My question was simply trying to get at how you choose to present your card magic (non gambling demos)? I often find myself wandering down a gambling/cheating themed presentation even if I’m not actually presenting a traditional gambling demo and was interested in how you (as someone with so much knowledge and experience in methods of cheating with cards) present card magic (if and when you don’t present it with a gambling theme)?
Sorry for misunderstanding your original question, but I'm glad you got something out of my answer anyway.
In response to your actual question above, I don't have a "set" way of performing for people when I do magic. It depends on the specifics of the venue. For instance, am I the only magician on the bill, or are there several of us working walk-around magic at a corporate function? Have I been advertised/introduced as a magician, or do I have to "educate" each group individually when I approach?
Having said that there is no set way, I will tell you that I almost invariably mention, in one way or another, several things early in the performance.
1. That I've been doing this for over 20 years. This in itself doesn't guarantee that they'll sit up and pay attention or respect you, but it does let them know that you're obviously serious and presumably have something worth watching/listening to. Of course, I don't offer that for the bulk of that time I was an amateur that made my living in the Air Force. They don't need to know that (yet).
2. That I live in Las Vegas. To those of us that live in Vegas, this is a big "who cares" revelation. But, to most of middle-America, Vegas is a cool, hip, fun and mysterious town, and anyone from there must be those things by extension. I try not to disabuse them of these notions. Again, I don't offer the fact that I've only lived here for 3 years. The romantic pseudo-reality is a lot cooler/more interesting than the fact that I grew up in Tennessee and traveled around a bunch with the military for 15 years.
From that point on, I try and let the magic speak for itself. By that I mean I choose material that is visually impressive, is seemingly impossible (as all magic should be), and has something interesting that the spectator can relate to in the presentation.
People are interested in many things, but we all know the major themes: business, money, sex, love, happiness, etc. It's tough to work these things into an effect, and I don't believe every effect needs this type of presentation, but these things are all good tools to have in your toolbox.
I'm not above showing something to an audience that is "just cool" and I don't offer, or even have any "higher" justification for it, but these types of things usually come later on in the show when my status and credibility are no longer in question. Opening with a mindless, thoughtless presentation, even to a great trick, is just asking for people to view what they've just seen as little more than a puzzle. Even though they might've been fooled by it, it didn't engage them and they may want to go back to their conversation. So, if I do something like this, it's virtually always only with audiences that have been with me for many minutes and whom I've already "won over."
Finally, to touch on something you mentioned, yes, I have used gambling-themed presentations for effects that didn't really have anything to do with gambling, just to capture or keep an audience's interest. This isn't ideal, but I've done it.
Thankfully, I don't perform in too many places where mentioning gambling would be frowned upon (i.e. I don't do any church shows), so many times I've been hired to do a magic act and wound up doing 20 minutes of gambling material in a 40 minute "magic" show. If the audience is digging it, I say roll with it and have fun. The host sees amazed looks and smiles on everyone's faces and they're happy too. How do you go wrong?
Hope this helps.