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Eternal Order
High Desert
12001 Posts

Profile of Decomposed
Has anyone experienced a spectator not knowing, or not recognizing ,a playing card? It does not happen to me often but it happened tonight (non paying gig), and it has happened to me on stage before. Its hard to believe anyone but a child (and most of them know cards), or an elderly person, would not recognize a playing card. I even had a male adult one night who did not know. I try to test them now just in case prior to starting the effect, but sometimes its difficult without insulting them.
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CT one day I'll have
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Profile of R.S.
Yes, this has happened to me! I did a card trick for a girl in my office (she's 30ish) and she did not know what the suits are. She also only knew the court cards by their first letter - she called the Jacks the "J"s, the Queens the "Q"s, etc. Go figure.
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." Thomas Paine
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786 Posts

Profile of ThomasJ
This has happened to me. Usually it's an elderly person or a kid, but a few times it's been someone that I'd never suspect. One time I asked a woman to pick a card and she said she didn't know the cards. She said she doesn't play cards so she doesn't know any of them. I'm glad I knew that before I embarrassed her by asking her to name one.

I also find that people confuse spades and clubs alot.
Angel Freire
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Long Island, NY
72 Posts

Profile of Angel Freire
I saw someone on tv describe a card. I was queen of spades. she said it was the Q with an upside down heart with the thing sticking out from the bottom. It made for funny television but the woman was being serious.
The Awesome One
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Gold Coast, Australia
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Profile of The Awesome One
You could always have a bit of fun with it, like the bit with the Amazing Jonathon where his assistant calls two cards the "four of clovers," and the "six of shovels." Gets a good laugh from the others that know the cards.
Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat.
Patrick Differ
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Inner circle
1540 Posts

Profile of Patrick Differ
Puppy paws.

You'd be surprised. I always ask. Gotta make sure. In Mexico, they have different names for the suits and values. So, by way of an introduction, I always ask for a translation. "Hey, what do you guys call these? Swords? Cool. And these? Clovers? So do we!" (Diamonds and Hearts translate evenly.) Then on to the Jacks, Queens, Kings, and Aces. I always get a translation for a new audience. Then I can tell who knows a bit about cards and who doesn't... and who gets to participate and who gets a lesson.

For same-language audiences, I ask who wants to shuffle. Whoever shuffles gets to participate. A lot can be learned in a little bit of time by the way a person shuffles the cards.
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
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St. Louis, Missouri, USA
447 Posts

Profile of Hushai
Back in the 1950's there was a TV magic show in St. Louis called "Parade of Magic," with Ernie Heldman. Mr. Heldman always had children from the audience assist him. When he did a card trick he would always carefully begin by asking the child assistant "Do you know all the cards in the deck?" Once a kid responded, "Well, HALF of them." That got a big laugh. I have always wondered: how exactly could you know only HALF the cards in the deck? Maybe there were two suits he could never learn to recognize or remember the names of -- ??
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487 Posts

Profile of Rocky
Why would this surprise anyone??? Do you asume that EVERYONE enjoys cards as either a way to enjoy a specific card game or to practice card tricks??? If I asked someone who won the 1999 Super Bowl and they didn't have a clue,should I be dumbfounded and assume just because I enjoy football that everyone does???
El Satanico
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Profile of El Satanico
I travel a great deal and I'm often performing for people for whom English might be a second language. To reinforce their understanding I will always give the name of the card in their own language. It isn't much to learn and a lot of the latinate languages have very similar root forms. This may also stem from my love of languages though, but it has been helpful to me in the past, especially when I've known that I am perfoming in English for a predominently spanish speaking audience.. "dos de picas" goes a lot further than shouting and pointing "TWO OF SPADES"

If anyone else thinks it might help them here's a great resource to the names of cards in a multitude of languages.

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In my day, I have driven
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Profile of airship
I'm pretty well-read, so it always surprises me when (sometimes even very intelligent) friends turn out to be ignorant of some subject that I thought was common knowledge. I think of playing cards as being part of our common heritage, part of the cultural underpinnings that make us able to understand one another at all.

Comedians mine this base for all of their jokes, and their attempts at humor fall flat on those who don't understand the references. "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?" That joke's just not funny if you don't know the history it's based on.

I would hate to think that playing cards are becoming culturally irrelevant.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
the fritz
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Profile of the fritz
As a fellow magician I hear your concern airship, however with the popularity of poker in this country these days I have a feeling playing cards are more culturally relevant than ever!
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Profile of EVILDAN
When I was in college, I took a math class and we were studying probability during one chapter. During the test we were asked questions based on rolls of a die, the likelihood of drawing three kings during a five card five handed deal.

Everyone except one girl knew that a deck of cards had 52 cards in it. When we were going over the test, she kept asking "But where are you getting 4 from? Where are you getting 13 from? Where are you getting 52 from?"

Finally the teacher said, "It's a deck of cards."

She replied, "Yeah, but where does the 52 come from." This girl never played cards in her life. She didn't know anything about cards. Some of us thought she was scamming the teacher in the beginning but as she kept talking it was pretty apparent that this girl led a sheltered life.

If you're wondering how she got the dice right, there's dice in a lot of kid's board games.
by EVILDAN....
"The Coin Board Book" - moves and routines with the coin panel board. -
"SLASHER - A Horror Whodunnit" - a bizarre close-up routine based on Bob Neale's "Sole Survivor."
PM me for more info.
"Zombie Town" - a packet effect about how a small town turned into zombies.
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Profile of CamisBoss
I've encountered this before. When it happened, I just gently explained the suits and values to the girl. And then I didn't call on her anymore... Smile
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Tampa Bay
369 Posts

Profile of Magicray69
I remember as a kid, I went to a magic show and the performer asked me to pick a card. He was doing a sucker trick whereas he showed me a card that wasn't mine and asked me if that was my card. I thought he blew the trick so I said "Yes!".
You should have seen the look on his face.
There was a time I had the blues,

the reason was I had no shoes.

Until I met upon the street

a man who had no feet.
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