Many premium decks of playing cards come with a special gimmick inside the pack — a double backer card.
They’re a great tool for powerful magic tricks — see my guide to how to use double backer cards here.
Double face cards, on the other hand, are a little harder to find. They don’t come standard in most decks, even premium packs.
However, they can be devastatingly deceptive when put to good use.
If you’re wondering how to use a double face card (or a whole deck of them), here are some ideas and routines for you to check out.
5 of the best double face card tricks are:
- Anniversary Waltz
- Stand Up Monte
- Wild Card
- Strange Travelers
- McDonald’s Aces
Let’s take a look at each one and where you can learn them.
What is a double faced card? (And where to get them)
A double faced card is any playing card that has two faces — there is no back design present on either side of the card.
There are a lot of different kinds of double face cards to choose from — some have two identical faces on each side, while others feature two different faces.
The kind of double facer you need depends on what effect you’re hoping to achieve.
In general, double facers are extraordinary tools for sudden, visual card changes — or even invisible ones — where one card rapidly transforms into another.
While double backers are common in premium playing card decks from Bicycle and Theory11, you’ll have to order double facers special.
Your best bet may be to pick up an entire deck of double facers (Amazon link) so you’ll have plenty of options!
Some effects, however, require very specific orientations — like a Joker on one side and a 5 of Spades on the other, for example.
For that, you’ll need to order special from a magic retailer or make your own double facers.
Making your own double faced card can be tricky — to do it properly, you’ll need to split the two layers of each playing card and glue two faces together.
(Here’s a good tutorial to get you started)
I don’t advise just gluing two entire playing cards together, back-to-back, because the card will be stiff and way too thick.
In a pinch, however, it can work!
Best double facer card tricks & routines
Alright, so let’s say you’ve gotten your hands on some double facers — or maybe you have some coming in the mail soon — now what can you do with them?
Here are my top 5 tricks with double face cards and where to learn them.
1. Anniversary Waltz by Garrett Thomas and Doc Eason
This is a tremendous and highly intimate card trick you can perform for two people.
The basic plot is this:
Each participant freely selects and signs the face of a different card.
The magician is then, miraculously, able to merge them into one single playing card with two faces!
It’s such an obvious use of a double facer, but it gets great reactions and is particularly a strong choice to perform for couples (hence the name).
Difficulty: Easy. Most beginners should be able to perform this one with a little practice.
2. Stand Up Monte by Garrett Thomas
For something with a little more razzle dazzle, you’ll love this amazing 3 card monte routine.
(The 3 card monte is a classic “find the Queen” routine with 3 cards, and can be done gimmicked or ungimmicked.)
With the use of double face cards, Garrett Thomas leaves jaws on the floor with some amazing card transpositions.
Watch the performance above and enjoy!
Difficulty: Advanced. The moves themselves aren’t total knucklebusters, but there’s some complicated choreography in this one you’ll have to master.
3. Wild Card by Frank Garcia
A tremendous effect, Wild Card uses double facers to turn 8 duplicates of one card, into 8 of another!
All done one by one in quite visual fashion.
It’s so good its become a legendary and classic magic plot with endless variations.
Watch the performance above to see how it plays out — even knowing that there are gimmicks involved, you’ll still find your eyes popping out a bit.
You’ll have to get specially made gimmicked cards for this one — you can’t just use any double facers with random values on each side.
Difficulty: Medium to advanced. Again, the moves aren’t hard, but the choreography with the 9 cards must be executed impeccably.
4. Strange Travelers by Paul Harris
Another classic plot, the Travelers involves a spectator merely thinking (and never touching or naming) a card seen in one packet of cards.
It then amazingly vanishes from the packet and reappears in a stack of cards they’ve been holding the whole time.
And they never even say the card out loud until the trick is done!
This one can blow minds and was made popular by David Blaine and innovated by Blaine and Paul Harris.
Difficulty: Easy. This one is all about the presentation and requires almost no sleight of hand at all.
5. McDonald’s Aces by Mac McDonald / Hofsinzer
When it comes to Four Ace routines, it’s hard to beat McDonald’s Aces.
The four Aces are placed face up on the table, and each is topped with 3 face down indifferent cards.
One by one, visually, impossibly, the Aces vanish and finally reappear at the end — assembled in one neat packet the entire time.
There are no explanations for how this could happen, no crazy moves or trickery.
It really looks like pure magic.
Difficulty: Medium. There are a few moves and counts involved here but the double facers do a lot of the heavy lifting. Beginners can handle this one with enough practice.
Double face cards are an amazing invisible tool for the card magician.
They appear to be normal cards — most people would never think twice — yet they can make the impossible come to life.
Their uses are drastically different, and in my opinion more versatile and powerful, than double backers
But they’re also harder to find. Try a deck of double facers from Amazon or order them custom from a magic retailer.
And before you go, check out more of my favorite card gimmicks like:
Hope this helps!