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Tricks with playing cards are the most popular magic tricks today. Many can be done without long hours of practice. The tricks in this book are good tricks, and easy to do. Later in the book are more tricks that depend not upon sleight of hand, but on special preparation. These will be found in the chapter on advanced magic.
THE FOUR ROBBERS
Hold up four Jacks, which represent four robbers. Tell your audience that the Jacks decide to rob a house, which is represented by the deck. You will place the robbers in different parts of the house, but at the end of the trick they will all appear back together at the top of the house.
Before you start, all you need to do is place any three cards behind the Jacks before you fan them out to show them. Fan out only the Jacks, and keep the three extra cards hidden behind the Jacks.
Now start your patter. Say, "Here are four robbers named Jack, who decided to rob a house. We'll let the deck of cards represent the house." Place the Jacks, with the extra cards on top of them, on top of the deck, face down. Then continue. "The first robber entered the house through a window in the cellar." Take the top card from the deck (which everyone supposes to be a Jack) and push it into the deck near the bottom. Don't let anyone see its face. Push it all the way in, so that it is lost.
Now say, "The second robber went into the house by the front door." Take the top card from the deck (the second indifferent card) and push it into the deck near the center. "The third robber entered the house by the back door." Take the top card again and place it in the deck near the center. "The fourth robber stayed right here on the roof to act as the lookout." Pick up the top card and show it to the audience. Of course, this really is the first of the four jacks. Now replace it on the top of the deck.
Continue your story. "The police came and the lookout warned the other robbers, and, what do you know? Here are all four robbers back on the roof!" as you say this, deal the four jacks, one at a time, from the top of the deck onto the table, face-up, so that everybody can see them.
THE FOUR ACES
In this trick, you hand the spectator a deck of cards, and have him cut it into four equal piles. Then you ask him to transfer numerous cards back and forth from pile to pile and after the cards are seemingly lost and hopelessly mixed-up, the spectator finds an Ace on top of each pile.
The preparation for this trick is very easy. Before you start the trick place the four Aces on top of the deck. Now hand the deck to a spectator and make clear to him that he is going to do the trick; you won't even touch the cards.
Have him cut the deck into four equal piles. Most people cut from left to right, and in all likelihood the pile on his right will be the one with Aces on top. The only thing you must watch is to see where he puts the top pile. Now you try to confuse the spectator by having him move cards around from one pile to another in a seemingly aimless manner. However, you really keep track of the Aces as they are moved. What you want to do is to end with an Ace on top of each pile.
I won't give you any set way of moving the cards, because you probably won't do the trick exactly the same way any time you do it. It would be very hard to follow a pattern anyway, so just to give you an idea, let's call the pile to the spectator's left No. 1 and so on. Pile No. 4 will be the one with the Aces. Start by having the spectator take a card from No. 2 and put it on No. 3. Then take one card from No. 2 and place it on No. 1.
As you perform the trick, don't refer to the piles by number. Just point to them and say, "Take the card from the top of this pile and place it on that pile." You can have him move the cards back and forth as many times as you wish but be sure to keep your eye on the Aces. This may sound confusing, but try it and you will see how easy it is to do, and how baffling! But be sure to get an Ace on each pile before you finish the trick.
ANOTHER ACE TRICK
This is an interesting trick which uses four Aces again. Aces are the highest value cards in most card games and always appeal to an audience.
In this trick you deal the four Aces onto the table, and place three indifferent cards on top of each Ace. Have a spectator select one of the piles, and meanwhile the Aces vanish from the other piles and appear in the selected pile.
To start the trick, place the four Aces on top of the deck, then on top of these place any three cards, as you did in "The Four Robbers" trick. Hold up the four Aces (really seven cards) and show them to your audience. Place the cards on top of the deck.
Deal the top four cards onto the table making four piles. Deal the first card to your left, the second to the right of this, and the third card on your right, leaving room between the second and fourth piles for the fourth card, the first Ace. Now take three cards from the top of the deck (the three Aces) and place them casually on top of the third pile, really on top of the first Ace. Now place three more cards on top of each of the other piles.
You now have four piles of four cards each. To the audience it looks as though you have four piles with an Ace in each.
Now ask a spectator to select a number between one and four. He can't say one or four, because you asked for a number between one and four. This leaves him numbers two or three. If he says two, count the piles from right to left, "one, two." If he says three, count from left to right, "one, two, three," and you will end up on the pile containing the four Aces. Push this pile slightly forward. Now turn over the cards in pile number one. Show the spectators that the Ace has vanished! Repeat this with the other two piles and now you are left with the pile selected by the spectator.
Emphasize that this is the pile he has selected. Turn the cards over quickly, one at a time, and show that the Aces have traveled to the selected pile.
A SIMPLE REVERSE
Have someone select a card, and replace it in the deck. Upon spreading the cards out on the table, one card will be face-down; it will be the card that was selected.
Before you start the trick, turn the bottom card over so that it faces the rest of the cards in the pack. Fan the deck slightly, so as not to expose the turned-over card.
Have someone select a card, and while the spectator is looking at it, secretly turn over the deck so that the bottom or reversed card is at the top of the deck. It will look as if this was the top of the deck. Have the spectator replace the card in the pack, but hold the pack firmly so that he cannot see the other cards in the deck.
Turn around and go to a table, and as you do so, turn the bottom card over so that it will be facing the same way as the rest of the cards. Spread the cards face-up on the table. One card will be reversed. Ask the spectator to name his card. He does so, and you will then turn over the face-down card, which proves to be the card he selected.
SOMETHING ON YOUR MIND
This is a "quickie" and is a gag as well as a trick. Have someone select a card and get it to the top of the deck as explained in The Pass, page 11.
Have the spectator concentrate on his card. Hold the deck in your right hand and place the deck firmly against your forehead, card-faces toward the spectator. This will put the selected card against your head. Press the deck against your forehead hard, and push upward at the same time. Now tell the spectator that the card is on his mind, and it is also on yours. Remove the deck in an upward sweep, and his card will really be "on your mind," stuck to your forehead.
Usually, the card will stick by itself. It will stick better if you moisten your forefinger and get just a bit of moisture on the top card.
Here is a clever way of revealing a selected card. It is revealed by spelling the name of the card. Have someone select a card, and get it on top of the deck as explained in The Pass, page 11. Ask the spectator to name the card. Deal one card face down on top of the table for each letter spelled. The first card placed face down will be the selected card, but you must continue to deal cards until you have named each letter. If the card was the two of clubs, deal the top card-face down-onto the table and say "t," the next card, "w," then "o" and "o-f-c-l-u-b-s."
Now you turn up the last card, which would be the "s" card, and show it to the spectator. It is not his card. Pretend to be embarrassed and say that you forgot to tap the deck!
Pick up the cards from the table, and replace them on top of the deck. The selected card was on the bottom of the pile an the table, and will be buried in the deck when the cards are replaced.
Hand the deck to the spectator, tap it with your forefinger, and ask him to spell out the name of his card, the same way you did, dealing one card for each letter. When he finishes, he will end with his card.
THE RED AND THE BLACK
In this trick you are able to predict the cards in certain piles dealt by the spectator, even though you never touch the cards. You will first write a prediction on a slip of paper and either place it in full view of the audience, or have another spectator hold it. Hand a spectator the deck of cards, and have him shuffle them thoroughly. Now have him deal the cards in pairs face-up onto the table. If he comes to two black cards, he is to place them in one pile; if he comes to two red cards, he is to place them in another pile. If he turns up a red one and a black one together, he is to discard them and lay them face-down.
When he has finished dealing the cards, he is to count the red cards, and the black cards. When he reads your prediction he will find that you have written, "You will have two more red cards than black ones," and he does. How does this happen? Before you hand him the deck remove two black cards from the deck and secretly place them in your pocket. Then write the prediction as above. If you wish, you may remove two red cards, and then your prediction should read, "You will have two more black cards than red ones."
CARD FROM THE POCKET
A spectator deals three cards face-up from the deck and selects one, mentally. You place the three cards in your pocket and then withdraw two. The spectator will name his card, which you will draw from your pocket. Then show that your pocket is empty.
Before you start the trick, place any two cards in your right hand trouser pocket. Push the cards to the top inner corner of the pocket, and you will be able to pull out your pocket and show that it is empty. The cards should face toward your body.
Hand the spectator a deck of cards and ask him to shuffle them. Have him deal any three cards face-up onto the table, and select one just by thinking of it. Pick up the cards, and remember the location of each. The easiest way to do this is to pick up the one of highest value first, then the next lower one, and finally place the lowest value card on top, face-down.
After showing that your pocket is empty place the cards in it and appear to concentrate on the spectator's thoughts. Remove the two cards that you placed in your pocket before the start of the trick, and put them into the center of the deck without showing them.
Now ask the spectator to name his card aloud for the first time. Since you know the location of the cards in your pocket, it will be easy to pull out the one he names. The highest card will be closest to your body, while the lowest will be toward the spectator. Pull the card out quickly after it is named, without fumbling, because the audience believes that you have only one card in your pocket. Lay the card down on the table in front of the spectator, face-down. Ask him to turn it over. Reach back into your pocket and push the two remaining cards up into the top of your pocket and casually show it is empty.
THE PUSH-THROUGH MYSTERY
Three cards are picked from the deck, and one of them is declared the favorite one. The three cards are placed half-way into the deck and pushed until they emerge from the other end. They are pushed through once more and the only projecting card remaining will be the favorite one selected.
This trick works itself. You need to know the card selected by the spectator. Have him pick three cards from the deck. Now lay them face-up on the table in front of him. Ask him to name his favorite card. Fan the deck face-up in front of you and place the first card half-way down into the deck. Now skip two or three cards and place the selected card half-way into the deck. Skip two or three more cards and place the last card halfway into the deck.
Square up the cards and you will have the three cards projecting from the top of the pack. Hold the deck firmly and tap the protruding cards into the deck. Some cards will project from the bottom. Quickly and firmly push these cards back up. The selected card will be the only one protruding from the deck. Remove it and show it to the spectator.
Another way to finish this is to tap the cards into the deck, then wrap the deck in a handkerchief, so that the top half protrudes. Now under cover of the hand kerchief, push upward on the cards that project from the bottom and the selected card will rise from the center of the deck.
THE RISING CARD
A card is selected and returned to the deck. You hold the deck in your left hand and place your right forefinger above the deck. The card will then rise from the deck.
Have someone select a card and return it to the deck. Bring it to the top as explained in The Pass, page 11. Hold the deck by the long edges, in your left hand, with the faces of the cards against your fingers. (This position will hide the lower portion of the deck). Place your right hand behind the deck and extend your right forefinger over the top of the deck. Keep the two middle fingers of your right hand bent double, but extend your little finger, under cover of the deck, and push it against the back of the top card. Raise your right hand slowly and mysteriously and the top-selected card will rise from the deck.
Keep the forefinger just barely touching the top of the card as a guide. It will appear as if you had magnetized your finger and it has attracted the card and caused it to rise from the deck.
THE MAGICIAN "NOSE"
This trick is similar to the last one, in that you cause a card to rise. Use them at different times, not together. Follow the method used in the last trick and with the selected card on the top of the deck, place the deck, face of cards toward the audience, up against your nose. By placing the tip of your nose near the bottom of the deck and slowly lowering the deck and raising your head slightly, the card will rise from the pack, as you use your nose as a pivot.
You can make up a funny patter-about how "nosy" you are, for instance, or how "the nose knows." This one always gets a laugh.
CARDS FROM THE HAT
Here is a clever finish to a card trick. One or several cards are selected, returned to the deck, and the deck is then placed in a fedora hat. You tap the bottom of the hat and the selected card flies into the air, while the deck remains inside.
Have one or several cards selected and returned to the deck. Bring the cards to the top of the deck. See The Pass, page 11.
Keep the opening of the hat toward yourself and place the deck in the hat. Let the deck go into one section, and slide the selected card(s) into the other section. Hold the hat above the eye-level of the audience and make a sharp flip with your forefinger against the crown of the hat on the side where the selected card has been placed. The force of the flip causes the card to fly out of the hat in a most mysterious way. Tip the hat over and let the rest of the deck fall onto the table. This trick is more effective if you use a borrowed hat.