In this post, we will look at my video and ideas for the card trick ACAAN or Any Card At Any Number using either Mnemonica stack, Aronson stack, or any other memorized deck stack you might know!
(You can see all the memorized deck card tricks currently on here at Mnemonica (Aronson or Memorized Deck) Card Tricks You Can Do!)
What is ACAAN?
ACAAN is short for Any Card at Any Number. This is one of the most popular plots in card magic.
There are many, many different methods and card tricks that are based on the ACAAN plot in the magic world today. Not all ACAAN tricks are actually Any Card at Any Number but are usually some kind of variation, which ends up being a card (but not ANY card) or a number (but not ANY number). (For example, the Self-Working ACAAN Card Trick here)
ACAAN with Mnemonica, Aronson or Mem Deck
ACAAN using Aronson or Mnemonica or any mem deck, is actually a true Any Card at Any Number, since any card can be chosen, and any number can also be chosen! However, as I mention in the video, one popular method that some professionals will use is actually very difficult to do. (If you need to learn about Mnemonica stack first, you can go to Mnemonica Stack Order by Juan Tamariz – A Guide)
No Forces Method
The version of ACAAN that involves the spectator choosing any card and any number can actually become quite difficult to do as I will explain later. This is because you will have to do some math in your hand in real-time and on the fly during the performance. You will need to do this math in order to figure out which card to cut to the top of the deck. (I’ll offer my easier method later)
In fact, there are even some gimmicks on the market that allow you to know which card to cut to or have on top of the deck in order to perform ACAAN with Mnemonica stack (because there are some mental gymnastics usually required as I’ll explain next).
One of these gimmicks is the Stack Watch by Peter Turner found here. This allows you to see the number of each card in the Mnemonica stack without memorizing the stack, plus it shows you what card to cut to the top if you are performing the ACAAN trick mentioned here. There is also a Version 2 of the Stack Watch found here which features a date window for bonus routines.
Essentially, for this hardest version of ACAAN, you can ask a spectator to name any card and then any number. Let’s say that they name the 3 of Spades, which is the 21st card in the Mnemonica stack, and then they name the number 40.
You will then need to do math in order to figure out which card you need to cut to the top of the deck, in order to place the deck in such a position, that when 40 cards are counted down, the card at the 40th position will now be the 3 of Spades. (See how this can get a little difficult?)
In this case, you will need an extra 19 cards on top of the stack, since the 3 of Spades is currently in the 21st position. These 19 cards will be counted off first, then the next 21 cards, leaving the 3 of Spades in the 40th position.
The way to figure out which card you need to have on top of the deck in the Mnemonica stack is to first subtract 21 from 40 so that we know we need 19 extra cards on top. Then, we have to subtract 19 from 53, which gives us 34.
This tells us we need to secretly cut the 34th card in the stack to the top of the deck. Once we do that, then the 40th card in the deck will be the 3 of Spades.
But just think about this now. That’s a lot of math to do in your head on the fly while you are performing.
And then, you have to still figure out how to get the card to the top of the deck that you need on top. (That could involve pinky counting and doing a good classic pass, all of which will not be easy to do while the spectator is watching you. Here’s a video that shows some of my methods for getting a certain card to the top with a memorized deck)
So quickly you can see why this becomes such a difficult trick to perform (I offer my alternate and easier method later).
You could potentially get lucky, as I have before, and have the spectator either correctly name the right number that the card should be at (although that will statistically only happen 1 out of 52 times!) or you could have them name a number that is close to the number that the card actually is at.
In that case, it is much easier to move a couple of cards, either from the top to the bottom of the deck or from the bottom to the top of the deck (depending on what’s needed). So basically, when you perform the trick, you could either have a really hard trick to perform, or a much easier trick to perform! (But it all depends on what the spectator names)
I have a method I came up with which will basically force the number. By doing this, you will not have to do any math in your head, or try to perform any complicated sleight-of-hand card moves like pinky counts and passes in order to perform the trick!
All you will have to know in this case is just the Mnemonica or Aronson stack by memory (every card and their locations) and then you can perform the trick from there.
Basically, you would have the spectator name any card they want. You would then just need to force the number that is the same number that card is at in the stack you are using!
I have a couple of methods that I outline in How To Force Almost Any Number For Magic. My favorite for this trick would probably be the watch force that is taught.