In many ways the techniques taught here are easier than what’s come before, but the nerve required to pull them off is no joke. This move, arguably more than any other move in card magic, will show you what sleight-of-hand is really all about.

10.1 The Top Change

From Royal Road, chapter 17, what’s taught here is pretty much standard. The move really doesn’t demand a lot when it comes to finger-flinging, it’s just being able to do it at the right time, with little noise, at a moment of general relaxation rather than heightened attention. If you’re like I was when I first learned it, the scary part wasn’t the move, but rather, knowing what sort of trick to use it in.

10.2 “The Changing Card”

From the same chapter, this is as good a trick as any to start doing in order to learn how to use the move in a live performance. Pay very careful attention to the timing. You execute after the audience has seen it’s the wrong card, but before you’ve apparently noticed it yourself. You’ll need some acting ability, but if you can pull that off, all of a sudden you’ve got a very clean change, as the impression will be that the card and the deck never came together. The trick recommends a full five seconds — I don’t think you need that much, but whatever, figure out what works for you in that instance.

10.3 Top Change — Double Lift

From Miracle Methods #4 (lybrary.com, TLPP). The idea here is to use the top change along with the double lift in order to give the most deceptive sequence possible. I think they’re kind of on the right track, but perhaps the better way to see it would be to think of the double lift as a backup plan in case you did the top change, and you’re worried maybe people thought something happened.

10.4 “You Put It In”

From Paul Rosini’s Magical Gems (lybrary.com), this is a neat idea involving using the top change as a pre-emptive control of the card. It’s pretty clever, and potentially has applications in something like the Ambitious Card Routine (which we were pretty desperate for alternative methods for, if you can recall).

10.5 “Everywhere and Nowhere”

From Royal Road, Chapter 20. This trick breaks outside JACK’s intended territory somewhat, since it involves getting a couple of duplicates. It’s still included here because, again, the routining takes advantage of the element of timing. You get the first method off when everybody thinks the trick is over, and you get the second method off when people are reacting with surprise to the appearance of the card a second time. This is a complicated trick to grasp — many magicians have jumped on it because they see it as a grand classic of magic and perform it as if it deserves to be seen as such, whereas I think Royal Road actually gets this one right, where it’s done with a bit more of an air of deceit. Ideally, the trick should scream “duplicates”, but when it comes time to check for duplicates, there’s no evidence of it to be found, compounding the mystery. In theory, anyway…

10.6 The Invisible Flight

From Erdnase’s Expert at the Card Table (lybrary.com), this might be of interest for those who want to get a two-card-transposition effect going where the double-lift isn’t abused as much as it is in Rapid Transit. The Palm Change is taught earlier in the book, and you’ll need it to do the trick as described.

10.7 Joe Berg’s “New Color Transformation”

From Here’s New Magic (Victoria State Library), the trick itself is alright, but it’s really the change that’s worth looking at. This dodge can be used to good effect to switch two cards. Dai Vernon got quite a lot of mileage out of this move.

10.8 Three Card Monte

From Erdnase (lybrary.com), this trick is probably the one I’ve performed the most in my magic career. It’s great, and the description here is as good a place to start as any. It includes the bent-corner ploy, which is awesome if deceptively done.

10.9 Mexican Three Card Monte

Also from Erdnase (lybrary.com), I think this is a good technique to know, but not necessarily within the Monte context. It’s arguably far-better suited for card tricks, specifically ones where you want to switch one card on the table for one in the hand. Example: order from the top of the deck: indifferent card, King of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, Jack of Hearts. You DL to show the King, and you set it to the right. You DL to show the Queen, and set it in the middle. You DL to show the Jack, and you set it to the left. In your best House of Pain voice, sing “Jump Around”, and then lift off the Jack, use it to flip over what should be the Jack, showing the Queen, and then flip over what should be the Queen, showing the King, and then do the Mexican turnover on the indifferent card, showing the Jack. Probably not the cleverest trick, but it’s an example of a better application than in a Monte context, where you really wouldn’t want to have two cards touching each other at a moment of high tension.

10.10 Conclusion

Well, you’ve got a few more switches to play with now. The top change, probably more than any other move in card magic, will require you to get an understanding behind timing, choreography, misdirection, and how all that relates to relaxation and tension. It’s a great move, though, and even if the only thing you get out of it is competence with “The Changing Card”, you’ve got a good trick, where the card apparently changes without ever having come near the deck.