World's Thinnest Deck

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World's Thinnest Deck

Postby Guest » October 21st, 2003, 8:02 pm

In keeping with the theme of Jim Steinmeyer this month, I purchased his "World's Thinnest Deck" about a month ago (before I knew he was going to be featured in the new Genii!).

Being new to magic, even I find the effect very easy as far as technique goes. That's why I ordered it. It was described as "easy to do", and I knew it would probably be a good effect if it had Jim's name on it. I'm trying to focus on presentations so that I can present a true PERFORMANCE as opposed to just "doing tricks".

I'm having trouble structuring a plausible routine for this one that does not include staring at the "secret". I would rather not give that away. I can see people easily figuring out the "gimmick" if I don't handle the presentation properly.

I have not really performed a mentalism effect before, which may be why I'm struggling with a presentation for this one.

Any advice, ideas, etc. would be very helpful to me as I feel a mentalist effect would give a nice change of pace to the routine I'm putting together. Admittedly, this routine will be a little bit heavy on effects from the Ron Bauer Series which may point to my focus on presentation and routining :D

Sorry for the long winded question! Thanks in advance for your help.


Re: World's Thinnest Deck

Postby Guest » October 21st, 2003, 9:02 pm

Darren, here's how I performed it. The instructions are kind of "short" and I didn't include much presentation.

"I want to show you my latest invention. It's the world's thinnest deck of cards. You know, there's so much waste in a deck of cards. Forests across the country have been chopped down just to produce decks of cards. On the other hand, I've managed to compress an entire deck of cards into this tiny space..." Here you pull out the deck and show how thin it is. "Amazing isn't it?"

Pull out the six cards, holding them face down and spreading them. "You'd never guess that I could get an entire deck of cards onto these six cards. But I did. Of course, I had to squeeze things together a little bit." Here, turn the cards face-up, which gets a laugh, as the pips are jumbled together.

"But seriously, this deck will do everything that a real deck of cards will do. In fact, I'll do a trick with it. Rather than asking you to pick a card...that might be confusing with these cards...I want you to simply think of one. Think of any card in the deck. Don't try to make it obvious or simple. Just concentrate on any of the fifty-two cards, and remember it."

Now, spreading the cards face-up, pull out the two cards that have only pips on them, putting them aside.

"Let's not think about the pips yet, the suits. Just think about the value of your card. I'm going to hold these cards up, one by one. Just look at the values on them." You've now got just the four cards with numbers. "I want you to pick your card, so if you see that has the value you're thinking of, take it and put it in your pocket. If it doesn't have the value of your card, just put it face-down on the table here." You point to a spot, indicating where they are to put the cards.

Turn your head away and, one-by-one, hand them the four cards. As they take them, reiterate the instructions. "Remember, if you see the value, take it and hide it. Otherwise, place it on the table face-down."

When they've finished, turn back. There's now at least one face-down card on the table, and probably more than one. Pick them up and spread them casually towards the spectator. "Now, I'm not going to look at any of the cards, but you're sure that these cards didn't have your value, right?" As you do this, add the values from the marks on the back.

Pick up the other two cards and mix them in with the remaining cards in your hands. Don't look at the face of any cards. "This time, I want you to only look at the suits. Diamonds, hearts, clubs or spades. If you see the suit you're thinking of, take the card and put it in your pocket. Otherwise, put it face-down on the table."

Repeat the process with the cards.

When you turn around, you already know the value of the card. I start right away divining the value of the card. "You're thinking of a high card, a number card, but a high number. Don't tell me if I'm right or wrong. Concentrate on the suit." Pick up the cards on the table and spread them again. "You're sure you got all of them with the right suit?" Check the marks and identify the suit.

"It's a black card. Well, that's a fifty-fifty guess. So I'll do better than that. It's a club. Don't tell me if I'm right or wrong, but you'll notice that I haven't made a single mistake yet. Yes, I can tell what card you're thinking of. It's the highest number in a deck, the ten of clubs!"

I've never had anyone find the marks. I'm sure it's possible, but the handling allows you to conceal this nicely. Be sure to emphasize that you're not looking at any cards. I shuffle them slightly in my hands as I turn away, to point out that they're not in any order. Part of it is that you're reading marks on the discarded cards, not the chosen cards, which are hidden in their pocket. Also, the marks are easy to spot and add with just a casual spread of the cards as you show them again.

Good luck with it.

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Matthew Field
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Re: World's Thinnest Deck

Postby Matthew Field » October 22nd, 2003, 8:37 am

Many thanks, Jim, for posting that great presentation.

As an aside, many years ago, when we were both living in New York City, I invited sleight-of-hand aficionado and author Stephen Hobbs up to my apartment for lunch and some magic. The trick he brought to show me, also a sleight-of-hand aficionado, was "World's Thinnest Deck." It is a great trick.

Also great is "Hiding the Elephant," Jim's new book (featured in the November Genii where it received a glowing review from Jamy Ian Swiss) and available at and your favorite bookstore. It is a marvelous book, most enjoyable and it will set your mind working when you read of Charles Morritt and the other innovators Jim so well describes.

Having read most of the Steinmeyer monographs on Pepper's Ghost, Morritt and others, I was a bit apprehensive that "Hiding the Elephant" might be just a rehash of those "magician-only" works, but that is not at all the case. It is a delight from cover to cover and highly recommended.

Matt Field


Re: World's Thinnest Deck

Postby Guest » October 22nd, 2003, 8:58 am

Wow Jim! Thanks for the wonderful routine. I hope this post will introduce more people to the effect, as your routine will make it very fun to perform.

It's extremely nice that you've taken the time to help out a new magician who wants to be more than the typical "Blaine" clone that's out there. Of course, I enjoy food too much to copy Blaine these days :)

Also, thanks Matt for your thoughts as well.

To both of you, after reading the excerpt of "Hiding the Elephant" in this month's Genii I immediately decided to put that book onto my Christmas list. Great stuff! I can't wait to read it. This month's Genii has introduced me to the world of illusions and I'm looking forward to learning more.


Re: World's Thinnest Deck

Postby Guest » October 22nd, 2003, 11:18 am

I love the Worlds Thinnest Deck, I got it when it first came out. I liked it so much that I took the cards and blew 'em up to mega jumbo size (20" tall) and used them for a large presentation to older kids (teens). Worked great and the kids really liked it.
Steve V


Re: World's Thinnest Deck

Postby Guest » October 22nd, 2003, 7:05 pm

My introduction to "The World's Thinnest Deck "
was quite by chance...Let me explain.

In 1994 I wrote to Mr. Steinmeyer and sent payment along with my letter for his lecture notes entitled "Strange Powers And Other Problems For Magicians". Excellent by the way. (Hint: Tired of doing the slydini balls over the head? See the effect in these notes called "The Five Senses).

After a few weeks and no lecture notes I got ...well...concerned.

I then received a very nice note from the author informing me that the notes were sold out but a new printing was forthcoming.

A short time later I received the lecture notes very nicely inscribed by the author and a complimentary gift to reward me for my patience. The gift was the above mentioned effect. A kind and classy gesture from a gentleman of magic.

The effect must have been quite new as I hadn't heard about it prior to this.

Pete Mills

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