XCM = Cardistry?

Oct 9, 2010
Hey guys,

As I'm sure you all know, this website (btw I'm NOT trying to say anything bad about t11) calls what most people call XCM "Cardistery". Does anybody know why? According to De'Vo, cardistery is cheating and it is really XCM. Anyone else wondering?
Feb 7, 2011
Do you call it football or soccer? Exactly, it doesn't matter. I dont know alot about de'vo but that's nit picking.
Jul 23, 2007
New York, NY
Cardistry and XCM are two different words to explain the same artform.

You can see a bit more about this in an FAQ I wrote almost 4 years ago: http://more.cardistrz.com/cardistry_faq.php

The most relevant part for your question is:
It is a myth that Cardistry is "more cuts" and XCM is "more fans and spreads." These terms actually intend to describe exactly the same art. The difference is purely in the words.

While the art is fascinating and the moves can be complex, most moves do not fall under the "Xtreme" category (is a charlier cut, fan, or armspread really Xtreme?), and it is just one performance style.

Comparing this art to other Xtreme Sports might make more sense if:

The cards are on fire
You're doing it upside down in a roller coaster.
You're doing it while sky diving.
For these cases, it would make lots of sense to use the word "Xtreme." Otherwise, in general, there is no real physical risk except maybe carpel tunnel.

Cardistry seeks to encapsulate the art as a whole, to oversee all styles. It is worth noting that if you really want to use the word "Xtreme" you could call it "Xtreme Cardistry."

In this case, unfortunately yes De'vo is just trying to say "cardistry" means something else for his own personal reasons.

Throughout the whole "cardistry" discussion, I've been very open about everything (and likewise in the FAQ).

Also, now even the US Playing Card Company officially uses the word "cardistry" for the art on their website. Just sayin' :)


Elite Member
Nov 18, 2007
The short answer: Yes, they are the same thing. I would argue that Cardistry is objectively & linguistically a better term though. (I'm not hiding my agenda, I am definitely biased towards Cardistry over XCM and have been since the it was challenged.)

Cardistry is a newer term that makes more sense and is becoming accepted as time passes. As Richard said, even the US Playing Card Company calls it Cardistry now. :) See for yourself: http://www.bicyclecards.com/beyond-card-games-pages-4.php

XCM (Xtreme Card Manipulation) is older and more widely recognized, but it was explicitly a marketing term that isn't very suitable to describe the art form as a whole. Cardistry is an all-inclusive, more logical title that came from Decknique which wasn't a business trying to create profit. Although to be fair, it has been used as a marketing term by Theory11 and others as well.

I think it is wise to have no allegiance to either community for the basis of your decision of which one to use. Instead, use the term which is more logical, shorter in length, and doesn't require the use of an acronym (which leads to confusion/disappointment). Cardistry doesn't need to be explained to most people, it is self-explanatory. XCM requires an explanation, and an embarrassing one on top of it. :p I can't take myself or anyone seriously using the word "Xtreme" with an X to describe something that I am passionate about and an adult male. XCM shouldn't be forgotten, it will always have its place in the history books. I mean no offense to De'vo by supporting this new direction, and it annoys me when others pick on him for it.

It should just be about the quality of the terms. As I have explained above, Cardistry is easier for us to communicate and easier for people to understand. If you have a better argument than that, please bring it up. :)
Jul 23, 2007
New York, NY
I haven't read those, they're new. But I can respond to them.

Re: Cardistry always being linked to "Andrei cheating in the tournament", this is just another excuse for De'vo. Andrei is a phenomenal cardist. Look at Genesis. That stuff isn't sped up. If you've seen him in person, you'd know he doesn't have to speed up his stuff.

Theory11 does use the term "cardistry" on their cardistry products, but it's NOT as a trademark! Cardistry in its current use originated on my Decknique website in 2006. Before theory11 launched, I was talking to JB about the whole "cardistry vs XCM" thing, and they agreed with me. But theory11 agrees with everybody using the term "cardistry", not just them.

Did you know De'vo tried to trademark "Xtreme Card Manipulation"? theory11 wouldn't dream of doing that to cardistry.

While theory11 does use "cardistry", it didn't originate from them. As Tim pointed out, it originated from a community with no business ties.

Re: Cardistry being used as a magic term, I wrote a section in the FAQ about it:
The fact that you are asking this question makes the answer obvious: No. It has been used on occasion in the past as a magical term, but it has never caught on as popular or widespread.

If you have been in the magic community for years and still have not heard of Cardistry as a magical term, it's not a popular magical term at all.

However, research has clearly shown that the term "Cardistry" has been used on occasion starting in 1913:

  • It has been mentioned in 3 publications from 1913 to 1954.
  • A magic magazine called "The Cardiste" was published from 1958-1959, and its subtitle included the word "cardistry."
  • A magic book called "Cardistry" was published in 2007, over a year after Cardistry started to gain momentum as a non-magical term.
  • These are 5 instances (about 19 if you include each issue of the magazine) in 94 years. That's a tiny spec on the map compared to the number of non-magical Cardistry videos posted on the Internet and people who say they do Cardistry intending the non-magical art we know and love today.

So Cardistry has been used as a magical term in the past, but it never caught on as a popular magical term.

But it has caught on as a popular non-magical term. This is evidence that the word is far more apt to describe the non-magical definition.

Re: Flourishes are with magic, I do actually agree with this. That's why I proposed "Cardistry" in 2006. Flourishes basically means you're adding onto something else. Cardistry was to encompass an art totally based on the fancy non-magical manipulation of playing cards. However, I don't believe in having to be absolute about this. If you want to add magic to cardistry, this shouldn't be frowned upon. If you want to add cardistry to your magic routine, that's fine too.


Elite Member
Sep 2, 2007
Las Vegas
Just to chime in on this, as Richard's FAQ points out, Cardistry was used to describe magic for a total of less than 20 times in the past hundred years. XCM on the other hand borrows a popular term from magic that is still heavily being used today - card manipulation. Card manipulation in magic is a term used to describe vanishing and producing cards and fans - think Jeff McBride. All things equal, the argument that Cardistry has been used in the past is flawed and XCM has a bigger dilemma to deal with in the same department.

Regardless, I'm not a fan of using adjectives as part of a noun to describe an art or discipline. I let the audience decide what to call it.
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