EFFECT: The performer boasts that he or she can toss a coin into a drinking cup, placed anywhere that the volunteer wishes!
Three cups are provided, as the magician claims that he or she can accomplish the feat in "one of three attempts". The cups are examined and determined to be ordinary.
An assortment of coins is procured, and the volunteer is asked to choose one (mark it if desired), and hand it to the performer.
The cups are given to the volunteer, and he or she is asked to take one and set it in any location whatever. The magician then asks, "Where would you like me to stand?".
The performer announces that "This is just a 'warm up'--you realise?". He or she tosses the coin and it misses the cup. No matter! The magician picks up the coin and gets ready for the next round.
"Now, as I have two shots left--what I would like you to do is to hold one of the cups in each hand, and stand wherever you prefer. But wait! In order to make it more of a challenge--a more dynamic goal--please recruit a member of the audience to tell us precisely when we should both go into action. Keep the stack in one hand, and when he or she counts to 'three', I want you to separate the two tumblers and spread your arms, or raise them over your head, wave them about--anything of the kind, so as to render my target more difficult to attain".
No sooner does the volunteer pull the cups apart than the performer flings the coin and it is heard to drop into one of the cups! The astonished volunteer retrieves the coin and it is found to be the very one that he or she selected.
SECRET: There are no gimmicks involved in this trick, and virtually no sleight of hand. Just an easy move that may be accomplished with a modicum of practice.
The only preparation that is necessary is to have your own set of coins (a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter, etc.) stashed on your person, or somewhere nearby.
The cups may consist of almost any flexible material (plastic, paper, styrofoam, etc.) but they need to be opaque (non-translucent). Work with different types until you find the sort that is best for you.
Bring out the three cups and set them, one at a time, on the table. Ask a volunteer if he or she wishes to scrutinise them. Then either produce a bunch of coins from a jar, or gather some from the audience, and have the volunteer decide upon one of them. He or she may mark it if desired.
Vaunt that you can toss the coin into one of these cups from any distance designated by the volunteer.
Request the chosen coin and pretend to hold it in your left hand but actually retain it in your right (or whichever hand you favour). With the coin concealed in your right-hand fingertips, stack the cups in the following way.
Pick up one of the cups with your right-hand thumb and forefinger and drop it into another. Then grasp these two nestled cups and uncurl the fingertips that hide the coin so that you may press it against the side of the stack (the side that is hidden from the audience, of course). The consequent 'click' sound may be effectively muted by snapping the coin to the side of the cup at the same time that you drop the first two cups into the third cup. Lift the stack of two cups and plunge it into the third, simultaneously jamming the coin between the walls of the two cups that are now lowermost (that is to say, the two seperate cups that have yet to be compressed) securely. Make certain that the coin neither slips all the way to the bottom of the cup, nor is visibly stationed above the rim!
A SIMPLE ALTERNATIVE: You may slide the stack of two cups into the third cup horizontally using both hands, so as to gently (and more quietly) press the coin to its side from below and fix it in position with your right index or middle finger before you squeeze the cups tightly together. But remember! You are supposed to have the coin in your left hand, so it's a good idea to continue to imply that it is there, by clenching at least a couple of your left-hand fingers as you manipulate the third cup. This method is preferable if you have little time to rehearse, as it calls for less dexterity. It is also rather advantageous if you happen to be performing while surrounded, because no one can see what you're doing underneath.
Give the entire stack to the volunteer and allow him or her to move as far afield as possible. Surreptitiously get a duplicate coin of the same denomination from your pocket or some other source. Wield it and adopt a "coin toss" stance, whilst instructing the volunteer to remove one of the cups from the stack.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Watch closely! If the volunteer pulls the first cup from the bottom of the stack, immediately pretend to toss the coin towards it (merely make the gesture, but reserve the coin in your hand). The coin that is lodged between the cups shall drop audibly into it. In this case, the effect is achieved instantaneously.
If however, he or she takes the top cup from the stack, ask that it be set anywhere in the room (preferably, in a relatively inaccessible place). Then actually toss the duplicate coin in the general direction of the cup. In the unlikely event that you are successful, you may take a bow. but otherwise collect the coin (from the floor or wherever it landed) and resort to your "two remaining chances".
Ask the volunteer to separate the two cups left in the stack [/i]on his or her cohort's signal[/i]as mentioned in the EFFECT above. Be ready to make the spurious 'tossing gesture' as soon as he or she does so. Timing is everything! For a bit of comedy, you may invent an unique style of tossing (over the shoulder, under the leg etc.).
Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.
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