What Are The Best Mathematical Card Tricks

Mathematical card tricks are one of the best ways to get started with learning magic tricks because they are super easy, don’t require any sleight of hand and use the same ordinary deck of playing cards you probably already use for card game night (such Bicycle Playing Cards or any of our custom playing cards).

Here are the best mathematical card tricks for amazing your friends and family, any maybe even your math teacher.

magician performs magic for a girl with a huge smile

The Mind Reading Math Card Trick

This might be the best math card trick revealed on this page since its both a card magic trick and a easy mentalism trick that will make you look like Patrick Jane from the TV show The Mentalist.

  1. Have your spectator pick any card without showing you

  2. Tell them to double its value in their head (Aces are worth 1 and Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10)

  3. Add 3

  4. Multiply by 5

  5. Then add 1 to this new number if it’s a Club, 2 if it’s a Heart, 3 for Spades and 4 for Diamonds (if you have trouble remembering this order, just think of the word CHaSeD—Clubs, Hearts, Spades, Diamonds).

  6. Have them give you the final total.

  7. In your head, subtract 15. The first digit of your new number represents the value of their card and the second digit is the playing card suit. So, for example, 28 - 15 = 13. The first digit (1) represents Ace and the second digit (3) means their card is a Spade. They chose the Ace of Spades.

21 Card Trick

The 21 Card Trick is in nearly all of the recommended magic books for beginners. Here’s how to do the 21 Card Trick with a fun new ending that helps disguise the secret and may even suprise those familiar with this classic magic trick.

  1. Remove any 21 cards from the deck. The suits or values of the card don’t matter. But, the fact it’s exactly 21 cards does. This can be done beforehand or right in front of your spectators.

Playing cards arranged in columns for the 21 card trick

  1. Fan the cards and have any card selected, memorized and then lost back in the deck. You can even have the spectator shuffle the deck at this point to prove that you’re not doing any sleight of hand moves.

  2. Lay out the cards face-up in 3 columns. Go across left to right, placing one card on each pile until you have dealt all the cards.

  3. Ask your spectator to point to the column their card is in WITHOUT telling you which card they chose.

  4. Push each column together into neat piles (being careful to not disturb the order of the cards) and then stack the pile with their selected card in-between the other two piles. So, if it’s pile 1, place it on top of pile 2 and then place pile 3 on top of both of them.

  5. Being careful not to shuffle or cut the cards, repeat steps 3 through 5, ending with the pile that has their card sandwiched between the other two piles.

  6. You’re going to repeat this process one more time (3 times in total). But, when the spectator points to the column with their card in it, this time, you will know that their card is the 4th card down.

  7. Pick up all the cards again, making sure to sandwich their column in the middle of the other two, and turn it over end for end. Their card is now secretly in the 11th position.

  8. Spell out “Your Card Is”, putting down one card for each letter. Since that phrase is 10 letters long, the next card you turn over (the 11th card) will be their card.

Mental Math Magic Prediction

There are no tough mental calculations needed to do this fun mathematical magic trick. It uses one of the easiest ways to force a card known as the "10-20 Card Force." All the magic happens in their hands, making you look like a real life Harry Potter!

  1. Secretly take note of the card at the 10th position in a deck of cards. You can either do this before the trick starts or by secretly looking through the deck after the cards have been shuffled. This will be the card you force your spectator to choose using the 10-20 force.

  2. Instruct your spectator to think of a number between 10 and 20 and then deal down that many cards.

  3. Have them pick up that pile and place it back on top of the deck.

  4. Then have them add the two digits in their head to create a new number (e.g. if they originally chose 14, then 1+4=5).

  5. They then deal down to this new number and look at the card at that position.

  6. You can then pretend to “read their mind” (maybe even tossing in some bits of cold reading) or prove that you knew ahead of time what card they would choose by revealing a prediction that was written down on a piece of paper, texted to your friend ahead of time, posted as a photo on your social media accounts or really anything you can think of. There’s so much room for creativity.

Magician reveals seven of hearts during card trick

Free Beginner Card Magic Course

If you enjoyed these math card tricks, then you’ve got to check out all of our other resources for learning card magic. Discover how to amaze your friends with easy card tricks, the Vanishing Inc. Team’s Favorite Card Tricks, The Top 10 Card Tricks Sold this Year, the interesting history of card tricks or even see how playing cards are made.

We’ve also teamed up with professional magician Paul Wilson to create an 80-minute card magic download where you can learn card tricks and card magic basics for free.

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