Double Bluft, or: This is Bullshit, Leave Us Alone

This one’s for Rich.

Get the selection second from the top. Make this convincing. I like leaving a lasting impression of the card in the middle, so insert your favorite Victor/Marlo/Jennings/Simon/Pinkett-Smith control here. (After controlling the selection to second from the top, a nice subtlety is to do a triple turnover while saying, “And if I do a double turnover, you’ll see your card is not second from the top.” This is, I believe, a Jim Swain idea.)

Spread over the top two facedown cards. 

“Your card will magically appear between these two cards. Watch closely.” As you say this, squiggle around the two cards to emphasize the fairness of your actions. Square them back onto the deck. 

Snap your fingers; the magic has happened. Spread over the top three facedown cards and display them (without actually showing the faces) with an air of total, triumphant satisfaction. You’ll be met with dead-eyed deflation because, come on, you’re being a real tool.

“See. Your card magically appeared in between these two cards.” Milk the moment until it gets awkward. Just as they’re about to call the cops, extract the middle card from the sandwich and show it to be the selection. 

This was the highlight of my privately circulated 1996 lecture notes. Be thankful I’m letting you read it here for free, you slovenly pig. 



In Decatur

This is a super-minor tweak on an ancient UF Grant trick that everyone and their mistress knows. Forgive me, it’s been a hard winter. 

Setup: FD Ace, FD deck, FU 3, rest of FD Aces. 

Performance: Riffle down the side of the deck. When someone calls stop, execute the Bobby Bernard tap cut, followed by a flash of the top card of the left hand’s half (the ace originally on top). Once it’s noted, place the right hand packet on top and square up. Using Bernard’s cut as a force is, I believe, a John Bannon idea.

Thanks to the cut, the original setup is now centralized. Spread the cards and show the faceup three. When they deny it to be their card, vow Lucifer will rise again promise to rectify the situation. Cut the spread at the three, bringing it uppermost. Take the top two cards as one–the faceup three and the facedown ace below it–and table them. (Better yet, put them on the card box. It’ll facilitate the pickup in a moment.) 

“It’s an indicator card. It indicates that I’m a terrible person.”

Count down three cards onto the table, turning over the third to reveal the selected ace. 

“But that’s not all. Sometimes I weep at night until I fall asleep.”

As the spectators laugh, reach over with your right hand and turn over the two dealt cards, the aces. As all focus goes to these cards, your left hand (still holding the deck) turns palm down and picks up the three/ace double. As the hand turns palm up, the ace will come into view. This is a peripheral change–it happens under the misdirection of the right hand turning over the two aces.

In my opinion this is a good opener to a lengthier cups and balls routine.


Hans Zimmer, eat your heart out.

Listen, I’m glad magic takes itself seriously. And I’m glad the Kids These Days have an eye for making things look all shiny and dolled up. I know that sounds disingenuous, but it’s true. I’ll take empty professionalism over sequined vests and bowler hats any day of the week.

But you have to pick and choose what you find worthy of such grandeur. Does this really want for such an overblown trailer? I will ignore the fact that it looks like no Oreo I’ve ever seen (not in America anyway, maybe sextuple-stuffed Oreos exist elsewhere); it’s a feeble illusion, and doesn’t hold up as a showcase item (see here). So why are we advertising it like this? Is anyone fooled into thinking this trailer is little more than a fluff job for the budding film school hopefuls that produce this kind of shit? It’s like if Bozo the Clown came back on the air, but every episode was directed by Christopher Nolan.

Magic deserves better than Tora, yes. But this trailer is aiming just a tad high, eh fellas? I mean, let’s not lose sight of what the effect is…

How was your summer? I went to Space Camp.

Card is selected and controlled second from the top. Make some sort of magic gesture, dirty or otherwise. Triple turnover and claim that you’ve found their selection. When they say no, turn the triple over and thumb the top card to the table.

Pressing on, say you’ll do a fancy cut to find their card. Here I like to do a really bad, really labored Sybil-esque flourish cut of some kind. As long as it preserves the top stock. Double turnover, displaying the same card (let’s say the 10 of Spades) you just put down on the table. A bit puzzled, they’ll again say no. Turn it over and thumb it down onto the first tabled card.

Finally, say they’ll find their card. Using your preferred method, force the top card on them. I usually use the Blackstone force. Whatever.

So you’ve effectively shown them all the same card, none of which is theirs. Table the deck. Take this last 10 of Spades and use it to scoop up the other two cards on the table, bringing it to the bottom of the packet. Do a casual Flushtration Count (emphasis on casual), saying something like, “So none of these cards are yours…?”

After the Flushtration, the real selection is on the bottom of the face down packet. Under proper misdirection of your choosing, palm off the top two cards off the packet. Transfer the single card (assumed by the audience to be three cards) to your left hand, then bring your right hand to the tabled deck, unloading the two palmed cards as you spread the deck on the table and say something like, “So if your card isn’t here in the deck…” Then point to the card in your left hand, “…and it isn’t one of these…” You have a lot of flexibility here. Just as long as you get rid of those two cards in some fashion, you’re DTF. I’m actually more comfortable with a cop/palm from the bottom–I just wanted you guys to think I was cool.

End however you see fit, eventually disclosing that you only hold their single selection in your hand.