What Is Card Magic?

Welcome to the world of card magic tricks. And what a world it is. There are many different facets of card magic, and we’ll take a look at the most common ones in this article. While learning mentalism is becomging more and more popular, our first love will always be card magic. Let’s go!

Beginner Card Magic

One of the first things you do is learn easy card tricks . For good reason. Almost every house has a deck of playing cards, and almost everyone is familiar with them. It's a great form of easy close-up magic to learn.

But, just because something is “beginner level” it doesn’t mean it’s bad or boring. There are some amazing “beginner” tricks that working professionals do at every gig.

Here at Vanishing Inc. we really think learning from magic books is the best way to go. We wrote an article about the best magic books for beginners that we’d recommend you start with.

There’s also a handy list of resources for learning card magic tricks we think you’ll find useful.

Joshua Jay and playing cards

Self-Working Card Magic With A Regular Deck Of Cards

This is a wonderful place to start out your journey in magic. Self-working card tricks are, as the name suggests, tricks that essentially work without you having to do any sleight of hand or moves. Many amazing magicians have created (and perform) tricks that are self-working.

You can get started by learning the easy card trickswe’ve linked right there.

The Daddy of all self-working card trick creators is a gentleman named Karl Fulves. His book, Self Working Card Tricks is just about the perfect place to get started. No skill, no sleight of hand, no dexterity at all needed. Just follow the clear instructions, and you’re an instant magician! You’ll still need to practise your magic, but you won’t need to worry about any secret moves.

A great video for learning amazingly powerful, yet ridiculously easy magic tricks is Super Simple Super Strong. This will give you 16 fantastic card tricks you’ll be wowing your friends and family with in no time.

Woman performing card magic

Sleight Of Hand Card Magic With A Regular Deck Of Cards

At some point, you’ll probably want to start learning more advanced card magic, and take on sleight of hand. This is basically using your hands in a secret way to accomplish the magic. It could be a trick shuffle, a way of controlling a card in the deck so you know where it is, and many more moves.

There are two very good options to start learning sleight of hand with cards. The first is a book called The Royal Road To Card Magic. It was written a while ago, so some of the language is old-fashioned, but the book is superb. In each chapter, you will learn a new piece of sleight of hand, and then a few tricks you can do using that move. As you progress through the book, the moves get harder. By the time you’ve learned everything in the book, you will have enough material to last you a career. Seriously.

Your other option is a series of books called [Card College]https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/card-magic/card-college-volumes-1-5/). There are five volumes and it really does end up with you graduating! It’s the pricier of the two, but it is much more modern and easier to read.

Whichever option you choose, you will be well served. Both are fantastic.

Andi Gladwin Teaching Card Magic

Card Magic With Special Cards

In magic, there are “special” cards. These are also called gaffed cards or gaff decks. There are many popular gaffed decks and they all, in essence, allow you to perform seemingly impossible feats of magic with little to no skill. This is not to say they are just for beginners. Far from it. In fact we’d go so far as to say every single magician in the world has a variety of gaffed decks in their collection. They’re used professionally every night of the week. But… they do allow beginners to make it look like they are more skillful than they really are—which is no bad thing if you ask us!

We often see Svengali Decks, Marked Decks and Invisible Decks sold as beginner items, but they are all incredible tools in the right hands and certainly not limited to people new to magic. But, if you are new, they will let you blow people’s socks off with only a little practise.

The Real Secret To What Card Magic Is

The real secret is that it doesn’t matter so much what you do. If you do self-working tricks or use real knuckle-busting sleight of hand. Trick cards or regular cards. The real secret is how to engage with your audience.

What you say, what story you tell, how you get them to care about what you’re doing. And that all comes down to you. You’ve now got a blank canvas. Pick a trick you want to learn and then work out what you are going to say while you perform it. You can even write a script for it. This will avoid lots of ums and arrs.

Have a think about why you doing what you claim to be doing in the trick. Maybe it’s reading their mind to find their card. Why are you doing that? How did you learn you could read minds? How is it useful for you? If you can answer those questions and weave it into how you perform, you’re going to make your magic much more entertaining for your audiences.