of Spades. Since that's something different, the odds are that you won't be blocked about that. So then, if you can bring the previous card (Seven of Spades) then you can probably recall the stack number of that card as well. And when you remember that the Seven of Spades is 19, then you know immediately that the stack number of the Five of Spades is 20. Of course, you could also have asked yourself if you could remember the card after the Five of Spades as well. It's likely that you will remember that it's the Queen of Diamonds. And then, it's also likely that you will remember that the Queen of Diamonds is the 21st card. And so, again, you can then see that the Five of Spades is the 20th card. Just knowing that you have these two backup systems for every card in the deck will relieve some tension. And that may help you to avoid blocks of this kind in the first place. Of course, if you are blocking on a regular basis, it's also a reminder that you need to go back and drill some more on your memory.

As you continue to work with a memorized stack, you'll discover many other patterns that contribute to "mastery." In the Aronson Stack, it's handy to know things like this:

1. The Nine of Hearts and Nine of Diamonds are ten cards apart. (42 & 52)

2. The Ten of Clubs is surrounded by the Red Jacks.

3. The King of Hearts is surrounded by the Red Fours.

4. The Six of Diamonds is surrounded by the Black Queens.

5. The Three and Four of Clubs are Five cards apart. (40 & 45)

6. The Three of Spades and Four of Spades are twenty cards apart. (17 & 37)

7. The Two and Three of Hearts are three cards apart. (4 & 7)

8. The card following the Two of Hearts is the Nine of Spades, while the card following the Two of Spades is the Nine of Hearts.

This is just the tip of the ice burg, of course. As you continue to work with a memorized deck and learn new effects, your mastery will grow and grow. If you're just starting down the path, remember what I've said about the four different stimulus-response associations that you need to learn:

1. Card.... its Stack Number.

2. Stack Number... its card.

3. Card... the card after it.

4. Card... the card before it.

As I write this, I just read Jim Steinmeyer's column in the October 2003 issue of MAGIC magazine. I consider Jim to be one of the geniuses of our magic community. The quality and quantity of his creations is truly astonishing. In this magazine, he shares a wonderful card routine called Deceptivity. I spent a pleasant couple of hours making it up and recommend it to those of you that are seeking a stand up type routine for use in parlor or small platform shows. He first details a set-up using odd and even cards. But at the end of the article, he mentions that you could just as easily use any card stack or system. Need I mention that I made it up based on the Aronson Stack?

I also just got the 4 new Richard Osterlind DVD's from L & L publishing. Osterlind is another of our great thinkers and performers. I immediately zeroed in on the section in which he explains and performs effects with his Breakthrough Card System. This is a remarkable invention and a powerful tool. But even better, in my opinion, are the effects and presentations that he does with the System. He does a whole host of powerful card magic or Mentalism based on the fact that you can determine the next card in the deck if you just can see or glimpse one card. I'm amazed at the power and simplicity of these routines, and can't wait to incorporate them into my own work. But, since I already know the Aronson stack, I'll be using it. But whether you use Richard's Breakthrough system, or a memorized deck, or just a Si Stebbins stack, I recommend Richard's DVD's very highly. His card effects and presentations rank with the best in the world. And he tips it all in his books and DVD's.

On a personal note... many of you know that I was in a bad car accident about a month ago. I am very lucky to be alive. The car was smashed in very badly from the rear, but then it also burned up completely. Fortunately alert people on the scene pulled my unconscious body from the car before it burned. I didn't become consciousness until I was in the emergency room of the hospital. I had a bad concussion, and lots of bruises, but no broken bones. I did have one cracked rib and that's the only thing still hurting. But, I have the constant ringing in the ears which is called Tinnitus. The doctors tell me this will probably go away in time, but that it could take months. While it's not a debilitating handicap, it certainly is bothersome. Still, I'm lucky to just be alive. To all of you that sent cards, emails, etc., thanks so much.
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Scott Cram's Force Procedure

The Fiftheenth in a series of articles
for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

This month most of the article will be a contribution by my friend Scott Cram from Las Vegas. With only minor editing, what follows was written by Scott himself.
Here's a sort of "tool" that can be used in the performance of memorized deck tricks that I thought you might enjoy.

Start with the deck in your memorized order. Get the card you wish to force to the top of the deck (this is done as usual, via estimation and correction). Perform Ed Balducci's "Cut Deeper" force. Set all the cards that are face-up onto your performing surface, still face-up, and set the forced card aside, facedown (the spectator hasn't looked at it just yet).

Look at the face card of the face-up pile, and recall the card that falls immediately AFTER that card in the stack (If you are using the Tamariz stack, for example, and you see the QH in the face-up stack, you know the next card is the 3D). Spread the remaining cards in your hand face-up, and look for the particular card you just determined (the 3D in this example). Break the spread so that all the cards from the determined card (the 3D again) to the face of the deck go into the right hand, and the remaining card are held by the left hand.

Drop the right hand's cards face-up onto the tabled pile, then pick this combined pile up and drop it onto the face of the left hand's face-up cards. This reassembles the deck into your memorized stack order, except for the spectator's card.

During this part of the sequence, I'll usually say, "You could have cut to any of these..." and cut this sentence off once I've found the determined card, and taken the appropriate break in the deck. I act like I just remembered the pile on the table, place it into the appropriate spot (although it should look like I'm just putting the cards back randomly in the middle), and continue, "I mean, you could have cut to any of THESE cards." You then have the spectator take a look at their card, and continue with the trick.

If, through this sequence, you've forgotten what the forced card is, you can simply look at the face card, and determine what the next card in your stack is (you don't even need a secret glimpse, because all the cards are facing you!). That will be the card that was forced. After the identity of the forced card is magically revealed, you simply place the card on top of the deck, double undercut the top card of your stack back to the top, and proceed with your next memorized stack miracle!

This great thing about this sequence is not only that it forces a card, but also with all those cuts that THEY themselves do, it creates a wonderful illusion of a well-mixed deck (in addition to any false shuffles you've thrown in)!

There is no trick in the above write-up, but I've found that this procedure can inspire some creativity. Here's one trick that I created after I discovered this idea:

The performer false shuffles the deck, and then has the spectator give the deck a straight cut. The performer says, "Normally, I'd have you take the top card after that cut, but let's dig a little deeper down in the deck to make sure your choice is truly random."

The procedure then goes on as above, and the forced card is discovered during the reassembly of the stack.

The performer then false shuffles the deck, and then, holding the deck in facedown dealing position, proceeds to turn the cards face-up one by one, and claims to be "memorizing the deck". After the performer has gone through all 52 cards quickly, they name the selected card, identifiable as the only one they never saw.

This is just a basic idea to help you see the possibilities. I hope you find this worthwhile. Feel free to use this in your column, Dennis!


Thanks, Scott. I appreciate your contribution a lot, as I'm sure do all of the regular readers. And, Vegas will probably be the location for our gathering. Not sure of dates yet, but perhaps I'll have something to announce in February as I plan to talk to as many people as possible at the World Magic Seminar in Vegas in January. If any of the regular readers of these articles plan to be there, please let me know. Perhaps we can organize a little get together and talk memorized deck work and discuss our little convention.

I'm happy to announce hat my first DVD is being replicated right now and that I'll have the first batch before Christmas. It's called the Dennis Loomis Knot Routine... Plus! I think it is the most comprehensive collection of magical knots and rope flourishes ever assembled on a single video. All of the standard knots are here and taught as clearly as possible, but so are a lot of rarer items that have never been on video before. Some will be thrilled to hear that Bill Spooner demonstrates and teaches his legendary SnapKnot for the first time on video. A couple of magicians that have seen an advance copy have said that this alone is worth the price of the DVD. For any of you that will be at WMS in Vegas in January, I'll be there as will Bill Spooner. I'll be happy to show you in person any of the Knots from the video and work with you. The DVD will be available at some of the dealer's booths as well.
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Spelling to Color, Suit, Value, and Card
With the Aronson Stack

The Sixteenth in a series of articles for the Smoke and Mirrors E-ZINE
by Dennis Loomis

On page 45 of the recently released English version of "Mnemonica" by Juan Tamariz, the great Spanish mem-deck worker shares a trick you do with his stack. The descriptive title is: "Spelling the color, value, suit, and card." Those of you that know my work can guess that my first reaction was: can it be done with the Aronson Stack? The answer is yes, and the explanation is the subject of this article.

The effect: a spectator selects a card and it's lost in the deck. The performer does a series of spelling effects; when he spells red, a red card appears on the final letter. If he spells black, a black card appears on the final letter. He repeats this with two card values (a King and a Five in the Tamariz version) and all four of the suits. Finally, he gives the deck to a spectator who spells the name of his chosen card. As he reaches the final letter, not only does he land on his card, but he discovers that the card is reversed in the deck. And, following all of this, the deck is easily reset into Mnemonica order.

Before I started searching for the correct sequence of cards in the Aronson stack to duplicate this effect, I was skeptical that I would find one. The remarkable string of factors necessary seemed to be unlikely in a random stack. However, good fortune was with me, and I discovered, not one, but three different ways to do it. Each one has a minor discrepancy. But, the original Tamariz routine has a similar discrepancy. In his version, when you spell each of the suits in turn, you spell three of them without the final "s." But, when you spell the fourth, you have to include the "s." This happens just before the grand finale, where the spectator spells to his card. In the versions I've discovered with the Aronson Stack, it happens earlier. All four of the suits are handled consistently just before the spectator is given the deck to spell to his selection. I like this better. I'm pleased that it worked out this way.

Let's dissect the effect. I don't have permission to explain the Tamariz version, so I'll just describe my versions with the Aronson Stack. For the Tamariz version, you'll have to buy "Mnemonica." But, if you're a mem-deck user, you just have to have this book in your library. Don't take my word for it, read the reviews by Jamy Ian Swiss and Mike Close in GENII and MAGIC. And, Loomis magic has Mnemonica at a very competitive price.

First, you need to force a card. I'll start with my favorite version. For this one, you force the 9S. (Card number five in the Aronson Stack) It's near the top and easy to reach when you're in "home" position. You can use any force that doesn't disturb the stack order, but you must get the card back to its regular position (5th) afterwards. What I do (or will, when I start performing this), is to spread the first four cards, sight counting, and cull the 9S under the spread with the Hofzinser Cull. The spectator touches any card they wish as I continue to spread the cards from my left hand to my right. When they touch a card, I out-jog it a bit, and break the spread just below the selection so that it becomes the bottom card in my right hand. The 9S is still under the right hands cards. Offering to let them change their mind (they seldom do), I take the right hands cards from above in biddle grip, I square them up and tilt them up so that they can see the bottom card. It's not the card they touched. Because of the cull, it's the 9S. On second thought, I remove the card and hand it to the spectator, allowing them to show it around to the others. As this happens, I place the two halves of the deck back together and hold them in dealing position in the left hand and fan the top six or seven cards of the deck in a small fan. When everyone has seen the card, I take it from the spectator, and without looking at it, replace it back in the 5th position. Because it may look a bit suspicious to replace the card so close to the top, I immediately give the deck a false cut and then do a Charlier Shuffle. (Also known as the Haymow.) I do my own handling of it (described in an earlier Smoke and Mirrors Article) which allows me to displace five cards from the top of the deck to the bottom. At the end of this write up, I'll repeat the information published earlier so you can use this. As an alternative, you can simply catch a break under the 9S when you return it, and do a double undercut to bring it to the bottom. Either way, the 9S is now on the bottom.

Now, you do a remarkable demonstration of spelling. You'll spell the colors black and red, the values seven and three, each of the suits, and then the spectator spells to his selected card. In each case, the spelling brings you to whatever you've just spelled.

To begin, say something like: "To show you how well I've trained these cards, I'll spell some colors, values, and suits. On the final letter, we always get what we spelled." You then say "black" and spell it out: B, L, A, C, K. You can proceed two ways. You can take a card from the top of the deck into the right hand for each letter, each one going under the previous one so that you have a block of five cards in your right hand. You then tip up the block to show that you have indeed landed on a black card. If you know the Aronson stack and remember that the 9S is on the bottom, you'll know that the black card is the AC. Alternately you can take the four cards into the right hand the same way, but then use the block of four to flip over the card on the top of the left hand's talon. It will be a black card; the AC. As soon as the spectators have seen this card, you flip it down and take it under the block of cards in your right hand and put the block on the bottom of the deck. You are going to repeat this procedure over and over, spelling first "red" then two values, and then all four suits.

I suggest that you begin slowly and then build the tempo up to the last suit. Then, stop dead and really sell the final phase, which is where the spectator does the spelling themselves and finds their own selection.

So, right after you've found the "black" card, you say: "If I want a red card, I spell R-E-D." As you spell, you perform the same actions as above and end up displaying the 2D.

You will do the same actions for the values "Seven" and "Three." But, you have to cheat just a bit on the seven. Unlike all of the other cards in the sequence, you will have to spell S, E, V, E, N, and turn over the NEXT card, not the card that corresponds to the N. One way to disguise this is to switch your procedure, and place each card to the bottom of the deck as you go. As you say "N" you also put that card to the bottom and then address one of the spectators and ask "What do you think I get?" He'll probably reply "Seven" and you then flip over the top card of the deck face up. It will be a Seven… the 7H. The momentary break in the action as you solicit and get the spectators answer, will help disguise the slight difference in your procedure.

Of course, there are other approaches. As you spell seven, you can simply grab two cards together as one somewhere along the way. If you go quickly, this "double deal" can be done without deceptively. You can slow down and actually do a double lift on one of the cards as you take it. Your choice.

After you put the seven to the bottom of the deck, you're home free. No more cheating is necessary. You can focus on just selling the effect. You will now spell the value "three," and each of the four suits. An appropriate card appears on the final letter each time. All you need to know is that you use the singular terms (Club, etc) and the order will be: Heart, Diamond, Spade, and Club. I like to say: "If I want a heart, I spell H, E, A, R, T and I get a heart." This wording makes the use of the singular term logical. It may help you to remember the suit order if you remember that you do the two red ones first, and then the black. AND, you do the major suit first in both cases. Or, you may want to remember the simple mnemonic phrase: His Darling Seemed Clever (Heart, Diamond, Spade, and Club.)

Amazingly, you will end up on a card of the proper suit each time, and when you finish the Club, you're exactly in position to spell the chosen card: N, I, N, E, O, F, S, P, A, D, E, S and the card that corresponds to the final S will be the 9S. However, I recommend that you adapt the Tamariz handling and let the spectator do it themselves. If you are a little leery of this, you can "supervise" the procedure. One interesting approach is to give them the cards, and then pretend to read their mind. They think of the card and you spell it out loud. They duck one card to the bottom for each letter you say. When you reach the final "s" of Spades, the card will be the 9S.

And, your Aronson stack is still in order. Just replace the 9S on the top or bottom, cut the 9D to the face and you're "home."

If you've been reading carefully, you may have noticed that we haven't explained one detail. In the Tamariz version, the chosen card appears face up. And that's a nice visual punch to the already strong climax. How? Well, once the card is on the bottom of the deck, you have to reverse it, retaining it on the bottom. Here are some handlings:
You can simply do a one card "Half-Pass." Or, you can control the 9S to the top, not the bottom. Palm it off with either a two handed palm or a one handed top palm, turn the deck face up and display the bottom card, noting that it's not the selection. You then turn over the deck face down, adding the palmed card to the face of the deck as you do so, and then turn over the top card to show that the selection is not there either. Either of these will get the bottom card reversed. If you don't do a palm or half-pass, you can do the routine without having the selection reversed. Or, create a reason to put the deck behind your back or under the table and reverse the 9S while the deck is out of sight. A simple verbal excuse for this is to say: "Some magicians find a card with the deck hidden (put the deck out of sight as you say this and reverse the 9S) but I'm not going to do that. In fact, I'm not even going to find your card… you are! But first…" and you start the spelling patter. Quite a bit of time will take place before the reversed card is revealed, so they're unlikely to remember that you concealed the deck.

The other two versions are similar. In one, you force the 10C, and in the other, you force the 8H.

In both cases, you get the card back to its original position, and then get it to the bottom of the deck. (Reverse it, if you like.)

For the 10C, I'd do an estimated cut, trying to bring it to the 6th position from the top. That means trying to cut about 29 cards. (35 is the stack number of the 10C, and you subtract 6). As you square the cards, glimpse the bottom card of the deck. I just did that, and I see the 7C. That means I was one card off in my cut and that I need to cull the 7th card, not the 6th. As I begin spreading, I just sight count the first six cards and cull the 7th. Later, when I return the 10C, I have to put it back at the 7th position, and then control it to the bottom.

The full spelling sequence for the 10C is as follows:

R, E, D: 10H
B, L, A, C, K: KS
Q, U, E, E, N: QS
J, A, C, K: JS---(The "cheat")
T, W, O: 2H
C, L, U, B: 6C
D, I, A, M, O, N, D: 7D
S, P, A, D, E: 5S
H, E, A, R, T: 7H

Then the spectator spells to his card, the 10C.

You must cheat on the J, A, C, K sequence, just as you cheated on the S, E, V, E, N sequence in the first routine.

For the 8H sequence, I'll let you enjoy discovering the "path" yourself. I can assure you that it works nicely, and that you have to "cheat" once. If you can't figure it out, drop me an e-mail, and I'll send you the solution. (

The reason I prefer the 9S sequence is that you can go directly into the force from Home position with no need for the estimated cut. But, it's not hard to do the other two versions.
Theoretically, you could learn all three of these, and alternate them. The difficulty is that the different spelling sequences may be hard to remember. Still, with some determination and some mnemonics you could do it. For myself, I'm going to add the 9S version to my repertoire.
Here's a repeat of a part of my article on my variation of the Charlier or Haymow shuffle and how it can be used to move any number of cards you wish from the top to the bottom:
I believe that I originally learned the Haymow shuffle from Royal Road to Card Magic by Hugard and Braue. I've done it for years, and was rather surprised, in discussing it with my pal Gene Anderson that I was doing it differently. I checked Gene's instructions and also the Royal Road again, and indeed, what I'm doing is somewhat different. I don't know how I fell into this action. Perhaps I read the instructions wrong in the first place. But, it works just the same even though it looks quite different. For completeness, here's how I do it:

The deck is held in the left hand dealing position and a bunch of cards are pushed off the top into the right hand. The number is unimportant, but I push about half of the deck. The left hand is raised until it's just above the right hand and the right fingers push a small block of cards from the top onto the bottom of the left-hand packet. This is probably six or eight cards, but it's not important. The left hand is lowered back to its original position, and the left fingers push a small block of cards onto the bottom of the right hands cards. Again the left hand is lowered and the right hand pushes off a small block of cards onto the bottom of the left-hand cards. If you're pushing off roughly the same amount of cards each time (except for the first time, of course) then the packets in the hands remain about the same size and you can keep going as long as you like.

When you stop, if you have a corner or belly short in your deck, you can easily cut the deck back to starting order. This is not necessary for the first two phases of the routine. You will want to do that for the third and fourth phase.

So now, let's use it to accomplish something: moving a block of cards of any size from top to bottom. My primary use for it is as a way to get ready for the Simon Aronson Three Phase Poker Deal from his book: Bound to Please. I do not intend to explain that routine, but you must begin the routine with the ten of spades on the bottom of the deck. This is the eleventh card in the Aronson Stack. I do this in the process of the Haymow Shuffle. The deck is cut approximately in half, but the upper half goes into the left hand. To do this, here's one simple method: With the deck held in dealing position in the left hand, the right hand comes over and takes the entire deck from above in Biddle Grip. The right index finger swivel cuts approximately half of the cards back into the left hand. This is the original top half of the deck of course. With some help with the fingertips and thumb of the left hand, the cards in the right hand are moved into a dealing position in that hand as well.

You begin the Haymow Shuffle by pushing a block of cards with the left thumb off of the top of its cards onto the bottom of the left hands cards. But instead of a random number of cards; push off exactly three cards. This is very easy. Now the right hand pushes off a block of cards from the top of it's half onto the bottom of the left-hand cards. This can be any number; I usually do four or five. Again, the process is reversed and the left hand pushes off a block of cards. Again, it pushes off exactly three. And again the right hand pushes a random number of cards off the top of its pile onto the bottom of the left hands cards. The third time that the left hand pushes cards into the right hand; it again pushes exactly three cards. At this point, you've pushed a total of nine cards off of the cards in the left-hand pile. Again the right hand pushes any number of cards onto the bottom of the cards in the left-hand pile. Finally, the left hand pushes just two cards onto the bottom of the cards in the right hand. The right hand now places its entire pile onto the bottom of the left hands cards and the deck is squared. You have transferred exactly 11 cards from top to bottom, no other mixing has been done, and you have the ten of spades on the bottom ready to do the Aronson Poker Deal.

You can move any number of cards you wish. For example, if you wanted to move fifteen cards from the top to the bottom, the left hand pushes four cards in it's first "turn." four more cards the next time, four more cards the third time, and finally just three cards. To move larger groups, you may want to move five or even six cards each time. Keep a running count in your head. In the above example, as I do the shuffle, in my head I say: "Three, six, nine, and eleven."
I hope you find this simple procedure a useful addition to your arsenal. As always, I invite comments, suggestions, ideas, questions, etc. You may reach me at:

Since writing the first draft of this article, I've been in touch with Simon Aronson about it. It's his strong opinion that the spelling sequence in Mnemonica which allows this routine was not originally planned. It was discovered afterward. Simon's probably right… he usually is.
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Prediction a la Kruskal
With the Aronson Stack

By Dennis Loomis and Simon
Written by Dennis Loomis

On page 45 of the recently released English version of Mnemonica by Juan Tamariz, there's a trick called: "Prediction a La Kruskal." It was devised by Antonio Jose Arenillas for the Mnemonica stack. I wondered if it could be done with the Aronson Stack. After considerable investigation, I'm pleased to reveal that it can. I worked this out shortly after getting my copy of Mnemonica. When, I shared it with Simon Aronson, he created a brilliant addition which makes for an even stronger effect.

The Kruskal count or process was named for Rutgers mathematician Martin D. Kruskal. It was designed to be done with a shuffled deck, but was not successful 100% of the time. By using the Aronson Stack with the appropriate prediction card, we can guarantee the success of our trick.

First, the magician predicts a card. This can be a written prediction on a piece of paper, a card from another deck in your pocket, or any other prediction procedure you like.

Next, a spectator is asked to cut the deck. The cut is restricted to the top half. The cut off packet of cards is turned face up on the table, revealing the card the spectator cut to. A counting process is used to move through the deck to a final card, which turns out to match the prediction.

In the original Kruskal Count the Aces count as one and the face cards are valued at five.

Let's work through an example. With the deck in Aronson Stack order, let's say that the card cut to is the Ten of Spades. The spectator deals ten cards face up onto the Ten of Spades, arriving at the Queen of Diamonds. Since a face card was reached, the spectator deals five more cards and arrives at the Queen of Hearts. This process is repeated, arriving at the Four of Diamonds next, then the Ten of Clubs, the Four of Clubs, and the Six of Diamonds. Since there are only three cards remaining, the count can go no further, and the Six of Diamonds becomes the "selected" card.

With a new procedure for the count, and with a new starting point, we can perform a strong prediction routine. In Mnemonica, Arenillas and Tamariz have changed the procedure for the face cards. Instead of valuing them as five, they are spelled. If a Queen appears, the spectator spells Q-U-E-E-N as five cards are dealt. For the Jack and King, only four cards are thumbed over since those cards spell with four letters. In fact, my effect with the Aronson Stack will work with either process, but the original Kruskal procedure often leads to a disadvantageous situation which I will explain later. So, I use the spelling procedure with the face cards.

You need only do two things, and the trick is virtually self working. First, you must cut the Five of Diamonds to the face before starting, and your prediction must be the Queen of Hearts. For the past few days, I've been carrying a Queen of Hearts from another deck in one pocket so that I can do this trick. I simply pull the card out, with its back to the audience, and place it somewhere in view. It's lucky that the Queen of Hearts is the card that works with the Aronson Stack; it's a card often named by laymen.

The spectator can cut to any of the top 24 cards. In discussing this with Simon Aronson, he suggested the following patter to explain why their choice is limited to the top half of the deck: "This is a counting trick. We'll count down a random number, using whatever number you cut to. So cut off less than half the deck so that we have some cards left in which to do the counting."

Just follow the procedure outlined above, spelling the court cards and counting the values of the others, and your path will always lead to the Queen of Hearts.

Here's a chart showing the path taken for a cut to any of the top 24 cards:

(Zack's Note: Originally, there was a chart here, formatted specifically for Dennis' site. I have reformatted and I have added a " // " barrier for each table cell.)

1.) 7C // 10C // 4C // 6D // 5C // 6C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

2.) 4H // JC // 4S // 2S // KS // 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

3.) KH // JH // 10H // QS // JS // 9S // KD // AD // 7S // QH

4.) 4D // 10C // 4C // 6D // 5C // 6C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

5.) 10D // 9H // 2C // JS // 9S // KD AD // 7S // QH

6.) JC // 4S // 2S // KS // 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

7.) JH // 10H // QS // JS // 9S // KD // AD // 7S // QH

8.) 10C // 4C // 6D // 5C // 6C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

9.) JD // 3C // KS // 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

10.) 4S // 2S // KS // 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

11.) 10H // QS // JS // 9S // KD // AD // 7S // QH

12.) 6H // 4C // 6D // 5C // 6C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

13.) 3C // KS // 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

14.) 2S // KS // 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

15.) 9H // 2C // JS // 9S // KD // AD // 7S // QH

16.) KS // 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

17.) 6S // QC // 5C // 6C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

18.) 4C // 6D // 5C // 6C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

19.) 8H // KC // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

20.) 9C // 2H // AS // 3H // AC // 10S // QD // QH

21.) QS // JS // 9S // KD // AD // 7S // QH

22.) 6D // 5C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

23.) QC // 5C // 6C // KD // AD // 7S // QH

24.) 2C // JS // 9S // KD // AD // 7S // QH


1. The trick will work if the Queen of Hearts is cut to the bottom, but then the counting and spelling procedure will proceed to the very last card. It looks better to have one card left on the table.

2. If you use the original Kruskal count procedure of valuing the face cards as "5," the trick will work. However, in some paths, you will arrive at the King of Spades, the Queen of Spades, the Jack of Spades, the Ace of Spades, and the Ten of Spades. This is because of one of the poker deals built into the Aronson Stack. This suggests a stack. So, I prefer to avoid it by using the procedure of spelling the face cards worked out by Arenillas and Tamariz.

3. The initial cut can go quite a bit deeper. With one exception, all of the cards up to the Six of Clubs will work. That's the top 33 cards of the deck once you've cut the Five of Diamonds to the face. However, it will not work with the 9 of Diamonds. I recommend using Simon Aronson's patter given above, and if they cut a little deep, have them turn the packet face up. If you see a card in the range of 28 to 51 or 1 to 8 (stack numbers,) you are fine. If, however, you see card 52 (Nine of Diamonds) you react by saying: "I think that's a little deep, will you cut a few less cards?" Then you replace the packet and have the spectator cut again. This should seldom happen as Simon's patter virtually ensures that the cut will fall into the totally safe area of the top 24 cards.

4. If you like to 'Jazz' with the Aronson stack, this trick makes an excellent addition to your arsenal. Since the Queen of Hearts is frequently named, just go into this trick when it is. You will have to cut the Five of Diamonds to the face, of course.

5. If you are proficient at 'Jazzin' with the Aronson stack, you can eliminate any restrictions on the cut at all. If the cut falls in the safe area of the top 24 cards, you continue with this trick. You can even do so if they should cut into the eight card block immediately below the Nine of Diamonds. (Just remember that these are stack numbers one to eight.) But, if the cut falls on the Nine of Diamonds, or below the Six of clubs, you simply do not do this trick. Just revert to your normal 'Jazzin' procedures.

6. The reason that the Kruskal count works well with the Queen of Hearts as the target is that there are two cards which lead directly to the Queen (The Seven of Spades, and the Queen of Diamonds.) And, the paths which lead to those two cards are mutually exclusive. If you look on the chart at the path from the top card of the deck (the Seven of Clubs,) and the path from the second card from the top, you'll see that they're completely different. No cards appear in both of those paths. Any card which begins a path which crosses either of those two paths will lead inexorably to the Queen of Hearts. Fortunately, with the Aronson stack, the next twenty two cards all do this.

7. In Mnemonica, Arenillas and Tamariz give their method for repeating the effect. This can easily be done with this version. After you complete the effect, replace the Queen of Hearts on the bottom of the deck. You can then repeat the entire routine, with the Five of Diamonds as your prediction. In fact, you can use any of the following cards which are near the bottom of the deck: Ace of Hearts, Eight of Spades, Three of Diamonds, Seven of Hearts, and Five of Diamonds. Just return the Queen of Hearts to the bottom of the deck, and slip the card of your choice from the above list to the fifty-first position, and you are set.


I told Simon Aronson about my discovery of how to do "Prediction a la Kruskal" with the Aronson stack. A couple of days later, he had worked out this brilliant variation. In Simon's version, the Kruskal procedure will lead to a card previously selected by another spectator!

Begin with the deck in Aronson Stack order. Spread the stacked deck for a selection and removal. The selection must come from the lower half of the deck. Actually, it must fall from the 28th card to the 50th card. This is not difficult. Simply begin spreading cards from left to right with your left thumb as you begin to ask the spectator to take a card. Move quickly, and by the time he can respond, you have passed the first 28 cards or so. Then, slow down and let them choose a card as it goes by. Don't let them pick either the bottom card or the one adjacent to it.

Have the spectator show the card to the other spectators, and as he does so, get a break between the 7H and the QH. Simon works with the 5D as a short card, so it's easy in his case to catch a break one card up from his short card. He suggests that you may also want to pencil dot the Seven or Queen to facilitate this. You could put "punch" work into one of those cards as well.

After the spectator has shown the card around, split the deck at the break to have the selection returned. Obtain a new break two cards down. This is very easy to sight count.

Now double undercut to your break. The 5D will become the face card of the deck, and the selection will be two cards above it. Now proceed with the Kruskal procedure outlined above, and your final card will be the selection! As Simon said: "This opens up the possibilities greatly."

When the effect concludes, you need only replace the selection in its proper position and your Aronson Stack is intact.


1. Here's an alternative procedure I worked out for the selection process: Begin by cutting the Five of Diamonds to the face. Have someone just touch any card they like as you thumb cards slowly into the right hand. (They must touch one of the top 23 cards.) Break the deck below the card they touch and tip up the cards in the right hand to show them their selection on the face. You do NOT square up those cards. As you replace the spread cards in your right hand onto the cards in your left, Hofzinser cull the chosen card. The way you're holding the cards makes this quite easy. As you close the fan, slip the culled chosen card between the 7H and QH. (The next-to-the-bottom-card and the one above it.) Now false shuffle and/or cut and you are ready to proceed with the Kruskal Count.

2. You can create a similar effect using a procedure from Mnemonica. Begin by forcing the Queen of Hearts from a different deck. Have the card tabled but not revealed until the end of the effect.

You could use a gaffed forcing deck, like a one-way deck, Svengali Deck, etc. Or, you can use a sleight of hand force. If your force is deceptive, you create about the same effect as with Simon's addition.
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Mary Mowder's Memorized Deck Solitaire
Dennis Loomis' Addition to Shuffle-Bored with the Aronson Stack
Aronson Anti-Faro

Written by Dennis Loomis for the December 2004 issue of Smoke and Mirrors

Mary Mowder's Memorized Deck Solitaire:

Despite the title, this is not a game that you play just for fun. (Although you can do that.) It is a technique for practicing your mastery of a memorized deck stack. And, when you're finished, you'll have your deck in memorized deck order.

Begin by shuffling your deck. You are going to deal out a layout for the "standard" game of Solitaire. Since there are so many forms of solitaire, I'll explain. First deal a row of seven face-down cards on the table. Then turn one card from the deck face-up and place it onto the face-down card at the left end of the row. Then deal a face-down card onto the other six face-down piles. Now deal a face-up card onto the second pile from the left, and deal five cards face-down onto the face-down piles. Continue this until you have seven piles of cards and each one has a face-up card on the top.

In standard Solitaire, you can only play a single face-up card or a stack of face-up cards onto the top of one of the piles. (The normal procedure is that the card played has to be one lower in value and the opposite color of the card on the pile. For example, if you have a Three of Spades showing on top of a pile, you can place either of the red twos onto the Three.) In Mary's game, you can play a face-up card or a stack of face-up cards either on top of the face-up card(s) or UNDER the face-up card(s) on any pile. As in regular Solitaire, when you move a face-up card or a stack of face-up cards onto a different pile, you then turn up the face-down top card of the pile from which you removed the card(s).

We'll going to run through a sample game and give you a few examples of the procedure as it progresses. These values are for the Aronson Stack. But the same game can be done with virtually any full deck stack in which you can determine the card before and the card after a given card. After the initial deal, the following face-up cards show. From left to right: 3H, 7S, 5H, KH, KS, 3D, and JD.

The first step is to see if there are any plays that can be made in the layout before you start to turn cards face-up in the remaining part of the deck (talon). Look at each card in turn to see what card could be played onto it, or under it. First consider the Three of Hearts. Its stack number is 7, the card before it in Aronson Stack order is the AS, and the card after it is the 6C. Scanning the face-up cards, neither of those cards is visible. Go on to the 7S. It's the 19th card. The card before it is the AD, and the card after it is the 5S. Neither of those cards is visible either. In this particular example, there are no plays possible in the initial layout. By determining that, you've drilled yourself on the stack numbers and the cards before and after for each of these seven cards.

Now turn up the top card of the talon. In this example it's the 9H. That's the 42nd card and it follows the 2S. Scanning the cards, there is no 2 of spades present. The card that follows the 9H is the KS and that card happens to be visible on top of the 5th pile. Since the 9H is one card lower in the stack it is played under the KS. (But on top of the face-down card in that pile.) Arrange those two cards in overlapped fashion as in typical in Solitaire. As play progresses and these stacks of face-up cards get longer and longer, it is only necessary that you can see the top and bottom cards of the face-up row.

It is now possible that the new card among the visible cards could play onto another face-up card. So, recall that the card before the 9H in Aronson Stack order is the 2S, and look for it. Since that card is not visible another play cannot be made. But, if the 2S had been the top card of any pile, you would have moved both the 9H AND the KS on top of the 2S. That would have exposed the face-down card under the 9H and you would have turned it face-up and it would be available for play as well.

In this case, the top card of the talon is turned up; it's the AS. Since this is the sixth card, it can be played under the 3H (#4). Lift the 3H, and place the face-up AS on top of the face-down single card. The AS is then placed face-up onto that card and the 3H is placed on top of both, overlapped so that the indexes of each are visible.

Play continues in this fashion, following the "rules" of Solitaire. But, feel free to change the rules to suit yourself. The basic idea is to practice your memorized deck skills. One thing that's helpful is to complete each game. This assures that you get some drill on all of the cards. Unless you "cheat," this won't happen often. When you've gotten to the point where no more plays seem possible, remove one of the stacks of face-down cards from under one of the face-up stacks, and add those cards to the deck. And, don't place any limit on the number of times the deck can be run through. To randomize the drill, shuffle the deck before each new run through. If you get stuck, remove another stack of face-down cards from under another stack. In this way, you'll ultimately end up with all of the cards in one full stack. (If you end up with two stacks that cannot be assembled "properly" it means that somewhere along the way you've made a mistake in playing a card.) Your assembled stack will probably have to be cut between the 9D and the JS to return it to original Aronson stack order.

This game can be done with any memorized deck, but also with the Si Stebbins, Eight Kings, or Hungry !@#$%^& orders. It can even be done with the Osterlind Breakthrough System, although you will have to develop facility working both forwards and backwards in it.

Dennis Loomis' Addition to Shuffle-Bored with the Aronson Stack:

For our second topic, let's take a look at Simon Aronson's wonderful effect: Shuffled Bored. Despite the title, I doubt if your audiences will find this "boring." The routine is described in the final section of Simon's great book: "Bound to Please." I like to use Paul Green's presentation which is based on the TV game show "Jeopardy." You'll find this routine on Paul's DVD: "In the Trenches." Of course, the trick requires a special full deck stack. But, Alain Nu came to the rescue and discovered a way to do this remarkable effect using a deck stacked in Aronson Stack Order. You'll find the complete write up for it, with Simon's suggestions, on Simon's Web Site:

I would like to suggest an alternative procedure to the slip cut process described by Simon and Alain on the Web Site. So, if you're interested in learning this, take a deck stacked in Aronson order in hand, and follow along. While toying with the deck after your preceding effect, hold it in dealing position in your left hand. With your right hand, cut 36 cards (or as close to it as you can manage) and just separate the deck slightly at that point. By tipping the left side of the deck upward, you can peek down into the break and see where you're at. As soon as you see the card, you can adjust cards either way so that you can get a break between the Jack of Diamonds and the Four of Spades. As you tip the deck back down to horizontal, transfer the break to the left little finger.

If possible, allow some time to elapse as you begin the introduction into the effect. When you're ready to cut the deck as required for the beginning phase of Shuffle-Bored, you first do what appears to be a straight cut. It's not. Begin by swivel cutting all of the cards above the break into your left hand. As you place the remaining cards in the right hand on top of the cards in the left hand, you do the Kelly Bottom Placement. This brings the Nine of Diamonds to the bottom of the deck. Just above it is the Jack of Diamonds, and you are ready to begin the Shuffle Bored procedure by turning the deck face-up and spreading to the Six of Clubs. (It's easy to find because it's just three cards to the left of center.) Cut the deck between the Six of Clubs and the Eight of Diamonds, giving the slightly smaller group to the spectator and you continue with the standard Shuffle-Bored Effect. When you finish the trick, the deck is no longer in Aronson Stack order. But it is still in a sort of "Divided Deck" condition. Simon explains how you might take advantage of this on his web site.

Aronson Anti-Faro:

Finally, in his brilliant book "Mnemonica" Juan Tamariz includes a procedure he calls the Anti-Faro. It was originally published in his book "Sonata." There are several variations of this procedure. And we're going to focus on the "Out-Anti-Faro 4" from page 322 of "Mnemonica." All of the procedures are designed to nullify the effects of one or more Faro Shuffles. I particularly like his ideas for justifying these procedures which appear on page 323 of "Mnemonica." Briefly, he claims that this is the surest way of completely mixing up a deck of cards and that's why it's used in the casinos in Monte Carlo. As he's explaining this, he deals the deck out into 16 piles of cards and then reassembles them in what appears to be a very haphazard manner. In fact, it's all carefully worked out to nullify a series of 4 out Faros he's done before.

I think that this would be an excellent way to introduce a deck of cards and convince the audience that it's truly mixed up. Since it's worked out to produce the same results every time, it can become what amounts to a very effective false shuffle. Not that it doesn't change the order of the cards. It certainly does, but if we could calculate the proper starting position, then we could end up with the deck in any order we like.

I've done that for the Aronson Stack. Here it is for your use:
From the top down: 9D, JD, 5S, 2H, 6H, 8S, 3H, 9H, QH, AC, 4C, 4H, 2D, QS, 10D, 8C, 2C, 10C, 7S, 5C, 10H, AH, AS, 2S, 7H, 8D, 6S, 7C, 5H, 9C, 4D, 7D, QC, JH, AD, KC, 4S, QD, 9S, 3C, 3D, 6C, KS, 5D, 10S, 8H, KH, KD, 6D, JC, 3S, JS

With your deck preset in this order, you can introduce the cards, spread them to show they are fairly well mixed up, but then claim, as Tamariz does, that you are going to mix them in the surest manner possible, as done by the casinos in Monte Carlo. You then quickly deal the cards singly into 16 piles, and do either the one handed or two handed pickup explain by Tamariz on page 322 of Mnemonica.

One interesting feature of this stack is that several cards are already in their Aronson Stack positions. For example, the Ace of Clubs is at the tenth position, and the Two of Diamonds is at the 13th position. This is fortuitous. It gives us a way to secretly introduce this deck into play. Assume that this deck is in one of your pockets and you're working with a second deck. Spot and then force either the Ace of Clubs of the Two of Diamonds. Either of these cards is in position to be spelled in the Aronson Stack, a feature that Simon built into the six cards from positions 10 to 15 in his stack. Once the card has been forced, it can be returned to the deck in any manner you like, and a spectator can shuffle the deck. Then, you place the deck into your pocket. For the first time, you ask the spectator to name his card. When he does, you reach into your pocket and pull out cards one at a time. You spell one letter of the card's name with each card you remove. A-C-E-O-F-C-L-U-B-S, or T-W-O-OF-D-I-A-M-O-N-D-S. You put the first card face-up onto the table and place each card onto it. There appears to be no particular order to the cards. (Even to users of the Aronson Stack.) But, on the final letter, you bring out the chosen card itself. You then remove the rest of the deck and place it face-up on top of the tabled pile. The cards were removed from your stacked deck, of course, and at the conclusion of the trick you've switched in the stacked deck. You're now ready to do the Tamariz Anti-Out-Faro 4 procedure and your deck will be in Aronson Stack order.
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Magic vs. Mindreading

Written by Dennis Loomis for the January 2005 issue of Smoke and Mirrors

The trick by the above name was created by Ted Annemann; you'll find it on page 236 of the "ANNEMANN" book by Max Abrams (The Life and Times of a Legend.) But, Richard Osterlind also performs and explains it on his new series of DVD's entitled "Easy To Master Mental Magic." (Both are available from Loomis Magic at .)

This is a great trick with two decks of cards, each with the same 15 card stack on top. It's convenient, if not coincidental, that the Aronson Stack has the necessary stack in position right on top. That's because Simon built the same kind of spelling effect into his stack. However, the Annemann routine has a great "hook" which is the patter theme. It's a demonstration of the difference between what a magician would do, and what a mind reader or mentalist would do in the way of a card routine.

In my walk around work, I usually have two decks of cards set up in Aronson stack order, although occasionally I lose the order in one of the other of them. However, it's not difficult to reset the deck right in performance, and my eighth article in this series goes into some detail about that. (All of the articles in this series are available on my web site at free of charge.)

So, if you have two decks in Aronson stack order you can go right into this killer routine. I carry two decks of the same color, while Osterlind does this routine with a red deck and a blue deck. Annemann did not specify that, and it makes no difference: the routine is equally good with two decks that are the same.

You can do a shorter version of this with just a single deck. You use the same basic patter, and it's not bad. But, the second climax, with the second deck really takes this effect into the "killer" category.

Osterlind has a third climax with a prediction in an envelope. That's not in Annemann's version, but it's certainly worth considering. I won't go into that here, because it's Richards' addition. But, I urge you to get Richard's set of Easy to Master Mental Miracles on DVD. If you do mentalism, this is a must-have item for your library.

Annemann suggests the use of a short card, and Osterlind uses a corner short for this effect. I don't, and will explain some alternatives in a moment.

The basic effect: Two decks are brought forth, and the performer offers to explain the difference between what a magician does, and what a mentalist or mind-reader would do with a deck of cards. A spectator is asked to select either deck and place it in his pocket. No force or equivoque is necessary, since both decks have the necessary stack. He then explains that a magician would probably handle the cards a lot, showing them well mixed, possibly shuffling them some more, etc. During this, the cards are spread face up so that the audience can see they are well mixed. Then they are false shuffled to maintain the 15 card stack on top. A jog shuffle is one good possibility, here. Then the performer explains that a magician would have a card physically chosen. He pantomimes the selection procedure, but does not have a card actually selected. He explains, that when the card is returned to the deck in his hands, he has his opportunity to do some magicians sleight of hand. Then he locates the card in some mysterious manner.

The performer explains that a mentalist would do no such thing. He would simply have someone think of a card, and then read their mind. Having said that, he shows a fan of cards to one spectator and asks that they simply think of any of the cards. The fan is then placed onto the deck proper, and the cards are shuffled. (Another false shuffle to retain the top stock) The performer asks the spectator to name his card, and the card is spelled to, removing a card from the top of the deck for each letter in the cards name. On the final letter, the card arrived at is turned over and it is the card merely thought of.

The performer explains that since a card was merely thought of, then he must have read the spectators mind and then put the card into the proper position. Then he asks the spectator if he things that he might have known, in advance, which card he would merely think of. Whatever the spectator says, he is asked to remove the 2nd deck from his pocket.
Then the performer has him remove the cards from the box, without changing their order at all, and again spell down to the card he thought of. He's directed to turn each card face up as he deals it onto the table. When he reaches the final letter, sure enough, the card he mentally selected appears. This is very strong, and makes a great closer.

By now, my readers are probably ahead of me and understand the basic idea. As you may know, the tenth through 15th cards in the Aronson stack were intentionally chosen by Simon because they all can be "spelled" from the top of the deck. The tenth card spells with ten letters; the eleventh card spells with eleven letters, and so on. While Annemann did not use all of the same cards, his stack achieves the same thing.

All that remains is to force one of these six cards. Annemann did this in a very simple way, and I recommend it highly. He picked up the top 15 cards of the deck, and fanned them in such a way that only the bottom six cards of that packet could be seen. Only the spectator that looks at the fan realizes that he has only a very small group to choose from, and he will probably think very little about that. The other spectators probably think that he sees a lot more cards.

Annemann used a short card to simplify cutting off the 15 card setup, but since this is my working deck for many effects, I don't do that. I'll give you three different

ways to achieve the same thing. First, if you are good at thumb counting (as Max Maven is) during the preliminary patter, after you've completed the false shuffle, simply drop your hand to your side and thumb count 15 cards as you talk. Hold a break at that point, and when the appropriate moment arrives, lift up the deck and cut to the break with your other hand. Alternatively, if you are any good at all at estimation, you can easily cut to within a card or two of 15 cards. Glimpse where you are at, and, if necessary, add or take away a card or two so that the 15th card (Seven of Diamonds) is on the fact of the packet you are cutting off. Finally, and easiest of all, just thumb over cards and sight count them until you have fifteen and remove that packet. I usually thumb over three at a time, so five quick pushes and I'm right where I need to be. It's probably wise to glimpse the face card before proceeding to be sure that you're in the right place.

That's really all there is to it. Follow the procedures outlined above and both the first and second phases work easily. The second phase is all done in the spectator's hands, and is automatic.

In the Osterlind version, the cards from the first deck are dealt face down on the table when spelling to the selection. This reverses the order of that block in your stack. It's simple enough to avoid: just deal cards from one hand into the other, retaining the order of the cards. When the second deck is removed from the spectator's pocket, and he spells to the same card, the fact that he deals them into a face up pile retains the order. Just replace the tabled cards on the top of the deck, and both of your decks remain in Aronson Stack Order.
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Memorized Think of a Card

Written by Dennis Loomis for the June 2005 issue of Smoke and Mirrors

This month, let's take a look at my version of the Milt Kort/Dai Vernon Classic "Think of a Card." My old Michigan pal, Ron Bauer, has recently released the 19th Volume in his Private Studies Series. I recommend this series highly and have all of them in my personal library. You can get them at or from most magic dealers. The 19th is called "All-Outs Think-of-a-Card." It's Milt Kort's version of the Vernon "Think of a Card from More Inner Secrets Of Card Magic.

The routines differ in some particulars. In the Vernon original, a spectator thinks of one of 13 cards. They are shown to him one at a time and are numbered 1 to 13. The spectator has to remember both the number and the card at that number. In the Kort routine, only nine cards are used, but the magician simply shows a fan of nine cards to the volunteer who remembers any one of them. He need not take note of nor remember any number. In both versions, the magician then holds the deck behind his back or under the table and does "something" to the cards. Later, the deck is fanned to show that he reversed one card. In both cases, this card might be the thought of card, but is usually not. Then, the performer gets some information from the volunteer. In the Vernon routine, the spectator reveals the number his card was at, but not the identity. In the Kort version, the spectator names the actual card. Then, the magician shows that he had predicted the card by counting from the reversed card to the selection.

In both cases, a simple set up is required. For Vernon's original you need to get a deuce in the fourth position from the top of the deck. In the Aronson stack, the two of hearts is in fourth position, and you can do the Vernon trick with no other preparation. The routine will disarrange your Aronson stack a bit, but not badly. In the Kort version, you need to get a trey fifth from the top of the deck. While the fifth card in the Aronson stack is not a trey, the three of hearts is in position seven. It's a simple matter to get a break under the top two cards and undercut them to the bottom. Now the three of hearts is in the fifth position.

I have a little preference for the Kort version since it does not require the spectator to remember both a number and a card. So, my version is based on the Kort Routine. I'm not going to tip any more right here, because you really should get Ron Bauer's #19 manuscript. Once you do, you may prefer to do the original Kort Version. But, if you are carrying a deck set in Aronson stack with you, then you may want to try mine. If, like me, you have the top card (Jack of Spades) as a scallop short, then you do not have to put the "work" into one card that Kort used.

To do my version, false shuffle the deck, and then double undercut the top two cards to the bottom. Form a fan of the first 9 cards. The three of hearts should be right in the middle of the fan. The spectator now thinks of any of the cards. You now return the fan to the top of the deck and cut it to the middle.

When the deck is out of sight, you cut the scallop card to the top, and then transfer six cards from the top to the bottom, retaining their order. Flip the top card face up (it's the three of hearts) and cut it to the center and bring the deck in view. Following the Kort procedure, you now have the spectator name their card. As soon as they do, you explain that you reversed one card in the deck, and ribbon spread the deck widely on the table. Of course, if they named the three of hearts, you have just done a miracle. But if not, you explain that you did not turn over the thought of card, but a card that would lead to the thought of card. Then, use the series of outs so thoroughly explained by Ron Bauer in the manuscript. Your deck is still in Aronson stack order, although you will need to cut at the scallop card to get to home position.

For those of you not familiar with the Kort routine, mine is quite a bit stronger because it is not necessary for you to look at the cards. In Kort's version, once you bring the cards back into view, you have to fan them so that you are obviously looking at the faces. But with the deck memorized, the cards remain ribbon spread face down on the table. When the spectator names his card, you count to it "blind." You're going to fry your brother magicians that know the Kort routine, so this is a good version to do for the guys at the Magic Club meeting.

I've reworked a lot of "standard" magic routines like this one to utilize a memorized deck. The advantage of this is that you can carry your memdeck, and at any time, do two or three good card effects. At that point, it seems unlikely that the cards could be in any kind of stack or order, so you can then go into a strong routine based on the memorized deck, and really kill your audience.

I'll be at the IBM Convention in Reno. Should you spot me, feel free to come up and say hello. Perhaps we can chat over a cup of coffee. I'd like that.
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