I want to start over

Hello t11,

After a long time without doing any magic and not visiting these forums I have lost interest in magic. I started playing computer games again and filling my time with nothing interesting at all. I was again like everyone else. Recently, after I've seen some magic performances I remembered why I started to do magic in the first time: to amaze people. The first time I started learning magic was by myself. Watching everything that could be found for free on the internet and losing countless hours with things too advanced for me or that didn't attract me at all.

I want to start over. I want to re-learn magic as it should be done. What I would like you to do is point me in the direction I need to go. I don't want something like "read this book. it is free and it has some useful things" but rather I would like to be guided on a longer path. I want something like "Hey. A beginner should read this and this because they cover all the basics. After you decide what kind of magic you like you should read this book."
I no longer care if a book has a price. If it will help me fulfill my true dream I am willing to pay for it.
I know some people who remember my other posts consider me a guy who just asks questions and waits for answers. I am the kind of person that does something only if he knows for sure it is the right way.

Once again I would like to thank this comunity for helping me so far with all my needs and I am eager to read your replies.
(Also, the inevitable "sorry for my english")
Oct 9, 2012
I've seen quite a few beginner posts asking similar questions. Almost invariably it comes down to what you want to focus on.

For cards generally people will tell you; Royal Road, Card College, and maybe Erdnase.

For coins almost universally it's Bobo's, though I've heard some people say it's a bit advanced for beginners. Not much a coin worker myself though.

Are you looking specifically for books? Personally I learn better from video, it's much more helpful to me to actually see the effect and explanation in action. I have a story similar to yours, where as a kid I was all about magic until adolescence. Only in the last few years have I gotten back in, and even more recently become serious about pursuing it. I wish you luck sir! :D
Thank you :D
The kind of magic that I want to focus on is mostly close-up and mentalism. For mentalism I already have resources, but if you(the readers) got any hint besides the obvious Corinda don't hesitate to share it here. I recently watched two clips that were... awesome.
One is a series of clips with Slydini in which he did routines with coins, cigars and a routine that I would very much like to learn.
The routine starts at 2:38 and if anyone got a source where I could learn the mechanic behind the knots along with other magic of this kind, well... you know. Tell me. This is the video: http://youtu.be/X3Pa8BUDq3I
This is the other video:http://vplay.ro/watch/f3i9zh14/

As for Arucard's question: I am looking for any kind of material. From what I've understood here, books are better, but you never know!
Oct 13, 2012
I personally started learning magic in a very footless way. And now I have some gaps in performances. Royal road to card magic would guide you through every aspect of card magic and then every new trick would be great addition to something you already know well. As for coin magic Metal is what my friends-magicians prefer ( I'm not keen on coins myself). At the same time you would have to study psychology - crowd controlling, dealing with tough cookies, turning tough cookies into soft ones and so one ( maybe you have a natural talent to this, then you're lucky (; ) .And what is the most important - learn your effect(s) well and then show it to different spectators numerous times - you will see with every time better and better reactions are guaranteed. Good luck (;
more info for Slydini magic is that it required that you are sitting at a table. If you are a stand-up up-close guy, then Slydini's magic would not be your best interest. But his theory and psychological misdirection in magic is excellent; I would read his books for that.


Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
New Jersey
Part 1 - Beginning Again

I would typically recommend Mark Wilson's Complete Course, but I think at this stage you would skim it and not get enough out of it. It has a little bit of everything in it - cards, coins, bills, sponge balls, rope, mental magic, stage magic, etc. It will give you a sense of what you are interested in.

However, if you want a solid foundation, get the Tarbell set (not the one volume book, but the eight volume set). Work through it one book at a time. You will be learning magic... not just tricks.

For cards, you can take the classic path... Royal Road to Card Magic, Scarne on Card Tricks, The Card Magic of LePaul, Card Control, Counts Cuts Moves and Subtleties, Expert Card Technique and then Erdnase. The other path is the five Card College books plus Light, Lighter and Lightest

Part 2 - Mentalism

Corinda is not the best place to begin. Check out Bob Cassidy's Fundamentals (available as an e-book from Lybrary.com), Practical Mental Magic and Self Working Mental Magic. Then go to Corinda.

Part 3 - Close Up

You have to be more specific about what you like with close-up? Cards, coins, ordinary objects? What performers style do you like? What effects do you like. Within close-up there are a variety of styles - Paul Harris is very different from John Bannon who is different from Juan Tamariz who is different from Tommy Wonder.

Part 4 - Slydini

Slydini's Silk Knots is explained in the book "The Magical World of Slydini." That book also has his rope magic, coin magic and his linking rings routine. The "thinking" behind Slydini's magic as well as some amazing effects (the Helicopter Card, Paper Balls in Box, Paper Balls Over the Head, as well as his coin classics) are in "The Best of Slydini and More." Both books were written by Karl Fulves and both come in a set... one book has the text and the second book has photographs to accompany the text. They were published back in 1976 and 1979 before DVDs and before VHS. Each book is around $60 to 65. If you go to Bill Wisch's website (http://www.billwisch.com/store.html), you can get both books for $100. The good news is you could spend several years working through those books.

As Shinichikudo said, much of Slydini's magic requires you to sit at a table although you can find alternative handling for many of the effects. More importantly, Slydini's magic has a certain presentation to it. It requires you to have a strong understanding about how to direct an audience's attention. If you like Slydini's work... study Slydini and perfect that style.
Jan 1, 2009
Back in Time
Slydini was also a short man and his routines mainly worked a lot for him, but not for others. Though He does have a good understanding on misdirection and timing that you should try to learn and put to use in other things you do.
Dec 29, 2011
Dont be afraid to not do a move exactly as taught from another source, invent your own way to do things. Come up with your own effects and methods. The process should not be you sitting down and just trying to come up with something, look at what you have and what you can do to make everything you do in magic better. Dont be limited by what you see other magicians doing.

With that being said, I don't mean to ditch everything and go entirely solo, certainly get a good book or DVD and study it, but take into account what I've said while you do it.


Elite Member
Nov 1, 2009
New Jersey
Dont be afraid to not do a move exactly as taught from another source, invent your own way to do things.

In his lecture, Bill Wisch said that Slydini told him to perform the effect EXACTLY as Slydini perform it UNTIL you understand how the effect works -- not from a secret moves standpoint, but from an overall presentation standpoint. That way, you learn more than just the secret moves.

The problem with most magic that is cranked out today, is that the emphasis is on the secret moves. Most magic hasn't been audience tested for years (if at all). The presentation is secondary. As a result, magicians don't really learn about presentation -- the don't learn about what makes magic work.

If you want to learn magic, really learn magic, you need to explore a variety of magician's style and UNDERSTAND why it works for them. Since the original poster mentioned Slydini, I'll start with him. Slydini performed routines. Not single effects. Not the vanish of a single coin or the untying of a single knotted silk. Slydini's presentation was unique and evidenced an amazing understanding of the power of direction and the power of being "better than natural." Performing Slydini's routines as he did is a learning experience.

Learning from folks like John Bannon or John Gustaferro, I get an amazing sense of illusion. What the spectator sees does not in anyway resemble reality. I also get this wonderful sense of being one ahead.... I love it when the method is done and the trick hasn't even begun.

By reading Tom Stone's books Vortex and Maelstorm, I learn the creative process and recognize how and why his routines are structured the way they are.

Watching Matthiew Bich lecture, I get this sense of how to use simple arts and crafts to make miracles. I find myself laughing inside at the trick and how easy it is to dispel any methods when the method is so simple but so off the wall that no rational person would ever think of it.

Reading Jim Steinmeyer's Conjuring, I marvel at the methods and how the effects all are designed for maximum impact - both in astonishment, presentation and humor. It isn't just the secret methods but it is the fact that Jim explains the presentation.

And then there is the folks like Eugene Burger, Robert Neale, David Parr and Larry Haas. Their magic is often simple but there presentation if filled with meaning.

As for moves, you are better off learning several methods for a particular move that have already been invented. I've found that for cards, Giobbi's style in Card College is the best for me -- minimal movement and clear justification. But nonetheless, for a particular move in a routine, I go to Dennis Behr's Archive and find different variations published in books that I already have.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't be creative, but rather that you should seek first to understand what makes a particular performer's magic special first before presuming that you can improve it.
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