How to Get Started in Card Magic

By Joshua Jay - Thursday, December 19, 2019

The world of card magic is enormous and it can be daunting to navigate the thousands of books, downloads, and tricks using a pack of cards. Where do you start? How do you sift through the junk to find the really good stuff? Who should you study?

Let me give you three points of general advice and then three specific suggestions to start your journey.

Learn three tricks really well before you do anything else. The biggest mistake I see beginners make is that they get distracted by all the amazing tricks they want to learn. They become consumers of magic but they never invest the time to actually master any material. You should select one or two or, maximum, three card tricks, and work them through. Practice each phase, write out a script, and perform them for as many people as you can. Do those three tricks over and over, seek out feedback, and do NOT be tempted to expand your repertoire until you feel great about all three tricks. In the best case, you’ll find a way to link these three tricks into one routine.

Buy magic books instead of tricks. You get much, much better bang for your buck if you focus on buying quality collections of card material in magic books, rather than buying one trick at a time.

Start simple. Doing sleight-of-hand magic is a lifelong joy, but this takes time. I often see beginners who jump into routines that involve palming and pinky counts, and the performers often can’t execute these moves deceptively. Difficult moves take months—years in some cases—to master. There are so many card tricks that require a minimal amount of manipulation, and I suggest you start with these.

Reader comments:


Thursday, 02 January 2020 05:42 AM - Reply to this comment

Hey Joshua!
Nice wrote up! I've been doing exactly what you've just described.
Last week, I picked up your Complete Magic Course along with The Royal Road to Card Magic and The Expert at The Card Table (which I'll leave for last) and now plan to bury my head in those rather than purchasing the latest tricks.
Thanks again Joshua I absolutely love your work!

Matthew Lehmann
Vanishing Inc Customer & Beginner Magician


Monday, 27 January 2020 00:43 AM - Reply to this comment

After taking a break from magic for almost 10 years, I am re working my chops again, and have dug out my books from storage magic related and diving in to practice 3 tricks at a time. Your advice is amazing! Thank you for the write up and amazing advice! Thanks Vanishing and Josh!

Leave a comment

Log in or sign up to post a comment about How to Get Started in Card Magic.

Back to blog homepage

Similar posts on the blog: