Most of the time when handling cards, executing sleight of hand, and performing effects, you’ll hold the cards in a standard Mechanic’s Grip — usually in your left (or non-dominant) hand.
However, at times you’ll need to transfer the cards to your right/dominant hand in an overhand grip called the Biddle Grip.
The Biddle Grip is a way of holding the deck, or a small packet of cards, from above. It’s useful for counting cards, either accurately, or in conjunction with secretly stealing or loading cards to and from the pack.
Let’s get into a few more details about this simple but powerful grip.
What is the Biddle Grip? (Explanation, Tutorial & Photos)
In the Biddle, you’ll transfer the cards from your non-dominant hand Mechanic’s Grip to your dominant hand.
(We’ll just assume you’re naturally a righty! Lefties can reverse the instructions below.)
Your right hand comes over top of the deck and grabs from above:
- Thumb at the back
- Middle and ring fingers at the front, toward the right side of the deck
- Index finger can be extended or curled on top of the pack
It looks like this:
The Biddle Grip is not an overly complex card sleight — don’t over think it!
It’s simply a comfortable way of holding the cards from above, with both front and back of the pack secured but held loose enough that you can easily peel cards off the top with your left thumb.
Why use the Biddle Grip? (Applications)
The Biddle is an extremely natural way of holding the cards from above with your right hand.
You might use the Biddle Grip without even realizing it if you need your left hand to grab something or gesture.
Once in the Biddle Grip, you won’t be able to perform most sleight like:
- Double lifts
- Double undercuts
- False overhand shuffles
Instead, the Biddle is a great starting point for certain deals or counts.
For example, in the Biddle Trick (one of my favorite impromptu card tricks), you use this grip to secretly load a selected card onto the bottom of the pack as you count off 5 cards.
To the spectator, it makes it seem as though the selected card mysteriously disappeared in front of their eyes!
You can also use the Biddle Grip and count to load additional cards onto a packet as you count them, thus turning 5 cards into more.
In these maneuvers and sleights, your left thumb peels cards off the top of the deck into left hand Mechanics’ Grip — note if you curl your index finger in the Biddle Grip you’ll need to extend it out of the way to perform a count.
You’ll use a Pinky Break within the counted packet to load cards onto the bottom of the deck, or a thumb break in the Biddle packet to steal additional cards into the counted pack.
The Biddle is extremely simply to execute — the mechanics aren’t difficult, but it will take a little practice to smoothly steal or load cards while performing a Biddle count.
When done properly, it’s completely invisible and EXTREMELY deceptive to audiences.
More resources to master the Biddle Grip
Alex Pandrea teaches the grip and the stunning Biddle Trick on YouTube