Why Do Magicians Over Prove Everything?

There are a lot of things wrong with magic when it comes to performing. Of course, one might argue that what is “wrong” for one person can be “right” for another, however we cannot ignore certain things if we want to better our magic performances and grow as a whole.

One thing that I feel is lacking is the ability for magicians to let what they are doing speak for itself. In many cases magicians are over proving everything. “Here is an ordinary deck of cards”, “Look all the cards are different, right?”, These are not trick magic cards, there are no marking on them, no rough and smooth” You might laugh at that last one, but I’ve heard it. My question is why do we say these things? I think part of the reason is that we feel the spectator knows too much about magic. We think they automatically assume we use trick decks. We think that they might think all the cards are the same. To combat this, we feel we need to eliminate their misconceptions from the start but I think saying these type of things in your patter is a terrible way of doing that. By saying “All the cards are different” lets the spectator know that some magicians might use a deck that has all the same cards. They might never have thought of that, but now they do. Giving them all these possibilities of trickery only makes what you’re about to do less magical.

So, how do we eliminate their misconceptions while still keeping the integrity of our patter intact? One way I like to do this is by taking the cards out of the pack and handing them straight to the spectator. I don’t say anything besides “here, a deck of cards - you’re familiar with a deck of cards, yes?” Putting the deck of cards in their hands from the very beginning subconsciously addresses any concerns in their mind that this might not be a normal deck because why would you give them the deck otherwise? Have you ever pulled out your cards and started an effect and the spectator asks “Can I see the cards?, or “can I shuffle? I don’t trust you” It happens. We need to start with a clean slate and make sure there is no doubt in the spectators mind that all is fair so to speak. We don’t want any doubt at the start of our performance. Give them the deck right away. I like to add “give them a mix if you want” while I give my opening lines of the effect, whatever they might be. I often also like to spread the cards face up on the table and say “you know there are 52 cards in a deck, yes? There are also 4 suits - clubs, hearts, spades, diamonds” while I gesture to a few cards throughout the face up deck. This shows the spectators that all the cards are different, it’s a full deck, and that there is nothing hidden between the cards. Don’t know why people would think that but hey, spectators can be weird huh?

So now what have we done? We’ve taken out the cards from the box, handed them directly to a spectator and given them the opportunity to be hands on with the deck. You wouldn’t do that if it was some sort of trick deck. We’ve asked them to shuffle if they want. This eliminates the possibility of the cards being in any certain order and stops them from asking to shuffle. We then have spread the cards face up on the table while explaining some of the properties of a deck of cards for their convenience, in case they didn’t know. This not only gives them some important details for the upcoming effect like knowing its called “clubs and not “clovers” and at the same time show the cards are all there, all different and ultimately proving this is a normal deck of cards without having to say it. I think this is a much better method to starting any effect without sounding like every other magician of whom we cringe watching. Try it out!