Ann Arbor Magic Club

IBM 210 - SAM 88

The Inventor’s Notebook #24 – Easy Match

The Inventor's Notebook #24 - Easy Match
Karl Rabe


In a brainstorming session with fellow magicians Bob Goodwin and Dan Jones, we stumbled on a variation that is something of a hybrid of several effects based on Howard Adams' work. If you aren't familiar with his work, check out his huge quantity of work here.


I have always liked the "Will the Cards Match" routine, but found the procedure for apparently mixing up the cards to be too complex and potentially error prone. Looking at an effect called Christmas Surprise by Rachel Colombini we decided to try and apply the simplified mixing up procedure of that effect to Will the Cards Match. It is possible that this variation also exists under a different name. If so, let us know.


The magician selects any five cards from a deck and rips them in half. Half he retains and half he hands to the spectator. The magician demonstrates a simple procedure to mix up the cards with his stack and then asks the spectator to do the same... allowing the spectator to choose the number of cards in each shuffle and the number of shuffles. Inexplicable at the end the two stacks of cards are found to be perfectly matched card-for-card.


This is mostly a self working trick with one subtle and easy move.

  1. Select any five cards from a broken deck and fold them in half the short way and then fold the stack back and forth a few times and then rip them them in half cross ways.
  2. Set one half in front of the spectator and tell him you will demonstrate with your half how you would like them to mix them up.
  3. Demonstrate as follows (see video demonstration below). Think of any amount of cards from one to four and count that many down on the table one-by-one (i.e. reversing their order). Then whatever cards remain flip the entire stack over and place on top of the cards on the table. Pick the stack up from the table and repeat choosing as many cards to count as you would like and then flipping over the balance of the stack and placing on top. Explain how now are the cards not only mixed but they are some face-up and some face down. Secretly keep track of how many times you have performed the sequence. For consistency, I recommend just performing the sequence twice as that is all that is necessary to demonstrate the procedure. Finish the procedure by picking up your stack from the table and openly retaining it in your hand.
  4. Now ask the spectator to do as you did, however they can decide how many cards to count each time and they can perform the sequence as many times as they choose. Secretly keep track of how many times the spectator performs the sequence. When the spectator is done, they should leave their cards on the table in a stack.
  5. Place your stack next to the spectator's stack (Fig 1). However, if you performed the sequence an even number of times and the spectator performed the sequence an odd number of times (or vice verse) casually flip your stack over as you place it next to the spectators. If you and the spectator both preformed the sequence an even number of times or both performed it an odd number of times, do not flip the stack when you place it down.
  6. Demonstrate how both stacks are amazingly in the same order.... You can do this by flipping a card from each stack over simultaneously into new stacks or you can distribute the cards out as shown in Fig 2 and then flip them over in pairs to show they are matching... this leaves the spectator with the visual shown in Fig 3.




  • Think about the shuffle procedure as you perform it. In reality all you are doing is changing the order of the cards regardless of how many you count down on the table first. This is the brilliance of this method and the genius of Howard Adams. The cards you count down are reversed and then the remaining cards are reversed when you flip the stack.
  • This can be done with any number of cards. Five to ten is reasonable. Ten may make the effect a bit stronger as the shuffle procedure is harder to follow.
  • This is the method and procedure only. Add you own story and patter.


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