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Topic: Card sleights & tricks for beginners -- a minor variation on Geoff Weber's list
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 01:59AM)
In 2004, Geoff Weber posted a really helpful guide to beginners under the title, " Card magic skills: learning by order of importance." I'm reproducing his OP in full (at the end of my post) because I think it would be an interesting joint project among Cafť-ers to to revisit his ideas. What I'd like to suggest is that those of us who are interested use Geoff's post as a springboard for a new list of beginners' sleights, together with a list of easy tricks that use those sleights and yet, despite their simplicity, are truly mystifying and enjoyable for audiences.

I found Geoff's phrase, "the beast that is card magic," immensely cheering: although I'm definitely making progress, I'm finding card magic to be quite a challenge. It was nice to know that I wasn't the only person in the world to find the process beastly! I still haven't learned everything on Geoff's list, but I've learned some and am working on others. I'm not quite a beginner anymore, but I wouldn't call myself intermediate, either. In a way, that puts me in a good position to suggest minor changes to his list, because the experience of what it feels like to be learning magic as a beginner is quite fresh in my mind. (I should add that I *love* working hard on sleights. For the purpose of this post, I'm not looking for a list of "self-working" tricks, though I recognize that they can be effective and a good entrance into performance.)

If I were to make (with some diffidence) any changes they would be the following.

1. I'd omit double lift & turnover. I know that it's one of the most useful sleights in card magic, but it's *really* hard to learn. I finally have a *pretty* good strike DL, but it took me at over a year, with lots of help from people on the Cafť. Weirdly, the pinky count came rather easily to me, and I'm working on a DL with a get-ready. Compare the DL to the DU: the difference in difficulty is staggering. Personally, I'd take the DU as a perfect example of a beginner's sleight. (And even the DU isn't *that* easy, because learning to catch an invisible break takes lots of practice.)

2. Similar comments about the Hofzinser force -- not really for beginners, it seems to me. It would be interesting to hear what ideas people have about other, easier, forces. Geoff mentioned some already; any other ideas? Hindu Shuffle force, maybe? With Hindu, cross-cut, and cut-deeper there are discrepancies that would probably go unnoticed the first couple of times, but, as one who is performing only for friends and family at the moment, I'd prefer forces that didn't have discrepancies.

3. I'd add a second control to Geoff's list. I don't know what it would be -- something of difficulty comparable to that of the DU.

4. To the Elmsley count I'd add the small packet DL, which is much easier than the full-deck DL, and which, like the EC, is used in lots of packet tricks.

5. I'd suggest adding the lift overhand shuffle to the list of false shuffles.

That's it. I don't know what tricks I'd suggest. I'm working on Color Monte and some Nick Trost effects, including Intuition (which involves a full-deck set-up and therefore a prior full-deck retention shuffle).

I'll be interested to hear what ideas others have about all of this. And many thanks, Geoff, for the list you compiled.



Geoff's post:

"This is just one man's opinion. If you are going to tackle the beast that is card magic, it helps to know which skills are the ones you are going to need time and time again, that way you know what to focus your time and energy on during your practice sessions.

Basic Handling Skills:
You want to appear at least as competent with a deck of cards as anyone you might sit down to play cards with.
Deal. This includes knowing the proper dealer grip. Practice being able to just deal cards around the table without any hiccups. As you improve, you can try to get fancy and sail the cards like a Vegas dealer, so they still go to the corrects spots around the table without accidentally flipping over.
Shuffle. Learn classic waterfall shuffle with a bridge as well as an overhand shuffle. This should be clean and neat, without cards falling out of alignment.

Basic Sleight of Hand:
Card Force. You really only need one, although it is sometimes useful to have an alternative method when performing multiple times for the same individual. The easiest is the cross-cut force. The hardest (but cleanest) is the classic force. I think the best compromise between difficulty and fairness is the Hofzinser cull force.
Getting/holding a break.
Double Lift/Double Turn-over. There are many fancy ways to do this. Beginners should avoid all such fanciness and stick to the basic method. Practice making this look the same as the action of turning over a card normally.

(With these two sleights you can perform literally thousands of tricks.)

To appear like a magician and not a fool with a pack of cards, you must inject some elegance into your handling.
Thumb fan. Being able to form a perfect fan and then close it up is a must.


Double Undercut. There are many ways to control a card, but none are within the grasp of a beginner as much as this move. It may not look the "fairest" but it is well worth the trade off. Forget the pass, the side steal. Just learn this for starters.

Elmsley Count. Hands down, the most useful false count.

More Flourishes:
Dribble the cards
Ribbon Spread
Charlier Cut. (One handed cut.)

False Shuffle:
Slop Shuffle. I would say of all the false shuffles, this is easiest one for maintaining the full deck in order. If you only need to maintain a small section of cards in order, than I would just use a genuine overhand shuffle, not touching the stacked cards.
...more to come later.

(There are many principles of magic you should also be aware of, but I would not categorize them as "skills". Things like key-cards, crimps, stacks...)"
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 10, 2018 06:01AM)
1: Rudimentary Card Handling - Dealer Grip, deal to table, clean OHS, spread between hands, basic riffle shuffle to table, swing cuts, squaring the deck with table and without

2: Tricks only involving rudimentary handling (reliant on placement principles, math, or magician's choice):
Cowboys & Indians; Gemini Twins; Pre-Prefiguration; Quickie Card Trick; Piano Card Trick; 4-Sided Gemini; Jack the Bounty Hunter; Your No. Is?; A Swindle of Sorts; Impromptu Simplified Miraskill; B'Wave; Automatic Ace Triumph; 5 Card Match-Up

3: Fundamental Card Control - Bre*ks; OHS in-jog false shuffle/control; OHS milk shuffle/running; Ose false cut; false cut to table; rosetta shuffle; slip/HaLO cut; Hindu shuffle stock control

4: Two Fundamental Principles - K*y Cards; Gl*mpses

5: The Force - Cut D**per Force; Cross-C*t Force; Hindu Shuffle Force; Psychological Stop Force

6: Tricks with Fundamentals: Hindu Lie Detector; Chinese Writing Reveal; Card Box Reveal; 3.5 Clubs; Nervous Card; Invisible Card; The Circus Card Trick; Force Think Stop; I Should Have Done It Myself; Search & Destroy; Lorayne Impromptu Speller Reveal; Behind the Back Reveal; HaLO Aces; Slip to Pocket Reveal; Thought Transmitter; Sloppy Triumph

7: Novice Card Handling & Flourishes - in-the-hands riffle and bridge; thumb fan; Charlier cut; top card flip over

8: Another three useful principles: whole deck arrangements; very simple deck switches; sp*tted cards

9: Shuffling whole deck set-ups simply: Ireland shuffle; Up the Ladder; Vernon & Erdnase tabled cuts; charlier shuffle; OHS cuts; false riffle unweave to leg; Trinary false cut

10: Tricks with various arrangements or spots: Overclock & Overkill; Card Calling; Card in Pocket; OOTW variations; Automatic Lie Detector; Further Than That; Fantastic Five; Jonah card Poker Deal; Perfect find-a-card

After that you are into intermediate territory, IMHO.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (May 10, 2018 09:09AM)
For easy forces, you might add the slip cut force. Easy peasy, and you can use it 50 times in a row.

For flourishes, you might add the card spring, which takes some practice but isn't really hard.

Also for shuffles and flourishes, add the faro shuffle.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 09:22AM)
Thanks as always, Dana. Very glad to have the slip cut force on the list. I had the impression that the faro is hard, but I don't know much about it. Is it suitable for beginners?
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 09:28AM)
Terrible Wizard, wow, that's quite a list! Thanks for taking the time to write it. I'll probably back to ask you for some references after I've done a bit of research to find the tricks you list.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 10, 2018 09:44AM)
No worries :) You wont find a few - they're either my own adaptations, or taken from beginner books are likely not under their most original/well known names.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 10, 2018 09:58AM)
To save you some time, I can tell you where I first found these tricks:

Cowboys & Indians - Gerry Griffins CCCM
; Gemini Twins; - Fulves SW 2
Pre-Prefiguration; - BBM Ultimate SW Tricks vol 1
Quickie Card Trick; EOCT
Piano Card Trick; Scarne
4-Sided Gemini; Move Zero BBM
Jack the Bounty Hunter; Youtube
Your No. Is?; EOCT
A Swindle of Sorts; CC lightest
Impromptu Simplified Miraskill; Bob Longe 101 amazing tricks
B'Wave; B'wave (sep item)
Automatic Ace Triumph; BBM Awesome SW tricks
5 Card Match-Up a free maths tricks ebook
Hindu Lie Detector; my own
Chinese Writing Reveal; Julian Mather Magician School online
Card Box Reveal; obvious
3.5 Clubs; Idiots guide to magic
Nervous Card; EOCT
Invisible Card; GG CCCM
The Circus Card Trick; various
Force Think Stop; my own
I Should Have Done It Myself; Bill Malone on the loose vol 1
Search & Destroy; Aaron Fischer, I think it was his penguin lecture
Lorayne Impromptu Speller Reveal; Lorayne Magic Book (different name)
Behind the Back Reveal; BBM Multiple Revelation project
HaLO Aces; Lorayne Best ever collection vol 1
Slip to Pocket Reveal; BBM Multiple revelation project
Thought Transmitter; MWCMC
Sloppy Triumph an old DVD called 13
Overclock & Overkill; DVD called 13
Card Calling; Osterlind Mind Mysteries vol2
Card in Pocket; Mind Mysteries vol2
OOTW variations; various/many - I like the one in Frank Garcia/Schindler's Magic with Cards book
Automatic Lie Detector; various - some on GG CCCM
Further Than That; various - MWCCM and ETMCM vol 1
Fantastic Five; - MWCMC
Jonah card Poker Deal; - various, think I first came across the idea at scam school online
Perfect find-a-card - Julian Mather (different name, cant recall)
Message: Posted by: pmarzionna (May 10, 2018 09:59AM)
[quote]On May 10, 2018, danaruns wrote:
For easy forces, you might add the slip cut force. Easy peasy, and you can use it 50 times in a row.

For flourishes, you might add the card spring, which takes some practice but isn't really hard.

Also for shuffles and flourishes, add the faro shuffle. [/quote]

I understand the kind of miracles allowed by the Faro, but I think it wouldn't fit the purpose of the list. A (perfect) Faro takes a while to be in a level that one would be comfortable to use it in a performance - even if only for friends. And, depending on the effect, it might be substituted by a sleight more appropriate to the beginner.

If you consider that Geoff's original list didn't even included any sort of palming technique - which I agree that is not necessary to the arsenal of the beginner card magician - I can't see how the faro should make to that list.

(After saying all this, I must admit that I have been practicing the faro a lot lately).
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 10:23AM)
Ah, thanks so much, Terrible Wizard. That's a big help. If you ever care to share the tricks that are your own, I'd be interested. I was going to ask you to translate a couple of the abbreviations, but then I figured them out. I'm putting them here just so I have a record in case I forget: EOCT must be Encylopedia of Card Tricks (by Hugard or so). ETMCM: Easy to Master Card Miracles.

MWCMC continues to elude me.

pmarzionna: Thanks for your thoughts. I think Geoff was wise to leave palms off his list. Personally, I think it's just fun to practice sleights, whether I have an immediate use for them or not, but if the Faro is harder than the palm then I agree that it probably doesn't belong on this list.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 10:36AM)
TW, I forgot to ask: Can you give a reference for card box reveal? Actually I'm not sure what you meant -- finding that a card has mysteriously moved to the box?


Message: Posted by: pmarzionna (May 10, 2018 11:51AM)
[quote]On May 10, 2018, Bob G wrote:

MWCMC continues to elude me.


Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic, I suppose (so MWCCM, actually).
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 12:46PM)
Ah! Got it (in both senses of the word -- I understand, and I own the book). Thanks, pmarzionna.
Message: Posted by: carlyle (May 10, 2018 12:56PM)
I'd be tempted to add the Braue Addition - it's not too difficult and really useful (if not done too often).

For easy controls for beginners - as mentioned a key-card (depending on the trick) or (my favorite) a breather crimp. It may not be a "skill", but I find it let's me get on with tricks and using it as a control itself seems very fair (and there are many ways to use it). If you usually just use your own deck anyway, it's a great thing.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 10, 2018 02:48PM)
Yes, you've got the abbreviations :)

Card box reveal: I just mean a reveal printed or written inside/on, or placed some other way, on the card box. Nothing spectacular. You could also include and other form of pre-printed reveal here: long card, magician insurance, your card is rub out, dupe in shoe, or whatever :)
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 03:11PM)
I see what you mean -- a prediction, basically, I guess.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 03:17PM)
Carlyle, I thought I'd responded to your post, but I must have forgotten to hit "Submit Reply." Thanks for the ideas.

I hope that this list will be useful to other people in my position, not just me, but my personal reaction is: 1. Braue Addition -- yes! On my (all too long) list of moves to learn. Glad it isn't that hard.

2. Key card is another good addition to the list.

3. So are crimps, except -- well, this is just me, but so far I can't bring myself to crimp a card; it feels like ruining a card. I don't know why I care: I use my own decks, and I have so many of them around the house that they stampede at night and keep me awake. No doubt I'll get over this pernicious crimp aversion in time.
Message: Posted by: willtupper (May 10, 2018 03:25PM)
TW, pitch me in the pile of grateful people for that source-of-effect.

I'd meant to ask you about it in another thread (the beginner book one), but I'd forgot.

Really nice to have it here, in one place. Much appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 10, 2018 04:51PM)

I happened to notice that The Royal Road is once source of the circus trick. Once it seems that the returns are all in, I'll make a slightly edited compilation of the sleights and tricks that people have suggested.
Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (May 11, 2018 10:02AM)
You might even check out my THE MAGIC BOOK - which I wrote for basic beginners - you'll learn some basic card sleights there - sleight that you'll use forever (not sleights which will simply be a waste of your time).

The Slip-Cut Force is a nice force. Problem is that most all of the people I see doing it seem as if they're doing a ballet set to music! "We won't use this card..." sway to the right; "We'll use this one" - sway back to the left.

Decades ago I wrote up a way to do the Slip-Cut Force without the ballet. You'll have to do the research - and try to find it.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 11, 2018 10:13AM)
Hi folks,

I'm thinking about the nature of the list that we ultimately want to have. I've come to the opinion that it would be most helpful for the list to err on the inclusive side, as long as the sleights and tricks are all at a beginning level. That way people will have options to choose from. (Within reason -- I don't want the list of sleights to be overwhelmingly long, but I don't see any reason to keep down the number of tricks.)

At the same time, I'd like the list to include, mostly at least, only sleights that are broadly applicable to lots of tricks.

That leads to the following questions.

1. Are the sleights suggested so far broadly applicable?

2. By removing the DL, I've left us without a switch. Do people think I should add one, perhaps the glide? I have a vague memory that The Braue Addition (suggested by Carlyle) can be used as a switch? And there are various double card manipulations, much easier than the DL that I wouldn't list because they're individual to the effect. And then there's the Mexican Turnover...

Carlyle, would you be willing to supply a brief list of the variety of uses for the crimp and the Braue Addition?

3. Does anyone have any favorite tricks or sleights to add?

4. If anyone has additional info in cases where Terrible Wizard didn't remember exact names or sources, could you let me know, please?

The other questions are addressed to you, Terrible Wizard, but only if you care to answer them: you've already done most of the work here.

4. Garcia/Schindler have a whole chapter of OOTW effects, pp. 69-77: Magnetique, Under the Table, Color Separation, Intuition. Which one did you have in mind when you referred to your favorite?

5. "B'Wave; B'wave (sep item)": What does "sep" stand for? If "separate," I still don't understand.

6. "5 Card Match-Up a free maths tricks ebook" Any memory of where you found the ebook? I searched "card magic five card matchup" and found a few tricks that *might* be the one you have in mind...

Thanks, everybody! This is shaping up to be a nice list.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 11, 2018 10:15AM)
Hi Harry,

Our posts crossed. Yes, I love your Magic Book.


Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 11, 2018 10:46AM)
Hi again, Harry. Thanks for the tip about the slip cut force. You may have discussed your non-ballet handling elsewhere also, but I found it in Best of Friends II.

Message: Posted by: Harry Lorayne (May 11, 2018 11:00AM)
Tarbell #7 also comes to mind - but I'm too lazy to check it out.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 11, 2018 11:39AM)
Lazy?! Ha! I don't think so. I'll look into T7.
Message: Posted by: pmarzionna (May 11, 2018 04:47PM)
[quote]On May 11, 2018, Bob G wrote:
3. Does anyone have any favorite tricks or sleights to add?

Design for Laughter (RRTCM) or Revelation (Harry's Close Up Card Magic): probably one of the first card tricks I've ever did, and still one of my all time favorites.
Which I usually follow with A Tipsy Trick (RRTCM), which might be the same thing as "Sloppy Triumph" suggested by TW - I'm just guessing by the name.

And I really think that a DL should be a part of this list.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 11, 2018 06:22PM)
Thanks for your ideas, pmarzionna. I've heard lots of good things about Design for Laughter. It uses the glide, so perhaps the latter should be on the list.

About the DL: I guess the question is, what's the purpose of this list? Is it a self-contained set of suggestions for people who have some experience with card handling but haven't done much sleight of hand? -- to give them confidence to move on to more advanced stuff? Or is it to give them a set of things to start working on that will be useful to them in the future?

I hadn't thought about those questions when I wrote my OP. I was motivated by what I saw as an uneveness in difficulty in Geoff Weber's list. I could imagine a final product that consisted of two lists: one of genuinely elementary sleights and tricks, and another of suggestions for harder sleights and tricks to start working on, with the understanding that most beginners shouldn't expect to master them in a short time. If we went that route, I'd put the DL on the list of harder sleights. Having two lists would be complicated; it would require a detailed look at the tricks and the sleights that they use, in order to decide what goes in which list. I wouldn't look forward to that -- too big a project.

I can certainly use some guidance here. For one thing, I'm not familiar with most of the tricks on Terrible Wizard's list, and I don't have personal experience with all of the sleights people have suggested. People often think of the DL as a basic sleight, but I found it hard to learn (and mine still needs work), and I know from comments on various fora that I'm not alone. Another move whose difficulty could be debated is Lorayne's HaLo cut (mentioned by TW). It's a wonderful no-get-ready bottom slip cut. I can imagine that for a beginner with more talent than me, or for an experienced magician, this sleight would be easy to learn. But it's taking me many months to perfect. I'm very close now, but I wondered whether it should be on this list. Here again, if we had two lists, I'd put it on the more advanced list.

Another factor: I don't want to simply reproduce Geoff's list from 2004. Geoff already made his list!

Okay, so I was thinking out loud a bit there... hope it was still useful. I think I'm coming to the position that the list should be directed toward a self-contained set of suggestions for people who have some experience with card handling, but not a lot. Who maybe have done self-working tricks (however you define that) and want to try some fairly easy sleight of hand. There's no lack of books and DVD's that teach the DL; what I haven't seen much of is the sort of thing that Bob Longe does in 101 amazing card tricks (also mentioned by TW): mostly self-working with a handful of easy sleights. As I continue to think about what I'd hope we'd produce, I'm leaning toward a list that's just a bit beyond Longe's book: all sleight of hand, but nothing very difficult.

Hope that makes sense!

Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 11, 2018 06:25PM)
P. S. Again, think of the DU as a model for the difficulty level. Is the slip cut force at roughly that level?
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 11, 2018 07:04PM)
P. P. S. Sorry to dominate the airwaves, but pmarzionna got me thinking (always a dangerous thing). I don't know if you remember, TW, but a year or so ago I asked you how hard the EC was in comparison with the DL. As I remember, you said the EC was a *lot* easier. I haven't tried the EC yet, but here's my current thinking: the DL is too hard for this list. So maybe we could set an admittedly subjective range as follows: DU is at the low end of difficulty, and EC is at the high end. Any opinions? My ultimate goal is to encourage beginners to sleight of hand, but not to overwhelm them.
Message: Posted by: carlyle (May 11, 2018 10:56PM)
Bob - I suggested the Braue Addition because it's used in quite a number of nice tricks (in one form or other) and it's a concept that comes up all the time. Load a selection for a sandwhich trick, or load a reversed selection among (say) four queens. It can be used as a sort of multiple shift for signed selections or the four aces, etc. Id say quite a number of tricks I do use it in some way - the basic idea of it, at any rate. And it's the starting point of things like ATFUS and Hartman's Secret Subtraction, which are also very useful.

And the crimp - I used to think it was ruining cards, too, but now I find it's actually making the card much more useful. You have the Nick Trost book, in the back he describes how to make a bottom-cutting breather. Use it as a key and you have a very easy control. Probably not best to cut right to the crimp after the return of the card, of course - but there's lots you can do to make it natural. Shuffle around the key and cut, or a series of false cuts and then cut. With a table - ribbon spread, gather and cut for a riffle shuffle, etc. If you're going to use your own deck, it's something you really might like to experiment with.

I'd possibly add a buckle to the list as well - they come up quite often, too.
Message: Posted by: danaruns (May 12, 2018 09:21AM)
[quote]On May 11, 2018, Bob G wrote:
People often think of the DL as a basic sleight, but I found it hard to learn (and mine still needs work), and I know from comments on various fora that I'm not alone...here's my current thinking: the DL is too hard for this list. [/quote]


I'm definitely no cardist, but I really don't think the DL is that difficult and belongs on the list. In fact, I will be teaching a version of it today to Magic I students at the Magic Castle (I help Mark Wilson teach classes there). These people have only a few weeks of magic classes under their belts. It definitely belongs on the sleights for beginners list.

It does take some dedication. When I put my mind to it, I learned it in a week. I would sit with a deck of cards and go through the whole deck doing 500-1000 DLs a day. And after a week or so I had a decent, reliable, invisible DL.

But if you're just playing around with it, it can be frustrating. When I was just kind of playing around with the DL, I remember trying to do it in a performance at Jeff McBride's school. It went so badly that Jeff started suggesting workarounds, and Eugene Burger told me I should just give up on the DL forever, since he thought it was a bad move anyway. Very embarrassing and dispiriting! But then Pop Haydn inspired me to really dedicate a short but intense period of time to it, and with massive repetitions it just clicked.

So my takeaway is that it just takes huge reps of doing it the right way to commit it to muscle memory, and then you will have it. So, me personally, I'd include it on the list. I don't think it's any harder than an Elmsley count.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 12, 2018 11:42AM)
Thanks, Dana. I appreciate all the contributions you've made the threads that I've started.

Whew! -- I don't like that story about Burger. Not good teaching (I say that as a teacher). I'm glad you didn't give up.

I don't know whether you consider yourself a fast learner, in general. I'm not. I'm a college math prof, but you'd never have guessed it from my freshman algebra class in high school. I had a whole year of frustration, and then all of a sudden, when I was studying for the final exam at the end of the year, everything clicked! It was really exciting -- the sun was even shining through the window, just like in a movie, and I solved problem after problem with no trouble at all. Although I didn't realize it at the time, I had the drive to learn things that I really wanted to learn. even in the face of lots of obstacles. I'm like Barliman Butterbur in the Lord of the Rings, about whom Gandalf said, Don't underestimate him. He's slow, but he'll see through a brick wall in time."

In a similar way, sleights don't come easy for me (except, as I've mentioned, the pinky count -- go figure). I followed your advice about doing the DL intensively (when you gave it before), and it helped a lot. On my good days I have an impressive strike double lift (at least I hope so). But I'm still inconsistent. And I'd probably mess it up in performance due to nervousness. That probably means that I need another period of intensive practice. And I'll have one -- when I have time.

It's great that you've taken lessons from people like Haydn and McBride, and that you teach with Wilson at the Magic Castle! I'm most impressed. My guess (feel free to correct me) is that you knew from an early age that you wanted to be a magician, and that you're endowed with an unfair share of talent in this area! Quite different from my situation. The magic bug bit me two years ago, when I was sixty. Given that I'm not going to retire for a few years, I'm spending much more time on magic than I should!

So, should the DL be on the list? I imagine that people could go round and round forever about this. When I retire, I expect to put lots more time into magic and I hope I'll progress more quickly. By then I may say, "Why didn't I want to include the DL?!"

But honestly, I don't want to forget this feeling of what it's like to be trying to learn some sleights and getting frustrated. I can imagine that there are beginners who would hear someone saying to them, "You really need to learn the DL," and get discouraged and give up magic unnecessarily. So I'd prefer to err on the easy side rather than the hard. From what you say, maybe the list shouldn't include the Elmsley count either! (Though I intend to learn it myself.) But I can certainly imagine adding to the list, "and here are some more difficult sleights that you should learn once you've mastered the ones on the list."

Anyway, that's my thinking. Opinions like the ones you offered help me clarify my thinking.

Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 12, 2018 11:44AM)

Thenks for your lastest post. You've motivated me to look into the Braue Addition and the Crimp. It occurred to me that I have lots of old decks that I wouldn't mind subjecting to the crimp. And Daryl has a nice section on Braue in his Encyclopedia. (And probably one on crimps, too.)

Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 12, 2018 12:35PM)
I think a 'good' DL/DT is very hard.
Message: Posted by: ActionJack (May 12, 2018 12:59PM)
As a new guy here, I appreciate the work you all have put into this. Danaís post resonated with me regarding her hard work and keeping at it.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 12, 2018 01:06PM)
Thanks on behalf of all of us, ActionJack. And welcome to the Cafť. I absolutely agree with you about Dana's hard work and persistence.

Terrible Wizard has supplied most of the sleights and tricks so far, and deserves a lot of credit.

Terrible Wizard, thanks for your input on the DL in your most recent post. Was I remembering right that you felt EC is easier than DL? I'd really like to include at least one packet trick sleight. The small packet DL (as opposed to full deck) is pretty easy, and can be used in the wonderful trick Color Monte (and in Paul Wilson's equally wonderful variation, Gypsy Monte).
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 12, 2018 01:21PM)
Yes - not that I think the EC easy. It's just that I think many underestimate how hard a truly deceptive DL is. From a small packet the yes, IMHO, the DL becomes much easier.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 12, 2018 02:07PM)
P. S. to ActionJack: "New" doesn't necessarily mean "inexperienced." I'd welcome any thoughts you have about the difficulty of the sleights and tricks that have been mentioned, and any thoughts on s. and t. that we should add.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 12, 2018 11:27PM)
Hi Camron (and others),

I have a question -- you'll see why I'm asking it when I post a preliminary compilation of the ideas that we've been batting around.

Suppose that at the end of a trick we have a card -- let's say the 2H -- reversed somewhere in the middle of the deck. (The audience believes that 2H is no longer in the deck.) Is there a simple means by which we can make the 2H reveal itself in the course of the *next* trick (or the trick after the next trick), thus cleaning up from the first trick? I thought perhaps a crimp could be part of trick #2 -- maybe force the 2H using a crimp? But I'm pretty vague about this and would be happy to hear any reasonably simple method.

I want the revelation of the missing 2H to be well separated from the first trick, so that spectators have nearly forgotten about the 2H and thus are surprised to see it turn up again.

Thanks for any ideas....

Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 12, 2018 11:32PM)
Of all the sleights that have been listed, which ones do people see as primary, and which secondary? By primary I mean "occurs in lots & lots of tricks"; by secondary, "occurs now and then but a beginner could do without it for a while.

Judging from my own reading and (meager) experience, I'd think of the break as primary (essential, actually), and the top and bottom slip cuts as secondary. (Despite my having practiced the HaLo cut for months -- nearly there! -- in order to do a particular trick.)

(The DL is primary, of course, whether or not it ends up on the list.)

Controls, forces, and false cuts and shuffles would be primary, I'd think.
Message: Posted by: Terrible Wizard (May 14, 2018 04:17AM)
Yes, I'd agree with that assessment - false shuffle + cut; basic control; force; break are primary and foundational.
Primary and intermediate/advanced (IMHO) are: DL; palm; cull; EC.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (May 15, 2018 02:03PM)
Hi folks,

I'm pasting below a very preliminary version of the guide for beginners that I'd like to produce as a result of our conversations. It will take some time to complete it, but I wanted to check in with people about the sleights I've listed, my descriptions and opinions, my asterisks (to mark more difficult sleights), or whatever you want. Ultimately I'd like to have at least one readily available reference for each sleight. Also, for each trick, I'd like to include at least one reference, a list of the sleights used, and a brief description of the effect. (Without revealing methods, obviously).

At this point I haven't included Terrible Wizard's contributions because it will take some work to put together (1) his nicely organized list of sleights and tricks with (2) his references to where the sleights and tricks can be learned. I can do much of that myself, but I don't own most of the books and DVD's that TW referred to. So if anyone is so inclined, they could help by describing the effects, listing the sleights, and giving page numbers or other references.

This is my own pet project, but I hope it will be useful to lots of beginners. I'm grateful to all of you for your help.

Best Regards,



Some Sleights & Tricks for Beginning Card Magicians

[Opinions are mine unless otherwise stated. Explain inspiration by Geoff Weber. Credit other posters. My qualifications. Will concentrate on sleights & tricks; see Giobbi for sources for other important aspects such as attention focus (more commonly called misdirection) and performance (how to make your magic mysterious, funny, creepy, tragic, entertaining). Purpose of this list: to give options suitable for beginners without being overwhelming.]

A. Six especially good sources out of the many good sources that are available: only six because there are so many good books and DVDís that itís easy to get overwhelmed.

Karl Fulves, Self-Working series [give specific titles]. Little or no sleight of hand Ė a great way to get performing experience.

The term ďself-workingĒ (not used by Fulves) is controversial. Such tricks, like all tricks, require lots of practice for successful performance. A better term might be ďsleightless.Ē

Harry Lorayne, The Magic Book (includes lots of card magic, as well as other kinds of magic). Clear, informally written book by one of our best magicians and teachers. Takes the reader up a gentle slope from easy magic through to the point where they can tackle more advanced books. Includes some touching stories about magicís role in Mr. Lorayneís childhood during the Great Depression.

Roberto Giobbi, Card College, especially volumes 1-3. Unbeatable in its completeness, detailed writing, and essays on all aspects of card magic, from sleights to tricks to essays on philosophy, audience management, plot construction, artistic magic, performance anxiety, etc., and many, many useful references. Practical, yet scholarly in the best sense of the word.

Nick Trost, The Card Magic of Nick Trost. A modern classic. A treasure chest of fun, effective tricks using simple sleights.

Includes an appendix describing most of the sleights used in the book. Trost teaches the ďpinch-grip to pinch-grip form of the Elsmley count; many people will find it preferable to learn the ďpinch-grip to dealerís gripĒ version taught in Giobbiís Card College, Liam Mortimerís Elmsley Count Project, and Aldo Colombiniís book, Whatís Up Deck.

Trostís book is a great way to get comfortable with much-used principles and activities in magic such as the Gilbreath principle, stacked decks, and handling double cards.

DVDís and video downloads:

Daryl, Encylopedia of Card Sleights (8 DVDís). Charming, funny, well-taught, and clear, if brisk. Packed with useful ideas that I havenít seen elsewhere. Daryl has a way of telling you serious things in a light way, so that you get important information without feeling like youíre being shouted at.

ďEncylopediaĒ is a bit misleading, because much of the material is directed toward beginners, and the later material depends on earlier material, much as it might in a textbook. I particularly enjoy Darylís ďTrick Breaks,Ē in which he teaches a trick based on sleights that heís just taught.
I had just become aware of Daryl a few months before he died, and, even with my limited experience of viewing some of his videos at that time, I felt a great sense of loss on hearing of his death.

Liam Montier, Essential Card Magic Toolbox (8 DVDís). Includes Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks, The Double Lift Project, The Forces Project, The False Shuffles and Cuts Project, The Controls Project, and the Elmsley Count Project. Titles can be purchased individually. [Add info about these disks.]

Michael Ammar, Easy To Master Card Miracles (several DVDís; maybe 8). Ammar is is a genial performer who gives meaning to his effects by giving them a context, and who puts his audiences at ease, as youíll see from his performances in front of audience on these disks.

Beginners in any area need good models to follow, and Ammar is one such. His explanations are clear and detailed. My one criticism is that, in my opinion, some of the miracles arenít so easy to master!

B. Flourishes: Ribbon Spread, Charlier cut, Fans (*?), Dribble*, Card Spring*

C. Fundamental Sleights that are used in many tricks. A few of the tricks listed after the sleights use additional sleights, which are referenced there. An asterisk after a sleight indicates that, in my judgment as a one who is beyond the beginner level, but no that far beyond, itís one of the most difficult sleights on this list. Beginners can leave them alone for a while to get used to card handling in the simpler context of other sleights. Alternatively, they can spend some time from the start practicing them, because they take intensive practice over time to learn.
I give sources for each sleight and trick, in some cases more than one. See the References section below to decode the books and DVDís I refer to. For example, ECS refers to Darylís Encylopedia of Card Sleights. When I list a reference it may be because itís one I particularly like; in other cases itís because itís the only one Iíve been able to track down.

The break: catching and holding a left-hand little finger break (if youíre right-handed) near top, middle, or bottom of transferring it to a right hand thumb break. If card magic is a forest, then its largest tree is rooted in this sleight.

Shuffles and Cuts: Optical False Shuffle [CC vol. __], Overhand True and False Shuffles [MB, CC, RRTCM], [Top] Slip Cut, Bottom Slip Cuts, e. g., Halo Cut*. Hindu Shuffle, Up the Ladder Shuffle, Ireland Shuffle; G. W. Hunter Shuffle (*?); Optical False Shuffle (*?).

See CC [volume & page] for a nice explanation of the Up the Ladder Shuffle; Giobbi first teaches a true shuffle, and then Up the Ladder, a false shuffle that simulates the true shuffle.

Many tricks, especially ďself-workingĒ ones such as those in the Fulves Self-Working books, involve set-ups (certain cards placed in advance into advantageous positions.) Full-deck retention shuffles and cuts are useful at the beginning of such tricks to convince the audience that you donít have a set-up.

Controls: Double Undercut; Overhand Lift Shuffle; Crimp; Overhand Jog Shuffle, Hindu Shuffle, Key Card, Crimp. See [ECS vol. ___] for a whole series of sleights that involve jogs but not the overhand shuffle; learning some of these might be good practice for learning the jog overhand shuffle. [Need to fill in references.]

Forces: Cross-Cut; Cut-Deeper; Hindu Shuffle; Slip Cut (*?); Lift Shuffle

Switches: Glide, Braue Addition (aka Braue Add-On; a versatile sleight with many uses besides switching cards). Double Lift and Turnover*

Utility Moves: Braue Addtion, Buckle, breather crimp

Reverses: Braue Reversal, Ö

Sleights for packet tricks: Small Packet Double Lift and Turnover; Elmsley Count*; Biddle Move.

The Elmsley count and Small Packet Double Lift are essential moves if you want to do packet tricks (tricks that involve a fairly small, or quite small selection of cards from the deck Ė they have a charm of their own: see Deckless on the Cafť). Like all sleights, the Small Packet Double Lift will take lots of practice to become fluid and effortless. But it's *much* easier than the full-packet double lift.

D. Tricks: (Give sources & which sleights are used)

Biddle Trick/Invisible Card. This is a whole family of tricks with many variations and various degrees of difficulty (which is true of most popular tricks). (Secrets of Brother John Hamman; Card College; Johnny Thompson; Daryl)

Four Burglars (where the four Jack rob a bank and then mysteriously rise to the top of the bank -- pack -- and escape just before the police arrive.) (Braue Addition??)

Chicago Opener (traditionally uses the Double Lift and Turnover, and the Hindu Shuffle Force)

8-card brainwave (Olram subtlety. I like Darylís handling in ECS, vol. ___).

E. References.

[CC] Roberto Giobbi, Card College (5 volumes)

[RRTCM] Hugard and Braue, The Royal Road to Card Magic.

[needs to be completed.]
Message: Posted by: somethingupmysleeve (Sep 1, 2018 12:31PM)
Hi Bob. QUick bump on this thread to recognise a great guide in the making. Keep up the good work!
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Sep 1, 2018 03:14PM)
Thanks, sometingupmysleeve. I really appreciate the encouragement. I've been leaving this dormant for a while because I want to learn more of the tricks and sleights that people have suggested. It's a delicate business -- I want to complete this when I have enough experience to give good advice, but not so much that I've forgotten what it's like to be a beginner.

Message: Posted by: somethingupmysleeve (Sep 2, 2018 07:00AM)
That makes sense - glad to hear you're still progressing with it. It's also bumped so that others can add their thoughts! Best of luck with everything.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Sep 2, 2018 10:22AM)
Thanks for bumping it up. I'd love to hear others' ideas.
Message: Posted by: Bob G (Sep 2, 2018 10:24AM)
If anyone wants to give sources for the tricks that were mentioned earlier in the thread, that would be a big help.
Message: Posted by: Nikodemus (Jul 3, 2020 06:15PM)
Great thread!
I just wanted to add that lots of people use the terms Double Lift and Double Turnover interchangeably. This certainly confused me.
A simple double lift is pretty easy. So should be on the list - with a note that is NOT the same as a DT.
A double turnover needs a LOT of practice, and should not be on the list.
Message: Posted by: EndersGame (Jul 26, 2020 10:40AM)
[quote]On May 12, 2018, Harry Lorayne wrote:
Tarbell #7 also comes to mind - but I'm too lazy to check it out. [/quote]
Too lazy, Harry Lorayne? Sounds like good material for a Lazy Man's Card Trick! :)