Performing for individual tables at a party......

Sep 16, 2011
Leeds, UK
Whilst reading some threads on here one thing is bothering me. I was asked by someone I know a week or so ago if I would be interested in doing some magic at a local club when they have their Christmas party. Obviously I turned it down as I only know a couple of basic card tricks and thats about it, but I said I would love to have something to work towards for next year, and maybe I he could ask me again then.

So I've been thinking about the kind of magic I want to do in the future and I'm a big fan of the close up stuff like cards and coins etc. (Street magic type stuff) But, what has got me is, has anyone done/how would you do something along the lines of an ACR that involves, lets say, card to mouth? Because while you are performing it at one table and getting good noisy reactions (Hopefully), are people at other tables not going to see you doing 'The move' and then when you perform for them, they will not be impressed/surprised because they know what you are about to do? Would you only perform something like that once all night? would it be the same for much of the other material out there?

And this brings me onto another question, How many different tricks would you need to do a night of magic while strolling tables? What would be the minimum amount of material you would need? Obviously I know the more material you have the better prepared you will be, but when you have no idea how much is needed in the first place it's hard to figure out what you would need to get started.
Feb 7, 2011

This will help you with the 'how many' confusion.

As for card to mouth,while i dont perform it (and i suggest that anyone who works restaurants think twice before performing effects that involves them putting props in their mouth or shoes) Ill tell you very simply to relax. The people at the other tables wont catch out performers who are practiced. As for effects like card to mouth, i really dont think you should worry about it, but if you insist, not everyone at the other table will see how it's done if indeed one or two spot what you did. If you suspect that someone knows how it was done, let them in on it. Perform your card to mouth the same way you would perform the paper balls over the head routine, where everyone is in on the 'secret' except the participating spectator.
Sep 16, 2011
Leeds, UK
Great link, thanks.

I'm not insisting on the effect as such. It was more of an example of these kinds of effects that work when close up but are easy to flash when seen from afar. Great points though, much appreciated.

Thanks again.
Feb 27, 2008
Grand prairie TX
I have never had that problem before. And i've been at tables that are pretty close to each other.
I've had people look over but they feel awkward staring at a performance that isn't for them. Usually they turn back around after a few seconds and wait for their turn.

Jamie D. Grant

theory11 columnist
Oct 12, 2008
Great question!

The key to this is body blocking! When I'm at a table, I'll actually turn my back to the table behind me. While this might seem rude at first, it's not; as I will always give a quick a look over my shoulder and make a comment to them, like: "I hope your all of your hands are warmed up because I'm coming for you next!"

It's key to give them a glimpse, as it generates momentum, without burning through your material by giving them a full frontal view.


[___] Table 1
:) Me (facing Up)
[___] Table 2


:) Me (facing down)
[___] Table 1
[___] Table 2

Does that make sense?

My best,



Aug 31, 2007
Great advice. Last Saturday I did a smaller Christmas event (10 tables) for a company, and by doing what Jamie suggested, and with the particular layout, I was able to do the entire room with two sets of three effects (5-6 minutes each routine). I was able to reach every table in the hour and a half and was able to spend some extra time at the company owners table. After finishing, they asked if I could stay longer, and I did another hour with 2 other sets of three (also 5-6 minutes) that I had prepared. (I fully agree with Jamie's suggestion of 9 effects, but I just have 4 sets that I have used successfully in the past, and rarely need to use 4).

As a side: I do use card to mouth in my acr in one of my sets (I'm not at a restaurant any more), but I bite down on my lips with my teeth and slip just the corner in. The card never gets wet this way. Then I don't hand it to them, I do one more phase to finish the acr, and I handle the card for this phase. This time allows people to not linger on the fact that it was in my lips, but also allows time for the the card to dry in the instance there was any wetness on the card -heaven forbid (I would be mortified if I tried handing someone a wet card!). The last phase is so surprising, that people always focus on that, and are usually clamouring to get the card to examine it. So my assumption is they are not worried about spit on the card.

However as already mentioned, I would hesitate to ever do card to shoe, then hand the card out. Or the same with card to mouth where it goes right in your mouth. Yuk.

Hope that helps!
{[{ searchResultsCount }]} Results