I love card tricks. Watching them is great…but also doing them. I know about 10 - 15 really good card tricks. I’m not talking about the kind that a kid comes up and shows you and that, most of the time, is glaringly obvious how it’s done but you don’t want to hurt the kid’s feelings so you act all surprised. I’m talking about tricks that would probably impress huge crowds and make a few amazed.
So this topic is about card tricks…mostly, do you know any card tricks? What is the illusion/trick part, if so? What’s your favorite?
I have one that is sort of my “grand finale” trick. In it, I put a black suited and a red suited card down and then hand the deck over to a person, who then puts the cards down (face down) until the whole deck is either under the black card or the red one. The person is supposed to “feel” and guess if the card they’re putting down is a red one or black one and then, when they’re done…I gather the two piles up nicely…and flip them over…
…and it turns out every one they put under the red card IS red and every card they put under the black one IS black. It really makes people gasp.
I’m not brilliant, but about 80% of the time I can force a card on someone, especially if they’re unsuspecting (goes down to about 30% if they are).
Once this is done then it’s just a choice of how to do the ‘reveal’: drop the pack so the card lands face up, throw the pack against a window so that the card remains sticking to it etc. etc.
My favourite is to put 4 cards face down in front of the other person. The chosen card goes in the middle on the person’s right. I then get the person to point to any card they like. Even randomly they are going to point to their card either first or last (either works for me) 50% of time. However, for some psychological reason, the odds are much better than this, and they tend to go for their card as their first or last choice about 75% of the time. The 25% time they don’t can be joked around and they’ll still be impressed that you found their card at all. The 75% of times it works really blows people away.
So how do you do this?
My card trick (no preparation needed):
Take a pack of cards and show them face-up, saying “this is a normal pack of cards”.
(Memorise the bottom card.)
Fan the cards out face-down and invite the punter to take one and remember it.
(Put the pack down on a table.)
Get the punter to put their card on the top of the pack and then cut the pack and complete the cut. Tell them “Your card is buried deep within the pack”.
Pick up the pack and either:
a) riffle through the deck until you see the original bottom card, when their card will be the one in front of it.
Now you know the card, tell them you will read their mind and waffle on about “I see a …black card … your card is black…” etc
b) deal the cards upwards at high speed. Note when the bottom card appears, when their card will be the one in front of it. Keep dealing, then say “I know your card!” and reach back for it.
I know 3 tricks that I can pull out pretty consistently… one of them ends like this. If you have the right crowd and play it up properly, appearing properly inept- you can win some cash by betting your target the next card you turn over will be theirs. Actively hold out the next card in the deck so they think that is the card you will turn over… appear slightly lost, maybe do a little counting so it appears you’ve maybe lost “count” with your trick somehow.
The actual trick is pretty basic… you also need to have a look at the bottom card. Hold the deck with your thumb on the bottom and your other four fingers on top. (Use your other hand to support the deck on the sides.) Use your index and middle fingers to start pulling cards slowly backwards asking your target to tell you when to stop. When they say stop, grip with your thumb to pull the bottom card, so as you split the deck the bottom card will be the card they see as “their” card. It takes a little bit of practice to do it smoothly, but not nearly as much as most good card tricks.
My other two tricks 1 is pretty dumb, but the other is really good- although it does require a little setup. Not good for repetition, but nobody ever knows how it’s done.
My wife’s step-dad was a professional magician for a period in his youth. He knows some awesome card tricks. He’s shown me a few, but they are hard to pull off without a lot of practice. Of course, the problem now is that I have a working knowledge of how these things work- and everytime I see a card trick I can spot the trick pretty easily now.
You might know, or guess, how the trick is done, but if you “spot” the trick, ie see the manipulation, then you’re watching a bad magician.
ETA Take ‘forcing’ a card. I can do this quite often (see above). But, I’ve also had it done on me by serious magicians. I know what they’re doing, and I know the basics of how they do it. However, I can resist as much as I like, but short of running away I’m still going to take the exact card out of the 52 that he/she wants me to. It’s actually a joy to watch, and is the reason that knowing how it’s done doesn’t take the magic away.
Okay, follow these parts step by step. I’ll try to be as detailed as possible.
First, you want to set up the deck beforehand…this means that you cannot let the person inspect the deck or shuffle them, but that doesn’t really matter as–as the trick goes along–they should be more than understanding that they’re “mixing” the cards up by placing them in either of the two piles. You want to stress, throughout the trick, that they have their own free choice where to put the cards.
Anyway, you start out by putting the deck in this order:
24 Red cards followed by 25 black followed by 2 Reds followed by 1 Black.
You start out with the cards face up so they can see the bottom card (which should be black, see above) and go on about how each deck of cards is composed of two colors: Red and Black (or, as I like doing, asking them what the two colors are). Then you go on about how, when you’re looking at the cards, it’s very easy to put them in order.
As you say this, put the bottom black card down on the table (face up) and say “this is black” then put the next card (the red one; second from the bottom) down next to it “this is red” then the next red card “this is red” and then the next black card “this is black”.
After they get the idea, pick up a black one and put it back into the deck SOMEWHERE IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE DECK. And then pick up a red one and put it back into the deck SOMEWHERE IN THE TOP HALF OF THE DECK. You should transpose more talking here like “but that’s too easy…what I want you to do is to put them in reds and blacks…without looking at them”
Turn the cards over and hand them the whole pile. At this point you should have a red card and a black card–both face up–on the table and have just handed them a deck that is 25 red cards followed by 25 blacks. Tell them to start at the top of the deck and that if they “feel/think” a card is red, to put it on the red card and if they “feel/think” a card is black, to put it on the black card…but not DIRECTLY on top, like a pile; more like a row (like the cards look in solitare). Tell them to start from the top and put them down ONE BY ONE, FACEDOWN in either row. Stress that the choice is completely up to them where to put a card.
At this point they should start putting down the cards, facedown, one by one…they’ll probably mix them up pretty well. Meanwhile…AS SOON AS THEY PUT DOWN THE FIRST CARD, START COUNTING. Count in your head until they hit card TWENTY FOUR and then stop them and take the deck away from them. Transpose “you’re doing great” and then say you’re going to now try to mix their signals.
In your hand, the deck should now have 1 red card (on the top) and the rest black. Take the red card out and put it on the table on TOP of the last facedown card that was placed in the red row. Then “look” for a black card in the deck and put one down on the last facedown card that was placed in the black row. Tell the person that the directions are still the same…just that you wanted to switch it up some. Hand them the deck again (which at this point will be nothing but black cards) and tell them to finish out the deck. Personally, here I like to also add “Oh, and if you want to shuffle them just so you know it’s not a stacked deck, feel free.” At this point it doesn’t matter since they’re all blacks anyway.
Let them put all the cards out onto the two new template cards. By this time you should have two rows of cards…both starting out with a red and black template card and both having a red and black template card in the middle of the rows (and switched by color). ONE of these rows (the one with the red at the top of the row and the black in the middle) will already be COMPLETELY RIGHT (I.E. all reds under the red and all blacks under the black). The other one will be the exact opposite (I.E. all reds under the black and all blacks under the red). It is up to you to somehow switch these.
What I like doing is tidying up the first pile (the one that’s already right) by straightening up the two piles by picking them up with both of my hands and then putting them down (in the same places you took them from) and then doing the same with the “wrong” pile and, while I’m talking, subtly put them back down in the opposite spots I took them from. With practice and skill, you can make it so the person doesn’t notice. Of the 50 or so times I’ve done this trick I’ve only had two or three ever call me out on it–most never seem to catch it.
After switching the two “wrong” piles, everything will now be PERFECT. You should then transpose how “if all of these are black and all of these are black (meaning the two piles) then let’s put them together” and doing the same with the reds…so now you have two piles along with the four template cards. Add them all together with their piles and add whatever dramatic flair you want here…and then pick up the red (or black) pile and rifle through it…showing them they are, indeed, all black…and then the reds are, indeed, all red.
The look on their faces is usually SO worth it. I’ve had mostly HUGE SHOCK and a gasp.
Anyway, I hope these steps where clear. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.
Sorry, I meant red when I said black and meant black when I said red in STEP NUMBER FIVE above.
The changes are marked in BOLD blow:
In your hand, the deck should now have 1 red card (on the top) and the rest black. Take the red card out and put it on the table on TOP of the last facedown card that was placed in the “BLACK” row. Then “look” for a black card in the deck and put one down on the last facedown card that was placed in the “RED” row. Tell the person that the directions are still the same…just that you wanted to switch it up some. Hand them the deck again (which at this point will be nothing but black cards) and tell them to finish out the deck. Personally, here I like to also add “Oh, and if you want to shuffle them just so you know it’s not a stacked deck, feel free.” At this point it doesn’t matter since they’re all blacks anyway.
I have an old one that is pretty neat, but probably falls under the “little kid” category. Take 21 cards, and lay them face up in rows, but making three solitaire like columns. Have the person pick which column their card is in, then pick up all three columns, seemingly randomly, but putting their column in the middle. Then, lay them all back down in rows, again making three columns. After three iterations, their card will be the one in the exact middle. Once you know which one it is, you can finish the trick however you’d like.
My favorite trick is this (and it’s one I do with my class a few times during the year):
Explain that you’re going to play a game of eliminations with the audience. For example, you’re going to eliminate the face cards, leaving the cards Ace-10. Now ask someone to choose: odd or even?
Once you’re on the odd cards, you eliminate the ace, leaving 3,5,7,9. Ask a difference audience member which one they’d like to pick.
Continue in this fashion until the 7 is chosen. Ask another audience member which seven they’d like, then review with them that they chose this card, there was no way you could have chosen it; at that point, ask someone to pick up a deck of cards, and dramatically reveal that the card the audience chose has been set aside in a special manner.
It’s an easy force (and the only one I know), but folks don’t seem to notice. When given the choice to pick odd or even, if they pick odd, you go straight into the eliminating-the-ace bit; otherwise, you say, “Great, you chose even, so we eliminate the evens, leaving us the odd numbers. I’ll eliminate the ace…” and so on.
If they choose 7 on the next step, you’re good to go. If they don’t, you say, “Excellent, you’ve chosen 5 (or 3 or 9), so we’ll eliminate that, leaving us with 3,7, and 9 (or whatever). I’ll get rid of the 9, bringing us to the final choice, 3 or 7. Which do you choose?” Of course, if they choose the 3, they’re choosing an elimination; if they choose the 7, you move on.
Beforehand, you’ve set up the deck to provide the following flourishes. If they choose the 7 of clubs, you tell them to turn their fist into a club and to pound the deck, and that’ll pull the 7 of clubs to the top. Sure enough, they turn over the top card to find the 7 of clubs. If they choose 7 of spades, tell them that spades dig deep, and ask them to check out the bottom card on the deck–which is the 7 of spades. If they choose diamonds, tell them to fan out the cards looking for a diamond in the rough; the 7 diamonds is the only card in the deck turned face-up. And if they choose hearts, explain that you keep this card close to your heart, pulling it out of your shirt picket.
This is another of mine and it’s good to see others know of it. I’ve been doing this one for a long time (one of my oldest) and I’ve found that using the word “choose” gets me into trouble sometimes.
First off, not a whole lot figure out how this one is done, but those very rare few who have have all caught me whenever I’ve used the word “choose” because SOMETIMES it’s just happened to work out that all those they’ve “chosen” were the ones that we had to go with…so they noticed, near the end, any deviation from the plan (I.E. me taking away the ones they’ve chosen rather than keep them).
So I started saying “name” instead of “choose”. Name one of the suits. Name one of the numbers, etc. Naming just sounds less binding and could go either way, you know? Choose always sounded like they were choosing it cause they liked it or wanted it or what not.
Another favorite of mine is one where you have two or three others around and you lay the cards facedown on the table and fanned out. You then think of a random card (say, the seven of clubs) and ask one of the people to point to which one they think it is.
You pull that one out, look at it and put it face down near you and then ask the second person to point to find a seemingly random card that you just named.
You do this with however many people you have in the group (each time taking the card out and looking at it and putting it down in front of you) and then you take a turn yourself with a random card you have said.
And then, with the three or four cards you now have in front of you, you ask each person what card it was they had to find (you should tell them in the beginning of the trick to remember it). And one by one, as they say what card they had to find…you reveal them from the picked cards in front of you. Every one (including the one you picked).
How it’s done:
Beforehand, you must memorize the place of one card in the deck: The card that YOU will be “finding” at the very end. Let’s say it’s the Ace of Spades.
First, you ask the first person to find a “random” card. Make like you’re thinking of a “random card” and finally settle on the Ace of Spades. Tell them to point to the one they think is this card. They’ll point to one and you pick it up and look at it.
Whatever that card is…that’s the next “random card” the next person has to find. Add dramatic flair and stuff like you’re trying to think of a random card for the next person…and then settle on the card you just saw.
Repeat and repeat again until it’s your turn. The “random card” you have to find should be the one the last person pointed to that you picked up and looked at. Say you’ll find this card, and then pull out the Ace of Spades wherever it was in the deck that you remembered.
You will now have in your hands every card that everyone had to find.
You write the names of two cards on a piece of paper. You keep the paper between you and the person, facedown. You then hand them a deck of cards and tell them to put it behind their back. Tell them to take the second card from the top out of the deck, to flip it over (so it’s upside down) and to put it back somewhere in the middle of the deck. Then take the deck from them again.
Go through the deck in front of them until you come to the reversed card and look at the cards it’s between. Then turn the paper and the cards you had written down beforehand are these cards.
Nice trick, eh? Here’s how it’s done.
Beforehand you want to flip a card over in the middle of the deck and remember what two cards it’s between. These are the two cards you write down on the paper. You also want to flip the second from the top card over in the deck.
Hand the person the deck and tell them to put it behind their back. Tell them to take the TOP card…and then stop yourself and say something like “better yet, let’s go with the second card” (you could dramatize how the top card is usually always used and sometimes fixed and that you want to show it’s not in this case–but that’s up to you) and to take it out, flip it over, and put it back inside the deck somewhere.
Of course, they won’t know that the second card is already flipped over and they’re just putting it back into the deck the right way.
They also shouldn’t ever know/see that the second card is already flipped over because the top card will be covering it.
So when they hand the deck back over to you, the only flipped card in the deck is the one you flipped yourself before the trick began…and between the two cards that you wrote down.
They’ll think this is their card, though, of course…since it’s the only flipped card and they didn’t see the card number anyway.
My favorite trick ever, is almost impossible to duplicate, but I love telling this story anyway!
My wife used to do a ‘trick’ where she would have the person pick a card out of the deck and memorize it, then put it back anywhere in the deck. After shuffling the deck in every way imaginable, she would then say: "Not only has your card risen to the top of the deck… " (here she flips the top card over) “IT’S CHANGED TO THE [insert top card card here]!!!” It’s usually good for a cheap laugh or two. One time she did this, and as she said the “Not only has your card risen to the top of the deck…” she flipped the top card over and the person she’s playing the trick on blurts out “OH MY GOD THAT’S THE MOST AMAZING THING I’VE EVER SEEN!!!” Hell we were ALL amazed at that one.
You’re probably right… Even when the step-dad does this stuff right in front of me- I can’t see it. He is very very good.
I probably should add… I know more than 3 tricks. The 3 I mentioned are just the ones that people are no good at guessing the process. I stopped doing the elimination type tricks because it seemed like everybody was in on that type of force.
And now that I say it- I guess I never really mentioned my other two.
#2: is pretty dumb, but if you do it right people get pretty mystified by it.
You have somebody thumb through a deck, pick out a card. Place the card on top of the deck and the deck in the middle of the table. Take off the top card and place it on the table, put the deck under the table and have the target “pound” their card through the table into the deck below. They pull up the deck and their card is now on top of the under table deck. What’s good is that you can really do this deck only touching the deck one time once the trick is started. They can have complete control, which is all the more amusing when they go to see what the hell the card on the top of the table is. THEY certainly never changed it!!
How it works:
Pretty basic. You need to have a card palmed and casually placed in your right hand. Hand them the deck, have them riffle through it until they find their card. Have them place their card on top of the deck and the deck on the table.
At this point you ask them how they want to pound that card through the table. They can slap it (You slap your right hand onto the deck, releasing your card onto the top.) Chop it (You chop the deck in a karate type motion) or Fist it (You hit the deck with your fist). These motions should all be fairly fluid so as to avoid the deck spilling all over.
At this point, the trick is done. You tell them to place the top card on the table, grab the deck and hold it under the table. Pound it through in their manner of choice, and have them look at the top card from the deck under the table- their card.
The hard part is playing up the “do you want to slap it chop it or pound it” bit. I used to just ask… but it’s more fun to play that up quite a bit. Make up personality traits or whatever for the various choices or whatever you want. Plus, the more you play this up- the shorter their memory gets that you actually did, in fact, touch the deck at one point.
Okay, here’s a two-fer…and both of these are tricks done with two decks. You having one and a participant having one. Both also institute the same strategy as you’ll see.
The first one:
You have a deck and the other person has a deck. You tell them to look at their deck and pick out any card they want. You tell them you will be doing this too. You both find cards that you like (as a choice) and put them on the tops of your respective decks…and then you both cut the decks (putting the bottom half on the top) effectively losing the cards in the middle of them. You then exchange decks and tell them to find the same card in “your” deck while you’ll try to find the one you picked in theirs.
After you both find the cards, you tell them to show theirs…and it’s the exact one that you have in your hand.
How it’s done: Really simple (in fact, you may have figured it out already just reading what the trick IS). Just memorize the bottom card of “their” deck before the trick starts. Then, when they cut the deck, you know the card they had selected is the one that is in front of that card (when you’re looking through their deck, after trading).
Surprisingly, though, not many people realize this or figure it out when you do it on them and most are amazed.
This next one garners a slightly more level of awe, however…
You both have a deck of cards. You ask the person to pick up the top card (of their deck) and name it aloud and you do the same with yours. You both put the cards back on the top and then you tell the story about those two cards…about how they were best friends and went every where together and how, later on in life…one moved away. To signify one moving away, cut your deck (putting the bottom half on the top). Then tell how the other one moved away, too (and have the person cut their deck and do the same). Then explain how, years later, they decided to seek one another out and–upon finding each other–met up in the middle of the participant’s deck. Looking in the middle of their deck, they’ll find their top card and your top card together.
How it’s done: Again, it takes the memorization of the bottom card of your participant’s deck. Then, when you raise your top card and say what it is (you and the person only SAY IT, you don’t SHOW it) all you do is say what the bottom card is of the other person’s deck (and ignore what the top card in your deck really is).
Yeah, my favorite relatively-easy-with-practice force is the riffle force. There’s several demonstrations of it on Youtube. If you do it well, even if you know it’s happening, it’s impossible to see. If you do it sloppily, an unsuspecting person might notice there’s something odd happening, but not quite figure out what you just did.
Anyhow, the reveal is where you could have some fun. My favorite involved getting a duplicate deck and sneaking a card into a person’s coat pocket, in between pages of their book, etc. (putting it into something of theirs.) You then force the duplicate of that card on them. From there, it’s up to your imagination how to get to the reveal. The best is manipulating their chosen card out of the deck, revealing the entire deck, missing their card, and then culminating with them checking their pockets, book, etc.
Done well, it really stuns people.
A simple one I used to do when playing card games is whenever I saw a stack of four aces together (like in, say, rummy) and it was my turn to be dealer, I’d gather up all the cards for shuffling, making sure the top of the deck contained the four aces with any other card on top (i.e., from the top of the deck, your cards are Any-Ace-Ace-Ace-Ace.)
Now you do several false riffle shuffles where all you do is protect the order of the top five cards. Either ask your audience if they want to see a trick, or tell them you just saw this really cool trick. The original patter for this trick is something about a “gambling computer,” but make up your own. Turn to whoever would like to participate, and ask that person to cut the deck to the right (left from their perspective). Tell them to cut the leftmost pile to the left again, and the rightmostt pile to the right. (If you’re paying attention, the rightmost pile from the magician’s perspective still has the aces ordered on top.)
You will now have four stacks of cards. They are numbered 1 through 4 going from left to right, magician’s perspective. Tell them “This is stack 1, stack 2, stack 3, stack 4. Pick up stack one. Now, since it’s stack one, take one card from the top of the stack, and put it on the bottom. Put one card on top of each of the other stacks. Now, pick up stack 2, place TWO cards on the bottom, and one on top of each of the other stacks. Pick up stack three. Place THREE cards on the bottom, and one on top of the other, etc…” So, in other words, when you get to stack 4 (with our dummy card and four aces), that stack will now have four dummy cards followed by four aces. When they pick up the deck, they will take four cards, put them under, and throw one on top of each stack. Ergo, the four stacks are now topped by aces.
Before you reveal the top card of each stack, it’s important to underline what just happened. They saw you shuffle the deck before the trick, they cut the deck three times, and at no time did you influence the location of their cuts, they manipulated the cards, etc. When they agree, ask them to flip over the top card of each stack, to reveal all aces.
For a simple trick, this is surprisingly effective. You won’t believe how many people will just pick up a deck and try the trick for themselves, thinking it’s some kind of “math” trick. I like doing this trick after a game where the aces naturally stack themselves together, because you can arrange the cards very casually and surreptitiously, and if somebody accuses you of stacking the deck, you can retort, where would I have had the time? We just played a hand? Occasionally, when I gather up the cards at the end of the trick, I make sure once again to sweep them up casually in a way where I have the aces together, so if somebody asks to see the trick again, I will protest several times and say magicians don’t repeat their tricks, etc., and eventually relent and do it just once more.
I like the little “flairs” you can work into shows. One of my favorites is a false cut. You hold your deck w/ palm on the bottom, thumb on one side and 4 fingers on the other. With your second hand, pull half the cards off the bottom and pass them over your first hand, placing the cards on the table. Then pass the remaining cards from the first hand to the second hand, which places them on top of table cards. The motion of going in a circle and passing over the left-behind group confuses the fact that they started on the bottom. Then passing from first to second hand for the remaining stack makes it look like they’re “following” the first group.
I had one that I used to like, but it involves a “custom card”.
Basics: take out a card (from the spot you previously placed in the deck, if possible; this makes it more impressive) and place it in full view, where it will remain until the end. Explain that this is your “prediction card.” Tell the person that that card is exactly half of the value of the card he’s going to select; for example, if he picks the ten of diamonds, your prediction card would be the five of diamonds. While you’re explaining, force your card of choice on him by whatever method you choose (I liked the cross-cut force). Ask the person to display the card to you. In my case, the forced card would be the seven of clubs.
Act slightly distressed, because obviously the prediction card you picked can’t have exactly half of that value. Ask the person to look at your prediction card. Lo and behold, it is the (custom-made) “Three and a Half of Clubs.”
Obviously, it can’t be repeated to the same group. Still, it’s fun to toy with expectations.
Simple, easy and as long as you don’t go on too long with it, no one catches on:
How it looks:
The magician holds up a deck of cards. Without looking, he puts them behind his back. Then he brings out the deck and announces the top card. Behind the back again, announces the top card again.
How it works.
When you hold up the deck of cards, their are facing you. You check the card on the bottom. Behind your back, you slip that card to the top of the deck facing the person, announce the name and check on the next card. Behind the back and slip that card to the top.
I also like using the fact that when you ask someone to slap a deck of cards, the card on the bottom remains in your hand. Have someone pick a card and put it on top of the deak. Shuffle it to the bottom. Have the person slap the cards hard until only one is left. It’ll be the selected card.