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Loyal user
Montreal, Canada
255 Posts

Profile of aby9plp
Alright guys, I have mastered a HUGE amount of card tricks and EVEN MORE sleights. I know some great and really hard flourishes. But the point I wanted to mention is that EVERYTHING I do is related to cards. I don't know ANY sponge or coin tricks. So is it possible or good to have a job at a bar or restaurant with my knowledge(only cards)?
I'm really worried because I have spent SO much time on cards and I will be disapointed to hear that it will be boring to the audience to watch only cards and that no restaurant manager will want that kind of magician.
Please be honest and tell me what to do. I don't mind starting coins and sponges, but it will take me another huge amount of time to practice those, and my passion is cards.
Thanks for any comment or advice!
Mr. Ed
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Veteran user
337 Posts

Profile of Mr. Ed
I think you will hear what you dread. An all cards act may become old to the audience. I say may, though, because it depends on many other things besides the tricks. IF you can connect with your audience, then the tricks are secondary. I would think that Daryl, Bill Malone, Paul Harris, etc., etc., etc., could easily entertain with just cards.
It would be a good idea to broaden your horizons though. If all your card work is pick a card type of effects, then...
He who laughs, lasts.
Mark Ennis
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Inner circle
Raleigh, NC
1030 Posts

Profile of Mark Ennis
Honestly, there are many magicians that have performed nothing but cards with tremendous success.

I have never run into lay audiences that have hated me because I have performed "X" number of minutes of card magic without doing a sponge ball routine or coin trick.

If you want a nice variety you can add more stuff to your repertoire but there is no rule saying you have to.
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Eternal Order
24107 Posts

Profile of Dynamike
Try to look for a book that explains how to do "bar magic." Several tricks can be performed with beer bottles, glasses, matches, etc. Try to learn simple self working coin tricks. (Lethal tender). Try to find a few easy tricks at a magic shop. I'm sure you will be more pleased than the customers.
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Elite user
Southern California
499 Posts

Profile of BenSchwartz
Ya, I agree with Dynamike. Get a few tricks at a magic shop because you wanna give your audience some variety.
"The experience of astonishment is the experience of a clear, primal state of mind that they associate with a child's state of mind." ---- Paul Harris
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

Profile of Peter Marucci
While I have no great fondness for cards, obviously you do.
And I'm all for encouraging passion in whatever form it takes.
(In an age of the blase, and "I've seen it all before", your view is very refreshing!)
You COULD do a bar act with just cards; some do (vide, Mark Ennis' post, above).
But, for your own good, I would learn some other things -- coins, balls, silks,whatever.
That's not to say you should give up cards. Not at all.
And, if you want, that should be the primary focus of your work.
But knowing the principles of other areas of discipline can assist you in your area of primary interest.
I assume you are aiming at bar/restaurant work; knowing more than cards will make getting the job much easier. And it will also make doing the job much more entertaining.
Mr A
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54 Posts

Profile of Mr A
My advice would be if a gig comes up go for it. However I would add one effect (not dealing with cards) at a time. Pick something like sponge balls, that are very versatile, learn that one effect to a level you are comfortable performing it, then and only then go to the next effect. You should be able to learn one effect fairly quickly, if you concentrate on it. This will allow you to do a card trick something else then cards again, three effects per routine with one third being non-card related.
Also you might check this thread out to get an idea of what effect to start learning
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Regular user
127 Posts

Profile of yoey2000
If you are horrible with coin tricks, just use gimmicked tricks. But only after you've really tried.
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Henrietta NY / Chicago Ill
220 Posts

Profile of jlareau
In my opinion: If you really love just doing card tricks and you're really good at them, fine. Book yourself as a Card Conjuror. I work in a bar (as a cook) and I sometimes will do hours of just card stuff to my co-workers. I haven't had a complaint yet.

Make sure that within your card work there is variety. For example: Start with a story trick, move to a torn and restored effect, then an ace assembly, then a triumph routine, how 'bout a mentalism card trick (the Invisible Deck comes to mind), etc. Just make sure you're showing your audience a variety of effects. But most importantly, make sure your audience stays ENTERTAINED. In order to do that with only card tricks, you must have very good presentation skills.

I do advise that you learn a few tricks that aren't based on cards, for the reason of misdirection. I often find myself in the predicament where I need to switch or set up a deck in order to do my next card trick. Performing a different "type" of trick during my 'predominantly cards' act allows me some time misdirection to set up or switch a deck. I use a hot rod for this purpose because when I hand it out for inspection the audience's attention is focused on examining the Rod, NOT which pocket I'm getting my deck of cards out of. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.

Learning other tricks isn't nessesary. However, a few well placed 'other' tricks could be useful in tight spots when you need to get the audiences attention off of your hands for a moment.

Jonathan Lareau A.K.A "Jonny Card Trick"
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein

Feel free to check out my website
Andrew E. Miller
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Inner circle
Southern California
1428 Posts

Profile of Andrew E. Miller
Variety will help! And if you do cards only, do something interesting, not just a bunch of technical looking ace tricks! URG!!!!
If you get bored go to and watch some magic.

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Eternal Order
Northern California
13411 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
It's really inmportant for my own brain to go back and forth with different kinds of magic. It keeps me from burning out.

If you know a lot of card effects, check out how well Simon Lovell does with his card effects. I have all 3 of his "Man of Danger" videos and his performances are very entertaining.

Simon does a great job of taking a simple card effect and wrapping it in an entertaining presentation many of which you could even use in a stand-up show.

I use 'Slight-of-tongue' and 'packed wallet' as stand-up routines and they play great. Hand Crafted Magic
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Michael Dustman
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Inner circle
Columbus, Ohio
1165 Posts

Profile of Michael Dustman
I concur with Dynamike regarding learning some other effects with things you can borrow or find on the table...coins, glasses, etc.

My personal opinion from experience is that I would have a variety depending on where you perform. At a nicer restaurant I performed at, I did more cards because the tablecloth was cloth and allowed me to spread out cards and do some things. However, a longstanding gig at a BBQ restaurant made me look into more effects with coins and money and sponge balls, because if you hand someone the cards or have them sign one, etc....the cards would get all greasy, get sauce on them, etc. At least coins wipe off.
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Special user
829 Posts

Profile of ptbeast
Your magic might be more "commercial" if you ad more variety to it. That could help you in getting and keeping a job.

On the other hand, passion can take you a long way. If your passion is truly card magic (mine is not) then that will come through in your presentation. I say at least try doing it with what you love. You may find that you need to add more material, but as Ed pointed out, there have been many magicians that could pull this off and you may well find yourself among them.

Good luck,

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New user
50 Posts

Profile of Bfrancabandera
I agree with many of the above posts. Certainly it is possible to only do cards, but it cant hurt to learn other things.
:spinningcoin: Smile Smile
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Special user
Hong Kong SAR
585 Posts

Profile of cardfreakhk
I can't think of why people don't like card magic!!

And yes! The problem is the presentation!
If you cannot perform it well, even cute rabbits won't save your life.

Michael Lam Smile
Don't just dream, stay awake and action!
Peter Marucci
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Inner circle
5389 Posts

Profile of Peter Marucci
I can think of MANY reasons why people don't like card magic.

You answer one reason yourself: The problem is presentation; too many cardicians have absolutely no entertainment skills.

There is a BIG difference between card tricks and tricks with cards.

For example, Martin Nash, the Charming Cheat, can hold any group spellbound with his skill and personality.

Others couldn't interest an audience if they were reading a will in the spectators' favor.

Another reason for the dislike of card tricks is that, all too often, the only exposure a lay person has to cards is Uncle Yodar, at the family Christmas gathering, who insists on doing his "counting trick" after too many trips to the punch bowl. Needless to say, he gets it wrong the first two times.

And too many card performers do too many effects that are too much alike.
RegalFan refers to "a bunch of technical-looking ace tricks." Exactly my point!

It's very hard to come up with a story line or character in doing any sort of magic; it's especially hard in card magic.
Many performers would sooner learn a new pass (which they will never use) that develop any sort of original patter or presentation.

And, fourth point -- well, do we really NEED a fourth point? Aren't the above three enough?
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