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New user
Essex, England
12 Posts

Profile of theamazingsteve
In RRTCM, it says that the only real way to see how good you are is to perform for strangers: family or friends will either say you're great or c**p.
Just wondering, how good do you have to be to start performing to strangers.
I know this is hard to answer, but can some people tell me for example how long they had been doing magic when they first perormed for strangers?
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Inner circle
Waterloo, IL
1438 Posts

Profile of jcards01
I started performing for strangers as soon as I knew I had some routines down that I could do well. In other words, the patter flowed and I didn't have to think about what the hands were doing (I do strictly card work).

Jim Molinari
Jimmy 'Cards' Molinari
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Loyal user
236 Posts

Profile of gandolf
I agree with Jim. As soon as you feel confident enough in your handling of a routine, show it to family and friends first to get feedback and possibly constructive criticism. Once that feedback is overwhelmingly positive, and you are confident in your ability, head on out !!!
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Inner circle
Hong Kong
1954 Posts

Profile of alexhui
Same as Jim,as soon as I have mastered the first trick,I do magic for strangers.One interesting experience of mine is that when I travelled to Japan by myself,I always ask the pendestrian to take photos of me.After they helped me,I showed them some tricks.These kinds of experiences helped me to built confidence in performing.And I always just ask the unknown students in my class whether they want to see 'something',they always answered yes.In this way,I have lots of performing chances.

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New user
79 Posts

Profile of magician_carter
I agree with everything above. When you feel you can do the effect(s) well, hit up on family or friends for their feedback, then seek out the strangers. I have been lucky, my family and friends are very supportive of my magic and want to see me succeed, so they are brutally honest with me.

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New user
Essex, England
12 Posts

Profile of theamazingsteve
Thanks everyone for the advice.
I shall be seeking out some people a school whoom I don't know on Monday.
I'm working on my first real 'routine' based around cheating in poker, so I expect I shall be performing this soon, rather than just the odd trick here and there when I learn a new one.
Once again, thanks.
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Inner circle
1552 Posts

Profile of Chrystal
Hi Steve, Just one more piece of advice as what you've already heard is really good. Don't show anyone an effect until you are absolutely sure you have it down pact! Can't stress this enough as if you are still a bit shaky with it your chances of getting caught is risky and you tend to expose the effect.Sigh,I know you've heard this probably a thousand times before..but practise , practise , practise . As Jim, Gandalf, Alex and Carter said when the patter flows naturally and you aren't thinking about what your hands are doing then go for it! Pss last I promise..Carter offered intresting info when he said his family was brutally need some feedback like that too...tell them you don't want to hear just the good stuff but also want to know what would make it better if anything? Can they see or quess how it's need to know this before showing it to strangers...sigh and our families are the best people to be honest with us. Good luck Steve and let us know how it went. Smile
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Veteran user
313 Posts

Profile of bg
I find it easier to do magic to strangers as family and friends tend to look only for how you are doing the trick and try to bust you while strangers are more apt to just enjoy. Plus if you get caught by a stanger odds are you won't see them again so less stress the next time you perform.
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Elite user
476 Posts

Profile of dillib
Good point bg, I have to agree with you.
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Regular user
Middle of No Where KY
168 Posts

Profile of danielhunley
Hey, Speaking as another young magi I would HIGHLY Recomend you don't show magic to friends or family members without self control... I think preforming for strangers is FAR easier... I feel that people you know are closer and there for don't mind reaching out and grabbing objects.. YOu may want to try preforming to teachers becouse sometimes they are easier to start preforming. If you ever need any advice, PM me and we can talk more:)
Jack Of Hearts!
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New user
Essex, England
12 Posts

Profile of theamazingsteve
Thanks a lot guys.
The reason why I have some trouble performing for strangers at the moment is probably just confdence, but if I show somone one trick and they like it, I find it much easier to relax.
I'll try on some teachers, and maybe some other people at school tomorrow, and that should help my confidence I hope.
Thanks for the advice again.
John McCormack
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Regular user
130 Posts

Profile of John McCormack
Hello Steve,

Just a couple of things I'd like to mention.

This came up in the Darwin Ortiz visit.

You say you will be doing a poker routine or cheating demonstration. You say you're at school so I assume you about 16 at the oldest, correct me if I'm wrong?

The only thing is (not that anyone will probably mention it, aside from the teachers maybe) but your not even old enough to be in a casino, and what are the chances of meeting a 16 year old or young man with such a knowledge about cards? I don't want to discourage you but make sure you have a good reason for doing a cheating demo. Darwin Ortiz said to have a story to back up what your're doing, he mentions something like, "Did your uncle teach you? The black sheep of the family?". In other words, "How did you come about such knowledge?"

Also, if your performing for strangers it would be a good idea to do something that's quick visual and magcial to establish yourself as a magcian. Cheating demos are more intimate and require attention and an interest in card playing from you spectator(s). Another thing, poker and blackjack and card games in general aren't as common in the U.K. as they are in the U.S.
Your audience has to understand card games to enjoy a gambling demo, unless it is that simple in plot and/or has magcial happenings within.

It's really up to you what you want to do, I just thought my opinion would be useful.

Take it easy,


P. S. Doing a poker routine (table suffles/cuts, picking up dealt packets/cards, et) on a school table (especially the ones in England) would be a terreble, make sure you bring your close-up mat. Smile


It depends what you mean by a stranger.

A friend of a friend?

Someone around school or your street you've never spoken to but you know each other exist?

Someone who doesn't know you do magic?

Or someone you've never seen before in your life and they've never seen you?

I should have mentioned the first real strangers I did a trick for, as far as I can renmember, were a couple who passed me in the street (I happened to have a deck of cards in my hands and I was with two friends at the time) the geezer stopped and said,
"What's this, a trick?" He was interested, so I showed him a couple of tricks and he seemed to like it, he said if I were old enough he'd buy me a beer (I was about 16 at the time) his bird didn't say much though, then they left. So I was sort of put on-the-spot that time.
I've done magic mostly for people I didn't know, all of the above catagories.

Take it easy,
John. Smile
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New user
91 Posts

Profile of Baz94
Steve, confidence is the main key here. Don't worry tho, the more you do, the more you will want to do for strangers!
When I started out a few years ago, I used to show a handful of friends and family members but then some of my mates asked me to show their mates some tricks. These were the 1st lot of strangers I performed to.
At first I used to get the shakes but after a few times of performing magic to strangers, you really do build your confidence and it is great!

Just do some simple things to start with and then as you feel comfortable with performing to strangers, you will not think twice about doing it in th future.

Best off luck to you.
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New user
Essex, England
12 Posts

Profile of theamazingsteve
John, a lot of people at my school do know about poker and understand it a little.
However, the routine that I came up with (I probably didn't explain it very well), is to do with cheating in poker i.e. the patter, but isn't actually teaching them how to cheat.
Example: you probably know about poker players picnic - if not the spec cuts the cards into 4 piles and the cards he cuts to are all aces. I was planning on presenting this as 'teaching' them how to cheat at poker, when actually I'm teaching them nothing.

It's just the stlye of the routine that is to do with poker, because a lot of the tricks I know fit in very well.

Another example: I tell them that to play poker you need a poker face. They choose a card, and put it in the deck (actually more to it than this), and I deal the cards pretending to look at the expression on their face to work out what their card is.

I hope I made myself clear.
Thanks for the advice by the way.
John McCormack
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Regular user
130 Posts

Profile of John McCormack
That's good,

At least your thinking about your magic, which some people here don't do.

Yes, I've studied th RR for four years and am familiar with all the slieghts and tricks.
There are many good tricks in the book but the only one that I use is "Good luck Card" and the", I've tried some of the others but the trick I mention is a true gem IMO. This is a poker type routine but it is much more magical, not an expose on cheating which is what I thought you were planning on. Which is still fine as long as they understand poker and card games.

If the people at your school understand poker then what you mention should go down well.

Take care,

John. Smile
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Loyal user
Henrietta NY / Chicago Ill
220 Posts

Profile of jlareau
Just a thought...

When I was in High school a friend asked me to show him a card trick. I gladly obliged. In the middle of my routine a teacher walked by and saw me performing. To make a long story short I almost got suspended for having 'gambling devices' on school grounds...even though almost everybody at the school knew me as "Jonny Card trick" because I had performed at multiple school assembly's and such.

Moral of the story: Be careful. Anal- Retentive teachers can be a pain to deal with. Especially if they're the type that like to be on a power trip.

Best of luck.

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

Feel free to check out my website
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