I just started reading Scripting Magic Vol 2 by Pete McCabe on a flight recently. One interesting thing that he does in the book is lays out a trick and asks how you would turn it into a performance piece, or what you would do with it.
One of the tricks he does this with is a mathematical trick using matches. Essentially you can control the number of matches in the middle pile of three piles where you don’t know how many total matches there are and don’t need to look at the matches. There’s only a few steps to the math, and they aren’t that complex.
Following the exercise, before I read the routine I wrote out a little routine of my own for the trick. Here it is:
My wife says I can gamble on anything. Duh, I’m Chinese, we gamble, squat and smoke.
The greatest bet I ever lost was to my bok bok… uncle Frank.
He’d gamble on anything…the lottery, the horse track eating at a BBQ restaurant in a white neighborhood.
I’m going to show you our final bet and my last memory of him.
Here grab that pack of matches off the hostess stand, or first full of Pennies from the jar at the counter.
He wrote on the dinner bill the 3 moves he’d make. He’d committed to those
(Take out old receipt)
The rules are simple, if we tie he wins. Anything other than a tie and I win.
Make three equal piles…I have no idea how many there are, so if there’s a remainder, put it in your pocket, so you have something to show for it.
No matter what he gets the middle pile.
Give me a number 1-9
(Nail write adjustment)
Wow, that’s the same number I said!
His middle pile will be a tie with your number, not more, not less.
(Follow instructions on reciept)
We tied and all I have to show for it was this receipt for dinner…and over 40 years of memories
That’s the routine that I wrote, keep in mind I wrote it in the notes app on my phone on the flight, so it’s probably got some errors. The point is to not just read the book, but to actually do the work.