This is going to be a long post, so please bear with me. Before I get to the main story I must admit to being a total newbie. I became interested in magic in general and card magic in particular less than two months back. I saw a video on youtube showing Joshua Jay demonstrating a 10 card poker deal. The spectator makes choices all the way and the magician doesn't appear to be doing any sleights. My reaction was that this would be a cool thing to demonstrate to a few friends of mine (we happen to be poker enthusiasts). I also wanted to test myself and come up with a simple handling that would be self working. Now I don't know exactly how Joshua Jay's trick works, but I came up with my own method after thinking about it for a while and fiddling with a deck of cards. It has two phases. In the first, the spectator makes blind choices all the way (he never sees the faces of any of the cards he chooses). The magician ends up with a hand that just beats the spec. In the second phase, the spec chooses cards blindly until he and the magician have 3 cards in hand. Then the magician turns the last 4 cards face up and allows him to choose two which help him the most. The magician wins more convincingly this time. I performed this for a few of my friends and the effect by itself worked out ok. There were a couple of problems though. My friends immediately set about working out the method!! These are highly analytical and intelligent guys and they immediately saw this as a puzzle to be solved. I tried to keep my patter and performance casual and short so that I would not give it away but it wasn't helpful. In ten minutes, they had discussed all possibilities, logically sifted through them and they were all smiles when they came up with an explanation where they pretty much nailed it. Now is the part where I ask you guys for some feedback. 1) I seriously think that my working of this trick is something that could fool most people. I was surprised that my friends figured it out so fast. I have a feeling that I should stay away from demonstrating self working tricks to people who are highly analytical. For example, I don't think I'll show them anything involving the key card principle. Do any of you agree? If not, how do you make self working tricks seem "magical"? 2) Are there any suggestions for tricks that would be easy for a newbie and would improve his confidence? I don't want my friends to figure out the next trick I perform for them. 3) What do you do if audience members figure out a particular trick? Do you move on to another one or do something else to distract them?