Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Card Magic Tricks and other Magic topics.
The magi hands a deck to a spectator, Carolyn in this case, and ask her to shuffle the deck thoroughly. After Carolyn has shuffled the deck, the magi takes it and tells her he is going to deal cards, face up, onto the table as he also announces the number in the deck at which that card is located. He ask her to visually pick out a card, not telling anyone, and remember both the card and the number at which it's located.
The magi counts.. "one, two, three, four, five...." as he turns cards face up on the table. For the sake of time.. the magi has told Carolyn beforehand that he will probably stop at around twenty, if she would pick out one before he reaches this number. He reminds her that she shuffled the deck, so nothing could be pre-set.
After counting out about twenty cards, the magi stops, ask Carolyn if she has mentally selected a card at a certain number, and scoops up all the cards, keeping them in their original order, turning them face down, and placing them back on top of the deck. Now the deck is back in it's original order.
The magi tells Carolyn he has a little 'searching' to do, puts the deck behind his back and then brings it back out. He has the deck in one hand and two loose cards in the other hand. He tells Carolyn that he thinks one of these two cards will be her chosen card. After dilligent patter, he turns each card over, only to be told that they are not the correct card.
The magi gives Carolyn the deck and ask her to deal cards face down on the table until she get to her selected number. She does. When she turns over the card at the number where her card had been, it's not there...
The magi ask Carolyn her name, she say's 'Carolyn', and he ask her to deal off one card for each letter in her name. When she gets to the seventh card, he stops her, ask her to name her card, and when she turns over the seventh card.. it's a dead-on match.
The secret? When the magi puts the deck behind his back he removes seven cards off the bottom of the deck and puts them on the top. He needs to find out (pre-discover) Carolyn's name from a friend before approaching her, or overhear someone using her name. This is not hard to do in a restaurant setting. He also takes two other odd cards off the bottom of the deck to serve as the 'misses'. Now, the magi knows, before approaching Carolyn, how many letters are in her name and how many cards he needs to remove from the bottom of the deck during the performance.
An effect using this technique was written about by John Scarne and created by Oscar Weigle.