The Faro Shuffle is one of the most legendary, and underused card sleights in magic. What it actually does to the deck is insane (I’ll tell you in a second), and I can’t believe more magicians aren’t talking about it!
PICTURE THIS: You shuffle the deck in front of the spectator, and like a train you stop and perform an effect, then shuffle again, perform an effect and repeat the process until you reach the eight shuffle. You check the deck after 8 perfect faros, and find the deck back in it’s original order.
Remember to the spectators, this looks like genuine shuffling — they see the cards being mixed. However, the magician is secretly controlling the order, setting up for astonishing reveals and effects that seem impossible given the apparent randomness of the shuffle!
For magicians using a memorized deck, the Faro Shuffle is incredibly powerful. It allows us to maintain or quickly return to a known deck order, which can be devastatingly effective in performance. The ability to shuffle the deck (seemingly mixing the cards thoroughly) while actually maintaining or restoring a specific order is a huge advantage. It creates an illusion of randomness while we retain full control!
What is the Faro Shuffle?
The Faro Shuffle is a method of shuffling playing cards where the deck is split into two equal halves of 26 cards each, and then the cards are interwoven perfectly, one from each half at a time. When done correctly, the cards alternate exactly from each half of the deck.
- In-Shuffle: This results in the original bottom card remaining at the bottom. If an in-shuffle is done eight times in a row, the deck returns to its original order.
- Out-Shuffle: This leaves the original top card on top. It takes eight out-shuffles to return the deck to its original state, but the order of the cards will be different from that of the in-shuffles.
How To Do A Perfect Faro Shuffle: Step by Step
1: Buy a new deck…
Firs things first you want a new deck or one in good condition. The Faro Shuffle is easier with smoother, less-worn cards. Also make sure you are comfortable handling the deck, and shuffling it normally (obviously).
2: Splitting the Deck
This is one of the most important aspects of the faro shuffle. Fail to do this and you’ve failed your Faro. The objective is to get an even split. Carefully divide the deck into two equal halves of 26 cards each. This precision is crucial for a successful Faro Shuffle.
3: Positioning Your Hands
Hold one half of the deck in each hand. The thumbs should be on the inner edges, and your other fingers on the outer edges. Align the two halves at their corners, ready to be interlaced. Remember it’s crucial to get the set up good, because the next step is the second most important one: The weave!
4: The Weave…
First, gently bring the corners of the two halves into contact. This is where the weave begins. Now, apply light pressure with your thumbs to start the interlacing process.
Allow the cards to weave into each other, one from each half at a time. This requires a gentle touch. Maintain consistent, light pressure to ensure the cards interlace evenly.
5: Complete the Shuffle…
Once the cards are interlaced, square up the deck so it is neat and aligned. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect at first. This shuffle requires practice to perfect. It’s one of the hardest sleights in magic, and one variation IS the hardest move in magic!
A few tips…
- Practice regularly to improve your technique.
- If cards are not weaving correctly, check your pressure, the alignment of the cards, and the condition of the deck.
- Be patient. It’s normal for this shuffle to take time to learn. Keep practicing!
How To Become A Master of ‘Faros’…
Like I said this is one of the hardest sleights in magic, and one variation, called the ‘tabled faro’ IS the hardest move in magic but the payoff is undoubtedly worth it! Here are two resources that I’d you kickstart your Faro Journey in…
1: The Faro Shuffle by Ed Marlo
This is a small little book by Ed Marlo that details his approaches to the Faro Shuffle. It encompasses strategies for performing a faro, including the Initial Faro Technique, the Faro Riffle Shuffle, and the Rear End Faro Shuffle. It also introduces supports for the Faro, like the Table Support with the Fourth Finger and the Stabilize and Interweave method. Additionally, the guide delves into more intricate variations such as the Eccentric Faro, the Top Crimp Faro, and the 26th Card Check in Faro.
Click the link below to read the chapter on lybrary…
2: Faro Notes by Ed Marlo
This is a small little book by Ed Marlo that features over 30 effects and concepts utilising the Faro Shuffle, this collection encompasses Marlo’s comprehensive study of the Faro Shuffle, including the In Shuffle, the Out Shuffle, and additional faro methods. It delves deeply into the transformations the deck undergoes through these various shuffles and contains a collection of card effects that can be executed using these intricate shuffling techniques!
Click the link below to read the chapter on lybrary…
Thank you for reading! We will be releasing our very own Faro Shuffle Project very soon, featuring original effects and compressive tutorials of The Faro Shuffle and all it’s variations. If you want to be the first one to hear about it, click the link below, and enter your email: