From Penn & Teller's MasterClass

Card Magic

Learn the fundamental moves in card magic that can unlock a world of tricks at your fingertips.

Topics include: Demonstrating a "Force Trick:" The Whispering Queen • How to Force a Card: "The Glide" • Knowing a Card Location: The "Key Card" • The Whispering Queen • Card to Impossible Location • The Circus Card Trick: Introducing the Key Card Principle


Learn the fundamental moves in card magic that can unlock a world of tricks at your fingertips.

Topics include: Demonstrating a "Force Trick:" The Whispering Queen • How to Force a Card: "The Glide" • Knowing a Card Location: The "Key Card" • The Whispering Queen • Card to Impossible Location • The Circus Card Trick: Introducing the Key Card Principle

Penn & Teller

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[MUSIC PLAYING] - Card tricks. Many magicians, their whole careers-- nothing but card tricks. Their whole act is nothing but this. They'll do nothing but card tricks. But you know, to start card tricks you need to know how to know what cards someone's selected. Lot of card tricks come down to that. And that is called the card force-- making someone think they had a free choice while actually knowing what card they're going to pick. That's called a card force. We've got a couple of them we're going to teach you. The other way is to have someone pick a card and then be able to find what that card is. That's called a card location. We'll teach you one of those, too. And we're going to be joined by Johnny Thompson, one of the greatest magicians and greatest card people in the world. The basics of all card magic, coming up right now. - What I'd like to do-- this is a real pick a card trick. So the whole audience can see it. While I turn my back, would you remove one card out of the deck so that the audience and the camera can see it while my back is turned. Have you done that? DAVID: Mm-hmm. - David, hold on to the card as I gather these up. May I have the card face down. Place it on top of the deck. There are many ways to mix cards. For instance, poker players shuffle cards like this. Sometimes they cut them. Sometimes they don't. If you really want to mix them, you take half the deck and turn it face up, the other half face down. That half is face down. That half is face up. I don't know where your card lies at this particular point. But watch carefully. When you shuffle cards like this, you can absolutely see that they're being mixed. Can you see that? Like so. Now look it. Some of the cards are face up. Some are face down. Some are face up. In general, that was your last card. In general, they're completely mixed. Can you see that? Back to back, face to face. In general, completely mixed. Watch carefully. Don't take your eyes off the cards. Put your hand on top. What was the name of your card for the first time, David? - Nine of clubs. - Did you see or feel anything happen when I did that? - [INAUDIBLE] - That's cause I didn't do it yet. How about now? I did it. You missed it. Remember the cards are face up and face down and back to back and face to face? And I-- take your hand away. When I spread these out, they've all straightened out except for one card-- your card, the nine of clubs. [APPLAUSE] Thank you very much. - There's more magic in cards than anything else. And the possibilities with cards are endless. We have with us Johnny Thompson. He's been working with us over 20 years. Considered by everybody to be the greatest magician alive. He's going to show us a little bit of magic. Then we're going to show you just some basic principles of card magic. And the great thing about learning basic principles of card magic is it really is-- and this is d...

Open your mind with magic

With more than 40 years performing together, Penn & Teller have sold out shows around the world, earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and created the longest-running headline act in Las Vegas. Now the legendary magicians are taking you behind the curtain. Learn fundamental magic tricks and the psychological tools that create amazement, at home or on stage. Expand your perception of the possible.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This particular class- I wish it would have been longer :)

This class to do with magic tricks, has shown me that it takes talent to keep the audience interested.

Had fun! Have the ability to quickly PAUSE the lessons between each lesson.

I found it great that beside the easy-to-use tricks I could learn also the mindset and psychology of magic. You're great Penn and Teller. Thank You for the course


Mario R.

I would like to see a follow up video teaching more sleight of hand. I’ve wanted to be a magician my whole life and, unfortunately, I suck at sleight of hand and don’t even know where to start


I enjoyed the lesson. It would have been nice when teaching the glide, how to shuffle to keep the chosen card at the bottom to begin with. On part 2 of the glide, a method to get the chosen card to the bottom of the deck so that when dealing off the cards the person will stop at the selected card. Sometimes there are little steps missing to complete a trick.

Polina R.

The style of the instructors (Johnny is especially brilliant in this lesson!!) is just... magical! The wit, the playfulness, the humanity, the kindness, the wisdom, the philosophy with which they view magic and human life. Amazing, thank you from the bottom of my heart for this experience!

A fellow student

Gentlemen, this lesson is wonderful. We will Miss Johnny but he is now part of the History.


PENN AND TELLER CONTEST! Win two tickets to see P&T live in Las Vegas. Enter a video of you performing a Penn and Teller-inspired magic trick into the Community:

A fellow student

My question is, how do you cope with someone who says "The pack I pointed to is the one I want, I chose that one, why did you dismiss it?" How do you handle somebody who is persistent about that? Basically, as a general overall question, how do you cope with someone trying to ruin a trick?

Ben D.

OK. I feel like I've missed something in the mechanics of this here. You pick the key card. The guy cuts the deck. If he cuts the deck right between the key card and the chosen card, why isn't that a problem. Given that most people are going to pick and cut from near the center of the deck, it seems like there's going to be a 1 in 25 chance of the trick being ruined. Which is small but still significant. What am I missing here?

A fellow student

I loved, that on the last demo, the card chosen was the three of clubs :) I wonder if it was an accident or an in-joke :D

Margaret M.

The workbook has a good suggestion on how to camouflage your peek for the key card trick.


In the "Key card" example the gentleman on the left says "unless they cut it perfectly" and they say "No, they can cut it anywhere. It doesn't matter where you cut". On my first attempt at this they cut it perfectly and it put their card on the very top of the deck and the key card on the very bottom. The gentleman in the grey was right. This can happen although unlikely. Beware of this.