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Nine Card Problem

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The Nine Card Problem is a trick invented by Jim Steinmeyer.

The effect is that a spectator selects any nine cards from a deck of cards and looks at one of them. She mixes the cards by spelling the name of the viewed card and cutting the cards there. The performer, who does not know the name of the card, is able to identify the location of the card at the conclusion of the mixing process. The effect is especially suitable for use in distance magic effects over the phone or video recording.

This effect has been made famous by David Copperfield in his 1993 television special, "Fires of Passion". More recently the effect has been shown by Justin Flom in the Ellen DeGeneres show.

The method of this trick is based on a mathematical principle, which has been discussed in the 2015 edition of Mathematics Magazine, which provides a method to generalise the method and construct new versions.

Publications

  • Remote Control (Jim Steinmeyer): The New Invocation, No. 43 (February 1988).
    • A Nine Card Problem (Jim Steinmeyer): MAGIC, Vol. 3 No. 9 (May 1993, pp. 56-58).
    • Jim Steinmeyer, Impuzzibilities (2002, pp. 5-8).
    • The Wizard of Odds (Jim Steinmeyer): Karl Fulves, Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic (1995, pp. 55-57).
    • The Impossible Nine (Jim Steinmeyer): Bob Longe, World's Greatest Card Tricks (1996, pp. 40-42).
    • Nine-Card Spell (Jim Steinmeyer): Martin Gardner, Mental Magic (1999, p. 76).
  • Dunbury Lie Speller (Jon Racherbaumer): MAGIC, Vol. 2 No. 9 (May 1993, p. 58).
    • The New Tops, Vol. 33 No. 6 (June 1993, pp. 31-34).
    • Jon Racherbaumer, Pastiche II (1993, pp. 10-12).
    • Jon Racherbaumer, Big-Easy Card-Cunning (1994, pp. 38-40).
    • Dunbury Lie Speller--Extended (Nick Trost): The New Tops, Vol. 34 No. 1 (January 1994, p. 43).
  • A Cavort in the Casbah to Capture Ali the Dope Dealer (Mel Stover): MAGIC, Vol. 2 No. 10 (June 1993, p. 54).
  • The Gift of the Magi (Marty Kane): Genii, Vol. 60 No. 12 (October 1997, p. 63).
  • Phone Zone No. 2 (Peter Duffie): Peter Duffie, Deck Direct (1998).
  • The Nine Card Problem Recycled (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, pp. 105-106).
    • A Stitch in Nine (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, pp. 106-107).
    • Another Stitch in Nine (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, pp. 107-108).
    • A Colorful Stitch in Nine (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, pp. 108-109).
    • A Triumphant Stitch in Nine (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, pp. 109-110).
    • An Out of This World Stitch in Nine (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, p. 110).
    • A Double Stitch in Nine (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, p. 111).
    • An Unravelling Stitch in Nine (Gene Castillon): The Linking Ring, Vol. 79 No. 6 (June 1999, pp. 111-112).
  • Killer's Pair (Marty Kane): Precursor, No. 80 (November 2001, pp. 10-11).
  • Rank Prank (Marty Kane): Precursor, No. 80 (November 2001, pp. 11-12).
  • Thanks to JS (Dougie Gibbard): The Linking Ring, Vol. 92 No. 4 (April 2012, pp. 69-70).
    • Locator Cards (Dougie Gibbard): The Linking Ring, Vol. 92 No. 4 (April 2012, pp. 70-71).
    • Flushed with Magic (Dougie Gibbard): The Linking Ring, Vol. 92 No. 4 (April 2012, pp. 71-72).
  • Swart, B. B., & Shelton, B. (2015). Revelations and generalizations of the nine card problem. Mathematics Magazine, 88(2), 137.