ICOM’S Magic Tricks For Beginners


Compiled and Written By Bobby J. Gallo & Ronald J. Dayton

Why this section? For a few reasons.

  • First, these are the rudimentary card tricks Bobby J. Gallo teaches students in his acclaimed “Summer Camp Programs” to familiarize his students with the very basics of card magic.
  • We at I.C.O.M feel they are not appropriate subjects for actual lessons to appear in our Beginner’s Study but wish to make them available for reference purposes.
  • They provide a way for even the youngest members of I.C.O.M or their family members to share in the experience of performing magic by providing the simplest possible tricks. We want everyone to be an I.C.O.M’er!
  • Many of these are actually “really good tricks!” and will fool most anyone if performed correctly! Try them and you’ll see!

The second section of this Cyber-Magic TextBook ™ deals with general magic effects done with items around the home.


Trick Number #1
With your eyes closed. You can locate all four aces in a shuffled deck! All you do is take the four aces out of the deck and place them in your pocket before you start. Then have the remainder of the deck shuffled and put into your pocket alongside of the aces. Then dramatically remove the aces one at a time and display them to everyone.

Trick Number #2
Separate all the cards by color, one half black, and the other half red. Have the spectator select a card. Then just have then replace it in the other half of the deck. When you look through the deck it will be a different color than all the rest in that half! An alternate version is to have the cards separated with all the odds in one half and all the even cards in the other half. Then proceed as described above.

Trick Number #3
Put one card under your seat, Now have a spectator take out five cards without looking at them. Then hand them a pen and paper, call out any five cards making sure the card you previously put under your seat isn’t one of them. then, announce that you will make one of the cards fly away. Have them look through deck, they will only find four out of the five cards you named. Show that the missing card is under your seat!

Trick Number #4
This is more of a puzzle than a trick. Take the four Jacks out and place them onto a table. Ask the audience which two Jacks were rejected from the army and why? The answer is the two Jacks that have only one eye! (one eyed Jacks)

Trick Number #5
Ask the person to select any card from the deck and have them place it on top of the deck. Then ask them to cut the cards. You find the Card! Secret: Notice the Bottom Card before starting. The selected card will follow this one!

Trick Number #6
Card Reversal! Before the trick reverse the bottom card. Now have a card selected and secretly turn the deck over. Have the card returned to the deck. then secretly reverse the bottom card again and the only card in the deck upside down is the spectators card.

Trick Number #7
Listening a card! Have a secret assistant who knows how to do the trick. have them ask a person to point to a card while you look away. Then pretend to Listen to the cards, your secret assistant taps you on the foot when you come to the selected card!

Trick Number #8
Take the Ace of Clubs, Hearts, and Spades out of the deck. Position the heart upside down between the other two aces so that it looks like a diamond. When you ask the person to point out the diamond, it will be a heart! (Photo #1)

Photo #1
Trick #9
Before the trick starts, you cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the card case. Now, after the audience shuffles the deck, you return them into the card case. You can now name each card in succession before it comes out of the case by peeking thru the hole! Remember, Don’t let your audience see the hole.

Trick #10
Lay the four aces onto the table from left to right. Then lay three more cards on top of each ace. Gather the piles together, one on top of the other from left to right. Then deal all the cards out, again from left to right. You will find that all the aces have gathered in the right hand pile! You may now do a magician’s choice to force the pile containing the aces.

Trick #11
Fan out the four Jacks in your hand. Now, place four indifferent cards in back of the first Jack. Don’t let your audience see these! You now hold eight cards, but your spectators are only aware of the four Jack’s. Now, put all of cards on top of the deck. Take the four indifferent card from the top (the ones everyone else thinks are Jacks) and put them into the middle of the deck. Tap the top of the deck, look through, and it will appear that all the the Jacks have gathered back at the top!

Trick #12
Take the Three of Clubs and the Two of Diamonds an put them on your lap. Then take the Three of Spades and the Two of Hearts, display them quickly to your audience. Put them into the deck. Place the deck onto the table. Tap the deck, and it will appear that the cards have passed right thru the table! The secret is that the cards look so similar, none can tell the difference!

You can find the selected card as quick as a wink! Have a person pick a card. Then “THE MAGICIAN” takes the card without looking at it and returns it to the deck. But before the magician does, he secretly bends the corner of the card. Now just by looking through the deck it is easy to find the selected (bent) card!

Name the cards in a shuffled pack held behind your back. First note the bottom card. Behind your back place it face up on top of the deck. Name it and verify by displaying it to your audience. Meanwhile, note the next bottom card. Place this face up on top of the first while behind your back. Name it and show it. you are always one ahead of your audience.

You may find an unknown card, freely chosen and returned to the deck. The deck is first pencil marked on one end by drawing a straight line vertically down the edge of the deck. The chosen card is reversed when returned to the deck. The card then can be easily located by its tell-tale mark!

The Jumping Card. A freely chosen card, returned to the pack, jumps out! Prepare two cards by punching small holes near the center and affixing a small rubber band threaded through the holes. The chosen card is replaced between them against the elastic. It will jump out when pressure is released.

How to name a card thought of by a spectator! Ask someone to think of any card. Mentally double its face value. (Jack 11, Queen 12, and King 13) Add 3 and multiply by 5. Finally, ask that the value of the suit of the card be added. (Clubs 1, Diamonds 2, Hearts 3, Spades 4) and the result told to you. You may now name the card by merely subtracting 15 from this total. The right hand digit shows the suit. The next one (or two) the value of the card.

Take 21 cards out of a deck and deal them from left to right into three vertical rows of seven cards each, face-up. Have a spectator think of any card and to point out which row it is in. Then gather all the rows together making sure that the selected row always goes in-between the other two when gathered up. Now repeat the process of laying out the cards face-up and gathering them up two more times. After the last time the cards are gathered, turn the card packet face-down and count down 11 cards. Due to mathematical progression, the selected card always turn up at the 11 spot down. Then reveal it in any manner you wish.

Use a brand new deck of cards and remove the jokers. Most decks start with A,2,4,4,5, etc. This is the order that is needed. Execute a series of overhand cuts simulating a overhand shuffle. Perform this thirteen times counting silently. Then deal from left to right into thirteen piles. Repeat the process until the entire deck is exhausted. Turn each pile face up to reveal that each pile contains four cards with all matching suits. Note: a used deck may be substituted for a new one provided the deck is stacked in order before commencement.

Trick #20
Hold the deck in the mechanics grip. Pick up a small stock of cards and reverse them face-up on top of the rest of the deck. Repeat this action, but instead this time, dig deeper into the deck, turn the pile you picked up, face-up once again. Repeat this process two more times. The cards will seem to be throughly mixed. In reality, they may be righted by cutting the deck in the only place where two halves of the deck are face-up and face-down.

Trick #21
Have the deck shuffled and examined. Then have a card selected and noted. Performer places all of the cards back into the card case. Now with the performers head turned and holding the card case, he asks the spectator to place the card into the case while he is holding it. By maintaining slight pressure on the deck (squeezing it just a bit) the card will be prevented from going all the way into the pack. After a bit of by-play, the performer removes the cards from the case and locates the card which is easy. It is the only one sticking up a little!

Trick #22
This sneaky card trick is a real winner! Have a card selected and returned to the deck. Control the card to the top using the “pinky break” followed by merely cutting the cards. Place the cards behind your back reversing the top (selected) card. Bring the cards out from behind your back asking the spectator if the “bottom” card was theirs. The selection at this point will be staring you in the face. Of course they will say no. Put the cards behind your back once more, turn the top (selected) card face down again and cut the cards. Pretend to try and find their card two more times, having them note the bottom card each time. Then, shuffle the cards, look through the deck, locate the real selection and reveal it in any way you wish.

Trick #23
Get any three red cards and any three black cards. Turn the deck face down and from the bottom deal two red cards. Then using The Glide, (See ICOM Sleight of Hand Gallery) glide the third red card inwards. Deal a black card. These are dealt into a pile. Genuinely deal the three following black cards into another pile. Take the top card of the black pile and place it face down on the table, then take the top card from the red pile and place it on top of the black card previously dealt. Deal another black card, then a red, then a black, then a red. You now turn all the cards over and show that they have separated.

Trick #24
Pre-set the deck with three aces on the bottom and one on the top. Begin to deal the cards into a single pile. State to the spectator to say stop at any point during the dealing of cards onto the table. After the first pile is dealt, casually put the deck under the table and shift one card from the bottom to the top. Now when you begin to deal the second pile you will have an ace on the bottom of that pile. Repeat this process two more times. When the piles are turned over for the climax, it will be seen that all the aces are on the bottoms of the piles!

Trick #25
You will need a secret assistant for this trick. While the performer steps into another room, the assistant has a card selected from among a number that lie in a row on the table. When the performer returns, the assistant merely touches each card that was not selected in center. When the assistant touches the selected card, he/she touches it on one of the corners. That is the code! The magician then dramatically reveals the selection.

Trick #26
Here is a variation of the above effect. Three cards are laid in three rows on the table. When the magician returns from the other room, the assistant will be holding the remainder of the deck of cards in their hand. The thumb indicates the selection. If the selected card was in the center pile, the thumb would rest in the middle of the deck. When THAT pile is separated from the others, again the thumb would indicate the relative position of the selected card. This would only have to be done twice to find the selection. The first to indicate the row, the second to indicate the card.

Trick #27
Put a light pencil dot in the middle of the top edge border of all 52 playing cards. Then have a card selected by the audience. When the card is returned, make sure you reverse it before you return it into the deck. Then look at the backs of all the cards. The selected card will be the only one with the dot on the bottom border. You found their card!

Trick #28
Start by having any card that you have memorized on top of the deck of cards. Then have an audience member give you any number from one to twenty. Show them how to count down to that number dealing the cards in a nice neat pile. Gather all the cards up and place them back on top of the deck of cards. (The card you have memorized is now the in the exact position down in the deck that the spectator named!) Have the spectator take the deck and count down to the number they selected. Then reveal the card in any manner you wish.

Trick #29
Have a small loop of tape attached to the back of the top card. Have other any card selected, take it back and place it on top of the deck squaring it up perfectly with the taped top card. Next, cut the deck a few times and smartly deal the cards face up onto the table one by one to show the selected card has vanished. This trick can also be done with a bit of magicians wax.

Trick #30
A quick comedy bit is to ask anyone to name a card aloud. When they do look them seriously in the eye and say………CORRECT!

Trick #31
Have a card selected and place it secretly on top of the deck, letting it protrude about an inch and 1/2 on the side. Hold the deck above the table a few feet and drop it so that the deck falls flat. Hopefully the top card will flip over?!

Trick #32
Balance a card on top of your extended index finger. Now proceed to place a dime in the center of the card keeping them perfectly balanced. Now, give the card a firm snap on the edge with your other forefinger. The card will fly from under the dime leaving the coin balanced on your finger. Takes a bit of practice.

Trick #33
Here is a trick that is good to do with an old worn deck. Have a card selected, and while you are talking to the audience and entertaining them, give the deck a big bend in half. Now have the card replaced and shuffle the cards. You will be able to find the selected card because it is the only card that does not have a bend in it!

Trick #34
A great gag to add to the show would be to have a card from an old deck initialed and returned to the deck. After stating dramatically that you can find their card. Simply look through the deck and remove the cards with their initials. After all, you didn’t say that you weren’t going to look…did you?

Trick #35
Ron’s First Trick!
One of the first self-working card tricks I can remember learning involved a row of several face up cards on a table. While your back was turned, someone was to turn one of the cards around, end-for-end. When you again faced them, you were able to name the card they turned.

The method was very, very simple. Certain cards within the deck are one-way cards. That is, the way in which they are printed will have the majority of pips at one end of the card, or pointing in one direction. Take a five of clubs for example. Three of the clubs on the card are pointing toward one end, two toward the other. If you were to have say, seven one way cards lying in a row upon your table, and someone secretly turned one of them a half turn end for end, you would be able to tell at a glance which card had been moved.

Re-printed from the April 1998
Advanced Lab lesson “The One-Way Wonder Deck”

Trick #36
Place an ace on the table and a king on top of it. Tell the crowd that the king is overweight. To make the ace feel better, you intend to put the king “under” the ace without moving or touching the ace! Now, simply pick up the king and place it under the table below the ace! It’s now under the ace….get it? (yes, it will get groans, but it is entertainment)

General Magic Tricks For Beginners

Due to the tremendous popularity of our General Card Tricks For Beginners, a new page is born! This running compendium will contain general tricks the are easy to do with household objects, and some with no objects at all! Many of these tricks are direct transcriptions of the manuscripts used by Bobby J. Gallo in his Summer Camp Programs. No card tricks are contained here.

For further tricks and routines, please consult, “The Amateur Magician’s Handbook”

Trick #1
Ask your spectator to “quickly” think of an animal that begins with the letter E.  Now, have them “quickly” think of a country that begins with the letter D.  Got it?  Finally, tell then to “quickly” think of a color for that animal.

Tell them to concentrate on their conclusion. Then state that there is one thing wrong with their final answer…….


Works 9 out of 10 times. We hope!

Magical Paper Money Mysteries!

Trick #2
The magician is able to turn a dollar bill upside-down without ever turning the bill over! All you have to do is fold the dollar bill forward and down once. Then fold it out and to the left twice. When you unfold the dollar, it will be upside-down! reverse the moves to turn it back again. It take practice but it’s worth it. (Also featured in our “Presentation Demonstration Forum” Archives by Bill Wisch with a sales presentation)

Trick #3
You can make a dollar bill shrink much smaller than another by simply holding it in your hand! This trick is very easy to do. All you need is two “new” bills. Show that they are the same size. Then crumble one the bill up in your hand. When you open it out it will be noticeably smaller than the other one.

Trick #4
The magician makes one dollar bill multiply into two! To do this, have a dollar bill folded up before you start the trick. Then have this hidden behind an additional bill. Show the audience your dollar keeping the folded bill hidden. Then fold the front dollar bill up. Then unfold both bills at the same time and it will appear that the dollars have multiplied! There is another way to do this if you are wearing a long sleeve shirt. Just have the bill hidden in the shirt folds near your elbow. Then in the process of rolling up your sleeves, steal the hidden bill and finish as described above.

Trick #5
The magician has two bills. One with a big “X” mark on it, and another with no mark on it. One bill is placed on top of the other. Then mysteriously they switch places after rolled around a pencil! Just place one dollar bill on top of the other. With the exception that 1/4 inch of the bottom bill is longer on the bottom than the other. In other words, the top bill is pushed forward slightly. Then, begin to roll the bills around a pencil starting from the bottom working your way up. When the bills are almost rolled all the way into a tube, the edge of one bill will flip over the tube. immediately unroll the tube, and the bills will have magically reversed themselves!

Trick #6
Magic Mind Crayon’s:
 Take a number of crayon’s and hand them to the spectator with the request that while your back is turned they are to hand you one of the color’s, then hide the rest. The magician turns to face the spectator asking them to concentrate on their color. All the time keeping the crayon behind his back so he never see’s it. Then the magician turns around again and hands the crayon back to the spectator. After allot of acting on the part of the magician, he names the color as if by magic!

Secret: While talking to the spectator, secretly mark your thumbnail with the chosen crayon while it is behind your back. Then when you bring your hand forward later in the trick you will spot the color! Note: Be sure not to let the audience see you thumbnail while you are handing back the crayon.

Another great way to do the trick is to cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the crayon box. Then, while your back turned, have someone take all the crayons, select one, and return it to the box. You can tell what color the crayon is by looking through the hole! Remember to hide the hole by placing your fingers over it so the audience never sees it. If they do, the trick will be ruined.

Trick #7
The Coin Under the Cup!

While this is not magic in the truest sense of the word, it is a great “Trick” that will add humor to any magic show!

Place a coin on the table, putting a cup over the coin and say that you will remove the coin without ever removing the cup. Then go under the table and knock on the underside of the table.(done strictly for showmanship purposes!) Invite a skeptic to remove the cup to see if the coin is gone. As soon as the cup is removed, take the coin and remark that you DID take the coin without removing the cup YOURSELF!

Trick #8
Magnifi”cent” Multiplying Pennies! Magic with real money

What the audience see’s:
The magician clearly shows three genuine pennies on the table and both hand unmistakably empty. He then scoops up all of the money in his hand, and after a magical wave of his hand, transforms the three pennies into “Four”! A magician’s dream come true!

The Secret:
In reality you have four coins from the start. The audience is only aware of three. Before the show starts, you stick one penny under the table just near the edge, with a small piece of tape, wax or puddy. Then when you scoop up the three pennies with your right hand, allow the left hand to go under the table and steal the extra coin. Practice this so the audience does not see you doing it. It should appear that you are merely picking up three coins. Then after a magical wave of your hands, show that the three have changed into four!

This is a great trick used by professional magicians. It take practice but it’s worth it. Never tell the secret to anyone and think of a great story to go along with your magic. Remember, your job as a magician is to entertain the audience, not just fool them.

Trick #9
The Secret Code

What the audience sees:
The performer announces that he/she can tell the name of any article in the room secretly selected by a member of the audience. The great “master of mystery” then leaves the room and upon his return, the magician names the article selected. Just like real mindreading!

Secret: A secret assistant is used. You and the assistant must learn the secret code as follows. The assistant touches different articles in the room and asks the performer, “is this the Article?” At the first performance, the article that was selected by the audience member is the one mentioned at the third question. If the stunt is repeated, it is the article touched at the sixth question, etc. A very effective mystery. The changing of the code each time prevents your audience from figuring it out.

Remember: this is a highly confidential secret! Never, ever let it fall into the hands of the general public. This is solely intended for the magic class students of Bobby J. Gallo.

never tell anyone the secret! And have your secret assistant promise to do the same.

Trick #10
Start with the following amount of coins. A dime, a nickel, and five pennies. Shake the coins so the audience can hear them and tell them that you have made a prediction. Ask them to select odds or evens. After they have done so announce that you knew beforehand that they would say that. To prove it, show them the coins. (if they say odd, you count out the fact that you are holding seven coins, if they evens, you display that you are holding twenty cents!)

The Circle & Squares Trick:
Take an index card and draw two squares, (one on each end) and a circle in the middle. Then tear the index card into three pieces so that one of the shapes is on each piece. Then have a spectator mix them up and hand one to you behind your back. Without looking you always know which piece has been handed to you!

Secret: Due to the fact that you have placed the two squares on each end, you will notice that those two pieces have one smooth side and one rough side where you tore it. The middle piece has “two” torn sides so you always know that one is the circle!

Trick #12
Follow these steps for an amazing mathematical trick!

  • Ask a spectator to secretly “think” of a number.
  • Now tell them to “double” the number in thier mind.
  • Next have them add “8”.
  • Divide the total by “2”.
  • At this point ask them to subtract the original number that they though of.
  • Dramtically reveal to the audience that the number they they are think of is “4”!!!

Trick #13
Take a light “round” drinking straw and without bending it, place it on a table. As you wave your hands over it, it rolls forward! The secret is that as you wave your hands, you secretly blow on the straw to make it move.

Trick #14
Take a regulation #2 pencil and put a small dab of rubber cement on a small spot on the side of the pencil. Do the same with a small spot on a ping-pong ball. Then proceed to balance the ping-pong ball onto the pencil by adhearing the two treated surfaces. The audience will think you are a star juggler! (even more impressive if you use a “round” sided pencil)

Trick #15
Bouncing Hanky:  A small rubber ball is sectetly sewn into one corner of a handkerchief.  When the handkerchief is thrown down on to the floor, it magically bounces back uptoward your hand.

Trick #16
Crazy Balloon:  Similar in effect to the Bouncing Hanky…but in this instance, a small rubber ball is inserted into a balloon prior to the balloon being blown up.  The balloon is then inflated and knotted shut.  When the balloon is dropped to the floor, it will bounce into the air and react in unexpected ways.

Trick #17
Ghost Ball:  A dab of wax is placed onto a thumb tip, Ball can now be balanced on top of the tip defying gravity.

Check Back For More Great And “Simple” Magic Soon!

Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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