Math has a lot in common with sorcery: Using vast sources of ancient knowledge passed from generation to generation, it helps us compel the forces of nature to do our bidding just by scrawling out arcane diagrams and incomprehensible symbols on a whiteboard. Also, both will guarantee that you won't get a second date if you spend the first one talking about them.

While only the highest Numerati may understand the spellcraft that makes our modern wonders possible, even a Level 1 Math Wizard wielding basic fourth grade arithmetic can pull off seemingly impossible feats. Here are a few easy but impressive tricks that you can use to intimidate your friends and amaze your enemies.

5

Perfectly Sort Coins Without Looking at Them

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The Magic:

Let's start with a trick a moron could do. You can do it with coins, or playing cards, or anything with two marked sides. Do it with dollar bills and impress a stripper, whatever.

Let's say we're using a handful of coins. First you close your eyes (or get blindfolded) and tell your spectators to shake up the coins and throw them on the table. All you need is one piece of information: how many of the coins are facing heads-up.

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For your spectators' sake, start with a small pile.

Then, without ever peeking at the coins, you sort them into two piles, blindly flipping and shuffling them as if your hands were being guided by the spirit world. You magically wind up with the exact same number of heads in each pile. Every time.

The Math:

Let's say your spectators tell you that there are six heads-up coins in the pile. All you need to do is grab that number of coins and flip them. Just any six random coins. Take the ones you flipped and move them to their own pile, which we'll call Pile #1. The remaining coins are Pile #2. Both piles will contain the same number of heads.

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