Teenage Dream aka The SSP


My friend Justin is at my apartment for the first time. He’s checking out my playing card collection and asking the good, standard questions you should ask when looking at anyone’s collection of anything.

“What’s your favorite one?”

“What’s the rarest one?”

“What’s the most you paid for one?”

“Which was the first one you obtained?”

“The first one?” I say, “Oh, I don’t keep it out here. It’s not really in very good condition like these other decks. Actually, there’s something I’d like to try with you and that deck. I’m glad you brought it up. Hold on, I’ll get it.”

I come back a minute later with an old, bridge sized deck. The cards are kind of warped. There is no case. They’re just held together with a rubber band.

I take off the band and shuffle up the cards and ask him to sit on the floor with me.

“I found this deck years ago when I was a teenager, in the woods near my house. It was near an empty case of beer. There were probably some older teens playing some sort of game in the woods, I guess, and they just left it behind. But I found it and it immediately became my favorite deck.”

“I don’t want to look at the cards just yet. Instead I want you to just take the cards and deal them into two relatively equal piles, just by instinct. Not just back and forth, but in a random way. Some here and some here.”

I finish shuffling and give him the deck. He deals the cards into two piles at random. There are no breaks in this procedure.

When he’s done I say, “Let’s see if this worked.” I start turning the cards over from top of each pile simultaneously into a new face up pile. As I turn over the first cards, he realizes that this is a deck of nudie playing cards.


I continue to turn over cards into a pile.

“Oh my god, that’s crazy. I thought maybe you’d be able to do it, but it still seemed unlikely.”

He’s wondering what the heck I’m talking about.

“You don’t see it?” I ask. I pause the dealing and spread the face up piles to give him a closer look. “Take a look… I think you’re perfect so far,” I say as I peruse through the cards.

The rest of the cards are turned face up and spread as well.

“That is unbelievable,” I say. Justin looks at me dumbly. “You did it!” I say. He’s still confused.

“You separated all my favorite cards,” I gesture to one pile. “From my least favorite,” I gesture to the other. “That’s really amazing.”

His face is asking if this is a joke. If it is, it’s not really that funny. Usually I have a better payoff for jokes than this.

“I’m serious,” I say. “Hold on.” I get up and go to the kitchen for a second and come back with a small black object. It’s not immediately clear what it is.

“You did it,” I say. “You found all my favorite cards. These are my favorites,” I say, pointing to one of the piles. “I’ll prove it to you.”

I take the item in my hand and point it at the pile.

It’s a flashlight.

A blacklight/UV flashlight.

I turn it on and my “favorite” cards glow with the unmistakable splatter of jiz-stains gone by. The other pile is completely clean.



Okay, first, while this is my presentation and handling, the idea for the routine goes to friend-of-the-site, Jon Shaw. Also, the real name of this trick isn’t Teenage Dream. I just didn’t want to give too much away at the start of the effect. In recognition of Jon Shaw’s inspiration and concept behind this trick, the real name is:

The Shaw Skank Prediction

Andy, just because a woman posed for a nudie deck of cards, that doesn’t make her a skank.

Beat it, dude. I'm trying to have fun here.

And it’s not quite a prediction it’s more of—

Fuck off, man! It’s a grade-A pun. Leave me alone.

You can probably put the pieces together in how to construct and routine the effect, but let me give you my experience.

Constructing the Deck

Get a nudie deck of cards.

Get some UV ink. (That’s the one I used, but there could be better options.)

Get a small blacklight flashlight.

Shuffle up the deck and deal out 26 random cards.

Mark the back of those 26 cards in some manner (filling in a circle, or crossing out a line or something.

Lay out those 26 cards face up on a towel or newspaper or something.

Let the UV ink drip over the cards. Try not to get the cards too wet, but make sure there’s some ink on all 26 cards. Then let it dry over the course of a couple hours.

Couldn’t I actually just jerk off on the cards?

Hmm… fair question. Maybe? But your friends are going to be handling these cards. Don’t be a scumbag.

Now, contrary to my hope, the UV ink does not dry completely clear. The problem is, I think, that it’s designed to soak into something like skin or paper, and the plastic coated cards aren’t an ideal substrate for the ink.

There may be a different sort of ink that disappears more, or a different sort of nudie deck that absorbs the ink more, I don’t know. You can figure that out if you want. In an ideal world someone would print the cards with the UV ink within the cards, so it would be genuinely invisible. But that seems like an expensive proposition.

So I went the opposite direction. Instead of trying to make the jiz cards seem as perfect as possible, I made the other half of the deck equally jacked up. I sprinkled water on it, scuffed up the cards, and just generally messed them up so all the cards—whether they glowed or not—would feel weird. Then I made up the story that this was a deck I found in the woods many years ago, and that accounts for them being spotty and wavy and imperfect.


You can use any OOTW handling you like. I use the one that follows because it feels completely straightforward and it takes advantage of the fact that it’s not clear what’s happening even after the cards are being turned face up.

So your deck is separated into glow and no-glow cards. Give the deck some red/black (Ireland) shuffles. This keeps the halves separated, but it looks like a real shuffle because it is a real shuffle.

Give the deck to the person to deal into two piles.

Count one of the piles “to see if they’re even.” In actuality, by counting that pile you’re reversing the cards.

If the piles aren’t even, have the person slide out enough cards from anywhere in the large pile so that it will now have 26 cards. Replace those cards into the smaller pile (so that pile will now have 26 cards too). You will know if the cards are glow or non-glow cards because they’re marked. This will tell you if you should replace them in the top or bottom half of the smaller pile.

Here is the switch I use. I’ve used it in other OOTW variations where it’s not immediately apparent anything has happened. It’s not a slick or clean looking switch by any means, and wouldn’t work in a normal OOTW context.

You’re flipping the cards into a face up pile in front of the face down piles you’re pulling from. At some point the markings will switch, indicating you can’t flip anymore. It’s at this point I pause and I’m like, “Do you see what’s going on? Take a look.” All attention is on the face-up cards. I set the two face down piles aside, so I can clear the space in front of me so I can pull the face up piles inward. Then I finger through the face-up cards for a minute, like I’m just checking on how things are going.

Then when I take back the face-down piles, I just put them back behind the opposite piles.

Here’s a sped-up version…


There’s not really intended to be a “secret” switch here. What I mean is there’s not a “move” going on. You’re just taking advantage of the fact they don’t know they need to be concerned about which cards are coming from which pile. You can certainly do a more invisible switch if you feel it’s necessary. I don’t feel like it’s necessary because A) the focus is on the face-up cards B) for all they know we might be done with the face-down piles at that point, they don’t know they’re coming back in play. When you’re turning over all red and all black cards, as in a typical OOTW, then it becomes clear where things are going and it makes sense you might need to concentrate on what happens with those piles. But when you’re just turning over seemingly random cards, there isn’t the same feeling that they need to focus on what cards are coming from where. But again, feel free to go with something slicker if you disagree.

And there you have it. If you attempt to construct the deck, let me know if you have better luck with the application of a different sort of ink.

Thanks again to Jon Shaw.

I’m off next week, I’l see you when I return on the 22nd.