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Wow your audience with the pick-a-card magic trick

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It seems impossible that out of 52 cards a person could pick out the one card you chose. There are some people who will be nay-sayers, but most will be shocked
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Pick-a-card is the most basic trick of any magic show.

The pick-a-card magic trick is a staple in many magic shows. It can take on a variety of flavors, but the trick is basically the same. You ask an audience member to pick a card, then they look at the card and are amazed at what happens next. You might even find that you can create your own pick-a-card tricks after you have mastered the basics.

Why Do Pick-a-Card Tricks?

The easy answer as to why you should learn at least one of these tricks is simple. It's expected that you'll do the pick-a-card magic trick.

When people think of a magician, they think of magic wands, rabbits being pulled out of top hats and a card trick during which the magician asks someone to pick a card, any card. So if they're expecting it, you might as well please them.

Secondly, these types of tricks are impressive. It seems impossible that out of 52 cards a person could pick out the one card you chose. There are some people who will be nay-sayers, but most will be shocked. You want to be impressive during your magic show.

The fact is, these tricks are easy to do. To the audience member picking the card, the trick seems fantastic and impossible. For the magician, however, it's the easiest trick to perform.

How the Trick Appears to the Participant

The magician asks the participant to pick any card out of the deck. The participant picks a card and memorizes it. The magician then asks that the card be placed into the middle of the deck. The deck is then cut several times so that the magician cannot cheat by counting cards. Somehow, even with the cards being mixed up, the magician is able to find the participant's card. Maybe the deck is rigged. Maybe the magician saw the card at some point. Maybe the pick-a-card trick is real magic.

How it Looks to the Magician

You, as the magician, have no idea what the participant's card is. You just what's near it and this magic trick is really that simple.

How to Do the Pick-a-Card Magic Trick

You, the magician, fan out the deck of 52 cards and ask the participant to take any card.

When the participant is not paying attention to you, sneak a peak at the card on the bottom of the deck. This can be done several ways: you might turn your back to the participant so you can't see his card and look at the bottom card. You might look at the bottom card while squaring up the deck after the card is chosen. You might even just take a look when cutting the deck. Whichever way you chose, all you need to know is the bottom card.

Next, cut the deck and ask the participant to put his card in the middle, which is really the top of the deck. Then bury the participant's card by finishing the cutting of the deck. You then go through the cards, find the bottom card (the one you remembered) and the very next card is theirs.


Your pick-a-card magic trick can take on a number of variations. You might want to develop your own variations. Nearly all of them involve you noticing which card is correct before the one that is chosen by your participant and then locating the participant's original card.

Your audience will then be wowed! This is a simple yet traditional magic trick that is sure to please your audience every time. This is a great trick to perform during the opener of your magic show.

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