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The Ambitious Card Explained: Card Magic Techniques

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If you have landed on this page via a search engine you'll need first to go to The Ambitious Card Description before this will make much sense!

Otherwise, here's the explanation of the Ambitious Card Routine:

Take a look at this photo:

ambitous card

So, after the spectator has chosen the card from the spread and the deck has been re-gathered and cut, the magician uses the glide to mark the card.

ambitious card

S/he then executes a controlled shuffle to bring the marked card into the second-to-top position.

ambitious card

S/he can then lift off the true top card quite naturally and feign frustration that it is not the spectator's chosen card.

ambitious card

Then turning the deck over, s/he can display any number of the bottom cards depending on how comically s/he wants to perform the trick. One or two is plenty in most cases.

ambitious card

So then, after the patter about how badly this is going and asking the spectator to tell her/him what the selected card was, s/he can perform a double lift and show exactly that card (which, you will remember, was controlled to the second position ready for this moment).

ambitious card

So it appears that the card chosen has magically risen to the top of the deck.

ambitious card

But after the magician has said that s/he will get rid of this troublesome card into the middle of the deck, it is actually the true top card that is taken and disposed of.

the ambitious card

And there it goes, you see, so that whilst the spectator thinks that it is their chosen card, it is just a random one that disappears into the pack. The Jack (or whichever card they had selected) sits happily on top as ever!

the ambitious card

Now as the Jack (selected card) is genuinely lifted up a clever thing happens: the main body of the pack is dropped down into the lower palm whilst keeping the remaining top card exactly level. This gives the impression, from the audience's point of view, that the card is going in at the middle of the deck. Actually, it is only being placed underneath the top card. So it is ready for...

ambitious card

...that's right, the next double lift!

location pass

For the final section of this routine, the magician palms the selected card.

ambitious card

That way, when the magician makes the spread and invites the spectator to help her/him search the deck for the miscreant card, it cannot be found.

ambitious card

It is then simple enough to replace the card as the deck is gathered up ready for...

ambitious card

...the rascal's final appearance, once more at the top of the deck!

And that is how this effect is achieved. To make this convincing, it is very important to have perfected the basic techniques and more important to use the pacing of the plot, your patter and humour to misdirect the audience at every turn. That way, they really will believe that they are seeing something practically impossible occur before their eyes. And with any luck, they will not only be baffled but also, laughing!

As I said before, once you've grasped the essence of what this trick is about, by all means go ahead and 'make it your own'. I have seen so many different versions of this, from the comic to the mysterious to the graceful and helter-skelter. And really, you can keep it going as long as you like (as long as you keep it interesting) and with the sneaky card turning up all over the place outside the pack - under a dinner plate, in someone's pocket, wherever: once you've mastered this suggested way of playing it, get creative and see what you can do!

Would you prefer a video tutorial to make this complex trick easier to learn? There's a great tutorial to a fantastic version of the embitious card that you can get here: Ambitious Card Video Tutorial

Have you checked out these cool card decks? These are the ones used by professional magicians. The mark of expertise: The Magician's Favorite

For anyone interested in taking card magic seriously, I'd like to personally recommend the Complete Card Magic - 7 Volume Set on 4 DVDs, which is a detailed course in all aspects of coin magic, tricks and performance. It contains video demonstrations and explanations of nearly all the techniques, sleight, effect and routines that any amateur or professional could want to master card magic. I've studied the DVDs and think they are superb. For most people the text and line illustrations of magic books require a deal of work to interpret and understand. Here that work is done for you: you just watch, repeat and learn. If you regard these DVDs as a complete course in card magic, you will learn to a very high professional standard. It's simply the best there is - and the price is amazing, too!

Get Complete Card Magic Magic Now!

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