What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Discuss the tricks and sleights which appear in Genii.

What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 17th, 2003, 8:03 am

In the most recent (6/2003) Genii, there is a trick by Harry Lorayne. It is one of the few tricks that fooled the heck out of me as I was learning it .

The thing is, I still have no idea how it is done, and was just curious if anyone knew the principle behind it. I'm probably going to noodle with it some more to see if I can figure it out, but I'd like some citations to Bob Hummer if possible. Harry Lorayne also cites Kunniyasu Fujiwara's effect published in Genii, so I will probably look there too.

Thanks for your time,

Bill "whose coin skills have atrophied a little too much to work on Duc Nhien's trick" Wheeler

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Jeff Eline » May 17th, 2003, 1:12 pm

I haven't played with it yet, but in reading it, the effect reminded me of Simon Aronson's Shuffle Bored. Jon Racherbaumer also had some work on this type of effect (www.jonracherbaumer.com) But I'll have to re-read it to make sure.


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 17th, 2003, 7:26 pm

I checked out the effect you mentioned and it is very intriguing, however do you think you could remember the moves and turn overs without referring to the instructions ? Way too many to remember but interesting effect.


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 18th, 2003, 7:59 am

The Lorayne trick is, as he said, based on Bob Hummer's principle, described in Hummer's "Face Up Face Down Mysteries" in the 1940's. This is a little booklet with some dynamite tricks in it, including a couple I always do for magicians and laypeople alike. Hummer never called it CATO - that's a name Charles Hudson gave it much later. The principle is incredible, and different magicians have employed various ways to mask it, but the core brilliance is Hummer's.

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Lisa Cousins » May 18th, 2003, 10:16 am

Thank you, Bill, for drawing my attention to this one. I saw the illustrations, thought "card thing" and moved on, when in fact this is one of those demonstrations of "nature's magic" which are so satisfying to learn and do. As suggested by Rennie's post, though, there is an issue of overkill as far as the all the mixing and drawing attention to the mixing (I clearly heard the Inner Spectator crying "Enough already! They're mixed, they're mixed!) - so here's a pared-down version which is easier to remember but which I believe loses nothing in impact.

1. Spread twelve cards face-down, hand the spectator any four-of-a-kind, and ask them to insert the four-of-a-kind face-up anywhere in the spread. Point out that the four-of-a-kind are the only cards face-up, but that the two of you are going to randomly reverse cards until you've got a mix of face-up and face-down cards.

2. Square the packet and say that you'll get the ball rolling by reversing every other card. Deal them out, flipping every other one.

3. Pick up the packet, reverse the top two and cut the deck. Reverse the top two and cut the deck.

4. Flip the deck over. Reverse four and cut the deck. Reverse four and cut the deck.

5. With the packet square in your hand, take the top two and ask the spectator if you should leave those two cards as is, or reverse them. Do what they say, placing them as-is or reversed on the table. Go through the whole packet by twos, leaving and reversing as the spectator directs.

6. Pick up the packet and turn it over, and go through it again by fours, leaving them or reversing them at the spectator's preference.

7. Pick up the packet and deal out four, then the next four on top of those, saying "As you can plainly see, together we have made a complete hodge-podge of face-up cards and face-down cards."

8. "Roll" the four packets of cards, one on top of the next. Snap your fingers over the packet and say "Nevertheless..." Spread the cards and reveal the four-of-a-kind face-up.

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Dustin Stinett » May 18th, 2003, 12:12 pm

Very nice, Lisa. One thing I have already incorporated is for the first deal down: Instead of dealing two-handed, I do it one-handed. With the packet held in palm-up dealing position, thumb off the top card. Turn the hand palm down and thumb off the next card (this, of course, turns the card over). Turn the hand palm up; thumb off; palm down, etc. etc. It's important that the cards do not get out of order, but there is a haphazardness to it that adds to the apparent randomization of the face-up, face-down cards. Also, there is a nice rhythm aspect that makes it (for me) easier to talk during (instead of, as Lorayne advises, being quiet during this deal because you might get messed up - which did happen to me in one of my first run throughs with the standard deal).

In order to justify the four pile deal (I'm anal about these things), I'm saying, "hey, let's play a weird game of poker; the one with the most face-up cards wins!" Deal the hands in a standard diamond formation. (Regardless of the number of people watching, just say "we'll pretend we have four players; poker's no fun with less than four players.") Point out the winner, or if there's a tie, high face-up card wins--whatever, it's all BS anyway. Now the rollovers look even more haphazard from the diamond formation. Just remember that hand #1 is turned over onto hand #2: hand #4 is turned over on hand #3 and either remaining packet is turned over onto the other.

As far as remembering the sequences, if my feeble old brain is having no issue with it, I think it should be fairly easy for anyone! I think it reads more complicated than it really is.



Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 19th, 2003, 7:35 am

PMJI, but I don't think you need to worry about messing up the sequence -- the four and two turning, cutting and mixing can occur in any order and the reverse/leave the same bit can happen anywhere as well.

The _only_ really important part of the sequence, at least as far as my ad hoc math analysis of this goes <g>, is the alternating of the cards at thte top of the effect. That's what sets everything up for the math to work. As long as you are turning fours or twos, you ought to be OK, not matter what you do. I think any even number is OK, but don't hold me to that.

The only _other_ important part, (I forgot there were two) is the four piles part. That's what resets everything from your initial mixing. All the middle bit is set dressing, and can occur pretty much in whatever way you want,with the caveats above.


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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 27th, 2003, 11:44 am

I don't think the handling is too hard to remember either. However, I would only do the 'two-card'deal once followed by the 'four-card deal' then deal the four packets. It still works but doesn't get as tedious as it could.


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 27th, 2003, 2:32 pm

Thanks for the streamlined handling, Lisa, it is an intrigueing thing to play with. I have "guilded the lily" by adding an additional deal-through sequence, using Paul Curry's "Cider" procedure.

The whole thing plays well for the intelligent layperson, and with some minor tweaking, can be done over the phone, or certainly during the interactive segment of your next major network television special.

Come to think of it, Lisa, your routine might be worth a little bit of money to the right magic superstar....... :)

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Richard Kaufman » May 27th, 2003, 5:15 pm

I walked David Copperfield through Fujiwara's original handling when I printed it in Genii while he was on the phone in his limo. He was able to do it on himself over the phone. He would've been interested had it not already been published, so I guess Lisa's out of luck, too! :)
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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 29th, 2003, 4:55 pm

To discover the principle, try Really without reversing the 4 of a kind. At the end, all of the cards go back to original orientation. You have to try it without the reversed 4 of a kind to see what I mean. Sorry it sounds so confusing.



Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » May 29th, 2003, 9:10 pm

Well I originally stated that I thought it was virtually impossible to remember all the moves for the effect. Well par for the course as stated above it is not hard to remember the moves. Now my problem is "how does it work?" I have been repeatedly doing it and it never fails no matter how the cards are mixed. Will this be a question for Persi Diaconis or can someone explain it in laymens terms ?


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » June 2nd, 2003, 3:29 am

Hi everybody, impressing trick indeed!

I am no mathematician, yet I would like to share with you some insights about the workings of this effect.

First of all as some have already noted it is based on an old Hummer principle. If you check out the beautiful "Mathematics, Magic & Mistery" by Martin Gardner, Dover, 1956, you will find on page 17 "Hummer's Reversal Mistery", another trick using this principle (albeit a weaker one than Lorayne's in my opinion). Even funnier is this sentence: "It has been subjected to many variations and additions. For the second part of the effect Eddie Marlo, a Chicago amateur [!] conjuror..."

To get some idea about how it works, do the following. Take a packet of 5 indifferent cards and a joker and reverse the joker. Shuffle the cards then do the alternate reverse dealing. If you now number the position of every card you will notice that the odd cards are face down and the even cards face up (the only exception being the joker which faces the wrong way).
Now if you do CATO with two or with four cards you will notice that the polarity of the cards won't change, odd cards are still face down, even ones still face up and the joker still faces the wrong way. With CATO you only change the identity of the cards at any given position but not their overall polarity. This can be extended to any packet with an even number of cards. On the other hand with a packet with an odd number of cards it won't work, because by cutting the packet you will shift the odd and even cards positions.
Now the subtility of this particular version is that to get to the finale, you simply reverse your alternate face up-face down dealing but in a DIFFERENT way. The four pile dealing and reassembly of packets is nothing else than another way of dealing cards face up and face down as you did in the beginning. And of course your joker will be the only face up card in your small packet.

I hope this sheds some light on the workings of the trick. Thanks to Lorayne and Hummer for a beautiful trick and a beautiful principle. And yes, please don't say anymore that ALL mathematical tricks are boring!



Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » June 2nd, 2003, 3:44 am

PS: I have a presentation angle for this that is different. I don't like the ending "you liked the ..., here they are reversed".

I talk about the difference between illusion and hallucination. An illusion is something that is perceived in a different way from what it really is, a false perception of something real. An hallucination is a completely false perception, the perceived something is not real in the first place, it was never there. Someone who tells you that the tree you are in front of is pink is having an illusion, someone who tells you that he's seeing a flying pink elephant is having an hallucination.

During the trick I snap my fingers before the dealing and shuffling and right before the final revelation I snap my fingers again and I tell them that everything that has happened in between was an hallucination. They think they saw me shuffle and all but this never actually took place. Watch them smirk condescendently, then reveal you are right.


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » June 2nd, 2003, 10:33 am

The underlying principle at work is called the CATO PRINCIPLE, originated by Bob Hummer in the 40s. Simon Aronson took the principle to new heights when he published SHUFFLE-BORED. It is also ancestrally linked to another principle or procedure dubbed the CANCELLATION COMBINATION. This is well documented by Gardner, Fulves, Aronson, and Arthur F. MacTiere (See CARD CONCEPTS).

The downside to the trick just published in Genii is that you must openly alternately reversed cards. I prefer the versions were the spek does almost all the work.

Try this one, which is extracted from ARCH TRIUMPHS 2.0 (now on my Website):

Racherbaumer - Duffle

This is based on a variation by Peter Duffle.

Effect: The magician removes sixteen cards and arranges them so that some cards are face up, others are face down. A spectator selects one of the face-down cards, which is cut back into the deck. The cards are then deal into four rows of four cards each, forming a 4 x 4 square of cards. The next phase depends on the spectators course of action. The procedure consists of picking one of the four sides of the card-square, then the cards comprising this side are turned over and onto cards immediately next to them. This is continued until all sixteen cards have been assembled into a single packet. The cards are spread and only one card is reversed. It is the selection.

Set-up: Arrange sixteen cards in the following face-up/face-down manner from the top: D-U-D-U-D-D-U-D-U-D-U-U-D-U-D-U. (Key: U = Up; D = Down) Notice that the cards alternate up/down except for the two underlined pairs. If you spread these cards the up/down condition looks haphazardly mixed. Place these sixteen cards on top of the deck.

Method: Introduce the deck. Take them into your right hand and place them face down on the table, saying: I'm going to mix the cards face up and face down. Cut the top half the deck to the right and turn it over. Perform a Closed Riffle Shuffle, but retain the 16-card set-up at the bottom of the right-hand section. Turn the deck over and hold it in your left hand. Spread the top sixteen cards (set-up) and take them into your left hand without disturbing their order, adding: We need only a few cards. Place the deck aside.

Continue: As you can see, the face-up and face-down cards are haphazardly mixed. Spread the top seven cards to ostensibly show the mixture. Close the spread and retain a left pinky break under the fifth card. Say, We can mix them further Flip over all the cards above the break. Turn the packet over and repeat the above action. The cards now alternate face-up/face-down.

Ask, Do you want to pick a face-down card from this side of the topsy-turvy packet, or from the other side? If the spectator requests the "other side," flip the packet over. Quickly spread the cards and have the spectator remove one of the face-down cards. When you spread, push over the first few cards in bunches, then widely spread the ones in the center.

After the selection is removed, close the spread and retain a pinky break at the point of removal. You will be holding a break between two face-up cards. As the spectator looks at her selection, turn the packet over and perform Marlo's Book-Break to form a step. Regain the break and have the spectator place her card face down on top. Perform a Slip Cut to the break and table the packet. Invite the spectator to perform several straight cuts, if she wishes.

If you prefer, when the spectator takes one of the face-down cards, separate the spread at that point. Turn your right hand palm down, turning its cards in the process, and table them. Have the spectator place his selection face down onto the tabled cards. Turn your left hand palm down, turning its cards as well, and place them onto the tabled cards to bury the selection.

The tabled packet is now set; the rest is automatic. Instruct the spectator regarding the re-assembling procedure.

Pick up the 16-packet and deal four cards from left to right in a row. Deal the next four cards from right to left, forming a second row directly under the first one. The third four-card row is dealt from left to fight and the last four cards are dealt from right to left. There is now a sixteen-card "square" consisting of four four-card rows and four four-card columns. For the purpose of clarity, the following layout is numbered to represent each card. This is the layout:

1 2 3 4

8 7 6 5

9 10 11 12

16 15 14 13

The cards numbered 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 comprise the top side of the card-square. Cards 4 - 5 - 12 - 13 comprise the right side. Cards 1 - 8 - 9 - 16 comprise the left side. Cards 16 15 - 14 - 16 comprise the bottom side.

Have the spectator choose a side. Suppose he chooses the right side. Therefore, turn over 4 onto 3, 5 onto 6, 12 onto 11, and 13 onto 14.

This process is repeated until all the cards are assembled into a sixteen-card packet.

Despite the apparently random flip-flopping from side to side, the outcome is predetermined. The only reversed card at the end of the process will be the selection. Ribbon-spread the cards to reveal it.




Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » June 2nd, 2003, 2:14 pm

Now that CATO is being talked about, and for those who don't know what it means, it stands for Cut And Turn Over.

Just wanted to say that.

luigimar :)

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Matthew Field » June 3rd, 2003, 6:13 am

Jon generously posted a trick from his website, www.jonracherbaumer.com and I thought I'd thank him and chime in with a recommendation.

Jon's site contains a ton of information, for free! If you want more tricks, you can pay a few bucks. If you want a ton of e-books, you can pay a few bucks more and get a Premium membership. I know because I'm a paid Premium Member myself.

"Arch Triumphs" was the first book of Jon's I bought, recommended to me by John Mueller, a Tannen's demonstrator in the 70's and a man from what was then called the "Chicago School." He practically FORCED me to buy the book, knowing I was interested in card magic. It was an eye opener.

Now, Jon has updated the book and put it on his website, along with lecture notes, a half-dozen other manuscripts and a lots of other stuff.

If card magic is your thing, you owe it to yourself to check it out the site.

Thanks again, JR.

Matt Field

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Steve Bryant » June 3rd, 2003, 8:00 am

If you enjoy this principle, my favorite use of it is in Peter Duffie's "Triple Humdinger," from his mss Cards by All Means. It's just perfect for a bar situation, as you write three impossible predictions on 3 napkins. The final prediction kills. Plus it's completely impromptu and self-working.

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Ryan Matney » June 3rd, 2003, 12:42 pm

There is a chapter on the Cato principle in Duffie/Robertson's "Card Conspiracy" Vol. 1. Several great tricks. Revelation of a thought of card and Cato applied to a royal marraiges effect. Also in the chapter is a very offbeat application of Cato to a royal flush production.
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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Stefan Fisher » June 18th, 2003, 11:21 pm

I've performed "Really" for several people and have gotten a very positive response every time. And it's not very difficult to remember the steps, and anyways if you forget one or do them out of order it doesn'e matter (except, of course, the deal turning over every other card). One friend told me that it was more amazing the second time he saw it. :)


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » June 26th, 2003, 10:19 am

Just as FYI, you can find quite a detailed explaination of Bob Hummers and CATO principles in the parade of the linking ring's Feburary 1979 issue.


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » June 26th, 2003, 2:31 pm

Just wanted to say it's great to see Lorayne contributing to Genii. Let's hope he continues to do so. Anything else from Harry on tap anytime soon Richard?

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Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » July 7th, 2003, 7:32 pm

Nice effect. A little variation: use a full deck and reverse the thirteen spades. It's extra baffling as spectator sees that spades are face up and down and other suits are also both face up and down, until the last minute. You can tie this in with a gambler's bridge game theme. I also notice that you can turn the deck over even in the middle of turning over pairs and groups of four.


Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » October 23rd, 2003, 11:40 pm

Peter Duffie has a variation of CATO which he calls TAPGAC (Turn Any Pair, Gather And Cut) and it can be found in EGO magazine # 11 together with some tricks using this variation of CATO.

You can also find more Hummer tricks in Jerry Mentzer's Cunning Card Miracles.

It would be nice to perform "Really" using TAPGAC and probably that would also fool magicians who know Really.



Re: What is the principle behind "Really!"?

Postby Guest » October 24th, 2003, 4:06 am


for those who like these effects (and i am) i recommend "mr Koenig's Tapestry" from Richard Vollmer in the Apocalypse Vol 14 NO 3 Mars 1991.
a good presentation of what is based on the same principle described by Jon Racherbaumer in his post.

jacques terrien

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