While the previous section represented the last of the sleight-of-hand stuff, this last section is for some miscellaneous self-working tricks.

Why save this for the end? Well, a few reasons. First, while JACK does follow a certain curriculum order, we didn’t much like the common advice given to newcomers to Royal Road, which is to follow things chapter-by-chapter and not skip ahead, so it doesn’t really seem like that big a deal for somebody to jump ahead here if they’re game for it. Second, the assumption was that people following this outline would be more interested in the sleight-of-hand aspect anyway. Finally, there are actually a couple of items in here that do require a certain amount of performing experience in order to pull off convincingly, despite the last of knuckle-busting.

Anyhoo, on with the shoo…

12.1 Double Reverse

From Royal Road (and quite a few others). This is a good trick. For some unknown reason, the flop isn’t really considered a sleight, but there’s a lot of powerful stuff you can do with it, and it’s just so easy to render the move psychologically invisible. I’ve even found myself mid-way through a trick somebody was doing for me, realizing only too late that the move had flown right by me. In any case, a good trick.

12.2 Miraskill

Stewart James’s trick from The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (Learned Pig Project on lybrary.com). Now, somewhere out there on the Internet is John Bannon’s View to a Skill, which I consider a slightly stronger approach to the trick, but this one is still pretty good as is. Most “card game” type effects in magic live in the world of Poker, so it’s nice to have something off-beat like this.

12.3 Face To Face

Doc Harad’s trick from Monk Watson’s The Professional Touch (Victoria State Library). My personal opinion is that if you’re going to do mentalism, then you’d better have a really good reason for using cards. That usually means being straightforward as hell, which is one of the reasons for hyping up what’s possible with an 8 Kings or Si Stebbins stack. This is also pretty good. I mean, listen to the description — a deck (which is examinable afterwards) is given to the spectator, and they cut and flip over anywhere they like behind their back, and the performer is able to determine both the face-to-face reversed cards. Now, with a little bit of thought that’s only half as impressive as it should be, since one of those two cards is going to be the original bottom card, but how do you get the other one? Well, that’s the trick.

12.4 Pseudo-Psychometry

Practical Mental Effects (lybrary.com). Technically this isn’t a card trick in the form taught by Annemann. If you do some sleuthing you can find an earlier reference that does use playing cards, but Annemann’s approach goes a lot further in showing what the trick’s about, which isn’t really about matching the card to the owner, but the reading you give of the card right before that point. I’d go so far as to say this would be a great effect with Tarot cards.

12.5 Faces of Backs, Which?

From Charles Jordan, Encyclopedia of Card Tricks. A principle more than a trick, but it’s a clever idea. Technically, just about every deck out there has one-way faces, and this passage shows you how. Of course, what you do with it might be a bit tricky to figure out, but some possibilities include the tricks in chapter 3.

12.6 A Sweetheart

From U.F. Grant, They’re Off (lybrary.com). Very clever principle. Since its publication the idea has been expanded from both X’s on the back to an ‘X’ on the back and an ‘X’ on the face, which I think is a bit better. Just make sure they go “corner to corner”.

12.7 Princess Card Trick

From The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (lybrary.com). Everybody’s seen the thing on the internet where five court cards and there, you think of one, and when you click the link there are only four left, and the one you thought of is gone. It’s clever for about five minutes. There are better approaches to using that principle, and you’ve got a couple to choose from in the book.

12.8 Volition

From Annemann’s Jinx #95 (askalexander.org), this is a routine that basically works with different forms of Equivoque. This is too big a topic to talk about here, I think, especially because I’ve got a tiny bit of controversy with it I can share, but at the very least, learning effective Equivoque means learning scripts, and there are ideas in Volition that are worth looking at.

12.9 Psychic Stop

From Expert Card Technique. This is a neat trick, although Paul Chosse over at the Magic Cafe pointed out that one detail that Hugard and Braue got wrong was that the trick was meant to be done with the spectator dealing the cards. Now, when you read it, you’ll learn that there’s a chance that the trick misses, which is why this was delayed until after a study of Equivoque.

12.10 The Magnetized Cards

From Edward Victor’s More Magic of the Hands (Victoria State Library). This trick was actually dropped from the book project in order to keep it under a certain page count, but that’s not an issue here, so it’s been put back in. It’s nice to have an ungimmicked version of this offbeat trick.


And that’s pretty much that. I should actually point out that the Magnetized Cards isn’t the only instance of a difference between the JACK outline described here on the blog, and what’s ending up in the book. Still, it’s very, very close, and there’s certainly plenty here for you to play with if you’re just starting out in card magic.

Might as well quote this passage from the book…


At this point there really isn’t that much more to add, so we’ll wrap up by taking a look at the resources that helped make up this book, and where you can go from here.

This Book’s Resources

Aside from the tricks in Appendix B, the methods and tricks described in this book are drawn primarily from texts that have passed into the public domain.

This book owes a great deal of gratitude to following authors: Jean Hugard, Fred Braue, S.W. Erdnase, Johann Hofzinser, Theodore Annemann, Dai Vernon, Doc Daley, U.F. Grant, Martin Gardner, Stewart James, and many, many others. Where possible, creators have been credited in the text.

For the tricks and methods, the following books were of tremendous value in compiling the Jolly Almanac

12 Tricks with a Borrowed Pack (Martin Gardner)

30 Card Mysteries (Charles Jordan)

Annemann’s 202 Methods of Forcing (Theodore Annemann)

Annemann’s Bargain Mental Effects (Theodore Annemann)

Annemann’s Full Deck of Impromptu Tricks (Theodore Annemann)

Annemann’s Mental Mysteries (The Psychic Writing)

Annual of Magic (1937, 1938-39, Hugard)

Card Manipulations (Hugard and Braue)

Conjuring With Christopher (Milbourne Christopher)

Effective Tricks (Louis Christianer)

Exclusive Card Mysteries (Lu Brent)

Expert Card Technique (Hugard and Braue)

Here’s New Magic (Joe Berg)

Miracle Methods (Hugard and Braue)

More Card Manipulations (Hugard and Braue)

More Magic of the Hands (Edward Victor)

Paul Rosini’s Magical Gems (Rufus Steele)

Practical Mental Effects (Theodore Annemann)

Si Stebbins Card Tricks (Si Stebbins)

Stanyon’s Magic (Ellis Stanyon)

Tarbell Course in Magic (Harlan Tarbell)

The Encyclopedia of Card Tricks (Hugard and Braue)

The Expert At The Card Table (S.W. Erdnase)

The Jinx (Theodore Annemann)

The Magic Mirror (Carl Orton Williams)

The Royal Road to Card Magic (Hugard and Braue)

They’re Off (U.F. Grant and Frank Lane)

You’d Be Surprised (John Goodrum and Robert Parrish)

The Jolly Almanac should not be seen as a replacement for these other texts. There’s still heaps of value to be mined therein. I used my own judgment in what I chose, but your tastes may not match mine, and you’ll be delighted to find that through the generous efforts of lybrary.com, askalexader.org, archive.org and Australia’s State Victoria Library, you can read most of the above texts and more online for free. Royal Road and Expert Card Technique are exceptions to this, but both of those can be picked up at bargain prices either online or through your favourite magic dealer.
When it came to the theory sections, all efforts were made at giving quick introductions to the theories offered by the relevant magicians — there’s enough information to get the gist of the theory, but the passionate student will certainly want to hunt down the source texts themselves, which offer much greater insight on those theories than could ever be summarized here. You would be doing yourself a disservice to think that what’s talked about here is an adequate substitute for what you could get from the books of Darwin Ortiz, Eugene Burger, Derren Brown, Juan Tamariz, Tommy Wonder, and so on.

Where From Here?

At this point you might wonder where to go next. Card magic has come a long way since the period this book covers.

For a while Royal Road was the preeminent beginner’s text for card magic. That changed when Roberto Giobbi published Card College 1 and 2. Now, I don’t want you to misunderstand — I love the Jolly Almanac, and I truly believe it is the best inexpensive single-volume introductory work on card magic. That said, if you’ve got the money and the shelf-space, Card College 1 and 2 are worthy books to own (the next three are pretty awesome as well). He is, in my mind, the finest writer around when it comes to card magic.

In terms of specific methods, a few areas have exploded in the second half of the 20th century.

JACK offers no full-deck riffle false shuffles, specifically because the best one available during the time period is really quite hard. If you’re itching to learn one, then you can take your chances on the one in Expert Card Technique, or else you can learn Herb Zarrow’s “Zarrow Shuffle” for table work, or Derek DelGaudio’s “Truffle Shuffle” for in-the-hands work. Both of these can be made to look amazing. Other noteworthy offerings come from Lennart Green, Guy Hollingworth, Karl Hein, and Benjamin Earle.

Resources on false dealing have been around forever, but arguably the advent of video has made it much easier to learn these days. Small packet tricks also abound. Elliot’s “Three Card Monkey Business”, Vernon’s “Twisting the Aces”, Taytelbaum’s “Find the Ace”,
“Oil and Water”, “8 Card Brainwave”… with so many good ones to choose from, it’s almost difficult to justify using a full deck. Finally, we’ve also had some great advancements in self-working magic. With “Gemini Twins”, “Shufflebored”, “Prior Commitment”, “Neither Blind Nor Stupid”, “Out of this World”, and more, I think it’s safe to say that we’re well beyond the days where self-working meant boring.

With only a couple of exceptions involving duplicates and the odd prepared card, JACK’s focus was primarily on card magic that could be done with a regular deck. However, there’s much good magic to be had if you’re willing to work with gimmicked cards. Look into the Invisible Deck, the Svengali Deck, the Stripper Deck, and Macdonald’s Aces if you’re willing to start looking.

When it comes to studying the work of particular magicians, two stand out as masters — Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo. Both of these men had a huge impact on the card magic, and you’d benefit from studying either of them. Additionally, you’ll find more than a few magicians who’ve dedicated a huge portion of their work towards card magic, guys like Daryl, Juan Tamariz, Ricky Jay, Darwin Ortiz, Johann Hofzinser, Bill Malone, Allen Ackerman, Lennart Green, Karl Fulves, Derek Dingle, Jay Sankey, Roy Walton… These men, along with many of the authors in this book, mentalists such as Max Maven, and generalists such as Michael Ammar, John Carney, and Tommy Wonder… all have given a ton to card magic, and a thoughtful study of their work would be time well-spent, and I’ve almost certainly forgotten to include a few important names.

Finally, when it comes to theory, we’ve been spoiled here as well. If you liked the Interludes in this book even a little bit, then you’re encouraged to check out Darwin Ortiz’s Strong Magic and Designing Miracles, Juan Tamariz’s The Magic Way, David Kaye’s Seriously Silly, Tommy Wonder’s Books of Wonder, Derren Brown’s Absolute Magic, Ken Weber’s Maximum Entertainment, along with the various posts online from Whit Haydn, and the DVDs of Eugene Burger and Al Schneider, will give you more than enough to think about.


And that’s pretty much it! If you’re new to card magic, I hope you got something from this introduction. If you’re not-so-new to card magic, I hope you could stomach the blasphemy. Take care!