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Self-working is not the best term but it is the one used most often to describe tricks which do not require any sleight-of-hand. The better description is be sleightless. Although these tricks are typically much easier to learn because they do not require any proficiency in moves, they still need practice in presentation, timing and spectator handling.

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Aldo Colombini

Perpetual Motion Poker Deal by Aldo ColombiniThis effect was created by Bruce Cervon who gave Aldo permission to teach and release it. It is a wonderfully simple and unique poker deal demonstration that never has to be reset, because at the end of the routine the deck is ready for a repeat - ideal for table hoppers. Uses a regular deck of cards with an additional set of aces.

Aldo also teaches a number of easy false cuts and shuffles which you can use in combination with this demonstration, but they are not necessary. With a good presentation this can be just as effective as other story routines, such as "Sam and Moe" or "Sam and the Bellhop",...

2017 / 2 / 21

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MP4 (video)

David Britland

Parallax: a topological miracle by David BritlandHow many effects do you know that use only one playing card? Well Parallax is just that.

The performer shows a playing card (any size works from jumbo card down to regular size) . A spectator holds the card face up. He grips it firmly and does not let go until the effect is over. Nevertheless the performer turns the card face down, visibly, right in front of the spectator's eyes. Yes, the card turns over whilst the spectator is holding it. It looks quite impossible. Only one card is used and the effect is performed openly and without cover of any kind. It's a topological miracle that you...

2012 / 12 / 14

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Stephen Tucker

Paradox by Stephen TuckerThis is an incredible topological curiosity with a playing card and a third!

Four odd shaped pieces, cut from Bicycle playing cards, are tabled. You explain that three of the pieces marry together to form the shape of a complete playing card. The extra piece is only supplied in case of emergencies (i.e. if you lose a piece!) The extra 'emergency' piece is shown to be the same shape as one of the other pieces and is then set aside.

Strangely, although you easily solved the 'apparently' simple jig-saw puzzle, no one else can!

Comes with a bonus routine: Bomb$hell Deluxe.

1st edition...

2008 / 6 / 7

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David Devlin

Overboard by David DevlinThis incredible routine is pretty much a card act all by itself. There are several mind-blowing phases, and it is all done with a normal deck of cards. There are absolutely no gaffs whatsoever. The deck and the card box are the only "props" used, so you can have this on your person at all times, and be completely prepared to blow 'em away!

What began as a simple single-phase effect by Aldo Colombini, David expanded and added to it with inspirations from Aldo, Paul Harris, and Max Maven.

The aspect of this routine that David likes most is the "hands-off" nature of it. The spectator does pretty much all of the work....

2014 / 11 / 9

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Paul Curry

Out of this World by Paul CurryPaul Curry invented this effect when he was just 25 years old. It is one of the most well known and probably most often performed card effects today. A classic through and through. An incredibly strong effect paired with a most simple method. You can't find much better card tricks.

The effect as Curry describes it:

The performer shuffles a pack of cards and starts to deal them into two piles - the red cards in one pile, the blacks in the other. After a few cards have been dealt into each pile the deal is stopped and the performer explains that were he to continue to deal in this manner...
2009 / 3 / 19

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David Devlin

Out Numbered by David DevlinThree boxed decks of cards are displayed to three spectators. It is explained that in the first two decks, two specific cards have been placed in two psychologically strategic spots. In the third deck, is proof that the psychological experiment is successful. This third deck is kept by the performer, but is always in full view.

The two spectators take their decks out of the boxes, and use business cards to randomly arrive at two different playing cards. The two cards from the first spectator’s deck are used to create a card. Let’s say that the two cards are the Two of Diamonds and the...

2018 / 1 / 10

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Allan Ackerman

Ose Fake Cut by Allan AckermanThis triple tabled false cut is a thing of simplistic beauty, developed by Jay Ose. Calling this a move is an overstatement.

runtime: 50s

2009 / 5 / 13

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MP4 (video)

Kevin Parker

Oddzoff by Kevin ParkerWho can predict where in the deck someone will shuffle their card, to the specifics, e.g. a certain number of cards down into the deck? Even creepier would be if it relates to something you uttered beforehand as if it made it happen.

Imagine this. You mention a scenario where they are 2 or 3 off guessing the amount of candies in a jar. Then the spectator thinks of any card, shuffles the deck they're holding, then finds that card 2 or 3 off from your written prediction just like the candy scenario. The only other outcomes would be if it's just 1 off or dead-on, but you're covered there too...

2020 / 3 / 8

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MP4 (video)

Cameron Francis

Numbered by Cameron Francis

A killer predicted card at any number effect.


A deck of cards is introduced. The magician claims that there is a prediction in the deck which he will reveal in a moment. The spectator then names any number between 1 and 52. Say the number is 34. The magician deals down to that number and out-jogs the card. As the magician points out that any number could have been named, other cards are shown with totally normal backs. The selected card is then removed from the deck and turned over. Drawn on the back of the card is the number 34.

Simple. Direct. Powerful.

This is a knockout...

2020 / 7 / 13

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MP4 (video)

Ulysses Frederick Grant

Nu Way Out Of This World by Ulysses Frederick GrantA wonderful self-working rendition of the classic "Out Of This World" effect. This was the first real card trick I saw - and I was baffled.

A borrowed deck is shuffled. A red and a black card are placed face up on the table. The performer then removes cards, one at a time from the deck. Without the spectator seeing the faces of these cards, he indicates whether he thinks a card is a red or a black. If he thinks it is a red card, the performer places it, face down, on the face up red card. If the spectator thinks it is a black card, the performer places it face down on the face up black card....

2008 / 10 / 28

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Gerard Zitta

Mission Impossible by Gerard ZittaEffect: A spectator looks at a card in a borrowed shuffled deck. You eliminate cards and the last card is their selection.

Key points:

  • 100% impromptu and improvised.
  • Any borrowed deck with any number of cards
  • Hands off
  • The cards are shuffled many times during the routine
  • No accomplice, no gimmick, no setup, no dual reality, no sleight of hands, no fishing, 100% surefire.
  • OK for stand-up, walk-around, parlor and why not stage.
  • You do not have to touch or see anything
  • You just need to know a couple of devious principles (some are new).
  • Baffling and cannot be reverse-engineered due...
2020 / 9 / 26

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Jack Yates

Miracle Mix-Up by Jack YatesIt's uncanny; you don't touch the pack; you don't see the pack. Yet you are able to reveal in a novel fashion a freely selected card. Write the simple instructions in the form of a letter to the "customer". You can do it over the phone, over the radio, on television, via SMS, Zoom, or any other communication channel. Or, if you prefer, you can do it close-up with a spectator. They do it at their leisure over and over again and still it works. The card is revealed by your own name thus gaining publicity, or you can use your own phrase or a number to reveal the card!

EFFECT: (There are different...

2020 / 6 / 15

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Dr. Bill Cushman

Mirabill by Dr. Bill CushmanNow, one of the mentalism’s greatest “self-working” effects has been simplified to the point where it really is self-working! One early reviewer referred to Mirabill as “Miraskill minus the skill.”
"He told me to bring a deck of cards and we’d play a friendly game. Never trust a man who calls a game friendly."

"I still can’t fathom how it happened. They were my cards. I shuffled. I dealt. Yet somehow he still knew ahead of time exactly how things would turn out."

"If it had happened once I might have convinced myself he just got lucky. But the second time destroyed any...

2011 / 3 / 21

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Ken de Courcy

Mentelimination Plus by Ken de Courcy

Find any card a spectator takes from a borrowed and shuffled pack.

EFFECT: The magician tells his audience he has trained his mind to work like a computer. To demonstrate its computer-like capabilities, he asks a spectator to shuffle a pack of cards then, without looking at it, remove one card and place it in his pocket. Taking back the pack, the performer runs through it quickly, then goes through it again even more quickly and pulls out one card which he places face down on the table. The spectator removes his card from his pocket and places it face-up alongside the magician's card, then...

2019 / 4 / 5

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Aldo Colombini

Match Play by Aldo ColombiniBased on an idea by Nick Trost. You will be thrilled with the splendid effect which you achieve in such an easy manner.

You show a packet of five jumbo cards cut in half. Two spectators shuffle the cards and split the packet taking some cards each. For example, one spectator has 4 cards and one has six. You place an envelope on the table and then show the cards to each spectator in turn. They look and remember the one half-card (that corresponds to the number of cards they each had in hand). Then you ask them to remove from the packet the half-card they have seen. Incredibly they match! Not...

2020 / 10 / 9

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Devin Knight

Liar by Devin Knight

Challenge repeat lie detector test

This is one of the most amazing self-working tricks you will ever see. It is so ingenious that you will fool yourself when you first perform it. Many magicians say that they can't fool their wives. Rest assured, this effect is so amazing that it will blow your wife away with no feasible solution; not only her, but most of your magic buddies as well. Read every word carefully and then ponder how such a thing is possible. This is done with a borrowed deck under challenge conditions.

Borrow a deck or use your own. Have a spectator shuffle the deck and then...

2020 / 1 / 6

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Jon Racherbaumer

Lazing: Lazy Man's Card Trick by Jon RacherbaumerThis compilation, like my others, my goal is to discover the "bits and pieces" and in this particular case, to partially answer how and why The Lazy Man's Card Trick came into being?
  • A Few Words Before You Begin
  • Introduction
    • An Inauspicious Beginning
    • Origin Story: The Seed
    • The Row of Ten Cards (S. W. Erdnase)
    • About the Supposed Operative Principle
    • Ziska's Incomprehensible Card Effect
    • Incomprehensible Divination (Hilliard)
    • Who Was Ziska?
  • A Morphing Begins
    • That Number Down (Doc Miller)
    • The Traveling Card (Jack Miller)
    • A Lazy Man Does a Card Trick (Al Koran)
    • Lazy Man's Card Trick (Harry Lorayne)
  • The Plot Resurfaces...
2020 / 2 / 15

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Biagio Fasano & Michael Daniels

Jiggery Pokery by Biagio Fasano & Michael DanielsJiggery Pokery is a self-working three-phase Texas Hold 'em routine for mentalists and card workers and develops a principle by Ben Harris which he published as Psi Poker. This ebook is fully endorsed by Ben Harris
"This is great. I am thrilled. BRILLIANT." - Ben Harris

"A great self-working audience-participation routine. I like this ebook very much." - Peter Duffie

"Interesting and clever" – Gianfranco Preverino

"I appreciated your work (particularly the first part about the Prediction effect which looks excellent) … not only and simply for the work itself but for the passion I found in it. Only with research can...

2012 / 12 / 30

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Stewart James

Jamesosophy by Stewart JamesPersonally I find any trick using a swastica not a particularly good idea today, because the swastica is loaded with meaning not necessarily appropriate for entertainment. But we should not forget that this manuscript was originally written in the 1940s.

The gem in my opinion is the last effect, "The All Clear Card Transformation."

Here are the effect descriptions as they were originally written by Stewart James.


The performer writes a prediction and anyone retains it for the time being. He now displays a card, the same size as a playing card, bearing a Swastica. The assertion...

2011 / 3 / 8

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Unknown Mentalist

Instant Infinity by Unknown MentalistBased on a classic principle, the 4 routines explained in this ebook can become reputation makers for you. Right from a rank beginner to an experienced professional, any performer can adapt these routines to his/her stature and pull off these seemingly impossible card mentalism miracles.

There is no sleight of hand and all the routines are totally hands off. The principle is completely self-working and almost impromptu. Only ordinary decks of playing cards are used - no gaffs or gimmicks are needed. The bonus is an esp routine performed with an ordinary esp deck.

No preshow. No stooges....

2016 / 12 / 16

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