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Wayne Kawamoto

"Cover the Spot" by Ian Kendall

By February 6, 2013

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Almost all of us are familiar with scams: three card monte, the shell game and endless chain. But thanks to Ian Kendall, here's another one. It's called "Cover the Spot." And with Kendall's kit, which is named after the scam, you'll have instructions as well as props to learn, practice and perform the scam.

Interestingly, and unlike other scams, "cover the spot" requires no sleight of hand. It's a mathematical improbability that asks spectators to solve a puzzle. In the game, spectators are given five "spots," which are solid circles, and are invited to drop and cover a larger spot so nothing from the larger spot shows through. It looks easy but is far harder than it looks.

According to Kendall, "cover the spot" has been played at carnivals and midways all over the world and thousands have tried to win valuable prizes by covering a red spot with the smaller five white discs. On the accompanying DVD, Kendall teaches you how to "cover the spot." And even when you know the secret, it's not a sure thing. Being consistent takes practice and every "toss" is crucial.

The kit comes with five high-quality discs that should last a long time, if not for however long you want to practice and perform with them. The accompanying DVD offers adequate video and brief instructions. I would have liked to see a suggested routine to involve and work with spectators, but there's enough here to get started. The considerable practice is up to you.

(I played around with this at my restaurant. I simply brought out the props, explained the object of the game and let my patrons experiment with them. They had fun trying and when they gave up, I covered the spot. However, I missed at times. On the smooth tables at my restaurant, the discs tended to slide a bit after landing which caused problems.)

More Reading:
Review: An Introduction to the Shell Game: Volume 1
Review of Red Herring
Review of "The Art of Presenting Magic to Children" by Danny Orleans
Review of Variance by Kevin Schaller


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