Magic Trick: The False Count

This is a very deceptive sleight. By it the conjurer leads his audience to suppose that he has many more cards in his hands than he really has. For example, let us suppose that the performer holds only six cards, while from the nature of his trick the audience believe he has eight.

He holds the pack in his left hand, backs up, and the front cards pointing in a slanting direction toward the stage. The first card is pushed by the thumb of the left hand into the right hand, the thumb of that hand drawing it away, and the hand itself moving away a trifle toward the right. Then the hands come together again and the next card is pushed off in the same way, falling on number one. Now the third card ought to follow, but at the very moment that the right hand is about to draw it away it is quickly drawn back by the left thumb on top of the cards in the left hand. The hands separate again, as in the case of the first two cards, as shown in Fig. 26.

Fig. 26

Bear in mind that the performer counts "one, two, three," etc., whether or not a card leaves the left hand. So, when he counts "three" this time, he has only two cards in his right hand. Then he continues "four," really counting a card into his hand; "five" (drawing back the card), "six, seven, eight." Apparently he has eight cards in his right hand, while in fact he has only six.

As there is always a sound when a card is drawn away, the performer is careful to imitate it when a false count is made by sliding his right thumb downward along the card just at the moment the left thumb draws it back.

If these instructions are carefully followed and the count is made deliberately the most astute observer will be deceived.