Simple & Easy Card Tricks for Beginners – Ultimate Guide

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Simple Easy Card Tricks for Beginners
Learn Simple Easy Card Tricks for Beginners with this in-depth guide

Let’s start out by learning some super simple easy card tricks for beginners if you are just starting in magic.  These basic and simple card tricks can be great to learn when starting out, as you can more quickly and easily learn them, than with more advanced card tricks.

Some advanced card tricks could take years to practice and master well before you can perform them in front of others.  If you are looking to get started with performing, with less time involved, try some of these more basic card tricks.

The good thing is you can perform these while you are slowly practicing more advanced card moves and tricks.

Super Easy Card Tricks for Beginners

If you are a beginner in magic, you might want to first start with this progression of card tricks.

  1. Simple card tricks for kids (the easiest)
  2. Simple card tricks such as self-working card tricks – These help you focus more on performance than on hard moves.
  3. Easy sleight of hand card tricks – This is the point at which you can start to learn some basic card sleight of hand using the easiest sleight of hand tricks. (See the guide on Card Sleight of Hand Basics)
  4. Mnemonica or memorized deck tricks – A lot of these can be started with minimal sleight of hand.  You can advance to harder versions.
  5. Advanced sleight of hand card tricks

Super Easy Card Tricks for Kids

Whether you are a child starting out in magic, or you are older and want to perform card tricks for kids, this is a good place to start.

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Here’s an easy simple card trick you can learn in a two-minute video.

Key Card Trick

Here are three more super easy card tricks to learn if you are either a kid or looking to perform some easy tricks for kids when starting out.  One of these tricks involves a key card, which is one of the most basic tricks you can learn and maybe even the easiest card trick.

The key card trick is usually the first one that is usually taught, even in more advanced card magic books.  (Although they’ll usually add a more advanced element to it, which I’ll get to below).  The key card principle is actually used in more advanced magic, so it’s good to learn the basics of it when starting.

The Key Card Trick is the most basic plot in card magic, losing in the card in the deck and finding it, and using no sleight of hand.  Another super easy basic card trick is the 21 card trick.

And don’t worry, we will get more advanced.

When you’re ready to move on from those, we’ll get slightly harder tricks next.

The Best Simple Card Tricks

To be honest, it’s harder to find simple card tricks that are going to be cool as well.  Remember, most good card tricks will require sleight of hand or some more advanced principle.

But nevertheless, when starting out, there still are some tricks that are classics of magic since they give you the most bang for your effort.  These will be the best of the easier card tricks.  There are a lot of card tricks that might involve math or some other procedure that might be boring to an audience (unless you are really entertaining!).

There are some people out there with phenomenal presentational skills and the ability to entertain, and I have heard they can take even the simplest key card trick and turn it into something fun to watch.  So, since these card tricks will be a little bit on the easy side, it might be best to present them as well as possible and work on your presentational skills.  Since, that’s what a lot of magic can be, presentation.

You Do As I Do

You Do as I Do is a classic card trick and a very easy working one, with a fairly powerful result.  One will need two decks.  And this one takes a slight bit of audience management.

The Spelling Card Trick

This trick is a variation of the key card trick I was talking about earlier.  It’s usually taught in most beginner card magic books.  You end up spelling to the spectator’s card after looking through the deck and either pretending to show them it’s still there or pretending that you can’t find it.  (It’s basically a simple key card trick.  I have a better spelling trick coming up in the next section)

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Learn The Spelling Card Trick

or watch the video below.

Self-Working Card Tricks

You can find all the best self-working card tricks here.

There is a category of easy card tricks that are called self-working card tricksSelf-working card tricks are called self-working because the working of the trick causes the magic to happen without any sleight of hand.  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 with no fancy moves required.

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.  (You can see them here)

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.

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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 these 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 laypeople 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.

Since there is already a post on self-working card tricks, they won’t be all repeated here, instead, you can see the Best Self-Working Card Tricks here.  You can also find an individual post for the famous Gemini Twins Self-Working Card Trick Tutorial Guide.

Self-Working ACAAN (A Card At Any Number)

Here is an easy self-working ACAAN (A Card At Any Number) effect involving minimal setup and can be done with no sleight of hand.  (You can find the full post at Learn a Self-Working ACAAN (A Card At Any Number) Card Trick!)

This is unique because most ACAAN effects require some level of sleight of hand to accomplish the effect.

(Or watch Best Self-Working ACAAN (A Card At Any Number) Card Trick on YouTube here)

Red & Black Card Separation Trick

This is a similar effect to the Out of the World card trick, but it has a different method.  Although a minimal amount of sleight of hand is done in the performance, the trick can be done with no sleight of hand at all.  Check it out below.

(Or watch Red & Black Card Separation Trick on YouTube here)

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 reds and blacks 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.

Easy Sleight of Hand Card Tricks

Here are a couple of easy sleight of hand card tricks once you get a little more comfortable with the easier tricks.  (You may also want to consider memorized deck work or a Mnemonica stack as a beginning magician looking for more advanced tricks, but that you can still perform with minimal sleight of hand.)

One sleight of hand card trick that is probably the most simple to do, is the reversed card trick.

Reverse Card or Upside-Down Card Trick

There are different variations of the Reverse Card or Upside-Down Card Trick, but they all have the same plot.  A selected card is placed facedown back into the deck, and the card reverses itself magically in the deck.

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This version has a more advanced version available, but the easy version is also taught.

(Or watch the Upside Down Card Trick on YouTube here)

Here’s a video of just the easy version of the trick being taught.

Easy Prediction Card Trick

Here is a powerful little prediction card trick that involves minimal sleight of hand.

(Or watch Easy Prediction Card Trick on YouTube here)

Easy Double Prediction Card Trick

Here is another easy card prediction trick that involves a double prediction this time.  It uses one fairly easy sleight of hand move and would be great for beginners.  You can find the full post for this trick at Learn an Easy Double Prediction Card Trick!

(Or watch Easy Double Prediction Card Trick on YouTube)

Easy Sleight of Hand ACAAN

Here is one of the easiest but best ACAAN effects using sleight of hand.  The good thing about this version is it is actually ANY card and pretty much ANY number that can be named.  (A lot of versions have to use a force or cannot use any named card or number)

(Or watch Easy Sleight of Hand ACAAN (Any Card At Any Number) Card Trick on YouTube here)

The Glide

The Glide is a good sleight to begin learning for beginning magicians since it is an easier form of the Double Lift.  Here is the Chris Pratt Card Trick which uses the Glide.

(I also have an easy version of the Double Lift you can learn at Easiest Double Lift in Card Magic! Great for Beginners)

Trick Card Decks

One way you can perform easy card tricks when you are a beginner is to get a trick deck of cards.  Now, that doesn’t mean that everything will be automatic.  You still have to know how to perform with the cards and how to present the tricks well.

But usually, they require little to no sleight of hand and so they allow you to perform tricks faster when you are starting out.

Some of these decks are Svengali decks, Invisible decks, stripper decks, and marked decks.  You can get these at almost any magic dealer or online.

Usually, the decks will take a lot of the moves out of card magic, making it look like you do something much harder than you actually do.

The Invisible Deck is my favorite and you can do some of the most powerful tricks in all of magic with it.  (See the The Invisible Deck Guide (The Greatest Trick Deck of All Time) to learn more)  It might even be the best easy card trick there is.

But you can only do the one trick with the deck or a variation of that trick.  But in my guide, you will see how to use the deck to do some unique mentalism or prediction tricks.

If you just do the classic Invisible Deck trick, you cannot do any normal tricks with that deck afterward.  It also cannot be examined.  But it is a very powerful trick, and I highly recommend it, despite the drawbacks (most tricks have some type of drawbacks).

The only downside for all trick decks, is you must have one of the special decks on you to perform, you can’t use borrowed decks.  Also, the decks are not examinable or able to be handled by audience members, except with marked decks and with stripper decks under the right audience management.  Also, you are usually limited to the tricks that are only able to be done with those decks.

So you won’t have as many choices of card tricks to perform, and you cannot do normal card tricks with most of the special decks.  The exception is the stripper deck and marked decks. (Although with a stripper deck, if you are doing sleight of hand, it can make it much harder if not impossible to do)

It helps if you already prove yourself beforehand as being good at magic, before doing a trick with a special deck.  This will build your credibility.  Otherwise, the audience may just assume that you are using a special deck.  So if you can establish yourself first by doing some sleight of hand magic, it can help to fool the audience into thinking that you are doing your tricks with ordinary decks, by using sleight of hand.

However, sometimes these trick deck tricks can be “too perfect” and thus people might suspect a trick deck.  John Mendoza used to say that when he performed one of his normal tricks, he would actually have people think he used a trick deck, even though he didn’t!  So imagine if you are actually using a trick deck.

Memorized Deck Card Tricks

Another type of card tricks which can be good for beginners, depending on the type of trick, are memorized deck card tricks, or mem deck magic.

The most common memorized deck stacks are Mnemonica or Aronson stack.  (See the Mnemonica Stack by Juan Tamariz Guide to learn more about Mnemonica, which is probably the most common.

Memorized deck magic is good because it allows you to perform certain feats of magic, without necessarily having to use any sleight of hand, or to be able to use less sleight of hand to perform effects which look more complicated or difficult.  (If you can do advanced sleight of hand however, the tricks can look nearly impossible)  In essence, the memorized deck is a trick deck, or a gimmick.

You can get an idea of what kind of card tricks there are to be done at Mnemonica (Aronson or Memorized Deck) Card Tricks You Can Do!

See also  What is Sleight of Hand?

Easy Card Tricks Resources

While you can find easy card tricks on Youtube, those will only get you so far and are only some of the most basic ones.  Here are some better resources that will give you more simple card tricks to learn.

Books

Scarne on Card Tricks

John Scarne on Card Tricks - Easy Card Tricks to learn
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 in magic and had tremendous knowledge.  His book on self-working, easy card tricks has been a very popular one.

Videos

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 magic with cards  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

Self-working card tricks (SWCT) with Jay Noblezada
Self-working card tricks (SWCT) with Jay Noblezada

Jay is a good teacher and even does live performances of the tricks.  These are some of the most popular classic self-working card tricks, including Gemini Twins, Out of this World, and a Key Card trick.  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 tricks that are taken from the magician’s 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

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, with no sleight of hand needed.   Cameron Francis – Out of Sleight

Big Blind Media – Self Working Section with Free Downloads

Big Blind has a section with all of their self-working card stuff.  You can even find some free downloads of individual self-working tricks.  They actually have tons of self-working material, so I can’t list it all here.  Big Blind Media – Self Working Magic

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

Summary

Hopefully, this was a good starting point for any beginner in card magic, looking to find some easy and also cool card tricks.  You can learn the progression of card tricks for a beginning magician by following the outline above.