How to Predict Numbers for a Card Trick

Learn how to predict numbers from professional illusionist Ben Nemzer in this Howcast magic tricks video.

Ben Nemzer: My name is Ben Nemzer and I’m 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 number prediction trick, and you’ll see here that I have numbers one through 16 and my prediction. And I need the help of an audience volunteer. Can you do me a favor? Pick any number that you like. I’m going to circle it and after we pick it, I’m going to eliminate any numbers that are either vertical or directly horizontal of it. You’ll see what I mean in a moment. Go ahead, pick which ever number you like.

Speaker 2: I pick number eight.

Ben: Number eight. So we circle the number eight and we eliminate these. Alright, go ahead, pick another number that’s not crossed off.

Speaker 2: Eleven.

Ben: We’ll circle eleven and eliminate those. We have a few numbers left, anyone you like that’s not crossed off.

Speaker 2: Two.

Ben: There we are, vertical and horizontal, and it looks like the only number left is 13. So we have 13 plus 11 is 24, plus eight plus two, is 34. Was my math good?

Speaker 2: Yes, good, that’s what I get.

Ben: Let’s see what my prediction was. There it is 34.

Speaker 2: Wow!

Ben: And this is the secret to the number prediction. First of all, the prediction number is always going to be 34, but don’t tell your audience that. That is why you can only do the trick once for anyone. Then you have the numbers one through 16, now it’s very important that you write them nice and neat in rows and columns, because if they’re out of whack, it’s not going to work.

All you have to do is follow the procedures and mathematically it’s guaranteed to work. So you pick any random number that you like. We’ll do six, cross of everything to the left and right of the number that you selected. We’ll pick another one, there’s 12, and you keep on doing this until there’s no numbers left.
We’ll do 13, and this always ends up that there’s only left, so this time we’ll use the three. And 13 plus 12, plus 6, plus 3, equals 34. All you do is follow those instructions and don’t let anyone see your prediction until it’s time. And that’s how you do the number of prediction.