I’m often asked where I learnt magic from, and occasionally someone is interested in magic themselves or knows someone else who wants to learn. The short answer is from books.

Although it’s pretty “boring” nowadays, the best way to learn card magic is by books. Actual books made of paper so you can sit down, read, look at the pictures, absorb and practise.

Unfortunately there is a growing trend nowadays for instant downloads that promise amazing magic by some trendy hipster with fast editing and energetic music. However, if someone is serious nothing beats practising the basic fundamentals which will open up a whole world of possibilities, as opposed to just trying to learn another trick.

(I’ve embedded links to Amazon, but if they don’t work feel free to email me and I’ll email over an updated link)

The first book I’d recommend is the Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard. This really does start at step one but works through the fundamental card sleights using tricks to illustrate each point.

The sister to this book is the Enclycopedia of Card Tricks by Michael Bailey. Although it’s easy to think of this a book of tricks from Amazon, there’s a lot of tricks in here used by professional magicians.

Expert At The Card Table
Teaching techniques from Expert At The Card Table to my local WI group

If someone really does enjoy sitting down and learning/practising card sleights then Expert at the Card Table by SW Erdnase is the daddy. It was written by a gambler over 100 years ago and goes through some very interesting – and hard – techniques. Not for the beginner. Actually, this book had such an impact on me I put together a talk/demo about it. (Earlier this year I was teaching my local WI group false shuffles and fake deals!)

Branching out from just card magic then I very highly recommend the Complete Course in Magic by Mark Wilson. This at first glance is easy to dismiss as a kids book, but actually contains tricks and routines covering all genres of magic, and many of those are used by professionals in their act today. It genuinely is the complete course, but so often overlooked purely because of it’s cheesey cover!

This really is just the tip of the iceberg, but should give a good foundation to build on. There are a lot of other resources and magic dealers on the internet but I strongly advise starting with these books. It’s very easy spend a lot of money on something that looks cool online but impractical!

Please feel free to contact me at any time in the future. In fact, I’d absolutely love it if you emailed me in the future to say you’ve read all of these, and then I can point you in the direction of the really good stuff!

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