Henry Christ's Fabulous Ace Trick

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Sam Kesler » 04/25/04 07:57 PM

There appears to be a few variations of this trick out there, namely J.C. Wagner and Larry Jennings to name two.

According to Mr. Kaufman in Jennings '67, handlings have appeared in Cliff Green's Professional Card Magic, Veron Chronicles, and purportedly Christ's own handling in Karl Fulves Epilogue.

I'm not sure which handling is performed by Michael Ammar on his Volume 5 of ETMCM, but I like it a lot.

It's a fun routine to do when you're tired of the pick-a-card variety. :D
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Postby Bill Duncan » 04/25/04 08:36 PM

Roberto Giobbi's version "Study for Four Aces" appears in Card College volume 5 in which he states that the Christ routine was inspired by Vernon's "Cutting The Aces".

He calls the Christ routine "...as beautiful a piece of card magic as can be imagined."
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Postby Guest » 04/26/04 05:38 AM

I was also introduced to this routine by the Michael Ammar tape. Being the credit freak I am, I tracked down the original source (the Green book) and went from there. These are the variations I have found.

J.C. Wagner's "J.C. Fabulous Four Ace Routine"--Maxwell's The Commercial Magic of J.C. Wagner, 1987.

Simon Aronson's "Meditations on the Christ Aces"--Aronson-Solomon's Sessions, 1982, pp. 112-119.

"Henry Christs Fabulous Ace Routine"--Green's Professional Card Magic, 1961, pp. 48-54.

Henry Christ's "The Christ Ace Trick"--Minch's The Vernon Chronicles, Volume 2, 1988, pp. 242-245.

Henry Christ's "H.C. Aces"--Epilogue, No. 20, March 1974, pp. 8-9.

Alex Elmsley's "Arab Roto-pack"--Minch's The Collected Works of Alex Elmsley, Volume II, 1994, pp. 365-368.

Larry Jennings' "The Christ Aces Redone"--Kaufman's Jennings '67, 1997, pp. 207-211.

Postby Pepka » 04/26/04 02:08 PM

I agree Sam, this is a FANTASTIC trick. I perform 3 hours once a week at a bar and this trick is always in the set. I use a the handling on the Ammar video, and it is pt. 2 of a 3 pt. Ace routine. Each part of the routine gets more impressive and surprising as the aces are revealed.
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Postby Sam Kesler » 04/26/04 07:20 PM

Thanks Cameron for the excellent sources. I, too, have a passion for tracking them down. I am anxious to get Epilogue one of these days soon.

And thanks Pepka for your post. I am just an amateur but I admire those of you who are out there in the trenches every week. I'd love to read about some of your other favorite card routines.
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Postby Raj Madhok » 04/26/04 08:09 PM

Don't overlook John Bannon's "Beyond Fabulous" in The Looking Glass Spring 1996 issue. The corrected version appears in John's Cardzilla notes and I believe will be in his new book.
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Postby Frank Starsinic » 04/27/04 02:32 PM

I forget how that tricks goes. Anyone care to explain the effect in 20 words or less?

Is that the one where there are 4 piles and you lose an ace in each pile and then something happens?

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Postby Guest » 04/27/04 06:48 PM

Elmsely also has an interesting version of the Christ trick (Check the Faro section in Volume 2 of Elmsley's collected works.)

Of all the above, I'd suggest Vernon's handling. His impromptu set-up/handling is superb (though I prefer to use a different climax... usually Triumph.)

The Bannon presentation is hard to beat (but because of the stack, still comes in 2nd place to the Vernon routine.)

Re: Anyone care to explain the effect in 20 words or less?


The Aces are fairly lost into the pack & then re-discovered, one at a time, using various revelations (reverses, spelling, etc.)

Postby David Regal » 04/27/04 09:08 PM

I agree with Mr. Conn. The get-into in the Vernon book is very elegant and to the point. When I first read it, I went "Ahhh..."
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Postby El Mystico » 05/03/04 11:06 AM

Don't get me wrong - I love Vernon.
BUT - the write up of his routine HAS to be wrong.
The third ace - you get a break under the top card of the deck before you add the ace.
BUT - before you produce that ace you need to get rid of that extra card...
...That extra card from the top of the deck is superfluous.
I'm convinced Vernon would have spotted that.
I can only assume there was some confusion between the different versions of the effect.
I love Vernon. And I love this trick. but there is a (minor) mismatch!
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Postby Bob Farmer » 05/03/04 03:43 PM

Frank Garcia had a good version. It's in your (whoops!) his lecture notes.
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Postby Guest » 05/04/04 03:03 AM

Dom, I see you point, remarkable! But as you will see I am very hesitating to agree that Minch's description reveals a mismatch. Please allow me to deliver one modest argument in pro of the extra card.

What if during the losing-the-Aces-sequence - there is a technical benefit arising from doublecutting the extra card together with the Ace? What if there was a little more than just confusion between the different versions as you put it? Is there a value in having the Ace in Inf-2 and an indifferent card in Inf-1 before going on to losing the 4th Ace? Consider this: After the double cut and following Minch's description, this extra indifferent card at the face allows you to wrist-turn the deck!

Why would you like to do that? When you strip out the 4th Ace from beneath its pile with the right hand, the natural thing to do is to keep the pile of say 15 cards above it aligned. This is best accomplished with some help by left thumb, index and middle fingers of the palm down left hand. Remember that the deck usually is in left dealing grip at that point in time. And in order to turn the left hand without exposing the supposedly lost ace the extra card is a must as it acts as a cover card. Regripping the deck to avoid turning it face-up is a technical alternative but not without the slight disadvantage of discontinuity in flow. Overall, this has been published many times before.

Under this perspective, having to doublecut-away this extra card later on is just a small price to pay for the benefit of fluent motions.

I am not topping all that by stating that the flashed indiferrent card at the bottom suggests and reinforces the idea of really lost aces. This may be slightly overstressing my original argument.

Postby Guest » 05/04/04 10:16 AM

By the time I'd reached Vernon's routine, I'd already learned the routine from the Garcia book (and started working on my own 'variant.') I guess that's why I glossed over the "error." Anyway, it was the set-up that excited me.

I published a minor variant on TSD (in the early days -- before the pay-site / when not all the members were 'heavies.') Here's a snippet from The Second Deal website (Submitted: 11/4/1997)

The Henry Christ 'Fabulous' Four Ace Trick has long been one of my favorite routines. You'll have to search far and wide to find a better "lose em and find em" ace effect.

In submitting this to The Second Deal, my goal is to have some classic magic that can be referenced on the web. (Rather than contributing another 'fresh' idea.) I hope the previous publishers of this effect will understand my desire to share it with the internet public. Here's a few references: You can find the original write up in Cliff Green's Professional Card Magic, pg. 48. In Epilogue, (pg.190, L&L reprint) you'll find what Karl Fulves states to be Christ's original method. Perhaps the best place I could send you to research the effect is: The Vernon Chronicles, Volume 2. (Minch, L&L) Look for "The Christ Ace Trick" pg. 242. All right, enough of this stuff, on with the magic...

End Quote

Since your concern is the third ace (as was mine) below is how I handled it(another 'snippet' from my TSD submission) This description starts after the 2nd ace has been pushed flush.

Turn the ace of hearts face-down on top of its pile. Leave the ace outjogged for aprox 1/3 its length. Place the cards in your left hand on top of the outjogged ace. Pick up all the cards and as you apparently push the A/h flush, secretly obtain a little finger break beneath it.

Turn the ace of spades face-down onto the remaining tabled packet. Pick up all the cards above your pinky break and place them onto the A/s. Finish the burial by placing the remaining cards from your left hand onto the tabled parcel. Again, square the cards.

End Quote

Note: This turned out to be the only contribution of its kind. Soon thereafter the site became a 'pay' site and there was no need for 'public' information. (In other words, if you join the site, you won't get alot of variants (like this.) Instead: there's tons of cool/new card-stuff.)

alright... I'm rambling off topic...
back to discussing Christ's wonderful effect

Doug Conn

Postby Guest » 05/04/04 06:07 PM

Tom Mullica had a GREAT ending for this trick. I think he published it in his lecture notes.



Postby Guest » 05/04/04 07:20 PM

In Lorayne's "Best of Friends" Mullica published a superb routine that used four selections instead of the four aces. Good stuff (I'd forgot all about this wonderful variant... thanks for reminding me!)

Postby Sam Kesler » 05/05/04 08:03 PM

Doug, that must be in Best Of Friends Volume 2. I have Volume 1 and couldn't find it. Maybe I should take another look at the stuff in this volume, but I was disappointed. Cheers.
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Postby Guest » 05/07/04 09:06 AM

With ya there, brother. The stuff in Vol. 2 was pretty much 'mildly entertain yourself at home in front of the mirror' material with the exception of Mullica's contributions. Now, to further disrupt this topic, should anyone want to play: Does anyone have a presentation for this great trick that ISN'T simply a matter of saying "There they go, now here they are"?

Postby Raj Madhok » 05/07/04 08:19 PM



"This is the city...
Some call them playing cards, others plasticized pasteboards; I call them the Devil's tool. 52,000 people live, work and play here...each one has a story. These 4 aces represent the hardened underworld of our society. The Ace of Spades, the ringleader...The Ace of Diamonds, the jewel thief...The Ace of Hearts, the pretty boy...and the Ace of Clubs, who runs the casinos and crooked clubs in town. Right now they are in our custody. In a moment they'll escape. Our job is to find them and restore law and justice to this fine community. I'm a magician...it's my job."

That's my start. Take it from there.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 05/08/04 11:40 AM

That's a very nice idea.

If you're using the handling in the Vernon Chronicles, where the last card is forced by the dibble force, then you would of course want to have them say "Stop... or I'll shoot!"

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Postby Raj Madhok » 05/08/04 01:28 PM

I think I use the Garcia handling but it's been so long that I don't recall if I've changed any of it.

A few other things I use: The aces "escape" into differen parts of the city "north, south, east, and west"; I involve the spec. in identifying a faceup "clue" (7 of spades); the ringleader is "captured" first; the ace of diamonds "gives himself up" (by turning face up); the final ace ends reversing in their hands as they "put the squeeze" on the city/deck.

At the end the aces show their prowess as masters of disguise and change into queens ("female impersonation").

This is a presentation worked out by Dave Ettl, Jeff Connors and myself years ago. Spectators love it!
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Postby Guest » 05/08/04 05:23 PM

Does anyone have a presentation for this great trick that ISN'T simply a matter of saying "There they go, now here they are"?

Dan, I use the hackneyed 'insects as magician' theorem (something I picked up from a young lion/creator back in the 80's.) Before losing the aces, I smear them with fake poo. I then place four flies on the table & the aces are 'attracted' to the flies... (I'll say no more... I don't wish to give away too much :p )

Postby Guest » 05/11/04 01:31 PM

Ah, youth. Ah, statute of limitations.

I was an immature young thing back then, my friend, and I'd never think of subjecting an audience to fake poop these days. My audiences are a bit more sophisticated than to go for that kind of thing. If you can't bring yourself to squeeze out the genuine article you might as well stay home. I tell ya, getting that colostomy/holdout was the best thing I ever did for the act.

Postby Guest » 01/30/07 07:03 PM

If you perform this trick you may want to check out 'Card Conjuring' by Paul Gordon which was published last year. In the book, Paul describes a couple of modifications to the method which allows you to preserve a full deck stack whilst performing the four ace trick. It is brilliant thinking. To do the Henry Christ trick and then segue straight into a mem deck (or anything else requiring a full deck stack) trick would be a killer combination... The book also contains an effect from Roy Walton, so you really cannot go wrong!


Postby Guest » 01/30/07 07:20 PM

Originally posted by Joseph Mckay:
To do the Henry Christ trick and then segue straight into a mem deck (or anything else requiring a full deck stack) trick would be a killer combination...
It is. Simon Aronson has had a stack-preserving memdeck version of the Henry Christ trick on his website since 2002. It's called Christ-Aronson Aces, and you can see him perform it on his recent DVD set.

Postby Guest » 01/30/07 07:59 PM

Thanks for the link James! Chalk up another winner for Aronson...

I think anyone who does this trick and doesn't use it to preserve a stack is missing out.

You have been warned...


Postby Leonard Hevia » 01/31/07 09:56 AM

Frank Garcia's handling is also located in either Exclusive Card Secrets or Exclusive Card Miracles. In the text it's titled "The Henry Christ Pinnacle Four Ace Trick," I believe.

Didn't Johnny Thompson perform this on one of his Commerical Classics of Johnny Thompson L&L DVDs?
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Postby Guest » 01/31/07 12:23 PM

I think Frank Garcia had it in one of his books, too...


Postby Guest » 02/05/07 02:51 AM

Bob King had an interesting version in his booklet (1st one) on the breather crimp.

Also Josh Jay published a great version by Brother John Hamman in Magic Magazine a couple of months back.


Postby Bob Farmer » 08/22/08 06:28 PM

The Frank Garcia version is called "Spectacular Aces" and is in his lecture notes.
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Postby Bob Farmer » 08/25/08 06:30 PM

My version of the Christ effect will appear in Genii as "Alex Cutting The Christ Aces." It features a very efficient way of setting up the trick from a borrowed, shuffled deck.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/25/08 06:54 PM

The Farmer method will appear in our December issue. Very nice.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
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