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READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.


Written by John Guastaferro

Edited by Raj Madhok

Photos by Jenny V.

Title idea by Robert Strange

Copyright 2012 | John Guastaferro |

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known to be invented, without written permission.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Creativity is the art of the impossible.

Ben Okri, Nigerian poet and novelist

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.


1. Invisible Opener
2. RWB

3. Mr. E. Returns
4. Spectral
5. Centerfold
6. Twist of Fate

7. Bound to Triumph
8. Untouchable

9. Inside and Out
10. Triple Pocket Discovery

11. Assembly Line
12. Pickpocket Aces

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Excuse me, can I borrow your imagination for a moment?

Whats your opening line when approaching a group during a strolling magic
performance? Lets face it; it can be quite awkward invading a groups current
experience to introduce them to a new one. The strategy is to make them curious, not
defensive. One of my favorite opening lines is: Excuse me, can I borrow your
imagination for a moment? I find it polite, non-intrusive, inviting, slightly unusual,
and most importantly, it raises curiosity. They are thinking, What does he mean,
borrow my imagination?

With a question like this, its important to follow up with something that does indeed
capture their imagination. The first effect in this book, Invisible Opener, is designed
to deliver on this opening line in a big way. A mini-routine in itself, it is a powerful
presentation for the Invisible Deck. It allows you to make all your props magically
appear and engage your audiences with lines like, Imagine that you are holding
hundreds of dollars in poker chips and Imagine that instead of two rubberbands,
you are holding the very handcuffs used by Houdini.

You might think that using an opening line with a yes/no question could risk the
chance of a no response. I think youll find, as I have, that people dont answer no,
and instead respond with a look of interest and curiosity. The question is rhetorical
by nature and doesnt demand a serious answer. Now, if I should get a no response,
I would simply reply, Too late or Of course not; you wouldnt just give your
imagination away that easily. Let me introduce myself... You could always just frame
the opening line as a statement rather than a question, such as, Excuse me, I just need
to borrow your imagination for a moment. And, depending on your style, this
opening line might not fit your personality at all, and thats okay. The key is to get
thinking about the opening line you do useand how to best deliver on it.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

I now ask you, Can I borrow YOUR imagination? Can I invite you into my repertoire?
Get ready. For the majority of these effects, youll simply need a deck of cards. Youll
also discover effects and variations that integrate additional props, such as a plain
notecard, poker chips, rubberbands, sticky notes, blank cards, odd-backed cards and
the card box itself.

You can build a strong set by selecting an effect from each of the five chapters. Youll
find a collection of openers, middle effects, and closers. Youll also find plenty of
opportunities for continuity, such as using the rubberbands from the opening effect
later in your set to perform Bound To Triumph (Chapter 3); or showing a blank deck
in RWB (Chapter 1), then closing with a blank deck in Assembly Line (Chapter 5); or
highlighting the hands off approach of both Spectral (Chapter 2) and Untouchable
(Chapter 3). You can find continuity in many forms, including these five Ps: plot,
premise, presentation, props and patter. Its all about connecting the dots and
highlighting these connections during performance.

As David Regal writes, This collection has the Guastaferro stamp of simplicity,
structure and surprise. This is my brand of magic, introduced in Brainstorm (2003).
Those of you familiar with my work will see both brand new effects and some new
variations that have been taken to another level with little extra effort. I consider this
booklet a continuation of the one degree philosophy I introduced in my book One
Degree (2010), where small changes can yield massive impact. Whether you perform
the effects exactly as described or use them as a launching pad for other ideas, I hope
you find the material strong, practical and stimulating. These effects are no longer
about me. They are now about you and where you take them. Get ready, get set

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.


Make an amazing first impression

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Just as important as hearing,
They loved your magic!
is hearing, They loved YOU!
As magicians, these are inseparable goals.
Let your audience get to know you,
not just your props.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

1. Invisible Opener
In a game of pretend, imaginary items appear from nowhere, including poker chips, a
deck of cards and rubberbands.

Virtually all of my strolling performances include a coin production and vanish, the
Penetrating Rubberbands (popularly known as Crazy Man's Handcuffs), and the
classic Invisible Deck. It was my goal to create one cohesive routine that would
seamlessly link these effects. The result is Invisible Opener. It allows me to begin
with my hands completely empty and produce all the props I need out of thin air.
Its fun, visual, interactive and memorable. The 3-minute routine features:

1. A production of several poker chips
2. A deck production
3. A production of two rubberbands
4. A prequel to the classic Invisible Deck
5. A built-in deck switch to continue with more card effects

More than just a string of separate effects, the routines structure and premise create
an experience for your audience. While Invisible Opener is obviously personalized for
the specific props I use, Im certain you will have fun exploring ways to integrate
your own props and personal style.

Ive always thought that magicians, who routinely demonstrate that they can make
things appear, disappear, change, and so on, should be able to magically make their
props appear at will. Why then would they take decks, coins, etc. out of their pockets
like ordinary mortals? How ordinary! How banal! With his Invisible Opener, John G.
effectively addresses this long-standing paradox.

- Jon Racherbaumer

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Youll need an Invisible Deck, two rubberbands,
and two identical poker chipsthe higher the
value the better. I use two $100 replica chips.
Wrap the two rubberbands around the
Invisible Deck case. Place the deck and both
poker chips in your left pants pocket. Also have
a regular deck in any other pocket if youd like
to continue with a card set after this effect.


The effect is structured around engaging three spectators. Before approaching your
audience, remove one of the two poker chips from your left pocket and secretly place
it up your right sleeve. If not wearing a coat or long sleeve shirt, you can conceal the
chip your right hand.

Approach your audience and say, Excuse me, can I borrow your imagination for a
moment? As this curious line sinks in, introduce yourself and ask for the help of
three people. Address your three spectators from left to right, saying, Id like you to
pretend you are holding a stack of hundred dollar poker chips; and that you are
holding an invisible deck of cards; and that you are holding two rubberbands. It will all
make sense in a moment.

As in the common Invisible Deck presentation, ask the person holding the imaginary
deck to mime turning any card upside down. Also ask the spectator who is
pretending to hold the rubberbands, to mime wrapping the rubberbands around the
imaginary deck. Say, In your mind, there is only one card upside down in the deck now.
Too make sure no one tampers with the deck, can I ask you to place your two
rubberbands around the box? Perfect! We have a lot riding on this, hundreds of dollars
in poker chips as a matter of fact.

Continue, This is all about turning imaginationinto reality. Now the fun begins.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

The routine begins with a flurry that apparently produces a handful of poker chips,
yet only two are ever in play. Remember, your first spectator is holding an imaginary
stack of chips, so as you produce them, do so as if plucking them from her hands.
While each step is broken down below, its a very fluid production sequence.

Invite your spectator to place one of her imaginary poker chips on your outstretched
left palm. As you do this, drop your right hand to your side and let the sleeved poker
chip fall into finger palm, then transfer it to thumb clip. Close your left fingers into a
loose fist. Invite the spectator to wave her hand over your fist, but first demonstrate
by waving your right hand. During this casual display, slightly open your left fingers.
As your right hand waves back and forth, let the thumb-clipped chip fly in a forward
trajectory into your cupped left hand. After the spectator waves her hand, open your
left fingers to reveal the poker chip.

Take the chip in the right fingertips, then apparently place it back in the left hand
using a Retention Pass. Extend your closed left hand toward the spectator as if to
hand them the chip, then snap your fingers and show that the chip has vanished. Say,
As they say, what happens in Vegasstays in Vegas.

With the poker chip concealed in right finger palm, reproduce it by reaching forward
and pushing it into view (you can produce it from a candle flame, under the table,
behind someones ear, your elbow, etc.).

Production 2
False transfer the chip into your left hand and apparently place the chip away in your
pocket. Secretly position the right hands chip into thumb clip. Reach your empty left
hand forward and mime plucking a chip. Hold the left hand still with your fingers
pointing upward. Swipe your right hand horizontally in front of the left fingertips
(back of the right hand toward the audience), and secretly transfer the chip from
thumb clip so it is openly held at the left fingertips. It should look as if the chip
materializes in the left fingertips. Briefly take the chip in the right hand and false

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

transfer it to the left hand. Apparently place the chip into your pocket as your left
hand secretly steals the extra poker chip in finger palm.

Productions 3 & 4
Extend your right hand forward and push its chip into view. Apparently transfer this
chip to left hand using a Shuttle Pass. Briefly: Turn your right hand palm down,
retaining the chip in finger palm; at the same time, turn your left hand palm up
directly under the right hand; pull your right hand away to expose the left hands
chip. Raise your left hand to display the chip at the fingertips. You will now make a
second chip appear in a visual way. With the other chip concealed in right finger
palm, begin rotating your hands around each other, one in front of the other. During
this movement, your right fingers push its chip into view. Slow your hands down so
two poker chips gradually come into view.

Prepare for a Click Pass. Display both chips on your outstretched right hand: one
chip near the fingertips and the other on your palm. Rotate your hand so the
fingertips point toward you. Retain the uppermost chip in Classic palm. Apparently
toss both chips into your left hand, but only let the palmed chip fall into your left
hand as it clinks against the finger-palmed chip. Your left hand immediately closes
as if holding two poker chips. The sound of the two chips is a great convincer. Dip
your left hand into your pocket to apparently place both chips away; really just one

Productions 5 & 6
As youve done before, extend your right hand forward and reveal the concealed chip
as if plucking it from thin air. Do another false transfer into the left hand and pretend
to place it in your left pocket (keep your left hand in your pocket momentarily as you
prepare to steal the deck). Meanwhile, reveal the right hands chip one more time,
but instead of placing this away, genuinely hand it to your spectator.

You will now produce the deck in a startling fashion. Ive tried several approaches
and have found the following choreography to provide the most cover and yield the
most cover and visual impact. Your left hand is justifiably in your pocket to place its
chip away from the previous phase. Secretly take hold of the deck, gripping the far
short edge in your curled left fingers. As you do this, draw attention to the spectator

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

holding the imaginary deck. Reach your right hand forward and mime taking the
deck, then turn it palm up as if holding an invisible deck.

Bring your left hand (and concealed deck) toward the right. Extend your left index
finger and tap the right palm in a gesture that shows the right hand empty (photo 1).
To provide cover for the deck, align the right long edge of the deck against your right
wrist/forearm. Your right palm should be bent downward slightly to provide the
best angles (photo 2). I suggest looking in the mirror and making minor tweaks, such
as tilting the left side of the deck downward.

1 2

To produce the deck, slide your left hand
forward and toward the right until it
covers the right hand. Take hold of the
deck in the right fingertips, then swipe
your left hand back to reveal the deck
(photo 3). Open your left fingers as you
do this for an open and visual production
of the rubberbanded deck.


After producing the deck, also draw attention to the rubberbands that encircle it.
Hand the deck to the spectator in front of you, and the rubberbands bands to your
third spectator. What a picture perfect moment! While you began a minute earlier
with absolutely nothing, each of your three spectators now holds a tangible item
(chip, deck, and rubberbands). Pause for a moment to highlight this fact and let the
change from imagination into reality sink in.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

By making all of the imaginary props appear from nowhere, you have created the
ideal moment to reveal the thought-of card in your Invisible Deck. Everything has
built up to this. This is not only a powerful moment; it strengthens the premise of the
entire routine.

Since rubberbands were used around the card case, you have an inherent segue into
a rubberband effect. Place the chip and deck away, and draw attention to the
rubberbands. I like to say, Imagine for a moment that instead of just two
rubberbands, you are actually holding the very handcuffs used by the great Houdini. I
proceed to escape from the bands using the classic Penetrating Rubberbands
(known to many as Crazy Mans Handcuffs). You can certainly continue with any
rubberband effect you wish, as long as it fits the presentation. Also note that the
rubberbands can be used again later in your set to perform Bound To Triumph
(Chapter 3).

Finally, Id like to point out the natural opportunity to switch decks. You merely have
to place the Invisible Deck away as your perform the rubberband effect, then remove
a normal deck of cards when you are done. You are now free to continue with your
set. I like to continue with the following effect, RWB.

Joe Berg created the Ultra Mental in the 1930s. It was Eddie Fields who popularized
its presentation as an invisible deck.

Arthur Setteringtons (uncredited) Uncanny Penetrating Rubberbands can be found
in Tarbell, Vol. 7.

You dont have to do the entire Invisible Deck presentation. The handling works just
as well to simply produce poker chips, bands and your normal deck. And in truly
impromptu situations, Ive had fun substituting the above props with anything on
hand, such as two quarters, followed by producing my wallet or phone.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

2. RWB (Red, White, and Blue)

The deck changes from red to blue. And in a bit of American patriotism, even the
faces vanish for a moment, giving you a complete red, white, and blue change.

Ballet Stunner from One Degree is one of my favorite color-changing deck effects. In
exploring the effect further, I found that the two most powerful moments are the
visual color change using the Ballet Cut and the kicker of showing that the selection
has also changed color. RWB strips away everything else to focus on these two
primary moments. Compared to Ballet Stunner, RWB does away with the Triumph
phase, eliminates the force, and brings the color change front row center.

The structure of the effect also allows for an optional blank deck kicker.

Only one odd-backed card (a Joker) is used. Place a red-backed Joker on top of a blue
deck, and place everything inside a red box. If youd like to do the optional blank
deck kicker, use a red-backed blank face card instead of the Joker.


As in any color-changing deck effect, its important that your audience clearly
comprehends the color of the deck without the performer overtly stating the
obvious. Subtlety works best. The red box is your first weapon, so make sure they get
an adequate look. (If you precede this with Invisible Opener, you have a head start in
having already had a red deck in play).

Remove the cards from the box, ensuring that the top red card is seen. I like to give
the cards a very wide face-down bevel by pushing the cards to the right with the left
thumb (an idea of my friend Larry Wilmore), but not so much to display the backs. In
a continuing motion, tilt the deck upward and fully spread the cards to show all the

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Square the deck and carefully turn it face up. Perform a series of swing cuts into the
left hand. Casually flash the red back of the right packet during this process. Continue
cutting until the red card is about four or five cards from the face. As you square the
deck, keep a left pinky break under the red-backed Joker.

Say, Id like to do something a little different and have you select a card with the deck
face UP. Spread the cards and cull the red-backed Joker underneath the spread.
Have the spectator touch or name any card near the center. Outjog the selection as
you load the culled Joker card under it.

1 2

3 4

With the selection outjogged, close the spread and maintain a left pink break under
the Joker. Your right hand re-grips the block above the selection in end grip (photo
1). Lift the top half toward you as your left index finger simultaneously pulls the
selection flush with the bottom half (photo 2). This leaves you with a double above
your break.

You will now turn the double (selection and Joker) face down. With the upper half of
the deck still in the right hand, grasp the double from above in end grip (photo 3).
Sidejog the double and clamp your left thumb down to hold it in place. Use the right
packet to lever the double face down onto the bottom half. A red back will show. Use

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

the tip of your right middle finger to outjog the red-backed card (photo 4). Notice
how during these actions, the top half becomes square with the bottom half and
automatically covers the hidden reversed selection.

You have the red-backed Joker outjogged from the center of the face-up deck. While
they believe this is the selection, the actual card is reversed in the center of the deck.

Ballet Change
Say, I thought I would try to magically change the back of your card from red to
blue...the only problem is that I havent figured out a way to do it. But, I do know how to
do something even better! Feint trying to change the color of the outjogged
selection, then remove and place the red-backed card face down onto the face-up
deck. You are now in perfect position to perform my Ballet Cut as a visual color
change of the deck (see One Degree for details). The Ballet Cut, which essentially just
turns the deck over, will bring the blue cards into view. Immediately spread through
the deck to show that the backs have all changed from red to blue. Say, Ill change
ALL the cards from red to blue, except for your card. When you arrive at the face-up
selection, outjog it. Continue, Well, let me see if I can make good on my original
promise and change the back of your card too. Pause a beat, then turn the selection
over to show that it has also changed to blue. Great kicker for little work.

Clean up
The core effect is over. You simply have to ditch the reversed odd-backed card thats
on the bottom. Since its a Joker, its logical to remove it, however, it must be
reversed first. To do this, spread through half the cards, turn them over and place
them on the bottom. Continue spreading the remainder of the face-down cards, turn
them over and place them on the bottom. The Joker should now be at the face. Simply
place it on your pocket as if its not needed, and you are now clean.

Red, WHITE, and Blue - A blank deck kicker

If using a blank facer instead of a Joker, you can conclude with this blank deck kicker.
After the Ballet Cut color change, secretly reverse the bottom (blank) card with a Half
Pass. Say, If you think about it, this trick is very patriotic, like American red, white and
blue. The cards were all red, now theyre all blue. The only color were missing is white.
Turn the deck face up and give it a reverse fan. It will look as if all the faces are
completely blank. This is startling, especially with the changes that just preceded it.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

To clean up, square the deck and turn it face down. Steal the blank-faced bottom card
in Gamblers Cop as you hand an audience member the deck. Snap your fingers and
have them turn the deck over to show that they now are all printed. This gives you
ample cover to pocket the blank card. Since they are holding the deck, they now have
complete freedom to examine the deck.

Alternative Handing for Blank Deck Kicker:
With a little extra effort, you can make the blank transformation even more visual.
After the Ballet Cut, do not use a Half Pass to reverse the bottom blank-faced card.
Instead, use the actions of a side steal to palm the card in the right hand (your left
fingers push the bottom card toward the right as your right hand takes it in full
Classic palm). Turn the deck face up. Wave your right hand over the deck and let the
palmed card fall squarely onto the face of the decka blank face will show. Perform
a reverse fan to show that all the cards are blank. Square the deck and use the
Erdnase (Houdini) Change to cause the blank card to change into a normal card. Push
off a small block to hide the blank card (second down) and continue spreading to
show that all the cards are now printed again. Double undercut two cards to the
bottom, then steal the blank-faced bottom card in Gamblers Cop as you hand an
audience member the deck. Secretly pocket the card and you are clean.

The Ballet Cut can be found on my Brainstorm DVDs (2003) and One Degree (2010).

Notice how during the core of the routine, the face of the red-backed card is not
seenunless you want it to be. This opens the door to many possibilities. Ive
described using the odd-backed card as a Joker and as a blank card. Another idea is
to use a red/blue double-backer, which would allow you to show a complete spread
of blue cards at the end. There are certainly other applications. Have fun exploring.

In an election year, you may want to let the colors represent the republican (red) and
democrat (blue) parties. The presentation could be about changing party affiliation
or mixing ideologies.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.


Curious Card Impossibilities

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

To make your effects shine as brightly as possible,
follow this advice from David Regal:


Use every word and every action to make the impact

as clear, compelling and entertaining as possible.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

3. Mr. E. Returns
A card that is used as a magic wand throughout the effect ends up being the
spectators signed selection.

The mystery card plot has fascinated me since first reading Brother John Hammans
The Signed Card in the mid-80s. My effect Mr. E. Takes a Stroll from One Degree
(2010), generated quite a bit of interest from magicians for its simplicity and
structure. Yet, I must admit, there continued to be an issue that gnawed at me
namely in trying to answer why two cards were placed around the mystery card in
the first place.

With Mr. E. Returns, I focus the presentation on answering this question. By
characterizing the mystery card as a magic wand and the two Jokers as the white
tips of the wand, it provides clarity that I find very satisfyingand an entertaining
hook to boot. While it does not have the Ace cutting phase or transposition of the
original Mr. E., it has some new magical moments, all structured to make the final
reveal of the mystery card as deceptive and surprising as possible.

Youll need a marker and two identical Jokers. One Joker is on top of the deck and the
other is in your right pocket.


Address two spectators, Its time for my break. Would one of you mind taking over as
the magician? Perfect. Wait, youll need a magic wand. Remove the Joker from your
pocket without showing its face. Instruct your spectator to pinch it face down, thumb
on top. Say, Yes, I know it looks like an ordinary playing card, but it is in fact a magic
wand. Its very important that you hold it flat and do not turn it over. The power is now
in your hands. This card must remain unknown until the end, so be sure not to show
its face, and that the spectator holds it flat throughout the effect.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Say to the other spectator, You will be our worthy assistant. Please choose any card
and sign it on the face. Have any card selected and signed. Do not look at the card.

Meanwhile, hold the deck in end grip and secure a right thumb break above the
bottom two cards in preparation for a J.K. Hartman control. Swing cut half the deck
into your left hand. Extend your left hand to have the selection returned squarely on
top (onto the Joker). Bring the right hand over the left packet just for an instant and
secretly unload the two cards below your break. Immediately separate your hands as
if a thought came to mind. I usually say, You signed the card, right? or You wont
forget the card, will you? The point is to disguise the momentary contact of the
halves. To complete the sequence, your left thumb pushes the top card of its half onto
the right packet, angle-jogged toward the left; your right forefinger holds this card in
place. Place the left-hand packet squarely onto the balance of the deck, leaving the
decoy card protruding from the center. The selection is actually second from the top;
the Joker is third.

Ambitious Revelation
Slowly square the outjogged card with the deck. Say, Clearly, your card is not on the
top or bottom. Fairly show the top and bottom cards. Continue, Even though the
card is lost in the middle, this is no match for our magician. Please wave your magic
wand over the deck. Perform a double turnover to show the signed card. Repeat the
double and deal the top card face down to the table. I like to place the marker on top
of this card to strengthen the thought that it is the signed selection.

Say, Very impressive! Lets try something even better. Youre going to need a better
wand thoughyou know, one that has the fancy white tips and all. Lets find the two
Jokers and use them as the white tips. Do some false cuts, then a double turnover to
show a Joker. Turn the double face down and place the top card (actually the
selection) onto the mystery card. Double undercut the top card to the bottom, then
turn the deck face up (or do my Ballet Cut) to show another Joker on the face of the
deck. Fairly place this Joker face down under the mystery card.

Just after youve done this, say, I think your magic wand would look better with the
Jokers face up. Ah, thats better. As you say this, you will execute a devious switch
based on Hammans original switch, but youll use one hand to do it. Reach toward
the three cards with your right hand. Openly take the bottom card, turn it face up and

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

replace it on top of the remaining two cards; take the new bottom card, turn it face
up and replace it on the bottom. This not only shows the two Jokers, it apparently
leaves the middle card untouched. This is all done casually. Since it is an incidental
gesture rather than pinnacle moment, the switch easily flies under the radar. Plus, it
actually makes sense in the presentation to surround the mystery card with two
face-up Jokers, since they resemble white tips of a magic wand.

The Vanishing
Say, With your new fancy wand, you can do something even more powerfullike
making the signed card disappear. Place your right hand flat onto the tabled card and
have the spectator wave the three cards over. Raise your hand to show the card still
there. Say, Hmm, I think you need to say some magic words. Lets try it again, this time
with feeling. Re-position the tabled card side-jogged on the deck in preparation for
the Rub-a-Dub Vanish. Apparently isolate the card under your right hand, but use
your left thumb to secretly pull the card flush with the deck. With your right hand flat
on the table, ask your other spectator to place her hand on top of yours. After your
magician waves the three cards over, lift your hands to show that the card is gone!

Mr. E. Returns
Spread the deck face up and show that the selection is nowhere to be found. Draw
attention to the three cards held by your magician. Fairly remove the two Jokers
and gesture toward the face-down card that remains held in her fingertips. Remind
everyone that this card has been there from the very start. Say, I mentioned earlier
that the power is in your handsand indeed it is. Invite her to turn the card over. To
everyones surprise, it will be the signed selection.

Switching a card under the pretext of sandwiching it between two others can be
found in Brother John Hammans The Signed Card, found in Richard Kaufmans
Almanac, Issue 14 (1983), and later in The Secrets of Brother John Hamman (1989).

The control I use is based on J.K Hartmans R.S. Bluff Control (second variation),
published in Means & Ends (1973), and later in Card Craft (1991).

The Rub-a-Dub Vanish can be found in William H. McCaffreys routine Card In The
Pocket II from Greater Magic (1938), and in Expert Card Technique (1940).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

4. Spectral
A freely selected card vanishes and reappears in a most mysterious way.

My friend John Carey really sparked something when he sent me a gem called
Impossible Conclusion, which used an automatic placement to control a card from
within three tabled packets. The principle at work is Gene Finnells Free Cut
Principle, used similarly in Marlos Third Phase of Nouveau 21-Card Trick. What
follows is my take on the effect, which focuses on making the reappearance of an
invisible card as magical and hands off as possible. A similar approach was used in
Invisible 21 by Jack Parker and David Solomon. Ive integrated Nyquists
ribbonspread hide-out and some other touches to heighten the apparitional
appearance of the card. While Spectral is inspired by the 21-card trick, it is not
presented as such. The plot is focused on a card that vanishesand reappears.



Invite a spectator to shuffle the deck. Youll need three packets of five cards each
dealt into piles. Rather than overtly asking the spectator to count three packets of
five cards, simply ask her to deal three poker hands. This takes the math out of it,
while adding a relatable hook.

Ask the spectator to pick up any packet and to further mix it. Instruct her to cut off
any amount of cards from her packet and to remember the card at the face of the cut
off portion. Have her drop the cut portion onto either of the remaining two tabled
packets. Have her bury her selection further by placing the other tabled packet onto
the newly combined packet. Finally, have her drop the cards she is holding onto the
tabled packet. As random as it appears, this application of the Finnells Freecut
Principle will always position the selection 10th from the top.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

To add further smoke and mirrors, guide your spectator through the actions of the
Jay Ose false table cut. Briefly, have her cut a third of the cards to the table, another
third to the right of that, and the remaining cards to her far right. Have her
reassemble the packets from left to right, placing the far left packet onto the center
packet, then this combined packet onto the remaining packet. Since this is a false cut,
the order of the cards is undisturbed and the selection remains in the 10th position.

The Vanish
You will now cause the thought of card to vanish. Pick up the packet and mime
plucking out an invisible card and handing it to your spectator. You will prove the
card is gone by displaying all the cards, a few at a time.

Flip the top three cards face up, spread them and ask if selection is not among them,
then place them underneath the packet. Repeat this with three more cards. For the
next three cards, flip them face up as before, then attain a break below the next face-
down card (this is the 10th cardthe selection). Display the three face-up cards in a
small fan as you align the selection squarely under the bottom card of the fan. Pick
up the three visible cards with the hidden selection, and place them underneath the
packet. This secretly positions the selection on the bottom. Spread off the remaining
five cards, flip them face up onto the packet, and again ask if their card is among
them. The selection has convincingly vanished, and is now located reversed on the
bottom of the packet. This is a good moment to casually tilt the packet and glimpse
the reversed selection underneath. You can mime looking at the spectators invisible
card and naming it aloud as if you can actually see it.

The Reappearance
You will use Charles Nyquists ribbonspread hide-out to make the imaginary card
reappear. Begin slowly dealing cards face up in an overlapping row on the table. Ask
the spectator to call out stop at any point she likes. Have her mime placing her
imaginary card face down onto the tabled spread at this point. Call attention to the
card on the face of the tabled row, stressing that she chose to place her card on top of
the (name card).

Spread your held cards slightly and regrip the cards from above in end grip (photo 1).
Use your left fingertips to secretly side-jog the bottom selection about an inch
toward the right, but still hidden beneath the spread (photo 2). Draw attention to
what appears to be the bottom card of your held packet (the leftmost card directly

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

above the sidejogged selection). With your cards still spread, carefully lay them onto
the tabled row to create one combined spread (photo 3). Reiterate that their
imaginary card is now between two cards of their choosing, again drawing attention
to the two face-up cards that trap the imaginary card. The selection will remain
hidden because it is sidejogged.

1 2

3 4

You will not touch the cards from this point. Invite your spectator to square the
packet herself, but to ensure that the selection is not seen during these actions,
instruct her to first place each hand on the outer ends of the tabled spread. Gesture
with your own hands to make this clear by placing your hands on the table, palms
facing each other (photo 4). Once the spectator is ready, have her slowly bring her
hands together.

Make a magical gesture as if causing the imaginary card to materialize. Have the
spectator re-spread the cards herself to discover that a face-down card now appears.
This is a very powerful moment! Also point out that the card is in the exact position
they determined, noting the two face up cards that surround the selection. Finally,
have her turn the face-down card over to reveal the selection.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

DOWN TO BUSINESS - A variation using two business cards

Instead of making the invisible card appear between two adjacent playing cards, Ill
sometimes use two business cards or borrowed credit cards (or even two Jokers).
This eliminates the need for the audience to remember two playing cards, adds some
visual interest, and draws more focus to where the magic takes place.

After the vanish, and as you begin dealing cards onto the table, have the spectator
place one business card ono the tabled row whenever shed like. After you secretly
sidejog the selection, place the other business card under your held packet, but above
the selection. Place your held cards onto the tabled row as described in the routine.
This will clearly show a spread of face-up cards with two adjacent business cards in
the center with nothing apparently between them. Have the spectator square the
tabled cards, then re-spread. A face-down card will now appear between the two
business cards.

The Automatic Placement idea can be found in Marlos Third Phase of Nouveau 21-
Card Trick from Marlo Without Tears (Racherbaumer, 1983). The actual principle at
work is Gene Finnells Free Cut Principle.

Invisible 21 by Jack Parker with David Solomon can be found in 52 Memories
(Gladwin, 2008).

Jay Oses False Cut appeared in Harry Lorraynes Close-Up Card Magic (1962). Paul
Harris describes the idea of guiding the spectator through the Ose false in The Art of
Astonishment (Harris, 1996) as a Phootnote to Chad Longs Shuffling Lesson. James
Swain also shares the idea in 21st Century Card Magic (Swain, 1999).

Charles Nyquists ribbonspread hide-out was published in The Ribbonspread
Reverse in Hugards Magic Monthly, vol. 6, no. 3 (1948).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

5. Centerfold
A card is predicted, then travels inside a folded note card.

This effect allows you to deliver all the wallop of a signed card to wallet, using
nothing more than a single note card. The rotating fold described below makes it
possible to produce a flat physical object from within an obviously empty space.

Use a 5x8 unlined index card. Fold it in half back and forth to get a good crease down
the center. Write a prediction of your force card on both the inner flap and under the
bottom flap (photos 1 & 2). The audience will only be aware of one written
prediction. Fold the notecard with the writing facing downward, and attach a paper
clip (photo 3).


Introduce the folded index card as you state that there is a prediction inside. Do not
flash the underside. Force the corresponding selection and have it signed. Steal the
selection in Gamblers Cop and secretly load it under the index card (photo 4).
Remove the paper clip and open the flap to show that your written prediction
matches the selection (photo 5). This is also a motivated and natural way of openly
showing an otherwise ordinary piece of paper, yet the card is hidden underneath.

Here is a fun discrepancy. Act as if the effect is over as you casually fold the upper
flap down and around to the bottom (photo 6). This positions the selected card inside
the fold (photo 7). Replace the paper clip and place the index card aside as if the
effect is over. You could even place it in your spectators pocket as a souvenir.

After some time misdirection, re-open index card to show that there is the signed
card inside (photos 8 & 9). The duplicate written prediction serves as a nice reference
point of the empty card they saw just moments earlier.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

My buddy Raj Madhok suggested some great ideas for Centerfold:

Instead of forcing a card, write a prediction that simply says, Your Card. After
the gag, you can have the big payoff of their card actually being inside.

Use a FriXion pen to write the original inside message. At the end, you can use a
flame from a lighter to create the magical momentand deviously cause this
message to vanish, leaving the notecard clean and examinable!

For a gift or special event, use Centerfold to produce your business card, folded
paper currency or a gift card. These smaller items are also easier to cop and load.

Related ideas to the rotating fold can be found in John Carneys effect Wired from
Carneycopia (Minch, 1991) and Jeff Pierces effect Remote Viewing from The King Has
Left The BuildingWith Amnesia (2004).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

6. Twist of Fate
Using three cards, the future is predicted, then altered.

Specifically, the performer removes two random cards to represent the future, and
the spectator is invited to place any card face down between them. Its pointed out
that the top card represents the value and the bottom card the suit. In this case, the
Eight of Clubs and Jack of Hearts together represent the Eight of Hearts. The
unknown selection is turned over and it is in fact the Eight of Hearts. But thats just
the start. The selection is replaced between the two fate cards, and the spectator is
asked to reverse the order of the cards so the Jack of Hearts is on top and the Eight of
Clubs is on the bottom. The selection is turned over to show that it has changed into
the Jack of Clubs, proving it is possible to alter the future.

This effect is a result of experimenting with the Kosky Switch. Ive always found it to
be very deceptive. Its used here as a force. Followed with a simple Top Change, and
the effect transcends into something more powerfulnot just predicting ones fate,
but altering it too.

None. (However, for the variation at the end, youll need two Post-it Notes.)


Begin by saying, Do you believe in fate? This is not a cheesy pickup lineI really want
to know if you believe in fate. In a moment, I am going to remove two cards that I
believe represent something in your future.

Predicting the Future
Hand the deck out to be thoroughly shuffled. Take back the deck and secretly note
the top two cards. They must be of different value and suit; if not, casually spread
through the deck and cut at a point that brings two contrasting cards to the top,

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

preferably a face card and spot card. In our example, the Eight of Hearts is the top
card and the Jack of Clubs is second. You will now openly outjog two cards of fate
based on the identity of these cards. To do this, mentally switch the suits around. So,
you will openly outjog the Eight of Clubs and the Jack of Hearts. As you do this, say,
Something about you is drawing me to the Eight of Clubs and Jack of Hearts. Do these
cards mean anything to you? Well, they will.

Place the pair face-up onto the face-down deck with the Jack of Hearts uppermost.
Spread the deck and have any card removedbut not seen. As you re-square the
deck, get a pinky break below the third card. You will now apparently place the
selection between the two fate cards. Pick up the three cards above your break in
end grip and peel the Jack onto the deck so it is outjogged; have the selection placed
onto the Jack, but perfectly aligned with the rest of the deck; then place your double
onto the deck so it is injogged. This displays three stair-stepped cards (an extra card
is hidden under the Eight) (photo 1).

You will now execute the Kosky Switch: Simply push the top double forward until it
is aligned with the outjogged card. Give them a small fan so one face-down card can
clearly be seen two face-up cards (photo 2). Pinch the outjogged sandwich and hand
it to your helper. You have imperceptibly switched the selected card.

1 2

Explain, Heres how the two fate cards work. The top card always represents value, in
this case, EIGHT. And the bottom card represents suit, in this case, HEARTS. Together,
the Eight and Jack create the Eight of Hearts. As you say this, take the opportunity to
casually displace the top card of the deck (slip it to the center or double undercut it
to the bottom). This prepares you for the following phase. All attention is now on the
three cards held by your spectator.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Slowly and fairly remove the center card of the sandwich, gripped in preparation for
a Top Change. Hold it up so everyone can see that it is indeed the Eight of Hearts.
During the reaction, execute a Top Change, and replace the card face down between
the two face-up fate cards.

Altering the Future
Say, While predicting our fate is a very cool thing, what if we could do something even
more powerful, like ALTERING our fate? Instruct the spectator to place the Jack on
the top and the Eight on the bottom. Continue, By shifting your cards around, you
have completely altered your future! Remember how the top card represents the value,
and the bottom card represents the suit. The cards you hold now represent a completely
different cardthe JACK of CLUBS.

Invite the spectator to remove the center card to discover it has changed into the
Jack of Clubs!

STICKY SITUATION - A variation using Post-It Notes

For added visual interest and to help make
things crystal clear, try performing this
effect using two small sticky notes. During
the presentation, openly remove two sticky
notes and write value and suit on them.
After displaying the two principal cards,
place the sticky notes on the face of the
appropriate cards (photo 3). After the first 3
revelation, have your spectator switch the
sticky notes. Point out how the value and suit notes now refer to a completely
different card. Show that the center card has changed.

Gerald Koskys Kosky Switch was originally published in the 1940s by Joe Berg as
Koskys Invisible Card Exchange. It can be found in Card College 4 (2000).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.


Mixing it up with the classic Triumph

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Always shoot for S.T.A.R. moments
(Something They'll Always Remember),
an idea found in Nancy Duartes book Resonate.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

7. Bound to Triumph
A topsy-turvy shuffled deck that is wrapped with a rubberband manages to
unshuffle itself, even while in a spectators hands.

Ive loved the effect Bandorama after seeing J.C. Wagner do it in the late 80s.
Since then, Ive always thought that combining Bandorama with Triumph could
significantly raise the drama and impact, especially if done in slow motion. Here is
the result.

Any deck and a rubberband.


Have a card chosen or merely named. Talk about the various ways to shuffle cards,
and secretly cull the selection to the back of the face-up deck. Turn the deck face
down and overhand shuffle to send the selection to the bottom. Execute a Slop
Shuffle, and when you arrive at the bottom card (selection), place it face down on
top. Position check: face-down selection, face-up half, face-down half.

Hold the deck lightly in end grip and give it a slight downward toss to let the face-
down block fall into your left hand. Openly lever this half face up and weave the two
halves together, with the face-down selection on top. Turn the deck over end so the
reversed selection is now on the bottom of the deck.

Introduce the rubberband and say you will use it to trap the deck in its topsy-turvy
condition. As in Bandorama, apparently encircle the entire deck, but actually place
the band around all the cards except for the bottom card (your left pinky pulls down
the bottom card to enable this). Hold the deck tightly in dealers grip. Your right hand
pulls the top half of the deck toward the right, stretching the band in the process.
Once the top half clears the width of the deck, rotate it end for end, and fold it

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

under the bottom of the deck. This adds a twist in the band and centers the selection.
Depending on the size of your rubberband, you may need to double it over first.

Invite your spectator to cover the deck with two hands. Now, rather than have her
lift her hands immediately for quick revelation, you will instruct her to slowly release
pressure. As she does this, ask this important question: Do you feel the cards
moving? She will have no choice but to say yes. If the cards are not moving, have
her release a little more pressure. The key is to let this happen slowly.

There is a dual reality going on when you ask the spectator if they feel the cards
moving. Even though she only feels the top half turning, in the minds of the rest of
the audience, the cards could be flipping or changing position. So, play this up and
remind everyone that she feels the cards moving under her hands. The key is to have
the rest of the audience believe more is going on. The payoff at the end with the
cards righting themselves will heighten the premise that the cards have indeed
unshuffled themselves.

Continue having your spectator release pressure until the deck and rubberband have
untwisted. The selection will now be protruding from the center of the encircled
deck. This is always a powerful moment.

For the kicker, remove the rubberband and show that the deck has straightened
itself out while under the spectators hands!

Dai Vernons Triumph can be found in Stars of Magic (Series 2, No. 1, 1948).

Sid Lorraines Slop Shuffle was published in Subtle Problems You Will Do (1937) and
can also be found in Royal Road to Card Magic (1948).

Bandorama appeared in The Commercial Magic of J.C. Wagner (Maxwell, 1987).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

8. Untouchable
The audience openly shuffles and cuts the deck with a mixture of cards face up and
face down. Without intervention from the performer, the cards straighten

This version of Triumph has a hands off premise that gives you the freedom to step
away from the deck and invite audience members to cut and turn cards upside down.
This Triumph effect works especially well in parlour settings. Those familiar with my
effect Behind-the-Back Triumph from One Degree will notice a similarity in handling.
This effect was developed in partnership with Michael Vincent, utilizing his
wonderful observation that the position of the cards in Behind-the-Back Triumph
lends itself naturally to the Jennings/Goodwin display. In addition to a simple
handling I developed to get into the Jennings/Goodwin Display, I think you will enjoy
the devious approach of having your audience actually do a Half Pass for you.



From a shuffled deck in use, have a card touched in the upper half, then use Marlos
Convincing Control to bring it to the bottom. Be sure several people note the card
and remember it. Hand your spectator the upper half with the decoy card still
outjogged. Have her push the card flush and shuffle. As she shuffles her packet, cut
two cards from the bottom to the top of your packet, then Half Pass all the cards
below the top two. Get a break under one card. This gives you a big head start for the
upcoming Jennings/Goodwin Display.

Take back your spectators half, and bring the halves near each other as if to begin
weaving them, then pause and say, Wait, lets make things more interesting by
turning your cards upside down. (I like to stress that we are turning her cards over).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Fairly turn her half face up and let it fall onto your half momentarily. Immediately
shift her half forward as you take the card above your break with it (photo 1). Take
the top half into the left hand and the bottom half into the right hand as if to Faro
shuffle. Begin weaving he halves together (this does not need to be a perfect Faro) so
the top face-down card of the right half remains on top. Once the cards are weaved
about half way, openly riffle the outjogged packet to display face-up cards (photo 2).
Turn the telescoped deck over end for end. Again riffle the outjogged packet, this time
showing face-down cards. This is the brilliant Jennings/Goodwin Display at work. We
will now involve the audience to further mix the cards.

1 2

Place the telescoped deck on the table and slowly square the deck to reinforce the
topsy-turvy nature of the deck (you can also have an audience member do this for
you). Position check: face-up card on top, followed by the face-down deck, with the
face-up selection on the bottom.

You now have the freedom to stand back and get the audience involved. You will
have several spectators cut and turn over cards in an action similar to the Balducci
(Cut Deeper) force: 1) Invite an audience member to cut off a small packet, turn it
over and place it back on top of the deck; 2) Invite a second person to follow similar
actions, this time cutting off about half the deck, turning it over and placing it back on
top; 3) Invite a third person to cut off a lot of cards, but not all of them, turn them
over and place them back on top. Throughout this process, be sure to highlight that
they are turning cards upside down. Since you are standing aside and giving them
control, it really sells the apparent haphazard condition of the cards. Despite the
numerous times theyve turned cards over, the relative position of the cards remains
unchanged. You will always have a face-up bank of cards, followed by a face-down
bank, with the selection face up on the bottom.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

The Spectator Half Pass

All that remains to be done is to reverse all the cards below the center natural break.
The only wrinkle is that it would be unnatural and unjustified for you to pick up the
deck and execute a Half Pass in the standard manner. Wait, what about having the
audience do the move for you? You will only need to touch the cards for a moment,
but in a manner that makes sense with the hands off premise of the effect. You will
casually cut the deck into two piles and ask an audience member which packet they
would like turned over. This cut must be done at the natural break. You can easily do
this by lifting the entire deck about a quarter-inch off the table, then giving it a light
downward motion, which causes the cards below the natural break to easily fall to
the table. Place the upper half next to it. After this is done, ask a spectator (who cant
reach the cards) to point to either pile theyd like turned over. It truly doesnt matter.
Have a nearby spectator turn the chosen packet over. You have essentially had the
audience do a Half Pass for you. (See the Notes section for further thoughts on this.)

Depending on which half was turned over, you will now direct a spectator to
reassemble the deck in such a way that brings the selection to the center of the pack.
If the selection is still on the bottom, its packet goes onto of the other; if the selection
is on top of its packet, the other packet will be placed onto it.

Recap how the audience has literally controlled every turn of the cards in this mixed
up deck. Say, With these cards, just as in life, sometimes the more we mix things up,
the better things might turn out. Invite an audience member to spread the cards on
the table. It doesnt matter how neat it is, as long as the cards can be seen. Point out
that all the cards are now facing the same wayexcept for one. Ask what card was
selected, then have the card turned over to display the selection.

The Goodwin/Jennings Display originally appeared in the effect New Outstanding
Triumph from Up in Smoke and Other Tantalizing Mysteries (Parker, 1990). It can
also be found in John Bannons Dear Mr. Fantasy (2004).

Ed Balduccis Cut Deeper Force (The Balducci Cut) is described in Hugards Magic
Monthly, Vol. 14, No. 6 (November 1956) under the trick The All Fair Coincidence by
Ed Balducci and Ken Krenzel.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Steve Reynolds applied the Balducci Cut in Spectator Triumphs in his S.R.O. lecture
notes (2007) and in his one-man parade in The Linking Ring (May 2007).

More thoughts on the Spectator Half Pass
Its possible to execute the Spectator Half Pass without any intervention from you at
all. Its not sure fire, but youll have a backup plan to ensure the right outcome. Lets
fast-forward to the point in the routine when you are ready for the Spectator Half
Pass. Position check: Top half face up, bottom half face down, and the selection face
up on the bottom.

Do not divide the deck into two piles as described in the routine. Instead, ask a
spectator to cut off about half the deck, turn it over and place it next to the other pile
(be sure its next tonot on top of the other pile). Due to the natural break near the
center, there is a chance the spectator will cut at this exact position for you. You will
know if they cut at the natural break if there is a face-down card on the bottom half
and a face-down card on the newly turned over packet.

If they do hit the natural break, simply instruct the spectator to place the original
bottom half onto the newly turned over packet (without turning it over). The deck
can now be spread to show all the cards facing the same way, except for the

So, what happens if the spectator does not cut at the natural break? After theyve
turned over the top half, immediately have them pick up the remaining cards, turn
them over too, and place them onto the previously turned packet. This sequence
actually does nothing to disturb the order of the deckit merely results in the entire
deck being turned over (the selection is now face down on top). From this point, you
will execute the Spectator Half Pass as described in the main routine by dividing the
deck into two piles at the natural break yourself, then asking a spectator to turn over
either half. Your outcome will still be the same, and youve lost nothing in the routine
by doing it this way.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.


Effects with more than one selection

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

We all get nerves from time to time.
The key is to accept that you have butterflies;
just get them to fly in formation.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

9. Inside and Out

One selection jumps inside the box; another melts through the box.

I love effects that utilize the card box. Its an organic prop that adds visual interest. In
fooling around with the Marlo-Schulien Cardcase Load, I found that you can load two
cards under the box and execute the standard move, and it will automatically leave
the extra card under the box (the flap and natural friction help keep it there
effortlessly). This idea allows you to apparently produce one card from inside the
box, then use the box as cover to later produce the second card. The effect is totally
impromptu and can be done completely in the hands.



Have two spectators determine who is more of an inside the box thinker and who
is more outside the box. Have fun with this. As my friend Curtis Kam pointed out,
be sure to build up the inside the box characteristic as it could otherwise be
considered less desirable than outside the box. I like to talk about inside the box
as meaning focused, strategic, going 110%, and akin to Houdini, who certainly must
have been an inside the box thinker during his escapes (wink!).

Have two cards selected and controlled to the bottom (the inside the box card
should be bottommost). There are many ways to accomplish this. You can simply
have the cards chosen and returned together, followed by a double undercut to bring
them to the bottom. I usually have the two cards touched and outjogged, then use a
multiple shift to bring them together to the bottom. Once the cards are controlled to
the bottom, secure a break above them in preparation for the Gamblers Cop.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Say, Please check inside the card box and make

sure its completely empty. Ask a spectator to
examine the box and tuck the flap closed.
Gamblers Cop the bottom two selections as
your right hand gives out the deck to be
shuffled. Choreograph these actions so your
right hand can immediately take the box and
1 place it on top of the copped selections (thumb
notch facing upward) (photo 1).

Inside the Box
You will now produce the bottom card of the concealed pair from inside the box
using the Marlo/Schulien Cardcase Load. With your right hand, re-grip the box from
above by the long ends. Open the flap with your left hand, place your left thumb
inside (photo 2), then quickly pull the card out from underneath (photo 3). Done at
the proper speed, it gives the perfect illusion of the card being withdrawn from inside
the box. The other selection will remain intact and hidden under the box.

2 3

Outside the Box
Ask an audience member to thoroughly shuffle the deck to ensure that no one knows
where the remaining selection is. As they do this, fold the box flap underneath the
box. It will help to jog the hidden card back to fully fold the flap under. The back of
your right hand will hide this slightly protruding card (photo 4). Clearly show an
empty box and place the deck fairly inside the box (the selection remains hidden
under the box). Have the outside the box spectator cup her hands under the box.
Say, We will cause your card to melt from the box and appear on the outside. Tap the
top of the box and let the hidden card simply fall into her hands. Heres another way
to reveal the card: Have the spectator pinch the box (and hidden card) between her

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

thumb and fingertips, then knock the deck out of the hands. This classic stunt will
leave the selection in her fingertips.

4 5

Heres a very effective transposition. After producing the first card, casually place the
box on top of it in your hand. Unload the other card, and take the two cards as one
into the left hand as your right hand displays the empty box. Hold the box from
above in end grip. Use the right fingertip to push the top card of the double forward
(photo 5). This action also aligns the box on top of the first selection. Place the
protruding card inside the box, miscalling it as the first selection. To find the second
selection, have someone cut the deck face up into two tabled packets. Place the box
(with the second selection hidden underneath) onto either half of the deck, then
place the other packet on top of the box. You will now do a stunt I learned from Aldo
Colombini. With the box sandwiched in the center of the deck, give it a sharp flick
with your finger. Done with the right pressure, the box will fly free from the deck,
leaving the rest of the cards intact (akin to whisking away a tablecloth). Spread the
deck face up to show a reversed card in the centerapparently the outside the box
selection. Turn it over the show it is actually the first selection, having apparently
escaped from the box. Mention that outside the box people often do unexpected
things, and invite someone to open the box to find that the second selection has
surprisingly flown inside.

The Marlo-Schulien Cardcase Load can be found in The Complete Works of Derek
Dingle (1982) and Giobbis Card College, Volume 5 (2003).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

10. Triple Pocket Discovery

Everything happens in threes. In this case, a pocketed card melts up through the
fabric; another card melts into the pocket; and the last card is found using the
penetrating power of the mind.



Have three cards selected and controlled to the top (Ace, Two and Three in this
example, with the Three on top).

First Card
After some false shuffles/cuts, get a break under three cards. Say, I will make the
first selection, wherever it is in the deck, to melt up to the top. Perform a triple
turnover to show that youve found the first card (Ace in our example). Say, Lets try
that againusing my pocket. Re-gain your break below the triple. Heres an easy
way: Hold the deck in end grip and give it a light downward motion; this will cause
all the cards below the top three to fall into your waiting left hand, effortlessly
leaving a triple in your right hand. Sidejog the three-card block, then turn it face
down. Using the actions of a hit double lift, immediately pinch two cards as one at the
inner right corner. Place the face-down double into your right pants pocket
apparently the single Ace.

Retake the deck in your right hand, and in this action, palm the top card. Hand a
spectator the deck with the same hand. Come away with the palmed card. Curl your
fingers inward and point to the pocket, concealing the palmed card in the process.
Lay the hand flat against the outside of your pants pocket. Say, We will cause your
card to melt up again, but this time through the fabric of my pocket. Rub your hand,
then spread your fingers so the card becomes visible. Show that the Ace has melted

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

to the outside of your pocket! This is a great moment. You are also far ahead for the
next two revelations since both remaining selections are in your pocket.

Second Card
Ask an audience member to shuffle the deck. Say, I will find the next card in the
opposite wayby making it melt into my pocket. Whose card shall we use? Ask which
card theyd like to use (it doesnt matter since both are in your pocket). Suppose the
third spectator would like you to find her card (the Three). Take the shuffled deck
and do a fancy cut as if finding the card. Hold the deck near the outside of your
pocket and do a Rub-a-Dub vanish of the top face-down card. Reach in and remove
the corresponding cardin this case, the top card of the pocketed pair (the Three).

Third Card
Have the deck shuffled again. Say, To find the final card, we will use the penetrating
power of the mind. Ill use the pocket as a blindfold, and with no sleight of hand, I will
find the card you are thinking of. Its all about mind over matter.

Take the shuffled deck and fairly place it in your pocket under the remaining
selection. Sure, you could simply reach in and merely pluck the selection out, but I
prefer the following approach much better. Reach into your pocket, claiming the
power of your mind will help you locate the card. Stare intently at the spectator
throughout, as if reading her mind. With the hand in your pocket, place the selection
into the center of the deck, but leave it protruding. Remove the entire deck with the
outjogged card, back toward the audience. Theres something about this picture that
reinforces that you really did extract a card from the center of the shuffled deck. For
the first time, ask for the name of the card. Let the tension build, then reveal the card.

Do no underestimate the impact of the third revelation. While not quite a visual
moment like the previous two revelations, it usually gets the most powerful
reactions. The mind over matter premise is strong and relatable. Play it up.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

C H A P TE R 5

Powerful closing effects with a four-of-a-kind

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

If you were to eavesdrop on your audience
after a show, what would they be saying?

Now, what would you WANT to hear?

If they are the same, your vision is on track.

If not, take the time to retrace your steps and
tweak your strategies to ensure that your
actions are aligned with your desired outcome.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

11. Assembly Line

Four audience members each hold a quarter of the deck with a Jack lost in the middle
of each, yet all four Jacks assemble on top of one packet.

This is an extension of my effect Turning the Tables (Second Storm lecture notes,
2005 and G Notes, 2009). While the original effect featured four Jacks cleanly
appearing on top of the deck, this effect heightens the impact by having the Jacks
travel across four different packets. And without any additional effort, we essentially
make the magic four times as strong. It gets several audience members involved and
causes four separated Jacks to assemble in the hands of one spectator. Its a powerful
way to present an assembly that is interactive and perfect for standing only
situations. The main sleight used is Daryls Rising Crime Display.



Openly place four Jacks on the face of the deck. Ensure that the bottom two Jacks are
of opposite color. Casually spread the cards and secure a break under seven cards.
Take the seven-card packet in your right hand and turn the deck face down. Replace
the seven-card block on top of the face-down deck, keeping a break underneath.
Carefully spread the top three Jacks to the right. Injog the third Jack from the face,
then lever all seven cards as a block face down onto the deck. Lift up on the injogged
card with your right thumb and pick up the cards in end grip. You should be holding
five cards: two Jacks and three indifferent cards.

Ask four spectators to each take about a quarter of the deck. Keep track of who ends
up holding the original top section, with the two remaining Jacks on top. For
explanation purposes, well assume this person stands on your far right.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

You will now use a sequence based on Daryls Rising Crime Display to apparently
place a Jack into four different packets. During this process, two Jacks will
masquerade as four.

First Jack
With the packet held in end grip, take the bottom card into the left hand, then peel
the top two cards onto it in a spread fashion. Lay the remaining double on the right
side of the spread to show what appears to be four single face-down cards. Turn your
right hand palm down and pinch the right edge of the double (photo 1). Rotate your
right hand palm up to display the Jack. As your left hand squares its three cards, lever
the double face down onto them. Immediately take the top card into the right hand.
You will insert this card half way into the packet held by the spectator on your far
left. But first, here is a nice subtlety: Turn your left hand palm down and use your
thumb to lift up on the front edge of the spectators packet (photo 2). This subtlety
shows the other Jack on the face of your packet (and also conditions the audience for
a move coming later in the effect). Your right hand places its card half way into the
spectators packet.



Second Jack
Similar to the above actions, peel two cards into the left hand and lay the remaining
double right-jogged on top. Pinch the edge of the double with your right hand and
turn it face up to show another Jack. Turn the double face down and insert a single
card half way in the second persons packet, using the same actions described earlier.

Third Jack
Turn the remaining three cards face up and hold them square. Your palm up right
hand pinches the cards along the right edge. With your right thumb, push the top two
cards squarely toward the left. Pinch this double in the left fingertips. Separate the

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

hands slightly so each displays a Jack. Flick the cards up and down against each other
a few times. This Paul Harris subtlety emphasizes the singularity of the cards and
keeps the cards in motion. Place the right hands card on top of the double and turn
the block face down. Take the top single card into the right hand and insert it half
way into the third persons packet, using the same actions described earlier.

Fourth Jack
Flash the remaining double. Now is where the previous action of using your left hand
really comes into play. Turn your empty left hand palm down and use your thumb to
lift up exactly two cards off the original top section of the deck. Insert the right
hands double half way into the opening. This double must stay protruding as a
single card, so be sure to push it in deep enough to stay tightly squared.

The four spectators apparently have a Jack protruding each of their packets. Ask
them to push the Jacks flush. Not only does this get your audience involved, it
highlights the belief that the Jacks are lost and separated in four different packets. In
reality, all four Jacks are together on the original top section of the deck.

Assembly Line
To cause the Jacks to assemble on your target pile (the original top of the deck),
guide your spectators to mime removing an invisible Jack from their respective
packets. Continue this imaginary hook to mime bringing two Jacks together on the
target pile, followed by the third, then the fourth Jack. Its all presentation, so have
fun with it. If you are familiar Dean Dills equivoque procedure, it works great here.

Say, In our imaginations, youve placed all the Jacks together, but of course we know
this is impossible. Or is it? Somehow youve turned the impossible into reality! Have
the person holding the original top section turn over the top four cards to show that
all four Jacks have come together.

There is usually heat on the rest of the cards, with the assumption that extra Jacks
must be in play. Of course you have nothing to hide, so invite your audience to
examine the cards.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

ERASING THE EVIDENCE - An alternate blank deck ending

For an even more powerful ending, use four Jacks and a blank deck. To get into the
effect, prepare by having a blank deck in your pocket. With a normal deck in play,
offer to perform a packet effect with the four Jacks, such as Dr. Daleys Last Trick.
This gives you a natural reason to place the normal deck away. When you are
finished with the packet effect, simply remove the blank deck as you apparently
retrieve the normal deck. Perform the effect as described. After the four Jacks
assemble, mention that you will erase all evidence of how this feat was done. Snap
your fingers, then have the four spectators look through their packets. They will be
shocked to find nothing but blank cards.

Daryls Rising Crime Display can be found in For Your Entertainment Pleasure
(Minch, 1982).

Dean Dills equivoque procedure to verbally guide the audience to bring four cards
together can be found in Bob Kohlers marketed trick Aces In Their Faces and Aaron
Fisher's Ace Odyssey from The Paper Engine (2001).

To add some fun to the effect, you can ask the four spectators to literally do a few
jumping jacks before the final the assembly of the Jacks. Its an amusing way to cause
the Jacks to assemble (jump) on one packet.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

12. Pickpocket Aces

After the Aces are lost in the deck, one is found in your pocket, two are found in your
spectators pocket, and the final one stands alone after the entire deck vanishes.

At the end of my effect Palm Reader Plus in One Degree (2010), I included a follow-up
effect called Post Production. Since then, I discovered that performing the initial
palm/load in the spectators pocket instead of my pocket creates two powerful
moments. This one degree tweak in handling takes the effect in a different
direction, focusing the magic and attention on your audience. Loading a palmed card
into your spectators pocket in the action of removing another card gets you way
ahead. The payoff makes the boldness worth it. Performed at the end of your set,
your audience is relaxed, having fun, and by this time believe almost anything is
possible. Pickpocket Aces seizes this opportunity when your audience is at the height
of openness. And with a vanishing deck ending, it offers a definitive closing to any
card set.

It helps if both you and an audience member are wearing a jacket with an accessible


Apparently lose four Aces in the deck, but control them to the top with any method
youd like, such as a Multiple Shift. With the deck face down, double undercut one
Ace to the bottom.

First Ace
Palm the top two cards (this will get you way ahead). Drop your right hand to your
side with the palmed cards as your left hand moves the deck up and down as if
weighing it. Say, Hmm, the deck feels lighter. Did one of you steal a card? I think it was
you. Reach your right hand with its palmed cards into your spectators jacket pocket.

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Leave one Ace behind and come out with the other palmed Ace. Have him hold onto
it. Say, Ah ha, I knew there was a pickpocket around here. I didnt even see you steal
that Ace.

Second Ace
Say, Not only did you pickpocket the first Ace, youre trying to frame me for it.
Somehow, you planted the second Ace in MY pocket. In the act of squaring up the
deck, position the entire deck into Gamblers Cop position. Your right hand brings the
top card forward in a deep overhand grip as if it is holding the entire deck. Gamblers
Cop the rest of the deck and dip your left hand to your coat pocket; leave the deck
behind and come out with the bottom cardthe second Ace. Hand this to your

Third Ace
Transfer the right hands card to the left hand and take it in a deep dealers grip, as if
you are still holding the entire deck. Act as if you are weighing the deck again, and
say, Yep, it feels like another Ace is missing, and we all know whos responsible for
taking it. Go ahead, reach in your pocket and show us whats inside. During this time,
continue holding your one card as if it is the entire deck.

Fourth Ace
You will now cause the deck to vanish using an Alfonso/Kosby idea from The
Vanishing Traveler. Say, Even bigger than the mystery of how you stole the Aces is
what you did with the rest of the deck! Cup your right hand over the left hands card
and slowly push down until your hands are flat against each other. Show that the
entire deck has vanished with the exception of the last Ace.

The Vanishing Traveler is credited to Alfonso and Ray Kosby, and appeared in the
Magical Arts Journal (Volume 1, Nos. 11 & 12, June & July 1987).

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.

Its not the magic
that makes it work.

Its the way we work
that makes it magic.

Former Walt Disney World Executive Vice President Lee Cockerell

READY. SET. GuastaferrO.