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Bob Farmer
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Postby Bob Farmer » November 14th, 2003, 6:16 am

By Bob Farmer November 14, 2003
Please send comments, criticism, corrections and other stuff to:
Bob Farmer, Box 1262, Brockville, Ontario, Canada K6V 5W2
(613) 342-5782 Fax (613) 342-2655 Trickmail@aol.com

EFFECT: Spectator shuffles his own deck of cards. You have your back turned (in fact, you can do this over the phone).

You tell him this is a game of mental poker and he will be using a mental hole card.

Spectator removes any five random cards and thinks of the highest card he sees. He then shuffles all of the cards together.

You ask him to concentrate on his card. Clues emerge and you name the card, both value and suit.

BACKGROUND: I have to thank Kenton Knepper and John Mahood for a bit of reverse inspiration. In the fall of 2003, these benighted peasants marketed K.E.N.T., touted by Kenton as, One of two tools I rely upon for close-up work of any kind (the other tool isnt identified, but intuition tells me its a large bag he puts over his head).

For $15 you get to wade through 25 pages to find out how to identify the value not the suit, just the value of a thought card. You arent always right, so Kenton suggests you buy another one of his tricks, Kolossal Killer (all of Kentons tricks have a big K somewhere), to fix that problem.

The core method used in K.E.N.T. is one I invented and explained in Tsunami (1987). If five cards are selected at random, the highest card in the group will have a 92.25% of being either an Ace, King, Queen, Jack or Ten.

So, if you tell a spectator to think of a mental hole card and to make it the highest card (aces high) he sees in his five-card packet, you know it is almost certain he will be thinking of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack or Ten.

In K.E.N.T., the perpetrators use a progressive anagram (a principle invented by Stanley Collins in 1922, and used by me for the astrological effect, Whats My Sign?) to determine which value is being thought of. Of course, they cant name the suit.

When I heard about this, I was upset that someone would use one of my good ideas to create a bad trick and then ask $15 for it. If they had created a good trick and sold it for a reasonable price, I wouldnt have been concerned. Since 92.25% of the method is mine, good grace and etiquette would have compelled honourable men to get in touch with me and ask my opinion and perhaps my permission but that didnt happen.

And the price really rankled my consumer sense: $15! Hell, for $10, you can buy Tsumani, my original manuscript, and get a whole pile of tricks, including much better ones than K.E.N.T.

So, I decided the best thing to do would be to invent a trick that actually meets the description in the ad for K.E.N.T. The ad says you name the spectators card but, in fact, all you do is tell him its value, you cant tell him its suit. My method follows. If you like it, dont forget its free. If you want more, send $10 U.S. (check or money order) to Bob Farmer, Box 1262, Brockville, Ontario, Canada K6V 5W2 and Ill send you Tsunami (Jeff Busby said about it, .. will fool the bejesus out of anyone Busby has said other things, but this was his last intelligent comment).

(Incidentally, the guys who invented K.E.N.T. stopped too soon if all you can do is name the value, why not just figure out a progressive anagram for 13 values and have the spectator think of any card.)

METHOD: Have the spectator shuffle his own deck, select 5 random cards and think of the highest card in his hand.

As mentioned above, there is a 92.25% chance hell be thinking of an Ace, King, Queen, Jack or Ten. If you want to make it 100%, cut any Ace, King, Queen, Jack or Ten to the top of the deck. Table the deck. Have the spectator cut the deck into five packets and take the top card of each packet. This guarantees at least one of the target values.

Tell the spectator to think of his card as a phrase. For example, if its the Jack of Diamonds, he is to see the words Jack of Diamonds in his mind. Since this is one of the cards he could be thinking of, if youve hit it here, hell tell you and you can stop immediately. However, thats unlikely, so you will now use the following question (experts can shade these more subtly):

Is there an e?

Depending on how that question is answered, you will ask either:

Large K?


Many spots?

At that point you can name the card, value and suit.

Here is how it works

The first question is about the letter, e. You say you see an e. There are only four possibilities:

1. There is no e in either the value or the suit (No, No).

2. There is no e in the value, but there is an e in the suit (No, Yes).

3. There is an e in the value, but no e in the suit (Yes, No).

4. There is an e in both the value and the suit (Yes, Yes).

Here is a summary of the card groups based on this question (review these groups after you understand how all the questions work)

Group A E? Value No, Suit No
King Club
King Diamond
Jack Club
Jack Diamond

Group B E? Value No, Suit Yes
King Heart
King Spade
Jack Heart
Jack Spade

Group C E? Value Yes, Suit No
Ace Club
Ace Diamond
Queen Club
Queen Diamond
Ten Club
Ten Diamond

Group D E? Value Yes, Suit Yes
Ace Heart
Ace Spade
Queen Heart
Queen Spade
Ten Heart
Ten Spade

Once you know which group (A, B, C or D) the card is in, you now narrow it down to a sub-group of that group.

Since the first question was about the letter, e, you segue by saying that the middle letter of the colour Red, is an e.

Whatever response you get on Red, eliminates half the cards in your target group (all of the groups are half red and half black) and tells you the suit since each group is made up of only two suits.

Groups A and B have four cards each, while Groups C and D have 6. After Red, these groups become two cards in A and B and three cards in C and D.


If you are in Group A or B, the card is either a Jack or King, so your next question is about a large K?

This works well because if you say large K a person thinking of a King will respond but if they are thinking of a jack, theyll be hesitant at which point you add that the k is at the end of the word.

You can now name their card.

If you are in Groups C or D, you know the suit, but there are three possible card values, Ace, Ten Queen.

Here your next question is about a spot on the card.

Two of the cards, the Ace and the Ten are spot cards. If you get a positive response, you know its NOT the Queen. If you get a negative response, its the queen and you name the card.

If you are down to an ace and a ten, the next question is about Spots you see a whole lot of spots. A negative tells you its the ace, a positive the ten and you can name the card.

Note: 7.75% of the time the spectator will not think of an ace, ten, jack queen or king. If that happens youll be wrong on the value, but you will be right on the suit.

Copyright 2003 Every Trick In The Book Inc. All rights reserved. This explanation may be distributed for free but cannot be sold or otherwise commercially exploited without written consent.

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Postby Rennie » November 14th, 2003, 7:08 am

I would just like to say that Bob Farmers effects are fantastic as I have all or almost all of them and by far Tsunami is terrific and my favorite.I would appreciate if you could list all your effects so I could see if I do have all of them.
The effect is the important thing, how you achieve is not !!

M. Sibbernsen
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Joined: March 14th, 2008, 9:46 pm


Postby M. Sibbernsen » November 14th, 2003, 7:48 am

Of course, with some handling considerations, one could simply use a Farmarx (or Lesley) Deck and ask whatever questions you would like.

It would make for a nice "magician killer" for those in the know, not to mention a great piece in the real world.


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Matthew Field
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Postby Matthew Field » November 14th, 2003, 1:48 pm

The point here is, as Bob says:

Originally posted by Bob Farmer:
I was upset that someone would use one of my good ideas to create a bad trick and then ask $15 for it. If they had created a good trick and sold it for a reasonable price, I wouldnt have been concerned.
It's a bad idea to use someone else's concept without their permission, especially if it's a poor variation and MOST ESPECIALLY if that someone else is Bob Farmer.

I've been on the phone off and on for the past several days with Bob about this situation, and his new trick, and like all Bob's ideas this one is great.

No one is trying to keep something off the market, but it is juist a bad practice to put out a trick without contacting the people responsible for the original. I would have thought Tim Trono (Murphy's is distributing) would know better -- I consider Tim a friend.

Matt Field

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Matthew Field
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Postby Matthew Field » November 14th, 2003, 4:47 pm

Tim Trono responded directly to me ass follows:

Hi Matt.

I am at work and don't have my password for the Genii Forum handy so figured I'd respond to you directly. You are welcome to post this accordingly or do as you see fit.

As a distributor, we buy many many products sight unseen and on a good faith basis after a relationship has been established. This is a standard practice in this industry. Between history of a supplier, and the knowledge of myself and the staff at Murphy's we obviously always try to do the right thing. We have proudly represented Kenton Knepper's line of magic which is very popular and well received. The other day I received an e-mail from Bob Farmer advising of the concern in reference to K.E.N.T. Bob had not and, to my knowledge, has not, actually seen K.E.N.T. I had not had the time to read through and work on it either so I IMMEDIATELY forwarded Bob's concerns to Kenton via e-mail. Kenton immediately contacted Bob (then contacted me) to 1) assure Bob he was credited (though we both thought the other part belonged to Ray Grismer... I for one was not up on my crediting as far Bob's role in What's My Sign) and 2) to see how Bob wished to handle things and 3) to explain the differences. Kenton asked Bob if he wished to have K.E.N.T. discontinued and this was not Bob's intention. Bob simply did not like it and just wanted to point that out. Kenton USES this to great success but was willing to remove it as a gesture of good faith and to prevent any ill will. There is the advantage with Kenton's that one can do it over the phone, etc. I won't get into the positive or negative points of any of this as far as effect but please rest assured that Kenton IMMEDIATELY sought to do what was right as did I/Murphy's. I consider both Bob and Kenton friends, both honorable people, etc. In this case Bob did not want the item discontinued when he spoke with Kenton and only wanted to point out that he did not like it. Based on this information, Bob's stance, etc. we decided to continue selling it as it HAS gotten good response, it is something that Kenton HAS USED successfully and stands by, etc. Obviously we all have our opinions of various items and I certainly respect Bob's. We (Murphy's) certainly DO make mistakes but always strive to immediately do the right thing when there is a question. In this case I feel 1) we purchased an item on good faith 2) the item IS different 3) Kenton DID contact Bob and went so far as to offer to remove it to avoid any ill will and 4) Bob only wished to point out that he did not like the trick. I hope that clarifies things. Thanks.

Tim Trono

And I respionded to him:


Dear Tim,
I very much appreciate your response.
My point was, and is, that it would have been good for someone (you, Kenton or whomever) to contact Bob Farmer prior to the release of K.E.N.T., since it is based, in part, on work Bob has done. It may not be a legal requirement, but it represents an ethical position I know you uphold.
That was my point.
Bob's point, it seems to me, is that the trick is a step backward from his concept, one he has tried to put right in his freebie version.
Again, I appreciate your response.

Matt Field

Bill Mullins
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Postby Bill Mullins » November 14th, 2003, 11:50 pm

One of my theories in life is that stuff happens. Sometimes through mistakes, laziness, inadvertedness, forgetfulness, whatever. Stuff is gonna happen.

Judging people harshly because they have been involved in stuff happening is not very useful, because stuff happens to everyone.

It is useful to make judgements on how they try to make things better, once stuff has happened. It's always helpful to admit mistakes and make a good faith effort to fix them, or to even go beyond that a little.



Postby Guest » November 15th, 2003, 8:33 am

I've e-corresponded with John Mahood on and off for a couple of years.

And one thing that I do not doubt is his integrity.

When I heard that he'd created K.E.N.T., I wrote to congratulate him. He told me that it was an idea that he'd come up with, that he'd then discussed it with Kenton Knepper, and that Kenton Knepper had then decided to publish it.

John is the creator, Kenton is the publisher. At least, that's my simplistic understanding of the situation.

So while I understand your anger, Bob, I don't really think that John deserves to be on the receiving end of any of it.

We've all come up with our own magic creations, and later discovered that someone else had beaten us to it. That's happened to me, and I'm sure that it'll happen to me again. But I haven't marketed my ideas. Were someone else to market my unoriginal "original ideas", then it'd be their responsibility to check their originality. (Unless I claimed to have done such checks.)

A similar event aroused commented on these boards recently, when someone reinvented Roy Walton's Cascade and marketed it. But despite Cascade being so well known, nobody got upset at that coincidence. Unlike this one.


PS - By the way, Bob, I absolutely love Mutanz - great effect, and the instructions are an example of how instructions should be written.

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Matthew Field
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Postby Matthew Field » November 15th, 2003, 9:37 am

Originally posted by Dave Le Fevre:
We've all come up with our own magic creations, and later discovered that someone else had beaten us to it.
Dave -- I'm sure John Mahood is a nice guy, but there's a big difference between "coming up with our own magic creations" and marketing those creations.

Before you market something, you have the obligation (moral, if not legal) to check to see if it overlaps someone else's creation. If it does, it is my opinion one has the obligation to contact that person to at least inform him that the derivative effect is about to be published. Whether that obligation rests on John's shoulders, or Kenton's or Tim's, the fact is that no one contacted Bob Farmer, which was my point.

I respect Tim's response -- after all, a distributor can't be expected to check every credit. But John or Kenton should have known better. They missed an important step which every creator should take before marketing something.

I've been on the receiving end of numerous inquiries about the sources of effects or sleights someone was researching. I, in turn, have sought information from people like Richard Kaufman, Max Maven, Jon Racherbaumer, David Michael Evans, Harvey Rosenthal, Stephen Minch and, yes, Bob Farmer in situations like this. It is an obligation of prospective authors to reach out to others to seek proper crediting, and then seek permission.

At least that's what I believe.

Matt Field



Postby Guest » November 15th, 2003, 10:02 am

This also raises one other question in magic. Should magicians credit other sources such as scientist, writers and so on if that is where their concepts and or techniques came from. I remember noticing that a great deal of Kenton Knepper most brilliant concepts are in fact Dr Milton Ericksons. I also noticed that only one of his books gives proper credit to Erickson. I'm sure Knepper is not the only one has failed to credit original concept from other feilds in many of his books. I would be interested in what others think.



Postby Guest » November 15th, 2003, 10:07 am

Originally posted by Matthew Field:
Dave -- I'm sure John Mahood is a nice guy, but there's a big difference between "coming up with our own magic creations" and marketing those creations.[/QB]
I'm with you 100% on that one. There is a huge difference.

And John had earlier told me (though I hadn't seen the need to go into details in my previous post) that he'd assumed that Kenton would do what was necessary and correct. John did the "coming up with the idea", Kenton bought the rights from him and did the marketing.

I'm not in any way trying to argue the rights or wrongs of what happened. And it would be presumptuous of me to do so. I'm merely observing that John isn't to blame. He isn't marketing the effect.

A has an idea. He mentions it to B. B decides to market it. C then points out that it infringes his patent, or whatever. Unless A specifically claimed, to B, that the idea was original, then any consequent argument is between B and C, surely? B is marketing something, against C's wishes. It's not A's problem, it's not A's fault. That's the sole point that I was trying to make.

Apologies if this has effect of fanning the flames. That isn't my objective. I'm not trying to increase the fire, I'm merely trying to prevent an innocent party being burned.


Chris Aguilar
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Postby Chris Aguilar » November 15th, 2003, 11:08 am

I have no real comment on this whole thing, but thought the following to be germane to the topic at hand.

http://magictricks.atinfopop.com/4/Open ... 037992&p=2



Postby Guest » November 15th, 2003, 12:05 pm

Matt Field,
Right on!. Very well stated. In Jurisprudence, "ignorance is no excuse" (ridiculous to me but standard canon). Knowledge before thought (="marketing"); inexcusable. I have most or all of Bob's effcts. Now I'll check to see if I am missing anything current.
Marty K (Penna)

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