Pick # between 10 and 49 or 52, deal that # of cards; add its digits, remove that # of cards. Magician tries to I.D. this randomly chosen card.

Oct 4, 2022
There is a certain easy “52 to 1” trick in which a spectator is asked to secretly pick a number from 10 to 49 (I changed it to up to 52), deal that number of cards silently down to the table while the magician’s back is turned, then pick up the resulting pile, add its digits and remove that number of cards from the resulting pile then take the top card. The magician uses amazing mental powers, of course, to name the exact card which has been randomly chosen through this secret choosing of a number. I performed this one for the first time today and nailed the card with lots of mentalism but zero fishing, which was fun. I'm not sure why, but I wish I knew who deserves credit for inventing it (and other tricks, as I learn them one by one).

I learn some tricks like this from online videos, but find it a bit disappointing that often no credit is given to the inventor of the trick, there’s no information about its history and alternate names or who they learned it from (whether a purchased book or video, or what have you). It seems to me that we should credit the originators, at least if they're known.

It’s not a very important question, but I’m just curious whether anyone knows this trick, its originator and perhaps an original name, and so on. There seem to be some history of magic trick buffs here.


Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
New Jersey
So this is based on the 10 to 20 force which was first published by Billy O'Connor in "After the Four Ace Trick" in The Magic Wand, June-September 1935. That force is most likely much older and not invented by O'Connor.

The 10 to 20 force is used in "The Four Card Force" in Hugard and Braue's Expert Card Technique in 1940 ( without any attribution) to force four cards using numbers selected by a spectator between 10 and 20, 20 and 30, 30 and 40 and 40 and 50. That appears to be the oldest known relative to the effect you mention. I've not been able to find the exact effect you mention in print. That doesn't mean it isn't out there, it just means that it didn't jump out from the 100s of effects that are listed in conjuringarchive.com as using the 10 to 20 force.

The closest I came was a 2004 post in the Magic Cafe by Peter Duffie making the suggestion that underlies the effect you mention. There is a good suggestion later in the same thread that rather than do math (adding the two digits), the spectator just picks up the packet and deals off the number of cards for each digit in the number they picked (e.g. if they originally dealt 25 cards, they pick up that packet and deal two cards and then five cards).

Since I know you have the book, Scarne uses the 10 to 20 force multiple time in Scarne on Card Tricks published in 1950. See - #9 - Egg a La Card", "#19 - The Sympathetic Aces", "#119 Card on the Ceiling.
Oct 4, 2022
Awesome, many thanks! I'd hate to just credit it to 'some YouTuber' in my notes, and it's nice to get a sense of the history involved as we learn various tricks and methods. Now all I have left to do is learn how to make an orange tree suddenly grow, blossom and produce fruit, with the four forces each appearing inside of an orange.
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