Wild Card…

The Wild Card Kit

One of the ways to create new methods or routines for magic tricks is to take an existing trick and remove what you don’t like about it. We’ll start with a trick that I don’t like, and that’s Peter Kane’s Wild Card. There’s a lot I don’t like, it mostly is how redundant the trick is, and it lacks an ending. It goes, and the ending is all the cards have changed to the same card, but there’s not punctuation on it.

In Jon Racherbaumer‘s book, The Wild Card Kit, there are a couple of interesting premises. More importantly there are a couple of interesting moves and sequences that take the trick past it’s most basic level.

One notable exception is Eric DeCamp’s version of Wild Card called Jokers are Wild Are Wild. In this version the cards values end up being a blackjack hand and for a finish the cards turn into money. This puts a theme on the trick and a finish that punctuates the routine.

So…what am I going to bring Wild Card?

I’m not sure.

What I don’t like about wild card is:

  • How redundant the sequence is
  • How it uses a packet of all the same card
  • How it doesn’t have an ending

The first two things I don’t like are an easy fix, however the third one will take some work. For the first two, I’ll vary the moves a little bit and for the second I can make a packet of the gimmicks that use different cards, not all the same values. However an ending that makes sense might be harder…

Try Another Way

There’s a classic beginner’s card trick where a card is selected and returned to the deck. You then drop the deck onto the table and their card appears on top of the deck. The working is simple, you control the card to the top of the deck, sidejog it and drop the deck onto the … Continue reading “Try Another Way”

There’s a classic beginner’s card trick where a card is selected and returned to the deck. You then drop the deck onto the table and their card appears on top of the deck. The working is simple, you control the card to the top of the deck, sidejog it and drop the deck onto the table from about a foot up. The air hitting the sidejogged card will flip it over as it falls. It’s a great trick.


My problem with the trick is that I’ve never had more than about a 50% success rate with it. I’m not sure what I’m doing right or wrong. The other day I was killing time between shows and figured out a way to get a 100% success rate with the trick.


Here’s what I came up with:


Doing the trick this way is a lot harder, but works every time. What I’m doing is a one handed top palm as the cards are dropped to the table. The palm is something I could already do, so adding it to the trick was no big deal. If I didn’t already do the palm, I probably wouldn’t learn it for this trick…however I would recommend learning that and I consider it something every magician who does card tricks should be able to do.


If you’ve got a trick that doesn’t work (technically) for you, start to explore other ways to do the trick. I’m pretty sure someone has to have come up with my solution to the flip over card trick before, however it solved a problem for me.

Finishing a Book…

After starting to read the book Principia by Harapn Ong about a year ago, I finally finished it. It’s a book that I’d read a bit of it, then put it down and pick it back up a month later. It’s a great book, and there are a couple things in it that I’ve used … Continue reading “Finishing a Book…”

After starting to read the book Principia by Harapn Ong about a year ago, I finally finished it. It’s a book that I’d read a bit of it, then put it down and pick it back up a month later. It’s a great book, and there are a couple things in it that I’ve used throughout the year.

Pricipia by harpan ong

card magic book

Near the end of the book there are a couple of essay’s on the Trick That Cannot Be Explained. These are fantastic! There’s some great theory in them, not just on the card trick, but on tricks using multiple outs.


Also near the end, there’s a trick where the cards get mixed face up and face down. You find their selected card, and no the cards don’t all magically fix themselves. The cards not fixing themselves is what I think makes this trick great, and something that I think is going to go into my impromptu card magic toolbox.

If you do card magic, check out this book!

Broom Balance…

On social media yesterday a hoax about balancing a broom upright went around. Well the hoax was that “because planets were aligned” you could do it, besides the fact that you can do it anytime, you just need to try. If you keep your eye out for trends like this, they are a good way … Continue reading “Broom Balance…”

On social media yesterday a hoax about balancing a broom upright went around. Well the hoax was that “because planets were aligned” you could do it, besides the fact that you can do it anytime, you just need to try. If you keep your eye out for trends like this, they are a good way to pitch yourself to get on the local news or have a picture get shared a lot.


Here’s what I did:

Unfortunately, I was busy most of the day and unable to hustle this picture early in the day. I think that a video of someone doing the trick Balance or Stasis if presented properly would would go viral, or at least get someone some media attention.


Keep an eye out for things that are blowing up on social media and think about what you can do with that premise. Sure it’s probably something that you won’t be doing outside of that particular instance, but it’s a good for creativity and if something goes viral, then it’s good for you!

After The Force…

The other night I finished up reading After The Force by Ron Frost. I think it’s important to keep learning. There are tons of magicians I know that don’t learn magic for fun. They only learn something when they have to, which I think is the wrong approach. I think that magicians need to keep … Continue reading “After The Force…”

The other night I finished up reading After The Force by Ron Frost. I think it’s important to keep learning. There are tons of magicians I know that don’t learn magic for fun. They only learn something when they have to, which I think is the wrong approach. I think that magicians need to keep on top of techniques and tricks.

image from Vanishing Inc

This book’s title is a bit misleading, I expected just endings to card tricks. The first part of the book teaches you how to force cards in a variety of ways. I agree with Ron’s assertion that the Classic Force is the best force. Then he teaches you a lot of tricks that uses forces, but in the context of the whole tricks. It’s the trick start to finish. Not that it’s a bad thing, I just thought it’d be something a bit different.


I’m glad I read the book, and worked through the stuff in it, however I don’t think anything from it is moving into my working set. It’s not that the stuff is bad, it’s just not for my show. There is one move in the book that will move into my “toolbox” or moves that I use when a situation calls for it. The big thing is to keep educating yourself on techniques and grow as a magician.

Finger Placement…

When doing card sleights, the exact placement of your fingers can make the difference between a good and sloppy move. I was working on a pass with a deck of cards and was having trouble with it. A friend gave me some good advice and said I should hold it more towards my finger tips. … Continue reading “Finger Placement…”

When doing card sleights, the exact placement of your fingers can make the difference between a good and sloppy move. I was working on a pass with a deck of cards and was having trouble with it. A friend gave me some good advice and said I should hold it more towards my finger tips. Guess what that worked!


Recently I was learning Aaron Fisher’s One Hand Pop Out and that’s another move where finger positions are very important. You can make it happen with your fingers in the wrong spot, but it won’t look as good or work as good.


If you’re working on something and it’s giving you trouble, try changing your finger positions, or revisiting where you learned it to make sure you are still doing it correctly!

Another Bonus Trick…

About a month ago I wrote about getting bonus tricks out of the tricks you are already doing (you can read the post here). These are little things that frequently happen and when they do, you can take advantage of them. The example I used was having a card selected, top change it, and have … Continue reading “Another Bonus Trick…”

About a month ago I wrote about getting bonus tricks out of the tricks you are already doing (you can read the post here). These are little things that frequently happen and when they do, you can take advantage of them. The example I used was having a card selected, top change it, and have it signed. Most people don’t process that the card has changed, and they remember signing the card they picked, not that the one the one you switched it for.


Using this an idea that was inspired by a trick in the book Be More Funny by Christopher Barnes, I came up with this trick. Someone picks a card (5 of spades) and signs it. You could do a quick ambitious card sequence, then have a card selected from another deck. You say both cards will match, but they don’t, the second card is the 4 of spades. You rip out the middle spade of the 5 of spades to turn it into the 4 of spades. The audience is then amazed that the signed 5 of spades actually turns into a 4 of spades (still signed)

So how do we do this?

I have two methods. The first is simply to top change the card. The second is to use a gimmicked card, this card would be a five of spades, but the corners show the four of spades:

The gimmicked card is better if you want to do a trick with the card before you rip out the center pip and it will reinforce the idea that the card is still a 5 for a lot longer. You’ll have a hard time passing of a 4 as a 5 if they keep seeing the face.


I’m going to try to make up a few gimmicked cards this week and try them out!

Deck Ripping Routine…

A while ago on this blog I wrote up my deck ripping routine. Basically it’s the split deck trick, but instead of a factory made deck, you are using a deck that you rip in half with your bare hands. One of the things I like about doing this trick is the “barrier to entry”, … Continue reading “Deck Ripping Routine…”

A while ago on this blog I wrote up my deck ripping routine. Basically it’s the split deck trick, but instead of a factory made deck, you are using a deck that you rip in half with your bare hands. One of the things I like about doing this trick is the “barrier to entry”, you have to put in the time to be able to do the trick.


The other day during my preshow at a library gig I had a kid helping me and I just kept classic forcing the two of hearts to him. I was playing around and would top change the two for another card, then rip it in half and throw it away. Then the kid would pick the two of hearts that I just torn up. I did this a couple times. Finally I turned the deck face up and had him pick a card that wasn’t the two and I had him stand on it (after I switched it). I then ripped the deck in half so he couldn’t pick the two. Once the deck was ripped the kid (on his own) reached down to look at the card he was standing on and was very much amazed that the card had changed into the two of hearts!


This is a decent ending to a multiple force routine. You really can’t do anymore, the deck is destroy and the card has changed one last time. Structurally and logically, I need to work on it, but for this “improv” situation it was fun.


While I will probably never do this routine again, it got me thinking about it. What if I used a flap card with a lock. The person picks a card that’s not the force and you set it facing the audience. You rip the deck, and then the card visually changes into the force card. I’m not sure this is better than the kid reaching for the card he’s standing on, because his reaction really sold the trick.

Improvised Card Magic

Last night at the Seattle Magic Club, I got talking about “improvised” card magic. What that means is magic where you don’t have a formal plan and kinda figure it out while you are going. I got into doing this style of trick through some books by Justin Higham. It’s an interesting style, and it … Continue reading “Improvised Card Magic”

Last night at the Seattle Magic Club, I got talking about “improvised” card magic. What that means is magic where you don’t have a formal plan and kinda figure it out while you are going. I got into doing this style of trick through some books by Justin Higham.

The 75% Production and The Trick With No Method




It’s an interesting style, and it works out your brain while you perform. In a nutshell, what you are doing it looking for things you can do while you are doing other tricks. Let’s say you are doing Triumph and when you spread the cards at the end, you notice 3 kings together in the deck, that’s something you may be able to use later in an improvised trick.


The key to this is that you don’t always do something. For example, let’s say I have the three kings at the bottom of the deck, but the 4th never comes up, then I don’t do the trick.


While talking to some of the magicians about this style of performing, one commented that it’s probably hard to think that quick. It is, but the more you do it, the easier it is. Also when you remember that no trick is an acceptable outcome, then you can’t lose!


I recommend you check out Justin Higham’s books on this and try it out!

Why Not To Give Credit…

Recently someone in a magic group on the internet said that you should give credit during your shows for magic tricks you didn’t create AND for things that inspired the tricks.  This is an interesting concept and within magic it’s not really done, outside of a presentation angle.   The person thinks you should “live credit” … Continue reading “Why Not To Give Credit…”

Recently someone in a magic group on the internet said that you should give credit during your shows for magic tricks you didn’t create AND for things that inspired the tricks.  This is an interesting concept and within magic it’s not really done, outside of a presentation angle.  


The person thinks you should “live credit” your tricks to honor the people before you, not for a presentation angle.  They then posted a video of them performing, where they say the name of the person whose routine they are doing.  Then they say, “I’ll never be able to do it as well as them, but tonight I’m going to try…”    There’s a couple of things wrong with that. 


First you are telling the audience a story about a show that’s better than your show.  Why are we are your show, if there’s a better one?   Second is that by trying and succeeding, you are saying you are better than the person you are doing a tribute to.   Also in their credit they don’t give us any info on the person whose routine they are doing, and any background about them.  It’s simple a credit, not a tribute.  


Now here’s an example of it done well:


What makes Penn and Teller’s version good, is they don’t just say the name of the performer, they give a little bio.  They also don’t say they will do it better or worse, they let their performance be judged by their performance.   


My position on crediting during a show is that you don’t need to do it.  It’s stupid and would be an insane waste of time if you had to live credit every move, or bit.  You bought the book / DVD / media, the author has gotten compensated, that’s the end of the deal…Unless it’s specifically required by the creator of the trick or bit as a condition of you using it.  


Here’s a noteworthy example.  Ricky Jay did a trick from Expert at the Card Table, almost exactly as written in the book (moves and patter).  He never live credited it to Erdnase in his shows.  In fact he got upset when other people did the routine because he thought they wouldn’t have been doing it if they didn’t see him do it!  


TLDR:  Crediting during your show is a waste of time and dumb.