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Special user
Manchester, UK
920 Posts

Profile of Martino
I’ve been booked by a friends company to do some Magic at their Christmas party.

There will be about 14 guests. I will be performing for them all at once at a table but not in a restaurant.

I have said I will do 30 to 45 mins.

I have a list of tricks that I would like to perform but am looking for some advice on routining, etc.

I won’t do everything on the list but a point in the right direction would be nice!

I will also have to take into consideration practical issues such as switching in/out gimmicked and normal decks if there are that many card tricks.

Here’s my list.

Sponge Ball Routine

Crazy Mans Handcuffs

52 thoughts


Aces in their Faces

Ring Leader routine

Gypsy Thread

Invisible Deck (this is my closer as I will build suspense to it throughout the act) Fingerchopper

Haunted Key

Spoon Bend


Ambitious Card

The Biddle Trick

Out of this World

Jumping Knot of Pakistan


I know we’ve got some serious experienced performers out there so how about giving a helping hand to a guy who want’s to make a career of this magic stuff!!!



Make Mine Man.U.
"There's a difference between not knowing how something is done and knowing it can't be done!" - Simon Aronson
Steve Brooks
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Founder / Manager
Northern California - United States
4747 Posts

Profile of Steve Brooks
Hello Martino,

I moved your post here, as it is more appropriate. Smile

First of all (in my opinion), if you are doing thirty minutes or so, you have way too many tricks listed.

If you intend to entertain and interact with your audience at all, you need to cut out a few, maybe keep those in 'reserve'(often after a show, someone may ask you to do another effect).

You also seem to have a lot of card effects (in my opinion...and I'm a card lover), try to mix and match, giving yourself a variety.

Open with something really flashy (establishing yourself as a magician), have at least one sucker effect (audience THINKS they know how it's done), and close with the strongest effect possible.

Above all PRACTICE! And remember these words; "The effect is the only thing that matters, and Presentation is EVERYTHING!"

Good Luck! Smile
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
Tom Cutts
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Northern CA
5821 Posts

Profile of Tom Cutts

I don't want you to feel your wish is going ignored. What I have to say will come across as harsh reality and given that we don't know each other at all I have decided not to do so here before all Cafe goers.

If you wish you may private message me and let me know you are ready for some hard hitting truths. A group of 14 at a table has many pitfalls.

Best of Luck,

Tom Cutts
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new hampshire
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Profile of donaldlaporte
I agree with Steve, you have way too much stuff going on.

You need to sift through that and pick half a dozen of the things you perform the best, and then you need to put them together so they fit.

In other words you want it to seem (as you show six different tricks) that you show one routine, where one effect leads into the other, either thru your patter or the different props you have on hand.

I am also a card lover, save your best card effect as your closer, and as Steve said you really have to knock them out with that first effect to establish yourself.

One piece of advice I can give you, if you have not thought about all this and the venue that you are playing, you might want to ask yourself if you really are ready for this.

I hate to sound harsh here, but, there’s alot more to performing good magic then knowing some tricks. I really hope this helps you and honestly good luck.

donald Smile
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Manchester, UK
920 Posts

Profile of Martino
Thanks for the responses guys. I have performed for larger groups than this before and would be comfortable with that. I will be practicing as much as possible and I will let you know what I decide to do, in what order and then how the gig actually goes. A couple of the guys that work with the friend who got me the gig have me do things before so they know what to expect.


Make them care then make them wait!
"There's a difference between not knowing how something is done and knowing it can't be done!" - Simon Aronson
J R Thomas
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Champaign Illinois
138 Posts

Profile of J R Thomas
I agree with Steve... your list is way too long. When Burger started he had 5 routines he did. He did them very well. I agree with Donald about fit. I like effects to flow from one to the other. Do a card trick then matrix and finish up with a coin trick.

Looking at your list you might want to consider something like this...

Open with Haunted Key. You could talk about unlocking the magic. Make sure you can do it very slow. This will focus their attention and blow their minds. 2 minute

Crazy mans Handcuffs. It would be great if you knew several other rubber band effects. 2-3 minutes

Invisible deck - Throw it out to a certain spectator. Go through all the business of having him shuffle. 3-4 minutes

Finger chopper -You will need some line to go from the invisible deck to the finger chopper or you could do some kind of deck switch and go immediately into the Ambitious Card/Out of this world segment. One possible bridge might be something about a trick like the invisible deck would have played a lot different during the Spanish Inquisition. Put the deck away and go to finger chopper. 3 minutes.

Remove same color deck as the invisible pack and go into an Ambitous routine and then do the full deck Out of this World. 7 minutes

DO Jumping knots of Pakistan which would get you into a standing position. 5 minutes.

Gypsy thread - if you can get a hold of Burger’s handling you have a great closer. A good 3 to 4 minutes. I actually do it to the Harp Weaver.

This should easily take you to 30 minutes. Hope this helps. E-mail me if you have questions.

All the best




who hear not

the music


the dancers

Those who hear not the music

Think the dancers mad
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

Profile of Peter Marucci
Most of the other posters have hit the nail on the head: You are using far too many tricks.

And I would take it one step further: You have too many card tricks on your list.

Remember, you are performing for your audience and not yourself!

Figure three to four minutes a trick (for the time you have allotted) and, in the time period, a MAXIMUM of two card tricks. That would be about 10 items total.

Most importantly, the act MUST be routined, and not just "a bunch of tricks strung together."

Performers tend to overlook routining when they do table work. That’s unfortunate because it is just as critical there as on a stage.


Peter Marucci
Harry Murphy
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5352 Posts

Profile of Harry Murphy
Try to think in sets of three or four effects. I guess the list is the stuff you like to do. I notice that about half the list are card tricks. You say that you will be performing to a group that will be sitting at a table “all at once”. I guess that means that they are all sitting at one very long table. Card tricks may not be the best for this venue. Further, in a set of three tricks you should limit yourself to one card trick.

What is your strongest trick? What says “Magic” to you?

Looking at your list I think that I might actually start with the “Gypsy Thread” standing up at the end of the table. I use a high contrast (yellow or orange) crocheting thread. It is very visible. This is a very magical effect.

I might then go into my sponge ball routine. Have a woman assist you and have her stand and do the routine so that everyone can see it (and see her reactions!).

Finally I would perform the “Ring Leader” (you are talking about Greg Wilson’s routine here, yes?).It has some nice interplay with the spectators.

Add your invisible deck as the closer (since you are building suspense, I think that you are implying that this will be a “running gag” kind of routine).

The effects are magical, seem to show great skill and involve the spectators. All together with a relaxed and well-rehearsed and practiced presentation you have about 15 minutes here. That is enough to leave them wanting more. Resist the temptation to give them more.

[Note that Cody Fishers 52 thoughts would work in here as a unique non-card – card trick!]
The artist formally known as Mumblepeas!
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A good lecturer at your service!
4395 Posts

Profile of Paul
Just out of interest,

how did your show go?

What did you end up doing?

What did you learn from it?

I joined the group too late to be of any assistance.

Happy New Year.

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Regular user
102 Posts

Profile of Quartin
have at least one sucker effect

hello Steve,
Sorry about my english but what does "sucker effect" means? I´m familiar with coin magic. Could you give me a couple examples of sucker effects with coins?

A group of 14 at a table has many pitfalls.

Tom ,you scard me with that post.I´m in a similar situation as Martino.but my situation is even worst:it is going to be my first presentation as a magician.12-15 gests sitting arround a dinner table. Just coins.They are all friends of mine but I´m very nervous .So I wonder what kind of pitfalls are waiting for me.Angles are one of them right? Could you PM me? If things are really impossible I will refuse the invitation as a magician and I will accept the invitation as a normal gest.(after all is my best friend aniversary).
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234 Posts

Profile of amakar
If you're new to performing, take in all the advice stated in the above posts.
You can also consider just performing 3 effects. The worst thing you can do is perform too much magic and bore your audiences to death.

I've seen it happen many times. One magician got fired from a local bar because he wouldn't leave the patrons alone.

Work on 3 great tricks...get in and get out and leave 'em wanting for more.
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