Taught to Nancy by Rita Levinson
The image of cards is from www.emilyarkin.com/art/cards.html. www.emilyarkin.com/art/cards.html

Eight playing cards arranged in two rows of four cards

Ask a volunteer to pick a card from a shuffled standard deck of 52 cards without showing it to you. After doing magic, you will tell the number of the volunteer's card (but not its suit). The trick is much easier to perform than it is to describe. This trick gets children to become familiar with pairs of numbers that sum up to 10; if the children make a mistake, the magic trick doesn't work.

Here's the trick:

  1. Make a stack out of the 51 cards that the volunteer didn't select.
  2. Take 16 cards from the top of the stack; place the cards on a table face up in four rows and four columns.
  3. Find two cards (or, as you continue, piles of cards) whose face numbers add up to 10, e.g., 4 and 6; take two cards from the stack and place those two cards face up on top of the two cards that add up to 10 so only the faces of the new cards are showing.
  4. If any 10's are face up, cover the 10 card with a card from the stack.
  5. If there are a Jack, Queen, and King facing up, take three cards from the stack and place the cards face up on top of the Jack, the Queen, and the King.
  6. Continue steps 3, 4, and 5, until there are three or fewer cards in the stack.
  7. Remove from the table: two piles of cards for which the two cards on top of the piles sum up to 10 or three piles of cards in which there are a Jack, Queen, and King on top of the piles.
  8. If there are any cards in the stack that contained 51 cards in the beginning, place them face up in the locations where you removed piles of cards.
  9. Continue removing piles of cards, as described in Step 7, until either only one pile remains with a numbered card on top, two piles remain with picture cards on top, or there are no cards on the table.
  10. The number of the card that the volunteer selected is either the difference of 10 and the number card that is face up or the picture card that isn't face up. For example, if there is one pile of cards with a 7 on top, the volunteer picked a 3 because 10 - 7 = 3. If a Jack and a King are facing up, the volunteer picked a Queen. If there are no cards on the table, then the volunteer selected a 10.

Create your own version of this card trick in which the picture cards get the same treatment as the number cards. In other words, use the value of the picture cards, 11 for a Jack, 12 for the Queen, and 13 for a King and figure out a way to pair the picture cards so that you can easily determine the value of the card that the volunteer selected from the deck.

Come up with a better name for this trick.