When 11 Is Really 12

A few posts back I took a deep dive on my work on cards across. Now I want to take a situational deep dive for something that will eventually happen if you do cards across for a long time. It two or three times in twenty years, but it’s nice to be prepared when it does happen. This strategy could also apply to another trick where the spectator counts cards.

You hand the spectator twelve cards. You are sure there are twelve cards. You asked the spectator to count the twelve cards. She says there are eleven. There are three possibilities. 

One, there are actually eleven cards. I’m going to rule out that possibility for the purpose of this post and because, frankly, it’s never happened to me because of the setup shared in the previous card across post.

Two, there are twelve and the spectator is messing with you. 

Three, there are twelve and the spectator made a mistake. 

It’s possibilities two and three that the gambit works for. You reply, “There’s only eleven? We need twelve.” Snap your fingers above the cards. “Now, carefully count them again.” I believe the slightly more deliberate pronunciation of careful is what makes this work.

Spectator, “…seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, TWELVE. What the?” 

If the spectator was originally mistaken, you’ve done a bonus mini-miracle. 

If the spectator was messing you, you’ve shown him you’re on your game.

Over the past twenty plus years of performing cards across I think I’ve had to do this three times. Once for a spectator that made a mistake. Maybe twice for a spectator that was ribbing me. The two that were ribbing me gave an honest count the second time, as I watched and counted along with them.

I should add, the tone of this isn’t that of a smart alec. It’s more whimsical than anything else. The subtext is, “Oh, there’s not twelve? No problem. (snap) Got it covered.” Low key fun.

Having additional arrows in the quiver, especially arrows that don’t take up space, is a good thing.


Doc Dixon

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