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trapper keeper part 1
Dude, remember those trapper keeper binders from grade school? They were the coolest because all the popular kids had them. I had the ugly boring three ring office binders. Just trying to trigger some nostalgia for us 80s and 90s babies.
I started to introduce this idea for a card force/selection process that happens as the deck is being shuffled in the previous post. If you haven’t yet, go read that first- it’s a control that shares a similar process.
This is what the whole thing looks like. You mention they’ll use the two red jacks in a bit, and give the spectator a group of cards for a quick shuffle. You then give them another group to shuffle into the first one. Then another, and another, until they’ve shuffled the entire deck. They then spread through to see which card(s) have been shuffled in between the two red jacks. The card(s) found in between the two red jacks are forced.
The shuffle is genuine and the control happens 100% in their hands.
This can be from a shuffled deck, and since the process is shuffling, you don’t need to have them shuffle beforehand. Start by spreading the cards face up and up-jogging the first pair you see. You can pretty much guarantee there will be at least one pair of cards within the first 10-15. If you don’t want to use the random pair, then do a quick set up by position a pair of your choice at the face of the deck. Or place them within the first 10-15 cards separated by a few cards in between so they appear random. Either way you’re going to cull them via cull de select. We’ll work with a pair of red jacks as an example.
After you up-jog the two jacks, you continue to spread and place one within the first 3rd of the deck and cull it, continue spreading and cull the card you’d like to force, then replace the second jack within the last 3rd of the deck and cull it, then cull an x-card, and continue spreading and remember the 2nd to last card. That 2nd to last card is your key card. This whole process looks like this- I did this slow for clarity but don’t need to rush either.
Basically, you’re noting a two of a kind that they’ll use later, then repositioning them so they’re spread out in the deck- but really culling them along with a selection in between and another x-card behind them, then remembering a key card- in this example the 3C.
So now they’re gonna shuffle. With the deck still face up, you spread over about 1/4 of the deck and give it to them face down. You’ll have them shuffle like this: push over some cards off the top into the other hand, then push over more cards on top of that, then repeat until they run out of cards. The idea is to give them choices in the shuffle so it feels deliberate- you can even tell them that.
You show them like this: (Sorry- did a couple of takes and forgot to keep the card at the face the same- pretend the 2H is QD).
So this is me giving them the first packet and showing them what to do. They’ll do the shuffle face down with their packet.
To keep the stack at the back, I cull the cards that are under the spread in my right hand into the middle of the spread, but I keep the motion going towards my right hand so it’s visually consistent.
After they’ve shuffled once like the way you showed them, you spread over about half of the remaining cards, turn those face down, and with your other hand lift up about half of the cards in their hand, and insert the face down packet into their cards. And have them do the same shuffle again.
You then repeat the spread and turn face down again, but this time you’ll spread until you spot your key card (3C in example video below), and turn all the cards above the key card face down, and do the same insert into the middle of their cards.
After they shuffle, you execute the elmsley count with your remaining packet. The set up you culled at the beginning sets this up so you can do the elmsley and keep hidden the pair + sandwiched force card. After the elmsley count, turn the packet face down. Position of the cards from the top are: jack, force card, jack, 3 x-cards.
You’re now going to mimic the same insert motion except you will only lift the top card and insert the packet underneath it. The rest of the sequence looks like this: (Keep in mind- I don’t have anyone to help as the spectator, so just remember that they’re holding the cards and shuffling after each packet is inserted.)
For the last stacked packet, notice how I’m lifting the top card and inserting the packet to get as much coverage as possible. This should be simple enough to do at the same pace as before. Should not feel any different.
Now have them do the same shuffle. If they’ve been doing how you showed them, they’ll push off at least four/five cards if not more from the top- this clears the stack. At this point, as long as they’re past the stack, you can even mention they can switch between groups of cards and single cards too. When they’re done, the stack will live near the bottom of the deck. Have them cut the cards- which will position the stack in the middle of the deck.
Have them hold the cards up so you can’t see the faces and look through to see if they shuffled any cards in between the two red jacks. They will find one- the force card.
Cool, right? I think so.
I used to have them overhand shuffle, but this had a couple issues. 1) they’re not always holding the cards in the same position, which makes inserting the packets challenging. This way, they’ll always start and end in mechanics grip. 2) And it’s not quite the one you think: that they might mess up the stack at the beginning of the shuffle. It’s never happened to me. But what I noticed is sometimes an overhand shuffle to laymen is cyclical. Magicians shuffle and run off all the cards- there’s an end. Some laymen will run off some cards, drop off the remaining cards, and do it again. The way I have them shuffle now, the cards will run out, and they will automatically stop. This way may seem weird, but it solves that cyclical issue and gives them deliberate choices while shuffling- and since the cards are face down, it still feels random. Also, most laymen don’t shuffle cards on a regular basis, and as easy as an overhand shuffle is, they will drop some cards once in a while. This also lowers those chances. It’s easy enough to spread cards from one hand to the other.
So there you have it. Trapper Keeper: a hands off force while they’re shuffling. I will follow up with some trick ideas in the next post.
When I was in college, John Born came to lecture. And when we jammed afterwards, he showed me this thing where he riffled shuffled the deck, and could figure out the odd color card in between the two jokers. That’s where this all started.
I published a version of this idea that was way more sleight based in Magic Magazine around early 2010s. It’s awful. Don’t seek it out.
Tatanka texted me a few years ago with an image of a card with something on its back and challenged me to come up with something with it. I’ll share this in the next post.