Professional tips for the invisible deck

Professional tips for the Invisible Deck

A classic of magic, the Invisible Deck has had a home in my store and in my professional repertoire for most of twenty years. It’s a terrific effect for magicians of any level of experience but it’s not without a few potential hurdles.

In this article, I offer my three tips to help you get success from your Invisible Deck routine.

If you’re a magician, you’re probably familiar with the Invisible Deck. If not, seek out a magic dealer nearest you and get one. They should be able to teach you the basic routine and perhaps even a few tips on performance. If not, don’t worry; armed with the instructions included with the deck along with this article, you’ll be fine.

This article assumes that you own an Invisible Deck and understand at least the basic routine. This article will not expose or explain the “secret” to the Invisible Deck. If you need help learning the secret to the Invisible Deck, e-mail for assistance.

This article also assumes that you are using the Invisible Deck premise; “I have an Invisible Deck of cards” and not an “after market” variation.

Let’s face it; we start this trick with an imaginary deck of cards in our empty hands. That’s just silly. When we look up at the eyes of our audience we see them thinking this very thing. “You’re silly.” I’ve performed this piece of magic thousands of times and believe me; I’ve seen the look. Our goal therefore, from the very beginning, is to draw our audience into our story and into our pretend world. I’ve managed to cut it down to six words: “You have to use your imagination.”

I recommend that this line be used very near the beginning of the routine. Just as we remove our invisible cards from the box or pocket or wherever we keep them. Of course, our hands are actually empty so it’s at this silly moment that we need our audience to agree to play along. When the “cards” are produced, pause very briefly, look up at them, see them thinking that you’re silly and deliver the line, “You have to use your imagination.” This simple command will generally result in smiles and nods of agreement.

In order to make the miracle of the Invisible Deck we call upon the audience for two things:

-Pretend to choose a card and return it to the deck upside down.

-Say out loud the name of the card they chose. (Randomly name a card, in other words.)

We took care of the former by using the line, “You have to use your imagination.” The latter is only slightly more difficult.

I don’t know about your friends but mine are a bunch of smarty-pants. I say, “Name your card” and they say, “If you’re so good at magic, you should just KNOW what my card is, I shouldn’t have to tell you.” That’s just frustrating.

I discovered that if we give our audience a reason to name their card, they don’t give me any trouble about it.

Here’s the line: “The way to make your card turn visible is to say the magic word and, in this trick, the magic word is the name of the invisible card you looked at.”

This simple line gives our audience a reason for saying the name of a card, any card, out loud. The reason accepted, the card is named aloud and then is the only one upside down. Amazing!

So, we’ve got our audience playing along using tip number one and we’ve used tip number two to get them to name a card without giving us a hard time. They take a breath and name their card:

“The Ace of Spades.”

A minimum of sixty percent of all audiences will say, “Ace of Spades.” Why is this bad? Well, at the end of your Invisible Deck routine, after the Ace of Spades is miraculously face down in an otherwise face up deck, our audience will say, “I’ll bet everyone says ‘Ace of Spades.’”

Bummer. A potentially devastating magical effect completely deflated by an uncreative response from the audience.

Alternatively, if our audience has some measure of creativity and doesn’t say, “Ace of Spades”, instead, for example, they say, “Five of Hearts”, we produce our cards and, astoundingly, the Five of Hearts is upside down. One person, the fellow who said, “Five of Hearts” is genuinely amazed. The other audience members are wondering if he’s “in on the trick” with you or perhaps you used your powers of persuasion to force him into saying, “Five of Hearts”. This problem also deflates our potentially devastating effect.

Fortunately, we can solve both problems with one solution: Instead of having one person think of and name a card, we’re going to have four different people randomly generate a card value and suit.

Ask one audience member the color of the card, another the suit, a third tells you whether it was a numbered or face card and, finally, the last person tells you the value.

Here’s an example:
Magician: “Now the way to make the cards turn visible is to say the magic word and, in this trick, the magic word is the name of the card you all looked at. So, Bob, was it a red card or a black card?”

Bob: “It was a red card.”

Magician: “O.K. a red card, that means it was either a heart or a diamond, Susie, which one was it?

Susie: “It was a diamond.”

Magician: “Great, a diamond. Mark, was it a numbered diamond or a face card diamond?”

Mark: “It was a face card.”

Magician: “O.K. a face card diamond. Bill, what face card diamond was it?”

Bill: “The Jack.”

Magician: “All right then, everyone say ‘Jack of Diamonds!’”

Everyone: “Jack of Diamonds!”

You proceed to show that the Jack of Diamonds is now the only upside down card in your deck.


Using this technique, everyone gets involved, no one suspects anyone else of being in league with the performer and, most importantly, no one names the Ace of Spades. As a bonus, if you’re a looking to attract more people to your crowd, the sound of several people shouting out the name of a card gets attention!

There you have it. Three simple tips to make your Invisible Deck routine more amazing and easier to perform:

“Use your Imagination”

“The Magic Word”

“The Human Card Generator.”

Use these three tips to get the most out of your Invisible Deck. Remember, the REAL secret is in the performance. Write your script, rehearse it, along with your moves, and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the routine.

Good luck and happy performing.

Steve Johnson

August, ‘06

(c) 2006 Grand Illusions – Steve Johnson. All rights reserved.