Easy Card Magic Trick: The Mind Read and Prediction

Playing cards
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  • 01 of 10


    Here’s a particularly good beginning close-up card magic trick that’s easy to learn and perform, encourages interaction from spectators, has some built-in humor and a plot twist, is perplexing, and builds to a fun conclusion and revelation.

    Admittedly, most of the tricks that I teach are not ones that I would perform in my professional work. However, the method and plot of this effect is one that I have occasionally performed in the past at my restaurants. I think that this is a great effect to perform for family and friends. Some years back I rigged up a deck with the basic method here for my daughter and she had a blast performing the trick for her schoolmates and teachers. It’s an excellent self-working trick for beginners.

    You’ll have to gimmick and dedicate a deck of cards for this effect and routine. You’ll be writing on the backs of the cards and ruining the deck for any games or other tricks, but I think that the results are well worth it.

    Another plus, while I wouldn’t repeat the trick for the same audience, you can perform for another group nearby and the spectator’s choice of a card can be different.

    This trick is a mind-reading routine that turns into a prediction.

    You bring out a deck and spread and display the cards and ask a spectator to freely select a card in their mind that they see (it’s a free choice). You close up the deck and say that you will try and read their mind and reveal the chosen card. You seem to get an impression and then ask if it’s a number, say “eight.” The spectator will say that you’re wrong (in most cases) and then you insist that it’s an “eight.”

    You turn the deck over and display the backs of the cards and show that there are different numbers written on each. You turn the deck over and reveal the faces of the cards and ask for the identity of the selected card. When the spectator tells you his selected card, say, “queen of hearts,” you find the card, bring it out and turn it over, and on the back is written the number “eight.”

    This one will not only baffle but often cause spectators to laugh. Try this one out. It’s a winner.


    A deck of cards - you’ll want a red or light colored back on the deck that will allow you to write a number that is easily seen. Generally, blue-backed decks won’t work for this.
    a marker

    The Secret:

    You’ll be gimmicking the deck in such a way that a spectator will always select a card with a certain outcome.

    This easy magic card trick requires no sleight of hand. However, a bit of sleight of hand in the form of an overhand shuffle or Hindu shuffle will greatly enhance the effect.

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  • 02 of 10

    Gimmicking the Deck - Sorting

    Gimmicking the Deck - Sorting.

    In this step, you need to sort the deck in preparation for the gimmicking.

    Deal the cards face up into piles by value, for example, aces, two, threes and so on. You’re dealing the cards and creating 12 piles of four of a kinds.

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  • 03 of 10

    Gimmicking the Deck - Step Two

    Sorting the deck into two piles.
    Split each four of a kind and put two of each value into a pile. For example, take the four aces and put two of them in one pile and remaining two in the other pile. Repeat with all of the four of a kinds.

    Try to be random with the suits. You don’t want all hearts and clubs in one pile and all diamonds and spades in the other. You’re aiming for a distribution of all of the suits in each of the two piles.

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  • 04 of 10

    Gimmicking the Deck - Step Three

    Marking the Cards.

    At this point, you’ll have two piles of cards with a mixture of the values and suits. Each pile is half of the original deck and should consist of 26 cards. (Actually, for this trick, the final number is not important and you can have cards missing from the deck.)

    You’ll need to decide on a force number. For the purposes of this explanation, I’ve chosen the number “eight.” You’re free to choose whatever number that you wish, but if you want to maintain the humor in the patter and presentation, you’ll want to choose a number that’s ten or under. This way, you’ll seemingly indicate a value for a playing card. This will make more sense later.

    Take your marker and for all of the cards in one pile (half of the deck), write different, numbers on each of the backs, between “one” and “52," but don’t write “eight” on any of the backs in this first pile. Try not to repeat numbers and do this with all of the cards in the first pile.

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  • 05 of 10

    Gimmicking the Deck - Step Four

    Marking the Deck - Step 2.
    At this point, half of the cards in the deck should have numbers written on their backs that range from “one” to “52,” but no “eights.”

    Take the second pile - half of the deck - and write “8" on the back of each.

    The picture shows half of the deck with different numbers written on the back, and a half of the deck that has all “eights.”

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  • 06 of 10

    Getting Ready for the Trick

    The Deck is ready for the trick.
    Gather the cards into a deck. First take the pile with “eight” written on the backs of each and place this half of the deck on the table. Then take the other half of the deck, the cards with various numbers written on the backs, and place this on top of the “eights.”

    You can put the deck back into its box or simply wrap a rubber band around it. I prefer a card box as this will prevent you from accidentally showing the numbers on the backs of cards too early.

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  • 07 of 10

    Performing the Trick - Step One

    Let the spectator select a card.

    Bring out deck from its box and at this point, try to keep the cards face-up and not show the numbers on the back.

    Run through the deck displaying the faces of the cards, show that they are different. At this point, you can perform an overhand or Hindu shuffle. Just be sure to only mix the top half of the face-up cards so you don’t mix the random numbered cards with the force numbered cards.

    While the cards are face-up, display some cards and ask a spectator to mentally select one.

    In this example, I'll assume that the spectator mentally chose the "queen of hearts" which is among the cards that are displayed.

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  • 08 of 10

    Performing the Trick - Step Two

    Show the backs with different numbers.
    Close up the deck and tell the spectator that you will read his mind. After a bit, ask if it’s the number “eight” (or your force number if it’s different).

    When the spectator says “no,” turn the cards over, face down, and show the numbers on the backs of each card. Deal the cards onto the table and show the face of each card showing that each has a number. Do this for ten or so cards. Don’t go too far (past 25) or you will get into cards with “eight” on the back.

    Note that there’s a slight chance that a spectator will say “yes” when you ask if it’s an “eight” (he actually chose an “eight”). This is no problem. In fact, I think it strengthens the trick because the spectator knows that he freely and mentally chose an “eight” and you’ve apparently read his mind. Simply go to the step where you show the backs of the different numbered cards.

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  • 09 of 10

    Performing the Trick - Step Three

    The spectator reveals his mentally selected card.
    Ask the spectator to name his card. Turn the deck over, face up, and at this point you can execute a Hindu or overhand shuffle - maintaining the top half of the deck - if you like. I think it adds greatly to the effect.

    Find and bring out the spectator’s selected card. In this example, the spectator chose the “queen of hearts.”

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  • 10 of 10

    Performing the Trick - Step Four

    Reveal the number on the back.
    Turn over the card and reveal the “eight” written on the back. You were correct.

    To end the trick and “clean-up,” simply replace the card (“queen of hearts” in this example) face-up onto the top of the face-up deck, and put the cards away.