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Ascanio Spread

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The Ascanio Spread is a card sleight developed by Ascanio in which a small group of cards are apparently spread freely to show four cards, although some other cards are hidden.

Fred Kaps is the one that named the move, which had previously been referred to as "El Culebreo" or "The Snake Count."[1]

The moved got wide exposure at the FISM Convention in Amsterdam (July 1970) and was carried back to America by Del Cartier, Mike Rogers, Herb Zarrow, and Pete Biro. It then had considerable underground circulation among cardmen between 1970 and 1976 until Jon Racherbaumer released the book The Ascanio Spread.

Eddy Taytelbaum claims that he showed a similar move to Fred Kaps, who in turn showed it to Ascanio who improved upon it.

Ascanio's original handling opened (spread) the cards all at once with a wriggling movement, like a flower opening, unlike many cardmen you see who will pull the cards into view one at a time.[2]


  • Partial Ascanio in Kabbala, Vol. 2, no. 3, November 1972.


"Hamman Surprise" by Brother John Hamman in The Pallbearers Review (Summer-1972) as part of the Hamman Folio was the first published explanation of the Ascanio Spread.


  1. The Magical Record and Thoughts of Wesley James by Wesley James (1997)