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Profile of marco_venier
When palming something, what should I do if the spectator wants to see my hands empty?
What can I do? I know the all around vanish from Off the Cuff, or pitch and ditch it or I could maybe sleeve it?
As a beginner I am not comfortable with any of the methods. Please advise, what is the best.


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Inner circle
Hong Kong
1954 Posts

Profile of alexhui
Practice at home and 'Practice' before the real audience is the only way. There is no shortcut in magic. So if you think you work best with sleeves or whatsoever, practice it alot and get confidence by performing it regularly. Also,you palm the thing whenever you can and vanish it completely whenever you like. Do it all day. Practicing for a month should help you get the feeling of the move.

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Harry Murphy
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Profile of Harry Murphy
Part of the secret to successful palming is to be doing something with the dirty hand. For example, in a cups and balls routine, a wand is usually held by the hand holding an extra ball.

A second technique is for the dirty hand to be going somewhere. That is, the palmed object is in a hand that is traveling from point “A” to point “B” for some reason. Perhaps moving to simply pick up an object.

Third, palming is not forever. Palming should be used only for the shortest period of time necessary.

Finally, look at your routine, your method for palming, and your hand. Any one of these may telegraph to a spectator that you are holding something. Your routine may not be sequenced such that the palm is executed on the offbeat. Or perhaps, you are “fiddling” with the object just before it goes into palm. Or maybe, just maybe your hand looks like it is holding something.

Keep at it.
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Steven Steele
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Hesperia, California USA
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Profile of Steven Steele
Harry is right. If people are asking to look at your hand or are suspicious, you are telegraphing them someway somehow. I had that problem when I was learning, but it doesn't happen anymore.

Work on your misdirection...Read Daril Fitzkee's book on Misdirection. It will really teach you a lot and get you thinking about how you perform sleght-of-hand.

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Profile of Terry
Palming is an inherently bold move. As Steve Steele and the others said, cover it through misdirection, do not telegraph it by looking at your hand - look somewhere else, and know what you are going to do with the palmed card.
I'd say Bob Kohler's "Black Envelope" is the most outstanding effect I use. However, it involves sleights. I'd say I practiced the Gambler's Palm for about 20 hours before I felt ready to show it to a friend!

As they say in the music business - how do you get to the Grand Ol Opry - practice, practice, practice!!

Hang in there - with practice comes confidence; then you won't need to plan the misdirection and covering moves - they will come naturally!
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N. Ireland
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Profile of Donnay
That's what it really does come down to. If you want to be good at magic and quick, you've picked the wrong hobbie. It is practice practice practice... no short way around it.
You'll find that you are probably checking the hand yourself which is making people look. Just keep doing it in front of a mirror so you can see it from a distance. Just don't look at what you're doing. The Art of Misdirection.
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Lehi, UT, USA
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Profile of what
As a newbie to magic, I must say how great it is to get excellent advice from experinced performers like Harry Murphy and others. I have been working on my classic and card palms for a few months. They improve every month, but still have a long way to go. I only palm for people in situations when the coin/card will be in my hand for a short time. It encourages me greatly to hear from these guys that it is not just me, that it actually requires a long time to master these techniques.
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Emily Belleranti
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Tucson, Arizona
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Profile of Emily Belleranti
Palming has always been one of my most uncomfortable areas. I practice it incessantly, but I still have problems with it.

One of the things I have learned about palming is that it becomes about one hundred times easier if it is covered with good misdirection. You should try to find a good resource to learn about misdirection. I don't know much about the book Steven noted, but if he mentioned it, it must be good.

Actually, I was lucky enough to find a good source about misdirection on the Internet. It's a chapter in a magic document written by Al Schneider. It gives a lot of good information and advice, and I think you'll find it useful. The address is .All of the other chapters are good too, but I think this one might be the most useful for your situation.

Hope I helped!

Emily B.
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Bob Kohler
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Profile of Bob Kohler
Palming objects, then holding them out is not easy.

First get your technique together.
Next integrate it into your routine until you are confident you will be able to successfully do it correctly every time.

Work on the routine until you start to forget about "holding out." This is the most important piece of the puzzle. If you keep thinking or worrying about the palmed object, the audience will soon be finding the object.

Once you forget about it, you'll relax. Once you relax, they relax.

One last thing, don't try breaking in routines that demand palming for drunks or at bar mitzvahs.

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United States Of America
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Profile of EddyRay
A simple thing to remember was something I heard Eugene Burger say, "don't feel guilty about it" as he is holding 20 1" red sponges balls in his hand while at a table.

Don't feel guilty, just palm it and work through the routine.
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Los Angeles
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Profile of filmyak
A great palming video was recommended to me. Can't remember the video's title, but I believe it was by Michael Close.

Much of what he taught went directly against the palming techniques I've learned elsewhere, and by golly the stuff is brilliant.

He uses a slightly different method of holding the cards, and his method of palming has tremendous cover built in. I don't want to give too much away in an open forum, but PM me for details, or buy the video. Truly amazing to watch and learn from.

PS - yes I realize you were talking shells/coins, not cards, and not all the info from the video will apply. But there is still some great overall palming theory in there that can be applied to anything you want to hide.
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Profile of HuronLow
"palming should only be used in the shortest moment'.
I do the cards across routine from Bill Malone volume three... haha... it's a pretty long time you gotta palm your cards there. Bill says ' it's a fun trick so no one will notice your hands'... I still feel a bit uncomfortable.
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New England
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Profile of Boxav8r
Practice and misdirection are the key. There's no two ways about it. Without those two you're up a creek. Patience is essential to properly learning both.

Also - I recommend having an "out". Though I can't remember the last time I had a palmed coin and someone asked to see my hand. I am always prepared for the possibility with a back clip. I do it with my 3rd and 4th fingers, and can be practically surrounded.

Good Luck,
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Verno Inferno
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Profile of Verno Inferno
Properly routined and presented, your audience will not want to see if your hand is empty.

But you wanted to know what to do if they ask to see. Well, at that point you've already been caught, otherwise they'd have no interest in that cramped hand. So try not to cover by saying there's nothing in your hand: your hand will begin to glow a magical color of red similar to that of your cheeks saying "look at me" (like something from a Edgar Allen Poe story).

You could give up and say something witty about slieght of hand artists and let them think getting caught is part of the routine. Like they were supposed to catch you. Then segue into something quite savvy that gives the impression you are quite the quick nimble fingered card maestro. Dr. Daley's last trick, Ummm... any invisible palm routine would be appropriate, how about Whack your Pack from AoA 3?

Just an idea,
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New York City
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Profile of dgiancaspro
I'm also a beginner and one observation I've made regarding palming coins is to vary methods. If you keep vanishing the coin from your left hand and pulling it from places with your right people start to watch the right hand. Use this to your advantage.
Michael Ammar does a nice flurry on his beginner coin video that illustrates this nicely.
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Mago Mai
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Profile of Mago Mai
Some of the times a spectator will say,
"Let me see your other hand."

That doesn't mean your palming is wrong. What it might mean is that if you do an effect where the spectator can see both hands, then you do a French drop and show that hand empty. The first thing that comes to his mind is that you never pass the coin to the other hand.

Try this next time you do a French drop: don't just vanish the coin, bend a little and rub it on your knee. (In the meantime you have plenty of good misdirection to dispose of the coin.) Keep rubbing the coin and spread your fingers to show that the coin has vanished.

Now the people might want to look at your pants to see if there is a small hole in them.

Mago Mai
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Manhattan, KS
145 Posts

Profile of Catbacker
I too am new to magic and am dealing with the same issues. Fortunately, I have an hour drive each way to work which gives me great time to practice palming techniques.

I try and do as much of my work as I can while palming. In meetings, I practice the whole time. That's one of the great things about coins. No one says anything if you are fooling around with a half dollar, but I'm sure someone might comment if I was always pulling out a deck of cards. Smile

I haven't yet had anyone ask to see a hand with a palmed coin, but have an idea for the situation.

Simply say, "You seem pretty perceptive. How about you help me with something." Then put your hand with the palmed coin in your pocket and pull it back out with the coin like you were pulling it out of your pocket for the first time. Then perform the Sucker Bluff Vanish from Bobo. I think that might slow down a skeptical spectator a little.

Just my 2 cents.

"Of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong." Dennis Miller
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Profile of Michaels
Palming is a move of opportunity. Timing is everything. The "dirty hand" should execute a palm if any only if:
1) the dirty hand is holding another object
2) the clean hand or any other part of the body is misdirecting away from the dirty hand
3) or the patter itself leads to enough misdirection away from the dirty hand (which also includes directing the attention to one or more spectators)
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If I may add to my previous thread. Always make sure as a general rule that the clean hand is the hand in motion after the palm has occurred. The eyes will almost always follow the hand with the most motion.
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Waterloo, IL
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Profile of jcards01
Palming is truly an art. There are many ways and types of palms used depending on where you are going with the card or object.

Don't give up, to quote my teacher, "palming separates the men from the boys". This from someone who could do anything with cards!
Jimmy 'Cards' Molinari
Steve Friedberg
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Profile of Steve Friedberg
I understand your teacher had quite a reputation!

Like all sleights, the palm should be used sparingly, IMHO. Enough so that it's effective, but not so much that people suspect they know what's going on.

You, as the magician, have the advantage of knowing what you're going to do; your audience does not. Repeating a move gives them something to look for, and could enable them to catch up to you. Why give them that opportunity?

"A trick does not fool the eyes, but fools the brain." -- John Mulholland
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