My Favorite Card Tricks: Adam Elbaum

By Adam Elbaum - Thursday, January 28, 2021

I love the Vanishing Inc Blog, and in particular the "My Favorite Card Tricks" recurring segment. I have found some gems throughout the posts, some of which have become part of my repertoire. I am excited and honored by the opportunity to share my favorite card tricks with you. I wasn't given any rules to follow, but being familiar with the format, I know that I'm supposed to offer 3. Much like those who came before me I struggle with limiting myself to 3 so I will break the mold a bit, offering 3 of my favorites with a regular deck and then 3 that use gimmicked decks/cards.

Ultimate Hold 'Em by Jack Carpenter
I bought the original booklet and loved the effect (it has since been turned into a download that features my handling based on a suggestion from Asi Wind). I will put it up against any other poker themed routine. The spectator shuffles the cards, the spectator deals the cards, the spectator chooses which hand is yours, and chooses which hand is theirs. Not only do they deal you a straight flush, but you also predict the exact outcome from the get go. Sound too good to be true, I actually think it's better than described here. If a spectator plays poker, I don't think there's a better trick you can perform for them. Learn Ultimate Hold'Em here.

My Favorite Gemini by Allan Ackerman
This may be the most under appreciated card trick in all of card magic; it's shocking how few magicians perform or even know about it. If I'm performing for a few spectators and have a table available, this is definitely a favorite. I can do the setup covertly and casually while removing the kings from the deck. The spectators fairly deal cards and place the kings face up throughout the deck. At the end, the cards are ribbon spread and the kings are shown to have been been placed directly next to their appropriately suited queen counterparts despite the magician having been hands off throughout the trick. It's completly inexplicable and I have fooled many magicians unfamiliar with the brilliant method. Learn Gemini Mates here.

The Queen Thing, by Scott Robinson
I learned the original version many years ago before it was available as a download and I've always loved it. Since then, I have reworked the routine building on the original handling. There are multiple color changes, card to pocket, a flashback/metamorphosis, and a surprise (yet logical) ending all in one routine that's virtually impromptu. It's my go to opener that immediately establishes me as skilled magician and leaves the spectator with a huge feeling of wonder. Learn The Queen Thing here.

While I always have a regular deck in my pocket, I've never shied away from using a trick deck/cards to maximize the potential impact of an effect.The following are my 3 favorite effects that use gimmicked or gaffed decks/cards.

AWE Struck by Me
I know this may seem like a shameless plug but the trick has been sold out for years and I don't think there are any plans to rerelease it. While the trick was well reviewed by everyone when it came out and sold out pretty quickly, I rarely have people tell me they perform it regularly and I can't imagine why. It's so good and so strong! I use it as a closer for walk-around or when I'm given an opportunity to perform only 1 trick for someone important. The spectator names any card and it's written on a piece of paper in my wallet. It's one of the only effects that I can honestly say, despite having performed it countless times over 15+ years, I've never had a regular spectator come close to figuring out a method and it consistently gets the reactions I'm going for with all my magic. Watch Awe Struck here.

Skinner's Ultimate 3 Card Monte by Michael Skinner
Skinner's Ultimate 3 Card Monte using Paul Vigil's handling from one of my favorite magic books, Doors of Deception. The original routine was fine, but didn't resemble a real monte and felt like a magic trick. Paul totally revamped the handling and made it so much better so it seems real and yet completely impossible. You're so far ahead that they can pick 2 out of the 3 cards and they'll still be wrong. Full disclosure, I do a different 3rd phase that uses an idea from Lee Asher's Catch 33. This may just be my favorite trick to perform.

ACAN by Milt Kort
The original from the book still holds up if you can get your hands on a phonebook. The aforementioned Paul Vigil released his own phenomanal version as well that I believe is still available. I used my own version to close my dinner show for years when it was all cards as well as a variant for walk-around when I need to hit 'em hard. It's the one they'll talk about on their ride home.

Wait, wait... I just thought of 3 more card effects that are my "favorites." Asking me to name only 3 was a tricky question indeed, HA!

Reader comments:


Thursday, 28 January 2021 22:54 PM - Reply to this comment

Love this blog! Agreed on Ackermans Gemini, can’t understand why not a lot use it.

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