A Deal, A Cut, a Sandwich

Welcome to Cardopolis Newsletter 21. If there is a theme in this issue it might be faux gambling demonstrations. It’s difficult to handle a deck of cards without being asked whether you could, or would, cheat in a game. In this issue you will find a way to propel an ace from a deck, a demonstration of riffle shuffle control, and a self-working poker deal. For additional measure I’ve included an unusual card change. As always Cardopolis Newsletter is free and you can access all the back issues online here. If you want to support the site, the Buy Me a Coffee button is below. Supporters can access additional material on the Buy Me a Coffee site. A big thank to you all.



But first, let me start with my own bit of beginner’s luck. Pabular was, and is, one of my favourite magic magazines. Edited by Fred Robinson and featuring columnist Pat Page, it seemed much more sophisticated than its contemporaries. Some of that was due to the incredible design and illustrations by Eric Mason. Pabular looked and felt special. So you can imagine the joy when the teenage me sent a trick to Pabular and it was accepted for publication. A joy enhanced by the fact that Eric Mason provided the illustrations.

Through the Fourth Dimension is the change of a card as it is pushed through the deck, and was published in Pabular for October 1976 (Vol 3, No 2).

The effect came about because I had been experimenting with Ken Krenzel’s Tunnel Change (Hierophant, Issue 7) which was published one year earlier. The version described in Pabular was for stand up work. The version described here makes use of the table.


Terri Rogers was terrifically inventive. In the 80s, we met regularly at a greasy spoon cafe in Tottenham Court Road. And from time to time other of her friends would visit. People like Pat Page, Val Andrews, Bobby Bernard, Ray Grismer and Mel Stover. There was always good magic to see and stories to hear. Terri gave me this flourish to publish in the short-lived Babel magazine in 1981. Later, it was featured in her first Secrets book (Secrets: The Original Magic of Terri Rogers), a series that I helped put together.

Shoot Out is a very clean and simple method of propelling a card from the deck. Ideal for anyone wishing to demonstrate their expertise at the card table without much effort.


I wouldn’t be the least surprised if this has been done before. It’s a sandwich trick that can be presented as a demonstration of card control. While it seems like some deft riffle shuffling might be necessary, the method is very simple and straightforward. Which is just as well because riffle shuffling is not my thing. As the Conjuring Archive site shows, there are a number of riffle shuffle sandwiches in print. Apologies if this is one that I missed!


This began as a trick by Karl Fulves called According to Hoyle. It was originally published in Pallbearers Review in 1968 but I first noticed it in The Magic Book (1977), a book Fulves wrote for the public. It’s a very good book by the way. In fact it was at one of our Tottenham Court Road meetings that Mel Stover performed another great item from that book, Bill Elliott’s The O. H. Puzzle. Mel got a lot of comedy from this idea as he engaged in an imaginary call with his printer who had failed to deliver a cardboard puzzle. It was done Bob Newhart style with Mel holding his shoe to his ear as if it was a phone, the missing piece of the puzzle being tipped from the shoe as if faxed across. You’ll find Elliott’s puzzle in Ibidem issue 18 (October, 1959) where it was first published. I don’t know if Mel ever published his presentation.

Back to The Last Game. I built on the Fulves' routine to come up with a two-phase poker deal with a kicker finish. You get a lot of effect for the little you do. But you do need four spectators and a big table!

A final bit of information that isn’t apparent from the videos. In the first phase of the routine only you touch the cards. This is so they don’t get out of order. The second phase of the routine is played out like a regular poker deal. Everyone picking up their hands, holding the cards to their chest and only showing them when required.


Nick Mohammed is one of the UK’s leading comedy actors. You’ll see him alongside Jason Sudeikis in the award-winning TV series Ted Lasso. Both actors have an interest in magic. Audiences got to see Nick’s magic skills in the show Mr Swallow: Houdini. For those who do not know, Mr Swallow is a character created by Nick. He’s a showman with an unbridled ego and in the Houdini show Mr Swallow performs lots of magic including an underwater escape. I saw the show at the Edinburgh Festival and one of the standout items for me was Mr Swallow’s performance of the Chop Cup. It’s wonderful example of how to combine character comedy with magic.

There is a lot of interest at the moment in creating characters for magic. And it’s a lesson to see an actor who is also an accomplished magician take on the challenge. How do you retain the credibility of the magic when performed by an obviously fictional character? You can find out for yourself in the following clip taken from the British TV show, 8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown. It’s not just funny, it’s also one of the most convincing memorised deck routines I’ve ever seen.


That’s all for this newsletter. If you’re new to Cardopolis you can catch up on all the past issues here. You can add Comments to this newsletter via the button below. You might also find something of interest on the Cardopolis Blog which I still add to from time to time. As always, a big thank you to those who get in touch, share their thoughts and magic, and support the newsletter via Buy Me A Coffee. Thank You. David.


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