Most important magic moves

Nov 3, 2018
546
428
Hi guys,
For the last 8 months or so I've been practicing gambling sleight of hand (false shuffles, deals and passes mostly), but I'd like to start with magic moves as well. My problem: There are so incredibly many moves out there, it's difficult to know which to start with.
I know it's really difficult to do so, but it would be great if you could put together a list of moves you think are most important for card magic and maybe also a list of tricks and effects that can be performed impromptu and are gimmickless.

Thanks so much!
 

DominusDolorum

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Jul 15, 2013
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Some sort of control. Knowing a variety is beneficial but I think knowing at least the double undercut is a great place to start.

Card forces. Personal favourites are cross-cut, Balducci (a.k.a. cut deeper) force, riffle-force and Hofzinser spread force.

False counts: Elmsley, Jordan, and Biddle.

Multiple lifts/turnovers.

One hand top palm.

I would also recommend learning false shuffles that can be done in the hand. They are more natural looking, and less likely to tip the audience off to your prowess with a deck of cards (unless that is your goal). Are there any books or other sources you have been referring to so far?
 
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Nov 3, 2018
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Some sort of control. Knowing a variety is beneficial but I think knowing at least the double undercut is a great place to start.

Card forces. Personal favourites are cross-cut, Balducci (a.k.a. cut deeper) force, riffle-force and Hofzinser spread force.

False counts: Elmsley, Jordan, and Biddle.

Multiple lifts/turnovers.

One hand top palm.

I would also recommend learning false shuffles that can be done in the hand. They are more natural looking, and less likely to tip the audience off to your prowess with a deck of cards (unless that is your goal). Are there any books or other sources you have been referring to so far?

Thank you very much for your response! I've noticed that you didn't include any passes, so you don't think that they are quite as important (for beginners)?
As for the false shuffles: I can do the truffle shuffle and false overhand shuffles (control top and bottom card, top and bottom stock and keep the order of the whole deck) well enough to fool laymen. I've been wanting to learn the Heinstein shuffle for a while, as I personally think it is better than the truffle shuffle, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
I started learning sleights from Daniel Madison's "How to Cheat at Cards" and to get some more resources on the moves I bought Jason England's Bottom Deal and Xavior Spade's Classic Pass download. Of course I've had a look at Erdnase, but to be honest I haven't taken a lot from him. A few things are more or less self-taught and (I hardly dare to admit this) some are taken from YouTube tutorials.
I wanted to start working with the Royal Road, but I haven't really had the patience to stick with it.
 
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DominusDolorum

Elite Member
Jul 15, 2013
894
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Thank you very much for your response! I've noticed that you didn't include any passes, so you don't think that they are quite as important (for beginners)?
As for the false shuffles: I can do the truffle shuffle and false overhand shuffles (control top and bottom card, top and bottom stock and keep the order of the whole deck) well enough to fool laymen. I've been wanting to learn the Heinstein shuffle for a while, as I personally think it is better than the truffle shuffle, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
I started learning sleights from Daniel Madison's "How to Cheat at Cards" and to get some more resources on the moves I bought Jason England's Bottom Deal and Xavior Spade's Classic Pass download. Of course I've had a look at Erdnase, but to be honest I haven't taken a lot from him. A few things are more or less self-taught and (I hardly dare to admit this) some are taken from YouTube tutorials.
I wanted to start working with the Royal Road, but I haven't really had the patience to stick with it.

I didn't include passes simply because you mentioned you practiced some of them. Certainly, they can be important if you have a trick that needs one. I practice the classic pass all the time, but I dont use it often. It's just another tool in my kit, and I can use it when necessary.

You seem set on shuffles then, which are great for both controls and preserving a stock.

I really recommend that you set yourself the task of going through Royal Road. You will be a much better card magician when you come out of it. You can even get the DVD and learn it on video, alongside the book. I found it to be a great experience because Paul Wilson will clarify some of the problems the book has regarding language and awkward handlings.

Card College is apparently great as well (I do not own it personally). More expensive, but has a great deal more to offer in terms of sleights and tricks. I like Harry Loraynes The Magic Book because it teaches important sleights, great tricks, and other genres of magic to get you started with things other than cards.
 
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Nov 3, 2018
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I didn't include passes simply because you mentioned you practiced some of them. Certainly, they can be important if you have a trick that needs one. I practice the classic pass all the time, but I dont use it often. It's just another tool in my kit, and I can use it when necessary.

Oh, right. Forgot about that for a second there. Thanks for the additional info!

I really recommend that you set yourself the task of going through Royal Road. You will be a much better card magician when you come out of it. You can even get the DVD and learn it on video, alongside the book. I found it to be a great experience because Paul Wilson will clarify some of the problems the book has regarding language and awkward handlings.

Card College is apparently great as well (I do not own it personally). More expensive, but has a great deal more to offer in terms of sleights and tricks. I like Harry Loraynes The Magic Book because it teaches important sleights, great tricks, and other genres of magic to get you started with things other than cards.

Well, thank you for the recommendation. My problem with the Royal Road so far hasn't been the amount of practice I'd need to put into it, but that I have little motivation to learn these quite easy moves (as far as I've gotten so far) one by one. They simply don't meet the "requirements" (in terms of difficulty, complexity etc.) I have in order to really put work into them.

I've heard a lot of good about Card College as well, but sadly it's out of my financial range, especially as my real interests have been in the realm of gambling sleights so far.
Between Harry Lorayne's book and the Royal Road, which would you recommend more to begin with?
 

DominusDolorum

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Jul 15, 2013
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Oh, right. Forgot about that for a second there. Thanks for the additional info!



Well, thank you for the recommendation. My problem with the Royal Road so far hasn't been the amount of practice I'd need to put into it, but that I have little motivation to learn these quite easy moves (as far as I've gotten so far) one by one. They simply don't meet the "requirements" (in terms of difficulty, complexity etc.) I have in order to really put work into them.

I've heard a lot of good about Card College as well, but sadly it's out of my financial range, especially as my real interests have been in the realm of gambling sleights so far.
Between Harry Lorayne's book and the Royal Road, which would you recommend more to begin with?

Motivation is definitely essential when it comes to learning anything. Even I, when I first started, lacked the motivation to start with the very basics and went straight for the more difficult techniques. It came to a point where I decided that if I really wanted to become better, then I needed a better foundation to build upon. So, I went back to basics and worked my way forward.

If you want to continue towards more challenging techniques then Expert Card Technique would be a good place to look. I have heard that Ray Kosby has a video on card magic that is very difficult. There are Bill Malones Here I Go Again, and Malone on Marlo DVDs that are intermediate to expert. A lot of good stuff in there.

If I were starting out again, and I needed to choose between Harry Lorayne's book and Royal Road...tough call. I would lean more towards Harry Loraynes because it is very well written, and has a variety of magic. Royal Road will always have a special place in my heart though.
 

WitchDocIsIn

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Sep 13, 2008
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The most important moves are the ones you actually use. Followed by the ones that are fun to practice.

Moves that many today consider to be 'simple' are the moves that the masters of the previous generous built their careers on. Berglas' card work can be summed up with a good memory, a perfect fan, and the Glide (and the ability to jazz his way through a situation).
 
Nov 3, 2018
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Motivation is definitely essential when it comes to learning anything. Even I, when I first started, lacked the motivation to start with the very basics and went straight for the more difficult techniques. It came to a point where I decided that if I really wanted to become better, then I needed a better foundation to build upon. So, I went back to basics and worked my way forward.

As I mentioned, I started with gambling sleights, which are (so I've been told) a lot more difficult than card magic, so now the prospect of easy (-ier) is (for want of a better word) somewhat boring.
I understand that those fundamentals are absolutely necessary to getting good, but, well, motivation is a tricky thing.

If you want to continue towards more challenging techniques then Expert Card Technique would be a good place to look. I have heard that Ray Kosby has a video on card magic that is very difficult. There are Bill Malones Here I Go Again, and Malone on Marlo DVDs that are intermediate to expert. A lot of good stuff in there.

If I were starting out again, and I needed to choose between Harry Lorayne's book and Royal Road...tough call. I would lean more towards Harry Loraynes because it is very well written, and has a variety of magic. Royal Road will always have a special place in my heart though.

Thanks for the additional recommendations, but, if you'll excuse me, I'll ignore those for the moment. Otherwise I'll get too excited about them and lose sight of the first steps.

What magic does Harry Lorayne teach in his book? At the moment I'm not expecting to do anything other than card magic; would you recommend his book over Royal Road anyway? And - except for the other types of magic - is the only other reason you'd choose Lorayne above Royal Road the way it is written?
 
Nov 3, 2018
546
428
The most important moves are the ones you actually use. Followed by the ones that are fun to practice.

Moves that many today consider to be 'simple' are the moves that the masters of the previous generous built their careers on. Berglas' card work can be summed up with a good memory, a perfect fan, and the Glide (and the ability to jazz his way through a situation).

Thank you for your response! The problem is that, seeing as I have hardly any experience with magic as such, I don't actually really know many moves that are used often.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,840
2,923
A force, a control, a palm or two, some reveals. A false count is handy.

The thing to remember is that the difficulty of the sleight is absolutely irrelevant to the quality of the performance. The only factor that matters is whether the performer can use the sleight without creating the suspicion of its existence.

When I do card magic, which is generally only in casual settings, I still perform material from Royal Road, 11 years later.
 
Nov 3, 2018
546
428
A force, a control, a palm or two, some reveals. A false count is handy.

The thing to remember is that the difficulty of the sleight is absolutely irrelevant to the quality of the performance. The only factor that matters is whether the performer can use the sleight without creating the suspicion of its existence.

When I do card magic, which is generally only in casual settings, I still perform material from Royal Road, 11 years later.

Thank you very much! What you said about the difficulty of a sleight is something I need to remind myself of time and time again.
 

DominusDolorum

Elite Member
Jul 15, 2013
894
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What magic does Harry Lorayne teach in his book? At the moment I'm not expecting to do anything other than card magic; would you recommend his book over Royal Road anyway? And - except for the other types of magic - is the only other reason you'd choose Lorayne above Royal Road the way it is written?

- Basic card sleights; things you would find in RRTCM like the palm, glide, jog shuffles. Tricks to use with those sleights. Self-Working card tricks.
- Basic coin techniques and tricks.
- Number magic like the magic square.
- Mental magic.
- Magic with objects like matches, rings, and elastic bands.

I personally like this book because it feels like Harry is talking to directly to me. He also puts afterthoughts after every trick, and those are worth the price of the book themselves. For these reasons, it was more enjoyable to read and I liked his choice of effects across the genres.

It really is just a matter of personal preference. If you want to stay with just card magic then RRTCM all the way. I love the book.
 
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Nov 3, 2018
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- Basic card sleights; things you would find in RRTCM like the palm, glide, jog shuffles. Tricks to use with those sleights. Self-Working card tricks.
- Basic coin techniques and tricks.
- Number magic like the magic square.
- Mental magic.
- Magic with objects like matches, rings, and elastic bands.

I personally like this book because it feels like Harry is talking to directly to me. He also puts afterthoughts after every trick, and those are worth the price of the book themselves. For these reasons, it was more enjoyable to read and I liked his choice of effects across the genres.

It really is just a matter of personal preference. If you want to stay with just card magic then RRTCM all the way. I love the book.

Thank you very much for your help! Still not quite sure which book to buy, but it'll definitely be (at least) one of those books.
 
Jan 20, 2019
25
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Hi guys,
For the last 8 months or so I've been practicing gambling sleight of hand (false shuffles, deals and passes mostly), but I'd like to start with magic moves as well. My problem: There are so incredibly many moves out there, it's difficult to know which to start with.
I know it's really difficult to do so, but it would be great if you could put together a list of moves you think are most important for card magic and maybe also a list of tricks and effects that can be performed impromptu and are gimmickless.

Thanks so much!

Learn how to pinky count and do a double lift! Than learn a few controls and the top switch.

Here are some of my favourite tricks:
-Chicago opener (not technically Impromptu but not much set-up)
-Bittle trick
-some sort of card to pocket
 
Sep 10, 2017
347
231
Well, I don’t do magic “tricks”, but here are the magic related sleights that I like to do:
(Quick Disclaimer: I tried to put it in an actual order at first, but wasn't really successful at it)
Overhand shuffle slug + full controls
False swing cuts ITH + tabled
Cross cut force
Balducci Force
Hofzinser under the spread force
Riffle force + riffle slip cut force
10 to 20 force
False ITH riffles
Pinky Count
Stewart gordon double
Pushoff double
Vernon Push off
Derek Dingle Double
Multiple keycard concept
Hindu shuffle cuts and controls
Hofsinzer Spread Cull
Convincing Control
DMB Spread
Longitudinal Swivel Steal
Elmsley + Jordan Count
Top Change
Ga,bler’s Cop
Berg Palm
Braue Tipup Palm
Erdnase Bottom Palm
DPS
Arthur Finley Steal
Classic Pass
Herman Pass
Turnover Cover for the Hermann Pass
Biddle Count
Reverse Breather Crimp
Spectator Peak
Gimplsing Techniques
The K.M Move
The Braue addition
Jogs andSteps after a cut
Bluff Pass
Spread Pass
Ascanio Spread
Complete Faro ITH
Loewy Palm
Shapeshifter Change
Shake Change
Duck Change
Multiple Snap Change
ErdnaseChange Variations
The Marlo Deliberate Side Steal
Deck Switches
Marlo Tilt
Fred Robinson Ambitious Riser

P.S. As you very well know, there are a lot of gambling and tabled moves to add to this list, which is mainly the work I do. But considering your background at tabled deception, I decided not to add tabled moves in here, as you probably already know them.
 
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obrienmagic

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Nov 4, 2014
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A lot of great sleights mentioned here! No matter which ones you choose, I would suggest keeping in mind the following criteria:

1. Looks Natural: Moves that look very unnatural or are extremely knack tend to put up red flags. Avoid them if possible.
2. Motivated: Make sure the moves make sense in context to the routine. This all goes along with scripting, placement, and choreography.
3. Best possible move for the effect it is in: The move you use should be used simply because it best suits the effect it is in. For example a DUC may not be best in an Ambitious Card routine because the idea is that you are not doing any cuts or shuffles. You simply place the card in the middle then it rises to the top. A good example for an ACR would be a TC.
4. Within your skill level: If a move is outside of your skill level, do not include it in your act until you have perfected it. It is ok to include an easier move in your act in the meantime while working on a more difficult move that may better suit the effect. This way you are able to perform the desired effect and work out its kinks while learning the move you want to add in later.

Hope this helps! These are just the things I think about when routining. Often times I see magicians trying to put the hardest moves they know into every routine just to show off to other magicians. If you perform for magicians then perhaps that is fine, but your lay audiences may suspect there is a lot of skill happening rather than suspending their disbelief and experiencing "magic."
 
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