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145 Posts

Profile of EsKlibur
Hi everyone!
I had the oportunity to read on a few occasions advices not to begin with a card trick on table strolling.

As far as I can understand, it's because people have seen many lame card tricks and will think they're going to see one more.

I haven't worked in a professinal environment yet and would like to know what experienced magicians thinks of this.

Thanks for sharing thoughts!
"Poetry is the Magic of Lies,
Magic is the Poetry of Lies" - Jean Cocteau
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Eternal Order
Northern California
13411 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
There are already several threads on this exact thing..

I believe the consensus is that some people refuse to open with a card trick for the reason you state and many people open with card tricks very effectively.

Frank Hand Crafted Magic
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Peter Marucci
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Profile of Peter Marucci
Personallly, I would never open with a card trick but, as Frank says, many people do it effectively.

My reasons against card tricks as openers are:

As soon as they see the cards, they think of Uncle Fungus and his 21 Card trick that he does at Christmas after too many trips to the punch bowl.

Most people know at least one card trick and many are likely to see the cards and say "let me show you something." Then you are stuck; they could go on for 20 minutes while you stand there like a goof!

By not opening with a card trick, you have an opportunity to catch people off guard with something they are not familiar with (sponge balls, for example) and, in the process, find out who the skeptic is, who the laugher is, who the non-believer is, etc.

A card trick ALMOST always requires the magician focus on one person, isolating that person from the rest of the table. That person may not want to be in the spotlight (you don't know; you just got there, remember?) or may want to hog the spotlight for the rest of your act.

On the other hand, those who open with a card trick do so for many of the same reasons I gave, but interpreted differently.

So, like all things, what works, works. If it works for you, do it; if it doesn't, stop doing it!
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Inner circle
Pittsburgh, Pa
2971 Posts

Profile of davidpaul$
Just a quick comment. I work regularly at a restaurant, and I typically do not open with a card effect, although sometimes I do. If I see a couple, husband/wife
boyfriend /girlfriend scenario after some small talk I ask if I could do something special just for them. I then go into a card routine like Anniversary Waltz or Lips.
I have always received very positive feedback. I agree with Peter though for the most part. O.K. for the large part.
David Paul
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
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Loyal user
London, UK
250 Posts

Profile of m@t
The only card trick that I would start with would be something that involves something else such as Jay Sankey's Airtight (balloon)

Jack Bryce
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Edinburgh UK
130 Posts

Profile of Jack Bryce
Personally I open with a card trick about 70% of the time the other 30% I open with a coin effect. I will usually open with my take on the Dunbury Plot, and I have never had a bad reaction to this, in fact it gets a fantastic reaction every time.

Having said that, I have to agree with Peter, if it works for you then it works, if it doesn’t work then stop doing it.

I also think that a lot of people react differently when they see a pack of cards and in my opinion, I think men are more likely to say that they don’t like card tricks. I have always held the opinion that this is because of a couple of reasons.

a. They think your going to bore them to death because as Peter said they’ve seen Uncle Whatisname do the 21 card trick badly!

b. Or they don’t like to be fooled or made a fool of in front of the company they are in, and your style and presentation is challenging in some way or gives them the impression that you are going to fool them not entertain them.

So in my humble opinion, it all depends on your particular style and prestentation and what works for you. Smile

I never forget a face but in your case I will gladly make an exception...Groucho Marx
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Profile of EsKlibur
Just to mention I have two different openers with cards. Both Actually aim at establishing me at a serious magician, are quick and should create curiosity:

Opener 1 : a freely chosen card is lost in the pack. I then ask if they want to see it quickly or slowly and no matter what I top shot their card.
I like that by the time I say 'pick a card' someone might say 'ho I know this one' Smile Simple and surprising.
Credit is to the magician Bebel that showed me this last year.

Opener 2 : It actually looks like a lame trick until the climax. I show proudly the three 'aces' in a strange way : i'm hiding the top and the bottom so they could actually be threes or else. I actually mishide briefly the index on the third 3 as I drop it on the table.
I then annonce the cards will change into 3... kings Smile Gets great reaction and dead easy. I saw this in Billis Tape for beginners N°1 (most popular beginner's serie in France).

Anyway thanks veryone for your precious feedback. I'll experience different openers and see what gets best reaction on each type of audience. Hopefully no one will see me as uncle WhatsHisFace... Smile
"Poetry is the Magic of Lies,
Magic is the Poetry of Lies" - Jean Cocteau
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