BET: Win money by dropping a match on a bar or table top.
Begin by removing a paper match from a book of matches and draw the number one on one side of the head of the match and then draw the number two on the other side of the head of the match. Explain that yourself, and whoever will take the bet, will each drop the match five times. Further explain that you each will hold the match at least four inches from the tabletop. Tally the points and subtract the difference. The difference translates into dollars won by the person with the most points.
Give them a chance to practice a little and explain that statistically, some one usually owes the other one a buck or two when it is all over. Obviously, the most someone could win would be $5.00 if they got all two’s and the other person got all one’s, which almost never happens. Volunteer to go first to show them that no trickery is involved and ask someone to keep score.
While taking turns, after each of you drops the match five times, there are three possible outcomes. One is the game ends in a draw where both scores are even. Two is you come out ahead and win a buck or two. Or three you could have fewer points and lose a couple of dollars. If you lose the bet, wager with them for double or nothing that you can drop the same match and have it land on its side! After seeing the match land on the (1 or 2 side) at least ten times most will take this bet.
Ask them, “Do you want me to hold it this high or this high?” as you move the match in the air to various positions about four to twelve inches from the tabletop. This is all just misdirection for what is about to happen. While moving the match to and fro bend the paper match in half to form a V. Your grip on the match will shield the fact that it is bent. Now when you drop the match there is over a 90% chance of it landing on its side! When the match does hit the table on its side they will act like you just slapped their mother.
For more commercial magic and puzzles from Diamond Jim Tyler visit his online shop.