Easy self working card tricks are great to learn when starting out. They generally require no sleight of hand skill.
So they are perfect for those just starting out and not having much manual dexterity. Also, they can be good if you are older and don’t have the ability to move your hands as quickly to do sleight of hand card tricks, but still want to perform card tricks for people.
This collection will feature 7 of the best self-working card tricks, as well as some resources to explore for more learning!
What Are Easy Self Working Card Tricks?
There is a category of easy card tricks that are called self working card tricks. Self-working card tricks are called self-working because the working of the trick causes the magic to happen without any sleight of hand. (In fact, there are self working magic tricks beyond just self working card tricks.)
(You can see easy card tricks, some involving sleight of hand, at Simple & Easy Card Tricks for Beginners)
This means the performer can focus solely on performance, and not worry about sleight of hand or having to do any moves. Some argue that there are no self working tricks since it still requires a level of performance, entertainment, and misdirection to perform any trick successfully. But for simple purposes, a self working trick is one in which the trick itself creates the magic effect with no fancy moves or card sleight of hand required.
(If you are looking to get into card sleight of hand as a beginner, you can start with this Beginner’s Guide to Card Sleight of Hand Basics)
The drawbacks to these and that usually self-working card tricks will not be as powerful or as impressive as ones that involve sleight of hand or another skill. But there still are some good ones. I’ll get to that later. Aldo Colombini once remarked in his Self-Working Packet Tricks DVD that he had gone through another person’s self working packet tricks, and there was only one that was any good. And even then, it was still not a super trick.
Some other downfalls are that some self-working tricks may require a lot of memorization. So you really have to remember what to do throughout the trick and proceed to the next step without hesitation. In card tricks sometimes there are many steps involved.
Also, there may be a need for a setup before the trick, and sometimes even an elaborate setup. Sometimes this is ok, but also sometimes this can be difficult. This is especially true if you are performing impromptu on the spot, such as at a friend’s house, and you can’t perform because you don’t have the right deck or setup of the cards.
If you know you are going to be performing ahead of time, that’s fine, but if it’s on the spot you won’t be able to perform. Also, this might require you to carry your deck or props around with you, which can be burdensome for some.
One final obstacle with self-working card tricks is that many require an audience member to handle the cards and do the work. Sometimes this can be a problem because people will not understand what you are asking them to do, or someone might drop the deck or mishandle the cards.
Just know that lay people are usually not good at handling cards. I’ve had people deal off the bottom of the deck, flip cards over, etc. You have to really have good audience management skills, and even then sometimes anything can happen.
This is why sleight of hand is usually the best to know if you are going to be performing impromptu with borrowed objects, you are doing repeat performances, or you don’t like to have to spend the time and effort to set up and prepare before the trick.
But, there are still some great self-working card tricks out there that don’t require any setup or special decks. I’ll be getting to those soon. Here’s a list of some of the best self-working card tricks.
Best Self Working Card Tricks for Beginners
The first two of these self-working card tricks are classics that have stood the test of time. Not only that, they are two very easy self working card tricks, revealed in the videos below. But these have been on the internet for quite some time, so it’s nothing new being revealed.
1) Gemini Twins
One of the best self-working card tricks might be Gemini Twins, and it involves no setup. It actually belongs in the category of impromptu self working card tricks, since it can be done anything at a moment’s notice. This is already taught on the internet in various places for free, so here’s a video with the instructions.
You can find the full Gemini Twins tutorial at Gemini Twins Card Trick Tutorial.
2) Out of this World
Another classic self working trick is the Out of this World card trick by Paul Curry. The spectator separates a deck of cards into red and black cards by dealing them into two separate piles.
Now, this can be done with no sleight of hand, but it’s a better trick if you actually can perform some sleight of hand with it and do a false mix. Or, arrange the cards in front of the spectator using sleight of hand, from a deck that’s already been mixed. Many experts use this trick and it’s one of the most common and well-known, but they always add elements of sleight of hand in to make it seem impossible.
3) Self-Working Red & Black Separation Trick
Here is a self-working red and black card separation trick that is a great alternative to the Out of this World trick.
The cards are magically separated into red and black after a process of random mixing, similar to the Out of This World effect of color separation.
One thing to note is that the performance features some minimal sleight of hand, but the trick can be done without any sleight of hand.
4) Self-Working ACAAN (A Card At Any Number) Trick
Here’s a really awesome self-working card trick that is very similar to an ACAAN or A Card At Any Number trick. The interesting thing is that it is completely self-working. Almost all ACAAN tricks are not self working, and require some level of sleight of hand (although I have a memorized deck option at Mnemonica or Memorized Deck Card Tricks)
You can also find the full post for this trick at Learn a Self-Working ACAAN (A Card At Any Number) Card Trick!
This card trick is great because it involves very minimal set-up ahead of time. Also, it’s quite baffling as to how it works and looks completely random!
5) Baffling Self-Working Prediction Trick
This self-working prediction card trick gets tremendous reactions and can be performed either completely impromptu or with a common prop.
This trick can be done in many different ways, and just involves a little bit of audience management. But it’s a pretty minimal amount.
6) Self-Working Follow the Leader Card Trick
This is a self-working version of the classic Follow the Leader card trick. Some of the classic versions, like what Juan Tamariz performs, are not self-working and do require lots of sleight of hand and practice.
The great thing about this trick is that it can be done impromptu, with no setup, and can be done with a borrowed or old deck. There is only one very easy “move” in the trick, if you even call it a move, and a lot of the trick is just memorizing the sequence. The other part is just having a good presentation.
7) Magician’s Card Finds Their Card
In this self-working trick, the magician’s favorite card will magically find the selected card.
Although a minimal sleight of hand move is performed in the video, as mentioned, this trick can be done without that sleight of hand move.
Trick Decks for Self Working Tricks
Another thing you might want to consider is trick decks to perform self working card tricks. One of these best trick decks is the Invisible Deck.
These trick decks can practically be self-working and perform self-working card tricks. That’s because the deck can sometimes do all the work, especially in the case of the Invisible Deck.
Another good somewhat self-working deck is the Svengali deck. There are certain tricks such as ACAAN or a spelling trick that can be performed fairly effortlessly with a Svengali deck (whereas it would require sleight of hand with a normal deck to achieve the same effect).
Awesome Self Working Card Tricks Resources
While you can find self-working tricks on YouTube, those will only get you so far and are only some of the most basic ones.
I’ve tried to provide some of the better & less known self-working card tricks in my Self-Working Card Tricks videos, including some that I’ve come up with or added my own elements.
Here are some other resources that will give you other good self-working card tricks to learn once you get past the basics.
Scarne on Card Tricks
John Scarne was a magic and card trick know-it-all. His level of expertise was very deep. His book Scarne on Card Tricks is a classic.
It had 155 good tricks, all of them being simple or using very little or no sleight of hand.
Karl Fulves – Self-Working Card Tricks
Karl Fulves was one of the best-known writers of magic and had tremendous knowledge. His book on self-working card tricks has been one of the most popular of all time.
Roberto Giobbi – Simply Amazing
Roberto Giobbi is one of the greatest card magicians of all time and he wrote the book on Card College. Using all of his expertise and knowledge of card tricks, in Simply Amazing he takes the top 6 self-working tricks and teaches them to you.
Not only that, but you get to see a real live performance and how amazing these tricks look when he performs them. You would swear they are not self-working. And the reactions from the audience are amazing as well.
Do note that Roberto is a master of presentation and very good at presenting tricks, which is something very much needed for self-working tricks. Roberto Giobbi – Simply Amazing.
John Bannon – Move Zero (4 Volumes)
John Bannon is another classic card magician who knows his stuff. Move Zero is a collection of 4 separate volumes of his best self-working card tricks. John takes some of the self-working principles and applies unique twists to come up with new tricks, including the Gemini Twins principle.
You can get all of the volumes as a set or get them individually. You can find the set at John Bannon – Move Zero (4 Volume Set) or you can get them individually.
Liam Montier – Any Shuffled Deck, Self Working, Impromptu Miracles
Liam is a pure card guy and extremely knowledgeable about card magic. This is possibly my favorite behind Simply Amazing, as he does some very good tricks in it. Any Shuffled Deck, Self Working, Impromptu Miracles
Self Working Card Tricks (SWCT) with Jay Noblezada
Jay is a good teacher and even does live performances of the tricks. These are some self-working card tricks including Gemini Twins, Out of this World, and a Key Card trick. (So basically he covers a lot of the classics previously mentioned)
Jay also keeps the material pretty interesting. You can find it at Self Working Card Tricks (SWCT) with Jay Noblezada.
World’s Greatest Magic – Self-Working Card Tricks
Anything done by World’s Greatest Magic is stellar. These are older videos, but they feature some of the best magicians of all time.
And it’s work that’s taken from their actual videos that they individually released. All of it is material that they use in their live performances, and you get to see those performances.
This one has 3 volumes. Self-Working Card Tricks (World’s Greatest Magic) Vol. 1
Big Blind Media – Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks (3 Vols.)
Here you get Liam Montier along with some other professionals in these easy self-working card tricks DVDs. Again, these guys know their stuff so this is some of the best material you will find for easy self working card tricks. Ultimate Self Working Card Tricks – Big Blind Media
John Carey – Sublime Self Working Card Tricks
John Carey is another master and one known for card magic. This should be a good collection. He has also been a very good teacher. Sublime Self Working Card Tricks by John Carey
Effortless Effects – Ryan Schlutz
A final one worth mentioning is Effortless Effects by Ryan Schlutz. Ryan is one of those card guys, who pretty much knows everything about cards.
He also tends to specialize in self-working, super easy card tricks. So this one might be a good one to look into. Effortless Effects – Ryan Schlutz
Super Strong Super Simple – Ryan Schlutz
As I said, Ryan Schlutz has another one, since his niche is in easy card tricks. Super Strong Super Simple – Ryan Schlutz
Cameron Francis – Out of Sleight
Cameron Francis is also one of those guys who is almost entirely a card magician and knows so much about card magic. In this DVD, he brings card magic that is completely self working, no sleight of hand needed. Cameron Francis – Out of Sleight
As you can see there are plenty of resources for self-working card tricks should you choose to want to learn some. They are always good to learn when you are starting out and still practicing your sleight of hand and harder tricks, or if you aren’t able to perform sleight of hand magic.
You can start with some of the easier and free resources, and move on to some of the more harder and advanced material in the resources section. Have fun.
The magician started magic as a kid and has learned from some of the greats. He loves to share his knowledge with others and help out with the subtleties he’s learned along the way.
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