The Best Resources for Learning Cardistry & Card Tricks
By Alex J. Coyne © Gifts for Card Players 2021
Learning card magic and illusion is rewarding, though expect hours of practice and many dropped cards at first! Great journeys begin with single steps – and a collection of the best possible resources to get you started.
If you want to learn card tricks, the first thing you’ll need is a standard deck. After this, it helps to know what to do with it. That’s where online resources, ebooks, and card books will be useful.
What are some of the best free and paid resources for learning sleight of hand and card tricks?
Here’s more about which books new card magicians should be reading first.
Free Card Trick Resources
If you’re looking for great free resources to fill you in on the basics of cardistry, here are some of the top-ranking card trick websites and lessons out there. Need to know what a specific trick is called, or see it in action? Look here first:
Good Tricks is a site that contains basic and intermediate magic, cards and more. Specific tricks are listed, alongside an explanation of how to do each of them – and for the very, very basics of magic tricks, this is a nice site for anyone to start off with.
Magic MGMT Tricks Gallery
The Magic MGMT Tricks Gallery is a resource that covers beginner’s tricks and more advanced sleights in the same place. Tricks can be viewed through a gallery, with an explanation of how the trick gets done. Visual, and should work well for anyone who needs to see to learn easier.
An Introduction to Magic
An Introduction to Magic is offered by magician Paul Wilson, and completely free through Vanishing Inc Magic. The course is made available once users enter their email address and sign up to the site.
The course focuses on cards, and you’ll see more here in a handful of lessons than most other places. Combined with other resources mentioned here, you’ll learn advanced methods in what feels like no time at all.
Card-Trick is partially a teaching-site, and partially a library of different card tricks and what they’re called. For its expansiveness, it’s useful when you have to look something up (or learn something new) without an encyclopedia of card tricks around. Beginners are welcome here, but the site also happens to cover some more advanced techniques.
The 6 Best Card Magic Books
Serious students should dig into card books and tutorials that stretch beyond free resources. When you’re learning something new, it’s always a good idea to see what the world’s experts and professionals have to teach. Here’s a look at 6 of the best card magic books you should know:
The Encyclopedia of Playing Card Flourishes (Jerry Cestkowski)
The Encyclopedia of Playing Card Flourishes is recommended over-and-over by experts, and with good reason. If you need a first foundation or a no-nonsense reference book, this is what you’re actually searching for. Basics are covered in detail, with sections for advancing forward.
The Royal Road to Card Magic (Jean Hugard & Frederick Braue)
The Royal Road to Card Magic isn’t a new title, but still gets used by students of cards everywhere. Here’s a book that’s surely stood the test of time. Card decks have remained unchanged since this book was published first – and so, the information in this book is something everyone could use.
Professionals and new players should practically consider this one of their holy books.
Magic for Dummies (David Pogue)
The -for Dummies series is useful for anyone who wants to pick up a new skill, or refresh an older one. Magic for Dummies covers more than card tricks, but is recommended often for students of cardistry for its depth.
This book runs you through the basics of illusion, its history, and what makes magic work. Specific types of magic (like cardistry) have their own sections, and go into a useful amount of detail.
Still learning? Then you should read it for sure!
An Introduction to Card Magic (Roberto Giobbi)
An Introduction to Card Magic is a book from magician Roberto Giobbi, and primarily available for purchase through his website. While this seems promotional, don’t let it distract from the fact that this is an exceptionally well-written text.
True to its title, it covers a thorough history of cardistry and performers first. From there, it leads into what card tricks to begin with (and how to get fancier with a deck of cards).
Scarne on Card Tricks (John Scarne)
Scarne on Card Tricks is by magician John Scarne, and is extremely thorough for the improving card player. This great book contains 155 different card tricks in its pages – and of course, tricks are illustrated so that students aren’t just learning how by the description.
Useful? Yes. Expansive? Yes. Easy to understand? Yes.
There are many reasons why you should read Scarne on Card Tricks as one of your first serious cardistry books.
Houdini’s Paper Magic
Houdini’s Paper Magic is exactly by whom you would expect: One of the best illusionists, mentalists, and escape artists of our time. He spent his entire life exposing frauds, inventing tricks, and dedicating his time to the art of illusionism.
Paper Magic isn’t about cards, but the sleights and techniques learned here will translate well for cardistry students. If you’d like to know how to do more with paper and other things that bend, look here.
Photo by Julius Drost on Unsplash