Monday, July 04, 2005

Forget About the Money

Effect: Saying he will simplify three card monte, the performer does two card monte, putting the queen of spades, which he calls "the money card" under a half dollar (or casino chip) and showing a contrasting card, say the three of diamonds. The performer spins the latter on the close up pad showing it to be the queen: only two cards, which never even touched each other, and already the spectator would have apparently lost. Simplifying further, the performer does "one card monte," snapping the indifferent card as he says it is just to distract you, at which point it is again the queen, the three of diamonds under the coin. Matching actions to the comment that if "you don't want to put your money on the card, you should put your card on the money," the performer puts the half beneath the queen in the left hand. He then picks up the three of diamonds and turns over both hands, doing what he calls "the Siberian slide" to make the coin seemingly slip through an invisible column of air, sliding down from under the queen to drop magically off the three. "Forget about the money," the performer says, pushing it away a little bit. He very cleanly puts the queen on the table, again puts the half on it, but then does a suspicious move. At this point he says "let's bring the money back into it. Knowing what you know now, you should be able to play. Let's hypothetically wager fifty dollars. Where would you bet the queen is?" Whether the spectator says "in your hand" or not, the performer shows the three to have again changed to the queen and says, "And you would have been right--except for one thing." Clicking the queen on the coin, he then turns it over to show it is a three, and picks up the coin. "You forgot about the money." The queen, just shown in the right hand, is now displayed on the table.

Prerequisites: an ordinary, not brand new deck of cards and half dollar, and the ability to do a top change, snap change, Curry turnover change, and convincing double lift (preferably by various methods).

Method: With the queen of spades second and the three of diamonds (say) third from top of the pack you double lift to show queen. Place top card on table, put coin on card, pattering about finding the money card, the queen. Do another double lift to display three and place top card (queen) next to it on pad. "With two cards it should be easier, although sometimes you see a move like this." Spin card on pad and show it to be queen. Lift half dollar off left hand card, switched in act of turning over by Curry or Marlo one-hand turnover change. This is a transposition presented as two card monte, a distinct effect of the card being lost although there are only two cards. Pattering about making it easier to watch by using only one card, show the queen, deal it to surface and do top change as left hand picks up coin and right card slides under it. Display three face up on deck in left hand, getting a break under second card. Lift two cards as one at edges in position for snap change. "This card is just to distract you," say as right hand waves doubled card over table card, snapping and reversing cards above coin to show queen again. Lift coin with right hand for misdirection while left hand does turnover change to show three. Queen has now been placed directly under money twice, only to be lost track of by spectator. Saying that if you don't want to play one card monte, you shouldn't put your money on a card at all, but rather, put the card on the money. Matching actions to words you show the queen of spades face up on left outstretched fingers. Right coin in production grip goes to left hand and allows coin to delicately drop to left palm hiding the coin, which is seemingly placed there but actually removed under cover of falling card via a retention pass. Right hand palms retained coin on way to three on table. Pick card up so back is facing you and audience. "You should put your card on the money" you were saying, "unless you see a move like this know as 'the Siberian slide'..." To do the Siberian slide, you align your hands outstretched about a foot apart. Each holds one of the two monte cards, and the spectator think the coin is under the face down queen. To make the effect of a card secretly sliding down a chute to the other hand, keep your arms roughly parallel but your left hand (with queen) apparently higher. Now you do two things simultaneously (both are easy). You turn your left hand with card face down and keep turning as far as you can as you push card through hand with left thumb. Meanwhile you do much the same thing with the right hand except there is no need to turn. You simply push the card through as you drop the palmed coin on the back of the three and let it slide off to the mat. Done right, this looks like the coin is invisibly traveling through some sort of money-sucking conduit. Continuing you patter, " which case you may be dealing with a hustler."
"Forget about the money," you say as the strange move registers. You match action to words, moving coin a couple of inches away. Now you will do a feint/sucker move. Mimick a double lift motion but completely cleanly and very cleanly (because you have only one card) put the queen on the mat, covering with the half. I now twirl-display the other card and pretend to do a noisy top change (grabbing with left thumb) as card moves to table and peformer leans on hand with suspiciously moved card. As instructed, the spectator has "forgotten about the money" (about playing for real money) so whether he falls for the sucker move or not (the queen is where it's supposed to be)tell him he seems a little more confident now. "Let's bring the money back into it," say, moving the half dollar back closer to the cards. "Knowing what you know now, you should be ready to play. Hypothetically, lets bet fifty dollars." Again you double lift, show queen, place random card on table, and put coin on seeming queen. Do final double lift, show three, push off and hold in right hand. "Where is the queen?" Spectator indicates where he thinks money card is. "And you would be right," say, showing queen (which was just previously seen to be three), turn queen face down and move both hands toward coin on back of tabled card, doing a top change as they come together. "Except for one thing." Click what they thought was queen (but is now, because of top change, again the three of diamonds) on edge of card. Turn over card to show it is no longer queen. Set aside and remove with right fingers the coin which is held up in gesture as left hand does final turnover change, showing the queen. "You forgot about the money." The effect is that the queen just shown in right hand as spectator finally gets right card is also instantaneously in other position.

Afterthoughts: this "ultra-gambling" routine distills pure visual effects with coins and cards and organizes them in mock education fashion around the dangers of getting cheated. "Forget about the money" is potentially both comic and educational, as such things as "one-card monte" and the "Siberian Slide" mock the idea of betting on sure things or even keeping your money; and the perormer's explanations are each further hustles. The using-less-cards-to-make-things easier to watch is taken from Derek Dingle patter for ambitious classic, but strengthened by the idea of doing minimalist "two" and "one" card monte, as if there could be such a thing. The patter "put your card on the money" is not only a natural segue for an object retention pass a la Silent Mora (who used to "tip" waiters expensive coins that disappeared within the folds of dinner napkins) but also a neurolinguistic trick as it is "literal" compared to the figure of speech, "putting your money on" something, which is often only metaphorical. The patter thus reinforces the false reality of the coin beneath the queen. The illusion of sliding teleportation jokingly called the Siberian Slide is greatly enhanced by correct hand (and arm) position and a little timing. Remember the appearance is audible because the coin slides off card as right (lower hand) tilts. The retention vanish beneath the card in hand is Andreis Suarez's idea and the first part of a trick is an application to the gambling demonstration of two-card monte of moves first worked out for doing a transposition with ordinary cards. I was motivated by a television commercial in the early seventies that showed cards placed beneath and above a Budweiser beer can that changed places. That trick may have been done by Francis Carlyle or Frank Garcia using a double card. Timing is important in the double change at the climax; the trick should appear to be over with the comment, "And you would have been right," in which the performer shakes the queen. "Except for one thing," you add as an afterthought, as you look up again (it is a good idea to make eye contact during this last phase of the routine at least twice), "you forgot about the money." This again is humorous because you told the spectator to forget about the money when you weren't betting, which you never really were, for good reason. This routine requires acting and is comic and educational as well as magical. The Siberian Slide, such as it is, appears to be a new effect as the coin is seemingly "poured" down an invisible pipe reminiscent of the casino tubes that suck greenbacks from the table to the "sky." Finally, note that the patter about two cards is belied by the presence of three objects, the third being the coin whose presence under the coin in the Siberian slide move suggests the shell game (brief respite from monte) with just two shells.