mental card tricks

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Brian Marks » 07/23/01 05:14 PM

I am looking to do card trick with a more mentalist feel in my walk around act. where might I find some good ones?
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Postby Guest » 07/23/01 05:29 PM

You could use a memorized stack (like Si Stebbins). If you didn't disturb the stack, you could do several very strong routines.

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/23/01 06:44 PM

Just a note: Si Stebbins is not considered a memorized stack. It is a cyclic stack. The main difference is that a memorized deck does not have a specific pattern or cycle to it - you can get a memorized deck by taking a throughly shuffled deck and memorizing that order. Simon Aronson and Juan Tamariz (among others) have done a lot of work with memorized decks and their own stacks, while still apparently random, do have certain built in features. Also, with memorized decks, you know the position of each card by number. For instance, in the Tamariz stack, the 4C is in position 1, the KD is #26, and the last card in the stack is the 9D. Cyclic stacks such as Si Stebbins and Eight Kings can start with any card and that starting card will determine the rest of the stack.

Now, onto the main question. A lot of good mentalism using cards can be found in Anneman's Practical Mental Effects. In fact, you can check out any of the basic texts and find good mentalism with cards. Sometimes, it may just be the presentation that changes a "card trick" into "mentalism."

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Postby Guest » 07/23/01 06:59 PM

I would highly recommend Steve Ehler's "Three Card Location" in Allan Ackerman's book: Las Vegas Kardma. This is a killer "mindreading" effect with a memorized deck.

Postby Guest » 07/23/01 08:18 PM

I have recently come across a totally memorized stacked deck by harvey berg. It would not be right for me to post his stack as he is still selling it but i can recommend it because i learnt every card in every position in just a few hours. Every card can be named in any position within a split second.
I use this stack by allowing two specs to each cut to a card and mix the cards up.i can now name both cards without ever touching or even looking at the deck.
A very potent weapon.
Hope this helps, Email me for more details, Newton.

Postby Ed Oschmann » 07/25/01 12:17 AM

Dai Vernon's masterpiece: Out of Sight Out of Mind!
I agree with Don. Learn Steve Ehler's 3 card location. Perform this well and people will become very afraid of you.
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Postby Dan Luxenberg » 07/25/01 10:19 AM

Personally, I think that 'Kolossal Killer' is a GREAT Mentalism card effect. I perform it via walk around and treat it more as an 'invisible deck' card effect, but there are several GREAT mentalism handlings.
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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 06:51 PM

I agree with Dan but I would advise using Kenton Kneppers original version which uses your normal everyday wallet not the one sold by Larry Becker which uses a gaffed wallet etc.
Also, I have used Steve Ehlers effect for many years and it is indeed superb but I don't think you can beat Histed Heisted from Aronson's Bound to Please for what must be the ultimate in mental card effects with a memorized stack. Try it once and you will be convinced.
Also using a memorized stack for the diary trick is perfect for walk around magic (See Simply Simon by Aronson).
Completely impromptu and a killer!

Postby Dave Shepherd » 07/25/01 11:54 PM

If you are in control of a real memorized stack (I use the Tamariz stack), then Barrie Richardson's close-up version of Any Card at Any Number is very strong. Clean, straightforward, stunning.

Now, at the IBM convention I saw him do it with a borrowed deck, which blew my mind. I spoke with him briefly about it, and he wouldn't hint at the method, but I think I have an idea. Barrie encouraged me to work it out, so I'm still awake at midnight!

At any rate, even using your own deck (which is essentially a full, ungaffed deck--read Theatre of the Mind) it is very strong.

Dave Shepherd

[ July 26, 2001: Message edited by: Dave Shepherd ]
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Postby HighQ » 07/29/01 05:30 PM

The best mental card trick that I do is a version of Think-a-card on Mark Mason's real World Magic Video vol 1. They shuffle a deck and you fan them out until they merely think of one. Each card is seen, none are hidden. You shuffle and then reveal it. It is super easy. I saw him blow everyone away at a lecture with this over and over. He said before the night is over, we would all be doing it. I've been doing it ever since.
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Postby Guest » 07/31/01 02:08 PM

Given the often constricting nature of walk-around I have found a very strong, quick, easy to follow routine which makes quite an impression.

Scarne's Double Prediction.

Warren Steven's taught it to me. The nuance he taught (I think it's his.) is what really sells it to me and allows me to sell it to my audience.

My presentation is about the spectator, which is the crux of mentalism's appeal.

Tom Cutts

Postby Guest » 08/01/01 03:02 PM

Of course! , I forgot that you do not have yet in english the last book from Juan Tamariz about the stacked deck (2 volumes) What can I say, It is truly a masterpiece and a legacy for the history of magic from one of the best magicians in history. The are some real miracles in the book and not only mental magic...there is more much more
Note: I do not take any commission for it ;)

[ August 08, 2001: Message edited by: Alfonso Rios ]

Postby Doug Conn » 08/01/01 06:42 PM

There are PLENTY of great effects using ESP cards. (For a start, Consult the works of: T.A. Waters, Max Maven, Nick Trost, etc.)

FYI: Fun. Inc. puts out a 'decent' set of cards (that are subtley marked on the back) The cards come with a nice (Patrick Page) manuscipt with instructions for many tricks It's good stuff. The cards could be a little nicer, but they are acceptable (the cards are also marked, so that's helpful :)
If you're interested in the product and have any trouble finding it, drop me an email, I know a store that has it :)

Good luck on your quest,
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Postby Guest » 08/07/01 10:17 PM

I'll second Dave Shepherd with Barrie Richardson's "Any Card At Any Number" as one of the best. I saw him perform it at IBM convention as well. Just learned it from Theater of The Mind and had some fun at the local roundtable last week.

Several great mental effects in that book as well.

Postby Guest » 08/09/01 05:12 AM

My favourite mental card effects:

Out of Body by Larry Becker
Impromtu Ultra Mental by Allan Ackerman
Any Card to Wallet by Collectors Workshop
Kollosal Killer III by Kenton Knepper/Larry Becker
Chronologue by Bob Cassidy
ZOOM (psychic power) by Ben Harris

Postby Guest » 08/10/01 08:38 AM

Harvey Berg's Incercept is a very powerful mentalist card trick.

It's quite similar to Out of Sight, Out of Mind but the handling is very simple.

The effect is that the spectator removes a group of cards randomly from the deck and mentally selects one. The cards are put back into the deck and loosely shuffled. You have to ask a couple of questions to narrow down the location but this adds weight to the effect IMHO.

The fact that you are revealing a thought of card, rather than a selected one makes this quite strong.

If you don't mind working with a cyclic stacked deck, Max Maven's "The Mockingbird" is a strong piece of work which gets 5 members of your audience involved in shuffling the cards.

Finally, Paul Wilson's Absolute Zero could be shaped into a good mentalist card effect. You can get the spectators to shuffle and still locate the selected card.

There are lots of good mental card effects out there, but these are my current favourites. Hope it helps.

[ August 10, 2001: Message edited by: Glyn Coy ]

Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/10/01 11:09 PM

Hi Glyn,
I think the general consensus among those in the know is that Harvey Berg's trick "Intercept" is essentially Dai Vernon's "Out of Sight, Out of Mind," with a few minor variations which screw up the Vernon original. :)
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Postby Conus » 08/22/01 07:55 PM

1) Christian Englblom taught a nifty mind-reading & card selection effect called "Top of the Peak" in his 2001 lecture. (He also broke hearts and inspired many as he demonstrated and revealed his anti-faro.)

2) Jerry Andrus' "A Word in Mind" is an excellent card/mentalism mystery.

[ August 22, 2001: Message edited by: Conus ]

[ September 16, 2001: Message edited by: Conus ]
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Postby Guest » 08/22/01 10:55 PM

You guys are in my field now!! I do quite a bit of mental magic in my walk around, and here is what I use: Out of Body (Larry Becker), Shape Up (Max Maven), Red-Hot Mindreader (My version of Red Hot Mama), The Hawk (Maven), Whispering Joker (Martin Lewis). These have all served me well for years.

Postby Guest » 08/22/01 10:58 PM

Someone mentioned the Stebbins stack. Gene Anderson (now, there's a name you don't think of when discussing mentalism) fooled the living shugar out of a roomful of us two years ago. He did a 3 part routine that used a Stebbins stack and literally obliterated a room of us with that. I think he calls it Gene Anderson's Si Stebbins routine.

Postby Ruben Padilla » 09/04/01 09:42 PM

Does anybody know if and when we (in the U.S.) are going to have the luxury of reading Tamariz's treatise on his stack? I use the Aronson stack (which I love). Is there any reason to unlearn it and prepare to learn Juan's?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 09/04/01 11:47 PM

Stephen Minch at Hermetic Press has been working on a large Juan Tamariz book for several years. I believe the text is near completion. It should come out sometime in 2002. The memorized deck material is in it (I think!).
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Postby Bill Mullins » 09/05/01 03:54 PM

Originally posted by memetical:
Does anybody know if and when we (in the U.S.) are going to have the luxury of reading Tamariz's treatise on his stack? I use the Aronson stack (which I love). Is there any reason to unlearn it and prepare to learn Juan's?

One reason is that Tamariz's stack can be built from new deck order. One of the sampler videos that Tamariz is on has him doing an effect which ends with 4 perfect bridge hands. If you can work it out backwards, then you can go from new deck order to 4 bridge hands to Tamariz stack.
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Postby Guest » 09/05/01 04:23 PM

One effect with a mentalist theme that seems to work for me every time is the old pulse trick where you devine the spectators card from their pulse rate. The effect is mechanically extremely easy to perform (either force a card or use a key card), but turns into a powerfull mental effect with the right presentation.

One thing that really helps is the physical contact with the spectator.


Postby Bill Duncan » 09/05/01 05:09 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Stephen Minch at Hermetic Press has been working on a large Juan Tamariz book for several years. I believe the text is near completion. It should come out sometime in 2002. The memorized deck material is in it (I think!).

Just got off the phone with Steven...
Rumor Confirmed! The stack work is in the book. No release date or price set yet.
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Postby Guest » 09/08/01 09:53 PM

Originally posted by Bill Duncan:
Rumor Confirmed! The stack work is in the book

The full book(2 books in the spanish version) is about the stack deck. I do not know the price, but whatever is the price , is cheap. higly recomend it.

Postby Carl Mercurio » 09/13/01 05:32 PM

There's some good mentalism tricks in the old Garcia/Schindler book Magic with Cards. One using a stacked deck I do quite a lot in walkaround because it automatically resets itself. Spectator freely pulls a block of cards from middle of deck, mixes them up, and you name them all using your best mentalism stance and some comic bits to make it go the distance. By the way, the best do-as-I-do effect is in the same book: Three in a Million.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 09/13/01 07:43 PM

Someone once showed me a great effect from one of Darwin Ortiz's books (sorry, can't remember the name of either).

You hand a deck to a spectator. He gives it several complete cuts, then cuts the deck into two halves.

The spectator picks up either half, looks at the bottom card, shuffles that half, and gives it back to you. You look through it and pull out the selection (no fishing, etc.).

The spectator then picks up the other half and looks at the bottom card, which you name instantly without ever handling this half.

Perhaps someone can provide the reference for this excellent mental trick (which unfortunately does not reset!)

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Postby Guest » 09/14/01 01:17 AM

Brian, you started this with:
I am looking to do card trick with a more mentalist feel in my walk around act. where might I find some good ones?

I do mentalism in my act, and have been on the lookout for great walkaround/close-up routines. I'll tell you where I went.

1)Max Maven's videoMind set from L&L- there is a wealth of knowledge on these three videos.

2)Larry Becker's books and videos

3)Get TA Waters' book, Mind Myth and Magick. I just got my own copy after having almost worn out a friend's copy. It has a wealth of stuff for you to delve through.

Hope this helps.


Postby Cugel » 09/14/01 04:20 AM

I thought initial poster was asking about mentalism effects for walkaround, which is why I can't recommend Steve Ehler's or Aronson's, or ANYBODY'S effects with a stacked deck. First of all you have no table and managing spectator's would be a real struggle. Plus, people who scuttle around nursing stacks all night long tend to settle for mediocre effects that maintain the stack. Boring.

(By the way, Steve gave me permission to include his effect in my lecture notes and I've used it many times, including on television - so I know it's a killer. So are many of Simon's effects.)

I agree, however, with the posters who recommend "Out of sight, out of mind". Very strong AND practical in a walkaround situation.

You should also consider simply using a peeked selection and a glimpse then dramatically divine the card. This is direct, powerful and practical when working walkaround. Check out the peeks in Steve Draun's book, they're outstanding for this purpose.


PS. Pete McCabe, the effect is "Mindbender" and it's by John Clark.
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Postby Jeff Pierce Magic » 09/14/01 12:52 PM

I have a routine called "Red, Write and Blue" using 2 decks in a upcoming manuscript that I have used for a few years that plays great in a closeup or parlor situation.

If you are interested in trying it out, email me direct at and if you have posted in this thread before my post, I will email it to you.

visit my website at:
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Postby Mark Jensen » 09/14/01 03:37 PM

Regarding stacked deck effects for walk around being weak...I have to disagree. Just ask Mike Close if you can do knock out effects with a stacked deck (in a walk around situation)...the answer is yes. Of course, the magician must have the experience and intellegence to know a strong effect from a weak one.

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Postby Carl Mercurio » 09/14/01 03:59 PM

A good way to work with a stacked deck during walkaround is to use the following, highly sophisticated deck switch. Have the stacked deck in your left jack pocket. Do some card tricks with a regular deck. Put the regular deck away. Do a coin trick. Take out the stacked deck. Do a trick that keeps the stack intact. And as Presto would say, "Put it away!"
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Postby Cugel » 09/15/01 03:26 AM

Carl Mercurio is, of course, absolutely correct. That IS a fine way to ring a stacked deck in and out - without a doubt. A pretty standard one, in fact, used by many a restaurant magician when switching between sponge balls, coin tricks or whatever. When I wrote my post I was thinking of my own parameters - I only do card tricks, so I use the same deck when I work walkaround. And thus, for me, this won't cut it.

And we are talking about walkaround, for money, right? That was the gist of the post that started this thread, wasn't it? So I would still say that the best stacked deck effects are impractical (assuming you want to work with the same deck).

I will assume that Mark Jensen wasn't having a cheap shot at me when he mentions that "intelligent" magicians know a strong effect from a weak one. But hey, maybe he was. ,

Anyway, the majority of effects in Mike Close's Workers 5, in the sections where he talks about maintaining a stack using out-faros, etc, are very good but not outstanding (I'm thinking here of effects like "King Tut" for example.) That's a pretty good effect but not a "start a new religion" effect, in the way that Steve Ehler's "3 Card Location" is. I mean, that's one heck of a STRONG trick. Similarly, many of the 'built-in' effects in Simon Aronson's stack are just "okay" when you're talking about professional walkaround. A clean version of spelling a card may float a magician's boat in a session, but it's just spelling a card to a layman. Not a great attention getter, frankly. I'd rather do an impromptu effect that will get a huge reaction from a layman - Roy Walton's "Smiling Mule", for example - and save Simon's showstopper stacked deck effects for a formal show.

Admit it, even the best stacked deck effects aren't worth the effort if you have to work a room. I think Steve's trick is one of the best EVER with a mem deck. But here's the thing: the spectator's cut off cards, think of the card at the face of their packets and then SHUFFLE the packets. Bit of a bitch when it comes time to reset, huh? (Oh, except for the last card divined.)

Anyway, the original post asked about walkaround effects. I'm thinking here that maybe he won't have access to a table, if he works the kind of gigs I work - just spekkies hands - so he'd probably appreciate some practical advice. Try 'think-a-card' effects with a glimpse, the Vernon effect, etc. Oh, also a nice R.Paul Wilson effect where the person thinks "stop" as you spread through the cards. That's a strong one, it's easy, doesn't require a table, and has an eerie effect on a female audience member. To my way of thinking, that's commercial card/mentalism for strolling magicians.

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Postby Pete McCabe » 09/16/01 05:07 PM


Thanks for the reference. Isn't that a great trick?


P.S. You can do the deck switch Carl Mercurio proposed, without doing the coin trick in between. This should work for an all-card artist such as yourself.

If you've seen Tommy Wonder lecture you know what I'm talking about.

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Postby Guest » 10/04/01 01:26 PM

I don't think anyone has mentioned THE OPTICAL PREDICTION in "The Classic Magic of Larry Jennings".
You openly choose a card as a prediction and show it. The spectator FREELY cuts the deck right to the mate. Like synchronicity! No forcing, no counting, no outs, or any other crap. It looks perfect. It's impromptu and you can used a borrowed deck. The one sleight in it is easy, you'll even fool yourself.
Geez, I sound like I'm selling it...

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Postby Guest » 10/10/01 07:27 AM

You can find very strong card mentalism in the mns from Al Mann!

Postby Charlie Chang » 10/10/01 01:55 PM

It's been mentioned only a few times so I will say it again: Out Of Sight Out Of Mind. It is one of the finest card tricks ever but it is also one of the finest mentalism effects too.

The Ehler's effect with a stacked deck is mighty strong stuff. There's also a great thing in Aronson's books (one of many) called Histed Heisted and if you really want to scare people I use something from Ed Marlo that is unbelievable. It's in either The Cardician, Marlo Without Tears or Marlo In Spades. Or MINT. It's buried with no illustrations and no hyperbole. It's an example of the kind of thing you can find if you get lucky.

There are many great mentalism effects with cards - all of them are about the effect. I would recommend looking at JC Wagner's book for a genuine miracle that proves this rule. I know most people read it and think that the strategy used (you go back to the deck to get "your card, the Joker") is hackneyed and won't fly. But I have used it with great success.

One more time however: Out of Sight, Out of Mind.
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Postby Gordolini » 10/11/01 11:52 AM


Don't know if this is still applicable, but Pit Hartling, a German magician performs a supeb mentalist card trick in his video, "Little Green Lecture". I can't remember the name of the trick, however the gist of it is this:

The magician riffles through a deck of cards facing the spectator, who tells him when to stop. The card is not removed from the deck. The deck is then shuffled and handed to a second spectator who looks through the deck and chooses another card, again without removing it from the deck. The deck is then shuffled again and handed to a third spectator, who picks a card from under the table so no-one can see it, even himself and then sits on it. From this - and some superb mentalist patter - all three cards are correctly named. Very strong.
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Postby Guest » 12/04/03 10:41 AM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Stephen Minch at Hermetic Press has been working on a large Juan Tamariz book for several years. I believe the text is near completion. It should come out sometime in 2002. The memorized deck material is in it (I think!).
"sometime in 2002"....We're approaching 2004 in 3 weeks...Anyone knows why is there further delay?


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