Cincinnati Cards!!

I recently ended up with about two dozen decks of bicycle cards that are the old stock of Cincinnati made playing cards! I just started using one of the packs of cards as my “pocket deck” at the fair I’m performing at. This is the deck that’s always in my pocket when I’m around the fair, and if someone recognizes me as a magician, it’s the pack I’ll use to show them an impromptu card trick. It’s not the pack I use when I perform, for that I use the normal bikes that are currently available. I just throw away the deck after each show.

What’s great about these cards old stock cards is that they way they are cut, they faro really easily. Anyone starting out right now that was trying to learn to faro shuffle with the new stock cards is going to have a hell of a time!

There’s a lot of physical differences between the new stock and the old stock. One that just hit me is the finish is a little bit different. I wonder if you put an old stock into a deck of new stock cards if it would work as a slick card?
Or if not a slick card, some other sort of subtle locator?
Unfortunately I don’t have a normal deck with me right now, so I can’t try it out for a few days.

I’m not a “card snob”, however it’s amazing how much easier it is to use a good deck of cards for pretty much any sleight of hand.

Summer Camp Shows…

Recently I did a short run of smaller summer camp shows. These are for kids ages 4 to about 11 and due to the current COVID rules, they happened outdoors. In the past I always did them inside as it eliminates distractions, however I’d rather do the do with the slightly harder conditions than not do the gig right now.

During my first one about halfway through the 40 minute show it started raining! I’d know what to do and was waiting for cues for the people who worked there as to whether I should wrap it up. I got no signal from them, so the plowed through in very light rain for the remaining twenty minutes! They kids seemed to not care.

During these shows I dress casually. The main reason is that when I look like what the younger kids normally see, it’s easier to not have them be scared of me. Another reason is that being out and doing multiple shows in one day will tear up a more formal costume, especially when you don’t have a place to change out of your costume between shows. The final reason is that my character isn’t a magician, but a dad who can do some cool stuff, so it fits.

It’s nice to be back out there making kids laugh!

Out to 3D Print Lunch…

One of the tricks I’ve been doing a lot lately is my “Free Pitcher of Beer” trick that’s based on the out to lunch magic trick principle. I’m packing for a show and realized I didn’t have any thick rubberbands to hold the cards together. I quickly made a 3d model of a business card holder and printed it out!

His holder has a little recess in it to hold the half card. The half card is actually taped in place, so it can’t come out. In the traditional method, friction holds it in place.

We’ll see how well this actually plays out for real people tomorrow!


The other day after the magic garage sale and we went out to jam at a local bar, we were talking about coin tricks. I brought up the Perpetual Motion Coin Myth from Paul Harris’s books. This is a coin flourish where you hold a coin sideways between two other coins and get the center coin to spin.

I’ve never seen or met anyone who could do it, but we started playing with it and now I’ve done it and seen it done!

That got me thinking, the next branch of magic is going to be COINISTRY! That would be fancy flourishes with coins! Start practicing now!

The Moisture Festival Podcast – Scotty and Katrine

This week, the Moisture Festival Podcast hits the road and travels to Berkley California where they are joined by Scotty Meltzer and Katrine Spang-Hanssen of Comedy Industries.

In this episode, Matt and Louie get into the nuts and bolts of comedy and discuss how custom script writing was the tool that would allow Scotty and Katrine to carve out their 30 year career in the entertainment industry, how they select jokes to put in their show, and the best heckler story ever. This is a fun interview we know you will love.

Tarbell System…

My day got exciting, through a unexpected exchange the other day, I ended up with and original Tarbell System (Tarbell Course in Magic)!

This is a first edition (5th printing) of the Tarbell System. The key about how I ended up with this is simply talking to people and being open to the wacky things that they ask!

I’m a HUGE fan of the Tarbell Course, I even had some shirts made a long time ago:

Magic Garage Sale

A couple of days ago I hosted a Magic Garage Sale and it was a hit! The turn out was great and the amount of magic that was re-homed that was staggering!

This is a fun way to build some community within the magic scene. We all hung out for a few hours, and this is a way more intimate thing than a more formal magic swap meet or magic auction.

Then afterwards a few of us had some beers and jammed some magic!

I’m really glad I put this together, it was a lot of fun!

Chit Chat…

When you’re out performing, I think it’s important to talk to people you meet. I’ve met some really cool people over the years, just by chit chatting with them. At a fair a recently I started chatting with the guy selling mystery bags. His name is Gene Haaheim, he’s an old pitch man. He pitched Svengali Decks a long time ago, and also the magic mouse.

We had a great time chatting about some of the older people in magic who used to work the pitch circuit! Gene also did a couple of good card tricks.

Go out and talk to people at your next gig, you’ll be amazed at who you run into!

Working in a gag…

Last week while performing at the fair, I was doing a trick I thought of about six months ago, but do to the pandemic, I didn’t really get a chance to do in person. The trick uses a gag card that I thought of. The gag is you offer them a “free pitcher of beer” but it’s really a “free picture of beer”.

You can read a bit more about the gag at:

There’s really nothing new to the this aside from the gag. It’s the old out to lunch principle. For a very old method, it still works really well and is very deceptive!

I had a blast doing it last week, and look forward to doing it more in the future!


A friend of mine was in Seattle for a gig and we hung out this afternoon. He brought a loteria set from San Antonio with him. I’d never seen this game before, and from what I’ve learned it’s like bingo. You get large cards with multiple images on them and a deck of cards with a single image on each card.

My buddy asked me if there was a trick that could be done with the cards and here’s what I came up with;

I think that the trick could be made easier by simply cutting the deck so it’s a stripper deck and doing a glide to force the large card instead of the drop force. However doing it with ungimmicked props has a lot of advantages, like it being impromptu!