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Self-Working or Sleightless

Self-working is not the best term but it is the one used most often to describe tricks that do not require any sleight-of-hand. The better description is 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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Eddie Joseph
15 Exciting Minutes with a Borrowed Deck by Eddie Joseph

From the introduction:

The routine comprises five different effects, each able to stand out on its own merit. When combined, you will confuse the sharpest mind, the logical reason being that you appear to be doing the same thing over and over again, but you vary your secret procedure with each repetition.

All sleights have been eliminated and even if one had not done a single card trick before, he will still be able to bewilder and earn the reputation of a highly skilled card worker. The tricks are so designed that at no stage do you appear to be taking any active part — your spectators...

★★★ $7
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Cameron Francis
18: A Powerhouse Prediction Effect by Cameron Francis

A beautiful piece of mentalism! Completely self working! Completely practical! Completely mind-blowing!

Effect:

A deck of cards is removed from its case and shuffled. The magician spreads the deck face up and asks a spectator to touch any card. All of the cards are different and this is truly a free choice. Let's say the spectator touches the Five of Diamonds. This card is placed face up on the table. The magician then states that the spectator is to use the value of his selection to find another card. The deck is turned face down and the spectator is asked to deal 5 cards off the top of the...

★★★★★ $10
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Percy Abbott
49 Easy To Do Card Tricks by Percy Abbott

From the introduction:

Included in the 49 effects are some that are new and some that have been favorites of professional Magicians for years, but all of them have been tested on their merits as entertaining and mystifying tricks.

All of these tricks can be performed with any deck of playing cards, with little or no preparation beforehand, and in compiling them, it has been the aim to include only such tricks as may be performed simply with a pack of playing cards, without the necessity of any extra paraphernalia.

These tricks are easy to do, and may be performed once you have the directions...

★★★★ $8
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Frank La Fontaine
50 New Card Secrets by Frank La Fontaine

50 simple card tricks that anyone can do with any deck of playing cards, without sleight-of-hand.

From the Introduction:

The idea that long practice and exceptional skill are necessary in the performance of card tricks is erroneous. Some of the cleverest and most bewildering tricks are made possible by the use of subtle principles of unique methods that are easily learned, yet which are capable of deceiving the keenest and most intelligent spectator.

Such are the methods explained in this booklet. These tricks have been devised by experienced performers of card tricks, men who understand...

★★★★★ $9.50
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Rufus Steele
50 Tricks You Can Do You Will Do Easy To Do by Rufus Steele

This ebook is a compilation of three booklets Rufus Steele released:

  • Card Tricks You Will Do
  • Card Tricks You Can Do
  • Card Tricks Easy to Do
It is a collection of card tricks that require no sleight-of-hand, or what is often called self-working card tricks. (Check out the other Rufus Steele ebooks for a lot more self-working tricks.)

You will encounter contributions from people like Bert Allerton, Arthur Buckley, Paul Rosini, Ed Marlo, Dai Vernon, Dorny, Harry Blackstone and many more.

  • Introduction
  • Community Do As I Do
  • A "Chic" Trick
  • Colors Will Tell
  • Mix - Cut And Look
  • Location From New Deck
  • Your Number - Your Card
  • This Is Your Card
  • Money...
★★★★★ $7
more than one
type to choose
from

PDF

softcover

David Gemmell
51 for Two by David Gemmell

This is David Gemmell's solution to the classic Paul Curry/Stewart James card problem "51 Faces North".

History of the card problem:

  • Paul Curry conceived the idea for this effect sometime in the 1940's. At the time he had no workable method for achieving the effect.
  • Ed Marlo got wind of this sometime in 1949 and published a method in the Cardician 1953.
  • Stewart James and Howard Lyons corresponded on this subject in 1953.
  • Stewart James contributed several methods to Ibidem in the early years of its run. This is where Stewart James first laid down the (almost) impossible conditions for the effect dubbing his idea as "51 Faces North".
  • Jon Racherbaumer launched the Hierophant...
$12
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Rufus Steele
52 Amazing Card Tricks by Rufus Steele

This ebook is a compilation of self-working card tricks with contributions by legends like Paul Rosini, Eddie Joseph, Edward Marlo, Martin Gardner, Ken Krenzel, Al Baker, Carmen Da Mico, H. Adrian Smith, Sid Lorraine, John Scarne, Dai Vernon, Audley Walsh and of course Rufus Steele.

  • Contents
  • Introduction
  • Psychic Spell
  • "Let's See What You've Done"
  • Mystic Fifteen
  • Hiding The Principle
  • Double Thought
  • Five Nine King
  • A Bridge Trick
  • Under The Table Coincidence
  • Mental Discernment Improved
  • The Reluctant Card
  • Betting On A Sure Thing
  • The Ten Of Diamonds
  • Trick Of The Year
  • Double Deuce
  • A Set Of Surprises
  • Rapid Revelation
  • Two Souls With But A Single Thought
  • The Missing Card
  • A Beginner's...
★★★★ $7
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Franz (Ronnay) Rosensteiner
9-2-1 Prediction by Franz (Ronnay) Rosensteiner

A very easy to do prediction effect with a surprising ending.

The performer introduces ten cards and deals them into a face-down packet to prove it. He hands the packet to a spectator and asks him to think of any number between one and ten. The cards are then cut by the spectator and shuffled. Then they are laid out in a face-down line. The performer asks the spectator to, for the first time, announce the number he thought of, then counts along the line to that number and pushes out the card lying at that position. (Note that this is a real count that can be done from the spectator - absolutely...

★★★★ $4
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Michel Cayrol & Jean-Marie Beckers
A Bumblebee's Flight by Michel Cayrol & Jean-Marie Beckers

This is an important improvement of the classic Kruskal principle. Think about this: The spectator can shuffle the deck and you still know exactly where the count will end!

This ebook contains a new principle on Kruskal-counting and illustrates the principle with two effects. The first effect A Bumblebee’s Flight will lead the spectator’s dealing sequence invariably to a known/predicted card, even after a shuffle by the spectator. A version for cards taken out of a sealed box and shuffled twice by spectators is also provided. Performance and explanation videos by Tomas Blomberg are linked...

★★★★★ $10
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Roberto Giobbi
A Gambler's Dream by Roberto Giobbi

This is pure Giobbi, a great card routine including Poker, Stud Poker, BlackJack, and Bridge demonstrations where the gambler always wins. However, the real value are the lessons Giobbi teaches you in terms of constructing a routine, timing and psychology. He explains why he says a certain word or sentence at that particular time and not earlier or later and why not anything different. You get the reason and thus you can apply these lessons to many other effects. These insights transcend the routine at hand and will make you a much better, more effective and more knowledgeable magician.

As...

★★★★ $9
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Michael Maxwell
A New Game by Michael Maxwell

This trick was developed by Allan and Debbie Ackerman. Debbie is Allan's daughter.

A spectator chooses a card and the value of the card decides how many hands are dealt in this game. Let's say the spectator chooses the 3 of Hearts. A random number of cards is taken from the deck and then dealt into 3 hands. Then the performer announces that the spectator should pick one pile. If that pile does not have a 3 on its top the spectator wins, otherwise the magician wins. Of course, the odds are vastly in favor of the spectator. Nevertheless, the top cards on all three piles turn out to be 3s and as...

$6
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MP4 (video)

Michael Maxwell
A Real Prediction by Michael Maxwell

This effect was created by Dai Vernon and was published in Rufus Steele's book The Last Word on Cards.

The deck is shuffled by a spectator. The magician removes a prediction card from the deck and places it face down on the table. The spectator creates two piles. The top card of one is turned face up. The value of that card is used to count to a card in the other pile. The card counted to is the mate of the prediction.

runtime 4min 29s

★★★★★ $4
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MP4 (video)

Mystic Alexandre
A Sweet and Simple Swindle by Mystic Alexandre

Mr. T is an underground gambler, the man who wrote the Pro Guide to the Lucky Log, and the exclusive manual for "Bingo Bango". Now he brings you A Sweet and Simple Swindle. Two of them actually, because the PDF includes an additional bonus swindle with playing cards.

Both dead easy to do, no sleight of hand, no complicated tactics, just a sweet advantage to you, where the mark will believe they have the better of you all along. No marked cards or anything of the sort, both of these use a regular deck of playing cards that can be borrowed, so easy a kid could take advantage of this ... if...

$8.88
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PDF

Jack Yates
Above Suspicion by Jack Yates

A self-working principle which determined a person's thoughts . . . Listen to this bewildering effect. A pack of cards is shuffled and a spectator merely thinks of a card. The pack is then dealt once, twice and finally a third time into two piles. Before completing the last dealing the spectator may, if he so wishes, shuffle both halves. Despite all this, when the spectator deals through the pack he finds there are only 51 cards; the thought-of card has vanished! The performer produces the card from his pocket before the spectator names his chosen card. An astounding climax which completely...

★★★★★ $6
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Stephen Tucker
ACAAN by Stephen Tucker

Any Card At Any Number - You table a cased deck, then remove a small, thin note-pad from your shirt pocket and ask one person to name any card. Let's assume he says, "The Queen of Spades." You record this on the pad. You next ask a second person to name any number from 1 to 52. Let's assume this person says, "22". You record this too, then pick up the cased deck. You remove the cards and show that they are all different. You hand the deck to one of them, and ask that he deals down to the 22nd card... it's the Queen of Spades!

If you would like to inject a little comedy, once the card and...

★★★★★ $17
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Raphaël Czaja
Accans Family by Raphaël Czaja

EFFECT: A spectator shuffles a packet of number cards as much as he wants and deals through it to create a random number. Then, he deals through a blue-backed deck of playing cards (in which the magician put a red-backed prediction) and stops at his number. Let's say his card is the 7 of Clubs. Unbelievably, the red-backed prediction is the 7 of Clubs!

NB: The deck is always dealt face-up. Self-working. Happens in the hands of the spectator. Examinable. Quick reset. No gaff. Uses one regular deck and one red-backed card only. Includes a handling to perform it anytime during your act with...

★★★★★ $7.95
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Mystic Alexandre
Aeon Reading by Mystic Alexandre

The Aeon Reading is a mysterious Tarot card reading/experiment that will leave your participant wondering about the mystical powers of the Tarot. It will also leave them with an important message. If you perform at all with Tarot cards, you’ll surely be using this routine which has been in Alexandre's repertoire for years.

Written for the Thoth tarot deck (where the Aeon card is the 20th card) it can be automatically adapted to any tarot deck you might already own. This is based on a self working principle - no sleight of hand required.

1st edition 2005; 3 pages.

★★★★★ $3
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Joseph B.
Against All Odds by Joseph B.

This is an effect that Joseph is very proud of. When this was released it fooled top card magicians because of its diabolical method. There really seems to be no explanation. The magician is able to find the card chosen by the spectator under extremely tight conditions. The performer always looks away and the deck will be completely shuffled by the spectator. All this with a normal deck of cards. Joseph has cleverly combined two known methods to create a strong routine.

  • A normal deck
  • No gimmick
  • No marked cards
  • No peek

video 23:43 s

$9
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MP4 (video)

Nick Conticello
An Impromptu Mental Card Routine by Nick Conticello

Tarbell Course contributor Nick Conticello follows his debut The Shadow Placement with three more sensational new effects requiring only an ordinary deck of 52 cards and a clear head to perform. One sleight is required; we include The Widdershins Cut, an effective and simple false cut.

Contents include:

1. THOUGHT CAUGHT: An unprepared deck is shuffled by the performer and cut by the spectator. Two piles of cards are dealt out. The spectator thinks of a card in one of the piles and buries the selection in the deck himself. The performer scans the cards quickly, and removes one card, which turns out to be the selection. No...

★★★ $15
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Renzo Grosso
Australian Trip by Renzo Grosso

An unexplored "classic": this has been for me, for many years, the "Australian shuffle". I learned it as a young man from Aldo Colombini, who often included it in his impromptu effects; later I studied John Scarne (and his wonderful idea in Phone Miracle, which we will comment on together later) and Max Maven.

Then I read Nick Conticello, and a new world opened up: I discovered that all the greats of card magic have tried their hand at the Australian deal; Nick, however, made me wonder a bit more: today I don't think there is more space to invent, but a lot to develop new routines, putting together various principles.

In my...

$15
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Ken de Courcy
Auto-Find by Ken de Courcy

Based on a Bob Hummer and Karl Fulves principle. A spectator is handed seven playing-cards. He shuffles them, then places one of them aside face-down without looking at it. Now squares of cardboard are shown with cut-out windows. Spectator follows the magician's instructions and, at the end, looking through the cut-out windows in the cards, an index of a card appears. The chosen card is turned over and has been correctly revealed.

You will have to make up the squares of cardboard for this. The trick itself is self-working, the real work having been put into the evolution of the effect, but they are useful for...

★★★★★ $4
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Devin Knight
Auto-Spell Deck by Devin Knight

A spectator freely selects a card (no force) the card is pushed into the center of the deck. The magician gives the deck one cut and immediately spells to the card. A No Memory Self-Working Miracle.

Effect: The performer shows a deck of cards to be well mixed and hands the deck to a participant to cut as many times as he likes. The performer tells the participant to stop cutting whenever he wants and that the top card of the deck will be his selected card. The performer asks the participant to look at the top card of the deck while he looks away. The participant is then instructed to take...

★★★★ $9
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Ulysses Frederick Grant
Automat Card Routine by Ulysses Frederick Grant

The following is a complete card routine created by U.F. Grant a long, long time ago. You will find it mysterious, entertaining and practically unknown by modern generations.

EFFECT: A series of bewildering effects with a deck of cards shuffled by spectators.

1. A deck of cards is shuffled by spectators. A card is chosen and returned to the deck. Performer puts cards in trouser pocket and spells the name of the chosen card. The last card results to be the chosen one.

2. A spectator now chooses another card. The deck is cut. Tell the spectators that you have X-ray eyes and can see...

★★★★ $3
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Joseph B.
Automated ACAAN by Joseph B.

A new strategy to perform the legendary ACAAN effect. A fascinating principle that will allow you to perform a surprising effect without sleight of hand, completely self-working. A deck of cards with some numbers written on the back. One spectator chooses any card, another spectator chooses any number! Joseph B has received excellent feedback from the magic community for this effect.

  • You have all the material at home to construct the deck
  • Easy to reset (5 seconds reset)
  • No gimmick
  • No memory work (no memorized deck)
  • No rough and smooth
  • No sticky stuff

1st edition 2021, video...

★★★★★ $8
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Nick Conticello
Automatic Placements by Nick Conticello

Tarbell Course contributor Nick Conticello is back with his biggest and best book yet, a series of refreshingly new takes on that venerable standby of mathematical card magic, the Automatic Placement. Nick introduces new variations of the principle with the Inverted Placement and the Symmetric Placement. No sleight of hand is required for ANY of these effects! Contents include:

ABC/123: Alex Elmsley's Spell by the Numbers without the Faro shuffle.

NO LOOKING ORACLE: Without seeing the face of a single card, the performer locates one mental selection and names another.

SELF-PROMOTION:...

★★★★★ $19.50
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David Devlin
B'tween by David Devlin

David Devlin has floored everyone he has shown this incredible effect. Even members of his family were nailed. This is an amazing piece of mental magic. Based on an array of different effects and principles, this is certain to go into your working repertoire. It is self-working and can even be performed impromptu (at least the majority of the effect can be performed impromptu)!

The effect is this: A deck is shuffled, and two predictions are made on the backs of two business cards. One is a number and the other is the name of a playing card. Two spectators deal cards in turn until they each...

★★★★★ $10
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Jon Racherbaumer
Big Easy Card Cunning by Jon Racherbaumer

These are all self-working or very easy to perform effects.

One item that I would like to highlight is the Klutz Force, because it is on the same skill level as the popular Criss-Cross force, which is frequently used in self-working effects. With the Klutz Force you have an alternative that has a different feel and procedure.

  • Simplex Physical & Mental
  • Telephenomenal
  • 21 And Then Some
  • Guesstimation City
  • Marked Calculation
  • What Is the Question?
  • Easy Prefiguration
  • Klutzy Forces
  • Hobson Chooses Again
  • Punch-Line Division
  • Simple Sync
  • Is Your Pants On Fire?
  • Made In the Shade
  • No-Clue ...
★★★★★ $15
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Gaetan Bloom & Chris Wasshuber
Bloom Miracle Poker Machine by Gaetan Bloom & Chris Wasshuber

This is a completely new and improved implementation of the famous Al Stanger Miracle Poker Machine. It is based on Gaetan Bloom's superior routine for this miracle. The first phase of the Bloom routine is now customizable and requires zero mental work - an improvement to an already astonishingly clean and clever and easy to perform routine.

Here is a brief outline of the effect: A spectator selects 5 cards from a regular deck of cards. (The deck is not gimmicked in any way and can be a borrowed one.) Four of these cards are entered by the spectator into the Miracle Poker Machine. A fifth...

$249
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gadget & PDF

Dave Forrest
Boxflip by Dave Forrest

'Card to Box' meets 'Deck to Pocket' in this insanely visual transpostion.

The Effect: You remove the deck from its case and have a spectator freely choose any card - no force - and sign it across the face. You then place the card case into your pocket before losing the signed card back into the centre of the deck. With a snap of your fingers you claim that you have made the card jump to your pocket and appear inside the card case. Your audience doesn't believe you. But, with a totally empty hand you reach into your pocket and produce...the entire deck. The spectator turns his attention back...

★★★★★ $7.72
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MP4 (video)

David Devlin
Brain Scam by David Devlin

Move over, "Three Card Monte"! There is a new BAD ASS kid in town. His name is, "Brain Scam", and He takes no prisoners!

David Devlin has created a fool-proof scam that seems so fair and so honest; suckers cannot wait to plunk down their cash and play the game. The odds of the suckers winning the game seem so much in their favor, and so against the performer that it looks like super easy money for them. The reality, however, is that the suckers cannot win. Not ever. No matter what. It will not happen!

Here is the hustle:

Three cards are given to a spectator. They are a Jack of Clubs,...

★★★★★ $10
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Roberto Giobbi
Calling the Cards by Roberto Giobbi

Live from the European Close-up Magic Symposium 2012. This is a wonderful sleight-less classic card routine that Giobbi has polished to a fine sheen with added psychological subtleties and a logical and meaningful presentation.

A brand new deck of cards, still wrapped in cellophane and sealed, is shuffled by different spectators. 10 cards are selected by a spectator. Roberto then divines each card without touching anything. The last card is revealed with a prediction and a duplicate of the last card is also found in the prediction envelope.

Performance duration: 9 minutes
Explanation...

★★★★★ $9.95
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MP4 (video)

Aldo Colombini
Can You Hear Me Now? by Aldo Colombini

Ten amazing effects with cards that you can do over the phone. Several of the effects are so strong that you can even do them for live audiences.

Contents and contributors:

  • PHONE ZONE (Peter Duffie)
  • TELEMENTAL (Bob King)
  • HOCUS POCUS (Eddie Joseph)
  • LINEAR BLACKJACK (Karl Fulves)
  • TWO CARDS (Stewart Judah)
  • LIE DETECTOR (Al Thatcher)
  • BREAKING POINT (Aldo Colombini)
  • TAMAX (Dougie Gibbard)
  • WIZARD (Peter Duffie)
  • HALF AS GREAT (Max Maven)
You, of course, do not touch the cards, yet you will amaze your friends.

1st edition 2009

★★★★ $10
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MP4 (video)

Paul Gordon
Carbon Footprints by Paul Gordon

It is a long time since Simon Aronson rocked the magic world with "Shuffle-Bored". Variations by Harry Lorayne "Equaliser", Aldo Colombini "Pre-Deck-Ability", Ali Bongo, John Bannon "Wait Until Dark" followed.

At first glance, Carbon Footprints may seem the same as some the above-mentioned concepts. It isn't! And, to make sure - Paul checked with Simon Aronson himself. He agreed.

With contributions by Joe Rindfleisch and Jon Racherbaumer.

1st edition 2008, 38 pages.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Basic Concept (Gordon)
  3. A Very Royal Flush (Gordon)
  4. Impromptu Startler (Gordon)
  5. Impromptu Startler II (Gordon)
  6. Impromptu Startler With Selection...
★★★★★ $10
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Roberto Giobbi
Card College Light by Roberto Giobbi

This is by far the best ebook on self-working card tricks. (For the second volume in this series see Card College Lighter. For the third volume see Card College Lightest.)

From the author of Card College, the world's most acclaimed course on sleight-of-hand card magic, comes Card College Light, Roberto Giobbi's first text focused entirely on professional caliber card tricks requiring no manipulative skill.

For whom is this ebook intended? It is for beginners, of course - but by no means in total. This ebook is intended for everyone who has always wanted to perform card tricks, but who didn't have the time necessary to learn complex routines,...

★★★★★ $26
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