About a decade ago, I came up with the following variation of Paul Curry’s classic card trick. I call it “Out of This Very Attractive Tree-Lined Street.” My version allows spectator shuffling, no reverse in the middle, and a painless switch. It was inspired by Hideo Kato’s “Out of This Village.” Jeff Pierce independently came up with a similar version.
Effect: Magician and two spectators shuffle the deck. Each spectator takes his or her half of the deck and deals it into two piles, face down based on their intuition about the color. When the spectators’ piles are turned over, they are all seen to be separate colors.
Method: Set up as for OOTW, black on top for the purposes of following the description. There will be no leader cards, so don’t bother setting up for that. Make an upward crimp in the 26th card.
Spectator #1 and Spectator #2 are sitting side by side on one side of the table. Magician is sitting across from them. #1 is on the magician’s right, #2 on magician’s left.
Overhand shuffle, making sure to run the middle cards one by one. The crimped card is now 27th. Cut the cards leaving the crimped card on top; hand the top half to #1, bottom half to #2.
Magician mimes overhand shuffle, asks both spectators to briefly shuffle.
Magician says “As an experiment in intuition, you’re each going to deal the cards face down into two piles.” Looking at #1 he says “if you think the card is red, put it here, on your left. If you think the card is black, put it here on your right.” Magician turns to #2 and gives the same directions: “I want you to do the same. If you think the card is red, put it here on your left, if black on your right.”
Spectators deal out all their cards. The situation now of the four piles is this: from magician’s right to left, the actual piles are red, red, black, black. From the spectator’s point of view, the two end piles are correctly sorted, the two inner piles need to be switched. Here is one handling:
Magician says: “You’ve dealt the cards into four separate piles. One, (picks up second pile from right in the right hand, puts it into the left hand), Two (picks up second pile from left with right hand) Three (gestures with right hand holding cards towards the leftmost pile) and Four (gesturing with right hand and cards towards the right hand pile). Now, you did a lot of shuffling here, and so I don’t expect you to be perfect, but if each of you gets more than half, that would certainly be impressive. I did this last week with a couple and they got almost 60% correct. Let’s see how you did. (Spreads cards in right hand in front of #1) Wow, very nice! (To spectator #1:) Would you please turn over your other pile? Oh my goodness, perfect! Let’s see how #2 did. (Spreads out cards in left hand with the left hand in front of #2). This is getting scary! And #2 could you turn over your other pile? Truly amazing! Thank you, both!”
To make the switch effective, you need the time delay after you pick up the two piles of cards and gesture, so don’t omit the dialogue there. The other thing that will sell the switch is that when you spread each pile in front of each spectator, turn the cards over and place them in the spot where the spectator’s previous pile was located. Then spread downward toward yourself.