Expert Card Technique

Expert Card Technique

by Jean Hugard, Frederick Braué

Paperback(Illustrated, Unabridged)

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If you have ever tried to do a card trick and failed, you know what it is to be embarrassed. You may try to cover up by doing a more difficult trick and fail again. The way out of this dilemma, however, is not immediate, but it is reliable: a surer mastery of technique. This means the proper instruction book, and practice.
In this definitive work on card technique, step-by-step instructions teach you the correct methods for the basic manipulations and the more advanced flourishes, and only then allow you to learn tricks. Offering the most foolproof methods available, Jean Hugard and Fredrick Braue explain such basic manipulations as the palm, the shuffle, the lift, the side slip, the pass, the glimpse, the jog, and the reverse. They detail various false deals, crimps, and changes and the more advanced execution needed for forces, fans, and the use of the prearranged deck. Also presented is a wide variety of tricks, including discoveries, self-working tricks, one-handed tricks, stranger cards, and such individually famous tricks as the four aces, the rising cards, and the Zingone spread. In addition, the authors include a complete compendium of shakedown sleights — to warn the card player and aid the entertainer — and a performer's guide to misdirection and patter.
Many of the methods explained were revealed here for the first time, while many previously known tricks are presented in improved versions. In every case the aim is simplicity of technique for the purpose of mystifying an audience, not technique for the sake of technique. An unsurpassed collection of methods and manipulations, this classic work will help any aspiring magician to achieve expert card technique.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486217550
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 06/01/1974
Series: Dover Magic Books
Edition description: Illustrated, Unabridged
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 236,835
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Expert Card Technique

By JEAN HUGARD, Frederick Braue, Donna Allen

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1974 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15653-8




THE DOUBLE LIFT—that is to say, the lifting of two cards as one—is one of the most useful of modern card sleights. Many methods have been devised but all of them entail a certain preliminary movement for the purpose of getting ready, or "set," for the sleight, and this movement must be covered by misdirection.

The ideal double lift is the simple pushing off of two cards, as one, with the left thumb in exactly the same manner as in dealing, and such a method is given elsewhere. The following method, however, is the nearest approach to such perfection which can be had by purely mechanical means. A preliminary "get-ready" movement is still necessary but the gesture covering it is so casual and natural that the keenest eye cannot detect it and the practice necessary to master the sleight is negligible in comparison with its value. This method, hitherto unknown to the fraternity, represents the very finest handling, enabling the operator to lift two cards as one in such a wholly natural manner that even the most skeptical of spectators finds nothing suspicious in the procedure.


A new and very important technique is also being introduced in this volume for the first time for the triple and quadruple lifts, which have previously been believed to be impracticable and dangerous of execution, chimeras which would never become realities.

As with the old methods of performing the double lift, the two elements which have prevented deceptive use of the triple and quadruple lifts have been the lack of a certain and easy method of controlling the cards during the push-off of the left thumb, holding the cards without any tell-tale overlap of their edges, and a certain and easy method of inserting the left little finger under the cards prior to the push-off: the old method of picking up cards at the inner end with the right thumb, dangerous with the double lift, is wholly impracticable with the triple and quadruple lifts.

Upon examination of these problems it will be found that the method of preparing for the lift, and of making the lift, which is given here, when applied to the triple and quadruple lift make these sleights entirely practical and deceptive. These methods are given hereunder:


1. Hold the pack in the left hand as for dealing, the thumb lying flat against the left side, the four fingers at the right side, the tip of the second finger at the middle of the side. The first, third and fourth are held slightly away from the pack.

2. Press the second finger to the left against the right side of the pack, beveling it to the left. Press the left inner corner of the deck firmly against the base of the thumb, Fig. 1.

3. Bring the right hand over the pack, place the fingers at the outer end, the thumb at the inner end, and lightly square the cards.

4. Press inwards lightly on the ends of the top cards with the thumb and second finger, causing the top cards to bend upwards breadthwise at the middle, Fig. 2.

5. Allow cards to escape one at a time from under the tip of the left second finger as they buckle upwards, and with this finger tip hold a break under the desired two, three or four cards which have passed, the number of cards being governed by whether a double, triple or quadruple lift is being made. The pack being beveled to the left aids greatly in enabling the second finger tip to allow only one card at a time to slip past it as the right finger tips apply the buckling pressure at the ends.

6. Drop the ball of the left thumb upon the top of the outer half of the deck and raise the right thumb at the inner end. This action levers up the inner end of the cards, the second finger tip acting as a fulcrum. Insert the left little finger tip in the break thus transferred to the inner right corner.

7. Again run the right thumb and second finger lightly over the ends of the pack, squaring it.

In this manner you have quickly and indetectibly prepared for the lift, whether a double, triple or quadruple turnover.


1. Hold the pack in the left hand, the little finger, which holds a break of two, three or four cards, being even with the inner end. Press the inner left corner of the pack firmly into the flesh below the base of the thumb by an inward pressure of the left little finger; when the thumb is moved, the flesh at the base of the thumb must swing freely over the top of the pack, Fig. 3.

2. Bend the thumb at the joint inwards and place the side of its tip at the extreme edge of the left outer corner, resting upon the top surface with sufficient pressure to force a tiny fold of flesh over the side of the second card. This flesh fold later serves to draw with the top card the cards to be secretly lifted with it.

3. Move the thumb to the right and inward, describing a small segment of an arc, taking with it the cards to be lifted as one card, Fig. 3. Note that the finger tips are above the top of the pack; as the thumb moves the cards to the right in an inward arcing action these fingers tip to the right to allow the cards to pass over them, the remainder of the pack being held firmly in place by the inward pressure of the left little finger tip. The inner left corner of the cards pivots under the base of the thumb, the inward arcing pressure of the thumb tip forcing this corner into the flesh of the palm, thus holding the cards in perfect register..

4. Turn the right hand palm upwards and seize the cards at the outer right corner between the right thumb, above, and the first and second fingers below, Fig. 3a. Turn them face upwards and place them squarely on the deck.

5. Slip the tip of the left little finger under the cards at the inner right corner during the last action as the cards are placed face upwards on the deck, thus preparing to turn the cards face downwards without any further get-ready. Square the cards at the ends with the right fingers and thumb.

6. Turn the cards face downwards in exactly the same manner. You have apparently shown the spectators the top card of the pack; actually you showed the second, third or fourth card.

The Double Lift in Action

With only two cards to control, the double lift is made with the hands in almost any position, before the body or at the left side, with the pack in regular dealing position or with the outer end pointing obliquely downwards. The cards being turned over are grasped either as given in the previous instructions or may instead be grasped at the outer right corner with the thumb below and the fingers above, the turnover then being similar to the deal in stud poker. The hands may be held motionless or kept slightly in motion to the left as the turnover is made.

All these are matters for the individual performer to decide for himself ; the control of the two cards is so complete that variations in handling are matters of personal choice. The action in all instances, however, should be smooth and continuous, approximating a natural turnover; there is no real reason why the performer should watch the cards and this he should refrain from doing as this indifference towards the turnover gives to it the naturalness which is absolutely vital to successful conjuring.

A glaring fault of many card conjurers is the overuse of the double lift. If one has to show that a chosen card is not at the top or bottom of the deck, for instance, it can be sent second from the bottom by the overhand shuffle and the bottom card shown, also several of the top cards. A repetition of the shuffle will bring the card back to the top naturally and unsuspiciously. The double lift should be kept in reserve for tricks in which it is indispensable.

Nor should the double lift be a plaything with which to show your skill with cards; it cannot be emphasized too strongly that it is a secret subterfuge which should be used only as a legitimate sleight with which to obtain results not otherwise possible. The conjurer who makes a series of lifts—six or eight in a row—and believes that the average spectator will not reason out what is being done grossly underrates the intelligence of laymen.

The Triple and Quadruple Lifts in Action

As will have been seen, the method of making the triple and quadruple lift is exactly the same as that used for the double lift. However, since the extra cards make the edges thicker and thus make the sleight more vulnerable, the triple and quadruple lifts cannot be made with the same disregard for sight angles which characterizes the double lift.

The following should be kept in mind in making these lifts:

1. Exert a greater pressure downwards at the outer left corner with the left thumb in pushing off the cards than is used in the double lift.

2. Hold the pack squarely facing the spectators, to the left or directly in front of the body a little below the waist, as though to permit a clear view of the operation. This position places the cards at right angles to the onlookers' line of vision and prevents the extra thickness of the edges of the cards from being noticed.

3. Turn the cards face upwards, or downwards, with the right hand without hesitation in the least possible time: in other words, naturally.

4. Move the outer end of the pack obliquely downwards as the right hand turns the cards, enabling them to be turned in less than the half-revolution which otherwise would be required.

5. Move both hands six inches to the left during the turnover, makirg it difficult for the spectators to focus their gaze upon the edges of the cards. This movement of the hands is a leisurely, normal action.

If these conditions are observed, the conjurer will find that an entirely new vista of card conjuring lies before him, making possible some of the most effective of card tricks.


a. The orthodox manner of turning the two cards face up in the double lift by seizing the lower right corners with the right hand, turning them face up on the pack with the lower ends protruding and then turning them face down in the same manner, has become hackneyed. All who dabble in card tricks and, unfortunately, many who do not, know at once what is taking place the moment this movement is made. Adepts have found it advisable to change the handling of the two cards. The following method of displaying them as one card will be found to be not only natural but completely deceptive to lay audiences and will puzzle well informed magicians.

1. Push off the two top cards, as one, with the left thumb (page 5).

2. With the right hand, palm upwards, clip the two cards between the forefinger at the face of the cards and the second finger on the back at that part of the card where the innermost pip of a ten spot is printed. Let the cards slide between the two fingers to the outermost joints.

3. Press the extreme tip of the right thumb against the right sides of the two cards just above the two fingers which grip them, and the side of the third finger tip against the bottom, the little finger remaining free. Buckle the cards slightly downwards to ensure that the two cards will remain in perfect alignment, Fig. 4.

4. Show the face of the second card by turning the wrist inwards, Fig. 5, after which turn the cards down again and put them on the pack. The action is the same as that used by many card players when turning the top card of a pack face upwards.

It is advisable to use this method of handling when you turn a single card at any time in the course of a trick.

b. In spite of the fact that the handling-of the cards in this method may be considered rather fanciful, it is very useful as a variation of the usual method. In spite of the twisting and turning of the cards there is no danger that they will come apart.

1. Push off the two cards with the left thumb as explained in the first method and take them between the tips of the right thumb and second finger at the right hand corners.

2. Move the left hand and the pack a little to the right and with the tip of the left thumb press on the left sides of the two cards making them describe a semi-revolution with the right thumb and finger tips as pivots, bringing them face upwards under the right palm. The right hand now has its back outwards, the thumb being upwards and the cards facing outwards.

3. Grip the sides of the two cards near the lower ends between the first joints of the right first and fourth fingers and remove the thumb.

4. Twist the two cards upwards until the right thumb can rest against the right sides, opposite the first finger, and release the little finger. Move the hands to the right bringing the backs of the cards outwards and at the same time let the right second finger take the place of the forefinger, Fig. 6.

5. Press the forefinger on the middle of the back of the two cards, release the grip of the second finger, turn the hand to the right and grip the cards, face outwards, between the tips of the thumb and forefinger with a snap, Fig. 7.

You have shown both the back and the front of the supposed single card. Replace the cards on the top of the pack.


The secret move to be described is one for which the cleverest card men in America have sought—a move which opens up an entirely new field of expert card work. It is the pushing off of two cards, as one, with the left thumb in exactly the same manner as in dealing. Heretofore it has been believed that such a sleight called for an inexhaustible patience in practice and an uncanny skill. Actually the move is very easy, although we cannot pretend to explain why the method proves to be workable.

First of all it must be explained that only a description of the action involved can be given, along with an accurate description of the position of the fingers, and of the secret move itself.

Place the pack in the left hand, the inner left corner pressing into the flesh under the heel of the thumb, so that the thumb can move freely above the deck. Place the left little finger at the opposite side, barely above the corner, with the third finger next above it, the second finger a little above the third, and the forefinger above all. Since this last finger takes no part in the sleight, hold it slightly off the side of the pack. Place the tips of the left fingers flush with the top card of the pack, and hold the pack firmly by pressure between the left little finger and the flesh of the palm under the heel of the thumb.

To obtain the correct position, use a pack with a border, place the left thumb exactly at the outer left corner of the inner design of the top card. Hold the thumb nail at right angles to the card so that the flesh at the side of the thumb (or, more properly, the flesh just under the cuticle of the nail) touches the top card. To take this position, the thumb must be bent at the first joint. (If the pack were held face upwards, the thumb would rest at that point where the numeral of a card's index would be.)

With the left thumb press the left outer corner of the pack downwards; at the same moment, press the inner right corner downwards with the tip of the left little finger, slipping it slightly onto the top of the pack. Thus the diagonally opposite corners of the pack are bent downwards at the same moment, Fig. 8.

Without altering the position of the left thumb move it, still bent, lightly to the right. For some reason which the authors do not pretend to understand, the second card will move with the top card, remaining so perfectly in alignment that the dealer himself will often be deceived.

The positions outlined above are for a man with a medium-sized hand; however, each reader will have to experiment to determine exactly the placement of the left thumb in order to secure the desired result.


Excerpted from Expert Card Technique by JEAN HUGARD, Frederick Braue, Donna Allen. Copyright © 1974 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Double lift
Triple and quadruple lifts
Lift get-ready
Double lift in action
Triple and quadruple lifts in action
"Double lift turnover, a, b "
One hand push-off
Second deal
Push-off second deal a. The left hand grip b. The deal c. The push-off stud poker deal d. As a false table count
Strike second deal
Bottom deal a. The left hand grip b. The right hand 21
c. The deal 21
"Middle deal a, b, c, d, e 3"
Double deal
Second method
"Two methods, a, b "
Two covers for the side slip
Malini's side slip
Delayed side slip
Bottom side slip
Invisible turn-over pass
"Zingone perfect table pass, Luis Zingone "
Flesh grip pass
Jog pass
Braue pass
Charlier pass a. Color change b. To control a card
Finger palm pass improved
Braue diagonal tip-up palm
"Swing palm, Frederick Braue "
Thumb-count palm
"Face card palm, a, b "
Crosswise palm
New vertical palm
Gamblers' squaring palm
"Gamblers' flat palm, a, b "
Hugard top palm
Flip-over palm
Hofzinser bottom palm
Braue bottom palm
Delaying the Braue bottom palm
"Zingone bottom palm, a, b, Luis Zingone"
"Three cards across, Luis Zingone"
"Perfect riffle shuffle, a, b "
"Strip-out false shuffle, Charles Miller"
Hindu shuffle variation
False shuffle retaining top stock
Gamblers' false shuffle
Retaining top stock
System of stock shuffling
Off the table false riffle shuffle
"False running cut, a, b"
Gamblers' false cut
"Gambler's false cut, bottom stock "
Fadeaway card change
Slide top change
Throw top change
Tip-over change
Push-in change
Drop switch
Regular crimp
Little finger crimp
Gamblers' crimp
Peek crimp
Card marking crimp
Spectator peek improved
Spectator peek - the last word
After the spectator peek
A new glimpse
Glimpsing a card
Top card glimpse
Gamblers' glimpse
"Glimpse after the peek, a, b"
Cover for the glimpse a. Gamblers' method for a single card b. One card c. Several cards
Side jog
Jog at the break
An alternative method
Automatic jog No. I
Automatic jog No. II
Automatic jog No. III
Facing the deck
Righting the faced deck
Automatic reverse
Righting a reversed bottom card
Facing the bottom card
Faced deck turnover
Vesting a card
"Zingone thumbnail gauge, Luis Zingone"
"A cutting discovery, Luis Zingone"
Separating the colors
"Setting a key card, Jean Hugard "
The five card quibble
Emergency card stabbing
Drop control
The tap
"Single card bridge, Charles Miller "
A new glide
Establishing a break from a bridge
Transfer of thumb-count break to little finger
Ruffle return
Bridge location
Bertram's method
A variation: Fifty years later
Mexican turnover
Spread cull
The double-face
Gambler's card marking system
Nature of the palm
Rear palming top card
The bottom rear palm
Rear palm side slip
Little finger push-out
Rear palm exchange
In lieu of the double lift
Using the rear palm
The shuffle
The endless belts
Chart of seventeen
Perfect shuffle stock
The eighteenth card
Braue poker deal
Royal flush deal
Dishonesty at its apogee
A bridge deal
At the top
Double less one
"Interlocked production, Cliff Green "
The actual flourish
The color change
Impossible color change
Covinous color change
The pressure fan
A fan flourish
Springing the cards - new method
Top and bottom changes
There it is!
"Secret addition of cards to the pack, a, b, c "
"Replacement of palmed cards, a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i "
The palm in action
Covering a palm
I. Top palm - right hand
II. Bottom palm - left hand
III. Either hand
Secret count
I. Side count
II. Top thumb count
III. Bottom thumb count
IV. Overhand count
Classic force
Fan force
Table spread force
Perfect score card force
Using a force
The multiple force
Four card force
The lost card
I. The fan and riffle
II. "The fan, a, b "
A second method
The prearranged pack
Arranging the set-up pack
Assembling the pack
Shuffling the cards
The spectator shuffle
Using the pack
Locating the cards
"Hugard rising cards, Jean Hugard"
"Mesmerised cards, Charles Miller "
"One-hand plunger rising cards, Frederick Braue"
"Two-hand plunger rising cards, Frederick Braue "
"Witchcraft card rise, Jack McMillen"
"The Zingone spread, Luis Zingone "
"The gamblers outwitted, Paul Rosini "
"A Rosi-crucian mystery, Paul Rosini"
"Two-six-four, Dai Vernon "
"The mind mirror, Jack McMillen"
"Predestined choice, Charles Miller "
"Reading the cards of any deck, Jean Hugard"
"Dexterous fingers, Charles Miller"
"Merlin's lost aces, Jack Merlin"
Ace affinity
Ace assembly
The old method
The new method
Anent the Bertram aces
Streamlining the sympathetic aces
"The "slap" aces"
Le Temps four aces
Passe-passe aces
Migratory aces
"Solo flight aces, Charles Miller"
"Nomad aces, Charles Miller"
Charles Miller aces
Cops and robbers - a variation
Five star finale
The razzle dazzler
An expert at figures
Mercury's card
A card for Pegasus
The card in the shoe
Five card routine
I. Dai Vernon's mental force
II. The princess card trick
III. Five card royale
IV. Phantaso
An automatic reverse
A rapid reverse
The impromptu magician
A second method
Three in one
You see? Harold Lloyd
One hand fan
First p
The card through the magazine
Mercury's card
Folding a card
Card for Pegasus
"Danbury deviler, Charles Miller "
Double discovery
"Everywhere and nowhere, Frederick Braue "
"Lazy man's card to pocket, Jack McMillen "
Vanishing pack
Double leaper
"Dunbury delusion, Charles Miller "
Obliging card
Impromptu location
"Think of a card, Paul Rosini"
Wheel location
Psychic stop!
Ultima Thule location
Incredible location
Crystal thought
"Mental selectivity, Charles Miller "
Ponsin on thought reading
The risk location
Cagliostro cuts the cards
A quick reversal
Faced deck reverse location
"Reverse supreme, Luis Zingone "
Multi-spelling trick
Cards on parade
Hardin plus Devant
Second Method
Mechanical four aces
The radioactive aces
The torn and restored card
Torn and restored card
"The ghost card, Theo Annemann "
Where is it?
Through the table top
Second method
Everywhere and nowhere
A stranger in the house
"The red-black transmigration, Jean Hugard "
"Touch and go, Jean Hugard"
Run around aces
Introducing the stranger
Forcing a stranger card
Double-faced cards
Joker-specimen card
It must be magic
Tricky quickie
The numerological card
Matching the packets
The seventh son
Hocus-pocus card
Do as I do. New presentation
"Contrary do as I do, Bert Allerton"
Twenty-sixth location
Unwitting magician
Magic of nine
Certain card trick
Peeling cards
Making double-faced and double-backed cards
The spectator peek
One will make six 4
Audacity peek
Card to pocket
Svengali shuffle
Charlier shuffle
Matchbook easel
"Kaufman card stand, Gerald Kaufman"
Second deal aid
False counts and deals
To deal four as three
A false count
False table deal
Magic powder v. rabbit's foot
The carbon card
The card at any number
Moistening a card
The pass
Left hand bottom replacement
The presentation of magic
Good humor
The first trick
The voice
Making friends
You yourself
The routine
The proof of the pudding
Something new
The spectator perspective
Sleight of hand vs. self-working feats
Importance of the inconsequential
The simple way
The audience committee
Plots for tricks

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Expert Card Technique 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
nikodemus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Arguably the second most important book on card magic in the 20th century. Much of the unattributed material comes from Charles Miller and Dai Vernon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Harry Houdini, before becoming famous for his stage illusions, was known as the King of Cards. This book has many great slights and techniques to put the average 'butterfinger' novice at par with the likes of Harry Houdini, Jeff McBride, and Mark Wilson.