The SECRET To Learning Sleight of Hand!!
What’s up guys, my name is Chris Ramsey and today I’m going to give you the video uh. No one asked for all right before we get into this video. I do want to say this is probably not the most popular video on my channel. However, I do believe that this is one of the most valuable, so if you’re interested in practicing card magic or even just dabbling with a deck of cards, to pass the time, I would highly recommend you stick around leave a like subscribe. So here are my tips and tricks on how to practice sleight of hand magic.
So first things first goes without saying: grab yourself a deck of cards. Now I prefer United States playing card company. For me, they are the best cards, I’ve just gotten used to them and also they’re the cards that I print so kind of biased first.shop. If you want to check out my playing cards, but any deck of cards with a Paper Stock will do the reason I don’t use plastic cards is because they’re not soft enough, they don’t feel good, also poker size.
That probably goes without saying, but I’m sure some of you are playing with Bridge cards out. There grab yourself a standard, normal bicycle deck of cards. Ah, here we go the wall of cards. These are pretty much all my playing cards all right, so we’re gon na grab a deck of cards. Now normally I would use my deck, but for the sake of today’s video, maybe let’s try using a different deck.
Actually, some friends of mine – these are all decks. I picked up at the at the latest card con by the way, if you haven’t checked that video out go watch it. This is a 200 year old deck of cards. By the way, let me know in the comments if you want to see a deck review. Pumpkin spice playing cards by organic playing card company shout out to Cameron who hooked me up with these over at cardcon super nice dude and dropped some dope products.
So these cards uh, is what we’re going to be using. Also card mats are not essential, but if you’re practicing any type of table work, I highly recommend them. I’M going to leave a link in the description where you can check some out by Dan and Dave. I don’t believe they do these anymore. These are like tiny little mats, they’re like leather on the bottom, very, very high quality.
So you got all these different colors, but we have like a jumbo sized one over at my desk, so we’re gon na use that one actually before we go any further. I want to talk to you about this. Today’S sponsor this fidget is brought to you by established titles. That’S pretty good. Have you ever wanted a plot, a land in Scotland?
Have you ever wanted to be called a lord or a lady? Well, here’s your opportunity. I can’t keep doing this. I always want Scottish people to try and say purple Burglar Alarm, funniest thing in the world just Scottish out there try it in case. You didn’t understand that this video video is brought to you by established titles.
This is an actual Proclamation that I have a plot of land in Scotland. You might be saying yourself. Why would I want one of these? Well? First of all, it’s cool get to officially have the title, Lord or lady, on your plane ticket on your dating app profile, even on your credit card, and it’s also a fun and novel way to preserve the natural Woodlands of Scotland, while simultaneously helping Global reforestation efforts.
Because you see they actually plant one tree for every order upon purchasing this, you get one square foot of land in edelston Scotland, and not to mention you get this cool certificate which makes it 100 official. This is an actual thing. That’S how Lords laugh now. That’S how I laugh now, what does the Lord sound like when it gets kicked in the shin? Oh, oh and a boot, the first 200 people to purchase a title pack using the link in my description will have their plot of land next to mine, or at least within a few minutes, walking distance.
And if, if there are enough of us, we could effectively build our own kingdom, I shall call it scotlandville, I don’t know Ramsay City Ram City and in all fairness, this does make a great last minute. Gift established titles is actually running an early Black Friday, sale plus. If you use the promo code Ramsay, you will save another 10 off your order, so go to establishtitles.com Ramsay and you can also become a lord or lady. Oh thank you.
Established titles practice doesn’t make perfect, only perfect practice makes perfect and that’s a tongue twister, but also a good quote voluntarily, consciously trying to improve while practicing all those strenuous, tedious and sometimes frustrating is the only way you’re going to develop better technique. Ah Bruce Lee. This is a good. This is a good quote. Perfect practice makes perfect.
After a long time of practicing, our work will become natural, skillful, Swift and steady. Ah, and here’s a quote that I absolutely love, knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. This is something that applies to all magicians. I know so many magicians who are incredibly skilled and you can tell they’ve, put thousands and thousands of hours into perfecting what it is they’re doing. Those magicians have also acquired a ton of knowledge along their Journey, but then there are other magicians who just have the knowledge and no practice at all or some that have chops, but no knowledge of why it is they’re practicing it’s important to have both.
But it’s more important to practice. This is what I do to break in a deck of cards by the way, a small little detail that may or may not help you out, because a brand new deck of cards can be a little slippery and if you’re practicing things like the double lift, they May come apart a lot easier than normally so one thing I like to do with a brand new deck of cards. First things first, give it the old knee rub. Since these cards have been cut in Factory, there’s always a little bit of I like to call them artifacts on the sides of the deck which makes it a bit rough. So just getting that off can make the deck feel a little bit more used.
Once that’s done, maybe give it a couple Shuffles a little off. Oh, these are not from the United States playing card company. I thought they felt off a little bit. They do feel great, I’m just not used to them. Oh God and remember it’s fine.
Dropping cards is fine. It’S okay, it happens to me to everyone. Any magician you look up to is the stuff. This is the stuff. They don’t show you all right.
This is the stuff that those great magicians never show you is them on their knees, picking up their playing cards, and this is uh super important, say Chris. Why is it important? Well, if you don’t learn the struggle of picking up cards, a you’re not practicing enough and B you’re, not fearing it enough the fear of dropping cards and having to stop what you’re doing and pick them up can be so frustrating and part of that fear will Drive me, hopefully not to drop them, or at least not as often all right, so now that we’ve got the basics figured out a few things that I do when I practicing for me is a bit of a meditation. It is meditative. I have to consciously practice.
Normally, when we practice we’re holding cards and we’re mindlessly shuffling we’re not actually improving our card skills whatsoever, and so practicing does take a conscious effort and can be kind of draining so be sure to get yourself a glass of water as well and find a spot That makes you comfortable and whether that’s sitting on the couch or by your computer or on the bus ride home whatever that is just make sure you can sort of Zone into what it is you’re doing and if that means putting on some headphones or blaring music. Whatever that is lighting some incense, I don’t know you figure it out, but whatever that is you do you personally? What I like to do is kick everybody out of the office. Sit at my desk put on some fancy lighting, some music set up the camera and get started. Now you don’t need a camera mirrors work.
Fine, iPhone cameras, work as well work just fine for practicing. If you want to get some good angles. What you’re seeing is eyesight, so whatever I’m seeing, is what that person is seeing and that’s a good way to practice, because then you can check out different angles and especially if you’re playing around with like new ideas mirrors are fun. But the one thing about mirrors is that you have to stare at this guy, so instead, what I like to do is hook up a monitor. Now, if you don’t have a monitor, that’s fine!
You can just literally hook up your phone like stand. Your phone up film yourself doing things, but I’ve got this tripod here and we’re going to fix it at an angle to where let’s say I was sitting down right. So if someone’s sitting down you’re going to want to be around at this angle – and that is their eye height, you don’t want to practice with the camera over here unless you’re doing something specifically for the camera. But if you have any intention on ever performing it, you want to get to the eye level of your spectator. I’M gon na go ahead and swap lenses as well perfect.
So what’s the deal with using a camera? Well, cameras are fun because I don’t have to be recording my sessions and it acts just like a mirror. The only difference is it’s not showing me a reflection. It’S showing me what The Spectator would see, whereas a mirror is showing me a reflection. This way on camera, I can see exactly what the spectator is going to see at that exact spot.
Secondly, I can focus on this now. If I, if I just want to sit in front of here and play with my angles – that’s fine. I can do that because I can see what I’m doing wrong. I can see that there’s a flashback here, but real practice in the real world. You don’t have a camera to look at.
You don’t have a mirror to look at all you have is your hands and your trust. You trust that the angles are right and that you’ve practiced enough to get away with something. And for that I like to practice without looking at the Monitor and without looking at the camera and just looking at my hands and then I look back on the video afterwards, so I’m going to try something here with this deck uh, I’m gon na try a Deck switch without looking at the camera and we’ll see uh we’ll see if I got away with it. Okay, all right all right now that we’ve set up our area of practice. Let’S talk about learning sleight of hand, because honestly, it can be very confusing.
Here are a few of my magic books. Not all of them are magic. Some of them are memory or whatever, but uh. Even these old books contain a crazy amount of literature. Learning from books isn’t always easy.
It’S probably the best way to learn magic, because a lot of gems are hidden in these old books. However, not having a visual aid can be a little difficult. There are thousands of books on card magic and sleight of hand, and all of them have these sort of weird diagrams and, aside from all the weird diagrams, they also have words that can be very confusing as well. Here’S a book that I really love this is called the art of deck switching. I think it’s by Roberto giovi, basically teaches you a bunch of different ways to switch decks, not so much as a car cheat, but as a magician, and I find this information to be super valuable.
If you’re out there performing and you need a deck switches can be so strong by the way. This is a great book, The Art of deck, switching now in the beginning of this book, it has something that I’ve never seen in a magic book before and I thoroughly thoroughly enjoyed this check that out how cool is that we have a map of the hands In a map of the deck now, if you’ve ever read a magic book before you know just as well as I do that the terms can be very confusing, for example, without looking at this, let me read you a passage of say a card trick. He also has an index of the pockets, which is great so as an example here is what you would read in one of these Pages as soon as the hand and its deck enter. The pocket move. Your left forefinger from the outer to the right now Lower Side of the deck and grip the deck securely in the fork of the thumb.
While you splay out the middle ring and little fingers as on Photo four. These three fingers, acting together on one side and the four finger on the other side, form a sort of finger tongs that slide around the upper long side of the cold deck grip, the cold deck firmly in your finger tongs. While you release the deck in use for the from the thumb and forefinger like I said, there are a lot of terms index forefinger tip of your finger inside the pad. All these different things and Roberto mapped it out so beautifully. How genius is that learning to read a magic book can be extremely daunting when you hear all these terms, you think to yourself: am I using the right finger?
Am I using the right hand, am I holding it by the correct side of the deck? So these things are definitely something that I’ve struggled with learning card magic, so familiarizing yourself with the terms, is very, very important. So what happened to me is that I started reading Magic books and thought well. This is too advanced for me and then kept buying books and kept realizing man. These are all the same.
They all feel too advanced Royal Road to card magic is probably the best book for any beginner I’ll leave the link of that one below it’ll help. You familiarize yourself with how to place your hands around the cards. So that way you aren’t left with uh any of these and obviously there’s YouTube uh. You can learn a lot of good card magic and sleight of hand on YouTube by following guys such as Miss mag 52 cards uh. The rise twins, Daniel Madison, who is by far one of my favorite sleight of hand, artists in the entire world, so follow him.
If you aren’t following him already Alex pandrea has some good stuff. Shin Lim has some stuff there’s a plethora of magic knowledge available online, but all of that doesn’t really help you get better. It just increases your knowledge of card magic. So normally I set up my sessions for about an hour or two every time and the reason for that is because any less than an hour, I don’t feel like I’ve. I’Ve pushed enough to get that breakthrough.
I’Ve not managed to overcome something that I’ve been trying to overcome. I haven’t I haven’t gotten to that sweet spot in that zone. I haven’t connected with the cards like I’ve like I wanted to. That sounds insane, but it it’s what I feel and the reason I don’t do more than that and some people do for me. I don’t feel like I’m learning anything anymore.
I think after two hours max like of tops two hours, I’m drained I’m saturated and nothing can be done. Nothing good will come from that session. For me, after that amount of time, this deck here was actually given to me by Richard Turner. If you’re not familiar with Richard Turner, he’s got a documentary called dealt, I highly suggest you check that out. Richard Turner is a sleight of hand, card mechanic, uh a cheat, and he is probably one of the best in the world, if not the best and he’s blind.
I sat down with Richard at cardcon and asked him questions about uh practice and one of the things he told me is he practices from 8 to 16 hours every day for like the last 40 years, which is insane. I don’t think anybody needs to practice that much unless you’re completely devoted into making this your entire existence like he has, but there aren’t very many people like Richard out there, like I said for everyone else, one to two hours is, I think plenty, but maybe that’s Me, and maybe I’m old, and maybe I’m irrelevant, which is probably also true, all right so time to practice. Much like practicing itself. This video isn’t the most entertaining thing: it’s not something in today’s day and age that we want to do it’s. We just want results.
We want to get our fix, our dopamine, our serotonin, whatever you want to call it Chris Brown, a friend of mine orbit, you guys, might know him. He actually said something along the lines of this about cardistry, where, when you look at cardistry, you can’t fake your way into it. You can fake your way into magic. You can buy the tricks and make it look like you’re a genius, but you can’t fake your way into cardistry cardistry takes skill. It takes conscious effort constantly it takes wanting to improve it, takes failing over and over and over and dropping cards and being frustrated and and literally thinking, you’re, the worst in the world before you start to get better, and I do believe that sleight of hand has That as well, I think, before you get better you’re, going to feel useless.
Getting to that point where you’re happy with your craft, it’s going to be a long journey, it’s going to be arduous frustrating, which is why I like to use it as a meditative thing. Put on some music handle cards Focus your hands will. Thank you later, thanks for watching guys, we’ll see in the next one peace.