Two Great Ideas...

Published on Sunday, September 25, 2005 in , , , , , ,

I noted earlier that one of Chris Wasshuber's own tricks was no longer available at his site, Lybrary.com. Happily, that has been rectified. Now the Ultimate Magic Square (in both King of Hearts and "That's Magic" versions) is available again. I described and reviewed this effect in my second blog post.

Lew Brooks has a great book called Stack Attack (also available in the UK) out. The basis of the book is the False False Shuffle ("FFS"), which is one of the simplest, most ingenious and convincing false shuffles I've ever seen. You'll have the basic technique mastered in only minutes, but it's very powerful. Lew then goes on to describe several tricks, which help you realize just how disarming and flexible the FFS really is. Lew is not just a great thinker, but also a master of presentation, as well.

Lew constantly get repeated requests to show "Bughouse Poker" and "Poetry Poker". Beyond just the included tricks, Lew shows you how to use the FFS with other stacks. Anyone who likes great presentations and does memorized deck work should be adding this book to their arsenal.

Just for fun: What would happen if we use ideas from both of these sources? The presentation for either version of the Ultimate Magic Square is that a spectator rolls three dice, and you're not only able to put together a magic square for that total, but you're able to lay out the cards so that they make a pre-determined design, such as the King of Hearts or the phrase "That's Magic". Mixing this idea with concepts from Stack Attack, I've come up with a great new presentation and routine for the Ultimate Magic Square that involves great apparent mental calculation and memory.

I introduce the cards (I use cards with just numbers, and no background pattern) as flash cards, and explain that I use them to train my memory and mental calculation abilities. The cards are mixed in various ways, and then memorized in their shuffled order. The spectator rolls three dice, and I then take a second, apparently to recall the order and make some mental calculations, and then lay the cards out to create a magic square!

The presentation here is that I'm challenging my own mental abilities, using mixed cards and random dice, so I can't have a pre-determined background pattern show up, as this would give away part of the method. That's why I use cards with no background pattern.

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