How to Do the Sugar Packet Prediction Magic Trick

Learn how to do the sugar packet prediction trick from professional illusionist Ben Nemzer in this Howcast magic tricks video.

My name is Ben Nemzer and I am a magician. One of my specialties is close-up magic. Which is magic with ordinary objects. Decks of cards, ropes, rubber bands, and I do that all over New York City. I’m going to teach you some of the basics of magic that you guys can start performing right away.

This is the Sugar Packet Prediction Trick. Now Darlene, we have three different sugar packets here; the pink Sweet ‘N Low, the yellow Splenda, and the regular white sugar. Now I made a prediction, before you even got here, and I put one sugar packet under my plate. Let’s see what happens. I want you to hand me whichever one you like. Of the two that are left pick one up. You picked the Splenda packet. That’s interesting, look at my prediction.

Amazing.

So I am going to show you how this works. This is a great way to fool your friends and it works every single time. But it is one of those tricks that you can’t do twice in a row and you are about to see why. So we are going to try a few different possibilities and you’re going to see why it’s always the Splenda packet, or whichever packet that you choose. So I have a prediction underneath my plate about one of these packets. Hand me whichever one you like. The Splenda packet, amazing. Look at my prediction.

Incredible.

See now you are catching on. Let’s do it one more time. Let’s see what happens if you hand me a different one.

Third times a charm.

Alright so I have a prediction. Hand me whichever one you like. Excellent, and of the two that are left pick one up. You picked the Splenda packet. Now had you actually picked this one up. Go ahead. I say, ‘So we are left with the Splenda packet.’ See what it is, is some clever scripting. It’s the way you phrase your sentences to ensure that she thinks she had free choice to pick the Splenda packet. Let me walk you through the script. So, since the prediction is the Splenda I say, ‘Hand me whichever one you want.’ If she hands me the Splenda packet, go ahead. ‘Excellent, you picked the Splenda packet. Look at my prediction.’ They match, the trick is over, and that is the best possible outcome. Now if she hands me something else. I say, ‘Of the two that are left pick one up.’ Notice I don’t say pick one because if I say pick one and she picks this one and she picks this one I can’t say, ‘You picked the Splenda packet.’ Because I told her to pick one, so I only say, ‘Pick one up.’ Which is a very subtle difference from pick one. So after you hand me this I say, ‘Pick one up.’ Now if she picks that one I say, ‘Good we are left with a Splenda packet.’ And that looks fair. Why does it look fair? I took one she took one we are left with a Splenda packet. Now if she does it the other way. Go ahead put that down and you hand me this one and then I say, ‘Pick one up’ and she picks the Splenda packet . Now I rephrase my instructions. Because a moment ago I said, ‘Pick one up.’, but now I say, ‘You picked the Splenda packet.’ Even though I didn’t say pick I said pick one up she thinks that she actually did pick the Splenda packet. That’s how you make it work all three times. So I’m going to go over it once more. If she immediately, first you say, ‘Hand me one.’ If she immediately hands me the correct one the trick is over. If she doesn’t I say, ‘Pick one up.’ If she picks this one up I say, ‘You picked the Splenda packet, look at my prediction.’ If she doesn’t I say, ‘Look we are left with a Splenda packet.’ And another thing to remember is you want to make sure you tell your audience where the prediction is before the trick starts. Otherwise you may think I have one here, and another one under here, and another one under here. So you want to be very clear where the prediction is ahead of time.