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The Red and Black Computation
by Ken de Courcy


(1 review, 2 customer ratings) ★★★★

PDF | by download [0.31 MByte]  
The Red and Black Computation by Ken de Courcy

You correctly guess how many red and black cards a spectator has casually put into four pockets with an unexpected climax. No skill required.


A spectator is given a pack of cards, or he can use his own. He shuffles it, removes some cards, splits them into blacks and reds and places the blacks in his left trouser-pocket and the reds in his right. He takes some more cards, splits them as before and conceals the black cards in his left jacket pocket and the reds in his right. All this has taken place while the performer's back is turned.

The magician asks the spectator to again shuffle the balance of the cards then takes the pack back, fans it and has the man take a card, remember it and return it. The performer runs through the pack and removes one card which he places, without showing its face, into the spectator's top pocket.

Now begin the surprises. The spectator is asked whether he knows exactly how many cards he has in each pocket. Usually he does not. "Don't worry", says the magician, 'I'll tell you. First, would you please take out the four black cards from your left coat pocket. Check them, Sir, to make sure I'm right. Was I correct?" The spectator confirms that he does have only four black cards in that pocket. "Now may I have the nine red cards from your right trouser pocket? Check those, too". "Shall we have the five red cards from your right-hand coat pocket next? Am I right again?" "And now the six black cards you hid in your left trouser pocket". "Finally, Sir, what card did you choose?" He says, for example, the Two of Diamonds. "Please take the Two of Diamonds out of your top pocket!" He does so, and the trick is over.


  • The deck of cards is genuinely shuffled by the spectator.
  • The cards can be borrowed.
  • Easy to perform
  • Always ready

1st edition 1980, PDF 3 pages.
word count: 1309 which is equivalent to 5 standard pages of text

Reviewed by Alan Meyers (confirmed purchase)
★★★★   Date Added: Friday 07 December, 2018

This is, as I suspected before buying it, a reworking of Bob Hummer's trick "Little Stranger." Devin Knight has recently published his own version of Little Stranger. It's an interesting mathematical trick in both De Courcy's version and Knight's, but I prefer De Courcy's because it provides an excuse for a necessary but somewhat prolonged looking through the deck at one point in the trick, and because it has a better climax.