Dr Daley' Last Trick

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 01/29/03 03:07 AM

Any references, variations, best videos and books etc

Postby Thomas Van Aken » 01/29/03 04:53 AM

"Dai Vernon book of magic" for Daley original handling.
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 04:56 AM

Alan I'm in Sydney and I have a really nice handling of my own of the Daley trick with a surprise ending. If you email me we can exchange ideas.


Nice to see anouther aussie card guy on the forum.

Postby Guest » 01/29/03 06:18 AM

Bill Malone has some good ideas on his DVD set. Also check out 'slither' for a highly visual but highly gaffed take on the effect.

Personally, I like to perform a double lift and a glide placing the two cards on the spectators hands. I use the old patter of saying the two cards will switch and then quickly switch them back again before they can look :rolleyes:

Whilst silly, I find that these kind of jokes strengthen the identity of the cards and therefore the climax.

Postby Alain Roy » 01/29/03 06:32 AM

And when you have investigated the options, make sure you read "Scriptwriting: The Right Way" by Pete McCabe in Genii, February 2003.

It made a difference for my performance of Dr. Daley's Last Trick.

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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 07:06 AM

Gregg Wilson has some nices touches on his video, Double Take...it's the version I've been using

John Carney has a version in his book Carneycopia. Very visual and mysterious

Postby Jon Allen » 01/29/03 08:36 AM

Hi Alan,

I have a version out at the moment called 'Double Back'. This is my favourite packet trick to perform and I do it for large tables and small groups. As well as being able to show the full faces of the cards in your hand a moment before the change happens, I have also routined it so there is no heat on the cards in their hand and there is a reason for all the cards.

I feel that if you have the cards change in their hand to the ones in yours, people can figure that maybe you didn't put them in their hand in the first place. Also, by placing all the emphasis on the cards in their hand, there can be a temptation for someone to want to turn them over, just to make sure.

You can see how clean Double Back is at:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/29/03 08:53 AM

I've seen many versions of Daley's trick. Most leave me cold. Not something the spectator's really care about, and it's a bit confusing.
That said, Jon Allen's version is the best I've seen: adding a gimmicked card gives you something at a particular moment that really clarifies everything. Mark Mason's "Slither" (I think that's the title) does something similar with a different gimmick.
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 09:12 AM

At the risk of placing myself into direct disagreement with you, I think that Last Trick is possibly one of the most powerful pieces of card magic you can do.

Think about it: you clearly show a card, you clearly place it in the spectator's hand, and the magic happens in their hand.

I've performed this effect many times, and never have I gotten anything approaching a ho-hum reaction from my audience. They care...they check the cards, insisting that there must be a gimmick of some kind.

I try to do those tricks and effects that appeal to me as a spectator. I remember being floored beyond belief the first time I saw Last Trick...the very simplicity of it added to my amazement. It's that sense of wonder that I try to convey whenever I do it for others.

Postby Lance Pierce » 01/29/03 09:33 AM


Richard probably won't like it until someone does it with a pass! :D

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Postby Jon Allen » 01/29/03 09:48 AM

Hi Steve,

I have never seen you perform DDLT but I do have a question. What is the reason for the other two aces? Why not just have the two cards, place them on someone's hand and have them change? Can it not be reasoned that if you do not show the two cards in your hand then, no matter how convincing it looked, you couldn't have put the red aces in their hand in the first place?

I agree that DDLT is one of the best and most staightforward of effects, but it has some severe discrepencies.

On a recent DVD, the four cards were shown from the top down as black, red, back, red. When the top card was turned over it was red. I thought, "Shouldn't that be a black ace? A black ace was on top a moment ago. I know that magicians can sometimes go deep into things, but it's the little touches that make all the difference.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 01/29/03 10:09 AM

Jon's version is excellent; however, gaffed versions seem to have a shorter (shelf) life because one always must carry the requisite cards. Eventually, one reverts to impromptu approaches. Not long ago Jared Kopf (of Dallas) marketed a very interesting and visual Transposition ala Daley called "Whiplash Transposition." It was and is an eye-arresting version.

It may be possible to integrate Jon's and Jared's versions. You will then be Gaffed to the Hilt, ready for bear.

P.S. Methinks that the Daley Trick was never meant to be a feature trick...I do a version of the Sanvert-Carney routine called "Paris Slant." The script makes it sing, although the song is merely a ditty.

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Postby Steve Bryant » 01/29/03 10:27 AM

I too love the Daley trick and it is a stock opener for me. If I sense a new audience is receptive to magic, I will open with a version of Everywhere and Nowhere. If I sense that the audience is NOT receptive, I will open with the Daley trick as it is over in seconds, requires nothing of them*, and it hits them between the eyes.

*I do NOT do it in their hands. My own take on the Too Perfect thinking is that if I place a black card on a spec's palm, do absolutely nothing, and then turn it over to show that it is a red card, the spec has to be pretty dim to not figure out that it was red to begin with. (And yet Bill Malone does it that way, so do it however you wish.) I am extremely happy with the results and have been for over 35 years. If I open with something else, the Daley trick is the second trick that I do.
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Postby Tom Stone » 01/29/03 11:04 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I've seen many versions of Daley's trick. Most leave me cold. Not something the spectator's really care about, and it's a bit confusing.
Exactly! Just like many copper and silver routines, the effect is confusing if nothing is done to cause the spectators to really want to keep track of where each card goes. Otherwise, they will just think, "Oh, I must have remembered wrong" when the cards is turned over.

Dr. Daley's Last Card Trick is somewhat like a litmus test. If you can make it play, you are a good performer with a good sense for magical plots.
Just like Twisting the Aces is a litmus test for judging how good your Elmsley Count is - if you get weak reactions, your Elmsley Count is flawed.

I would be most interested in hearing about the plots people are using for Dr. Daley's trick, especially the plots used by the people who are getting good reactions with it.
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 11:58 AM

You're absolutely right about the positioning of the red/black cards; I mix 'em up prior to the initial reveal, so that not even I really know which one's coming up. As for explaining the reasoning for four cards...I've never really thought that deeply, frankly. Neither have my audiences, at least not that they're willing to admit! :D

In the meantime, I also use a Peter Duffie Transposition which starts with black queens and black aces, and ends with them holding red aces in their hands. That, too, packs a wallop. (Thanks, Peter!)

In the end, I think it's the very simplicity of the trick that gets most people. You're not dealing with a full deck (so to speak)...you're apparently doing nothing fancy.

Postby Jon Allen » 01/29/03 12:53 PM

Jon, I have not seen or heard of "Whiplash Transposition". Where would I find it?

Tom, one thing that I think really makes Double Back is the presentation:

I explain that many people think magic is done by the quickness of the hand deceiving the eye. Hence, I will show the 4 cards very slowly and allow people to rememeber the value and suit of each card (I have a KH, KC, 5S, 5D). I ask how many cards I just showed and they, "Four". I show the four cards face down. NExt I ask if they rememebr what suit the red 5 is. They answer and I show them the 5D and place it to one side, or on someone's hand. I then ask what suit the black 5 was. Again, they answer, I show the card and place it aside with the first card. With two cards left, I ask whether they are Jacks, Queens or Kings. They answer and I show the two Kings. Finally I ask if they rememebr which cards I placed aside and they say the two 5s. I show thT I hold the two 5s and on the table/hand are the two Kings.

I have received a couple of emails from people saying they have changed the plot to a story which, I feel lessens the overall effect. The effect is simple so I feel the plot and presentation should be too.

People are so caught up in answering the next question, they do not care for the discarded cards on their hand or on the table. For me, this is so much better than showing a black card, asking them to hold ut their hand andplacing it face down on it, hoping they won't turn it over prematurely.

What I have done is create a set of questions that test the person's memory. Why should they care about the card I just got rid of? They don't. There is also a logical reason for having the four cards as I use one of each suit.

There will always be a discrepency in what we do because it is not real. Using gimmicks gives a different set of dicrepencies to sleight of hand. However, I feel they are more sutle and hidden from the audience and allow a more magical effect than sleight of hand can.
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Postby Guest » 01/29/03 05:21 PM

I get a great reaction from the plot I use.

I magically produce the four aces then ask the spectator which two they would like to use. I set it up as challenge effect for me. I.e. I am going to try and do an effect with only two cards.

I place the two red cards (for example), one in their left hand and one in their right and then tell them they are going switch. Before they have a chance to turn them over and check I click my fingers and then (very nervously) tell them they have magically switched back.

This gets a good laugh and reinforces the indentity of the cards. I then go on to ask, thats what happens if I click twice, what card ends up in youe left hand if I click once?

They will always chose the red card they think is there and by now have forgotten about the black cards in my hand.

When they answer I look confused and then say "Oh sorry, I didn't make myself clear, when I said switch places I didn't mean with each other, I meant with the cards in my hand"

In the spectators mind, I have surpassed my goal and so the magic is far stronger to them.

Postby Linds » 01/29/03 11:48 PM

On one of the Fooler Dooler DVDs Darryl does DDLT using Brother Hamman's Gemini Count and a novel presentation.

I had been doing this as per Ganson's write up in the Dai Vernon Book until I tried this. It uses one Gemini Count move followed by one double turnover from the bottom of the packet.

Using the Gemini Count streamlines the moves and cleans up the effect. You might want to have a look at it, if only to see how Darryl sells the effect to an audience.

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Postby Linds » 01/29/03 11:52 PM

Me again. Heading towards seniors moment....

I meant to include that Darryl performs the effect standing over a table on the video. However, there is nothing stopping you from using the spectator's hand as per earlier posts.

I'll try not to be so quick on the trigger in future.

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Postby Fabian » 04/02/03 07:24 AM

Guy Hollingworth has a routine which uses his special card called "Quartet". The trick comes with 10 routines, "Dr Daley's Last Trick" among them.
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Postby Kevin Wiese » 04/02/03 08:36 AM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Steve Friedberg:

In the meantime, I also use a Peter Duffie Transposition which starts with black queens and black aces, and ends with them holding red aces in their hands. That, too, packs a wallop. (Thanks, Peter!)

I've also used that Duffie trick in the past. Recently I thought I'd dust it off and use it again but now I can't recall the source. Can you help? Thanks.
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Postby Bill Evans » 04/02/03 10:59 AM

Mike Skinner showed be something with 4 like value cards that I use as a transition from Doc Daley's Last Trick to Twisting the Aces. The presentation that has worked for me starts out by asking if the spectator has a favorite card in the deck. When that card is named, I bring it out with the other three and arrange it so that the spectator gets the cards of the opposite color (between her palms). Then, after an "affectionate squeeze", she finds her card and its mate have traveled to her hands. Then with the link "but that's not really what I wanted to show you", I do the effect Skinner taught me with a presentation centering around the fact that cards have limited emotions compared to people. After that effect, and the same link as noted above, I do twisting the aces with the first question being "what was your favorite card?" like I have forgotten, always naming the wrong card (the mate). When I am corrected, then I do the triple turnover at the correct card and proceed through TTA with the finale in the spectator's hand. This has worked well for me over the years. Mike was a big fan of linking card effects together in a logical presentation as he felt that it was easier to remember multiple effects that way. He had a system of associating card effects with a certain card in the deck. If three effects were linked together, then one card would remind him of three effects instead of one.
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Postby Ian Kendall » 04/02/03 02:20 PM

I have no idea how it happened but my ending for Twisting seems to be the Last Trick...oh well.

Take care, Ian
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Postby Guest » 04/02/03 05:09 PM

I also get great reactions from Doc Daley's Last Trick. To me there is not much difference between this and Daley's Cavorting Aces. The song is the same, the red and black aces change places. Granted, in the Cavorting Aces the conditions become more impossible, but still the reds and blacks change places. For a quickie Doc's Last Trick is wonderful.

Take care all

Postby Kevin Wiese » 04/02/03 05:38 PM

Originally posted by Kevin Wiese:
Originally posted by Steve Friedberg:

In the meantime, I also use a Peter Duffie Transposition which starts with black queens and black aces, and ends with them holding red aces in their hands. That, too, packs a wallop. (Thanks, Peter!)

I've also used that Duffie trick in the past. Recently I thought I'd dust it off and use it again but now I can't recall the source. Can you help? Thanks.
Kevin Wiese
I was able to dig up my reference on this one. It's George McBride's Transmutation from Best of Osmosis. It combines Ambitious Card, Daley's Last Trick and Oil & Queens.

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Postby Bill Duncan » 04/02/03 06:50 PM

Originally posted by Lance Pierce:
Richard probably won't like it until someone does it with a pass! :D
Isn't that Cavorting Aces?
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Postby Jason Wethington » 04/02/03 11:17 PM

To Mr. (May I call you that?) Tom Stone,
Here is my plot for the routine.
I talk about the film "Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark".
Specifically the scene in the beginning where Indy is supposed to switch the bag of sand for the golden idol.
I use the red Kings ( for a lady) or the red Queens (for a man) as the "idol" and either the jokers or any two spot mates as my "bag o' sand".
I explain the plot of trying to switch the items, my sand for their idol (I always tell them no giant paper mache boulder will try and kill us if we fail). I do the woo woo, and thats it they switch. Gets a good reaction. Perhaps the reason this played well for me is that I performed it while I was a magician at Walt Disney World where they have the "Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular" and a giant paper mache boulder actually does chase a stunt guy.

As I was typing this I thought perhaps it would be stronger if the spec. played the part of Indy and at the end they ended up with the idol cards. Would having the idol cards turn into cards with an actual picture of an idol on it be guilding the lily?
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Postby Bill Duncan » 04/02/03 11:34 PM

I've recently finished a manuscript called Tubthumping. It's about scripting magic with the specific goal of "fixing" problems and discrepancies in effect, handling and method. The second item, under the heading: Scripting To Provide Clarity is my handling of and script for Dr. Daley's Last Trick.

Hopefully, the following wont seem too self-serving. Its a snippet of that section of the book.

The problem with transposition effects is that you must ensure that the audience knows where the cards are at the start so that when they change places an effect is perceived. This is complicated by the fact that when you make a big deal of the supposed location of a card the audience, if it is half awake, is likely to become suspicious of why you are pointing out the obvious. Since ideally the change of positions should be both surprising and magical it would be best if we could derail that train of thought or, better still, prevent it from leaving the station, before anyone gets hurt. The script you are about to read doesnt completely fulfill both goals but it does weave an engaging enough story to cause a spectator to miss the all aboard call.

In order to ensure the audience members know what cards are where I thought of changing the red aces for another pair of cards of insignificant value and talking about how a gambler would switch a pair of useless cards for a more valuable pair. That works pretty well. And a gambling theme can always be counted on to generate a small degree of interest among the laity. Then it occurred to me that I should tuck the aces into my sleeve during the presentation (an idea that probably had its genesis in an illustration found in Life, Death & Other Card Tricks by Robert E. Neale). This bit of business serves two purposes:

1. Audience members cant easily grab the cards to check their values during the performance.

2. The audience will have an easy time remembering what cards are where because everyone already knows that gamblers hide aces in their sleeves.

Now that I had a reason for the audience to pay attention (a gambling expose) and a method of ensuring that the audience could remember where the aces were located I was ready to write the script.

So there you have (most of) my solution to the problem of the two-by-two transposition. The script explains why four cards are used and why they are pairs. The handling is as clean as is possible and each card is displayed in the same way with no suspicious actions. The cards are handled so that grabby viewers are controlled and no table is needed.

The only weakness is that an audience member does not hold the cards. I don't consider this a problem. It's a choice made by the script and not the handling, which does allow for that if you choose.

Hope someone finds these ideas useful.
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Postby Edwin Corrie » 04/02/03 11:45 PM

Euan Bingham had another routine combining Daley's Last Trick with Oil and Queens, which was called "Transvestites". I believe it appeared on his website (http://www.magicden.co.uk/), although when I looked again it seemed to have been removed. I haven't had a chance to compare it with George McBride's version.

If you're quick you might still catch David Britland's "Tale of the Unexpected" on Martin Brees's UK website at http://www.abracadabra.co.uk/. Look under "Free Trick" - the tricks stay posted for a week before being archived. (If you miss it, it might eventually appear on the American version of the site at http://www.martinbreese.com/. This is worth checking anyway, especially if the free "Trick of the Week" continues to repeat the excellent tricks that were on the UK site.)

"Tale of the Unexpected" is a nice version of Hamman's "Signed Transversal Triplet" from Richard's Almanac (duly credited). I liked the Hamman trick, but Britland's is simpler and easier to remember. Phase 2 is essentially Daley's Last Trick, and it seems to work well in the context of this routine.

Must confess (shame on me) I'd forgotten the exact original handling from the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, as for a long time I was doing it with just a simple Gemini Count.
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Postby Guest » 04/03/03 12:59 AM

I think it becomes a bit confusing if done as described in Stars of Magic. THere, half of the trick is showing the four aces and the important stuff seems to be lost in the shuffle, so I don't ever do the first part, and have rarely seen others do it also

My view is that if you have just produced four aces, or you are in the middle of a set that uses the four aces, then Daley's last trick is a wonderful addition. Otherwise Eddie Fechter's "Be Honest, What is it" to me is inherently better and is just a bit more impossible, although both are what I consider nearly perfect. You'd probably never do both in the same set, but "Be Honest " is better on several different levels:

FIrst, you are telling them in avance what's going to happen.
Second it happens in their hands like the Daley Trick
Third it's almost impromptu assuming you don't do some of the cheap knockoffs, some of which are horrible.

Rarely do I have to move any cards around to begin the performance other than the open action of removing two cards and putting them on top. The other pair is brought to the top in a gesture cut as I start the patter In a randomly shuffled deck, it's rare not to find a matching pair All the client sees is you removing two cards and moving them to the top, and right after that you're showing one of them anyways, so they can't possibly backtrack to any logical explanation. The whole routine is maybe a bit longer than Daley's last Trick but it's powerful enough to be a closer.

Lastly it's designed to be done in their hands. ALL the magic is done in their hands, whereas Daley's Last Trick can be done either in their hands or on a table. So either one is great, but if I had a random deck I'd chose "Be Honest". If I already had the four aces, I'd chose Daley's last trick, but never do the same ones in the same set as they are too much alike in effect.

Postby Edwin Corrie » 04/03/03 04:28 AM

I just found the Euan Bingham routine "Transvestites". Go to his website (see my previous post) and find the "Free trick" from issue four of his Card Booklet series.
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Postby Pepka » 04/06/03 08:35 PM

Hey guys,
I use this trick often. Usually in conjuction with a routine I call "The Daley Prescription." A combonation of DDLT and Bro. John's "Signed Card". The genesis of that routine was Jack Carpenter's "Quantum Theory". At last year's MAES convention, while just standing around, Oscar Munoz FRIED me with a handling, that adds a retention of vision. He taught it to me, of couse I didn't write it down, and have since forgot, maybe check with him for the handling.
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Postby Guest » 04/07/03 09:30 AM

Bill, I like your little snippet from your book. The idea that the client thinks he's seen four aces, then at the revelation finds that two of the cards are completely different appeals to the con-man hidden in my psyche. However, for me so far at least, I already have the four aces from a previous effect, although of course two of them could be switched in any number of ways. But, isn't that what "Be Honest, What is it" is all about anyways? Why not just do that?

For the person who mentioned using a glide, if you can DL the first card, then why do a something as obvious as a glide? A DL from the bottom is easy and handy, and it looks SO much fairer. Anybody who at anytime in their life has read a magic book at the library or school knows about the glide and the 21 card trick.
They are going to think one of the following:
1. It's a math thing, that I could learn
2. He did a glide
3. The cards have a hidden gimmick
4. There is no explation.

Strive for #4.

If they think they know how one part of the trick works,(even if they're wrong) they'll hang on to that and the mystery will be completely gone.

I could cite a number of reasons to use Daley's handling, but the best of all is that's how the trick was designed. Daley put a lot of thought into his magic, and I wish I could have met him, but the magic world lost a great thinker right around the time I was born. His tricks have stood the test of time and look where he is now. (well, figuratively, not literally). Learn it from Stars of Magic, and then once you understand the psychology of each part, then you can make changes. Learning the WHY's of a trick is much harder than the HOW's. My teacher demands that of me all the time for every trick I do. I've spent threee weeks trying to understand the psychology of Jazz Aces to my teachers satisfaction and he's still not satisfied. I perform it to a dozen new people a day, so I know how it works, but I don't know WHY.

The mechanics of a well thought out trick can be easy or difficult, but the rest is harder still. I think I'm on the path, but the end is a long way away.

Postby Bill Duncan » 04/07/03 10:53 PM

Originally posted by Mark Johnson:
Bill, I like your little snippet from your book. The idea that the client thinks he's seen four aces, then at the revelation finds that two of the cards are completely different appeals to the con-man hidden in my psyche.
Thanks for the kind words. Maybe I should edit my post as it's not clear what the setup is without the rest of the text. I use low value cards in place of the red aces but the audience is aware of it from the start. It's not a transformation.

The effect is the same as the original but using red "loser" cards with the black aces makes it much easier for the audience to remember because they can relate to the construct.

Transposing red aces with black aces is an abstraction that requires more attention than what I ask of them.

Call it 'user friendly magic' ;)
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Postby Guest » 04/10/03 12:17 AM

In response to Mr. Allen's earlier comments (January 29, 2003)

The discrepency about the order of the cards is a non-issue if one uses the original handling described in the Dai Vernon Book of Magic, cited earlier.

The best reason I have for using four cards in the first place is that you're doing a transposition trick. You couldn't do that if you didn't have and cards to transpose.


Brian R. Stevens

Postby Rafael Benatar » 04/10/03 05:43 AM

I use Jennings' version from The Cardwright. It's technically more demanding but does away with the discrepancy through a triple lift and a double (top/bottom) deal.
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Postby Guest » 04/10/03 09:13 AM

Why hasn't Allan Lee ever returned to his own post!!!!!!!!

Postby John Carey » 05/31/05 04:13 AM

Sanverted by John Carney in his book Carneycopia is one of the most deceptive handlings of the Daley ace trick

The main problem with the trick is that no matter how well you handle this trick, some spectators anticipate the finish.

Carneys handling goes a long way to cancelling this in my honest opinion.

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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 05/31/05 04:25 AM

Originally posted by john carey:
...The main problem with the trick is that no matter how well you handle this trick, some spectators anticipate the finish...
Lubor Fiedler has trick where four court cards change to four spot cards on his video.

What would it mean to use that gaff to effect the transposition, then to show your cards changed to spot cards...and when they turn over their cards, they find spot cards as well?

Sort of a homage to the glide here but still seems workable. What do you think?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time
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Postby John Carey » 05/31/05 04:41 AM

I bet that would look great Jonathan.
Thanks alot

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