Torn & Restored (not a) Card

I love it when I’m working on something and things happen quickly. The connections between problems and solutions are quickly found. What started not too long ago with me and a couple of friends ripping up playing cards, quickly became a solid method. Then in my quest to make it play a little bit bigger, I think I hit on something to make it bigger, but also a presentation hook!

torn and restored card

I was looking for some of the Phoenix Parlour Cards that I have around here somewhere, and a stack of postcards I send out as “thank you cards” caught my eye. I took one and gimmicked it for the torn and restored card, and it worked!

The cool thing about using postcards is that they are bigger than the Phoenix Parlour Cards, and they are really easy to gimmick (much easier than playing cards). Also if this is something that I’ll be doing in the show, they are cheap and easy to get.

This brings me to something that my friend Robert Baxt always tells me, which is, “can you do it with anything other than playing cards?“. He’s right. I’m a card guy in my heart, but he’s 100% correct, it’s almost always better with something other than playing cards. Also by moving things away from playing cards, you free up a slot in your show to use playing cards. I know freeing up a space for a card trick is not Robert’s intention, but is also means one less space for a card trick!

Making the T&R Card Play Bigger…

The last couple of days I’ve written about the torn and restored card that I’m working on. Now that I have the technical end pretty much worked out, the next step is figuring out how to make it work in a show. Right now with virtual shows, it’s easy because I can hold it close to the camera. Once “socially distant” shows are more common, I’ll need to make it bigger than just a playing card.

The original version that Harry Anderson did used a card that was bigger than a jumbo card. Yesterday I made a gimmicked card using a jumbo deck and while it’s visible, the way the current jumbo cards are made, they are too hard to make to be practical for use in every show. That got me thinking about the Phoenix Parlour Decks. These are between a standard deck and a jumbo deck. Being slightly better is a huge advantage for visibility.

While I’d love to be able to do the gimmicked cards in jumbo size, the availability of the old stock jumbo bicycle cards makes this something that would have a limited life. Ideally when I create, whatever I use will still be in production, so I can at least stock up on them.

Ten Card Deal…

I’m very luck that have places to “work out” routines, not a lot of magicians have that. Personally I prefer to work out stuff in a real show over an open mic. With an open mic typcially the audience isn’t invested in the show like they would normally be in a show that they paid … Continue reading “Ten Card Deal…”

I’m very luck that have places to “work out” routines, not a lot of magicians have that. Personally I prefer to work out stuff in a real show over an open mic. With an open mic typcially the audience isn’t invested in the show like they would normally be in a show that they paid a ticket to see.


Last night I hosted a show and as host, not the feature or headline act, I can play a bit more with new stuff. Currently I’m working on a stage version of the 10 Card Poker Deal. It ended well, but was a hot mess up until the ending.

ten card poker deal

In my stage poker deal, it uses jumbo cards and ends with a prediction. Somehow I wasn’t paying attention and ended up having the wrong prediction after the first deal. Luckily I know a lot of poker deal variations and was able to do a second deal and end up with the prediction that matched the one I had on the table.


This is where it’s important to know more than just the routine you do. Whenever possible I try to have a deeper knowledge of the concept or the trick. Knowing more that just what’s required for the routine bailed me out of the situation last night.