Magician’s Choice

Magicians can be very sneaky.

They know how to get you to do exactly what they want, without you ever noticing. Something I learned long ago is called “Magician’s Choice” which is a way to get you to pick what the magician needs you to pick. Imagine you have three cards



I (the magician) have put your card in the middle, and I ask you to pick a card. There are three scenarios as to what can happen

  1. You pick the middle card. That certainly makes my job easy because you just picked up your own card and it appeared as if I knew you would pick that card. I look fantastic, you are amazed, and that’s the end of the trick!
  2. The next scenario can happen one of two ways. You will pick either the right or left card, but regardless, it is not the card I want you to pick. Is that the end of the trick? No! Of course not! So if you pick the card on the right, I will pull that card away and put it in the discard pile, as if no matter what card you chose, I was going to pull it away. No you have two cards left! The card on the left, and the new card on the right (which I know is your card). I’m going to ask you again to pick a card from the remaining two. If you pick the one on the left, I will pull it away just as I did to the original card you chose. Now you have one card remaining and it’s yours! And the trick is done.

Everything I described to you has had no special illusion or trick to it, I’m merely keeping or pulling cards away, depending on which one you picked. But there is one scenario where I’m in big trouble.

          3. Let’s say you chose the card on the right, and I’ll pull it away. What happens                   when I ask you to pick another card, and you chose the one on the right (which               is your card!)? I can’t pull it away like I did originally, then the only one left is                   the wrong card. This is where the illusion come in, and I count on the fact that                 you aren’t paying to much attention. Of the two remaining, when you choose                   your card that was originally in middle, I’m going to pull away the card on left. It               is now like you chose the one in the middle, so I’m going to keep the card you                 chose, even though I originally pulled away a card! It combining the two                           strategies of pulling away cards I don’t want and leaving cards I do want.

It’s a little mind boggling, but this technique is very common among magicians to give the audience the illusion of choice. If the crowd believes they chose their own card, it makes the magician seem, well, more magical! I hope this made some sense, and please ask me to show you this trick, because I will happily oblige!

3 thoughts on “Magician’s Choice

  1. I feel the need to look up a video to fully understand what’s happening here. Your descriptions are great, I just have a hard time following directions, which is more of a personal problem. Maybe you should show me this trick in person!

  2. Oh yeah, back when I was younger, my friend and I in summer camp used to try to come up with magic tricks with cards, and this trick is one we used a lot. It really is effective, but someone who is at least a little familiar with magic or who is paying attention will easily catch it.

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