"Do you like card tricks?"
"No, I hate card tricks," I answered.
"Well, I'll just show you this one."
He showed me three.
Step One: Take a deck and randomly discard ten cards. (I prefer to do this before the trick starts and never tell the audience, but you can do it in the middle if you're feeling honest.) Now deal the cards into piles like so. Flip the top card from the deck face up, announce the value aloud ("seven!") and place it on the table as a foundation to a pile. Now continue to deal cards onto that pile, counting upwards with each card, until you hit thirteen. So after putting the Seven face up, you would deal five cards onto it, counting "Eight", "Nine," "Ten," "Jack," "Queen," "King!"). If the foundation card is an Ace you will create a 13-card pile; if it is a King it will constitute a pile unto itself. When a pile is complete, start a new pile with the next card. If the last cards in the deck do not make a complete pile (e.g., you flip over a "Three" but only have seven cards remaining, set the remainders aside for the moment.
Step Two: Flip all the piles face down. Ask your audience to pick three of them. Take all the unchosen piles and combine them with the cards you set aside in step one (*not* the ten you took out before you started -- those never re-enter the trick). Hand the deck to your audience.
Step Three: Tell your audience to flip over the card on top of one of the three face-down piles. After he has done so, tell him to discard that many cards. So if he flipped over a Nine, he would discard nine cards from his deck. Now have him flip over the top card on a second pile and repeat the process. If you did *not* remove ten cards prior to starting, now tell him to discard ten "for good measure".
Step Four: Ask your audience to count how many cards he has left in his deck. Then tell him to flip over the top card on the last of the three face-down piles. If you've done everything correctly, the value of the card will equal the number of cards he still holds.
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