Card Magic Tricks Tips

Read these 17 Card Magic Tricks Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Magic tips and hundreds of other topics.

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This is a nice, self-working card trick I first learned from reading John Scarne's 'Scarne on Card Tricks'.

Spread the deck to show it normal and ask a spectator to thoroughly shuffle it. After everyone is convinced the deck is completely random, take the deck back from the spectator. Tell the spectator that you are going to look through the deck and find your lucky card. Flip through, find one card, and lay it face down on the table. No one see's the value of the card except you...

Lay the deck on the table and ask the spectator to cut the deck into two fairly equal face down halves. Take what was the bottom half of the deck, turn it face up, and lay it in the palm of your hand. Now, take your lucky card and place it face down on top of the face up half. Ask the spectator to pick up the remaining half, flip it face up, and lay it on top of the cards in your palm.

Flip the packet face down. Remind the spectator that they shuffled the deck and that they cut the deck... and all you did was locate your lucky card. Lay the face down pack on the table and ribbon spread the deck to reveal one card face up - your previously chosen lucky card. Remove your lucky card, as well as the card both directly above it and below it.

Tell the spectator that in a perfect world, there is no need for tattletales. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. To prove your point, turn over the cards above and below your lucky card and one will match the value and the other the suit. If your lucky card, for example, was a six of hearts, one of the cards will be a six and the other a heart.

Works every time. How? When you look through the deck to find your lucky card, note the top and bottom card. Pick a 'lucky card' that will match up with these two cards. In the above example, you picked a Six of Hearts because one of the bottom or top cards was a Six and the other a Heart. Naturally, you'll have two choices of cards. In the above example, if the Six was a Club and the Heart a Ten of Hearts, you could have picked a Ten of Clubs as your lucky card and you would still be correct. Remember, when performing self-working card tricks, patter is everything.



The magi hands a deck to a spectator, Carolyn in this case, and ask her to shuffle the deck thoroughly. After Carolyn has shuffled the deck, the magi takes it and tells her he is going to deal cards, face up, onto the table as he also announces the number in the deck at which that card is located. He ask her to visually pick out a card, not telling anyone, and remember both the card and the number at which it's located.

The magi counts.. "one, two, three, four, five...." as he turns cards face up on the table. For the sake of time.. the magi has told Carolyn beforehand that he will probably stop at around twenty, if she would pick out one before he reaches this number. He reminds her that she shuffled the deck, so nothing could be pre-set.

After counting out about twenty cards, the magi stops, ask Carolyn if she has mentally selected a card at a certain number, and scoops up all the cards, keeping them in their original order, turning them face down, and placing them back on top of the deck. Now the deck is back in it's original order.

The magi tells Carolyn he has a little 'searching' to do, puts the deck behind his back and then brings it back out. He has the deck in one hand and two loose cards in the other hand. He tells Carolyn that he thinks one of these two cards will be her chosen card. After dilligent patter, he turns each card over, only to be told that they are not the correct card.

The magi gives Carolyn the deck and ask her to deal cards face down on the table until she get to her selected number. She does. When she turns over the card at the number where her card had been, it's not there...

The magi ask Carolyn her name, she say's 'Carolyn', and he ask her to deal off one card for each letter in her name. When she gets to the seventh card, he stops her, ask her to name her card, and when she turns over the seventh card.. it's a dead-on match.

The secret? When the magi puts the deck behind his back he removes seven cards off the bottom of the deck and puts them on the top. He needs to find out (pre-discover) Carolyn's name from a friend before approaching her, or overhear someone using her name. This is not hard to do in a restaurant setting. He also takes two other odd cards off the bottom of the deck to serve as the 'misses'. Now, the magi knows, before approaching Carolyn, how many letters are in her name and how many cards he needs to remove from the bottom of the deck during the performance.

An effect using this technique was written about by John Scarne and created by Oscar Weigle.


The No-Card, Card Trick

Ask a spectator to chose a card, including the suit. They can choose a card from a deck or simply make up one at random.

Once done, have them assign a numerical value to this card.. ( Ace=1, Jack=11, Queen=12, King=13 ).

You may want to give them a sheet of paper or a calculator for the following:

- Have them double the value of the card.

- Have them add three to the total.

- Have them multiply their total by five.

Now.. for the suit. using the standard 'CHaSeD' suit memory method..

- If the card is a Club, ask them to add one.

- If the card is a Heart, ask them to add two.

- If the card is a Spade, ask them to add three.

- If the card is a Diamond, ask them to add four.

They then tell you their total, and from this total you'll know the chosen card. Really...

All you need to do is subtract 15 from their total. The total can be either two or three digits.

The last figure will give you the suit (Club 1, Hearts 2, Spades 3, Diamonds 4.) and the first figure will give you the value. For example, a Jack of Spades would reveal itself as follows:

- A Jack is 11.

- 11 doubled is 22.

- 22 + 3 = 25

- 25 x 5 = 125

- Add 3 for Spades = 128 (You will be told this number)

- Mentally subtract 15 = 113.

You know 3 represents Spades and 11 represents Jacks. The Jack of Spades !


Blood is Thicker than Water

Here is another Ace assembly that can be accomplished quickly and effectively, and with the right panache, will totally fool your spectator.

All that necessary is a slight bit of deception. Tell your spectator that you need to find the four Aces. Flip through the deck and casually take out the Aces, and two odd cards as well. Hold the Aces and the odd cards in such a way as to be able to fan the cards, showing the four Aces to the spectator, and keeping the two odd cards behind the Aces.

Close up the fan and put the packet face down on top of the deck. The two odd cards, having been behind the Aces, should now be on top of the deck.

You can patter something like this...

"Four brother began a journey from New York. One traveled to Washington DC, where he met a crooked politician who promised him great wealth".

Take the top card (an odd card the spectator assumes is an Ace) and stick it in the deck about a third of the way down.

"One traveled to Las Vegas, where he met a show girl who promised him great affection ".

Take the second odd card, assumed to be an Ace, and stick it in the deck about two thirds of the way down.

"..And the last brother went all the way to La La Land, Los Angeles, where he met an agent who promised to make him a Star."

Take the top card, an Ace, and put it on the bottom of the deck. You can flash it slightly if you want...

"The last brother got car sick before he could cross the Hudson River and decided to stay in New York".

Leave the top card on top of the deck. At this point, you have one Ace on bottom of the deck and three Aces on top.

"Seven days passed". Quickly cut the deck seven times as you count.. "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven".

"Blood is thicker than water.. and nothing.. not fame, or money, or .. uh.. great affection, can keep these brothers apart." Spread the deck face up on the table to show that the Aces have re-united themselves in the deck.

A self working card effect that will impress if done quickly. You can crimp the inner edge of the bottom Ace once it's on the bottom of the deck if you want. If you watch your cuts closely, you can cut immediately above the crimp on the seventh cut and the four Aces will now all be reassembled on top of the deck.


Card In Pocket Miracle

Begin by shuffling the deck, spreading the deck face up, and asking a spectator to pick a card at random. It doesn't matter that you can see what card they picked. Ask the spectator to sign the face of the card. As you hold the deck in one hand, turn the deck face down and ask the spectator to drop the card onto the back of the deck.

Cut the deck several times. Begin to thumb through the deck, faces up, and ask the spectator to point out their signed card when they see it. Continue to thumb through the deck, but the spectator will not find their card. Turn the deck face down, remove a card from your pocket, and drop it face down onto the back of the deck, announcing that it will be easier for the spectator to find their card if they are playing with a full deck. Turn over the top card to reveal it as the spectators card, complete with the signature.

The secret is this... a piece of double-stick tape and a double backed card. Put the double backed card in your pocket. This can be a gaffed card bought from a magic shop or two jokers glued face to face to create a double-backer. Put the small piece of double stick tape ( a type of tape that is sticky on both sides and can be bought at craft stores ), on the back of the top card on the deck. As you shuffle the deck to begin the effect, keep this top card in place. Turn the deck face up and ask the spectator to pick their favorite card. Make sure you either glimpse the card with the double stick tape on it's back or know beforehand the value of the card.

After the spectator has picked and signed the card, have them return it face down to the top of the deck, on top of the card with the piece of double stick tape. Carefully push these two cards together with your thumb to make sure the top card adheres to the card beneath. If they are squared up properly, they will look like one card. Flip the deck face up after cutting the deck several times. Begin to run through the deck, asking the spectator to find their signed card. They won't.

As you run the cards, look for the card with the double stick tape. Of course, it has the spectators card stuck to it's back. I would run the cards from hand to hand, putting the cards underneath one another -until- you run the double card. Stop at this point and make an off-hand comment, then continue running the cards from left hand to right, but placing the cards on top of the cards in the right hand, leaving the double card on the very bottom. Now, after you have run all the cards and showed the spectator that their card is not in the deck, flip the deck face down and the double card is now the top card of the deck.

Review what has happened, remove the double-backed card from your pocket with the comment about playing with a full deck, and drop it on top of the deck. Now, put your right index finger at the upper left corner of the deck and tilt the deck so you can catch a double lift without the spectator knowing. Lift and twist counter-clockwise. This will break the bond between the spectators signed card and the card underneath and allow you to flip the double backer and the signed card as one, revealing that the card you apparently put on the top of the deck was the signed card. You can now hand this card to the spectator and they will see nothing underneath except the back of a double-backed card, expelling any suspicion that you performed a double lift.

How many card tricks should I do?

How Many Card Tricks

There are lots of good card tricks, but some magicians insist on trying to do all of them at once. Three good card tricks at a time are plenty.


The No-Math, Card Math Trick

What you'll need... a deck of cards, a note pad and pen, and two spectators.

Shuffle a deck of cards. Have the spectators shuffle the deck as well. Tell the spectators that you are going to perform a math miracle and you'll need to first remove all the two's from the deck. Look through the deck and remove the four 2's. While looking for the 2's, look at and remember the second and third cards from the bottom.

Divide the deck into two unequal halves. Give a half to each spectator and ask them to count the total number of cards in their stack by dealing them face down onto the table. After they are finished, pick up the former bottom half and casually place it on top of the former top half. You now know the identity of the second and third cards from the top. Remember, the spectators reversed the order of the halves, and you put the bottom half on top of the top half.

Feel free to tell the spectators beforehand that this effect requires you to make frequent calculations. While the spectators are counting their cards you can quietly jot down the value of the two cards second and third from bottom.

Ask the spectators how many cards they had in their stacks and write these numbers on your pad.

Ask one of the spectators to pick up the deck and put the top and bottom cards into the middle of the deck to add additional randomess to the pack.

Ask the spectators their favorite month and day of the year. Write it down in numerical form - or at least pretend to..

Now, have the spectator give the other spectator the top card of the deck and keep the next card on top for themselves. Remember that their order will be reversed from the order they were in when you glimpsed them on the bottom.

Do some imaginary math on your pad, the more writing the better... and then tell each spectator that the math reveals that their selected cards are the ____ of _____ .

If you don't totally trust your memory, simply say " My calculations reveal that one of you has a three of hearts and one a seven of diamonds. Is this correct? "

The more complex you can make it sound, the better. The spectators will not understand how their birthdays can calculate into their chosen cards. Make up something about how Einstein used this effect to fool his friends. This is a nice effect when combined with the proper patter.


Stacking the Aces

This effect has been around for a long time, but if done with the proper patter and pinache, you'll fool your audience every time.

Begin with the four Aces on top of the deck. You can shuffle the deck before beginning the effect as long as you leave the Aces intact. Lay the deck on the table and ask the spectator to cut the deck into two fairly equal piles. Once done, ask him to cut these two piles again... leaving you with four piles on the table.

Keep track of the pile with the four Aces on top.

You will now ask the spectator to perform a series of simple moves. Have him pick up a pack by casually pointing to one other than the stack with the Aces. Ask him to take three cards off the top, put them on the bottom, and then deal a single card onto the top of each of the other stacks.

Repeat this a second time with a second stack, again not using the stack with the Aces. Three on the bottom and then one onto the top of each of the other stacks.

Repeat a third time with the third stack, again leaving the stack with the Aces on the table. At this point, you're ready to allow the spectator to take the fourth stack, the one with the Aces on top, and repeat the same routine a fourth time. The stack in the spectators hand contains three indifferent cards on top, one from each of the other stacks, and then the four Aces. Once the spectator takes the top three cards and places them on bottom, he is ready to add one card to each of the other stacks. What card? one of the Aces, of course.

You are now ready to stop the effect and offer a quick review of the 'random' manner in which everything took place, including the fact that the spectator actually cut all the packs himself. Now it's time to reveal just how -Random- everything actually happened.


Bertram Color Change

The Bertram Color Change, named after the wonderful Ross Bertram, remains one of the most impressive of all color changes. Some card tricks are impressive, others are baffling, and a few are simply startling in their simplicity. Although the BCC (Bertram Color Change) is not a simple effect to master, it is a simple effect to watch, as it appears that you take a card off the top of the deck, pass your finger in front of it, and it changes to an entirely different card.

Spectators are generally amazed by color changes, as it seems so improbable, and the magic actually happens right in front of their eyes. Without going into great detail, I will tell you that if you can perform a double lift and a tenkai palm, then you can perform the BCC.

I have posted a tutorial video in the Bookmarks section of the Magic. Lifetips homepage. Look in the left navigation bar near the bottom of the page. I think you will want to thank me for pointing you toward this wonderful effect.


Face Up, Face Down

Here's an interesting trick that happens in the spectators hands. Begin with two duplicate cards, let's say two Four of Hearts. Before the trick begins, put one of the Fours face up in a face down deck near the bottom. Put the other Four of Hearts, face down, the ninth card down from the top of the face down deck.

Give the deck to a spectator and ask them to count to a table any number of cards between ten and twenty. Once done, ask them how many cards they dealt. Assume they said Fifteen. Ask them to add the two digits together. using Fifteen as an example... Five and One is Six. Now, ask them to sit aside the pack in their hand and take the stack of Fifteen off the table and deal Six cards off the top. Ask them to take the top card off the stack in their hand, memorize it, and put it back on top. Ask them to now gather all the cards into a single stack, face down, and cut the deck a time or two.

Have the spectator slowly turn the deck one half of a turn - from face down to face up. Ask them to turn it a half turn a second time, and then once more. They will now be holding a face up deck. Have the spectator lay the deck on the table and ribbon spread it. One card will be seen to be upside down. After the spectator names his card, you can flip this upside down card to reveal that it is the Four of Hearts.

When the spectator dealt down to the fifteenth card, he added the two digits together. Regardless of whether he dealt to the fifteenth card or any other card between eleven and ninteen, the sum of the two added together will take you back to the ninth card when you pick up the stack of fifteen and count backwards. In our example, one plus five was six. Count off six cards and you will be back to the Four of Hearts you placed at the ninth position before the trick began. If the spectator had selected the thirteenth card - three plus one is four - and deal off four of the thirteen cards and you are again back to the ninth card... the four of hearts. When all the cards are put together right before the ribbon spread, the other four of hearts, the one upside down in the deck, is near the bottom. After a cut or two, the other four of hearts will be the only upside down card when the deck is spread. The spectator will be unable to figure how their card became upside down, as they put it in the deck themselves. As soon as possible after the spectator removes the face down card from the ribbon spread, pick up the face up cards to prevent them from seeing the 'other' four of hearts...


Card to Pocket

The magician has a spectator take the deck and thoroughly shuffle it. He then has the spectator name a number from 1 to 52. When the spectator does so, the magician has him count down to that number in the deck and memorize the card at that position. Without changing the position of the cards, the spectator gives the deck back to the performer.

Just prior to giving the spectator the deck, the magician either palms off the bottom card of the deck -or- removes a card from his pants pocket placed there before the trick began. Once the spectator gives the deck back, the magician quietly puts the palmed card on top of the deck.

He then tells the spectator that he is going to count down to his chosen card. Once the magician counts to the number, he has the spectator take the card and turn it over, only to reveal that it is no longer the selected card... ( The magician has added a card to the top of the deck. The chosen card is the next card down.) While the spectator is mulling the fact that this is not his card, the magician palms the top card into his free hand.

After due patter, the magician reaches up to his shirt (or jacket) pocket with the hand holding the palmed card and 'apparently' pulls the selected card from his pocket.

Many magicians are afraid to palm a card for fear of discovery. There are many things in life worse than geting caught palming a card! This is a nice, straight-forward effect that gives you a chance to palm a card twice. Master your craft.


Only Three

Have three spectators each chose a card at random from a shuffled deck. Ask each to look at their card and memorize it, but not share the value with the other spectators.

Deal a pile of ten cards on the table, Now, deal a pile of fifteen cards to the right of the pile of ten and then another pile of fifteen cards to the right of this one. Lastly, you should have nine cards left in your hand. Drop them as a pack to the far right of the rest of the packs. Deal all cards face down. Ask the first spectator to put their card, face down, on top of the pile of ten. Ask them to cut as many cards as they want from the middle pack of fifteen and place them on top of their chosen card.

Repeat this with the second spectator, asking them to put their card on top of the first pack of fifteen cards you dealt, and then cut as many cards as they want off the other pack of fifteen and place them on top of their selected card. Ask the last spectator to put their card on top of the second pack of fifteen and cut as many cards as they want off the pack of nine and drop them of top of their selected card, just as the other spectators did..

Pick up what remains of the pack of nine and put it on top of the pack next to it. Put this pack on top of the pack next to it and repeat until all the cards are in one stack. Pick up the stack and, holding it face down, casually move the top four cards to the bottom of the deck. Remind the spectators that you had no control over how many cards they cut off the packs.

Now, deal a card face up on the table and another next to it face down. Ask the spectators to call out when they see their card. Continue to deal cards, one face up on the face up pile and another face down on the face down pile. If no one saw their card, (and they shouldn't have) pick up the face up cards and move them to one side. Pick up the face down cards and repeat the same procedure... a face up card and then a face down card. Eventually, you will be left holding only three cards face down, and guess what? They are the three chosen cards. This is self-working, although it doesn't seem quite possible because of the random way the cards were cut by the spectators.


Four Ace Reveal

Revealing the four Aces has always been the mark of a true card sharp. If you could produce the four Aces out of a mixed deck, then you were good... really good. Here is a simple reveal that you can learn in minutes.

Take any deck, yours or your spectators, and remove the Aces. Hand the Aces to your spectator and tell him/her that they are going to do all the hard work. Shuffle the deck thoroughly, and you can fan the deck to show the spectator that they hold the only four Aces.

With the deck laying on the table, ask the spectator to put one Ace on top of the deck. Ask them to put a second Ace on the bottom of the deck. Now, the tricky part...

Reach over and cut the deck into two fairly even stacks, putting the top half just to the left, (your left) of the bottom half. - Pause -. Make eye contact with the spectator and remind them that everything has been super fair to this point. The pause and eye contact are VERY important to the success of this effect, as it gives the spectator a moment to 'forget' which half came from where.

Now, point at the left half, the former top half, and ask the spectator to put the remaining two Aces into the middle of the deck. Put the right half on top of the left half to make it appear that the Aces are really going into the middle. In reality, the left half had an Ace on top, so you had the spectator put two Aces on top of a third Ace. The right half has an Ace on bottom. So when you put this half on top of the left half, you have reunited ALL the Aces.

The spectator can cut the deck a couple of times if they want, as long as it's a table cut and not a fancy multiple cut. The Aces will remain together, regardless. You are now ready to reveal that the Aces have magically reunited themselves in the deck.


One More Great Spelling Trick

Did you read the 'Great Card Spelling Trick' ?... If so, here is yet another great lineup to stump your audience. Instead of stacking 10 cards, from ace to 10, on top of the deck and spelling each card, line up thirteen cards as follows: 3-8-7-A-Q-6-4-2-J-K-10-9-5.

The method of counting is slightly different, but the end result is the same. Using this stack, announce that you are going to count the cards to spell all the values of a deck, starting with the Ace. Now, take the top card and put it on the bottom, spelling 'A'. Take the next card and put it on the bottom, spelling 'C', and the third card and put it on the bottom as well, spelling 'E'. Flip the next card face up... and it will be the Ace. Repeat this method eleven more times and you'll be left holding one last card - the King.


Psychic Jacks

Here is one of my favorite card tricks. It's easy to remember and plays well, particularly with the bonus handling.

The trick looks like this... The magi looks through the deck and removes the two red Jacks. He tells the spectator that these are to be his 'marker cards'. He gives the Jacks to the spectator.

The magi begins to lay cards from the top of the deck face down onto the table. He asks the spectator to say 'stop' at any point. When the spectator says 'stop', the magi asks the spectator to lay one of the Jacks, face up, on top of the last card layed on the table. The Jack should be outjogged so it will be visible through the remainder of the effect.

The magi places the remainder of the cards in his hand onto the stack on the table and picks the entire deck up as one. Again, he deals cards face down onto the table until the spectator says 'stop'. The second Jack is placed on top of this stack, face up, just as he placed the first one. Now, the magi drops the remainder of the deck on top of this stack and again picks up all the cards.

After a little patter, the magi spreads the cards and removes the two face-up Jacks and the two cards ABOVE each of these Jacks. Reminding the spectator that he stopped only where the spectator told him to stop, he then turns over the two face-down cards to reveal that they are the two Black Jacks.

The Secret? Begin the effect with one of the two Black Jacks on the top of the deck and the other on the bottom. That's all you have to do... really. If you follow the handling as I described it above, the effect is self-working. Try it and see.

If you have a deck of blank cards, add the four Jacks to the blank deck and follow the directions. Look through the deck for the two red Jacks, which you've randomly stuck in the deck beforehand. Of course, don't let the spectator see the face of the deck as you look for the Jacks. Once you reveal that the Jacks match, you can spread the deck and show ALL the remaining cards blank.


Easy Card Discovery

Take a pencil and make a slight 'line' down the long side of the deck, not in the middle of the side though. Now, fan the deck and ask a spectator to take a card, any card, remember it, and stick it back in the deck at any point.

While the spectator has the card in his/her hand, turn the deck around so the side with the mark is now on the opposite side, assuming the spectator is going to put the card back in the deck the same way he removed it.

Once pushed back in the deck, the magician can now shuffle the deck thoroughly before revealing the selected card... which should be easily recognized as it's the only card on one side with the pencil mark.


Topsey Turvey Card Trick

Here is a nice trick using the '10 and 20 Force', explained in another tip. Perform the force as detailed and lead the spectator to the card you want to force. They will believe that they chose the card at random, and you are set to perform.

Ask the spectator, once they have the forced card in hand, to place any loose cards on the table back on top of the deck and then place their selected card on top. Nicely square the deck. Ask the spectator to cut the tabled deck two or three times.

Have the spectator pick up the deck, close their eyes, and think intently of their selected card. As they think of their card, have them turn the deck over three times in their hands. Tell them that the turning of the deck has confused their selected card. Ask them to ribbon spread the deck, faces down, and they will find their selected card as the only face up card in the deck. Since the magic happened in their hands, they will be totally fooled.

Oh.. how did the magic actually happen? Get a duplicate of the force card and place it, reversed, in the deck near the bottom before the trick begins. It helps if you use cards that have a white border, like Bicycle brand, as the reversed card should not be noticed. Everything is self-working, yet quite surprising.

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