Exciting and physical card game for two players, also known as 52 pickup. Although this game is very popular, especially amongst younger folk, its appeal is limited by the fact that the winner is predetermined before dealing commences. The gameplay itself is normally completed in less than a minute, although the post-game violence may continue for a much longer period.

The Dealer: The role of the dealer is very important, and is thus normally assumed by a seasoned veteran of the game. It is the dealer's responsibility to ensure that the rules of the game are properly understood by his playing partner, whom we shall term "The Picker".
The Picker: In one's first game of 52 card pickup, one almost always assumes the role of picker, at least in the first round. The picker is the first to play after the cards have been dealt.

Traditionally, the game commences with an invitation by the dealer in the form, "Do you want a game of 52 card pickup?" Should the picker answer in the affirmative, the game commences, and the dealer is immediately declared the winner. This fact is not immediately communicated to the picker, however, and the dealer proceeds to distribute the cards. One hand of 52 cards is dealt, although it is not considered illegal to also deal the jokers and rules of bridge cards. The cards should be dealt not onto the playing surface (such as a card table), but onto the floor of the room in which the game is being held. Also, rather than being deployed in a neat pack, the cards should be flung randomly into various corners of the room.

Once the cards have been dealt (and only then) the dealer should patiently explain the rules to the picker. The dealer is free to choose any form of words for this task, but will generally use something along the lines of "There's 52 cards: pick 'em up!" It is usually at this point that the picker realises that he/she has lost the hand, although in some cases the picker may proceed to gather together all of the cards before this realisation dawns. A particularly poor player will have to be explicitly told by the dealer that he or she has lost, after gathering all of the cards into a neat pile. This is the worst possible result from the picker's point of view, and represents a significant victory for the dealer.

At this stage, gameplay proper is said to have ended, and the players move immediately to the post-game beating stage, wherein the dealer's delight at winning is tempered by his/her discomfort at having the picker's fists repeatedly applied to his/her head.

I have always been interested in card magic and close up magic in general. One day when I was 10 or 12 I decided to show off my new practiced skills on some cousins of mine.

After talking my spiel and going through the motions I quickly realized that I had truly lost the trick. I don't know what exactly happened, but in the midst of my magic I said "52 pickup!" and threw all the cards into the air.

Moments later the cards fell to earth and landed almost uniformaly across the ground facing down. My cousins looked at me curiously. I spun around, stopped and picked up a card at random. Then spinning back around I said this is your card! They were both shocked as I had found the card.

Ahhh. That was a good day.

I used to do this. I admit sometimes I still do this, not that often, just sometimes when I'm babysitting and I want to keep the kids busy so I can go watch TV and eat all the food in their fridge.

There's a problem with this game, however. Often an insightful and inquisitive little fellow will ask you, "how do you play?" I don't take credit for the answer to this question, it's something that's always been customary where I grew up as a part of 52 card pickup, and it does enhance the game somewhat.

Kids like it, too. So here are the basic rules...

You hold up the entire deck of cards, with the front (the side with the numbers) facing the kid or kids, and you say, "if you see a black card, you say water. If you see a red card, you say fire." Kids love this kind of thing, it reminds them of Pokemon.

The fun part comes when they see a red card and declare, "Fire," in all their childish pride. Here's where you can say "Fire? Okay" and fold the cards back with your fingers in a way that flicks them in every direction, desirably in the direction of the child or children playing the game. You don't really have to say that, I think it's just a way to clarify the pun to younger generations of children.

That's the extended version of 52 card pickup, as I've always seen it played... maybe it's a regional variation, but I prefer the element of surprise and the way it anticipates any inquiry into the way of playing the game. Plus it has the nice effect of building up a child's enthusiasm and then ending up being a chore for them.

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