We all love to see magic tricks, and most of them are performed with cards.
They impress, they get some shocked expressions, but we’re going to kick it up a notch from that.
Any of these magic card kits on the list can help you learn the fundamentals of card tricks, and give you the opportunity to boggle the minds of your closest friends and family.
A lot of these tricks require diligence.
Card tricks involve a lot of sleight of hand, or the act of being extremely smooth in your hand movements to ensure everything looks perfect, while in actuality you’re pulling your sneaky magic in the background.
You have hundreds of different card tricks at your disposal, you just have to get started. Now is your opportunity.
Best Cards for Magic Tricks – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Jim Stott’s Ultimate Magic Card Kit
Since the 1970s, Jim Stott has been making people laugh and stunning people with his magic acts, and he’s still doing it today.
His card kit is among the best ever made since it features a card changer that allows you to slip your playing cards into a slot, and retrieve exactly what you want back out of it (I won’t spoil the surprise).
Even though it’s a card trick kit and not inherently difficult to get started with, Jim adds some extra value by including abn insert with the URL of a website that’s supposed to be kept secret.
There, you can download some free books, see video demonstrations, and get some more value out of the kit.
I will say this: Jim knows what he’s doing, but sometimes it seems like he’s a bit out of touch with what he thinks a beginner can do.
The Phantom Marked Deck trick, for example, is a lot harder to pull off properly than people think.
Since he’s been doing this for over 40 years, I can understand how he might be out of touch with beginners and their issues, but even so, the videos will just require you to really take your time and learn the practices.
You get a simple deck of cards. I was hoping for something with a different design to make it distinct from other card kits, but it still gets the job done.
In the long run, it means people won’t be suspicious of your deck. You get 225 effects included in the box, not including what’s online, so you’re surely getting your money’s worth.
I do mean effects, by the way; not full tricks. Consider them the building blocks of all these tricks.
Ellusionist Shadow Masters Playing Cards, by Bicycle
We all know Bicycle!
You probably have a deck of their cards in that drawer in the kitchen right now.
Their Ellusionist Shadow set is arguably one of the coolest-looking decks of cards out there, even if you just wanted to use it as a standard deck of playing cards.
This is just a card deck, nothing crazy, but it does have some perks that you don’t get with most card kits out there.
For one it uses dark ink to allow you to see card markings with ease (they just sort of pop out to you).
From there, if you zoom in on the cards, you can see the weave patterns in between them, which is just a really cool and entrancing effect. After all, you’re trying to keep everyone’s eyes on one specific card at a time.
This doesn’t really count as a magic trick set, but it does give you a is a specialized deck (one of three released by Bicycle) that’s designed to give you more showmanship while playing card tricks.
Pairing this with a series, such as Jim Stott’s videos, will work wonderfully. Bicycle doesn’t include any magic tricks in the deck or access codes for online videos, but this deck is sure to amaze.
Magic Makers Stripper Deck, by Bicycle
Another Bicycle deck, but this one is a little softer.
First of all, their woven cards can handle bending and damages with ease so you can put them through hell and back, and still use them time and time again. They’re designed for rough play.
This is all part of their Rider Back set, which can be used as playing cards if you’d like, but they’re best suited for splitting tricks.
These won’t necessarily have people wondering, “How did you do that?”, but it will stun them when you flip cards around and split decks like it’s nobody’s business.
This includes ten stripper deck tricks for you to toy around with.
Eventually, from using these cards, you’ll be able to handle the deck with ease (perhaps without even looking), and make a show out of simply shuffling your deck.
The reason Bicycle is preferred by a lot of magicians is because of the way they make their cards.
Precision die-cut card designs make for better traction on your fingertips, and overall handling.
Magic Makers 100 Card Trick Marked Deck Kit
Now this is a true magic card trick kits.
Nothing against Bicycle, but they don’t really include many tricks with their deck, so this is your ticket to actually practice tricks effectively without having to look up additional material.
You get a booklet to master 100 card tricks included with your purchase, as well as two decks that appear like normal playing cards.
Much like Bicycle, these are extremely durable and flexible cards, but also give you excellent traction on your fingertips when dealing with them.
You get a marked deck and the ability to replicate the Svengali trick.
While some of the tricks in the booklet are fantastic, I would say that there are a few in there that you’d be able to do in very little time after opening your kit.
That doesn’t mean they’re not tricks, but you burn through some of the value in this kit right away.
However, the other tricks are much more difficult to master and will require due diligence to ensure you’re performing them correctly.
Utilize your marked deck to practice sleight of hand and track cards as they move through your hands during cardistry presentations, so you can truly get the one-up on your audience.
They’re never going to know how you did it. That’s between you and Magic Makers.
Deland’s Automatic Magic Deck Trick
Last but not least, this middle-of-the-road trick deck is designed to replace your simple playing cards.
They have a very tactile feel to them, similar to Bicycle cards, giving you a ton of traction to place and shuffle your cards easier.
All of your cards are marked in one way or another, letting you have all the answers when you’re in the middle of a trick or presentation.
I would say that this is a great practice deck, but these cards are not as durable as some other brands. They’re prone to sustaining creases from bending.
The main benefit of this kit is that you can use the included instructional map to really easy to use.
You can lay it out right in front of you while you play through the cards, and find a ton of different ways to arrange said cards and make the map work for you.
It’s simple, but an effective set nonetheless.
Magic Card Tricks Buying Guide and FAQ
What is the Difference Between Regular Cards and “Magic” Cards?
I bet you’ve noticed that there’s a good amount of Bicycle card playing decks that are great for magic.
That’s because, on average, Bicycle cards possess a lot of the traits necessary to have proficiency in magic.
Even the best magicians will tell you that a lot of the credit has to go to their props, when they’re designed right, that is.
An advanced magic kit usually comes with cards from a well-known manufacturer, while beginner-level kits may come with rebranded knock-off cards that actually aren’t that good for magic.
Some of the main traits you’ll find in regular cards versus “magic” cards are:
Your fingertips really need to be able to grip the cards.
We’ll get into the material that helps with that a little bit later, but it’s safe to assume that a one-dollar deck of cards doesn’t possess the same design.
Because cards are lightweight, they also need to be maneuverable. That means the ink can’t get in the way, and the card stock has to be basically unaffected.
Tactile-feeling magic playing cards are also pretty good for shuffling tricks and cardistry. If your hands slip and slide on your playing cards, then they’re most definitely not good for magic.
If you start reading magic books, you’ll see a common tip about washing your hands prior to performing card tricks, so that your skin is free of oil and won’t glide on the card stock.
Some playing cards actually come in different sizes, depending on what they’re intended to be used for.
As an example, poker cards and bridge cards have a 0.25” size difference, which doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’re learning how to flip cards and make them disappear, it’s a big difference.
It’s recommended that any magician out there starts with a standard card size, and they stick with it, because your tricks can be thrown off if you’re using different sized playing cards.
If you get a cheap pack of playing cards for, let’s say, three bucks, it’s a lot different than the ten-dollar deck next to it. Why’s that?
Well, it could either be a cool design on the backs of the cards, or it could be the material.
Good quality cards are made with thick card stock, whereas others can be made with thinner paper, which can have a slick finish to them, ruining your dexterity.
So is there a difference between a standard deck of cards, and those designed for magic?
The card stock quality, thickness, the ink/finish, and the designs. Finesse is important for magic performances, after all.
It’s all about how you handle your cards, but it’s admittedly easier with magic playing cards than cheap playing cards.
How do You Pick a Card Trick?
Everyone knows that one of the best card magic tricks ever created is the “Pick a Card” trick, where you fan out the deck, someone picks a card, and after some sleight of hand, you find that card without ever looking at it.
Here’s a quick little guide on how to do it all on your own.
- Fan out your deck with all of the cards face down. Make sure there’s a good spread for them to pick from, otherwise they might suspect foul play (even though there isn’t any).
- Watch as they cover it with their entire hand so you don’t see it. Tell them to check it, memorize the card perfectly (usually by saying “Count to five and remember the card). Then, have them hold it face down.
- Split the deck right in half. You want to present the bottom half of the deck to the guest, and have them put their card on top. Take a second to extend the deck to them, and while they’re putting their card on the deck, look at the bottom card of the top-half of the deck you just split.
- Put the top-half back on, right where it was before. Here’s where you can do some cardistry, and fan the cards out, flip them around, and put on a show. Tap the card deck with your finger or wand for some pizazz.
- Flip the deck up so you can all see the cards. Quickly rifle through them until you find whatever card was on the bottom of the top-half of the deck. If it was certainly, beyond the shadow of a doubt a six of spades, then the next card after it will be the guest’s card.
- Dramatically drop the deck, pull their card up and just hand it to them. Don’t be cliche and ask, “Is this your card?”—just hand it to them and grin. If you pulled this off properly, you’ll look like a God. If you didn’t, bravado will turn into embarrassment, so practice this!
What Are the Easiest Tricks for Beginners?
There is no one magic card trick that’s easier than all the rest; that’s up to the magician and how good they are with their handling, and certain tricks.
However, there are a ton of different beginner-level tricks that you can mess around with to get your bearings.
This one is a ton of fun, but you need to have excellent positioning. Start right across from your guest, and have them pick a card from the deck.
Tell them to place it on the top of the deck (let them hold and control the deck so they know it’s just a standard playing deck).
They’ll hand it back to you, and then you hold the deck up so the cards are facing them.
Their card will be on the top of the deck, or the card closest to you.
Tap your index finger on the top of the card, and from the middle of the card, you’re going to want to extend your pinky finger and hold it steady.
Steadily raise your hand so that the card looks like it’s being dragged by your index finger, then pinch your fingers on the side of the deck to hold it in place when you’re done.
The tricky part here is just making sure that they don’t see your hand moving.
Fourth One Down
This one takes some finesse to pull off, but it’s one of the most fascinating card tricks out there.
Great for beginners. To start, you’re going to shuffle a deck in front of your guest like a madman.
Then flip it upside-down so that you can both see the cards, and gently fan through them while mentioning “See how every card is randomized as I just shuffled them.”
While they’re looking at these, you’re going to remember the fourth card down from the top.
Let’s say that it’s a two of diamonds. So now, you’re going to ask your guest to split the deck.
They’re not going to be great at it, but the goal is to have them take at least four cards off the top, and you know what that fourth card is.
You’re going to count four cards from the bottom half of the deck (fourth one down), not show the guest, and say “This card is telling me what the fourth card down from this other deck is.”
Put those cards back, and say the name of the fourth card down from the top half of the deck.
Remove one card at a time while saying what the card is out loud, and you’re going to pull the proper card up.
The trick here is that you already know the fourth card down from that second deck, so when you shuffle, just make sure you do it in a manner that leaves the top four cards in that deck intact and have them on top of your new deck.
You already know the fourth one down, so you can repeat this over and over again.
How Many Sets of Cards do You Need?
How active are you going to be with your magic? Yeah, I just answered a question with another question.
If you practice the best magic trick with cards that you can possibly muster, and you practice it a thousand times, do you think those cards are still going to be as crisp as when they came out of the package?
You need as many decks are you’re going to burn through. The more the merrier.
If you’re practicing with card tricks often, then you’re going to bend the corners, wear down the ink and finish, and they’re just going to look beaten up after a while. Nothing wrong with that; it shows you’re using them!
Now the good thing is that after you get a whole set of cards with the tricks, add-on codes for online videos and learning material, or whatever it is, you’re going to have everything you need to continue.
That kit only needs to be bought one time.
After that, you can go for a set of Bicycle playing cards, or build up your shuffling game and illusions with a deck of cardistry cards. Whatever’s going to work for you.
I went through about a pack a week, so at that point, it’s definitely good to bulk up when you have the option.
Bicycle playing cards don’t cost a lot if you want to get a case of twelve-packs or so, so you can get as many as you think you’ll need.
The good thing is that even if you don’t use them all for magic, you’ve got some decks of playing cards around.
Trick and Troll Your Friends
Magic card tricks are among the most celebrated and beloved, regardless of your affiliate with magic—they’re just so much fun to watch, and it gets the gears in your head turning to figure out how it was done.
These magic card tricks range from beginner level tricks to some serious sleight of hand for seasoned users, but the point is that anyone can make these kits work for them.
Be diligent, practice your form, and you’re going to be trolling your friends and family with some of the most famous card tricks of all time.