If you ever wanted to get inside my head (Oh, mercy, you don’t want that, but if you did) today’s blog post is for you. One of my favorite sayings is “Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” That not only applies to practice, but to the design of a routine itself. And that’s what addressed in today’s post.
I’ve been performing a version Cards Across With Envelopes over two millennia.
I’m not teaching the routine here. What I’m doing here is sharing how I efficiently make sure each spectator gets the appropriate of number of cards. (I use 12 as opposed to the traditional 10. That’s a subject for another post.) But first, here other ways people have counted cards for a cards across routine.
#1 Have the spectator deal the cards into your hand.
I’ll pass on this. Not every spectator you bring on stage can comfortably deal cards.
#2 Marking the backs of the cards so you know when you reach the desired number. Then handing the cards to the spectator to verify the the number.
I did this for a while. While handing the cards to the spectator for verification is fine, there’s another problem. Not all stage lighting is created equally. Neither are all magician eyes for that matter. Seeing the marks can be difficult. So the handing off the batch of cards to the spectator still took a more deliberate, slower procedure than I wanted. And more obvious marks aren’t an option either. The marks on the back of the cards are for efficient counting and have nothing to do with the secret of the trick, BUT I guarantee if a spectator notices them he’ll think otherwise.
So what did I do?
There are two banks of cards on top of the deck. Each bank is going to one of the helpers. The first bank of cards are all face down. The second bank of cards are all face up. The rest of the deck is face down.
When I hand off the cards to the first spectator, I simply push off cards until the first face up card and hand them off for verification of the count. Much quicker and more certain than counting or looking for cryptic marks.
When I hand off the cards to the second spectator, I simply push off cards until the first face down card and hand them off for verification of the count. Much quicker and more certain than counting or looking for cryptic marks.
This has no effect on the deceptiveness of the trick, but it helps the smoothness of the trick. And in case you’re wondering, having done this for hundreds of shows, I’ve never had a spectator display any suspicion about it.
BONUS: I glue the rest of the deck together as a block. Why? Doing this has NO effect on the routine. Those cards are not used. So why do it? The glued block makes prop management and reset that much easier. This glued block isn’t a make the show better thing. It’s a make my life easier thing, and that has value, too.
*One out of three ain’t bad.
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