How did Ricky Jay perform this "Sword of Vengeance" trick?
December 8, 2018 4:28 PM   Subscribe

Now that he's gone, I'm re-watching many of Ricky Jay's videos, and his skills were of course out of this world - What a loss. You could ask the same question about any of his tricks, but here is a simple one: it's called Sword of Vengeance: He basically spins a shaggy dog tale of misdirection, and eventually lets his mark pick a random card out of a deck, the same "Two of heart" he had prepared at the beginning of the skit. So how did he really do it?

Additionally, I cannot easily find "How to" resources for magicians online. Are there any? Asking for a friend.
posted by growabrain to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know how he does the final prediction, but I think I at least caught something relevant: if you watch the way he fans the cards each time, he's spreading them so the bottom of the deck is on the side nearest the person he asks to remove cards, and he instructs them to remove them toward themselves. This ensures that at the end he's left with the four cards that have been on top of the deck from the beginning. That reduces the possible final choices from 52 down to 4.
posted by brentajones at 5:12 PM on December 8, 2018

Best answer: He palmed the two of hearts (or possibly four 2 of hearts) and added it back into the deck towards the top when she handed them back to him. As he fans the cards, he is always fanning away from whoever is going to remove cards, so they are always removing cards from the bottom of the deck until he gets to the top cards that he loaded for the reveal.
posted by willnot at 5:13 PM on December 8, 2018

Best answer: The choices at the end are forced. He has her pick two cards. If they include the one he wants to keep, he tells her, keep those, he'll take away the others. Otherwise, he tells her to take those away. Then, with two cards left, if she picks the one he wants, he takes it, if not, he tells her to push it away too. In the end, the one selected is the top card, no matter what she's picked of the four last ones.
posted by cameradv at 6:57 PM on December 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Here's a hint: Watch what he does with the deck after she first hands it to him when she finishes shuffling.
posted by mygoditsbob at 7:57 PM on December 8, 2018

I think there's something with the whole wallet sequence, too.
posted by rhizome at 10:09 PM on December 8, 2018

Best answer: As a piece of trivia, in an unopened Bicycle deck of cards, the cards come in NDO, or new deck order, which is A-K, A-K, K-A, K-A of hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades.

Now, Ricky Jay forces a certain card, and committed to it by writing it down in the beginning, which could just as easily be any card in the deck. Why the two of hearts?

The two of hearts is always the second card off of a new deck, and in this trick, he forces the card that is second from the top (if you watch carefully). As he says during the trick, with 52 cards and 52 choices, what are the chances of any coincidence?
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 1:12 PM on December 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I don't blame you for not looking at the YouTube comments, but one commenter has a pretty detailed explanation that may or may not be accurate (he names the wrong card for starters):
Richard Rejmer 3 days ago
Near the start, when he 'pretends' to write Japanese characters, he is actually writing the name of the card - the 2 of Clubs, but when you do see that piece of paper or card, he has turned it over to only show Japanese characters, which were always written on it before the trick started.
1:56 . .As he removes his hand from his jacket, he has palmed the 2 of Clubs. . .then he puts it on the top of the deck.
Every move he makes after that, as he fans the cards across the table and asks the participants to remove cards. . The 2 of Clubs remains on the top. . (watch it closely). .
Each time, the top card is swept AWAY from the participant, and he asks them to remove cards that are on the end that is near them. . NOT the 2 of Clubs, which is at the other end of the fanned cards.
THEN, when he has it down to 4 cards, he asks her to put her hands on 2 cards. .
This is the classic "Force" move in card tricks. .
If one of the cards she puts a hand on was the 2 of Clubs, he would have got her to keep those cards that she selected on the table and ask her to discard the rest.
But, because she doesn't put her hand on the 2 of Clubs, he gets her to remove those cards under her hands and keep the last two on the table, and we know that the 2 of Clubs is one of them.
The same for the next 'choice'. . .
Each time, there is no 'choice', because he hasn't said he is going to keep or discard what you have selected before he asks them to make a choice, he is 'forcing' the result and only leaving behind the card he wants.
No matter what cards they choose, the 2 of Clubs will always be the last remaining card.
Then it ties in with the 'reveal' of the writing prepared earlier. . .
posted by neckro23 at 1:14 PM on December 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

He peeks at a card at 3:49.
posted by w0mbat at 2:17 AM on December 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

BTW: Lone Wolf & Cub movie series, even though here it's just the source for a complicated synopsis. :)
posted by rhizome at 2:22 PM on December 10, 2018

Best answer: I had the incredible honor of knowing and working with Ricky on many occasions and of the many illusions he performed in front of me, the ones that I remember most involved physical acts that could not be manipulated (or seemingly so to a novice such as myself) He did one once for a small group of people at a Chinese restaurant while working on a movie, it was called "Along the banks of the yangtze river" or something like that. I truly do not remember exactly what happened, but I do remember it involved a lot of breaking of dishes as well as sticking, all face down to the ceiling. If I am not mistake the outcome was something as outrageous as the numbers on the cards on the ceiling matching the numbers on a fortune cookie someone has in there possession. It was a LONG time ago and I just remember how astounded I was by it all.

Just remember he was the brains behind "Flydini"

posted by silsurf at 7:16 AM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

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