Paul Cummins – Intuitive Poker

Paul Cummins

This, the last formal installation of my column for GeMiNi, is a Poker routine in which the spectator apparently does all the straightforward choosing and discarding of cards yet somehow finds a royal flush for themselves. Over probably hundreds of performances (this one is only about five years old), it has been my experience that women love this routine – whether they know how to play Poker or not.

Most of the routines that I have used in columns have been literally cut and pasted from my lecture notes. After spending untold hours writing the Doug Conn book (which will be titled Tricks of My Trade, The Magic of Doug Conn), I’ve learned and practiced a few things and decided to put this one through an edit. Hopefully, it is easier to read and will be more clearly understood than the write-up in the notes.

Intuitive Poker

The following routine is based on J.K. Hartman’s “Top Draw-er” (see his Loose Ends, p. 33, his Card Craft, p. 415, or Harry Lorayne’s Best of Friends, Volume II, p. 280 for a second Hartman method).

Take a shuffled deck in use and Classic Force a known card on a spectator. Have the spectator shuffle the card into the deck and return the deck to you. (Alternatively, use my version of Jerry Kogan’s glimpse from “Beating the Heat,” in the May 1999 column.)

Using patter that describes the exact opposite of the spectator’s card, “…you chose a red card? …A picture card? …A jack, maybe? …The Jack of Hearts…?!?” – run through the deck as if trying to discern the name of the spectator’s selection. During this patter, cut a Two to the top, cull a royal flush (in any order) to the top over the two, and upjog the spectator’s card, the one you had forced. The above patter would be perfect for a card like the Three of Clubs. Simply name color, suit, and value of a card that is the complete opposite from the force card. Meanwhile, of course, you have secretly established a suited Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten on top of the deck, followed by a black Two.

Remove the upjogged card, and as the spectator’s head is shaking a “no!” at you, ask for the name of the selection. Reveal the face of the card you hold, saying, “…not only did I remove the Jack of Hearts, but I changed it into the (turn the card face up) Three of Clubs!” Slide the Three into the middle of the deck. This is an example of acquiring the cards you need under the context of a simple prior effect. By the way, I always cull the Heart flush and a black Two for contrast.

A few words about using this ploy to set up the Poker routine under fire. The cull you use may be a slick under-the-spread cull or the simpler, easier strategy of upjogging the Two and the flush cards along with the forced card as if narrowing down the deck to the selection. In this case, remove all the upjogged cards, table the force card face down, and “discard” the Two onto the top of the deck, followed by the flush cards. Be sure to hold the deck facing you so your audience cannot see the cards as you upjog them. Also, I frequently establish the set up, and then perform a couple of other routines without disturbing the six card stock. A shuffling routine like Vernon’s Triumph is good to use in the interim because it does not significantly disarrange the order of the deck (certainly a six card stock is easy enough to keep track of), and later, when the royal flush is produced, your audience will have no idea where it could have come from. “Counting On It” from the July 1998 column, will also not disarrange the six card stock and involves a bunch of shuffling. “The Invisible Card” from the November 1998 column, “Flasher” from the July 1997 column, and “Another Sequestered Collector” from the August 1997 column will all preserve the stock as well. Of course, you could set the flush cards and the Two prior to performance instead of culling them secretly under fire.

With the six card stock on top of the deck, position it for an Overhand Shuffle and run five cards, injogging the fifth. These five cards are the flush cards. Drop the deck onto them and position the deck in left-hand dealing position. Press down with your right thumb on the injogged card while squaring the deck to establish a pinky break over the flush. During this little shuffle, address a spectator and ask, “Are you a Poker player?” If they answer positively, I immediately say, “Bummer,” as if their familiarity with Poker may make this tougher for me. If they answer negatively, I immediately say, “Excellent,” as if I’m happy to have found a rube. The former gets a giggle; the latter gets a bit stronger giggle. In both cases, the following patter is then expressed, “…okay, we’re going to play…Intuitive Poker…”

Begin spreading the face down deck into your right hand while saying, “…as I spread through these, just touch the top of one…” When she does, outjog it. Repeat this four more times until the spectator has touched, and you have outjogged, five cards. Make sure she doesn’t touch any of the flush cards – just don’t spread that deep into the deck. I sometimes have to say, “…you’re going to touch five of these, for a Poker hand, so don’t let me run out of cards!”

Once the five cards are outjogged, execute Derek Dingle’s NoLap Switch (see The Complete Works of Derek Dingle, by Richard Kaufman, p. 85). To wit, bring your right hand over the deck and kick the outjogged cards to the left with your right fingers so that they may grip the deck from above. Grip the flush cards below the break in dealing position in your left hand and slide that hand forward twisting it slightly counter clockwise to keep the flush cards hidden beneath the outjogged cards. Strip out the outjogged cards, simultaneously loading the flush beneath them. Maintain a sizeable pinky break between the flush cards and the “touched” cards. The strip out movement is forward, so your left hand should be out in front of your right. Reverse the positions of your hands, right hand going over the left. As your right hand passes over your left hand, it picks up the cards above the left pinky break and then places the deck (and stolen cards) well forward of you onto the performing surface, and somewhat to the left.

Your motivation for putting the deck down is to use both hands to spread the five cards face down onto the table. In fact, spread them into a horizontal line about an inch from each other. You have also placed the deck well forward in order to make room for this line of cards that constitute the spectator’s Intuitive Poker hand. These motivating actions are subliminally important to the success of the NoLap Switch, so keep them in mind when executing the move.

Explain that this is the spectator’s Intuitive Poker hand. Intuitive, because neither you nor she has any idea what the hand consists of. Continuing, say, “In regular Poker, you get to look at your hand, assess its value, and discard some cards. Not so with Intuitive Poker; you don’t get to look at your hand and you only get to discard one card – which you must do intuitively! Go ahead and push a card out of line.” While the spectator decides on a card and pushes it toward you, pick up the deck and casually Jog Shuffle the top card, the black Two, to the bottom. (Alternatively, use the top card of the spread deck, that same black Two, to scoop the deck up.)

Hold the deck a few inches above the discard and say, “That’s your discard? Okay, we’ll take it out of play.” Drop the deck onto the discard from a few inches with a plop! I do this purposely so that later in the routine the audience will remember that their discard was placed to the bottom.

Pick up the deck and hold it in dealing position. Say, “Of course, as the dealer, I would normally fill your hand with the next card from the top of the deck – but this is Intuitive Poker…” Begin dealing/drawing face down cards from the top of the deck into your right hand rather quickly. “So, anytime you’d like to, just say stop as I deal cards from hand to hand…” During this necessarily lengthy patter, you should be able to deal at least a third and hopefully half of the deck into your right hand. Sometimes I will do a Block Pushover of about ten cards while talking to ensure that I get close to a half-deck in each hand. The purpose for getting to a half-deck is that it makes the upcoming switch easier to execute.

When the spectator stops you, perform the Visual Retention Bottom Deal (see the January, 1998 column, here on GeMiNi). Unknown to the spectator, they will be “selecting” the very card they had previously discarded! This will be, of course, one of the flush cards. Place the switched-in card face up into the slot from which it had been discarded earlier.

Drop the right-hand cards face down onto the left-hand packet. Patter, “…okay, you chose five cards intuitively to represent your Poker hand. You decided which card to give up, and then you chose the Queen of Hearts (name the exposed flush card) to replace your discard. Well, I can automatically tell that your Intuitive Poker skills are pretty good because you chose a Queen, a pretty high card. But you may have discarded an Ace…or these other four cards could all be clubs…!” Turn over the deck, exposing the black Two, “…ah, but you gave up a lowly Two for the Queen – a very good sign! Let’s see how you did…” Pick up the four face down cards and peek at them yourself. Raise your eyebrows and say, “…Wow, I will NEVER play poker with you! How did you manage to fill inside to a Royal Flush???” Drop these flush cards face up around the Queen of Hearts (or whatever flush card was discarded and then re-chosen) so that they are in sequential order.

I should note here a proactive process that can smooth out the above dÈnouement. As you pick up the four face down cards, slide the exposed flush card into the slot it would take if all flush cards were in a sequential line on the table. For instance, if the Jack is the exposed flush card, slide it to the middle of the performing surface. If the Ace or the Ten is the exposed flush card, then slide it to either end of the surface. The reason for this movement of the exposed card now, is that you may then place the remaining flush cards onto the table in sequential order very smoothly, making the royal flush instantly recognizable. If you don’t slide the exposed card into position at this point, then you will have to rearrange matters when you expose the other flush cards – not nearly as smooth, especially when you are facing a potential applause cue moment.

The spectator is always pleased to have filled the royal flush. It will dawn on the group a bit later that she chose four cards out of a royal flush in the first place, and then discarded the Two, AND chose the Queen all without looking at a single card. Some believe they actually did it, and some will look at me as if to say, “…you had something to do with all this, didn’t you!” It’s a fun one.

I will continue to post routines or columns of some sort periodically, and I want to publicly thank Joe, Mark, and Amy Stevens for allowing me the exposure here on GeMiNi. Of course, no one would be reading any of these columns if it weren’t for the ever-cheerfully helpful, all-knowing Pat Hennessy – to whom my (top?) hat is so frequently tipped. As usual, my lecture notes …from a shuffled deck in use... are available to GeMiNi members at 20% off, and I happily pay the postage, worldwide. Contact me here on GMN or privately [email protected] if interested. Finally, my two new projects are the Conn book, which should be out by summer’s end, and a coin magic video of my own material, the contents of which I am currently sworn to secrecy about. The tape will be out mid-summer. Authoring and publishing a book and producing a video tape are completely new ventures for me – wish me luck!

Paul W. Cummins 5/27/99