In the May 2018 issue of Vanish Magazine there’s a trick of mine called the O/X Deck. You can read it on page 14 here.

The effect is that a deck is shuffled by the magician and then handed to the spectator. They deal cards until they feel like stopping, and then they shuffle and deal some more, then shuffle and then deal some more, before discarding what’s left in their hands. The tabled pile is picked up and dealt into a couple of piles, and then the spectator takes the top card and places it before themselves. Only now does the magician touch the cards (they were, to this point, “Untouched”, heh heh). The rest of the cards are shown to have a red ‘X’ on the face, whereas the card under their hand has a green ‘O’.

Here’s an impromptu version of that trick. In case the last paragraph wasn’t Jay Sankey enough for you, this one involves a double-lift AND a palm.

Have the deck shuffled by the spectator. When you get it back, conspire to remove a card that “speaks” to you. In reality, you want to get a pair to the top of the deck, so maybe rearrange a couple of cards while looking for the “right one”, and then get that card in your pocket, with the matching pair on top.

I tend to present this as being a series of dilemmas. Give the deck to the spectator and say “Please start dealing, putting down as many cards as you like, and your first dilemma is figuring out when you’d like to stop and shuffle, before dealing some more.” The idea is to time this line so that they don’t get the instruction about stopping and shuffling until after they’ve dealt off the two matching cards. When they’ve shuffled, get them to deal off a few more, and then give them the chance to shuffle once more, and deal another few, before those remaining cards are set aside.

Reminding them that this is about dilemmas, I point out that the definition of dilemma is “di” and “lemma”, meaning a difficult choice with two options, so I ask them to deal two piles, back and forth. This will bring the pair to the top of each pile.

They place their index finger on top of each. The next dilemma is to figure out which of those two cards they’d like to drag towards themselves. When they’re done, you go into the displays.

Pick up the initial discards from the first part. Say that their choices might have involved ending up with any of these cards, but it didn’t. Do a DL-style turnover on the topmost card, then dump it on the table face-up, and then spread through the other cards, dumping them face-up on that card as well. (“You could have ended up with one of these”)

Pick up the pile that contains the other force card. Do a DL, show that it wasn’t theirs. Turn it face down and in that action palm it off, and with the other hand dump the entire packet face up on the mess of face-up cards. (“And if your choices had been diffferent, the piles would have been smaller, you might have ended with one of these.”)

You can then pick up the last pile and do a DL-style turnover, but with a single card, and then dump those cards on top of the face-up mess off to the side. The actions of doing this may put a bit of a bend in the card you’re palming. If that detail, or if the idea of handling those cards while palming another card is intimidating, you can rearrange the order of reveals.

After this is done, go to the pocket with the palmed card and produce it, straightening it out if necessary. Show your card first, mentioning that the card that jumped out as you was a “black 10” (or whatever). Ask if they know what the matching card is. Get them to turn over their card, and tell them that the final dilemma is to figure out where to build the church in your honour.

Way more mental magic than mentalism, probably, but it’s fun.

As an aside, I’m not in the same place that I used to be when it comes to exposing methods. The way I see it, this blog currently has such a tiny readership that there’s no harm in giving this one away. That said, if for whatever reason this place gets public attention, I may have to hide this behind an easy-as-spit password. Until then, though, go nuts.