Four Crooks Trick
A great effect to open a show, Four Crooks is a card trick that blends a bit of misdirection, a touch of sleight of hand and some storytelling to entertain your audience.
The magician, deck of cards in hand, begins to tell a story about four crooks who set out to rob a bank. The magician deals off four cards and sets the deck aside and then turns the cards over to show four jacks, which represent the four crooks. Putting the cards back on top of the deck, the magician puts them one by one into the deck at random spots and then with a magic pass, all four cards appear back at the top - where the police are waiting.
A bit of sleight of hand and advance preparation allows the magician to show eight cards as four, the key to convincingly performing the Four Crooks.
A regular deck of playing cards.
The magician should make a packet of eight cards - the four jacks and four random cards. The random cards should be on TOP of the jacks and all eight cards placed on top of the deck. The packet should be off set, so when you first pick, up the deck you can catch a break under it - in other words isolating the eight cards without appearing to do so.
Performing the TrickThere are a number of key moments in this trick - getting the packet of eight cards off the deck, showing the four jacks while hiding the four random cards and then “scattering” the crooks.
The story should be your own and can be about anything you like - it doesn’t have to be about a bank robbery. The story gives you a nice excuse to show off four cards and have them reappear at the top of the deck.
- Hold the deck in your left hand, with your pinkie holding the break under the packet.
- Deal the top four cards into your right hand, saying “we have four crooks” or something similar.
- Drop the four cards back on top of the remainder of the packet (which is the actual four jacks) and then take the entire packet in your right hand. Place the deck on a table.
- Turn the packet over - the bottom Jack is now facing the audience. Riffle the packet with your right thumb and stop after four cards. The top half (the jacks) should be pushed down slightly lifted. You will now be holding two packets at two angles in your left hand, but the front packet will block the view of the second from your audience.
- With your right hand, take the top jack off and name it (here we have the Jack of Diamonds) and place it behind the rest of the jacks. In this way you go through and show each of the four jacks, all the while concealing the four indifferent cards below.
- Square up the packet and place it back on top of the deck. Remember that the top four cards are NOT the jacks.
- At this point in the story the crooks are scattering from the police and you take the top card and place it near the bottom of the deck. In this manner you take each of what the audience thinks are the jacks and scatter them randomly in the deck.
- The trick is done! Now the story offers a reason for the jacks to get back together - they got lost in the building, they make it to the roof to escape in a waiting helicopter, what have you. One, two, three, four, the magician deals off the jacks from the top of the deck, where they have miraculously assembled!