My Favorite Card Tricks: Richard Wiseman

By Alex Robertson - Thursday, November 5, 2020

We asked some of magic's greatest minds to share with us their favorite card tricks. This week is the turn of Richard Wiseman. You may know him from his best selling books: Quirkology, 59 Seconds, Paranormality and many more, or his hugely popular YouTube Channel Quirkoloy Over to Richard:


I never perform professionally, due to public demand. However, friends and family frequently ask me to dabble, and here are my three favourite items.

First, I have created a novel twist on that old classic, the 21-card trick. This trick usually involves showing your friend (for now) 21 cards, and asking them to think of one. Next, you deal the cards into columns, ask them to indicate which column contains their card, collect up the columns and repeat ad nauseam. Then, just as your friend is about to lose the will to live, you count down 11 cards and reveal their selection. However, when I perform it, I ask the person to remember 20 of the cards, and then indicate which column contains the card that they haven't remembered. Then, at the end, you say '...and here is the card that you didn't remember'. I have performed this many times, and the reaction is quite something.

More seriously, I also perform Paul R Wilson's Con Cam Coincidencia (aka C3: available on his DVD Killers). This effect is usually performed for four people. One of them chooses a card (e.g., the Three of Spades) and then the deck is split into four packets. Everyone randomly deals and throws cards onto the table until they end up with just a handful of cards. One person then turns over their top card and mysteriously discovers that it's the chosen card. Finally, the other three people turn over their top card, and discover that they have the matching three cards (e.g., Three of Diamonds, Three of Clubs, and Three of Hearts). It's a really strong effect. I first saw Shin Lin perform it on Youtube and described it to Paul over coffee, only to discover that he had published it. I like it because it doesn't feel like me showing off, but rather like a group of people having fun, and then suddenly enjoying a magical moment of their own making.

The third trick is an odd one. For about 20 years I have kept the Queen of Hearts in my left shoe and the Ace of Spades in my right shoe. They have come in surprisingly handy on many occasions. People have often handed me a deck of cards and asked to see a trick. These are often the cards that they use for games, and are essentially a block of cards covered in oil, grease and extremely sticky stuff of an unknown origin. Under these circumstances, I simply can't perform my usual repertoire of centre deals, side steals and diagonal palm shifts. Instead, I secretly put the Queen of Hearts on top, do the criss-cross force, and then ask them to point to my left shoe. Problem solved. Other times, when people request a trick, I ask them to name a card. People name either the Queen of Hearts or Aces of Spades about a third of the time, and then I have them to point to the appropriate shoe, say a magic word, and I am done. If they name another card, I say, 'Then that card will appear in your dreams tonight. When it does, call me. But not before 11.30am'

So there we have it, a nonsensical new twist on a classic, a great bonding effect from my pal Paul R Wilson, and a seemingly impromptu shoe-based miracle. What more can you ask for in a column that I am not getting paid for.

Reader comments:


Monday, 23 November 2020 21:40 PM - Reply to this comment

This is really freaky. Because, for about twenty years now, whenever I've asked a person to name a card and they've said (as is not unlikely) the Queen of Hearts or the Ace of Spades, I've clicked my fingers and, entirely by coincidence, directed them to Richard Wiseman's shoes. Spooky, eh?


Friday, 05 February 2021 10:59 AM

That's really funny!

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