Following is an simplified excerpt from
Magic and Mystery
The Trick: You, as the magician, ask a spectator to shuffle a deck of cards and place it on the table. You then write
the name of a card on a piece of paper and place it face down without letting
anyone see what has been written.
Now deal twelve cards to the table, face down. You ask the spectator to
touch any four. The touched cards are turned face up. The remaining cards are
gathered and returned to the bottom of the pack.
We will assume the four face-up cards to be a three, six, ten, and king. You
state that you will deal cards on top of each of the four, dealing
enough cards to bring the total of each pile up to ten. For example, you deal
seven cards on the three, counting "4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10." Four cards are dealt
on the six. No cards are dealt on the ten. Each court card counts as ten, so no
cards are placed on the king.
The values of the four cards are now added: 3, 6, 10, and 10 equals 29. The
spectator is handed the pack and asked to count to the 29th card. This card is
turned over. Your prediction is now read. It is, of course, the name
of the chosen card.
Method: After the deck is shuffled you casually note the
bottom card of the pack. It is the name of this card that you write as your
prediction. The rest works automatically. Gathering the eight cards and placing
them on the bottom of the pack places the glimpsed card at the 40th position.
After the cards are properly dealt, and the four face-up cards totaled, the
count will invariably fall on this card. The fact that the deck is shuffled at
the outset makes the trick particularly baffling.
It is interesting to note that in this trick, as well as in others based on
the same principle, you may permit the spectator to assign any value, from 1 to
10, to the jacks, kings, and queens. For example, he may decide to call each
jack a 3, each queen a 7, and each king a 4. This has no effect whatever on the
working of the trick, but it serves to make it more mysterious. Actually, the
trick requires only that the deck consist of 52 cards - it matters not in the
least what these cards are. If they were all deuces the trick would work just as
well. This means that a spectator can arbitrarily assign a new value to any card
he wishes without affecting the success of the trick!
Further mystification may be added by stealing two cards from the pack before
showing the trick. In this case ten cards are dealt on the table instead of
twelve. After the trick is over, the two cards are secretly returned to the
pack. Now if a spectator tries to repeat the trick exactly as he saw it, it will