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Monday, 11 November 2013



In my ebook series of short stories The Casebook of Doctor Marcus Quigley, published by High Noon Press, you may have noticed that Marcus Quigley, itinerant dentist and occasional bounty hunter is also a proficient gambler. He is strictly honest, of course, but he can spot a card-sharper or a dice mechanic within moments..

A couple of blogs ago I talked about a simple dice trick that you can try out on friends. Marcus used it in book V of the series, The Shooter.

This time I'm going to focus on another little curio with cards.

Instead of counting the cards one by one, you can check a 52 card deck, that is a deck without jokers in it, by spelling out the names of the cards. Before you start, look through the deck and bring the King of Diamonds to the bottom. You are now ready to start.

With the deck held in one hand, all face down, place one card face down on the table and call out ‘A’, then toss the next card on top and call out ‘C’, then the next and call out ‘E’. 

So you have spelled Ace. Now continue through the entire deck .... ‘T’, then ‘W’, then ‘O’, and keep going through the cards and  spelling out each letter until you do the King.

And as you reach the final card just ask the audience which of the four kings went to war? Let them guess, then you toss down the King of Diamonds face up, explaining that you can always tell it was him, for he was the one who lost an eye. And if they would like to check, they will find that it is true.

Just remember that you spell Jack, rather than knave!

Then you may like to show all four Kings and tell them who they are. We are not exactly sure, but it is speculated that the  four Kings relate to the following historical characters:

The King of Diamonds is suspected to be Julius Caesar or Caesar Augustus.

The King of Spades is said to be King David.

The King of Clubs is said to be Alexander the Great.

And the King of Hearts is said to be Charlemagne. 

The King of Diamonds is usually the only one in profile, hence the one eye, and the King of Hearts is sometimes called the ‘suicide card,’ because it depicts a King stabbing his head with his sword.

And I'll be back soon!

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