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I have been asked by inexperienced performers to select the one or two card sleights or moves that I consider absolutely essential. Without hesitation, it has to be the Double Lift and controlling a card to the top of the deck.
Controlling a card to the top of the deck may not fall under the category of a 'sleight'; but call it a sleight, a move, a control, or whatever you may... it's essential. I'm not going into detail about
performing this, because there are so many good ways to accomplish it, but I cannot think of anything else you can invest your time and effort into that will produce a greater return.
The Double Lift sets up so many card tricks you cannot be a great magician without mastering it's performance. Fortunately, it's one of the easier sleights to master.
With these two moves, you are set to perform small miracles, creating effects as you go along.