LANCE BURTON'S SECRETS OF MAGIC:
"THE 21 CARD TRICK"
Even though this is probably the most famous self-working card trick in existence, it's still a great puzzler and a lot of fun to do.
The magician deals three rows of cards onto a table. Each row contains seven cards. An audience member is asked to locate the thought of selection.
SECRET: Shuffle the deck and begin by dealing three cards, face-up, in a row from left to right. Deal another three cards on top of the first three. In doing so, be sure to overlap them so you can still see a portion of the underlying card's faces. Continue dealing in this manner until you have three rows with seven cards in each row.
Ask an audience member to think of any of the cards on the table and then, without telling you its name, have them indicate the row that contains the mentally selected card. Gather up one of the two rows that does not contain his card. It is important that you do this in a manner that does not alter the position of any of the cards. Gather the row containing the audience member's card in the same manner and add it onto the top of the first gathered pile. Gather the remaining row of cards and add it onto the top of the other two. This will center the pile containing the mentally selected card between the other two.
Pick up the packet of 21 cards, turn it face-down, and once again deal out three rows of seven, face-up, cards. Ask the audience member to indicate the row the row that now contains the mentally selected card. Gather up the three rows as before, and in doing so, be sure that the pile containing the selected card is once again centered between the other two.
Turn the entire packet face-down as before and deal out three rows of seven face-up cards. Ask the audience member to once again indicate the row that now contains the mentally selected card. When he does this, you immediately look at the fourth card in that row. Remember this card, it is the selection.
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