The idea here is that of estimating the depth at which someone returns a noted card in the deck, then having him deal the deck into several piles. After he identifies which pile contains his card, you can narrow the selection to one of a few possibilities and use outs to locate the precise card. This trick was described by Hubert Elliott in The Magazine of Magic, Vol. 4 No. 4, Sep. 1916, p. 50, second method. Elliott's trick requires the deck to be dealt into six piles and used two outs.
Abbott's later marketed “The Last Word 'Certain' Card Trick”, 1934, in which the deck is dealt into four piles, and three outs are required. This trick was shortly thereafter included in Glenn Gravatt's Encyclopedia of Self Working Card Tricks, 1936, p. 16, as “The Card Miracle 'Certain.'” Gravatt mentions a forebear by Tommy Tucker, “The Card Miracle,” in Chas Eastman's Expert Manipulative Magic, 1933, p. 19, which uses a more traditional estimation principle, but not the dealing strategy. Tucker palmed off a six-card range and produced the selection from his pocket. The Tucker and Abbott versions are given in Jean Hugard's Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, 1936, p. 37. T. Nelson Downs's seminal work on estimation in The Art of Magic, 1909, p. 137 (p. 152 in 1921 edition), is also summarized in Hugard's aforementioned encyclopedia, p. 38. The Abbott's version is also included in Fred Braue and Jean Hugard's Expert Card Technique, 1940, p. 403. All this built the basis for Harry Lorayne's “Stop!” in Close-up Card Magic, 1962, p. 64.