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Lazy Man's Card Trick

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Lazy Man's Card Trick is a "find a card" routine in which a card is selected by a spectator and then proceeds to cut the deck as many times as they wish. The whole deck is turned upside down and cut again several times. When the deck is turned back to face down position, the magician knows the position of the selected card in the deck.

The effect became popular after it was published by Harry Lorayne in his book Close-Up Card Magic (1962).


In Close-Up Card Magic, Harry Lorayne notes that Al Koran taught him the trick and that the original concept came from Prof. Jack Miller. Koran published his version in Abra No. 450 (September 11, 1954) as The Lazy Magician Does A Card Trick.

It seems the method took its inspiration by an idea of Jack McMillen. In Marlo's Magazine, Vol. 3 (1979), page 329, we can read:

"Before proceeding the closest method to the four value cut and count appeared in a Larsen and Wright manuscript. This was a contribution by Jack McMillen in which, while he did not use it to have the spectator arrive at the four Aces, it was used to force one of four kings. ... McMillen's basic idea later underwent a change ... was used and adapted to an Annemann effect "Count Your Card". Still later .... was then used in an effect more closely resembling McMillen's approach in that the spectator cuts the deck: however, this cutting was done with the deck face up until the spectator cut to a card of the required suit after which the deck was turned face down and the value of the now bottom card was used to count from the top of the deck to arrive at a previous selection or at a predicted card. Now as far as I know the use of a run of cards to arrive at a specific card was first recorded by Jack McMillen but if anyone finds a source previous to the Larsen and Wright manuscript, I would like to know."

But in the manuscript The L.W. Card Mysteries (1928), if there is a trick by Jack McMillen, there is no mention of the principle and it's Max Maven who gives us the solution. In The James File, Vol. 1, page 1426 (2000), we can read:

"Huzzah! I have now tracked down the source of the McMillen reference. Marlo's memory was foggy; the trick did not appear in a Larsen & Wright publication, but in a manuscript called Take A Card put out by Jack McMillen and Judson Brown in 1929 (See Ad in the Linking Ring, Vol. 9, no. 9, november, page 987). The Trick is entitled From Another Pack because the outcome is handled by having all four kings from a pack with a contrastin back in your pocket, in a known suit-order..."