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.
I’m cleaning out the computer and found a video of a magic jam from a while ago when my state was briefly open for people to hang out before closing again. Jamming in person is the way to go, you can creatively play off of each other a lot more efferently than over Zoom.
In the video there are a couple of cool tricks. The trick with the arrow drawn on a card and it makes the coin move was interesting to figure out. Then the ketchup packet to ketchup filled portion cup looked great!
If you don’t jam with other magicians, you are really missing out on fun, and working on your creativity!
Way back in March I was playing with using the old card reveal where you drop the deck on the table and the top card flips over as a clean up for a Triumph type effect. You can read the post here It’s an interesting way to clean up a reversed card on top of the deck. You get a little trick that happens that does the dirty work for you.
Last night I was shuffling some cards and came up with a Triumph sequence that left you in position to do the drop clean up. Here’s the sequence:
Card is selected and controlled to the top
Zarrow shuffle with half face up and half face down (selection remains on top)
Strip the face down bottom half to the right, flip them face up. Riffle shuffle by running about 10 cards with your left hand, then shuffling with both hands, leaving about 10 or more cards of the right hands stack to fall on top of the left hands stack. This will put the face down selection about 10 or more cards from the top of a deck that’s face up (the audience thinks they are mixed face up into face down).
Strip the top half to the left, flip them over (face down card will show) and do a Zarrow Shuffle.
Strip the bottom card (face down cards) the right and shuffle the card together. Have the left hand’s packet’s top card be the top card of the shuffled deck.
The order from from the top down is a face down card, then the rest of the deck face up with a selection face down somewhere in the middle of the deck.
Do the drop flip over reveal thing to flip over the top card of the deck.
Spread them out to show all of the cards are now facing the same direction except for their selection.
I’m going to be 100% clear that I think this sequence isn’t the best way to do a this style of trick and is inferior to the common method of a Zarrow Shuffle, Daryl’s Triumph display (Don’t know the name of it) and then openly flipping over half the deck.
It is a sequence that gets me into a position where I can do the drop flip over thingy. It was also a fun exercise to try to figure out how to get the cards where I needed them to be.
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.
One of the coolest card gaffs is the Modern Flap Cards by Hondo. He makes the as a premade gaff, or as a video where you can learn to make your own. The video is the way to go, as you’ll be a lot more versatile with what you can do. There’s a little bit of a learning curve to making them, but it’s really not that hard.
I use one in my preshow video in my cruise ship show, and in a lot of social media videos. I haven’t used them in a live show, simply because I don’t really have a place for them. The problem is a playing card is small, and the change is hard to view from the back row.
It hit me a while ago that you can do the change with the card isolated in a cup. I hadn’t had time to really play with it before the self quarantine, however I played around with it and here’s the card color change change in a cup:
There’s a little bit of knack to do the move in a cup. In a nutshell I’m using the weight of the card to keep the change from happening. It’s all about the angle you lean the card at. I think the next time I make some of the flap cards, I’m going to have a bit less tension, so that I have more wiggle room with the angle of the lean.
The discovery of doing the change in a cup is the direct result of playing with the gimmick and a good example of why you should be playing with gimmicks beyond what’s in the instructions.
Creativity isn’t something you can force, but there are things you can do to stimulate it. Lately I’ve felt pretty uncreative, however I’ve had a tough performing schedule which didn’t leave a lot of time to play with ideas. Then somehow like magic, the last couple of days I’ve had some great ideas. The main … Continue reading “Creative Funk…”
Creativity isn’t something you can force, but there are things you can do to stimulate it. Lately I’ve felt pretty uncreative, however I’ve had a tough performing schedule which didn’t leave a lot of time to play with ideas. Then somehow like magic, the last couple of days I’ve had some great ideas.
The main thing that changed in the last few days was that I opened myself up to new ideas. I starting looking for them, not waiting for them to pop into my head. Taking control of creativity is the first step to being creative.
Another big change was that I was playing with things a bit more. I’m back to working through card tricks at night while sitting on the couch while my wife watches TV. Sure going through a book on card tricks isn’t exactly creative, but it’s making my brain learn new things, and that opens up my brain to forming new ideas.
Making the tricks that I currently do play bigger is something I’m always working on. There are a lot of ways to do this, however one challenge has always been card tricks. I don’t do a lot of them in the show, but those that I do are generally limited to poker sized cards. One … Continue reading “Playing Bigger…”
Making the tricks that I currently do play bigger is something I’m always working on. There are a lot of ways to do this, however one challenge has always been card tricks. I don’t do a lot of them in the show, but those that I do are generally limited to poker sized cards.
One trick that I do uses cards in a holder on a pole. This is one of the rare instances where I can use jumbo cards, but haven’t. Last night I 3D printed out a new holder for the trick that will take jumbo cards.
My concern is that the pole won’t be able to hold the larger cards. When the cards on the end, the weight will make the pole bend. I do have a shorter pole than I normally use, and that would help with the bending a little bit.
Larger cards will help solve the problem of cards being visible from a distance.
When I do roving magic my main tool is a regular deck of cards. The reason for that is you can do a lot just a deck of cards. Also they are larger than a rubber band or a coin and when someone walks by they know that you are doing magic tricks. When doing … Continue reading “Something Special…”
When I do roving magic my main tool is a regular deck of cards. The reason for that is you can do a lot just a deck of cards. Also they are larger than a rubber band or a coin and when someone walks by they know that you are doing magic tricks.
When doing roving magic I also try to pack one other thing to perform that’s special. Something that’s fairly unique, so something that they wouldn’t see another magician typically do. Frequently this is the Linking Pins or something I’m working on that uses a unique prop. I save this for special groups that fun to work for.
Last night at a roving gig in addition to my normal card set, I did a trick with a nut and a bolt. Basically the nut and bolt unscrew while covered by a cup, then you repeat it. It’s a great trick and something that I love doing, but more importantly, it feels special. People really seem to dig the special trick, and can feel that it’s not something from your normal set.
It’s kinda amazing what a deck of cards has allowed me to do. I’ve been flown across the country to an hour of cards tricks and paid an amazing wage for it. That and I don’t even think I’m that good compared to a lot of people. So why do people hire me? While I … Continue reading “Have Deck Will Travel…”
It’s kinda amazing what a deck of cards has allowed me to do. I’ve been flown across the country to an hour of cards tricks and paid an amazing wage for it. That and I don’t even think I’m that good compared to a lot of people.
So why do people hire me?
While I do have some technical skill with a deck of cards, I know how to sell it. I can convince you that what you are seeing is amazing, and not just a card trick. I know how to trim the fat off a routine and not bore you.
I’m very fortunate to be able to do what I do for a job!
One of the things that I want to play with this summer are gaffed cards. More specifically, I want to use flap cards to do some changes. I’ve got a few ideas for what I want to do with the flap cards. Ideally I want to put together a close up set that’s 5 mins … Continue reading “Gaffed Cards…”
One of the things that I want to play with this summer are gaffed cards. More specifically, I want to use flap cards to do some changes. I’ve got a few ideas for what I want to do with the flap cards. Ideally I want to put together a close up set that’s 5 mins that can be projected onto a screen.
This is one of the places where a flap card will shine, because people can’t reach for the cards, and it allows you to more easily ditch things. The formal close up allows you to do some fun magic that’s highly visual…and doesn’t require a lot of space in the luggage.
Last night I was playing with more traditional “dental dam” flaps. They work great, however they have seams in them that the more modern “Hondo” style flap cards don’t have. Hondo has really solved a lot of problems with the dental dam flap cards. However, the Hondo flap cards do have their own disadvantage, and that’s that you can potentially see the elastic as it’s on the outside of the card.
All in all, I think both gimmicks have a place where one is better than the other. Now to figure out what I want to do in my card set….