The magician introduces a deck of cards. He spreads it face up to show that all the cards are different. Next, he invites a spectator to thoroughly shuffle the deck. Once the spectator is done shuffling, the magician takes the deck to demonstrate what they are to do. He cuts off some cards from the top of the deck as he tells the spectator "I want you to cut the cards from the top of the deck like this in order to make some piles." He then reassembles the deck and hands it back to the spectator as he says "Let's do 3 piles. So cut the deck into 3 piles." Furthermore, he promises never to touch the deck again until the end.
The spectator takes the deck and cuts it into 3 more or less equal piles: top pile, middle pile and bottom pile respectively. The magician then invites the spectator to pull out any card at random (sight unseen) from the top pile. They do that (after which they look at it). He then says "If I were to ask you to place your selected card on top of the top pile, you may think I could use the top card of the top pile as a key card. After all, the top card of the top pile just is the original top card of the deck before you split the deck into 3 piles. So, in order to eliminate this idea, shuffle the top pile before placing your selected card on top of it." The spectator shuffles the top pile, after which they place their selected card on top of it.
The magician explains, "Now, if I were to ask you to place the bottom pile on top of the top pile in order to bury your selected card, you may think I could use the bottom card of the bottom pile as a key card. After all, the bottom card of the bottom pile just is the original bottom card of the deck before you split the deck into 3 piles. So, in order to eliminate this idea, shuffle the bottom pile before placing it on top of the top pile." The spectator shuffles the bottom pile, after which they place it on top of the top pile in order to bury their selected card.
The magician continues, "Your selected card is now lost somewhere in between the combination of the top and bottom pile. But there is one pile left over, the middle pile. Perhaps, for all you know, I have a distant key card in there. So, in order to eliminate this idea, shuffle the middle pile as well." The spectator shuffles the middle pile, after which they place it either on top or on bottom of the other pile (the pile that is the combination of the top and bottom pile).
At this point, the entire deck is reassembled. The magician says "The only thing I can possibly know about your card at this point is its approximate position in the deck. So, to eliminate this idea, cut and complete the deck a few times as I look away." The magician turns his back to the spectator as they perform the cuts, after which he turns back around to face them.
Now, for the first time since the beginning, the magician touches the deck. He takes the deck, spreads through its faces and locates the spectator's selected card.
Some important conditions of note:
- The spectator shuffles the entire deck at the beginning of the effect.
- During the effect, as is evident in the description above, all 3 piles are individually shuffled by the spectator. Because of this, there are no key cards (whether immediate or distant) in any of the piles.
There are similar effects out there that use a distant key card in the middle pile (in which case the middle pile can't be shuffled). That's precisely what's avoided here, hence the title Three Pile Location: On Steroids.
1st edition 2023, PDF 8 pages.
word count: 4209 which is equivalent to 16 standard pages of text