MEMOIRS - 16 - A Game of Bridge

Magicians, of course, like any other human being, like to pull the legs of their friends and relations, now and again, and I remember once, when my wife and I had a few friends up to dinner, and a game of bridge, getting a good laugh at their expense. As I said before, I do not play cards, so on this particular evening, when the game of bridge was in progress I sat at the table and watched the game, and every now and then I would casually pick up the pack that was out of play and shuffle it ready to be cut for the next deal; this went on for quite a long time, and, towards the end of the evening, I thought that two of the players were taking the game too seriously, and it suddenly entered my head, to have a little game with them; so once again I picked up the pack, and quietly proceeded to shuffle it as I had done quite a dozen times before, that evening; only, this time I stacked the cards, and ran them up, so that each player, when the cards were dealt, would each receive ten cards of the same suit; and it turned out to be so.

It was really funny for me to watch the expression of each player, as he glanced at his cards and realised that he held ten of one suit, Ace, King, Queen, jack etc., down to the five. Then the bidding started; each player naturally thought that he was the only one, who held good cards. The bidding got higher and higher, and the arguments got louder and louder, till a grand slam in Spades was doubled and re-doubled, and each, accused the other of overcalling, and I was appealed to, to determine whether the bidding was justified or not. Well, I couldn’t keep my mirth in, any longer, so I told them that the only way to settle the argument was for all players to expose their hands on the table, and decide that way. This was done, and when each player saw what the others held, they realised that I had done the deed; but by this time, I had quietly slipped away to safety.

Once while staying at a Hotel in Johannesburg, I went into the Card Room, where four people were having a friendly game of bridge, and on seeing me, one of the lady players suddenly said, "Mr. Venson, I am having infernally bad luck, I haven’t had a good hand all the evening, won’t you please help me by shuffling and dealing me four Aces?" I replied that I would be delighted to do so, if the other players had no objection; so, on getting their consent, I picked up the pack, shuffled it, had it cut and dealt out the four hands. I had done this all in fun, and when I had shuffled the pack, I had done so, straightforwardly, and had not in any way given the pack a false shuffle, run up or stacked the cards; but when the lady picked up her hand, she had the four Aces. I can assure you that I was the most surprised person in the room; it was just one of those outstanding coincidences that is likely to happen to anybody every now and again. Needless to say, my reputation rose sky high.