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Inner circle
Yuma, AZ
2290 Posts

Profile of Ed_Millis
I'm brainstorming through a small stage show. One thought I had was to string together an assortment of "pick a card and let's find it" routines. The thought here is something like:

"A staple trick of any magician is pick a card - any card. And - usually - the magician can find it. Well, it's one thing to put your card back in the deck and then pull it out again. But what if we mix in a healthy dose of the impossible?"

I'm thinking of routines like Perlman's Clutch, Sankey's Paperclipped and In A Flash, Noblezada's Kicker, the classic Card to Lemon, maybe a Card Through Window, a counting routine done completely by the spectator, and so forth.

Would this be too much?

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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
In my opinion it's too much.

Personally I try and keep the pick a card effects to a minimum.
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Inner circle
Landrum, S.C. by way of Chicago
3412 Posts

Profile of Stanyon
I generally have a spectator pick a card one time. That card then becomes the recurring object of interest in the effects that follow.


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aka Steve Taylor

"Every move a move!"

"If you've enjoyed my performance half as much as I've enjoyed performing for you, then you've enjoyed it twice as much as me!"
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Regular user
158 Posts

Profile of Cardician99
I think a layman's first thoughts of a deck of cards in a magician's hands is: "He's going to ask me to pick a card." One effect of this type is sufficient, and best in the middle of your routine...not as an opener.
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Special user
Denver, CO
614 Posts

Profile of disneywld
I agree - do one card trick - but you can use that card in an impossible location appearance. Followed by a mentalism trick. All based on that one card. THis way you are pushing a card to higher and higher heights.
The Magic of Christopher Manos
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Elite user
This is a good number:
458 Posts

Profile of thumbslinger
Or, do Aldo Colombini's Fireworks where 12 cards are selected and each one is revealed in a different way. That's pretty good and will not only suffice for a 'pick a card' effect, but can also eat time while entertaining and possibly stand for all card tricks in a close-up set.
Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed and Tommy Emmanuel are all you need to study to learn to play guitar.
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Inner circle
It's taken me 10+ years to make
1120 Posts

Profile of Vick
"Name a card, any card"


To answer your question ...... yes
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Brad Burt
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Inner circle
2675 Posts

Profile of Brad Burt
One of the best most outstanding routines I have seen with cards was years and years ago. The magician had something like 12 cards selected...all were signed and returned to the deck and then he proceeded to find them one at a time in varying ways. It was chock full of bits of business, etc.

There is no question that you can do a LOT of pick-a-card tricks end to end it just depends on how you do it. I can't remember the guys name and I only saw him the one time, but I talked with him briefly after the show. He noted that the routine took several years of work and LOTS of performance to get it where it was as the time of my viewing. Best,
Brad Burt
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
Years ago I had a routine where 4 cards were selected by 4 people from a spread. All 4 lost were in the deck each was found in different ways.
I stuck to what I consider classics.

1-"Triumph'- Vernon.
2-'Dunbury Delusion'- Miller.
3-'Homing Card'- Carlysle.
4-'Kundalini Rising' - McBride.

Each of these were somewhat modified so none of the 4 cards would be lost or seen by the audience.

That was my entire card segment. One time selections.
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Elite user
Central Japan
498 Posts

Profile of Billgussen
Daryl's Revelations series is a long list of pick-a-card tricks. He is an extremely talented and entertaining magician, but even he can do too many of the same type of trick at once. It is a great DVD series for a magician trying to find that one "right" pick-a-card trick for a routine, but never try to watch the DVDs for simple entertainment value. It gets old fast.

A short routine taking three selected (maybe signed) cards and revealing them in increasingly impressive ways would be a good way to go. I wouldn't do much more than that.

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Regular user
194 Posts

Profile of rjthomp
If all the cards are selected at once, as Bill suggests, this could work. Otherwise, avoid like the plague...

Bob Sanders
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Grammar Supervisor
Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
20519 Posts

Profile of Bob Sanders
To a spectator all cards tricks look alike. One is at least enough!

Be careful.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz
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Inner circle
In my day, I have driven
1594 Posts

Profile of airship
I keep 3-4 'pick a card' techniques ready at all times. That way if I do a card trick for someone and they want me to do it again, I have a different method to use.

The only time I routine two together is if I want to do the 'magician's mistake' after doing a legit 'pick a card'.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
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Loyal user
210 Posts

Profile of ViciousCycle
A stand-up comic has who has an outstanding joke about cell phones can get away with it. A stand-up comic who tries to base an entire show around cell phone jokes is just asking for trouble. Substitute "magician" for "comic" and "pick-a-card trick" for "cell phone jokes" and the principal is the same.

I see a lot of pros who keep their routine nicely varied, so that a card trick is followed by something completely unlike a card trick. And if another card trick shows up during the evening, it's a completely different type of card trick.

Pick-a-card has a predictable premise: you pick a card and the magician will later find/reveal that card. No matter how clever or unexpected the reveal is, several in a row can be overly predictable. As good as Penn & Teller or Dan Harlan or Max Maven can be with a good trick, they don't build an entire show around a whole string of pick-a-card tricks. And this shows good judgment on their part.
T. Sebastian
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Loyal user
Ozark Mountains, USA
223 Posts

Profile of T. Sebastian
Having all the cards selected at once is a good idea. You could also string your favorite Pick a card tricks together using one card. Similar to the ACR, but instead of just coming to the top again and again, you use the same card in all the separate effects, stringing them together into one routine with one card. Then you don't run into the problem of people not being able to remember which card they're supposed to remember (which, in my opinion, is the major pitfall of doing too many pick a cards). Also, don't even have the card selected. Start with a trick that invloves a card being in the spectator's hand then use that card.

Here's what I do:
(I don't know the name of the first trick I do) Show the card on top of the deck, put it on the table and have the spectator put their hand over it, show the next card on top, make that card switch places with the one under their hand,(I'd love to know what this is called).
Then I ask them to sign the card under their hand.
While they are signing I'll do Jumping Gemini.
Take signed card and bang through half of my ACR.
Slow things down by doing my version of Triumph with the signed card.
Bang through the rest of the ACR.
Finish off with Design for Laughter.
It's served me very well for quite some time.

I love using the signed card because people only have to remember that it's the one that's been written on, not the name of the card itself. This also makes the entire routine more accessable to kids.
Sometimes I'll have a few cards signed and switch them out throughout the routine. This way no one feels left out and more people get to take a souvenir with them. The pick a card tricks create perfect stopping points for getting a different person's card into play.
So sorry I soiled your precious eyes.
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New user
Burbank, IL
78 Posts

In my opinion more than 1 or 2 card effects is just too much.
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Veteran user
Oakley, CA
338 Posts

Profile of Demonbrn
I'm not a preforming magician, mostly do it as a hobby for family, friends, and the occassional stranger. If you were seriously wanting to get a routine of pick-a-card tricks, I would try and incorperate Hofziner's 'Everywhere and Nowhere' as a capper. There are a few performed variations on youtube, my personal favorite being done by Michael Vincent.
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