How to Do Magic Tricks With Cards
It’s really not that surprising playing cards are so popular among magicians. They are readily available at any checkout counter, can be carried with you everywhere and offer unmatched versatility in comparison to coin magic or mentalism. There’s even a wide range of stylish custom playing cards that can be used to add a touch of personality to any card trick while jamming at a magic convention or create beautiful visuals as you learn cardistry.
Simply put, everyone knows what playing cards are and you can find a deck of cards in nearly every home. As such, learning card magic is easier than you’d think and often can be done for free. Let’s take a look at how to learn magic tricks with cards.
Magic Tricks with a Regular Deck
Looking back at the history of card tricks, it’s pretty incredible to see how many amazing magic tricks have been developed with nothing more than an ordinary deck of cards in your hand. With just a bit of basic sleight of hand, you can have someone select a card, shuffle the deck and then make the card vanish, reappear, change colors, jump from the middle of the deck to the top of a deck and so much more. Some of the best card tricks can even be learned for free.
We have a ton of free resources and magic downloads where you can learn magic tricks online and become a magician today. You can also head to the non-fiction area of your library and find section 793.8. This is where many of the books every magician should read can be found like Royal Road to Card Magic by Hugard and Braue, Complete Course in Magic by Mark Wilson or Joshua Jay’s MAGIC: The Complete Course and his Amazing Book of Cards.
Magic Tricks with Special or Trick Decks
While some professional magicians known as “purists” or “move monkeys” prefer to use sleight of hand over any gimmicks or gaff cards—modified playing cards designed exclusively for card tricks—there is absolutely nothing wrong with using a trick deck of cards. In fact, many beginner magic kits come with a Svengali Deck or Invisible Deck because they not only allow beginner magicians to create miracles but are still used regularly by magicians around the world.
The variety of available trick decks grows each day, each one offering its own unique capabilities. What’s most important though is that a trick deck of cards looks like a regular deck of cards to the audience. This is why they’re often made from the most popular playing cards in the world—Bicycle Playing Cards.
You should be able to find trick decks or gaffed playing cards at any good online magic shop. Vanishing Inc. has a great selection of gimmicked decks and we’ve even put together a helpful list of the most common trick decks used by magicians , as well as our other favorite gaff cards](/playing-cards/articles/what-is-a-gaffed-card-and-a-gaffed-deck/).
How to Practice Magic Tricks with Cards
If you’re looking to impress your friends and family, then we highly suggest you check out our selection of easy card tricks for beginners that you can do today. Much of this amazing card magic takes almost no practice to learn and some of it is even completely self-working.
However, once you’re ready to take your card magic to the next level, you’ll need to start practicing on a regular basis. Have no fear though, thanks to the fact you can take a deck of cards with you almost anywhere, there are endless ways to practice.
When trying to learn a card trick, many magicians will begin by practicing it as much as they can while doing something else such as watching tv or commuting to work. This “mindless practice” helps eliminate some of the boredom of practicing while also training your muscles to work the way you need them to. It’s also a great way to learn sleight of hand for easy magic tricks with coins.
For moves that are angle-sensitive, meaning that the audience needs to see them a certain way to prevent the secret from being exposed, you might want to also practice in front of a mirror. However, since this can sometimes create a bad habit of staring at your hands during an actual performance, you might be better off filming yourself and watching it back later.
There is also a difference between practicing and rehearsing. While practicing can be done mindlessly, rehearsing requires more dedicated focus. During this phase of learning how to do card magic, you’ll be putting together all the pieces to perform a routine from start to finish, paying careful attention to what you say as much as what you do.
Common Mistakes People Make When Learning Magic Tricks with Cards
With magic downloads making learning card magic easier than ever, many beginner magicians will often attempt to learn too many card tricks or card sleights at once. This can easily overwhelm even the most determined conjuror.
Magic is a marathon not a sprint. Practicing is part of the journey and should not be rushed. Take the time to learn each move and the subtle nuances of a card trick before moving on. As the old adage goes: “don’t practice until you get it right, practice until you can’t get it wrong.”
That being said, magic is also meant to be a performing art. And, far too often, magicians will spend all their time practicing their card magic instead of sharing it. Once you feel comfortable, go out and perform for friends and family. This is the best way to test out new material in a low pressure environment and take the necessary steps toward becoming the best magician you can be.