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Profile of amccrawford
If the deck is REALLY battered, check that your friend doesn't mind losing the deck and then do Card Warp.

I find that you can do the set up as you are apparently considering what to do and under the cover of dividing the deck in half and riffle shuffling (hold deck with right thumb extended under deck and do the preparation by pushing down with the left thumb - it takes a little practice, but works OK as there is no heat on you and the move has no apparent purpose linked to trickery). Bold, but entirely doable with suitable misdirection.

This will blow their mind ... and means that they have to buy a NEW deck for you to show off the rest of your repertoire next time!
Chris A.
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If I'm feeling really lazy I'll do something "self working" but strong.

Daryl's "untouched" or perhaps the "Gemini Twins"
AKA Chris A.
Keepin' the Funk Alive
Ivan Hamaric
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Profile of Ivan Hamaric
Here's an interesting idea. Since the deck has been given to you, you can go through the entire pack asking whatever ("Is this a full deck", "Let me make sure that the jokers are out"). Under cover of checking whatever you said you are checking, you can cull cards. Find four aces or something. This is an example when a borrowed deck is actually a great thing, because you cannot cull cards so openly with your own deck (who would believe you if you said you're going to check whether your own deck has all the aces).
"Doubtless the pleasure is as great
Of being cheated, as to cheat..."

Samuel "Hudibras" Butler (1612-1680)
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Profile of mattpuglisi
I like to do Dingle's 'All Backs with Selection' with a borrowed deck. Its a great routine, totally impromptu, with very entertaining patter (this version of 'all backs' actually makes sense to a layperson, in virtue of the story that you tell), and with someone else's deck it seems truly impossible. Check it out in "The Complete Works of Derek Dingle". Smile
Lack of invention is the mother of necessity - Robert Nozick

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Lance Pierce
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Profile of Lance Pierce
In reading over the responses to the original question, I'm surprised that so many suggestions were just thrown out there as to what trick to do, but no one has asked: Who am I doing them for? Is it a male or female? Is there a large group, just a few, or one? Is the person asking the intellectual type, the sensitive type, the compassionate type, or what? Is the request one for entertainment, out of curiosity, or to present a challenge? Who are you dealing with here?

Michael Skinner was fantastic about picking the absolutely perfect effect for the spectator of the moment. He would always size them up and select an effect he thought would cater to their character type. Some tricks are analytical, some are tactile, some are funny, some are mysterious, etc., and I don't see how one favorite can work best for every spectator. What in part made Skinner such a wonderful magician was that he always included the audience in the equation.

That said, I'd do any trick that included a diagonal palm shift, because it just nails them.


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Profile of samthemagical
I like to personalize my magic to what the spectator thinks *of me.* I'm 14, so I'll act clumsy, and shuffle the deck back to front (usually I'll do an absent-minded mid-air riffle shuffle). I actually do a triumph shuffle. Then, when they tell me I've done it wrong (they always wait until after I've finished), I spread the deck, with all the cards beautifully arranged.

It's fast, simple, and about two inches away from being a sucker trick.

At that point, just about anything you do will seem miraclous, so I stick with simple stuff. Finding a card with the one handed cut from Dai Vernon's Cutting the Aces is pretty, and looks like it takes lots of skill. I just flow out from there, sometimes even (scary, but often works) making it up as I go! Once people are over their first fears, they'll flash their card, or forget to ask obvious questions.
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Profile of Aus
I mainly do card effects with a normal deck so I'm really good when someone asks for a card trick out of the blue. Over the years I have had a number effects but I have come down to a few which prove fruitfull for me.

This is my routine in order of performance:

Astounding Appearance by Bob Long
Twisting the Aces (own version)
Heir to the Throne by Milton Kort
Elevator Aces


Mark Rough
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Profile of Mark Rough
I'd do the three card prediction that you can find in Eugene Burger's Mastering the Art of Magic.
What would Wavy do?
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Profile of Jack
I just do whatever effect I feel like. Most my friends are easy to fool (pure laypeople) so I don't have to strain to amaze them. I could make a massive post naming all the impromptu effects I know but I won't. How about Pick-a-card and I'll reveal it reversed in the middle of the deck. Simple enough.
Magically, Jack Smile
Brian Lehr
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Profile of Brian Lehr
Yesterday I was asked to do something with a borrowed deck while at work. Didn't have much time, so I did a simple crosscut force, and announced what her card was. I named the wrong card on purpose, with 12 people watching me.

After making them believe I was stumped, I had one of the guys go across the room to the printer, and had him pick up the piece of paper that was there. As he held it up to the group, he read the words "You will choose the King of Clubs!" Thankfully, I earlier had about a five minutes where I could run to the office and have the page printed.

Not a big routine or trick, but short and to the point. It was enough to amaze a lay audience, and to cause them to applaud (especially since they thought I messed up).

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Profile of Zap
Fingered #3 from Simon Lovell's first book. It has a great plot, a surprise ending, and the magic happens in their hands. Completely impromptu, and only a couple of sleights (control and DL).
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Profile of VampOfVegas
I'd start off with Ambitious Card. Triumph, 2 card monte, gemini twins, then my Vegas cheat routine.
Robert Sixx
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Profile of Robert Sixx
I like a lot of the ones mentioned above, but you might want to check out J.C. Wagner's Impromptu Out of this World -- it is a Great Trick and will work with any deck, no mater what condition.
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Profile of markkwan
2 Card Monte and Ambitious Card Routine. Flawless tricks with an un-prepared deck.
What good is a night, when you can't break it.
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Profile of gman
Let's see... I would start off with a trick that I saw on Jaw Droppers. Where you would have your friend shuffle the cards then make 3 even piles then have them pick a pile shuffle it and look at the top card.

They then place the card on top of another pile but face up... then they place the third pile on top of the other two face down. Have them riffle shuffle one more time and cut the cards.

You then spread out the cards and pick their card. The best part of this effect is that you are nowhere near the cards when they are doing all the work... you just spread and find.

Then after that one while I was fixing the cards I would set it up for the drunken shuffle.

Then follow up with, Just for Laughs (this one can be found in Royal Road to Card Magic).

Hope this helps.
Frank Tougas
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I am wondering why a friend would do that to me. If I was in the mood to do a trick I would probably do face to face aces, if I wasn't in the mood I'd do Card Warp and hand the deck back.
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
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Profile of dillib
Jay Sankey's Back in Time!
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Profile of devilsmagic
A friend of mine handed me a deck at a party last night and insisted on some magic. So I start to look at the deck and rant hystericaly, "Where the hell did you get this deck, and why is it in such bad condition? Do you know how valuable these are?"
Then he asks why and I say "Look man, I'll show you."
So I riffle through the deck, and ask him to say stop. He does and looks at his card, then places it back in the deck and he shuffles it. I start to stare at the deck and then into his eyes and say "9 of clubs"; his jaw dropped along with everyone in the room. Then I said I wasn't ever going to use those cards again.
Man they're too valubale, so I get away with doing only one trick with an old beat up set of cards which he now thinks are goddly.
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Profile of landmark
Forgot the name of the effect but its the first effect in Royal Road--spectator cuts in four piles to four aces. Self working with a minimum of set up.
With two decks, Do As I Do--both of you shuffle decks, switch decks, both shuffle again, etc, choose cards, the cards turn out to be the same. Easy and miraculous if handled well.
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Profile of VinceMagicMan
If a friend hands me a deck and insists on some magic, I tell him I'll vanish the deck and put it in my pocket. I never have to buy cards these days, ha ha! Smile
Vince MagicMan
(Nuff Said)
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