Newbie Looking for Advice on Learning the World of Card Magic

Discussion in 'Magic Forum' started by Angormi, Mar 2, 2018.

  1. Hello all, I have just recently discovered this forum and was hoping for some help.

    Probably about a year ago, I dabbled into the world of card magic and learned some simple self-working tricks and haven't really gone much further than that. However, I have decided I wanted to go deeper into learning card magic and though I do not plan to do this as a profession, but as a hobby. I still would like to learn the ins and outs as I find the different tricks and ways one can handle cards simply fascinating.

    I have done a little research into this, and to make this a little easier, it would seem that I plan on getting two books:

    Card College (planning on just getting the 1st Volume for now)
    Royal Road to Card Magic (Don't know if I should read with Card College, but plan to get this later)

    While I order these books though, I found a nice little PDF by Giobbi that includes excerpts from his book. So I decided to use that for now as a way to learn while I wait for my books, I am not sure if I can post links, but if you search: "Robert Giobbi Intro" into google it should come right up, it includes some of what he wrote in his Card College and if the structure is the same, I say I like the way the books is structured and how it teaches.

    However, this is where my main question comes in. My way of learning is very methodical, but I tend to rush things a little to fast and I am attempting to control myself of not rushing anything. I think I got through the dealing positions just fine and the first chapter was nice for reading the history and some fundamentals before you even touch the deck.

    THEN I come to my current problem, I am currently trying to practice "Spreading the cards in the hand" and although it looks maybe ok. It is nowhere elegant to the way I see others do it, I am attempting to try and practice it over and over again, but I have to say that practicing this is getting tedious. I am aware that many things may take months or years to learn, but I feel that I should at least get a decent spread if I have practiced in my spare time for about a week now, and I admit that my impatience is starting to get the best of me, but I am controlling myself on learning slowly.

    However, I would like a second opinion. Is just practicing one flourish/sleight/handling /trick over and over until I get it absolutely PERFECT the best way to go through learning? Or is spreading cards an example of something I will develop naturally overtime and I should move on? I understand there is no "best" way to learn magic, but I suppose the best way to phrase this would be: Is my current method ok? If not, is there a more effective way I can do this?

    Also, this being a cliche: "I'm new please help." I want to ask for any general advice that would be good for me to know. Thank you for reading my wall of text, and I hope that I have explained well enough, I had trouble trying to phrase my words.
  2. Hey Angormi,

    Both of those books are great!

    I would recommend starting with Royal Road though. The individual Card College books can leave a little to be desired in terms of completeness (per book) and you'll find that vol.2 and vol. 4 are becoming hard to find at the moment. for this reason Royal Road will offer a better A to Z feeling and it's readily available.

    I'll also note that I hold both courses in high regard and only have this opinion based on the difficulty in finding those other volumes right now otherwise they would be relatively equal (even though I think the routines are better in Royal Road :p)

    Now, you're also going to find that many things in the world of magic and in this case, card magic, are tedious.

    You may spend years (literally) repetitively practicing one sleight. Over and over and over again. you may take breaks and realise you come back better than when you left. Sometimes these things just take time. don't let it worry you, it's par the course.

    But this shouldn't stop the magic from happening, seek books like the Encyclopaedia of Card Tricks and Scarne on Cards which are both dover prints and therefor affordable. They offer hundreds of almost or completely self working tricks thats still kill it with crowds to this day.

    You may also find that the deck you're using plays an important role in the results you're seeing. I started with one deck and it lasted me six months. In hindsight, that was a bad move because certain things are far more difficult with older decks and others become easier. having options with some new and some old decks will heavily lean in your favour in the long run.

    Lastly, don't give up and don't be afraid to ask. We all started somewhere and here you will find a community with fantastic working magicians who have been through it all before.

    So, welcome! and good luck.

    shiflix likes this.
  3. Card College is a great way to learn. When you are starting out, there is a point where things just "click." Once you have the "idea" of a sleight down (you understand what to do and are able to do the move but not necessarily smoothly or quickly) , you can move on in the book. As you learn more techniques, your handling of the cards improves in general as your fingers get used to moving in ways that they normally don't move. Also, continuously practicing one move is counterproductive. It takes time for muscle memory to set. You are better to do a move a couple of times a day over a period of time rather than practicing it for hours at a time.

    All of the volumes of Card College will be back in print by the end of the year at the latest. I suspect that the idea is to let demand build up so that you sell a bunch of the books right when it is reprinted so that you recoup a lot of the printing costs immediately. With that said, the teaching in Card College is more comprehensive and the technique is better.

  4. I'm certain they will be reprinted also, just cautious that it may be something to bear in mind.

    I agree regarding content with one exception, it's long winded for a beginner. I'm glad I started with Royal Road many years ago as it tends to jump directly into a problem then gift you with a few brilliant routines. I still think Royal Roads magic is underestimated.

  5. I forgot to edit my initial post to this subject, is it possible to learn card magic with an older deck and be able to transfer those skills to a newer deck? My current budget does not allow for buying decks on a weekly basis (also because the box the Monarchs come in look so beautiful I never want to open it). My current practice deck is OLD, and I mean probably 5-10 years old from a casino long closed. I think I have accepted that fanning with this deck is going to be either really hard or impossible to do, but will using this deck severely inhibit my capabilities? Or is it fine to use for practice.
  6. I often use old decks for practicing many techniques. They do come in very handy for manoeuvres that can throw cards around a bit when your dexterity hasn’t accommodated to the new deck feeling or the technique.

    Practicing with ‘newer’ decks can certainly help too. It goes both ways. If I was just starting out I wouldn’t be concerned with the age of the deck I was using yet. As time passes, if you have an opportunity to get your hands on something affordable like a deck of bicycles then get a few but in the meantime you’ll be fine starting with what you have.

    Antonio Diavolo likes this.
  7. You should find something in between these 2 extremes. Get a new deck and compare it with your old deck. Some things can be very difficult with really old decks.

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