(written by Simon)
download pdf file of seven individual Binary Charts – Click Here
excitedly told me that the idea for these charts suddenly came to him in his
sleep. The basic mathematical idea underlying them is of ancient
vintage, and has been used in many
similar tricks, with playing cards, numbers and other variables. But
Mergel was inspired to apply the concept to the memorized deck and to the
Aronson stack specifically.
I liked Mergel’s
creativity, but I told him that these charts were only “half” an effect – and
they are in need of another half to make the effect complete. These
charts allow the performer to learn the identity of a playing card that is
freely thought of by the spectator, but the effect clearly isn’t complete
without a strong revelation of that card, that somehow ties into and
justifies the use of these charts. Mergel replied that he had done the
hard part, so it was up to me to come up with a viable presentation.
Since Mergel has done the drudge work in preparing the charts for the Aronson
stack, I’m offering them here. Anyone who uses a different memorized
stack will need to prepare his own set of charts, but once the basic binary
system is understood (and it’s not difficult) you can create a set in a few
hours with a word processor.
me first present Mergel’s charts and explain their use. Afterwards,
I’ll offer some presentations I’ve played with to date.
are seven charts comprising the set. One of them simply sets forth all
52 cards, in order by suits. Mergel calls this the Full Chart, simply
because it displays the full deck. It actually doesn’t play any role in
the binary calculations, but it establishes and visually explains the
organization of the cards that applies in all of the charts. It’s thus an
extremely helpful aid to orient your spectator on how and where to quickly
look for any particular card.
remaining six charts each look like a random hodge-podge of face up and face
down cards, with the important caveat that the face up cards each occupy
their same respective positions as is shown in the Full Chart. This
makes it very easy for someone to quickly determine if a specific card is
face up on a chart – without having to look through each and every face up
card shown on that chart. For instance, if you want to quickly
determine whether, say, the Five of Spades is face up on a particular chart,
all you need to do is look at the third row down from the top (the Spades)
and look at the fifth card from the left. It will either be face down,
or will show a bold 5♠. You don’t need to check anywhere else on that
the pdf download, Mergel has intentionally omitted putting any titles or
chart “numbers” on his actual charts, because he didn’t want to give any
hints to spectators of any underlying systems (or foreclose or limit any
particular presentations you may devise). But in fact the remaining six
charts are specifically distinguishable, and you’ll need to be able to
quickly identify each one when you present the effect. For learning
purposes Mergel has given each chart a name, as follows:
32 – the only chart that displays face up the Ten of Diamonds (Aronson stack
16 – the only chart that displays face up the Eight of Clubs (Aronson stack
8 – the only chart that displays face up the Six of Clubs (Aronson stack
4 – the only chart that displays face up the Two of Hearts (Aronson stack
2 – the only chart that displays face up the King of Clubs (Aronson stack
1 – the only chart that displays face up the Jack of Spades (Aronson stack
a practical reason that Mergel has used these “numerical” titles, which will
become apparent shortly. For convenience and ease of use, I (Simon)
suggest you write a small “32” on the back side of Chart 32, in the upper
left corner, using light pencil. This will help you quickly identify
the charts, because you’ll see the penciled number as you hold up a chart
facing the spectator. Your thumb or finger can easily cover the
penciled number as you flip through the charts, so they will appear blank on
the back. In a similar fashion put the appropriate identifying penciled
number on the back of each of the remaining five charts. With this tiny
cue, you will instantly know which chart is which. The chart number
(32, 16, 8, etc.) is the only thing you need to know to implement the working
of these charts.
stack all seven charts in a pile, with the Full Chart on top, and the rest of
the charts following in order (Chart 32, then Chart 16, and so on).
jump in and immediately run through an example. We’ll omit any patter
or presentation, because we simply want to understand how the charts
the pile of charts, showing the Full Chart first so that our spectator,
Ginny, understands how the entire deck is laid out. Then ask Ginny to
merely think of any card on this chart. Since all 52 cards are
displayed, she in effect has a free choice of thinking of any card in the
deck. For our example, let’s suppose she thinks of, say, the Six of
Hearts; we, of course, would not know this. Make sure she understands
the overall layout and remembers the location of her thought of card, merely
to help her in looking at the next charts.
she has thought of a specific card, show her the next chart in the pile
(Chart 32) and ask her whether or not it displays her card. You can
remind her that all the face up cards are in their proper places, to make it
easy for her to check. Wait for a Yes or No answer, and after Ginny
responds, flip to the next chart in the pile, and repeat the process.
For each of the six charts, Ginny must look to see if her thought-of card is
displayed, and she must answer truthfully Yes or No. That’s it.
you’ve shown her the six charts and have received Ginny’s six Yes or No
responses, you will know the identity of the card she’s thinking of.
Well, it’s clearly no secret to anyone who’s read thus far. All you
need to do is add up the chart numbers of each of the charts to which Ginny
responded “Yes.” That total is the Aronson stack number of the thought
of playing card.
our example, when Ginny views the first chart (Chart 32) it does display a
Six of Hearts, so she will say “Yes” (so the performer secretly remembers
“32”). The second chart displayed (Chart 16) does not show a Six of
Hearts, so she will say No. The performer need not do anything, because
she gave a negative answer, so he continues to remember his running “total”
of 32. The third chart shown (Chart 8) also does not show a Six of
Hearts and thus Ginny gives another No, and the performer still remembers
32. The fourth chart shown (Chart 4) does in fact show a Six of Hearts
and Ginny will answer Yes. Because this is Chart 4, the performer adds
4 to his running total of 32, and then remembers the new total, 36. The
fifth chart shown (Chart 2) again shows a Six of Hearts so Ginny will again
answer Yes. Because this is Chart 2, the performer adds 2 to his
running total of 36, and then remembers the new total, 38. The final
(sixth) chart shown (Chart 1) does display a Six of Hearts and Ginny gives
another affirmative Yes. Because this last is Chart 1, the performer
adds 1 to his running total of 38, and then remembers the new total,
39. There are no more charts to display, so that’s the end of the
procedure. The performer winds up with a secret total of 39 – which is
the Six of Hearts in the Aronson stack.
in a nutshell, is everything you need to know to use these Binary charts.
reason Mergel organizes the pile of charts in High to Low order (Chart 32 is
the first chart shown) is simply because he finds this simplifies doing the
math in his head. In this fashion, as the running total increases, each
time you receive an Affirmative response you only need to add progressively
smaller and smaller numbers, which he finds easier to work with. I
agree with Mergel, but remember, this suggested order is totally
optional. The charts could be shown in any order. As long as you
know which chart is which, all you need is to show all six charts and to know
(and keep a running total of) the chart numbers that generate affirmative
responses. If you wished, Ginny could herself choose the order in which
to give her responses, because it makes no difference.
give the spectator a comfortable opportunity to look at each chart. You
don’t want her inspection to be rushed, or her answers to be hasty. If
she gives a wrong answer (for whatever reason) the trick won’t work.
soon discover that the “patterns” or sequences of Yes/No answers are all over
the board. There aren’t any short cuts, so you’ll have to go through
all six charts. (An exception: if Ginny thinks of the Nine of Diamonds,
you’ll know this after you’ve shown the first four charts, because you would
have received affirmatives on charts 32 + 16 + 4, which already is 52, and
the total can’t go any higher; thus, in this sole case theoretically you
wouldn’t need to display the final two charts). But, as a practical
matter, you need to be prepared to add up to six numbers. Once you’ve
done it a few times, it’s not difficult.
you want to dress this up a bit, you could make a more “permanent” prop by
binding the charts with a comb or spiral binding. This creates a little
flip book that you can display a page at a time. A corollary benefit is
that the charts are always in the correct order.
mentioned, the real challenge is to devise a presentation that creates a
logical context for using these charts. Mergel demurred, saying he has
more important things to do, so I’ll outline three ideas I’ve experimented
with. Each is viable in its own right, but these ideas may stimulate
you to see come up with even more engaging themes.
this first presentation, I talk about how it takes seven shuffles to fully
randomize a deck of cards. I display the charts as one sample of a
sequence of seven shuffles, and say that the first chart shows the deck in
complete order, at the start (Chart 1). I then explain that in these
studies, for each shuffle half the deck was turned over and shuffled into the
remaining half, and then a list was made of which cards wound up face up or
face down. I ask the spectator to think of any one card in the deck as
a “target” card, and to follow whether it turned face up or face down after
each shuffle. This sets the stage, and I now go through the display of
the charts, and receive the spectator’s Yes/No responses, per the basic
procedure. After showing all six of the numbered charts I explain,
“Those charts are the results of the first six random shuffles. But the
seventh, and final shuffle, was the most amazing of all – because it violated
all the laws of probability. In fact, it was so unique that I saved the
actual deck for posterity!” Here, I point to a cased deck that has been
in full view on the table from the outset. I open it up and remove the
deck saying, “Despite all odds, after the final shuffle, every single card
was face up – except for one.” Here I spread the deck and indeed all
the cards are seen to be face up, except for one face-down card.
Without asking her anything, I turn over the lone face-down card and it is
seen to be her thought of card!
method is amazingly simple: just use an Invisible deck. The charts
provide you with the card’s identity, so you know which way to remove the
deck from the case and where to split the roughed pair.
Funsky’s additional note: If you’re familiar with the ingenious presentation
of shaking up an Invisible deck in a large glass cocktail shaker fashion to
show them first all mixed up face up and face down, and then immediately all
facing the same way except for the single selection (Simon says this idea has
elements in it from Steve Bedwell, Jim Krzak and Robert D. Michaels) you’ll
see how it could be readily applied here. You would apparently perform
the “seventh” shuffle in real time, and then show the amazing result].
second presentation is really a corollary of the first idea, but it uses a
regular deck instead of an Invisible deck.
have my deck in Aronson stack order. I follow the above presentation
and after the last chart is displayed (and I secretly have learned the thought
of card) I offer to display the “seventh” and final shuffle “in real
time.” Using the Open Index concept, I secretly bring the thought-of
card to the top of the deck without looking through the faces (using
estimation, a bottom glimpse and an adjustment if necessary). I then
perform a fairly standard version of Triumph (using Zarrow shuffles, to
maintain stack order), and show the cards apparently mixed face up and face
down using Daryl’s display sequence. For the climax, I spread the deck
and all of the cards are face down, except for the thought of card, which is
face up and staring the spectator in the face. (The deck remains still
secretly in order, for your next miracle).
third presentation uses fortune telling as a hook. You’ll first need to
decide on six general topics to use (for example, Health, Travel, Friends,
Work, Money and Love). You’ll also need the ability to give either a
genuine cold reading or a tongue-in-cheek “entertaining” reading, with something
to say about each of the six areas.
by explaining that many fortune tellers use playing cards, and ask your
spectator to merely think of any card, as her secret lucky playing
card. Show her the first chart, telling her that it has to do with
Health, and ask her if she sees her lucky playing card. Regardless of
whether she gives a Yes or No, act as if that’s significant, and offer her a
one-line “reading” (comment, joke, generalized prediction) about her Health,
well-being, beauty, etc. as though her Yes or No answer actually helped
determine your comment. (Example: “No? Well that’s
positive. An absence indicates no major health problem on the horizon,
but of course you need to constantly stay vigilant.”)
proceed through each of the remaining five topics in a similar fashion.
I save Money and Love for the final two simply because those two topics seem
to generate the most interest.
spectator may think you’re pulling her leg, or are fraudulent, or whatever,
but by the end of these readings you will, of course, know her lucky
card. You can now reveal it however you like. One simple but
surprising way is to verbally incorporate it, as part of your final reading,
“But I must caution you that your quest for love will be successful if, but only
if, your lucky card happens to be … the Jack of Clubs.” The Invisible
Deck provides another simple revelation: point to the deck on the table,
saying, “As a fortune teller, I reversed one card in this deck. Don’t
tell me what your lucky card is, but let’s take a look.” If you want to
get more elaborate, a pocket or wallet index could be used to produce her
lucky card. In all of these revelations, there’s added strength because
you “commit” yourself before she utters the name of the card she’s merely
luck in experimenting with your own presentations. Mergel says good