The Twelve-Card Problem by Scott Baird

UPDATE: You can now find this listed for purchase from Vanishing Inc Magic HERE.

This 45-page ebook is now available from!


After explaining his effect 3H in his Ebook More Plots and Methods (2021, p.25), Michal Kociołek writes:

Twelve-card problem

Here’s a little dare. I invite you, the reader, to solve this little card “problem”:

Perform this trick, but just with twelve cards. Once you have a method, please reach out to me as I’m very curious about your approach (unless you’re reading this in 2077, then I’m definitely dead so don’t bother).

As it’s only 2022, I reached out to Michal and shared Seriate Twelve as my solution to his problem. While it does deviate in effect slightly to 3H, I feel that it’s a successful solution. I’ve since come up with multiple variations for the performance of this routine, which I am sharing in my Ebook. 3 Hours or Less is probably the closest version to 3H and the original The Three Hours routine.

3H was based on The Three Hours, from Mnemonica (2004, p.65). In this routine, three spectators each mentally select a card, and the magician divines the selections, making statements about the characteristics of the cards without ever making an incorrect statement. It was a stack-dependent effect that involved what Simon Aronson coined as “No-Nos Fishing”. 3H abandoned the use of a memorized deck in favour of a quick set-up from a shuffled deck in use.

My solutions to this problem often put the cards in the complete control of the spectators from the start. In many of the routines in this book, the spectators select the packets of cards that they will choose their selections from themselves! Perhaps the greatest change I made to the effect is that the deck can be borrowed, and doesn’t need to be complete. There is usually little to no setup, depending on the variation you’re doing.As a trade-off, however, in most of my solutions to this problem I have reduced the number of cards that each spectator can choose from. This means that there is less of a chance that they’ll think of the wrong card or position by mistake. These routines have the feel of The Three Hours, but are closer in appearance to the classic (but confusingly mis-named) Princess Card Trick.

The full contents of the ebook include:

Seriate Twelve - An impromptu three-selection mindreading effect.

Seriate In Sync - A variation of Seriate Twelve, giving the spectators more freedom of choice.

Seriate Simplified - A handling variation of Seriate Twelve, simplifying the shuffle and the final sequence.

Seriate Stack - A unique handling of Seriate Twelve that sacrifices a completely free choice in favour of an improved query phase.

Seriate 52 - A full deck approach to Seriate Stack.

Seriate In Mind - The approach to Seriate Stack is used in conjunction with the one-ahead principle and a full deck. A three-card revelation with no clocking!

Four Card Symphony - A four-spectator card revelation based on Simon Aronson’s Four Part Harmony. An easy to do, baffling four-card divination.

Indexed Possibilities - One card (or more) is remembered from a fan of twelve, and divined despite the spectator shuffling and cutting the deck themselves.

3 Hours or Less - The Three Hours, turned inside out and upside down. Uses twelve cards.

Stebbins Twelve - Seriate Twelve, but the performer never appears to see the face of a single card, and yet names all three selected cards—and the secret number!

The material is within the reach of the average card magician, and even the sub-par mentalist. Pick up your copy today and learn some killer mental card magic!