Henry Richardson

Card and Notepad Trick 


On the audition for the TV show America's Got Talent, the 15-year-old teenage magician Henry Richardson performed a great magic trick using just a deck of cards and a simple notepad.

He first asks Mel B to pick a card from the deck. She then signs the card she selected (6 of Spades) and tightly holds it in her hands so there is no way Henry could do anything with it. But nothing can stop magic! Henry makes some magic gestures and suddenly, Mel B's card appears in his hand! It has the signature on it so we know it's really the same card.

Next, Henry approaches Simon and hands him a notebook. Every page of the notebook has a different drawing on it, and Simon has to pick one. He picks a drawing of a soccer ball.

Then the great surprise of the trick comes. Mel B is still holding the card with the signature in her hands. Henry asks her to tear the card in half. To great surprise of everyone, when she tears the card into two, we see that there is a drawing of a soccer ball hidden inside!

See the performance, then read the explanation below.


How did he do it? Let break the trick up into two parts: the card part and the notepad part. We will explain each one separately and explain how they are connected.

The card trick

The card trick starts by Mel B picking a card from the deck. It seems like a free choice: Henry just goes through all the cards and Mel B tells him to stop anytime she wants, right? Well, not exactly. The card is actually forced. It doesn't matter when Mel B says »stop«, the »selected« card will always be the same: 6 of Spades. Henry picked this card beforehand, put the drawing of the soccer ball inside of it, and then created the illusion that Mel picked it freely.

How exactly did he do it? He keeps what is called a »pinky break« in the deck, right where the 6 of Spades is. Basically, he just sticks his pinky finger slightly into the deck at that exact spot. When Mel says »stop«, he simply lifts up all the cards above his pinky finger, and the card he wants will be there. He just has to be fast enough and nobody will notice what he did. This technique is called »the riffle force«.

When he gives Mel the card back and tells her to cover it with the other hand, he isn't actually giving her the card she signed, but a different card. Notice that he just puts the card face-down on her palm, so we cannot really see which card it is. That's because it's a different card! The card with Mel's signature is still in Henry's hands.

The notepad trick

We already established that Henry picked the soccer ball drawing beforehand and forced the card with the soccer ball to Mel B. Next, he has to somehow force Simon to also pick a soccer ball. He does that using a gimmicked notepad. At first sight, the notepad looks like it has a different drawing on every page. That is not the case. Every second page is actually cut short. So half the pages in the notepad are long, and half are short. The long pages have different drawings on them, but all the short pages have the same drawing: a soccer ball. When Henry goes through the notebook, we only see the long pages, but when Simon lifts it up, he will always end up on a short page.

And that's the whole trick.

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