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Raise or Fold

by Steve Pellegrino

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Raise or Fold by Steve Pellegrino

With the popularity of poker, this routine is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser. It can play for 10 minutes without lagging. It can be serious or funny - it's up to you.

Effect: You explain that one of the best poker playing skills you can develop is reading the "tells" of other players. It's a skill you've mastered, and you can determine if other players are bluffing or not. To demonstrate this ability, you bring up five spectators. Next, you show five small envelopes; each one contains five cards representing a poker hand. Only one hand is a winner - a royal flush in spades.

A spectator mixes up the envelopes, and each spectator takes one. You turn your back so they can see which cards they have. Before you turn around, they place the envelopes in their pockets out of your sight.

The object is for you to determine who has the winning hand as each spectator tries to bluff you. To make it challenging, you display a $100 bill, and if you are wrong, that person gets the money.

After a couple of questions, ending with you asking the first volunteer if they will "raise" or "fold," the spectator answers "raise." You tell him he's bluffing, and he removes his cards to show he doesn't have the winning hand.

You continue with the other spectators adding another $100 to the pot for each new spectator ending with a pot of $500. One at a time, you eliminate each person who bluffs and correctly determines who has the winning hand.

I developed the routine to present under "test conditions."

The features of this routine:

  • No gaffed cards.
  • No gaffed envelopes.
  • No nail nicks or bent corners.
  • No switches.
  • No sleight of hand.
  • Everything is 100% examinable.
  • You can give away the cards and envelopes.
  • No electronics.
  • Nothing for you to construct.

All you have to do is concentrate on the presentation!

1st edition 2021, PDF 10 pages.
word count: 2398 which is equivalent to 9 standard pages of text

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