For Those Who Don’t
I have never met anyone in card magic that could do it all. I know several who come close, but everyone, including me, hangs up at some point. I’m talking about sleights, not effects. I have friends who are excellent card magicians, yet for whatever reason, simply can not do a Classic Force. I know others who can not get away with a double lift no matter how they try. Still there are others who can not palm a card, even when working for an audience of the blind. Yet all of the above are considered experts with a deck of playing cards. You get the idea. For me, I hang up on a side steal from the center of the pack. My friend, the late Walt Rollins, could perform repeated side steals even when being burned, and he considered it basic. Yet in all my years of doing card work I have yet to successfully execute a quality side steal. I’ve grown to accept the fact that there are certain moves in sleight of hand that will remain illusive.
I have never been squeamish about palming a card or cards, for I use several different methods from both the top and the bottom of the pack. However, some card workers avoid some excellent effects simply because they lack the ability to secretly remove a card from the deck. These are the folks I’m addressing in this column. I’m going to explain how to secretly remove a selected card from the deck without getting caught. Moreover, it requires no skill, little management, and as a bonus you don’t even need to know the identity of the card. The only restriction is you must be seated at a table.
Note the bottom card of the pack during a casual shuffle. This card becomes the “key” and must remain on the bottom. Let’s assume it’s the Ace of Diamonds.
Have a card selected and for its return undercut half the pack from the bottom. Extend the top half for the return on the talon and drop the bottom half on all. Thus, you have placed the Ace of Diamonds on top of the selection.
Give the pack as many fair cuts as you wish and any false shuffle that won’t separate the Ace of Diamonds from the selection.
Now deal cards from the top of the deck to the table turning each face up as you do. Tell the spectator to watch for his selection. Deal the cards in a face up pile towards the center of the table, in other words, not close to you. Reach forward a bit. You want the attention to be away from the edge of the table where you are seated.
When you see the Ace of Diamonds, the key card, you know the next card is the selection. As the Ace of Diamonds is dealt to the face up pile your left hand, at the edge of the table, thumbs off the top card of the talon into your lap. Neck tie the left hand a bit and just push the top card back allowing it to fall to the lap. That’s it. The deed is done. Continue dealing, or have the spectator take over. Do whatever you want. The selection is in your lap ready for the Mercury Card Trick, Match Box Discovery, Card to Wallet, or whatever. You have it. There’s no heat and no reason to hurry.