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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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Jon Racherbaumer
Mirroring Maximizing Miraskill by Jon Racherbaumer
"One of the greatest card tricks ever invented." - George Anderson

"It fooled the hell out of me!" - Ted Annemann

"Without any possible doubt, Stewart James' 'Miraskill' is one of the greatest self-working card effects to have appeared in print. Apart from its own value, it is the ideal prelude to 'Out of this World'." - Peter Warlock

Miraskill came into being in 1935 when Stewart James self-marketed it. According to him, only one copy was sold. But it leaked out and Dr. Jacob Daley demonstrated it to Ted Annemann, who eventually published it in the Jinx, which was the starting point for much thought and commentary by other clever minds. ...
★★★★ $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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Mystic Alexandre
The Devil's Game by Mystic Alexandre

Two bizarre playing card routines.

In the Devil's Game you tell the story of a guy named Billy who finds himself in hell, he simply can't believe it. Billy just doesn't belong in hell, he lived his life honestly, he was loyal, he was a good guy, did the right things, played by the rules. What the hell is he doing in hell?! So he asks one of the Devil's minions to please take him to the devil, that he urgently needs to speak to him to figure this thing out. The minion takes him to the devil's lavish chambers, and the devil, smoking a cigar, surrounded by beautiful women, quietly hears him...

★★★ $16.66
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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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Kevin Parker
Oddzoff by Kevin Parker

Who 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...

$17
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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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Rick Kercher
No Moves Magic by Rick Kercher

This is a marvelous ebook on mostly sleight-less card magic. The only skills you will need to bring to these effects are presentational. Pros will tell you the presentational aspect of a trick is more difficult to master than any sleight or move. That probably is true, however, these effects have been selected and re-worked so as to have built-in impact so that your presentation can even be as direct as simply stating exactly what you are doing. This is the most basic form of presentation, but it remains effective for those who do not have the creativity or inherent comedy to develop entertaining...

★★★★★ $19.50
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Gerard Zitta
Mission Impossible by Gerard Zitta

Effect: 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...
$19.99
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Jack Carpenter
Steve Mayhew's Angels May Shuffle But The Devil Still Deals by Jack Carpenter

Steve Mayhew has come up, with what must be the most clever application of the Gilbreath principle, or strictly speaking a principle closely related to Gilbreath's. He achieves with this idea extremely strong poker deal effects. If you are only remotely interested in poker deals, mathematical principles, or in particular the Gilbreath principle, you must read this ebook. This ebook is a reprint of his notes with the same title plus the effect "Freedom" from his lecture notes.

1st edition, 1999, Me and the Other Guy Productions.

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Introduction
  3. The Principle
  4. Getting Ready ...
★★★★★ $20
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(Benny) Ben Harris
PSI-Poker by (Benny) Ben Harris

PSI-POKER is the latest creation from Ben Harris (co-creator of 2010’s hit X-RAY).

This new effect is totally self-working, requiring no skill or gaffs. (Unless you are calling 'peeking the bottom card' a move.) The secret is ancient, but it’s never been used in this manner before. Magic’s leading historians and card experts have confirmed this claim. (To be precise, it is a new property of an old principle. Very clever indeed.)

So, what is PSI-POKER?

The effect is a multiple prediction of how a game of “Texas Hold ‘em” will play out from a shuffled deck. You hand a prediction...

★★★★ $20
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Biagio Fasano & Michael Daniels
Jiggery Pokery by Biagio Fasano & Michael Daniels

Jiggery 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...

$20
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Roberto Bombassei & Biagio Fasano
In Your Hands 1 by Roberto Bombassei & Biagio Fasano

This ebook, written by Roberto Bombassei and edited in the English version by Biagio Fasano, is a formidable collection of almost twenty card magic effects, semi-automatic and hands-off, meant to be performed remotely, on the phone, or in a video conference. Principles known to magicians alternate with others more interesting and less known by various authors, to create new effects that can pleasantly amaze your viewers.

Here are some of the tricks you'll find:

  • TOUCH CARD LOCATION - a method to find a chosen card in an inexplicable way.
  • MACH PREDICTION - another way to locate a card...
$20
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Roberto Bombassei & Biagio Fasano
In Your Hands 2 by Roberto Bombassei & Biagio Fasano

10 new card magic effects, semi-automatic and hands-off, thought to be performed at distance, remotely in a video call (like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet...) or just on phone. Some mathematical principles alternate with others less known in card magic, to create easy but amazing new effects that can pleasantly fool all your viewers.

Here are the effects, all executable at a distance:

FIVE CARDS MIRACLE - One card thought of in five, so simple and straightforward that it will fool anyone.

E-SANDWICH - Two special cards will be able to capture the card the spectator is thinking about. ...

$20
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Peter Duffie
Effortless Card Magic by Peter Duffie

Effortless is probably just as apropriate or misleading as self-working. It doesn't mean that these tricks don't require any effort on your side. You have to read the descriptions, remember the sequence of actions and perform the act - entertain, which in my book is neither self-working nor effortless. But what these terms try to convey is that you will not need to master difficult moves or finger breaking sleights to perform these effects. And they are very good effects. Often an 'effortless' trick can be performed to greater effect because the performer can pay more attention to audience managment,...

★★★★★ $24.95
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Nick Conticello
Sunken Treasury: Part 1 & 2 by Nick Conticello

Tarbell Course contributor Nick Conticello is proud to release the first installment of a book he calls "a five-part meditation on one of the most powerful principles in card magic, the sunken key card."

Sunken Treasury Parts One and Two consists of fourteen effects based on essentially new concepts, material that is unlike anything you have seen before (unless you have seen Nick perform!)

Highlights include:

THE SLEIGHT-OF-MIND ROUTINE: A routine of three effects involving selected cards and a pair of Deuces.

MENTAL POLYGRAPH: A spectator thinks of a card and loses it in the pack herself. She...

★★★★★ $25
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Nick Conticello
Sunken Treasury: Part 3 & 4 & 5 by Nick Conticello

IMAGINE:

  • Having two spectators write down two numbers, choose two cards, lose the cards in the pack and finding their cards at their numbers!
  • Letting someone cut a freely chosen card into the pack and knowing the card's location with just a glance!
  • Allowing a person to freely shuffle a pile of face up and face down cards, give you half the cards without you seeing them, and having your pile match his, despite touching your pile with only one hand for only a few seconds!
  • Losing the four Aces into the pack and finding them by cutting the pack, the last two at the same time!
  • Performing...
★★★★★ $25
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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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Roberto Giobbi
Card College Lighter by Roberto Giobbi

Roberto Giobbi's newest survey of sleightless card magic, Card College Lighter, gives the famous Giobbi treatment to 21 baffling card tricks by some of the craft's greatest masters, including Vernon, Annemann, Leech, Maven, Fulves, Hummer, Vollmer and Krenzel. These tricks do not require sleights, but they all show the cunning perspective of a professional performer, guaranteeing astonishing and entertaining results.

Following in the footsteps of his Card College Light, Roberto Giobbi teaches the secrets of professional-caliber card magic, providing insights into the presentation, psychology and routining that make these simple tricks into...

★★★★★ $26
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Roberto Giobbi
Card College Lightest by Roberto Giobbi

Card College Lightest is the final volume of Roberto Giobbi's acclaimed 'Light' trilogy. In it are taught 18 thoroughly astonishing tricks of professional quality, complete with performing psychology, presentations, valuable tips and insights, all of which contribute to making these sleightless effects into near miracles.

The tricks Giobbi has selected this time range from time-tested classics to little-known wonders by masters of the craft, including Larry Becker, Henry Christ, Aldo Colombini, Paul Curry, Alex Elmsley, Karl Fulves, Martin Gardner, Stewart James, Howard Adams, Richard Vollmer and more.

Also explained are simple methods for achieving false shuffles,...

★★★★★ $26
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Nick Conticello
Potpourri Bundle by Nick Conticello

A collection of sleightless often mathematically based tricks and routines bundling three of Nick Conticello's ebooks.

$30
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Bob Farmer
The Bammo Tarodiction Toolbox by Bob Farmer

A new method to quickly and secretly arrange cards from a small pack all the way to a full deck. No math needed unless you want to understand why it works.

Within magic, no mind approaches Bob Farmer's. Outside magic, Machiavelli came close. The evidence is presented in "The Bammo Tarodiction Toolbox." - Stephen Minch

Bob Farmer's Bammo Tarodiction Toolbox is both a great trick and a genuinely new method for secretly arranging cards quickly, accurately, and right in front of the spectators' noses. - Matthew Field

About what you'd expect from the guy who invented that stupid little hand trick. -...

★★★★★ $30
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Glenn G. Gravatt
Encyclopedia of Self-Working Card Tricks by Glenn G. Gravatt

This is a marvelous compilation of mostly easy and sleightless, or as it is usually called self-working, card tricks. Some effects do require moves such as palming, and a good false shuffle and false cut will go a long way to make many otherwise sleightless effects much stronger. But for the most part no sleights are necessary to perform the vast majority of effects taught.

From the Introduction:

It is to be hoped that the reader will not have to go far in this book before he realizes and appreciates that this is not just another book, collection, or compilation of card tricks. It is expected...

★★★★★ $39.50
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Roberto Giobbi
Card College Light Trilogy by Roberto Giobbi

The best series on self-working/sleight-less card magic now as a price reduced bundle. It is probably the most useful card series of all time, because it is not only ideal for the beginner to start learning and performing card magic, but also a wonderful series for professionals who want to renew their focus on strong and effective card routines, or for the busy professional who wants to add a couple of strong card effects without having to practice for months.

★★★★★ $62
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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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