Any Card, Any Number, Any Solution


Welcome to those of you who have recently subscribed to the Cardopolis Newsletter. If this is your first newsletter, let me point out that you can still read all the previous newsletter online. You can see them here.

If you have comments or questions about the material, feel free to put them in the Comments section which is directly beneath each newsletter. It doesn’t matter whether it is a current or past issue. I get to see them all.

There is also a Cardopolis Blog that has been running since 2002. You’ll find more material there including some articles about the history of magic. You’ll find the Cardopolis Blog here.

Those of you who watch these videos with the sound on will know that the effects are accompanied by music. This is purely for my amusement. Bob Farmer told me it sends him to sleep. You’ve been warned.


Talking of the blog, that is where I first published The Bogus Effect. It followed the publication of The Mind & Magic of David Berglas, which I co-authored. There was a flurry of interest in The Berglas Effect, David’s version of any card at any number (ACAAN). Mostly, people didn’t believe it was accomplished with a stack, some audience management and David’s flair for showmanship. The hunt was on for a more certain and perhaps easier way to do the trick. I thought of these painless substitutes as The Bogus Effect and offered up my own ‘easy’ solution. It used a Reverse Svengali deck and became quite popular. Lu Chen used it on one of his TV shows with a presentation in which he told the story of the near legendary Berglas Effect.

Recently, David Diamond sent me a new version of the Reverse Svengali. Funnily enough I had contemplated such a deck and wondered if it would work. Last year I’d also been sent a related deck by Stéphane Lacasse of the Slim Card Co so additional possibilities were in my mind and I’ll write more about the cards Stéphane sent in a future issue.

Here though are the results of playing with David Diamond’s Reverse Svengali Diamond Edition. If you’ve ever wanted a reliable way of emulating The Berglas Effect, you might want to try this out.

Here is the method, and I think it is better than the original handling published on the blog. If you want to add the Reverse Svengali Diamond Edition to your toolbox, you can get it directly from David Diamond via his website. David makes a variety of excellent Stripper, Breather and Svengali decks all hand cut with tools supplied by Eoin O’Hare.


Not being one to leave a good thing alone I came up with another handling. I think The Bogus Effect Revisited is the better way to go, certainly if you are doing this trick for regular people. But you might have fun with Double Bogus if you’re performing for fellow magicians.

Outlined in the video is the basic method. I say ‘basic’ because there is a lot of room for improvisation and improvement in the handling. For now, take a look at the explanation and then read the notes below. The deck was made up from two Reverse Svengali Diamond Edition decks.


In this basic handling I’ve suggested having the spectators choose different numbers by giving one the option of choosing a low odd number and the other a high even number. This limited choice can be explained away in the presentation.

Note that when you have dealt the first force card at the odd number, the rest of the deck is now arranged so that the second force card will appear at any even number. You don’t have to change anything. That, I think, is very convenient and the strength of the method.

But if you are prepared to spend some energy improvising you can handle the numbers in a different way. You know where each bank of force cards is and it is not difficult to control them to a position in which you can deal down to any number, odd or even, high or low. This will necessitate some additional handling of the deck, but you are the one setting the rules of play.

Giving the spectator an option to cut the deck at any point will, as in The Bogus Effect Revisited, shift the force cards to where you need them. When it comes to dealing to the second card, you have the option of dealing from the current point, having found the first card, or reassembling the deck and dealing again from the top. Let me know if you find a better handling.


Still on the topic of the Cardopolis Blog, this is a sandwich trick I published in 2006 in which two Jacks find the selection. What I like most about it is the beginning and the end. The middle is that unfortunate muddy territory you have to wade through to get to the result. However, it does start remarkably well with the spectator helping insert the Jacks into the deck. And finishes with a surprise bit of action in which cards are ejected from the deck.


Here is another move I never use but often practise while toying with a deck of cards. I’ve no idea where it came from but I was fascinated with Cardini’s Snap Colour Change from Hugard’s Card Manipulations (Volume 3). I never got the Cardini change to work satisfactorily but then somehow arrived at this change in which the mechanics of the move are sort of reversed.

I like that you can get into the move easily and undercover of another action, in this case the cutting of the deck. Incidentally, the Hugard Card Manipulations series is well worth revisiting. It contains some of the best material of its times with clear plots and sometimes only a little tweaking is necessary to bring the tricks in line with contemporary card handling.


In December 1988 I was taken to lunch by TV producer Sebastian Cody and made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Would I consult on a new television magic show that was being developed for Channel 4? The show became Simon Drake’s The Secret Cabaret and I found myself working alongside Sebastian, Simon, Jim Steinmeyer and Frankie Glass. That lunch changed my life.

There were many highlights during the making of that series and watching Ricky Jay perform was one of them. Ricky was a regular guest on the show and performed a number of superb routines. This one is shared courtesy of Sebastian Cody and Open Media’s YouTube Channel. If you haven’t seen The Secret Cabaret, you might not be aware of this effect since it is not one commonly associated with Ricky Jay. It’s an excellent riff on Out of this World, played as a gambling routine in which the spectator never wins. Wonderful presentation, wonderful performer.


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