Most Magicians Don't Know About Low-Odds Convincers

Rory Adams teaches a candy trick.

Magician at desk illustration

In magic, a convincer is any action intended to convince the spectator of something that furthers the method. If you've ever spread a deck of cards face up to show they're all different before letting a spectator choose one, congratulations; you've used a convincer in your magic.

Convincers do not always need to be lies. You might be showing the spectator that they genuinely had a free choice of cards. Sometimes, a convincer will involve its own kind of method in itself. For example, you might want to rattle a cup with a coin inside before vanishing it, and the fake sound of the coin rattling inside acts as a convincer, but that's a trick in and of itself.

You might wave your hand over a floating dollar bill to prove that there are no strings above or below it, and this acts as a great convincer. But to pass a solid ring over the floating bill as a convincer, you'll likely need to rely on an additional method like a gimmicked ring or sleight-of-hand to pass the ring over it.

Successful magicians use different types of convincers, and the more you learn about each type, the easier they are to apply to your magic. Almost every trick can be enhanced with convincers. Some convincers are more enhancing than others – for example, telling a spectator that a card box is empty isn't as convincing as shaking out all of its contents in front of the spectator.

There's a type of convincer in magic called a low-odds convincer, and it's absolutely genius and so satisfying. This form of convincer is left to chance in some ways, which is why it's so fooling. Even so, there's also an element of multiple-outs (another great magic principle), which means the low-odds convincer works every time.

Here's an example of a trick that relies partly on a low-odds convincer. In its simplest form, you can tell each of your friends which candy flavour they are chewing from a randomly selected tube of Mentos that's in a proven mixed-up order:

You're with four friends and open up a multipack of fruit Mentos. There are six individual tubes of the Mentos in the multipack. You ask one of your friends to choose any of the six tubes of Mentos and open it up out of view. Here's the fun part: While you look away, each of your friends will take one of the fruit Mentos, remember the colour, and then place it in their closed mouth, but they should not chew it just yet.

You turn around and pick up one of the remaining five tubes of Mentos. You open it and place the random assortment of coloured Mentos onto the table in a line. There's a pink one, yellow, orange, another two pink, a green and a yellow one.

Finally, you ask your friends to chew on their fruit Mentos.

All you have to do is look them in the eye, and without saying a word, you can place a correctly matching coloured Mento from your packet in front of each of the four friends. Yellow, yellow, pink, orange. It's a perfect match.

That's the trick! Now, let's get into the method and find out exactly why a low-odds convincer is used to enhance this trick.

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