The spelling plot is a really unique and popular concept in card magic.
The idea is that you use the cards to “spell” something related to the trick, with one card representing one letter, and at the end of the word, there’s a surprise.
You might spell a spectator’s name to reveal their selected card, or you might spell your way to each of the Aces.
There are a lot of variations and applications of this premise, but if you’re looking for the best spelling card trick I would recommend:
- Further Than That
- Spelling Collins Aces
- Spell All
- Easy Self-Working Spelling Trick
- Nine Card Problem
- Lie Speller
Let’s take a look at each of these spelling effects, what makes them great, and where you can learn them.
1. Further Than That (Stewart James)
I love the premise of “Further Than That” by Stewart James, which I learned from the Michael Ammar ‘Easy to Master Card Miracles’ series.
The idea of the trick is that it’s always going one step “further” than other card tricks.
Everything has a twist, from how the spectator picks their card, to how it’s revealed, to what happens after.
In essence, the magician magically intuits the name of the selected card — impressive enough — but then goes further by spelling out the name of the card.
Of course, the selected card is found in the only spot it could possibly be.
After that, the trick goes even further and offers some cool and confounding twists at the finale.
Watch Ammar perform it below and grab his ETMCM Vol. 1 to learn the effect.
2. Spelling Collins Aces (Martin Lewis)
If you’re looking for a spelling card trick with a bit of visual flair, you’ll love the Spelling Collins Aces by Martin Lewis.
This is an outstanding and confounding routine where the Aces disappear in front of the spectator’s very eyes (you really have to see it happen to believe it).
They mysteriously then reappear in the middle of the deck — in perfect order for the magician to “spell” his way to each of them.
Spelling Collins Aces is a lot more than a quick-hitter card trick and will require some sleight of hand know-how.
Watch and learn from Michael Ammar below and on his ETMCM Vol. 6.
3. Spell All (Harry Lorayne)
Spell All is a great fake out spelling card trick.
If you’ve performed for a group of people before (or worse, are performing for fellow magicians!) this one is sure to pull the rug out from under them.
It’s a “pick a card, find a card” with a faux-spelling plot.
The spectator picks and loses their own card in the deck — they even handle the cards — then the magician “spells” his way to where the card should be.
Only, it’s not there. It was in his pocket the entire time.
Spell All is a lot of fun, and you can watch and learn from creator Harry Lorayne below and on his Best Ever Collection DVD #2.
4. Super Easy Spelling Card Trick (Mismag)
If you’re looking for a really simple, easy to learn, and mostly self-working spelling card trick, check out this one from YouTuber Mismag.
The spectator has a free choice of any card, which is then lost in the deck.
After dealing through the cards face up in an effort to locate the selection, the magician is then able to “spell” his way exactly to the chosen card.
This one is easy to learn for beginners and works on the key card principle. It’s totally impromptu and, cleverly, the “work” is done right in front of the spectator.
Learn it on YouTube below.
5. Impossible (Larry Jennings)
Some people find Impossible to be a bit convoluted, but if you’re a good performer, the effect is absolutely stunning.
To start, the spectator takes any number of cards between 1-10 cards off the top of the deck, then repeats this twice to form three piles.
They pick a card from one of the piles, then mix the piles, hopeless losing the card.
When they then use cards to spell out the word “Impossible,” the chosen card appears.
It’s a real fooler. The effect is impromptu and mostly self-working, but you’ll have to remember a fairly complicated sequence to pull it off.
Learn the Jennings classic from Michael Ammar’s ETMCM Vol. 6.
6. Nine Card Problem (Jim Steinmeyer)
If you like mathematical card tricks, packet tricks, or card tricks that can be done from a distance, you need to learn Nine Card Problem.
In this one, the participant handles the cards the entire time.
They select any nine cards from an ordinary deck and remember one of them.
Through a series of mixing the cards and spelling the name of their selected card, the magician is able to identify their chosen card every time.
This trick is so good that David Copperfield chose to perform it on his Fires of Passion special in 1993.
7. Nathan’s Lie Speller (A Million Card Tricks)
I found this one on YouTube while searching for the best spelling card tricks, and wow, I was impressed.
In this effect, the magician places a “prediction” card face down on the table at the very beginning.
The participant then chooses a card, which is then lost in the middle of the deck.
They are then asked to think of a different, unrelated card (totally free choice!) — when the magician spells that card out, it leads directly to the chosen card.
But that’s not at all. The prediction card, which has been in plain sight the entire time, is shown to be the freely though of “unrelated card.”
Warning: This is totally impromptu, but will require some card knowledge and fairly advanced sleight of hand.
Watch Nathan from A Million Card Tricks perform this down below and learn it on his YouTube Channel.
Not all magicians are fans of the spelling plot, but as you can see, there are really a lot of clever ways to use it.
You can start with a simple “spell to selected card” routine and work your way up to more advanced effects that have the potential to blow mind.
What did I miss? What’s your favorite spelling card effect?
Before you go, here’s some related reading:
- The best impromptu card tricks
- Complete guide to the 21 card trick
- Card trick tips to make any effect stronger
Featured image by Marco Verch