We love all kinds of magic here at Bicycle-Cards.co.uk, but this site started off life focusing on card magic. We review many of the latest card magic effects – but if you’re new to card magic, or just starting out, we thought it would be useful to give you some pointers.
New to card magic – where do I start?
Many people think that performing card magic requires strong sleight of hand and polished technique. While we would encourage you to practise and develop these areas, and will suggest some helpful resources below, there is more to performing magic than excellent sleight of hand. Magic is a performance art – and 90% of the impact of your performance will be affected by the way you perform, not how good your sleight of hand is.
That’s why we recommend starting off by learning some ‘self-working magic‘ to get you started. This magic is easy to do which allows you to concentrate on your performance and building confidence in front of people.
If you prefer learning from magic books (and there is much to be said for this) then we would highly recommend Roberto Giobbi’s Card College Light/er/est series. You might also look at Karl Fulves’ superb book – Self Working Card Tricks – I still perform two of the effects from here with a bit of dressing!
At some point, however, you need to read up on the basics of card magic. The absolute classic beginners book is called the Royal Road to Card Magic. However, it’s style is a little dated now. R Paul Wilson has done an excellent job of turning it into a 5-DVD teaching set if you prefer.
If you like books and have a little more money to spend, Roberto Giobbi’s Card College Series is a modern classic. They five volumes are much better illustrated than the Royal Road and very clearly explained, and contain a good number of tricks with each technique that you learn. Why not buy a volume and save up for the next one while you are mastering the content!
If you do prefer to learn by watching a DVD, Born to Perform is an excellent introduction to card magic. A good number of basic sleights are taught, and several top quality effects which will amaze your audience whilst being relatively straightforward to perform. Highly recommended for the newcomer to magic.
What about cards?
It should go without saying, but you will need a decent deck of cards to perform and practise with. Playing cards come in many designs and qualities. Bicycle Cards are the brand most frequently used by magicians – hence the name of this site. And anything which is branded Bicycle will be of a good standard for magic use. Poker Size is most commonly uses by magicians, but if you are younger or have small hands you may want to use Bridge Size, but we would encourage you to progress to the Poker Size as soon as possible. If you’re interested in the latest bicycle cards and designs, we review many of them on this site.
In addition to ‘regular’ decks of cards, you can also get special magic cards which are gimmicked to make your life easier. The first such deck that I and many magicians receive is called a Svengali deck – and it allows you to perform many impressive looking effects without any real sleight of hand. It is very easy to use and so allows you to concentrate on the presentation.
A marked deck of cards can also be useful – and this will enable you to tell the value of a card without looking at its face. There are many different kinds of marked cards available, but the Ultimate Marked Deck has the advantage that it matches your regular Bicycle deck and comes highly recommended.
As we mentioned early on, 90% of the effectiveness of a magic trick is to do with your presentation and performance skills. So if you are serious about becoming a better magician you may like to invest in a book about presentation and showmanship. Magic and Showmanship is the classic treatment of this subject, though there are more modern volumes available. This would be a good starting point.
We hope this is enough to give you a good start in card magic. If you have other questions, or recommendations, then do chip in below or via our Facebook page – we always love to hear from our readers.