Learn Basic Sleight of Hand for Card Magic Tricks

Gif of illustration of magic trick

Illustration: The Spruce / Lara Antal

Good card magic tricks rely on magic skill, specific moves, also known as "sleight of hand." These card magic skills consist of techniques such as cuts, shuffles, flourishes, controls, forces and more. Here, you'll find fundamental card sleight of hand techniques to get you started on your road to learning and performing card magic tricks.

  • 01 of 07

    The One-Hand Cut for Card Magic Tricks

    Charlier cut

    Photo from YouTube

    This cut, also known to magicians as a "Charlier" cut, allows you to separate the deck into two portions and switch their positions - all with only a single hand. It's the first flashy cut that most magicians use as a flourish to augment card magic tricks.

  • 02 of 07

    How to Do a One-Handed Cut - Version 2

    Triple cut
    Wayne Kawamoto

    Here's another one-handed cut. It's flashier than the Charlier and more secure. Learn how to perform this cut with my step-by-step instructions.

  • 03 of 07

    Basic Card Shuffle for Card Magic Tricks

    Hands shuffling cards, close-up
    Steven Peters/The Image Bank/Getty Images

    Here's how to shuffle cards like a pro. This move, which you can learn through step by step instructions and video, also includes that cool flourish called the "bridge" that you perform at the end. 

  • 04 of 07

    The Swivel Cut

    Swivel cut

    Photo from YouTube

    The Swivel Cut is a fundamental cut that forms the basis of more advanced moves, and it's generally more for flourishes than card magic tricks.

    The Swivel Cut is flashier than the Pivot Cut. Like the Pivot Cut, it requires the use of both hands and separates the deck into two portions and switches their positions. The difference here is that the upper half of the deck turns 180-degrees as it separates from the deck.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    The Hindu Shuffle

    The Hindu Shuffle

    The Hindu Shuffle is a powerful move for magicians. Although the shuffle is mostly used by magicians and not the general public, it has lots of applications.

    In its basic form, it can be actually used to mix a deck of cards by separating the deck into sections and rearranging them. This is the technique taught here, and once you learn how to do this, you can apply the Hindu Shuffle to a card magic trick.

  • 06 of 07

    A False Cut

    False cut

    Photo from YouTube

    Here's a cool "false cut" - an apparent cut of the deck that leaves all of the cards in their original order - that you can learn through my step-by-step instructions and video. It's a valuable utility move with playing cards, in fact, it's a true sleight of hand move, which you can learn and always employ in your card magic.

  • 07 of 07

    Beginner's Guide to Card Flourishes

    Card flourish
    Stockbyte/Getty Images

    Card flourishes are flashy, attention-getting moves that magicians can perform as part of card magic tricks. Flourishes include the use of fancy cuts and shuffles, card fans, arm spreads, and more.

    A branch of magic known as “XCM,” which stands for extreme card manipulation, is dedicated to the performance of difficult card flourishes.