You've all seen that poker-playing uncle of yours do this with a feigned nonchalance that is so damned cool. And if you're like me, you went home and tried to do it yourself only to discover that you don't have enough joints to cut a deck the normal way using only one hand.

What you didn't know is that it's just a simple trick. Once I was shown how, I was able to do it once in a matter of two minutes, and consistently after about a half hour, though it took another hour or so of practice here and there to get the grace that makes this so impressive. So, without further ado, the step-by-step process:

  1. Shape your hand into a U, with your thumb on one side, and the rest of your fingers on the other. Hold the deck lengthwise between your thumb and other fingers at the top of the U. The face of the cards should be pointing towards your palm.
  2. Loosen your thumb's grip on the bottom half of the deck, so that it falls down at an angle. Done right, one edge of the bottom half should be up near the the rest of the deck, and the other (that used to be held by the thumb) should be touching the palm of your hand.
  3. Now use your index finger to push the top edge of the bottom half of the cards back. The bottom edge should be stationary, so that the top pivots around the bottom.
  4. Keep pushing until the top edge hits the thumb. Then keep going a little more, slowly pushing the thumb back, until the bottom half clears the top half completely.
  5. Done right, the top half should now fall onto your index finger, that you used to push everything else back.
  6. Gently lower and retract your index finger, so that the top half now lies on your palm. The bottom half, now unsupported, should fall right on top.

Now you've done this the first time and have decided your hand isn't big enough. You can't push the bottom half back because it's hitting the top half and pushing it out of your hand. Here's where you screwed up:

In step 2, you made the bottom half fall into the wrong spot. You don't want the cards to fall into the corner where your thumb meets your hand. They should go all the way down into the bottom of your palm. Now you've got all the room you need.

That's it. Impress your friends with your card handling prowess. Good luck, and /msg me with any questions.

Noders with bigger hands can move onto the three-way cut once they master the above trick. The adventurous can even attempt a 4-way or 5-way (or n-way cut, assuming you have hands like andre the giant).

  1. Begin in the same starting position described above - Hand in a U, with the cards held sideways & face down. They should be held at the tips of your fingers so there is room for a card to fit on it's side under them.
  2. By loosening your thumb, let a small packet of cards (about 1/3) drop down. They should fall so they sit at the base of the thumb. (Again, exactly as described above, but with slightly less cards).
  3. Push the dropped cards up towards your thumb using your index finger, keeping the bottom edge of the cards at the base of your thumb.
  4. Here's where it gets a litle tricky. You have to push the packet past the edge of the cards, but not let the top cards fall into your palm. Do this by letting them rest on the top of your index finger. This is much easier with an old deck because the cards will be less slippy. Push the (now vertical) packet of cards under the joint of your thumb, then grip the top packet again with the tip of your thumb. You are now in the same starting position described in step 1, except you have a packet of cards held between your palm and thumb joint.
  5. Now drop another 1/3 of the cards onto your palm from the top 2/3. You now have 3 packets of roughly 1/3 each, aranged in a triangular arangement (if looked at side on).
  6. To finish the cut, loosen your grip on the vertical packet (held by your thumb joint) so they fall under the top cards, on top of the packet on your palm. Then loosen your grip on the top packet, allowing it to drop down and complete the cut.

With this cut the top 1/3 remains the top 1/3, so you should follow this with a normal cut or people will think you are cheating them.

To do a 4-way or beyond, repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 before finishing the cut. You are in effect adding small packs of cards to the group under your thumb.

It's also important not to do these tricks too fast. You might think it's impressive, but the audience usually doesn't notice what you did. Doing it slowly and effortlessly is the best way to show off with this sort of thing.

Here is a method of cutting a deck of cards with one hand that involves a nice little flourish--turning the top cut of the deck around your index finger. It's a little trickier than the standard one-handed cut.

All instructions below assume a right-handed dealer with all five fingers.

  1. With your hand palm-up in front of you, hold the deck of cards in your hand, face down, with your thumb at the center of the bottom edge (which should be one of the short edges), your index finger just below the center of the right edge, your middle finger at the top edge, and your ring and pinky on the left edge of the deck. The deck should be in contact with your fingers at about the first joint.
  2. Bring your thumb across to the lower-left corner of the deck. This is a bit of a stretch, but should be doable. It may require you to contort your hand somewhat, but your grip on the deck should not change too much.
  3. With your thumb, grab the corner of the deck along the edge of the cards, about halfway up the deck. Pull the corner of the cards to the right with your thumb. The moving cards will want to break free from the grip of your middle, ring, and pinky fingers. Allow them to do so. As you pull your thumb to the right, the top half of the cards will begin to turn around your index finger.
  4. You will be able to comfortably turn the cards until the top half of the deck is approximately at a 90 degree angle with the bottom half of the deck. At this point you will want to curl your ring and pinky fingers over the bottom cards to improve your grip on these cards. Your thumb continues to move to the right until the two halves of the deck are parallel to each other, i.e., the top half of the deck has made a 180 degree turn around your index finger. The bottom half of the deck is held by your curled up ring and pinky fingers (with some support from your middle finger) and the top half of the deck is held with your index finger on the left edge and your thumb on the right edge.
  5. By pulling your curled pinky down, you can cause the right edge of the bottom cut to be pulled up a little. This should give just enough room to pull your index finger below the bottom cut (bringing the top cut with it). Simultaneously push the bottom cut towards your thumb with your ring and pinky fingers.
  6. Slip your index finger out from between the two halves of the deck and bring it to the top of the re-stacked cards. You can now use all your fingers to square off the deck. Your hand is also now in a good position to perform the one handed cut described in the writeups above.

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