How to Do an Elmsley Count

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017

How to Do an Elmsley Count. A card trick is nothing but an illusion and with the proper knowledge, anyone can perform one. The Elmsley Count is a sleight-of-hand card maneuver that gives the appearance of a card jumping from one hand to the other without assistance. The key to this trick is to make most of the movements with one hand, while the other hand serves as a distraction.

Select four cards from a deck, two of which should be the same type but different suit. For these instructions, use the ace of spades, the ace of diamonds and any other two cards.

Stack the four cards as follows: the ace of diamonds on top and facing upward, the two random cards in the middle and facing downward, and the ace of spades on bottom and facing upward. Between your left thumb and pointer finger, hold the stack of cards at the lower left corner.

Remove the ace of diamonds away from the stack with your right thumb and pointer finger, while pushing it aside with the right thumb, and count out "one."

Place the ace of diamonds on the bottom of the stack and grip with your left pointer finger. Simultaneously push the middle two cards with your left thumb and move them slightly away from the ace of spades.

Retrieve the middle cards, as if they were one card, with the right hand and count out "two." Cradle the cards in your right hand and hold it under your left.

Push the ace of spades, which should now be on top of the stack in your left hand, out from the stack with your left thumb. Place it on top of the cards cradled in your right hand, count out "three," and put your right hand under your left again.

Move the ace of diamonds from your left hand by cradling it on top of the cards in your right hand and count out "four." You have now performed the Elmsley Count card trick. Practice until you can perform it smoothly to maximize the element of illusion.


Try switching hands if it is uncomfortable this way, because your can perform this card trick ambidextrously. There are other variations to the Elmsley Count available (see Resources).

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