How to Do the 1 Ahead Prediction Card Trick

Learn how to do the one ahead prediction card trick in this dinner table magic tricks video from Howcast.

A: So I want to know if you can help me out with an experiment. All right, it’s an experiment using intuition. So can you mix these up for me? Any way you know how, it doesn’t matter.

B: All right.

A: That way I don’t know where all the cards are and you don’t know where all the cards are.

B: I don’t want to do all fancy. I always wanted to be that person that shuffled them [inaudible 00:21]. All right, no peeking.

A: Okay, I won’t look.

B: How’s that? Is that good enough?

A: That’s perfect. And I’ll take these and I’ll just kind of spread them around like this, and I want you to touch the card and don’t pick it, just touch it. The one that you think is the nine of diamonds.

B: Nine of diamonds?

A: Really go gut instinct here.

B: Oh, okay. This one.

A: This one right here? Have you done this before?

B: No.

A: All right.

B: No, come on.

A: No, we’ll check it in a moment. Let’s do another one, touch the one you think is the four of diamonds.

B: Okay, that one.

A: This one right here? No way, you’re good. Here, I’ll do one. I’ll touch the one I think is the ten of hearts.

B: Okay.

A: Go for this one. Do you remember the names of the cards?

B: Nine of diamonds. I don’t remember the second one.

A: Four of diamonds.

B: Four of diamonds.

A: And the ten of hearts. You did it.

B: No, come on.

A: We did it, yeah.

B: Really?

A: Yeah.

B: How’s that happen?

A: Intuition.

B: Was it really just intuition?

A: No. All right, do you want to learn how this works?

B: Yeah.

A: This is great. This is something that you can use to fool your friends. All you need is a pack of cards. And its an old principle in magic that magicians refer to as the one ahead principle and that will make sense in a moment.

B: Yeah, okay.

A: So let me walk you through this. The first thing I have you do is mix up the cards. So mix them up anyway you like.

B: Okay, shuffle, shuffle, mix, mix.

A: Now when I take the cards back, I do something a little bit tricky and I very subtly glance at the bottom card and I just did that there.

B: Okay, so you know…

A: So I know the bottom card and right now I know that the bottom card is the two of spades.

B: Two of spades.

A: Okay, and in your head you don’t want to forget the two of spades. You just keep thinking two of spaces, two of spaces, two of spades. And then I spread the cards in a circle and I remember where the two of spades is. It doesn’t have to be a circle, you know you can mess it up like this, as much as you want. Cards can drop on the floor, they can go around, as long as you remember the two of spades and exactly where it is. So then I say to you, touch the card that you think is the two of spades. Now you have no idea where it is, so you’re going to touch a random card. You’re not actually going to pick the two of spades. The chances of that are one in fifty-two. So go ahead and touch a random card.

B: This one.

A: And I look at it and I pretend she got it right. She actually got the nine of spades.

B: Okay.

A: But I go "Oh, wow, have you done this before, its so good." And then I put it to the side. And then now that I know that this is the nine of spades…

B: That’s what you’re going to ask me to find next.

A: Exactly, so I say touch the card that you think is the nine of spades.

B: This one.

A: This one right here?

B: Yeah.

A: Are you sure?

B: Yes.

A: You really have that gut instinct?

B: You know it.

A: Okay, and then I take that one out. "Oh wow, you’re good." But she’s not, because this is the ace of spades. In fact, it’s impossible for her to have picked the nine of spades, because I’ve been holding it the whole time and there’s only one nine of spades.

B: And you’re going to say…

A: Now we need one more card and the only card that we’re missing is the two of spades, which she should think I’m already holding in my hand. So I say, "I’m going to touch the card that I think is the ace of spades." This is the only one I haven’t said and as I say it I want to make it sound like I’m making them up, arbitrarily off of my head. So and then I look around, maybe this one, no, ah, this one right here.

A: And now you don’t want to make this very obvious, but once you pick them all up, you kind of mix them around a little bit in your hands. That way they don’t realize that the order has changed. And then I say "If we did this right, we should have the two of spades, the nine of spades, and the ace of spades." There you go.

A: Just a couple things to keep in mind, some common mistakes that people make. First of all, so here’s the two of spades. If I say touch the card that you think is the two of spades and you touch this, when I’m holding the card I have to be careful not to let you see it. A common mistake is like "Oh, very good. That is the two of spades," and then it ruins the whole trick.

B: Okay.

A: So that’s number one. Number two is people always ask what if somebody picks the card that you put down there? And it does happen, I mean it’s a one in 52 chance…

B: Right.

A: … and you perform this more than 52 times, its very possible that they’ll pick that one. So let’s do it. So pretend its by accident, now you know where the two of spades is. So I say use your female intuition, your gut instinct, we’re doing an experiment here. Touch the card you think is the two of spades. This one right here? You mean out of all of these 52 cards you could have picked any card and you really felt it was this one?

B: I think so.

A: Well, you’re right. So you end the trick early. With magic one of the biggest advantages you have is that your audience doesn’t know how the trick is supposed to go.

B: You’re right.

A: There’s one more scenario that’s also a lot of fun. And it’s if the person picks the two of spades or whatever card happens to be on the bottom, when glance at it on the second try. And that I think is also a very ideal situation, because I as the magician, don’t have to come in there and pick the last card to solve the problem. So let me show you what I mean. So touch the card that you think is the two of spades.

B: This one.

A: This one right here?

B: Yeah.

A: Oh wow, very good, you got it. And touch the card that you think is the queen of clubs.

B: This one.

A: So you could have picked any two cards and I said the queen of clubs and the two of spades, and you got both of them. So those are the only three possible outcomes that I know of for this trick, and that’s how you find a card using intuition.