ICOM Sleight Of Hand Gallery

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Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery

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Throughout I.C.O.M courses, you will be given references to sleights needed to work with various routines. This page is here to explain any moves that may need clarification by providing simple explanations and stop-action photos. If there are any sleights that you would like us to list and describe, please let us know, we will include them as soon as possible for the benefit of all I.C.O.M Online members.

Classic Sleights

By the hands of Bobby J. Gallo

Billiard Ball Sleights

Fig#1: Billiard ball in classic palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig#2: Billiard ball in finger palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig#3: Billiard ball in touch palm position. (Magician’s view)

The French Drop
The standard vanish of all small hand-held objects.

Fig#4: Ball or object is held at the tips of right hand, left hand comes over the top to shield the ball from view.

Fig#5: As left hand covers the ball, it is allowed to drop into the waiting right hand palm where is is then classic or finger palmed. Left hand pretends to come away with ball only to make it appear to vanish in thin air.

The following series of examples illustrate a complete billiard ball roll flourish from start to finish. Fig#6 through #10

End sequence.

Classic billiard ball multiplication moves.

Fig#11: Billiard ball is held between the forefinger and tin the with the second finger beneath the ball. With an upward shift, the ball is…

Fig#12: …brought up between the first and second fingers. The shell still being held between the thumb and forefinger. (audience view) The audience now see’s two balls. If the move is reversed, two balls can be made to transform into one.

Fig#13: The ball and shell held in the fingers. (Magician’s view)

Fig#14: Ball previously held between the first and second fingers in shifted up between the third and fourth fingers by bringing the third finger below the ball as in the previous move and shifting upwards.

Fig#15: Another ball is secretly introduced in to the shell and the first move repeated after first bringing the ball between the second and third fingers between the third and fourth fingers. This example shows the final result. All billiard balls fully produced (audience view)

Coin Sleights

The Palming of coins

Fig#16: “The classic palm” (Magician’s view)

Fig#17: Coin held in finger palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig:#18: Thumb Palm Position (Magician’s view)

Fig#19: Finger squeeze palm using a silver dollar sized coin (Magician’s view)

Coin production move

Coin starts in thumb palm position.

Fig:#20: Fingers are brought inwards. First and second fingers clip the coin from thumb palm position. (Magician’s view)

Fig#21: Straighten out the fingers bringing the clipped coin between the first and second outstretched fingertips

The backpalming (vanishment) of a coin.

Fig #22: Coin is first held in finger squeeze palm position. Coin remains clipped between the first and fourth fingers, while the second and third fingers are curled inwards, pivoting the coin along its axis.

Fig #23: Audience view of final result. Coin is hidden in back of hand clipped between the first and fourth fingers.

Card Sleights


Fig#24: Classic overhand shuffle

Fig#25: Riffle Shuffle

Fig#26: Bridge

Fig#27: Poker Shuffle


Fig#28: Standard two-handed fan-Position of hands prior to making the two-handed fan

Fig#29: Right hand applies pressure with fingertips or thumb to upper left hand corner of cards.

Fig#30: Cards are spread clockwise to form the two-handed fan.

Fig#31: Reverse Fan-By reversing the fan in a counter-clockwise direction when formation occurs, the entire deck appears blank.

Fig#32: One-handed fan-Hold the deck as illustrated.

Fig#33: By shifting the humb upwards at the same time the hand other four digits are shifting downwards, the fan is formed.

Fig#34: Twin one-handed fans-By duplicating the process with half of the deck in each hand, a decorative flourish results. Move shown here with a magician’s fanning deck.

Fig#35: Flourish complete.

Card Palming

Fig#36: Top card of deck stolen off the top of the deck in the process of being palmed.

Fig#37: A card in palm position. Remember, keep the hand in a natural position.

Fig#38: By using similar moves described in Fig#22, a card can be backpalmed to show the same hand seemingly empty.

One handed cuts
Charlier Pass

Fig#39: Cards are held at the tips of fingers as half of the stock is allowed to fall into the palm.

Fig#40: Forefinger is brought under the bottom stock and shifts them up as the entire hands spreads out. The result is that the bottom half clears the top and the cut is completed.

Fig#41: Edge Cut-Cards are gripped in the talon hold as shown.

Fig#42: Thumb clips off the top half of the card stock and shifts it back while the second, third, and fourth fingers squeeze inwards causing the bottom half of the deck to spring upwards making same to clear the top half of the deck. Cut is then completed.

Ribbon Spread Flourish

Fig#43: Cards placed on working surface as shown.

Fig#44: Cards are then spread from left to right in a smooth ribbon-like row with forefinger helping to keep control of spacing the cards out equally.

Fig#45: Turnover-By turning over the left hand end card, the entire ribbon spread can be made to turnover.(Hence the name!)

Other Popular Card Sleights and Flourishes

Fig#46: Springing the deck– hold the cards in right hand has shown, bending the cards inwards.

Fig#47: Cards are released on-at-a-time, into the left hand in rapid succession. Student must gain a feel for this.

Double Lift

Fig#48: Hold card as in illustration. Lift up the top two cards as one keeping them squared.
(Magician’s View)

Top Change

Fig#49: Hold cards as illustrated. As indifferent card comes down onto the deck, the intended card is out jogged and clipped between the second and third fingers and brought away. Simultaneously, the indifferent card is deposited on top of the deck. All this is done in one fluid motion.

Card Slip

Fig#50: Selected card is on the top of the deck. With the deck held end for end in the left hand, the right hand comes underneath and grasps the top card slipping it to the bottom. This move can also be reversed to bring the bottom card to the top.

Fan Control

Fig#51: Card is selected and returned to the card fan. Pressure is maintained with the forefingers and thumb to keep the card from fully re-entering the fan.

Fig#52: Fan is closed and injogged. The selected card will be jutting out approx: 1/8 in. Thumb presses down on the card and pushes it home. A break in the deck results allowing the performer to control the card as desired.

The Glide

Fig#53: Cards are held as shown. Second, third, and fourth fingers cause the bottom card to slide back thus allowing the next card to be removed. This may be repeated any number of times.

Hindu Shuffle

Fig#54: Selected card, card to be forced etc., is on the bottom of the deck. Top half of stock is removed. Hand containing the bottom half then begins to strip off small piles of cards in rapid succession giving the appearance of shuffling the cards. The bottom card(s) are never disturbed.

Thimble Sleights

Fig#55: Thumb palming a thimble.

Fig#56: Thimble production moves #1.

Fig#57: Thimble production completed #2.

Fig#58-59: Jumping thimble move

Fig#60: Thimble vanish move-Thimble is held as is Fig#56. Thimble is then brought behind the left hand where it is then thumb palmed as in Fig#54. Left hand is then brought way pretending to hold thimble. Vanish is then enacted.

Fig#61: Thimble is on right thumb to start. It is then brought into the left fist and is grasped at the same time with the right hand forefingers and is stolen back in the right hand.

Advanced Sleights

By the hands of Bill Wisch

Fig#62: The One-Handed Card Palm.
Cards are held as per illustration. Pinky shifts upper right hand corner of card slightly out and down. This causes the top card to spring up into the palm of hand.

The following series of shots explain the Bill Wisch coin clip vanish.


Fig# 64

Fig# 65: Notice the coin now being clipped under the fist…(Only half of coin is visible)

Fig# 66: Coin is grasped in finger-clip position with the middle and third fingers during the action of poking the forefinger into the left fist.

Fig# 67: Middle and third fingers are shifted back into palm along with the clipped coin.

Fig# 68: This next series show the correct way to effect a coin vanish using the classic palm. A Slydini technique would be to use the forefinger to correctly position the coin into the palm prior to vanish as shown.

Fig # 69: Coin appears to drop into left hand while it is retained in right hand classic palm. (Even though not visible in this photo, coin is in palm position)

Fig# 70: As hand appears to grab coin, fingers rub against skin creating a grasping sound to facilitate the illusion that an object is being taken.

Fig# 71: Position right before magician effects the vanish proper. Note that the left hand pretends to hold the coin that is actually classic palmed in the right hand.

Fig# 72: The first-step of the the famous “Farrow Shuffle”

Fig# 73: Preparing for the weave.

Fig# 74: Executing the weave. Notice the position of the forefinger to keep the two halves flush.

Fig# 75: A perfect “Farrow”

Notice: This material “IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN” and is intended for the personal and performance use of International Conservatory Of Magic members only.This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999,2000,2001,2001,2002,2003 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law and international treaties.

Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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