App Free…

In the past I’ve written about my dislike for magic apps, and my fascination with them. I think they are interesting, but the main problem is that the majority of them either rely on an internet connection or using your phone. In my opinion there’s no way around having to use the internet for apps … Continue reading “App Free…”

In the past I’ve written about my dislike for magic apps, and my fascination with them. I think they are interesting, but the main problem is that the majority of them either rely on an internet connection or using your phone. In my opinion there’s no way around having to use the internet for apps that work that way, and that makes them not as reliable as I’d like. As for using your phone, well, you just need to justify it.


I just started playing with an idea that uses my phone to take a picture for a prediction. The idea of using a picture that you are taking in the moment makes more sense that a random pic in your gallery that’s been there for months.


Here’s what the rough idea looks like:

This is a trick that I don’t think really has a place in a formal show, but as an informal trick, I think it’s great. The nice thing about it is they can pick any of the items and they can pick up the phone to reveal the prediction. It’s pretty hands off once you take the pictures.

What Me Worry…

It really cracks me up when magicians worry about exposure of tricks where the method is technological. The “exposure” they are worried about is when this similar tech becomes used in applications for the general public. A good example is someone makes a die that you assign tasks to, and have an app linked to … Continue reading “What Me Worry…”

It really cracks me up when magicians worry about exposure of tricks where the method is technological. The “exposure” they are worried about is when this similar tech becomes used in applications for the general public. A good example is someone makes a die that you assign tasks to, and have an app linked to it. You put the side up when you are working on that task. The app knows what side it up and tells you how long you devote to each task. This is essentially a tech that’s been used for magic for a long time.


I think there are two reasons that people that are upset with magic tech becoming everyday tech. The first is that when it’s magic, it’s a niche market and very specialized, so it’s expensive. These people are upset that the value of their investment has been decreased. The second reason is that these people aren’t willing to put in the time to learn to do it any other way (i.e. Sleight of hand).

Here’s a good example, many people make a little cube that has different colors on all of the sides. Due to the tech, you always know what color is on top. However if you are aware of a similar device to keep you on task at work, then the impossibility of the trick is diminished. How can you do the same trick?

Here are two ways:

1. Instead of the cube, they write down a color on a business card and put it in their pocket. Using standard mentalism techniques you can easily know their color.

2. You put a prediction on the table. The pick a color on the block and it’s covered up so you can’t see it. You turn over the prediction and it’s the color they picked. Methodwise this is simply using the block to tell you what color was picked, then you use nailwriter for the prediction.

Both methods will have the same impact as just using the tech, but won’t become obsolete when the magic tech becomes everyday tech. The moral of the story is to go out and learn some sleight of hand.

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.



Adding Texture to Predictions…

A friend of mine who is a mentalist from Ireland is in town and we had coffee yesterday. We were chatting about mentalism and the struggles to make it play big. One of the things he showed me was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen this year (more on this in a minute). Part of … Continue reading “Adding Texture to Predictions…”

A friend of mine who is a mentalist from Ireland is in town and we had coffee yesterday. We were chatting about mentalism and the struggles to make it play big. One of the things he showed me was probably the coolest thing I’ve seen this year (more on this in a minute).


Part of the challenge of mentalism is you need normal-ish looking props. Once you know make a die 24 inches big, or use a calculator that’s build for bigfoot, you lose what makes mentalism great, which is the lack of propy props.


This is where what he showed me comes in. He showed me Phil Smith’s Quinta Force.

This is an amazing way to force one object out of five that feels very free and has some theatrical build up to it as well.


My idea is to borrow five different objects from people in the audience. You introduce a padded envelope that has your prediction in it. They give you a number, let’s say it is 28. You count to that number per the Quinta Force and let’s say we end up on a cellphone. You open the envelope and inside is a cellphone…then for the kicker on the back written in marker in giant numbers is 28!


I haven’t finished reading the book, so someone may have thought of this already.


That’s something that will play fairly large, I guess it could be done with paper prediction that unfolded into a large display. My thinking was to try to get away from a printed prediction as that’s fairly common way to reveal things and I wanted something that would add some texture to the show.


Play Big or Go Home…

One of the things that really dislike about a lot of mentalism that is performed is size. The props and predictions are small, and I can’t see or read them from the fourth row of the theater. Sure there’s always video projection, but it’s not always used, or can be used due to the method. … Continue reading “Play Big or Go Home…”

One of the things that really dislike about a lot of mentalism that is performed is size. The props and predictions are small, and I can’t see or read them from the fourth row of the theater. Sure there’s always video projection, but it’s not always used, or can be used due to the method.


Here’s an example, someone locally in Seattle does the Kurotsuke effect, where you have five marbles, four are one color and the fifth is another. Then five people reach into a bag and grab a marble, and you tell who has the odd colored one. The problem of the trick is there is no visual payoff for the audience as we can’t really see the marbles. Sure, it’s how you play it, but the center of the trick is the prop, and we can’t see the prop.


Personally I’ve been working hard to make my props play a lot bigger, so the whole audience is doing the trick, not you doing the trick for one person. An example of the difference would be a prediction written on the back of a business card, versus a prediction written on a sheet of paper that’s three by four feet.


TLDR: Make the payoff of your tricks play BIG!

Split Deck…

In a post a few weeks ago I mentioned that I was learning to rip a deck of cards in half. I’m up to consistently being able to rip about half a deck of bicycle cards, but and able to rip a whole deck of cheap cards about 95% of the time. Every now and … Continue reading “Split Deck…”

In a post a few weeks ago I mentioned that I was learning to rip a deck of cards in half. I’m up to consistently being able to rip about half a deck of bicycle cards, but and able to rip a whole deck of cheap cards about 95% of the time. Every now and then I’ll hit a pack that for whatever reason just gives me a hell of a time ripping.


Last night in Seattle we had a magic jam and I threw a few decks of cheap cards in my bag. My routine is basically the “Split Deck” but without any gimmicked cards (aside from the cheap deck). It played well for the magicians, and then later we ended up doing some magic for the table next to us it played for them as well.


In between the two times I did the trick, a little bit more framework had developed in my head. The trick started with two people each looking at a card and they end up having picked the same card. Next I put out a prediction card, and I rip the deck in half. I say that they both will pick a card that matches my prediction and they both take a card (from different halves of the deck). They compare their cards and they aren’t the same card…but then we look at my prediction and the front is two ripped cards glued together and they halves match the selection.


This played pretty well, and I think it’s going to be something that I start to explore as a routine bit more in the future.