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Zen Master

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In Volume 10 of Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, I explained how to produce any poker hand called for from an otherwise empty envelope or wineglass. I was so happy with the method and the effect, I wanted my readers to actually try it.  So, I included the cards necessary to accomplish the effect with the book in the pre-publication special. While attending the Genii convention in October of 2015, I came up with the following improvement. For almost all purposes, I have found the improvement in handling to be the best version. The big advantage of this version is that I have eliminated the envelope and the wineglass.

In effect, I remove a small (six-card) packet of cards from my shirt pocket or wallet. (Since the cards are plastic, they can stand up to this abuse.) The uppermost card is a list of the possible poker hands in order of value and with the odds of being dealt those hands in a game of poker. I ask for the someone to select one of the poker hands from the list. I table that card and show the remaining five cards form the poker hand they selected.

The Work. You will require the six cards that come with the Zen Master set. (Those of you who purchased the book and received gaffs with it already have the set.)  One of the cards is the list of poker hands. I will also assume you are familiar with the About Face Move (from Volume 10).

In this method, you can start with the cards in any location - a shirt pocket, on the table, or in a glass. Pick up the cards and place them in your hand in dealing position. From the top, the order is:

  • List of hands facing the audience,
  • Ace of diamonds
  • King of spades
  • Ace of clubs (The king of diamonds is toward the audience.)
  • Ace of spades
  • King of clubs

Everything is the same as described in the book except you always start with the cards in full view in your left hand in dealing position. If they choose a pair, two pair, three of a kind, flush, four of a kind, or full house, you deal the card with the list of hands to the table and display the cards as explained in the book.

If they choose a straight or a straight flush, you will take the list card into your palm-down right hand and perform the About Face move as your left hand turns to point to the particular and they chose and read the odds from the face of that card. Table the list card. You can now show either the straight or the straight flush as originally described in the book.

Leftovers. Everything can be done in slow motion and there is nothing to see. As good as the previous handling a were, this tweak brings it full circle and makes it an effect you can perform anywhere.

In the variation using wineglasses, you can use the list card, or you can use use cards with numbers them, one for each hand in play. Remove the cards from the chosen wineglass and place them in the let hand in dealing position as you call attention to the list card (or the number on the card). As you do, either execute the About Face move with the list card or simply replace it in the wineglass and show the chosen hand. It would be difficult to imagine a cleaner or more practical handling.


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