Your Card Routine

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 08/16/01 07:35 PM

This is my first post on this forum, so I was wanting to find out a few things about your magic.

When you go to an event, party, even just while your at work....

What is your card routine when someone hands you a packet of cards and asks you to perform a few effects on the spot. Do you just have one long interesting effect, or is it broken down into different effects which work well together ?

My approach to a good card routine would be opening with an effect where the audience think I have made a mistake in my routine, for a few reasons, one it makes the ending even more of a kicker, and secondly the audience feel comfortable in your presence because they realise you, and your act are going to be fun. I usually open with either Dunbury Aces (Charlie Miller/Dave Lederman) or Thats It (Eddie Fechter). Now I usually move into something a little more dramatic that gets the audince interested, thinking and most important involved. I find that the more involved the audince are the more they enjoy the routine, and the more interested they will be. I find performing the great effect Overkill (Harris/Ackerman/Emberg) allows the audience to enjoy your final sequence even more, because there amazement just keeps building up inside them. For my finale i will often close with either Play It Straight Triumph (John Bannon) this i find to be a great effect, or Reset (Paul Harris).

When performing 'Packet' tricks I like to keep the ammount of these to a minimum, so at maximum 1 per performance. For a great reaction I will usally perfor The Web (Jim Pace). It is simple to follow with a kicker ending.

I have also tried The Ultimate 3 Card Monte (Micheal Skinner). This trick also gets great reactions, and the way it ends with the ace on the table often gets the audience begging for more.

Thanks For Your Time
Colin Mcleod

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: Colin ]

Postby Ed Oschmann » 08/16/01 08:40 PM

Wow, a close-up act completely sponsored by L&L publishing. :eek:
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/16/01 08:56 PM

Now, Ed, not all of those things are in books published by L&L ...
though none of them are in any of my damn books! :eek:
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Postby Jeremy Medows » 08/16/01 11:39 PM


You're right that they're not in the L&L books, those tricks are found on their videos. I'm also sure you could the other two in their catalog.

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Postby Paul Cummins » 08/17/01 04:50 AM

"Thats It (Eddie Fletcher"

I would just point out that it is "Fechter" and not "Fletcher".
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Postby Guest » 08/17/01 07:09 AM

Hi firstly, im greatly sorry about the typo of the great Eddie Fechter, this was a mistake, and I have corrected it.

Ok, these are on several different L&L publishing videos, whats the problem with that. I only wanted to know what kind of routine you would perform on the spot ?


Postby Gerald Deutsch » 08/17/01 07:42 AM

Colin asks what one would do when handed a deck of cards at a party.

One thing I like to do is riffle the deck and ask a spectator to say "stop", break at that point and raise the upper part of the deck for the spectator to look at the card. The spectator has a peculiar look on his face and, puzzled at why he does, I too look at the card and find it shows a back. I then go through the entire deck and find they are all backs on both sides and give back the deck saying "I can't do anything with these>'

It's of course my version of Dai Vernon's "All Backs" and done with a borrowed deck makes it a very strong effect.
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Postby Guest » 08/18/01 12:04 PM

I can't speak for audiences in Scotland but I would like to put forth a thought.

It is generally not a good idea to start your show with failure. It makes your audience uncomfortable if they are not familliar with you.

Proving that you are competant first will allow them to settle in and be comfortable with you. Instead of making a mistake to put the magician on the same level as the common audience member, present yourself as the same as them with this one little diffference.

It helps to humanize the experience of magic.

Postby Bill Duncan » 08/19/01 02:42 AM

Dingle's "The Card For Head Trick" from the black Symposium book by some guy from New York.

It works fine with any deck, never fails to entertain, and establishes that you're not that kind of guy who would do the 21 card trick ever.
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Postby Guest » 08/19/01 07:57 AM


Gerald that sounds like a great effect, especially when it is done with the spectators pack.

Tom, I was only speaking from experience, but as you have probably had more of it than me, I will certainly modify my routine a litte. Thanks.

Bill thats a great routine. I saw Amazing Jonathan perform this one. He performed it very well and it got great reations from not just the spectator who picked the card, but from the full audience.

Thanks again for your time
Colin Mcleod

[ August 19, 2001: Message edited by: Colin ]

Postby Curtis Kam » 08/20/01 03:05 PM

What happenned to my reply? It just sort of vanished. I'll try again, and perhaps Richard can piece it all together:

I just wanted to drop a note to Gerald, I love the "All Backs" app. I use it in a similar way in a fairly common situation (here in Hawaii) where you are performing for people who speak an entirely different language. (usually Japanese or some dialect of Chinese) Still, certain things are universal (there seems to be an internationally accepted set of gestures for "take a card and show it around" for instance.) and very often someone will ask if he can shufle the deck, or examine the cards. I play with the situation a bit, then hand him the deck. Once's he's through, I take back the deck and go into an "inadvertent all-backs" like you described, all the while blaming him for messing up the cards. (something that's also easy to do without a single word in common)

To further avoid the point, but address an interesting sideline, Colin, don't feel too bad about the "L & L publishing" stuff. I can recall a time when my close-up act was entirely Paul Harris material! Eventually, we grow out of such things.

Not to go on too much longer, but to answer your original question--a year ago, I would have told you this: I put together two different routines that feature about eight effects in each. Both start from a shuffled deck, and each has its own little theme (one is sandwich effects, the other is "four-of-a-kind" effects)When handed a deck, I'll start either one, and if the reaction to the first bit is good, I'll do the next trick. It's "modular" so I can stop at the end of any effect, and not do the rest.

It's a very practical idea, and not having to think about what you're going to do leave you free to listen to the audience, which is much more important.
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Postby Guest » 08/20/01 03:39 PM

My standard party trick is my version of "Vanishing 12 beers".

If someone whips out a deck of cards, I usually perform the Eddie Fields discovery trick (can't remember the name). That way I can find their selected card without really touching the deck.

Postby Guest » 08/20/01 09:14 PM

As a newcomer in the world of Magic, my knowlegde of cards is somewhat limited, but one of my favorite card routines is where I "flip" over each ACE using a Flustration Count. Afterwards, I like to perform Poker Player's Picnic from "Royal Road to Card Magic". And then I usually end with a simple 8 card Oil and Water which I read in the Sept.1998 issue of Linking Ring.

Postby Ed Oschmann » 08/20/01 09:58 PM

My sincere apologies about the comment that I made. It was something that crossed my mind as funny at the time which I never should have posted.
Seriously, you have excellent taste in strong, commercial magic. If you can get a copy of 'The Commercial Magic of J.C. Wagner, I highly recommend it. It has very good handlings of classic plots, which you seem to lean towards.
Again, sorry.
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Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/21/01 10:43 PM

If given a deck at a party,(and I don't wish to do a whole routine), if I have not already done so when offered the deck, I get a peak at the bottom card. Then I make a prediction, do whatever self working routine allows them to handle the cards the whole time. Turn over the prediction, say nothing and go get a drink.
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Postby Monte » 08/27/01 11:46 AM

My version Of open travelers. It is basically the handling Martin Nash uses. Than a bit of eugene burger. For the climax is my handling in which the spectator actually does the invisible palm.

That always leaves them talking about me for the rest of the night.
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Postby Sean Macfarlane » 08/28/01 11:19 PM

I like to start out with Jennings opener, hits then hard, possibly the Ambitious card, I've been lately using Doug Conn's Connversion and getting great reactions, one day I would like to use Bill Kalush's routine the fidgeting card from the secret sessions series.
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Postby Guest » 08/29/01 02:34 AM

Sorry i have been posting anything latley but i have been really busy with school work. Ed Oschmann dont worry about it, i knew you were only having a laugh. I have latley been learning the pass, On The Pass (Richard Kaufman), so im going to work some rouitnes with it, or work it into other ones. Also trying to learn Guy Hollingworths reperation.


ps: Mr Kaufman, its an amazing video taugh very well, and has to be the best resource for the pass. Colin.

Postby Pete McCabe » 08/29/01 07:23 PM

When the shuffled deck is in halfway decent condition I'll do Lorayne's Poker Deal. This requires setting the 10 - K of Spades on top, but that it easily done by a spread cull while removing the aces.

This is an astounding trick made much more so IMO by using a borrowed deck and culling the setup.

If the cards are not amenable to a cull (never happened yet) or if I just want to start off with a different flavor, I will do a three-trick set: the Triple Prediction (commonly credited to Maurice Fogel but apparently much much older), followed by Gemini Twins (from Fulves' More Self Working Card Tricks, I think), followed by David Regal's "The Oldest Trick in the Book" from his recent lecture notes and, I assume, his upcoming next book.

This has a nice progression from you predicting three cards selected by a slightly mathematical procedure, to you predicting two cards selected by an even fairer procedure, to you having a miniature card in your wallet -- put there before they even asked you to do a trick -- that matches a single card selected by the fairest possible procedure.

This last trick requires that you carry a miniature card around in your wallet all the time. When you read David's trick (or see him do it) you'll immediately stick a mini card in your wallet and leave it there!

None of these three tricks require any sleight of hand, so if I'm a bit nervous (as an amateur that happens sometime even for friends) I will frequently start with this trio before moving into more "physical" magic.
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Postby Guest » 08/29/01 11:51 PM

I really like Paul Cummings' trick "Counting On It" for a quick impromptu effect. Also Paul Wilson's "Randall Flagg" is good, too. Both these effects are tight, mystifying,and be performed after the consumption of 4 or more beers. For 8+ beers, I like shuffle the borrowed pack, then quickly cull the stack necessary for Lennert Green's "Fractal Harmony"..hehe...right.

Postby Guest » 08/30/01 07:41 AM

I was kicking around the idea of writing a book of card effects to perform at parties based on the number of beers you have consumed.

Tricks to do if you have had 4 beers or less will be "openers", 5-12 beers will be "main effects", and more than 12 beers will be "closers".

It is tentatively called "The Expert Under the Card Table".

Then again, maybe this book isn't such a good idea.

Postby Guest » 08/30/01 10:59 AM

I always seem to do a Francis Carlyle Transposition trick from "ultimate secrets".
It's always been the trick that I'll go into if handed a deck. Habit I guess.
I also like 'untouched' But hey, who doesn't.

Postby Pete McCabe » 08/30/01 04:44 PM

I forgot to mention in my last post, but Paul Cummins has an entire two-volume book called "From a shuffled Deck in use..."

If someone hands you a shuffled deck, you can do any of these tricks to great effect.

Although this two-volume set is technically called lecture notes, the material is absolutely top notch and makes many tradional "books" pale in comparison. The only thing FASDIU lacks is illustrations, but I've never had any problem learning the material from Paul's words alone.

With this material you will never be at a loss when someone hands you a deck.

It's also a great idea to make sure the tricks in your repertoire can be done without any previous setup. It makes it much easier to put together a routine when you can put the tricks in any order.

One of my pet peeves is authors introducing tricks that take a setup with the words "this requires a small setup that can easily be done while idly toying with the deck between tricks."

I can't imagine a professional doing this, of course. Imagine the dead time! But even in an amateur setting, what effect does it create on your audience that you toy with the deck and then do your trick?

So I've always followed the dictum that if a trick requires a setup (i.e. a setup that you can't arrange on the fly during the trick), it has to be either an opener or strong enough to justify a deck switch.

With so much great material like Paul's that doesn't require any setup, there just doesn't seem to be any point in messing around with less-than-outstanding tricks that require a setup.
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Postby Guest » 09/03/01 05:27 AM

If Im just handed a pack and I know I`ll only be performing the one effect, I normally dont take it but tell the spectator to shuffle it up then hand it around for a few more people to also shuffle.

While this is being done,I`ll write out a "prediction".

Then, again without touching(?) the pack, I perform Vernon`s Trick That Cannot Be Explained.

[ September 03, 2001: Message edited by: Ronnie ]

Postby Guest » 09/05/01 11:49 PM

I do my presentation for the Biddle trick, then Swain's Icebreaker (this is great for getting the screams). If I can work in my deck, which just happens to be set up for it, I do Maven's "The Hawk". This is the killer and allows me to go into what I really love, mentalism.
Rick :D

Postby Jamie Badman » 09/07/01 11:52 AM

'The Oldest Trick in the Book' sounds like a great effect and I'm always on the lookout for nice effects that allow me to add something else to my wallet (as opposed to most stuff which seems to entail me taking stuff OUT of it!).

Any idea where I can get my hands on a set of David Regals notes with this effect in ? Does he have a website or email address or is there a dealer who stocks it ?


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Postby Guest » 09/18/01 12:34 AM

Well I try to do a very simple effect that has a killer effect. This is it I get the deck shudffled by a spectator. I take the deck and have thenm peek a card. I control the card to the top via the side steal. Show the bottom card then a double to show waht is believed to be the top. Turn it back down, no cuts moves or shuffles have been seen. I lift off the top card (selection) and spin it on my finger tip. Ask the spectator to name the card and turn it over to show the change. As I say this is very simple but I cannot tell you the effcet this has on a lay audience. It is fast and extremely magicial.

Try it..


Postby Chris Bailey » 09/22/01 04:31 AM

I've been using Sankey's Back In Time for years. A nice in-the-hands Triumph with a nice presentation based on traveling back in time when the deck was all face down and the indifferent card in the spectators hand was their selection. I'm convinced Sankey makes up tricks all day long, then goes to sleep and dreams new tricks as well. Any news on a new Sankey book Richard?
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