The number one foundation of learning to do sleight of hand with cards?
Learning how to hold them properly.
I know, it seems silly. But if you’ve ever watched your friends shuffle and deal cards, you’ve probably noticed most of them are quite clumsy with a deck of cards.
In fact, a lot of people can’t spread through a deck of cards, shuffle, or deal them without dropping a few on the floor.
(It’s not a slight against them, they’re just not practiced with handling a deck of cards! But you need to be.)
Handling a deck comfortably, and getting ready for most sleight of hand maneuvers, begins with learning the mechanic’s grip or dealer’s grip.
What is the mechanic’s grip? And how to do it
The mechanic’s grip, or dealer’s grip, is simply a secure and comfortable way of holding a deck of cards.
Start with the cards in your non-dominant hand.
Your middle, ring, and pinky fingers will rest on the inside edge of the cards.
Your index finger lays diagonally across the front, holding the cards in place and preventing them from sliding forward.
Your thumb rests on top of the deck, or can also lay along the outside edge of the cards.
Proper mechanic’s grip looks something like this:
You’ll find this is an extremely comfortable and natural way of holding cards.
You can rotate your hand, move around, and gesture without the cards sliding away from you — even with a new or slippery deck.
How to use the mechanic’s grip
The dealer’s grip or mechanic’s grip is your foundation for most sleight of hand with cards.
From here, you can easily and comfortably:
- Spread the cards out for a spectator to choose one
- Or fan them, for a more flourishy spread
- Thumb cards over one at a time, to deal or count them
- Turn the deck upside down or on its side
- Grab and hold a pinky break to locate a certain card
- Perform sleights like the double undercut, false shuffles, and more
If you’re just getting started with card magic, start by practicing holding the deck in this grip.
Learn how to spread the cards from this position, deal them, and count them down onto the table.
These aren’t magical maneuvers, but they are things you’ll need to know how to do in order to perform most card tricks.
You need to get extremely comfortable handling and shuffling cards, and learning the proper grip is the first step along the way.