Sleight of hand is something that can become a life long and rewarding journey.To get off on the right foot, and stand a chance of battling this monster, it's best to be prepared!
There are some fundamental magic card tricks you should first learn with a pack of playing cards before focusing on tricks that are achievable with sleight of hand. These skills are transferable across many different card magic routines, so are really essential learning.
We will cover these in a chronological order. Move through them in turn, as each skill builds upon the previous one.
– This is the standard way to hold a deck of cards, EVERYTHING stems from here, so learn this grip well, it will become a great new friend!
– This is a grip that your non dominant hand will use, learn to successfully and smoothly transfer the deck from hand to hand using these two grips.
It is very important that you can competently shuffle a deck of cards without dropping cards. This displays skill and when done properly any lay man will be happy that the deck is legit. Here are some shuffles to look up and learn.
– Overhand Shuffle
The classic 'running cards' shuffle, this is the most common of all shuffles.
– Riffle Shuffle (and bridge)
This is the shuffle everyone wants to be able to do. Standard in casinos and all over the world this is the fastest way to randomise an order in a deck of cards.
– Hindu Shuffle
This is a variation of the over hand shuffle. This is a useful shuffle to know as it can be used as a shuffle, a control AND a force.
If you want to have cards legitimately selected and revealed the first step to conquer this is the Pinkie Break. It is a secret way of always knowing where the selected card is within the deck. One of the most valuable techniques used in most magic card tricks.
The next step in finding a spectator's legitimate selection is to learn some controls. These are sleight of hand techniques used to 'control' the spectator's card to wherever you want it.
– Double Undercut
For most magic card tricks, this is the most common of all controls, this is not only a simple technique but also a very deceptive one.
– Overhand Shuffle Control
One of the simplest controls to learn as far as technique is concerned, the overhand shuffle control is a very useful tool to have.
– Hindu Shuffle Control
A rarer control but even more deceiving than the double undercut. The card is controlled whilst shuffling the deck.
The ability to coerce a spectator into selecting a card of your choice (not theirs) in a supposedly fair selection process is a core component of so many magic card tricks. So many magic tricks and routines are possible once you have mastered a good force, so use it!
– Riffle Force
The easiest of all forces to learn, this should be the first force you learn to perform well
– Backslip Force
Much like the riffle force this is a simple force to learn and very convincing when performed correctly, there are lots of traps you can fall into when learning this force so beware. Practice it when you perform magic card tricks that don't depend on it, so you gain experience.
– Hindu Shuffle Force
This is a great force that is easy to do. If you have mastered the Hindu Shuffle successfully then this force will be a breeze!
– Classic Force
Although not necessary to lean, I have included the Classic Force here as the sooner you learn the classic force the better you will become at it. The classic force is not technically not hard to perform, however to perform it convincingly and with confidence takes a lot of practice. Use the technique as much as possible whenever you perfrom your magic card tricks so you get practice, when it's not vital to the outcome of the trick.
This sleight is a great utility tool for EVERY card magician, you can make cards change, vanish, transpose and so much more with this sleight.
The triple lift or turnover is an extension of the double lift/turnover. Technically similar to the double lift the triple variation on this sleight opens up some new doors in your card magic.
Magic card tricks like the top change can be a hurdle for many magicians, as it is a sleight performed under their noses and under misdirection it will seem like you will never get away with it. If you do learn this sleight successfully you will have a great string to your bow.
– Elmsley Count
The Elmsley Count is widely regarded as the most versatile false counts in card magic, a lot of mars tricks utilise this great sleight.
– Erdnase Colour Change
Performing a colour change well is one of the most magical card tricks you can do with a deck of cards. The Erdnase Colour Change is one of the easiest colour changes to learn
To palm a card from a deck is a very useful tool, it can be utilised within many card to impossible location routines as well as a way to secretly add or remove playing cards from the deck. Again many people palm cards badly, if you learn the nuances of the move and examine your technique, you will be fine.
– Top Palm
The standard palm, this is usually the first palm a sleight of hand artist will learn. Although not used in many magic card tricks, it's the core move in palming and should be mastered.
– Gambler's Cop
This palm is called the gambler's cop for a reason, it is a very deceptive palm that was very common in the gambling scene. It jumped over from 'cheating' to be used for many magic card tricks. The gambler's cop takes advantage of how you would stand naturally, allowing you to retain a card in palm whist your hands look entirely natural.
– Springing the Cards
This is the action of literally 'springing' the deck of cards one by one from one hand to the other.
This is like springing the cards but instead of forcing the cards from one hand to the other you use gravity, letting them fall one by one from one hand to the other.
– Charlier Cut
The Charlier Cut is a one handed cut that is a nice display of skill, accomplishing nothing more than a cut of the cards this is a nice flourish to perform as a casual display of dexterity. Adding a Charlier Cut adds finesse to most magic card tricks.
There are lots of other skills and sleights you can learn. However, if you learn these core sleights and techniques well you will be able to easily study most magic card tricks you will come across. Of course, the journey of sleight of hand is never ending, but these fundamental techniques will set you off in the correct direction making it as easy and manageable as possible.