Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic: 56 Foolproof Tricks

Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic: 56 Foolproof Tricks

by Karl Fulves

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"Close-up card magic is performed right under the noses of the spectators. It has an immediacy that cannot be duplicated by platform magic. Seasoned professionals agree there is no better way to learn how to handle an audience than when they are inches away." — Karl Fulves.
Karl Fulves is one of the most popular and respected magic authorities writing today. In Self-Working Close-Up Card Magic he shows beginners how to perform 56 tried-and-true, crowd-pleasing tricks for the kind of small, close-up audiences that gather at parties and family get-togethers. The tricks are simple to master. The performer needs only a deck of cards and a few everyday objects like a coin or a rubber band. The kind of close-up performing these tricks require offers beginners the best possible way to learn how to engage and handle an audience.
Among the tricks are "openers," which quickly get an audience's attention and set the stage for the rest of the act; memory tricks that make it appear the performer has an uncanny ability to memorize cards; gambling tricks that seem to give the performer an expert ability to control the cards in games of chance; and "gimmicked" cards that create eye-popping visual magic. Simple step-by-step instructions, accompanied by clear, carefully drawn illustrations, make these applause-winning tricks absolutely foolproof, requiring no long practice or dexterity to perform.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486156668
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 06/21/2012
Series: Dover Magic Books
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 588,679
File size: 5 MB
Age Range: 10 Years

About the Author

Karl Fulves is one of the most respected authorities in the field of magic. For over 40 years, he has written hundreds of books on the subject and taught the art of illusion to thousands of people of all ages. This legendary figure also edited and published such magazines as Epilogue and The Pallbearers Review.

Read an Excerpt


56 Foolproof Tricks

By Karl Fulves, Joseph K. Schmidt

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1995 Karl Fulves
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15666-8



The opening card trick has a special requirement attached to it. The opening trick should have a simple plot because that is the best way to engage the audience's attention. The tricks in this chapter have strong, simple plots that set the stage for the other tricks you will perform.

1. Magic by Design

In this routine the cards are animated to produce a duplicate of a chosen design. A variety of designs are shown on a list, Figure 1. The spectator picks a card from the deck. He is told that if the card is an ace, he would choose design No.1, the straight line; that if he picks a 2, his design would be No. 2, crossed lines. The card he picks is the 3. This means that he picked design No. 3, the triangle.

The deck is cut and the two halves placed on the card case. A rubber band is snapped around the apparatus, Figure 2. The magician releases the cards. Instantly they form themselves into a triangle, Figure 3, thus duplicating the chosen design.

Method: This impromptu routine is based on Aldo Colombini's handling of a popular effect. It can be done with any borrowed deck. Draw the list of designs shown in Figure 1 on a large sheet of paper. Have a rubber band handy.

Hold the deck so the faces of the cards are toward you. Spread the cards until you find a 3. Cut the deck and complete the cut so the 3 is brought to the top of the deck. Remove seven cards from the deck. These cards are a mixture of aces, 2's, 4's, 5's and 6's. Suits are not important. Briefly show the faces of these cards. Hand them to the spectator. Ask him to mix them and drop them on top of the deck.

Show the diagram of Figure 1. Explain that the spectator is going to choose a card that will indicate one of the designs. Since there are six designs, you will use the cards with values from 1 to 6 for the random selection of a number. Tell him that if the card he picks is a 6, for example, you will use the design with six sides (the hexagon). If he picks the 5, you will use the five-pointed star, and so on.

Deal the top eight cards off the deck one at a time into a heap on the table. Say that you will arrive at a random number by an elimination shuffle. In magician's parlance, the shuffle is known as a down-under or duck-and-deal shuffle. Remove the top card of the packet and put it under the packet. Remove the new top card and put it on the table. Put the new top card under the packet, the next card onto the table, and so on, until you have one card left.

Say, "The value of this card will tell us the design you chose." Do not show the face of the card yet. Place the card on the table face down.

Cut the deck in half. Place each half on the card case. Hold the apparatus in place while you snap a rubber band around it, Figure 2. Turn up the playing card. It will be the 3.

Say, "You chose a 3. That means you picked the triangle. Watch."

Release the apparatus. The cards will automatically arrange themselves into the triangular shape shown in Figure 3, thus correctly matching the shape chosen by the spectator.

2. True Colors

Face-up and face-down cards are mixed together. It looks like a hopeless muddle, but red cards sort themselves from blacks, and there is a surprise finish.

Method: This clever routine is based on ideas of Bill Simon and John Scarne. The effect is out of proportion to the modest amount of prior presentation. Place all the red cards on top of the deck, all the black cards on the bottom. Leave the deck in the case until the time of performance.

To present the routine, remove the deck from the case. Cut it between the colors so that all red cards are in one group, all black cards in the other. Place the black heap on the table. Spread the red cards face down. Push six or seven cards out of this packet and hand them to a spectator. Ask him to take one card from this packet, turn it face up and insert it into the middle of the face-down packet.

Spread the black half of the deck face down. Push six or seven cards out of this packet. Hand these cards to a second spectator. Have him remove one card, turn it face up and insert it into the center of the small packet.

At this point each spectator holds a small face-down packet with a face-up card in it. Turn the small red packet face up. Dovetail or riffle shuffle it into the large black packet. Turn the small black packet face up. Similarly shuffle it into the large red packet. Then, to really mix the cards, turn the large red packet face up and riffle shuffle it into the face-down black packet.

Say, "The cards are really mixed up. But if we give them a shake, they will sort themselves out." Snap the fingers. Spread the deck so the red side is face up. All of the face-up cards are red. This will come as a surprise to the audience. The second surprise is that there is one black card in the packet. Slide the black card out. As you do, say, "All the face-up cards are red except one black card, and that is the card you chose, sir."

Flip the deck over. Spread it on the table. All of the face-up cards are black except one card. Say, "And all of these cards are black except one card, and that is the card this other gentleman chose."

The two ways of performing this type of shuffle are shown in Figure 4. The dovetail shuffle is performed with the hands holding the ends of the packets. The corner riffle is performed with the hands holding the sides of the packets. The corner riffle is better for this trick because the cards are held low to the table. Hence you are better able to conceal the fact that the face-up packet contains cards of one color.

3. Flyaway Cards

The disappearance of a playing card is always a mysterious feat. In this trick two freely chosen cards vanish from the deck and are later found reversed in the center of the deck. A borrowed pack may be used.

Method: Hold the deck face up. Ask the spectator to name two cards. Say he names the red jacks. Spread the cards, remove the red jacks and place them on the face of the deck.

Say, "This is a terrific way to make your two cards vanish." Place the deck behind your back. When the deck is out of sight, turn it face down. Deal off the top four cards, turn them over and replace them on top of the deck. Then turn the deck face up again. Deal off the two face cards (the chosen cards). Keep them face up as you place them at the back of the deck. The situation now is that you have the face-up deck, then four face-down cards, then the two face-up chosen cards.

Bring the deck into view. Say "See, your two cards have vanished. It's an amazing trick!" The audience will think you are kidding. Push the four face cards of the deck to the right. Turn the right hand palm down and take these four cards. The fingers are on the faces of the cards, the thumb in back. Say, "No jacks." Turn the cards face down and place them under the deck.

Continue with the remainder of the face-up cards. Each time show four or five cards, turn them face down and place them under the deck. When you run out of face-up cards, say, "Your two cards have vanished."

Place the deck face down on the table. Cut the deck and complete the cut. As you do, say, "You probably guessed that I put your two cards in my back pocket." Reach into the back pocket. Pretend to have trouble removing the two cards. Of course the pocket is empty so it is all a matter of acting. Bring out the two imaginary cards and pretend to toss them onto the deck. Slap the top of the deck with the other hand.

Spread the deck face down on the table. Up to now the audience will have thought it is all a joke, so it will be surprised to see the two chosen cards face up in the middle of the deck.

4. Too Many Cards

The magician explains what happens when he is dealt too many cards in a game of gin rummy. He causes the cards to travel mysteriously back to the other player's hand.

Method: Secretly place two cards in your jacket pocket prior to performance. This is the only preparation, but it sets up a baffling double mystery.

Deal five cards off the top of the deck into a face-up heap, saying, "Ten, nine, eight, seven, six." Then deal four cards into a separate heap as you say, "One, two, three, four."

Place one heap on top of the other. "Six and four are ten. That's how many cards are dealt to each player in a game of gin rummy. Please place these ten cards in your pocket for the moment."

Repeat the above procedure, apparently to count a packet of six and a packet of four cards. Put one packet on top of the other. Say, "Four and six are ten. This is my gin-rummy hand."

Place the deck on the table. Hold the packet in the left hand. Say, "Gamblers sometimes cheat and add a card to their hand. Give me the top card of your hand."

Place the spectator's card on top of your gin-rummy hand. "Now I have 11 cards. Of course I would never cheat in a game, so I'd get rid of this card. This is how it's done." Give your packet a shake. Then deal your cards one at a time onto the table, counting aloud as you deal. You have ten cards. It looks as if one card vanished from your hand.

Hand the spectator two cards. Ask him to add them to his gin-rummy hand. Then place your gin hand into the pocket where you have the extra two cards concealed.

Say, "Now you have 12 cards. Please remove your gin hand." When the spectator has brought his packet out of his pocket, say, "Give them a shake." After he has given the packet a shake, say "Now you have 11 cards. Give them another shake."

When he has done this, say, "Good. You have ten cards again. Count them on the table." The spectator counts his cards. He does indeed have ten cards. Remove your packet, including the two extra cards. Count them to show that you too have ten cards. Say, "A hand of rummy, anyone?"

5. Caught Between

George Delaney invented a baffling trick in which a chosen card is caught between two reversed cards. The secret is offbeat and will even fool magicians.

Method: Spread the deck face down between the hands. Invite the spectator to remove five cards from different parts of the deck. Say, "I want you to pick a card, but I don't want to influence your choice." Turn your back so you cannot see his cards. Say to him, "Discard two of the five cards." When he has done this, say, "Three are left. Pick one of the three cards as your chosen card."

The real reason for turning your back is so you can do the secret work. You are holding the face-down deck in your hand. Turn the top card face up on top of the deck. Then turn the entire deck over. Turn the face card of the deck face down onto the deck. Because of the two reversed cards, it appears as if the deck is face down. Only the top and bottom cards are really face down, however. The rest of the deck is face up.

Turn and face the audience. Say, "Which card did you choose?" Whatever card the spectator indicates, turn that card face up on the table. Drop the supposed face-down deck on top of the chosen card. Pick up the deck and place it in the left hand.

"I'm going to send your card into the fourth dimension." Grasp the front of the deck as shown in Figure 5. Turn the deck over and place it back into the left hand, Figure 6. Turn the left hand palm down. Grasp the near end of the deck as shown in Figure 7. While the right hand holds the deck, the left hand turns palm up. The right hand then turns the deck over and places it into the left hand. The audience does not know it, but you have succeeded in turning the deck face down.

Say, "We'll cut your card into the middle of the pack." Cut off the top half of the deck with the right hand and place it on the table. Then grasp the other half of the deck from above with the right hand, Figure 8. Turn the packet over. Point to the bottom card, Figure 9, as you say, "Here's your card." Turn the right hand palm down and place the packet on top of the other cards.

Say, "First I'll cause your card to turn face down." Snap the fingers over the deck. "Then I'll cause two other cards to turn face up." Snap the fingers again. "Now I'll put your card between those two cards." Snap the fingers one more time.

Spread the deck face down on the table. There are two reversed cards in the center of the deck and the chosen card is face down between them.

Theodore Annemann suggested a subtle angle. Before performing the trick, look through the cards on the excuse that you want to make sure they are well mixed. Remember the top and bottom card. Say these are the red aces. At the end of the Delaney trick, when the chosen card has been cut into the middle of the deck, say, "I'm going to cause a red ace to turn face up." Snap the fingers. Say, "Done. Now the other red ace." Snap the fingers again. "Good. Now the hard part. I'm going to cause your card to turn over and transport itself to a position between the reversed aces." Snap the fingers, spread the deck and show the result.

6. Perplexing Pen

A spectator picks any card, signs his name on it and buries it in a packet. The packet is mixed and placed on top of the deck. The pen used by the spectator finds the card in a surprising way.

Method: Apart from the deck of cards, you will need a pen with a clip on it. Some pens work more smoothly than others, so you may wish to experiment with different styles of pen.

While you turn your head aside, ask a spectator to deal two equal packets onto the table. It does not matter how many cards are dealt, as long as each packet contains the same number of cards. The spectator looks at the top card of either packet, signs his name on it with the pen and replaces it on top of the other packet. He then places the smaller packet on top of all.

Pick up the combined packet. Remark that you will mix the cards. The left hand grasps the packet from above. The right hand draws the top and bottom card off together, Figure 10. This pair of cards is placed on top of the deck. Continue in the same way with all the remaining cards, drawing pairs of cards off and placing them on top of the deck. Unknown to the audience, the signed card is now on top of the deck.

Say, "The pen will try to seek out the card you wrote on. This should be easy because there is only one card in the deck with ink from this pen on it."

Grasp the deck from above by the ends with the left hand. The left first finger pulls back the top card, causing it to buckle or curve away from the deck as shown in Figure 11. The audience does not see this because the face of the deck is toward it.

Slide the pen up between the deck and the top card, Figure 12. To the audience it appears as if you are stabbing the pen into the middle of the deck.

Engage the top card in the clip. Then slide the pen down and away from the deck, Figure 13. The pen has caught the signed card. This novel trick was suggested by the Swedish magician El Duco.

7. The Almanac Deck

By means of an entertaining story, the magician finds a chosen card. The trick is impromptu and can be done with a borrowed deck of cards.

Method: This is the author's presentation for a classic trick known as "The Soldier's Almanac." When you get the borrowed deck, say, "Every deck of cards is programmed with information about the passage of time. First I have to determine if this deck is on Eastern Standard or Daylight Saving Time."

Place the deck behind your back. Take the top face-down card, turn it face up and place it on the bottom of the deck. Deal off the new top card, keep it face down and place it on the bottom of the deck. The reversed card is now second from the bottom.

Bring the deck into view. Spread the top half. Ask a spectator to remove a card and look at it. Square up the deck, taking care not to expose the reversed card. Have the chosen card replaced on top. Then cut the deck and complete the cut.

Say, "When I put the deck behind my back, I reversed a card. Let's see what it is." Spread the cards until you get to the reversed card. Cut the deck at that point and complete the cut so the reversed card is on top. Say, "This card is red, indicating that your deck is on Daylight Saving Time." It does not matter whether the reversed card is red or black; always say the deck is on Daylight Saving Time. Deal this face-up card off to the right on the table. Say, "We'll get back to it in a moment."

Continue, "Here's what I mean about every deck being programmed about the passage of time. There are 12 picture cards in the deck, corresponding to the 12 months of the year." Deal a heap of 12 cards onto the table, dealing the cards one at a time off the top of the deck. Pick up the heap and replace it on top of the deck.

Then say, "There are 52 cards in the deck, corresponding to the 52 weeks of the year." Deal a heap of five cards onto the table. Then deal a separate heap of two cards. Pick up the 5-card heap, place it on top of the two-card heap, then place the combined heap on top of the deck.

Say, "Finally, if you add the values of all the cards in the deck, plus one for the joker, we get 365, exactly matching the 365 days of the year." Deal a heap of three cards. Next to it deal a heap of six cards. Next to that deal a heap of five cards. Place the three-card heap on top of the six-card heap. Place this combined heap on top of the five-card heap. Then place this heap on top of the deck.


Excerpted from Self-Working CLOSE-UP CARD MAGIC by Karl Fulves, Joseph K. Schmidt. Copyright © 1995 Karl Fulves. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

1 Magic by Design
2 True Colors
3 Flyaway Cards
4 Too Many Cards
5 Caught Between
6 Perplexing Pen
7 The Almanac Deck
8 Ace Finds Ace
9 The Three Burglars
10 Bonnie and Clyde
11 Go to Jail
12 Pack of Lies
13 Super Count
14 Mental Countdown
15 Mind Mirror
16 The Memory Expert
17 Stop at an Ace
18 Tap Reverse
19 Double-Dealing
20 Dealer's Choice
21 This Is Not the Card
22 Coincido
23 Five-Card Mental
24 The Square Deal
25 A Card Is Found
26 Beat the Cheat
27 Gambler's Last Chance
28 Straight Up
29 The Lazy Gambler
30 Test Your Skill
31 The Wizard of Odds
32 Mona Lisa
33 Laser Printing
34 Simon Says
35 Chase the Ace
36 McDonald's Aces
37 Jack Jack Jack
38 Three-Jacks Improved
39 Unstacked Jacks
40 Three Jacks and a Pat
41 Progressive Poker
42 Spell Purple
43 Pushbutton Magic
44 Tale of the Tape
45 A Word in Thousands
46 Tic-Tac-Toe
47 Simplex Card Rise
48 Cards from the Case
49 Excelsior Card Rise
50 Special Delivery
51 Reverse Colors
52 Chemical Reaction
53 The Red and the Blue
54 The Forgetful Gambler
55 52-Card Monte
56 Out of This World

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