The $160,000 Card Trick

On December 8th, I tweeted a picture of a DVD with the caption “The $160,000 card trick”. I got more than a few questions about the picture, so let me take the opportunity to properly explain everything.

I applied to, and was accepted at, Tulane University. Tulane offers a full tuition scholarship for already-accepted students called the Deans’ Honor Scholarship. In a nutshell, I had to use a 3 inch by 3 inch box in a way that would “give further evidence of [my] depth of thought, imagination, and expression of creativity”. The Deans of all of the undergraduate schools at Tulane get together and award approximately 75 scholarships to 1000 applicants.

Naturally, I used the box in a magic trick.

Since I wouldn’t be able to perform anything live, I had to invent a trick that could be done via DVD.

What I created goes like this: The DVD I burned is inserted, and the Deans select “Part One”. A video pops up asking the Deans to nominate one person who will be the “primary spectator”. Though all of the Deans will be able to watch the trick, this selected person will be the only one who actually participates in it. After they have chosen someone, they give him or her the sealed black pouch that came inside of the DVD case. This person is instructed only to hold it — not open it.

After Part One ends, the Deans advance to Part Two. It is in this section of the DVD that the magic really happens. I ask the nominated person to think of a card and to tell everyone else in the room what the card is.

The card is said aloud, and I snap my fingers. Then, slowly, I deal the cards face-up, counting each one aloud. There are only 51 cards, and the one that is missing is the card that was thought of.

I then ask the nominated person to open up the sealed black pouch. Inside is the 3 inch by 3 inch white box. And inside of the box is a folded up playing card.

The thought of card.

From 1,000 miles away, without ever even being in their presence, I make a thought-of card disappear from a deck and reappear inside of something a spectator is holding.

I find out whether or not I won the scholarship within a week. Wish me luck!