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.

Ripping Routine Part V

The additions to the base script are in bold. EFFECT 1: “Take a card, and don’t let me see it.” “And you’re going to grab one, don’t let me see it.” “On the count of three say your card out loud. If you say the same thing, that’s amazing and it means you’re married in Uruguay. … Continue reading “Ripping Routine Part V”

The additions to the base script are in bold.


EFFECT 1: 
“Take a card, and don’t let me see it.”

“And you’re going to grab one, don’t let me see it.”

“On the count of three say your card out loud. If you say the same thing, that’s amazing and it means you’re married in Uruguay. Ready…One, Two Three.”

EFFECT 2:

“We’re going to make it a little bit harder. We’re going to cut the cards”


“I learned to do rip a deck when I was younger. One of my roomates was a circus strongman. He could do things like rip a phone book in half, take a cast iron frying pan and roll it up like a burrito, open a pickle jar on the first try “


The wrist strength to do this is common in every circus strongman and teenage boy.

“You’re going to take a card and you’re going to take a card. Hopefully your cards will match each other and my card.”

Like two turtles, your cards match on the back

The odds of them matching the first time were one in fifty two. Now that there are double the cards, it’s one in fifty two times fifty two. Or one in two thousand, seven hundred and four. There’s also a one hundred percent odd that my math is wrong. ”

“On the front…They match about as much as my mom and my ex-step dad

“Oh, wait. I put my card here, hopefully it matches one of your cards.”


“Like a half Hawaiian, half pepperoni pizza, this end perfectly!”

The ripping routine is now off to a start. It’s brand new, so it’s not the best routine that it can be yet. There is still a lot of work, audience testing and workshopping it.

Ripping Routine Part IV

Today we’ll start writing the meat of the deck tearing routine. Basically I’m going to write a narrative script. This is going to be the essential things that I need to say for the trick to work, or to make sense. I’m also going to write the accompanying action with the trick. There are essentially … Continue reading “Ripping Routine Part IV”

Today we’ll start writing the meat of the deck tearing routine. Basically I’m going to write a narrative script. This is going to be the essential things that I need to say for the trick to work, or to make sense. I’m also going to write the accompanying action with the trick.


There are essentially two tricks in the routine. The first is where they both pick and card and it’s the same card. The second is where you rip the deck, they both pick an card and they don’t match, but do match your half and half prediction


Here’s the bare bones script:


EFFECT 1:
“Take a card, and don’t let me see it.”
Have a card selected and returned to the deck.


“And you’re going to grab one, don’t let me see it.”
Have a second person select a card and return it to the deck.


“On the count of three say your card out loud. One, Two Three.”
They both say the same card.


EFFECT 2:

“We’re going to make it a little bit harder. We’re going to cut the cards”
Rip the deck in half


“You’re going to take a card and you’re going to take a card. Hopefully your cards will match each other and my card.”
Set your prediction card on the table and have a card selected from each half of the torn deck.


“The cards match perfectly on the back…”
Line up the tear on the face down selected cards.


“On the front…”
Flip the cards face up to show they don’t match, and react.


“Oh, wait. I put my card here, hopefully it matches one of your cards.”
Flip the card over to show it matches the halves they picked and react.

Currently we’ve got three things done. We have a presentation hook, we have a few random jokes and we have a bare bones script. Tomorrow we’ll start working on putting those together and punching it up.


Ripping Routine Part II

In yesterday’s post I got started with working on a routine for my version of the Split Deck trick. Right now we have the presentation hook for the trick and need to get into writing some jokes for the routine. There are several ways that I typically do this. 1. Write random jokes: This is … Continue reading “Ripping Routine Part II”

In yesterday’s post I got started with working on a routine for my version of the Split Deck trick. Right now we have the presentation hook for the trick and need to get into writing some jokes for the routine. There are several ways that I typically do this.


1. Write random jokes: This is basically just doing some research on the props and the skill and writing jokes about what turns up.

2. Punch up a basic script: This is where you write a narrative script saying what you have to say, then go back and write jokes to make it funny.

3. Improv it: For this you go out and just do the trick an see what comes up.

4. Workshop it: This is where you get together with a group and brainstorm ideas.


Usually I will use all four of the above methods. I don’t do them in any particular order, I probably should have a system that I follow every time, but I don’t.


One thing that is important for me early on in the process is just to go out and do the trick to see if there’s anything there. You’ll learn a lot by doing the trick once or twice without devoting a ton of time to writing. You may learn that your method doesn’t feel right, or people don’t give a crap about the trick. If you are lucky something major will present it self that will become an anchor for the routine.


Alright, so those are the methods for writing the routine. Tomorrow I’ll start the actual writing (hopefully).



Ripping a Deck of Cards…

A few days ago I wrote a post about figuring out trying out my little routine for ripping a deck of cards in half. Now that I’ve done it once and confirmed that people like the bare bones of the trick, I can start to expand up it and work on a routine. Here’s the … Continue reading “Ripping a Deck of Cards…”

A few days ago I wrote a post about figuring out trying out my little routine for ripping a deck of cards in half. Now that I’ve done it once and confirmed that people like the bare bones of the trick, I can start to expand up it and work on a routine.

Here’s the bare bones (the deck ripping trick starts about halfway through):

First thing with a routine is what is it going to reveal about “me”. I used the word me in quotes, because it doesn’t have to be the literal me, it can be what I want to portray on stage as “me”. It’s going to reveal that I hang out with some unusual people. My idea for the opening/hook is:

“When I was younger one of my roomates was a circus strongman. He could do things like rip a phone book in half, take a cast iron frying pan and roll it up like a burrito, open a pickle jar on the first try.

While I lived with him, he helped train me to rip a deck of cards in half”

Another idea for an opening/hook would be:

“I’m always amazed at how many people come up to me to show me a trick they can do. What other profession does this happen in? Imagine after open heart surgery, you wake up and ask the doctor if you can borrow his scalpel to show him that you do a mean amateur appendectomy.”

Both are decent approaches to the presentation of the trick. I think I prefer the first one. I think learning stuff from an old roommate is more relatable than people wanting to show you a card trick. If working at a magic convention, then the second one is probably good.

Ok, so we’ve got the hook, now where to go from there? Tomorrow we’ll start to build the meat of the routine.

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.

Making a Trick My Own…

A few years ago Bicycle Playing Cards changed how they make their playing cards. While they are still the standard, they are crap compared to how they used to be. A deck of cards will last me about 45 mins to an hour when roving, where before they’d last all day. As a result of … Continue reading “Making a Trick My Own…”

A few years ago Bicycle Playing Cards changed how they make their playing cards. While they are still the standard, they are crap compared to how they used to be. A deck of cards will last me about 45 mins to an hour when roving, where before they’d last all day.


As a result of this, I ended up having a ton of cards kicking around that I can’t use after a gig. I wanted to figure out how something to do with all of these cards, so I’m learning to rip a deck of cards in half. This isn’t easy. After about a month I can do 22 cards, with best being 28 cards. I’ve got a long way to go to fifty two!

Now that I’m working on this skill, I’m starting to think of what to do with it. Yesterday in the car I thought of a trick. Why not do the split deck, but instead of the stupid patter line, “I asked someone to cut the cards and they did” when you introduce the cards, I can just rip them in half.


This creates a unique trick that very few people can copy. It adds some texture to the trick as well, because I can talk about learning to rip the deck. Also it’s going to be a harder trick for anyone to copy because of the time it takes to learn to rip a deck of cards in half.


All it takes to make a trick better is taking an extra step forward and adding one thing, plus new scripting and you’ve got something unique!