Spectator’s Ambition

by Ariel Frailich

It struck me out of the blue. Why not have the Ambitious Card rise to the top of the deck in the spectator’s hands? The idea is so simple and obvious that you can probably think of several ways to do this before reaching the end of this sentence. Or maybe you’ve already been doing it for years. Still, it’s worth exploring a few methods, which you will find below. I make no claims for any of this, and apologize to whomever credit is due.

It’s best to do this in the middle of the routine, building it up so that it’s perceived as being more difficult than what came before. With enough build-up, it can even be used as a finale.

The simplest approach is with double lifts. After doing a few phases, get the Ambitious Card second from the top in any of the usual ways. Do a double turnover and turn the double card face down again. Deal the top card into your right hand and hand the deck to the spectator. Ask her to lift about half the deck with her free hand, mimicking the gesture with your free hand. Place the card onto the bottom half of the deck and have her replace the top half on top. Have her hold the deck with both hands, do your magic moves or incantations, and have her turn over the top card of the deck herself. The Ambitious Card has risen to the top again!

Another approach is use a top change. This allows the face of the card to remain visible almost until the end of the phase. After the card has risen a few times in your own hands and is lying face up on top of the deck, take it in your right hand near the outer right corner, fingers on top and thumb below, so that it’s in position for the top change when you rotate your hand palm down. Tell the spectator to hold out her hand, mimicking the position with your right hand, which you rotate palm up in the process. Whichever hand she holds out, instruct her to use her other hand, which you mimic by moving your right hand backward and your left hand forward. Do the top change as your hands cross and the spectator is focused on switching hands. Give her the deck to hold and continue as above.

A third approach is to use one of the colour changes in which you hold a double card as a single and secretly side-steal or otherwise palm the face card as you transfer the visible card into the other hand. This allows the face of the card to remain visible after the deck is handed to the spectator. With the Ambitious Card second from the top, pick up the top two cards as one with your right hand and ask the spectator to hold one hand palm up and outstretched. Place the deck on her hand, which she is to leave open. While talking, show the face of the double card and apparently transfer it to your left hand, palming the face card in the process. With your and her focus on the back of the visible card, lift off half the deck with your right hand. Focus attention on the visible card again so that you can drop the palmed card onto the cards in the right hand, then place the visible card on the bottom half in her hand. Replace the top half onto the bottom half, square as best you can, and proceed.

Finally, there are ways of accomplishing the same effect with duplicate cards, near-duplicates, various kinds of gaffed cards and other ruses. They’re all worth exploring.

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