Is this your card? Did you know you had a coin in your ear?
July 25, 2011 7:39 AM   Subscribe

Is this your card? Did you know you had a coin in your ear?

After watching a few episodes of Penn & Teller's "Fool Us" (great show worth trying to get if you aren't in the UK, fwiw) I would like to learn some magic tricks. HOWEVER, I don't want to buy a magic 'kit' that is intended for kids (or maybe I do?).

I would like to learn some tricks that either use every day objects (so I could impress my friends in a pinch) or utilize a deck that has not been tampered with (so that I could pick up any deck and use it for a trick).

I don't know if I should be looking at buying individual tricks, or if I should be buying a book on card tricks, or maybe both?

I'm an absolute beginner, so I would need stuff that is either for beginners or could be learned through enough practice. Ideally I would like to pay around $30. I do not want to carry a rubber chicken around in my pants.

Thank you in advance!
posted by darkgroove to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
There are a ton of videos on the net (google "learn slight of hand tricks"). You could watch them and see how it's done.

Then it's just practice practice practice.
posted by royalsong at 7:41 AM on July 25, 2011

Response by poster: Ahh, silly me. Didn't think of searching youtube/google for these kind of tricks.
posted by darkgroove at 7:47 AM on July 25, 2011

Actually, try "sleight of hand".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:53 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: If anyone had any links to good *basic* slight of hand/card tricks, that would rock. There are a lot of links to sort through.
posted by darkgroove at 7:55 AM on July 25, 2011

There are a few extremely classic card manipulation DVDs out there also. Jeff McBride's series comes to mind. They look... extremely cheesy. But there is a lot of good info in there. About 2 minutes after I started watching the first one I could palm a card onto the top of the deck.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:56 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I would also suggest checking out Brian Brushwood's Scam School. It's a great series of simple tricks and puzzles.
posted by Ikazuchi at 8:00 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

There are countless resources for "learning tricks." It's not so difficult to fool someone. It is much more difficult to entertain them while you're doing it.

Showing someone a trick is like showing them an unsolvable puzzle that leaves them scratching their heads. But performing an act of magic draws your spectators in, entertains and delights them, and leaves them with a feeling of wonder. The ability to do that is the true secret of magic.

That's why I always recommend The Amateur Magician's Handbook. There are TONS of awesome tricks in the book, and all the classic "sleights" are covered. More importantly, the opening chapters of the book discuss showmanship, pacing, misdirection, and the concept of entertainment. Those chapters are the most valuable.

Have fun!
posted by The Deej at 8:06 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

From your profile, it looks like you're in NY? I saw this article about magicians who get together to teach and practice tricks in a midtown resturant. It sounded so awesome. I'd love to hear from someone what it's actually like.
posted by goggie at 8:40 AM on July 25, 2011

nthing "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" and "Royal Road to Card Magic"

Card College is great but expensive. Actually really expensive because it's five volumes!

Royal Road and Modern Coin Magic can, on occasion, be found in regular book stores but usually you'll need to go to/order from a magic shop. But check out the hobbies and games section of your local bookstore or library and you'll be surprised at what you can find.

If you can find this book and a deck of cards you can get started for under $15 easy. They appear to be out of stock there (full disclosure, I used to work there. Great shop. But I'm biased). Despite the title they are not the worlds best card tricks. But they're not too bad and they're aimed at the absolute beginner. You'll learn a few tricks and a handful of sleights, like false shuffles and double lifts, that will serve you well for as long as you care to do card tricks. And it'll give you enough exposure to see how far down the rabbit hole you really want to go.

If you want to pursue it further Royal Road and The Amateur Magicians hand book are good. But there are other, more modern, books/videos which might suit you better.

There is also the Card College Light (Lighter, and Lightest) series which is entirely self-working tricks. That is tricks which don't require any sleight of hand (Which doesn't necessarily mean they're easy).

And that's only scratching the surface.

And it's just cards.

I could go on and on, as you might guess from my name....
If you want more info, help, whatever feel free to memail me.
posted by Mister_Sleight_of_Hand at 10:49 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

The pleasure of card tricks is that, once upon a time, it was a trick done with an everyday object. People tended to carry cards around with them, so you were just whipping something out of your pocket that anybody might have and doing something fantastic.

There is still a lot of pleasure to card tricks, but I think when somebody pulls out a deck of cards nowadays, a lot of people expect a trick is going to be done with it. If you're looking to recapture some of the shock that originally accompanied card tricks, look into magic with everyday objects (here's an example of a book about the subject; I had that years ago and will still sometimes do something at the dinner table that causes everybody's eyes to bug out).

And the best part is, it's all stuff that's just on hand, and many of the trick are done with no preparation at all.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:08 AM on July 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

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