Magician's Choice

From Weekly I/O#75

Magician's Choice: How magicians manipulate you to choose the card they want you to choose through equivocation.

Article: Magician's Choice

The "Magician's Choice", or "Equivocation", is a psychological technique commonly used in magic tricks, especially in mentalism and choice-based illusions. This technique creates an illusion for the audience, making them believe they have a free choice, while the magician subtly ensures a specific outcome.

Imagine a magician presenting three cards, A, B, and C, aiming to make you, the audience, choose card A. You are asked to select two cards, and the magician will act according to your choice.

If you pick cards B and C, the magician will eliminate these two and say the remaining card, A, is your decision.

However, if you pick cards A and B, the magician will eliminate card C and ask you to select one of the remaining two cards. Then, if you choose card A, that will be your final selection. But if you pick card B, the magician will discard it, and the remaining A becomes your chosen card. It doesn't matter what you select; you will always end up with A.

The Magician's Choice utilizes the "information gap" between what the audience knows and what they think they know. As long as the tactic isn't repeated, which can shorten the information gap, almost everyone can be convinced they have a free choice.

Multiple Outs is another trick that creates an illusion that the magician can predict the audience's choice.

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