Top 10 Greatest Card Tricks of All Time
Card tricks were once described by the great magician Hofzinser as the "poetry of magic". Yes, they can also be horrible with your kid brother asking you to count 21 cards three times but they can also be sublime, that's the breadth of card poetry. This list of the greatest card tricks ever highlights 10 of what we believe are the greatest classics of the genre. Enjoy...
10. Disappearing Deck
A staple for every magician, the Disappearing Deck uses expert sleight of hand with misdirection to astonish the participant. (Jump to second 16 in the video.) In this case, an unsuspecting morning show news anchor is wowed by Shawn Farquhar who, with a snap of his fingers, makes the deck THAT IS IN THE PARTICIPANT'S HAND disappear. It is unbelievably replaced by a clear, plastic square the same size as the deck…just wow…
9. Card in Box
Tommy Wonder sits unsuspecting guests at a table and shows his guests a small box and then pulls out a deck of cards. (Jump to minute 3 in the video.) After some shuffling and announcing that one card is missing (I think this is important later), the magician asks one guest to choose a card and flip it over from a neatly spread deck. Low and behold, the chosen card is the same as the one in the box! Not just the same but signed as well. Truly mind-bending.
8. Out of this World
Michael Ammar, in this unbelievable trick, takes a normal deck of cards, has a participant go through them, and with his mighty power of impression, works some magic. (Jump to second 25 on the video.) While using the participant's power of impression to correctly place face-down cards into piles of red and black, the cards unbelievably match the piles…except for two… the two cards the magician wrote down would be misplaced BEFORE the trick even started. It's pretty awesome.
7. Oil and Water
Rene Lavand not only performs this astounding trick but does it one-handed!!! (Start the video at second 20.) He sits at a table with his closest friends (or bitter enemies) when he busts out a deck of cards, cuts the deck then selects six cards; three black and three red. He mixes the six cards in a red-black pattern, face-down and then flips them over to show they're actually in groups of red or black and not a pattern. He repeats the trick again, only slooowwer for those of us at home. The third time, he does the trick with the faces up and the entire deck is perfectly aligned by color. Unbelievable!
6. Sam the Bellhop
Bill Malone wows the table of guests with a delightful story of Sam the Bellhop and the 654 Club. (Jump to second 20 in the video to get started.) As the story goes, Malone and guests shuffle the cards, but each face-down top card matches the numbers in the story, with repeat numbers of 6, 5 and 4. A fun and super entertaining trick. This is a popular version of an ancient trick.
5. Card on Ceiling
Michael Ammar is at it again! (Jump to minute 2:30 in the video above.) He starts by having an unsuspecting spectator choose a card and sign it. He has the card put back in the deck and rubber bands the deck together, locking in the chosen card. The audience's attention is called to the ceiling before the magician throws the deck at the ceiling causing the signed card to stick to... the... ceiling…And it escaped the rubber banded deck.
4. Chicago Opener
Start by shuffling a deck and turning it face down, then asks an audience member choose a card (any card). The chosen card is shown to the audience but not the magician, then placed back into the deck face down. Everhart declares that one card will change color. Sure enough, when spreading out the cards, face down, one card has a blue back in the red deck. And the odd card? The same one that was chosen but originally had a red back. More astonishment ensues as the trick is repeated.
3. Invisible Deck
This episode of the Ellen Show has an audience member do an amazing card trick. It all starts with the magician asking Ellen to shuffle an imaginary, some would say, an invisible deck of cards. Ellen chooses an imaginary card and returns it face-down to the face-up "invisible" deck. The magician, who magically has an actual box of cards in his hand, (say what!?!?) asks Ellen what card she chose. Miraculously, the chosen card is face down in the middle of the deck. A true miracle!
2. Card to Impossible Location
One of the greatest card magicians ever, Jimmy Grippo shuffles a deck and has a participant choose a card from the deck and show everyone before returning it and shuffling the deck again. (See minute 4:10 on the video.) Through an honest feat of magic, Jimmy declares the right card will fly up his sleeve. And like some kind of wizard, he pulls the chosen card from his inside jacket pocket. The trick is repeated with a signed card with equally amazing results. Jimmy should definitely be added to the Greatest Magicians Ever list.
1. Card through Glass
In a fun bit of street magic, Cyril Takayama has a participant choose a card and show everyone including the magician (yes, it's part of the trick). (Jump to second 24 in the video.) The participant signs the card then returns it to the deck. The magician then throws the deck at a fish tank and one card appears to stick to the inside of the tank. And guess what? It's the signed card. THEN, he retrieves the card in a most astounding way. Take a look at the video!
There are a plethora of wonderful magic card tricks and this list contains some of our favorites. If you would like to learn more card tricks, we recommend you grab yourself a copy of Joshua Jay's extensive modern card magic. It's an excellent resource to not only learn the basics but advanced methods as well. If you're looking for something way advanced for your card magic, we suggest the Card College 5 volume set by Roberto Giobbi. It is an amazing achievement of everything you wanted to know about card tricks but were afraid to ask. We wish you much success and enjoyment in magic!