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Mind-blowing card trick

This is from Martin Gardner’s upcoming book (!), as reported in WordWays:

Take any nine cards from a deck. Any nine. Shuffle as much as you want.

Divide them into three piles of three, face down. Pick up any pile, look at the bottom card, and remember it.

Assemble the three piles, putting the pile you chose on top (all still face down).

Spell the number of the card you remembered. For each letter, deal one card off the top of the deck, face down. So, if it were a three of clubs, you’d spell T-H-R-E-E, resulting in a pile of five cards. If it’s a face card, spell out its name.

Put the remaining cards on top of the pile. So, if it were the three of clubs, you’d put the four remaining cards in your hand down on top of the five on the table. Pick up all nine.

Now spell “OF” the same way, putting down two cards and putting the remaining seven on top.

Now spell the suit (e.g., C-L-U-B-S) the same way. Again put the remaining cards on top.

Spell “MAGIC” the same way. Turn the “C” card over. It’ll be the one you’re remembering.

This trick was invented by Jim Steinmeyer

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9 Responses to “Mind-blowing card trick”

  1. Martin Gardner’s column in Scientific American was terrific and his Annotated Alice for Alice in Wonderland was very interesting. This trick sounds neat, too.

  2. My ten year old loves this trick and wants to know how it works. Is there a link somewhere?

  3. I don’t know the solution nor of a site that gives it away. But, at lunch today the table worked on it and I think made a little headway.

    Obviously the trick works even if you spell out a card other than the one you selected. Either all the possible letter-length combinations happen to work or it doesn’t much matter what the letter-length combinations are. I suspect the latter.

    So, try doing the trick with the target card turned face up in the deck so you can easily see where each move positions it. For example, in the first step, it doesn’t matter how long the word is, the target card will always have two cards underneath it.

    That seems to me to be a crucial observation, although I’m not sure why.

    Let us all know if you figure it out.

  4. It works like this.

    First, you make the three piles, look at the bottom card of one of them, then place that pile on top of the other two.

    At this point, the chosen card is always third from the top.

    Now you deal the “number” of the card. The fewest cards you can deal here is three (for “ACE”); all other cards end up on top of the chosen card (either by dealing, or by being placed there once dealing is done).

    So tt this point, the chosen card is always third from the bottom.

    Now you deal “OF” — this puts two more cards on the bottom. At this point — and this is the crucial thing that makes it really work — the chosen card is always in the center of the pile. It had two cards beneath it and six above it; now it will have four beneath and four above.

    Dealing the suit doesn’t change the position of the chosen card. You always deal at least five cards (the shortest suit name is “CLUBS”), which means the four cards above the chosen card go to the bottom, then the chosen card on top of them. And no suit is long enough to cycle the whole pile, so you always end up with four cards above the chosen card, for no net position change of the chosen card.

    Now all you need is a five-letter word (“MAGIC”) to deal down five cards into the pile, which is where the chosen card is guaranteed to be.

  5. Just wanted to know how the trick works..it is really very interesting? Can you just share?

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  7. […] after a hiatus while mostly ignoring the Interwebs last week. We resume the randomness with a neat card trick you can learn to amaze your friends and impress your […]

  8. great trick, works every time!!!

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