Play is important! You should play with magic as a creative exercise. Learning from a book is good, but sometimes just fiddling around with a deck of cards or whatever with no purpose will lead to some fun things.
There’s not much to it. I discovered I could drop an outjogged, double card from the deck into my hand below it. Once I kinda figured out the technique, I needed to figure out what to do with it. That ended up my a slightly flourishy card change.
Will I ever seriously use this? No. Was it fun to figure out? Yes
I’m playing with a little card sequence where I reveal a selected card three times. The first uses two hands, the second time one hand and the third time is no hands. Here’s an early test version of the current version:
I need to figure out a slightly less clunky way to get into the third card reveal (haunted deck). I’m not sure if there’s going to be a streamlined way due to using the method along with the other two card productions (Piet Forton Pop Out and Daryl’s Hot Shot Cut).
One idea I had was to do this as a multiple selection, however from a method standpoint, I can’t really do the final phase with the card in the deck the whole time. I’d need to take it out.
…well, if I put each selection back into the deck after the reveal, I could switch the second card for the third card, and could set up the Haunted Deck at that point. The drawback is that I visually like the cards staying on the table after each reveal.
The other day I was at a magic shop in Mesa, AZ and I bought an auto spring fan of cards on a whim. If you don’t know what an Auto Spring Fan is, it’s a packet of cards that pops open into a fan automatically. I thought I was probably just going to have a kid hold them in pictures after the show.
During the drive to the gig, I thought about what else could be done with them. There’s not a lot you can do besides open them. Then I got an idea, they could be used as a card revelation. The idea is the whole fanned deck would turn into the selected card.
I realized that if I held the closed deck face down and fanned them so that I was tightening the spring, I could show the backs of the cards on the edge that’s normally hidden.
This allows me to have all the cards on the back (except for the top card) to have the corner shown when fanned to be the same card. Having the top card change would simply be making a flap card.
…at least that’s how it is in my head. Now to actually make the gimmick, which is the real work!
Last night I was playing with a deck of cards while I watched the final couple of episodes of Dexter New Blood and came up with a little pop out of a card from the deck. It’s pretty easy to do:
Hold the deck in your right hand in biddle grip.
Swing cut the top half into your left hand into mechanic’s grip
Your left thumb side jogs the top card about half an inch to the right
As your righthand approaches the left hand, the back of the right hand’s middle fingertip contacts the side jogged card. The right hand continues moving forward and slightly up. That will cause the side jogged card to flip face up. When that happens, your right hand moves down to put the two halves of the pack together.
That’s it. It’s not much, and it feels really familiar. I think it’s a mix of a lot of thing that I already know and that’s what makes it feel like it’s something I already know.
After playing with it with one card, I started thinking about producing a second card. That ended up being a four card production:
While not the greatest or flashiest four ace production, it was fun to come up with last night! -Louie
Frequently I’m asked to make little promo videos for events that I’m performing. Here’s one a made for a gig a few days ago:
They wanted me to thank the sponsors and to do a quick trick. One of my “go to tricks” for situations like that are flap cards for a quick color change. I do the first change in the glass (which as far as I know I’m the first to do) which I think adds to the impossibility of it changing. Then the second is just the toss change.
Having a quick and visual trick you can do for things like this helpful. Also essentially having a formula for doing videos for events, so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time. I just grab my glass and card and I’m good to go!
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.
Here’s a little four ace production I thought of a few nights ago.
I have a feeling the book Principa by Harapan Ong led to this, it feels like several of the ace productions in that book.
The work is pretty simple, you need the four aces on top of the deck. They alternate face down and face up, with the uppermost ace face down.
Take the deck and slip cut two cards (a face down and face up ace) off the top of the deck on the lower have. Do a faro shuffle, it only needs to be a perfect faro for the first four cards and leave the cards outjogged (don’t complete the shuffle).
Your left index finger pops the top card off the top forward half and the thumb on your other hand does the same with the top card of the inner half. When you do that the four aces will be face up.
It’s it the best, or most practical four ace production? Probably not. Was it fun to play with? yes
At night when I’m hanging out with the family watching TV, usually I’m dinking around with a deck of cards. Frequently I’m working on a fancy cut, I try to be able to do a little bit of the cardistry so the kids at magic conventions think I’m less of a dinosaur. Sometimes I work on new card sleights, or just try to keep the rust off of old ones.
The last week or so I’ve been playing with the side steal. It’s a move I’ve done for a long time and can do it, but I don’t do it exceptionally. When I do it in a live performance, it’s an attitude thing, versus a technique thing. Usually when I do it, I use Scotty York‘s method for the side jog, which automatically side jogs the card.
Sometimes I do the proper side steal technique where you push the card into a squared deck, steal the card and either palm it, or move it to the top. I’ve been working on my technique to get it into full palm using proper technique the last week. It’s starting to look a lot better, I still have a studder between the side jog and full palm. I’m working to smooth that out. It’ll take time…
In yesterday’s blog post I wrote about a four ace production that I saw on social media and why it wasn’t good. This morning I’m going into my social media and found a four ace production from about a year ago. If I remember correctly this is from Principia by Harapan Ong.
Here’s why the is a better trick that the one that I shared yesterday:
I’m talking, it fills the dead space a bit better
No procedural shuffling
You get an ace production right away
The final ace production is magical and puts an punctuation on the trick
Is the ace trick that I did the best? No, however it’s way better than the one that I shared yesterday. Think about what you’re sharing before you put it out there.
This morning a buddy of mine sent me a video of a magician doing a card trick and wanted to know my thoughts on it. The thing that stood out to me, and is something that I should have realized before is that most of us are doing card tricks for social media incorrectly.
Many videos of just the hands have them coming down from the top of the screen, or are from the spectators point of view showing more of the magician. If you are doing any card tricks that require you to spread the cards, the indexes are upside down.
If you are someone that frequently handles cards, it’s pretty easy to tell what is what. However, most people are not. If you asked someone to memorize a card and they saw it upside down there’s a great chance they will struggle with it. It’s also visually unappealing to look at. Here’s my suggestion, use a left handed deck of cards.
This cards spread this was a so much easier to identify for someone that’s not familiar with cards. If you don’t spread the cards, like in an ambitious card routine then it’s not really a issue.