Do Women Like Card Tricks?

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/23/01 11:28 AM

For many years I've heard people say that women hate card tricks.
My impression is exactly the opposite. I've done card tricks for many hundreds of woman and 99% of the time they LOVED it.
What is everyone else's experience?
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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 07/23/01 11:48 AM

I have also heard that alot and have found the opposite to be true.Women seem to enjoy card tricks as much as the other forms of magic. I wonder where that got started? I have found that women do not like sub par material executed poorly by obnoxious performers.
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Postby Guest » 07/23/01 12:18 PM

Speaking as a woman (because I don't know how else to speak), I love card tricks. Like TommyDee insinuates, I think it is not correct to label a particular type of trick as "bad for women" when really you have to look at an individual trick and determine how entertaining it is. For instance, I'd much rather see an entertaining Ambitious Card than a lackluster Sponge Ball routine... leading us to the point of magic overall -- is it exciting and entertaining?

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/23/01 12:41 PM

Hi Miranda,
Welcome to the forum!
Obnoxious performers will most likely fail when performing for women no matter what they do. Women are less charmed by that attitude than men, who seem to find a sort of comraderie in it. True?
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Postby Guest » 07/23/01 12:51 PM

Excluding wives of magicians, I would say that most of the women I have met seem to enjoy card tricks.

Postby Andi » 07/23/01 01:02 PM


In the last few years of performing close-up magic in the real world I've never had a lady comment, "I don't like card tricks." So, if this is the case, why do we still believe that laypeople, and especially women don't like card tricks?

First of all, I'm going to put my life on the line by saying that I believe this old clich is wrong. It's not that people don't like card tricks, it's that they don't like BAD card tricks. There are a select few card tricks that move the magic away from the deck and create a whole new world of mystery and wonder - how can someone not want to experience this new world? From my experience, I believe women are a lot more likely to want to be part of this new adventure than men, who stereotypically would rather prove that the said world cannot and does not exist.

I think that the problem is that very few lay people have ever seen card magic performed in this way; they've either seen a bad magician performing or Uncle Fred showing them a mathematical card trick and they have now become to believe that this is a card trick, which of course, it isn't. To anyone, especially women, there are so many other things that they could be doing, other than watching this kind of 'magic' (if you could call it that). There is so much that makes up a good card trick and I don't think I could list all of the variables here - the main ones in my mind are, personable, interesting, emotional and magical - all things that I know women love.

The next thing I guess is that people don't like bad card magicians! A lot of card magicians I've seen, and I don't mind saying it, bore me - and I have a massive passion for the art! I guess then, that people don't like bad card tricks or bad magicians. They like fun, strong card magic and fun (which doesn't necessarily mean funny) and interesting card magicians.

Just a few random thoughts from a pretty random guy!


[ July 23, 2001: Message edited by: Andi Gladwin ]
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/23/01 01:27 PM

Ooh, boy! Andi's here! Can I torment you over here as well, Andi? ;)

Anyhoo...on this topic. I'd have to say that nobody likes card tricks - except maybe magicians. What women (and men as well) like are people. They like strong personalities and people who create a sense of fun around them (although, like Andi says, fun does not necessarily mean funny). I think the idea of people not liking card tricks comes from the stereotypical "Uncle Bob" who shows everyone the 21 Card Trick over and over and over again. YAWN! Id' be willing to bet, however, that someone like Juan Tamariz or Eugene Burger or anyone of their caliber could take Uncle Bob's entire repertoire, inject their personality and style into it, and then perform it for the exact same group - and that group would have a wonderful time!


[ July 23, 2001: Message edited by: Jim Maloney ]
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 07/23/01 02:21 PM

As already mentioned and suggested by others, the key to ALL magic and especially to card tricks, is to make your presentations meaningful or relevant (in some way) to your spectator.

Women ARE different from men, which Hofzinser obviously knew. If you check out most of his presentations, they are aimed at women...not men. Playing cards were only his props...

By the way, I once toyed with putting out a book titled VENUSIAN CARDSTUFF...(cribbed from the pop-psyche book, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, MAN ARE FROM MARS)...which would consist of killer material for the New Woman...

However...this, like so many other daft projects (such as HETERO MENTALISM), went on the back burner...

Aren't you glad?

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/23/01 02:34 PM

Hetero Mentalism? :eek:
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Postby Andi » 07/23/01 03:10 PM

Originally posted by Jim Maloney:
Ooh, boy! Andi's here! Can I torment you over here as well, Andi?
Jim my friend, you can torment me anywhere you like... as long as you accept that I'll always win! :D

Jon, your thought of releasing a book of magic for the modern women, isn't as daft as you make out! I think it's high time that someone, somewhere injected a little thought back into the magic community on how we can create maximum impact from our spectators by carefully selecting which sex the effect should focus on.

We often read in books to have a lady select a card, but we very rarely read why the author prefers a female, or in fewer cases, a male. I have a number of effects in my repertoire that I will only perform if I am assisted by a female - if I choose correctly, her reaction normally infects into the other spectators, whether it be a loud scream or a shy smile it will be infectious. The same applies for children or people with disabilities, if I could be so bold to pick out such minorities (although I do so in a positive manner).

So, as I stated, maybe it would be good if we could publish an article somewhere (in Genii perhaps?) that looks a little deeper into making the right selections; not only of audience members, but effects to suit those spectators. Of course, a few people have already looked into such theories (such as Hofzinser), but we all need a gentle reminder sometimes... well I do at least!

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/23/01 03:31 PM that a challenge, Andi?

I will torment you on your toes.
I will torment you on your nose.
I will torment you Andi, my man!
I will torment you as best I can!

I could bug you in a box!
I could bug you in my smelly socks!
I could bug you, my favorite England-ian!
Oh I could bug you, Andi, my man!

Alright...enough fun for now. I don't want to frighten all these fine folks here at Genii. Farewell!

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Postby Guest » 07/23/01 04:51 PM

It has been my experience that all women seem to like card tricks, women seem to like magic in gerenal, but I guess it also depends on the performer - if you are not entertaining with your patter and presentation then nobody will like the trick. And card tricks can be especially boring if your presentation is dry. :p :p

Postby Guest » 07/23/01 06:13 PM

Speaking of Card Effects for women, or whatever it is you all were speaking of, I know Nate Kranzo is involved with a book of Romantic effects, a compliation I believe. I got the idea it was a Valentine-y sort of thing.

Perhaps Nate will speak to the matter.

Randy :confused:

Postby Carl Mercurio » 07/23/01 06:42 PM

My good buddy and favorite magician Simon Lovell said it best in reference to the false statement that women don't like card tricks. "There are no boring card tricks, just boring magicians."
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Postby Andi » 07/24/01 02:45 PM

Originally posted by Jim Maloney: that a challenge, Andi?

Well if it ain't my good buddy young Mr Jim,
And he's trying to make a poem up on a whim,
If we compete your losing margin won't be thin,
As if you listen to my name, I'm Andi Gladwin!

On with the subject! Carl - In my opinion, Simon is partially right (but who am I to argue with the master?) but there are a number of effects that are contruscted with a great many built in boring bits! I think you need to put together a fun magician, alongside a potentially fun effect to create maximum impact. Then again, Simon could probably make the most banal task entertaining!

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Postby Jim Morton » 07/25/01 01:52 PM

Just from personal observation, I don't think that women hate card tricks at all. It's just that when women do hate card tricks they really hate them and they let it be known.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/25/01 03:37 PM

Andi's trying to make me cry.
What's the reason? I don't know why.
He's playing tricks with his name
To confuse my brain.
But in his face, I will throw a pie.

Moving along...I would tend to agree with what Simon says. I think a good magician would be able to take the boring parts of any trick and spice them up enough to make it entertaining. I do agree with what Andi said, though - a good magician + a good effect = maximum entertainment.

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Postby Guest » 07/26/01 01:26 AM

Hi All,

And Hi Richard- thanks for asking, the bear is doing very well indeed! :)

Very interesting thread- I would agree with the general feeling that women, like men, like good magic. There are very few people out there who like bad magic. And one of the marks of good magic is that the performance includes the personality of the performer, engages that viewer, and so forth.

I believe that cards are the most common medium for _really bad_ magic, which is why they would be called out for special notice here. Too often, the spectator is expected to be engaged by simply "the adventures of the cards in the performer's hands" (I want to say that's Vernon- anyone out there know who said it?)

Interesting question, Andi, about whom to pick when. I'd be interested to read more about that. In my experience, women are usually easier to direct, less likely to "improvise" or grab stuff, and generally more likely to do whatever I tell them (all gross generalizations, of course). I find that I have to keep closer tabs when I'm working with a male volunteer.

Any other thoughts?



Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/26/01 10:01 AM

Strompf (and anyone else that's interested), I worte a bit about 'casting your volunteers' over at the Kevin James board. The general idea was that every effect is like a mini-play, and as such, you should cast appropriate 'actors' (volunteers) in the roles needed. For example, choosing a large, muscular man to contrast with a Mac King-like performer. Or, imagine if David Copperfield chose a small boy to fly with him instead of a woman. It would change the whole feel of the piece - instead of being a romantic moment, it would be fulfilling the dream of the young boy, just like David was fulfilling his long time dream. It's definitely something interesting to think about, how your choice of volunteers can affect the perception of the piece. If anyone is interested in the full essay, let me know and I will give you the link.

The term "The Adventure of the Props in the Performer's Hands" is, I believe, a phrase from Eugene Burger.


[ July 26, 2001: Message edited by: Jim Maloney ]
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Postby Eric DeCamps » 07/26/01 11:28 AM

"Obnoxious performers will most likely fail when performing for women no matter what they do. Women are less charmed by that attitude than men, who seem to find a sort of comraderie in it. True?"


While I personally subscribe to your statement in my work. There are always exceptions to the rules. I can think of three right off the bat. Without having to name names and just for fun let see if you can guess whom I am referring to.

The first one is already legendary for his exploits. Although I would not consider him to be an obnoxious performer I know he has done some outrageously wild things while performing card magic and has managed to charm everyone around him.

The second one is not a legend yet in this "category" but is well on is way. He is very well educated and cultured. Yet he can perform a card trick and be as rude and crude as any truck driver, construction worker or longshoreman and somehow manage to charm some of the most sophisticated and successful people of today.

The third one is a graduate from the school of hard knocks. Actually this is the person that has impressed me the most in magic. He is one of the most successful magic entertainers of our generation. Working only for the rich and famous. I would not believe this if I had not seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears but this performer has said some of the wildest statements I have ever imagined and the client would just laugh with him, hug him and tell him how much they love him. This person is blessed with a gift and he has learned how to use it.

Please do not misinterpret this post and think that the people I am referring to always perform this way. They do not. They all have the commonsense and the God given instincts to judge when and where they can do this.

Eric DeCamps

[ July 26, 2001: Message edited by: Eric DeCamps ]

[ July 26, 2001: Message edited by: Eric DeCamps ]
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Postby Guest » 07/26/01 03:56 PM

Hi Jim,

Interesting stuff- I'd like to read the full essay you wrote on this topic- would you please either post or e-mail me the url?

Thanks so much,


Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/26/01 06:38 PM

Sure, strompf. Here's the link: KJmagic Board - Who, Part Two

Enjoy, and let me know what you think!

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Postby Guest » 07/26/01 10:30 PM

Some great points, Jim. I have done that kind of thinking about a couple of routines I do, but I'm going to look at the rest of my repertoire with this concept in mind, too.

The volunteer you select does have a lot of impact on the message/feeling/ (chemistry?) of the piece. It will also change where you take the whole audience, since not only is the symbolism different, but you would deal with different volunteers differently. You can talk to and behave with an adult in ways you can't with a child. And the same with male and female volunteers.

Hmm- thanks for the inspiration! :)

Postby Guest » 08/17/01 09:23 AM

I think there are two separate reasons why certain effects are gender-specific.

If a magician produces a rose from nowhere and gives it to a female spectator, that's nice. And it's nicer than giving it to a male spectator. But would it have the same charm if the magician was female? - no, it wouldn't, because it was an understated romantic/gallant gesture on the part of the male magician. It would still be an appealing effect performed by a female magician, but one small part of its charm would perforce be missing.

But the gender-specific appeal of effects that have no romantic content is different. Men like to work out how it's done, women like to be amazed. Yes, I know, that's a huge generalisation, but it is in general true. And since many card effects (especially the ones performed by sozzled old Uncle Jim at Xmas) are not amazing but are simply something to work out, women therefore enjoy them less than men.

A great effect performed well has no gender boundaries. But I can see why people think "oh no" when a someone says "pick a card" (or, even worse, counts out 21 cards). And I can see why women think "ok no" more strongly than men do.

Well, that's my first post on the Genii board written. Phew!

Dave Le Fevre

Postby Guest » 08/18/01 09:52 PM

Hi Dave!
I know what you mean! But its easier once the first ones written.
Back to the original question. IMO I think this idea cropped up due to "gambler" effects.
I tend to notice that not a lot of women keep the interest going when you start to deal out hands of pairs, flushes etc. (Then again. Maybe thats just my effects!)
But on the other hand. Can you imagine asking a man to sign his selected card, then in a (loud) whisper "also your phone number."
I doubt that would go over as good as it does when your showing a woman the effect.
Apart from the gambler routines Ive always found women to be a better audience!
Show a woman a card trick and she is entertained.
Show this same effect to a man and he loses the entertainment value because he`s trying to get ahead of you and work it out!
Also. I`d have to agree with Andi. I dont think Ive ever heard a woman say that they dont like card tricks.
Of course! My wife doesnt count! :)

Postby Guest » 08/24/01 11:14 PM

I have found over some forty years of doing magic that women are even better audiences than men for card tricks. They are every bit as familiar with cards as men--something that may not have been true in the old days when the bromide was established--and they are less ego-centric than men for the most part, which makes them a better audience.

Watching guys try to use magic to pick up girls is very enlightening however. I have seen again and again young magicians make the same mistake. They do not know when to stop.

Once a woman comes up and says "That was great!" the magician should put the cards away and say "Thanks. So what do you do?" or some other question that shows interest.

The lady is probably just using the magic trick as an occasion to strike up a conversation and find out more about the performer.

What tends to happen instead is that the magician will go into one trick after another trying to impress the poor lady further. She will eventually decide the magician is a jerk and retreat.

I know this is somewhat off subject, but certainly related. Lady magicians may have a completely different take on this subject, and I would love to hear what they have to say.

I admit that my direct experience in this area is dated. My wife does not let me do any scientific experimenting along this line, but I am always intrigued by the dynamics.

Especially by the impression men can make when they perform magic for women. This is a topic to which women magicians could add a lot of valuable insight.

What are some of the most common mistakes men make when performing for women? What approaches make magic more fun?

Postby Guest » 09/06/01 11:16 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with Whit (by the way, Whit, Heath McMillan says hi).
Women are the best in responding to strong performance pieces. Guys, comparatively, tend to just sit there staring while women will scream, jump, yell, etc. I got a chance to perform for the wives of a couple of our local NFL guys, the Titans, while at Starbucks about 3 weeks ago. The routines weren't revolving around me and my cards, but around them, their imaginations, their dreams...I can only tell you, their responses were incredible.
By the way, I'm soon doing some private home parties for these wonderful folks.

Postby Guest » 09/07/01 12:15 AM

Well Whit,

You have touched upon something that has puzzled me for years. I have come across many of those "how to get women with magic" books, and I simply cannot give them any credence. Magic is, IMHO, a _wonderful_ icebreaker, and I believe it can be used as a hook to open a conversation with someone, but that's about it. Once you have someone's attention, you are pretty much on your own, I think. I find it hard to believe that someone is going to go out with you _only_ because you found their card, or whatever. Now if you can follow that up with conversation, charm and wit, the world can be your oyster. That's my theory behind the overkill Whit mentioned- if one trick to get their attention works, then many tricks must surely get you their phone number, or whatever. It just doesn't work that way!

Postby Guest » 09/28/01 01:25 PM

Wow lots of great posts on here! My two cents. First I agree with the statement that lay people and women specifically do not hate card tricks. In fact I think it is Magicians ( in general) that hate the tricks.
I have spoke to many magicians who say that their audiences don't like card tricks so they don't do them. What I think they are really saying is that they hate card tricks because they have seen so many.
This topic reminds me of Eugene Burgers' love hate relationship with Sponge Balls.
I believe when you are a worker that YOU don't get to decide what to perform your AUDIENCE decides. If you work at a restaurant or similiar venue where you have guests returning to see you, listen to them, what are they asking to see again?
Referring to Mr. Haydn's interest ;) in young Magicians using their skills to attract women, I agree that most don't know when to stop. When I was single and was out with friends sometimes the opportunity would arise (bad choice of words perhaps) to perform for a young lady (also maybe bad choice of words). I would do one trick and ONLY if I were asked. That one trick got me more dates than anything I ever tried.
A female friend told me once if a guy approached her and asked her if she wanted to see a magic trick she would tell him "no I don't like magic". She said that he couldn't be very interesting if he needed to do a trick to initiate conversation. However she did say that if she met a guy and through the course of conversation found out he was a magician she would probably ask him to show her something. Anyway sorry about the ramble really great thread!

Postby Dan Luxenberg » 09/28/01 02:44 PM

I have to say that in my experience I have found that women do indeed enjoy card tricks.

I even admit to (in my single days) using magic to pick up women. I'd NEVER walk up to a woman and say 'I'm a magician...wanna see a trick'. I'd simply let it be known in the course of conversation that one of my hobbies was magic. Invariablly the woman would ask to see a trick. Worked like a charm ;-)

On the topic of audiences and card tricks, we have to remember that it is the EFFECT and the performance/entertainment that lay audiences enjoy. They couldn't care less if you're doing knuckle busting sleights.

In fact, one of my most requested effects is a simple card force and revelation. You know, a 'pick a card, shuffle it into the deck, is this your card?' effect. Boring? From a magician's perspective, absolutely.

However, I have developed a great build up/patter and audiences find the routine entertaining. *shrug*

I always try to put myself in the layman's shoes when deciding if an effect is worth performing. The entertainment value of the effect is WAY more important to me than the method.

I believe that the 'magic' a performer creates is in knowing how to take sleights and gimmics and routines and produce hours of entertainment - Presto Chango ;)
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Postby Guest » 10/03/01 04:45 PM


I SO hope you are reading this! My new set of lecture notes is titled " Card Tricks Are From Venus, Mentalism Is From Mars". It discusses the predisposition of males/females to respond to certain categories of effects and then provides specific effects that support my approach.

This is all borne of 15 years experience performing magic at close up, stand up and mentalism levels.

I may be wrong, but my experience performing magic in the 'real world' seems to suggest otherwise!

Please ask me more about this...

Postby El Mystico » 10/22/01 10:45 AM

Fascinating topic!
Twice recently men have asked me to teach them a few tricks, because having seen me work, they've said "It really gets the girls".
Thinking about it, there are some tricks that work better for men, some that are better for women. and some that work well for both. an example - Vernon's 5 card mental force (as properly explained on the Revelations Video series) - I would only do for a man - and a particular type of man at that. Poker routines I would only do for a man. 3 card monte I would only do for a man.Most sucker routines I would only do for a man. But there are plenty of tricks that go down well with women. Colour changes. A Tipsy Trick. Cards Across especially. I think women have had enough of men trying to be one up on them, so that sort of presentation needs to be avoided, the edge taken off it in the presentation.
Take the trick I first came across in Royal Road, where a card is selected and replaced, someone else tries to find that card, fails, you do a top change, and it really is the card. I've tried it with partners. If the man chooses the card, and the woman fails to find it - its OK. If the woman chooses the card, and her male partner fails to find it - it is 10 times more effective.
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Postby Bill Duncan » 10/22/01 10:28 PM

...3 card monte I would only do for a man.

Odd you should say that. I was recently visiting Victoria BC and stopped by to see Tony Eng at Tony's Trick & Joke shop.

While I was there a couple brought in their two kids one of which was an 8 or 9 year old girl. Tony did the same 3 card monte I'd seen him do a half dozen times for adults. The little girl followed every bit and gag and clearly had the time of her life "playing" the monte.

I'm begining to think that age and gender don't have a lot to do with how people react to good magic... perhaps age and gender only matter as far as attracting initial interest?
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Postby Guest » 10/23/01 04:45 PM

Originally posted by Dom:

"tricks that go down well with women."

I love the international command of the English language. It says so much with so little. :)

If the man chooses the card, and the woman fails to find it - its OK. If the woman chooses the card, and her male partner fails to find it - it is 10 times more effective.

Very interesting observation. It is parallel to something I discovered in an Improv Workshop. What women know about men is true, but what men know about women is fantasy.

When the woman fails to find the man's card, this is clearly just a her tension, no drama.

When the man fails to find the woman's card this is a little play based on reality. ;) The man is under pressure to prove himself to her (tension, conflict, drama)

It is a peculiar but very real phenomenon.

And Bill Duncan shared "age and gender don't have a lot to do with how people react to good magic..."

It is amazing the powerful appeal of GOOD magic.

Bravo gentlemen!

Tom Cutts

[ October 23, 2001: Message edited by: Tom Cutts ]

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