Imagine you're sitting at a table, across from a magician who's been showing a few tricks with a deck of cards. In his latest trick, you've selected a card and you yourself are currently shuffling the deck. The magician's taking a laid-back approach, sipping his coffee while he's saying things like "Okay, now flip over the top card and it'll be yours!" You do so, but it's not. Ouch, a missed. "Let's try again, cut the deck" he says. You do and then turn over the new top card and again, it's not yours. A few more times you try, each time a failure.
The magician says that you can stop your attempts, and then makes a comment that takes a second to register: "at least the coffee's good at magic." When you look at him inquisitively, you notice his gaze is at his coffee cup. Sitting under it, a single face down card. Pulling it out and turning it over, sure enough, it's your selection!
A good routine? I say it's okay. It's not a showstopper by any means. It's not original either -- it's the same concept as card in pocket, card under box, or any other "card anywhere not in the deck" routine at all. There's likely this exact routine printed somewhere already as it is. However, I haven't read it if it exists (or perhaps I have and I just skimmed over it as "yeah, easy-peasy").
However, I've always loved the idea of having a selected card appear under a glass. I've done the whole "card in pocket" stuff and while it's neat and gets a decent reaction, it's cliché to me. Card under box works too, but under a glass just feels more intimate because a glass wouldn't be part of the magic. It's just there.
So, how would we do this? Well, assuming a regular deck of cards, you'd need to get the spectator's card out of the deck after they selected it, but before they have the deck back. Palming it out in your preferred method, perhaps a top palm after controlling it to the top, or a gambler's cop after controlling it to the bottom. DPS, or even a lateral palm while replacing it into the deck. So many choices -- it just needs to be out of the deck and in your control. Then, you give the deck to the spectator.
While they're shuffling, take a sip from your cup. If you have the card in a classic palm, you could even be holding the cup with that same hand. Technically, several palms allow this action too (like a Tenkai palm) but mind your angles. Paying attention to the spectator's actions and not to your cup will cause them to ignore the cup as well. When placing it down on the table, have the card drop under it and continue directing the spectator as you will.
Until you pull their attention to the cup, they won't notice it. And yeah, the reveal itself is up to you.
What could make this routine better, perhaps better than just "okay"?
Well, if you could get the card under the spectator's cup -- that would be killer. I haven't come up with any non-obvious solutions to this yet, other than using a partner. However, it's something I'll continue working on because those types of reveals are amazing.
Another concept, and this would only work with really good crowd control or an energetic personality, is to have the spectator simply name a card and have it palmed out without appearing to go through the deck to look at for it, and then move into the routine as described above. A stacked deck would come in handy with this because you could quickly approximate where the card is and get to it in hardly a second. "Name a card, any card you want?" ... "7 of Clubs" ... "Any card at all? You want the 7 of Clubs? Okay, we can work with that." And before you're finished the last sentence, you already have the card palmed and then you move into a "here, you're going to find the card" and you guide them through fun cuts and shuffles and card reveals that just proves humorous. "You can't find the card? Well..."
Do you do any type of card under glass (or box, etc.) routines? I'd love to know what other kinds of presentations folks use, or your thoughts on any of the above. If you're interested in chatting, let me know here =]