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Where to find resources on knowing how many cards you're holding.

Aug 4, 2020
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Hi there! I've been doing magic for about four years now, specifically card magic and there's one trick that I really want to start my poker demonstrations with. Essentially I would pick up a packet of cards, or get a spectator to hand me any amount of cards and I would be able to tell them how many I am holding. I have been trialing a method that I came up with for about a month now, however it doesn't really fit the scenario I am normally in as it needs a pretty heavy set up. I was just wondering if there was anywhere I could learn an effect like this that can be done with a truly shuffled deck as my poker demonstrations normally come midway through my performances and this quick moment gets huge reactions from my audience.

Thanks for any suggestions!
 
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Gabriel Z.

Elite Member
Apr 26, 2013
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Scarne on Card Tricks has a pretty clever system in his book....... It utilizes a stack it's entitled Card Counting Extraordinary. The stack is used in conjunction with the Eight Kings Threatened.... Stack. Or you can just learn how to do it by eye. You would be surprised how good you can get after a month of practicing this skill.
 
Sep 1, 2007
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Calgary
www.hermitmagic.com
Not exactly what you're after, but close. Look up Finger Flicker by Pit Hartling. You cut exactly as many cards as you want, then the number of cards that the spectator wants, and then to a specific card- all with just one finger and a flick. It might work well for you, or at the very least, give you an idea of how you can make your own trick like this with a different visual.

Scott.
 
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WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
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Just practice it for real.

You can just number a deck with a Sharpie, then cut off packets of cards and guess how many cards. Check with the number written on the card. Repeat until you can consistently tell how many cards you're picking up at any given time.
 

DavidL11229

Elite Member
Jul 25, 2015
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There are a couple of chapters on estimating the number of cards without a stack in Ed Marlo's Revolutionary Card Technique.
 
Jan 2, 2016
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If you want to do it for real, it's kinda just something you'll have to develop over time. I'm usually able to tell how many cards I'm holding or are missing from the deck but I can be off by a card or two. I'm able to do that just from handling cards for years. I've never actively practiced that ability. I'm sure you could get much better if you deliberately train yourself to be able to do it. WitchDoc's advice about writing numbers on the cards is an excellent idea. I might try that out myself just to hone this skill.

As others have suggested, you could use a variety of methods to "fake" it such as stacks and marked decks.

Finger Flicker by Pit Hartling as Scott suggested is a great trick and Woody Aragon has a great variation of it that I used to do a lot. It's called "Maverick" and it's in his book, "A Book in English". I highly recommend that book in general. Tons of great material in there.

There's also the Marksman Deck by Luke Jermay which uses a stack and a very elaborate marking system. The deck itself will also tell you how many cards have been cut off (as long as it remains in order). You don't have to memorize anything or think about it at all. The one issue with the deck imo is that it's very marked and there's a lot that could be discovered by looking at the backs. Obviously proper audience management and handling of the cards should avoid this issue but it's always a possibility and I feel that it's especially risky with this particular deck.
 

DavidL11229

Elite Member
Jul 25, 2015
538
287
Seattle
I see estimation is also covered in Card College Volume 4. I haven't actually gotten to volume 4 yet, so I can still only actually recommend Marlo here.
 
Sep 1, 2007
409
209
37
Calgary
www.hermitmagic.com
You can also look up "Jackpot Coins", a.k.a. "The Trick that Fooled Einstein" (often attributed to Al Koran). This is a classic effect that can be done with cards (amongst other things), where your spectator cuts off a small packet of cards, and then you cut off a packet for yourself. Your spectator secretly counts how many cards they cut off. You immediately say something along the lines of "I have exactly as much as you, plus 3, and enough to make yours 15..." Of course, the math checks out, proving that not only do you know exactly how many cards they cut, but you knew exactly how many more cards you cut.

This can be done very easily with a borrowed, shuffled deck. It's published in many variations, including:

"A Matter of Debit and Credit", Greater Magic (1938)
"A Baffling Card Stunt", Tricks and Stunts with Playing Cards (1949)
Milton Berle, "The Quickie Card Trick", Scarne on Card Tricks (1950)
Jack Carpenter, "A Quickie Revisited", Labyrinth (Issue 1, 1994)
Roberto Giobbi and Ralph Hull, "Miraculous Coincidence", Card College (Vol. 4, 2000)
John Bannon, "The Einstein Overkill", Six. Impossible. Things. (2009)
Patrik Kuffs, "P.Q.I.", The Hermit Magazine (Vol. 1, No. 5, 2022)

John Bannon's routine above combines the classic effect with an Ace revelation. Patrik Kuffs turns it into a stand-up piece using toilet roll.

I hope you consider trying this one out! It might be a better way to do what you're looking to do, without any of the risk that comes with estimation.

Scott.
 
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