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Last Updated: July 5, 2017

Magic Trick

Mike: Hi, I'm Mike Shackleford with the wizardofodds.com website. Not only do I have an interest in gambling but I also consider myself a very amateur magician. And I'm here with the lovely Angela Wyman who is a professional magician's assistant, among other things. So, I'm going to show her a magic trick. And I'm also going to explain to her how I do it, if she doesn't get it. This is one of my favorite tricks. It's really easy to do and it usually impresses whoever you do it too. So, let's see if it works on Angela.

First, I'm going to set out three rows, I mean three columns of seven cards each and notice how I go across like this.

Okay. Angela, pick a card. Remember it. And just tell me which column it's in.

Angela: The third column.

Mike: Okay. This being the third, right?

Angela: Yes.

Mike: Then I'm going to do it again and I'm going to lay about just like before. Now which column is it in?

Angela: The second.

Mike: And I'm going to do it a third and final time. Now which one is it in?

Angela: The second.

Mike: Okay. Pick two piles.

Angela: These two.

Mike: Okay. Pick one pile.

Angela: This pile.

Mike: Pick two cards.

Angela: These two.

Mike: Pick one card.

Angela: This one.

Mike: Have a look.

Angela: That's it. Queen of spades. [laughs] I'm impressed.

Mike: Okay, Angela. Do you want to know how I did it?

Angela: Yes, I want to know how you did it.

Mike: I'm going to explain it to you.

Angela: All right.

Mike: As I said before, carefully layout three columns of seven cards which. I think it looks good if they're nice and neat. So, pick a card, remember it and just tell me which column it's in. And I always say it that way because I emphasize remember it, because if I don't say that they might just announce their card to me which would totally ruin the point of the trick. And I say remember it, because it often happens that people forget their card, which will also ruin the trick. There's nothing worse than going through the whole trick, they pick up the card and I say, “Is that it?” I forgot what I picked.”

[laughter]

Mike: Okay. So, which column is your card in?

Angela: The first column.

Mike: Okay. This being the first column.

Angela: Yes.

Mike: Now when I pick them up, I want this to look as natural as possible but what I have to do, is put this in the middle of the three piles. So, here's the first pile. I'm going to put this on top of it, and I'm going to be careful to put this on the bottom. So now out of these 21 cards. I know that Angela's is somewhere between the eighth and the 14th card. Then I'm going to do this again. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Now I don't need to think about this as I do it but Angela's card is going to be one of the next seven. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Was I right? Is it one of those seven?

Angela: Yes, it is.

Mike: Okay. And then I put down the other seven. Now I'm going to ask her again. So, we've narrowed it down to seven. I ask Angela, “Okay, now which column is your card in?”

Angela: It's in the second column.

Mike: Okay. Now don't do this when you're doing the trick but now I know it's going to be one of these three cards to myself. You don't say it to the person you're doing it to. So, I pick up the cards, careful to put this in the middle. One, two, three. If you put it in the wrong place, you'll blow the trick. One final time. Now I know that Angela's card is going to be one of the next three, one, two, three. Was it one of those three?

Angela: Yes. It is.

Mike: Okay. Now which column is it in?

Angela: It is in the third column.

Mike: Okay. Now, so I know at this point, it's going to be the Jack of Spades but I don't even need to consciously know that and you'll see why in a later. So, I'm going to put this here. I put these on top and these on the bottom and try to do that as quickly as you can. If it looks like you're being mechanical about putting them here there and you do it slowly, it's going to look awkward and it's not going to be as impressive. So, I've got 21 cards here. Angela's card bubbled right to the middle to the 11th position. So, I know that Angela's card is the 11th. So here, I'm going to put them out, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11. Remember, where you put the 11th card. I've done this so many times, I always do it the same way, so I have always known it's that one. Then I say pick two piles. So, if Angela pick these two. So, what I'm going to do is because I want to leave these two on the table, I'm going to scoop these away. Now suppose Angela said, yes, these two, then I'm going to scoop these away. So, this is the heart of the whole trip. No matter what Angela picks you keep her card on the table and you never explain it. Don't say at this point, say as little as possible, just say pick two piles, pick two cards, don't explain it, don't belabor anything. Try to get through this part as quickly as possible. So, let's start again, pick two piles.

Angela: All right. These two.

Mike: Okay. Pick one pile.

Angela: That pile.

Mike:Pick two cards. Pick one card. And is that your card?

Angela: Yes.

Mike: Yay.

Angela: Two for two. [laughs]

Mike: All right. Thanks Angela.

Angela: Thank you. I'm going to go practice this.

So, we need to test out how good of a student I am. We know Mike is a great teacher but we've got Dan here to volunteer as my first victim and see how much I picked up from that magic lesson. So Dan, thank you very much.

Dan: All right.

Angela: So, we're going to do a card trick that Mike taught me and keep your fingers crossed we get this right.

Dan: Okay.

Angela: All right. So, I'm going to lay out some cards for you. And what we're going to do is, we're going to lay out three columns of seven cards. Let me get these laid out for you first.

Dan: And I'll look at them in terms of Pai Gow Hands.

Angela: All right. [laughs] You can do that. Right. Now what I want you to do, is pick one card. Remember that card, don't say it out loud to me. Now pick one card, fix it in your mind.

Dan: All right.

Angela: All right. So, you have your card?

Dan: Yes.

Angela: Now tell me which column your card is in?

Dan: The second.

Angela: All right, the second column. All right, you got it. We're going to put these up again. All right. So, keep that card in your mind. Now which column is your card in?

Dan: The first.

Angela: The first column. All right.

Dan: She's triangulating, I can tell. I don't know.

Angela: We're going to do this one last time. Remind me that TMBG song, Triangle Man. All right, which column is your card this time?

Dan: The second.

Angela: The second column. All right. You got it. Now, I'm going to lay all these cards out. Give me just a second to get that done for you. All right Dan, pick two piles.

Pick one pile. Pick two cards. All right. Pick one card. All right. Dan, is that your card?

Dan: Yes, it is.

Angela: [laughs]

Mike: [clapping] That's uncanny.

Angela: Mike was a good teacher.

[Dan: He was. Woo.

Angela: You want to know how I did it?

Dan: Yeah.

Angela: I'm not going to tell you.

[laughter]

Dan: No.